There have been many changes in the roles of the sexes over the past 60 years. As a result, the expectation of men and the standard we are held to has morphed a little. But one thing is for sure: There are certain traits that define masculinity that most men and women would still agree upon.
This isn’t a question of backwards thinking or outdated sensibilities. This is the type of stuff that points to the fundamental characteristics that most men still hold dear. Strength, reliability and action are all still core parts of what makes a man’s man. This doesn’t mean that you’re failing if you aren’t achieving some of these aspects, but rather, they’re goals to keep in mind as you forge through your quest to become better. Any way you slice it, men are still going to compete in all aspects of life and you need to be ready for what gets thrown your way. Here are some traits of a real man.
A Real Man Can Defend Himself
You know what’s missing in the world today? Leaders who have had to fight their way to the top. Seriously. Look at the head of any business that’s circling the toilet bowl, and I’ll show you a boss whose parents’ power and money kept him from ever learning things the hard way. Every successful leader has been on the wrong end of an attack, be it with words or be it with a full assault. But those future captains got up again and again, until they knew how to stand their ground and that is when you can start to climb the ladder.
He Keeps His House In Order
Have you ever been inside the boss’s house? There are no pizza boxes sitting around, there are no undershirts on the floor, and there sure as hell won’t be any unpaid bills being used as beer coasters. No one can master his professional or personal life if he isn’t already the master of his own home.
This means that laziness or “machismo” is not an excuse to live like a bottom-feeder. Keep your sty spotless, keep your documents in order and, this is key, take pride in where you live.
He Takes Care Of His Appearance
This is a no-brainer. One of the first things that anyone is going to notice about you is your look and attention to hygiene. Gone are the days when the I-am-so-manly-I-don’t-care style worked. These days, men are measured on their style. It doesn’t have to mean a suit and tie; there’s plenty of different ways a man can dress well. But it needs to be clean, organized and demonstrative of effort. A man takes pride in his appearance.
You are not getting into the club, getting the best table at the restaurant or getting second glances from women you’re gawking at if you aren’t putting out there the fact that you invest in yourself.
He Makes His Own Fortune
A real man doesn’t settle for handouts or charity when it comes to his personal fortune. A real man isn’t satisfied with family money. He thanks Lady Luck and moves on to decide his own destiny. Any man who inherits goods from his late aunt or parents takes his inheritance and turns it into 10 times what it was.
The character that you build from doing this is essential to growing as a man in the most traditional sense. It doesn’t mean your wife or girlfriend isn’t contributing, and it doesn’t mean that you can’t be a stay-at-home father. It simply means that you are carving out your own space. You are truly independent when you do this.
He Strives To Be A Role Model
A real man respects himself and others at all times. If you begin to build a family, part of a man’s greatest responsibility is to set a solid example for his children. If you choose to let your family see you in a poor light (irresponsible or reckless, for example), you are not building yourself into the type of man they can be proud to call a father or husband. The same applies to the mom, but the man still finds himself under a different level of scrutiny based on society’s expectations of men. Set the right tone and example.
His Word Is His Bond
When a real man makes a promise, he keeps it. If he can’t keep a promise, he doesn’t give his word. A man would rather face severe consequences than break his word. Every man knows that his words are as powerful as his actions, and that they must be taken at face value.
Real Men Don’t Gossip
Nobody should gossip. But a man trying to win respect at work or among friends in his circle will not be respected if he develops a reputation for being the group’s hotline of nonsense. The images of the strong, silent type, a la Clint Eastwood, still resonate today… because gossip is for people with nothing better to do.
Family Is Important
If you made the decision to build a family, then you need to equip yourself to take care of them. Nobody respects the deadbeat dad or the absentee father who pops in for birthday parties and makes casual appearances at big events. These days, men need to participate in family life. There are so many things waiting out there to undo the work you have done to raise your children properly, and part of being a father or man is stepping up and keeping the monsters at bay.
He Is Focused
We’re all distracted, and the distractions keep piling up. It is easy to lose focus and find ourselves investing in things that are not really helping us build our futures or take care of our own. We all love to watch as much Breaking Bad as possible, and we all love sticking around for an extra cocktail or two. But the important thing is always to have a clear direction and make sure nothing gets in the way of our plans. Have that extra drink, but make sure you are at your desk killing it the next morning, or tending to whatever else needs tending.
A Real Man Is Strong
Don’t complain. We all have challenges. Complaining for complaining’s sake is never helpful. Challenges are a part of life. Step in and step up. Strength means not running from things. Ride into them and own them. It’s a quality that will get you further than you may have ever imagined.