Most boys grow up under the wing of their dad or a father-figure of some sort and without necessarily realizing it, they pick up on what it means to be a man by following his example.
This isn’t always a bad thing because there are some great male role models out there, but at the end of the day it’s just one man’s take on what it means to be a man, and that doesn’t always make for a well-rounded, balanced education. Of course, these days a lot of young men grow up without a dad or a male influence in their lives, and they are often told as young boys that they’re “the man of the house” by well-meaning female relatives, but no explanation of what that actually means is ever given.
Most of the time when a guy asks me, “What does it mean to be a man?” he’s asking because something or someone has prompted him to question whether he’s the man he thought he was, or whether he’s “man enough” for a particular task. One guy e-mailed me a few months ago because he’d been told by his friends that he needed to “man up” if he wanted to get himself a girlfriend, and another guy emailed to ask what it meant to be a “real man” because his female friends kept saying, “Where are all the real men?” So, what does it mean to be a man? Has the definition changed since the time of your father, grandfather and great grandfather?
Being a Modern Man
Being a man in today’s world is very different to being a man just one or two generations ago. Planet Earth is a very different place these days and the pace of life is increasingly faster than what it was 100 years ago, or even just a few decades ago. In the past, life was a lot more simple for a man. He knew that when he grew up, he’d get himself a job (or work on the family farm), find himself a wife, start a family, grow old and then die. It was pretty straightforward and most men knew what they were supposed to be doing with their life.
When your grandfather was a young man, he probably had “a job for life” and he likely only left his parents’ home when he was financially secure enough to find a wife, set up home for himself and support a family. Couples didn’t live together before marriage and women, on the whole, didn’t have careers or even ambitions outside of the home. A woman’s identity was based around her ability to be a great mother and keep her family well-fed, happy and loved. Fast forward to today: Men and women are now encouraged to share the roles of provider and homemaker in a marriage or long-term relationship. Couples often live together for years before even considering marriage and women pursue their own independent careers, often choosing a career over motherhood. We have science telling us that in the not-to-distant future, we might be living for 150, 200 or even 2000 years. By that point, the technology will no doubt be available to keep people alive indefinitely.
So, what are you going to do with your life? Are you going to live like people did 150 years ago? Is the path they took, the path for you? It’s no surprise that many modern men are beginning to ask the question, “What does it mean to be a man?” and search for answers in older role models. The path to the future seems hard to imagine, confusing and as though it will be filled with change. So, what is the answer?
The answer is simple.
No matter what changes happen in the world, a man, you are always going to be looked on (especially by women) to be a pillar of strength in this reality. It is your job to be strong, mentally and emotionally and to not hide away from your true potential as a man. Every man in this world has a purpose that he can decide on. You may believe that it is pre-written destiny and that is fine, but whatever the case may be, one thing remains: There are big dreams that you have as a man and if you spend your life hiding from those dreams, you will not be considered a real man. A real man is many things, but one thing he is not is a coward who hides from his true potential or who gives up on his dreams when he encounters the natural obstacles to big success. As, Calvin Coolidge (the 30th president of the United States once said):
“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” Calvin Coolidge (1872 – 1933)
Calvin spoke wisdom that I speak today. If you want to be a man, you’ve got to push or (or press on) as Calvin said. If you give up on big things you want to achieve and try to hide behind a relationship with a woman or hide behind your hobbies or TV, then you are not what women refer to as a real man. In today’s world, being a man is no longer a simple case of being the “bread winner” and providing for a wife and family. Women can make their own money now (in most cases), so what they really need from you is your masculine strength, determination and willingness to push on and make your dreams and desires in life a reality. When life gets tough or throws you a challenge, remember the words of Calvin or me. Don’t cower like a weak child boy, be a man and be a pillar of strength for whoever is around you or depending on you.
What Things Do You Care Most About in Life?
To be respected by men and wanted by women, a man needs to be his own man. To be your own man, you need to know who you are, what you value in life, what you stand for and what you believe in. What do you care most about in life? If you were to think of the top 5 things that you care about and want to achieve in life, what would they be? Once you’ve come up with the answer to that question, ask yourself this: Am I heading directly towards achieving that, or am I hiding away in fear?
If you are going to be your own man, then you need to work out who you are exactly. However, whatever you do, don’t try to work it out by watching the latest blockbuster movie, TV sitcom or TV commercial. These days, too many guys get sucked in by the random trends they see on TV and end up feeling more confused about what it means to be a man. For instance, the amount of TV advertising that is aimed at men is huge. One commercial is telling you that you need to whiten your teeth, the next is telling you that a special, new deodorant is what you need and the next is telling you that, unless you drive the particular sports car they are advertising, you’re not a cool man. Again, it’s no surprise that more and more modern men are asking, “What does it mean to be a man?”
If you pay attention to enough of the advertising you see on TV, you will end up thinking that in order to be successful with women and be considered a man, you need to look like a male model, have six pack abs, drive a sports car, have cool tatoos, hold cocktail parties with 50 friends at your cool pad, wear the latest fashions and bright white teeth. It’s crazy, yet a lot of guys get sucked into thinking that women want men to be freshly shaven, smelling like a bottle of cologne and wearing perfectly clean, ironed clothes. These guys then spend $1,000s of dollars (or Euros or whatever) on clothes and the latest gadgets (to look “cool”) and waste many years of their life trying to be what the TV advertising is telling them they need to be, only to realize one day that it actually isn’t working. Worse still, they realize that they always see guys who are “ugly” or who don’t even have a job or nice clothes with beautiful women. All this time, the guy has been thinking that he’s not good looking like the male models on TV or still doesn’t have that sports car, yet “ugly” guys are with hot women everywhere he does. Read: How Do Average-Looking or “Ugly” Guys Pick Up Beautiful Women?
Why is it all so confusing? Why has the idea of what it means to be a man become so vague in the modern world? Why are you wondering, “What does it mean to be a man?”
You are getting messages from 1,000s of different sources on what it means to be a man and less than 1% of those sources are actually men who are what women refer to as a real man. Unless you’re one of the lucky guys in the world to have grown up with a father who taught you what it means to be a real man, most of your male role models are just as confused as you about what it means to be a man. Instead of truly knowing the answer, they are simply repeating ideas they’ve seen in fictional movies or TV sitcoms and trying to make sense of life that way. Welcome to the modern world! It’s a confusing place to live if you don’t know what it means to be a man. As I talk about in Better Than a Bad Boy, if you are not a real man and can’t see through all the noise from the media machine, you will find yourself going from one idea to the next, constantly searching for answers from fictional sources and from people who are just as confused as you are. You’ll listen to a song on the radio and think you’ve worked it out, only to watch some TV when you get home and come to a completely different conclusion!
So, I’m going to cut through all the noise and tell you what it means to be a man. Essentially, you need to:
- Be strong.
- Have purpose in life.
- Be a pillar of strength for others.
- Be emotionally stronger than others, especially women.
- Go after your dreams in life and never give up.
Despite women earning their own money these days and wanting to have a career (in many cases), they have never stopped wanting a man who could protect them. Even though our societies now include police, the courts, the media, shopping centers and all sorts of safety bonuses, a woman still wants to feel as though she can rely on you if the going gets tough. She wants to know that, no matter what happens, you’re not going to crumble. If you can be that, then you will be what women refer to as a real man.
Become a Man of Purpose
Have you discovered what your specific purpose is in life? It is up to you to decide what you care about and what you want to achieve, do or be in life. If you don’t know what your purpose is in life and are floating around like a plastic bag in the wind, instead of flying through the air like a bullet towards a target, then I suggest you watch Better Than a Bad Boy and go through my Purpose Discovery Exercise. If you’re not ready to purchase one of our programs, at least sign up for our free newsletter so we can begin helping you for free.