There’s a crisis among men today, and the art of "being a man" is getting lost. So many people aren't sure how to be a man anymore.
Men are dropping out of the workforce at alarming rates. They refuse to grow up and move out of their parents basement. They throw their lives away with video games and porn.
We’ve forgotten how to be men.
It’s become fashionable among social commentators to talk about “toxic masculinity.” They blame the concept of the real man for violence against women and just about every problem they can find.
But masculinity isn’t the problem. It’s the answer.
Men are wild at heart. It’s built into our DNA. When our savage souls are left unchecked by manly discipline and honor, you get toxic results.
Because there is very little honor left in American life, there is a certain built-in tendency to destroy masculinity in American men. ―Norman Mailer
When you focus our savage impulses to protect and provide for our loved ones, you get the best of masculinity.
That’s why you’re here, reading this article. You’ve seen the path that leads to being a boy in a man’s body, and you want something more. You want to be a man.
Well, you came to the right place.
Here are some quick tips on how to be a man:
If you want to skip ahead to our list of tips, go right ahead or keep reading to find out how you can become the man you were made to be.
The superior man is he who develops, in harmonious proportions, his moral, intellectual, and physical nature. This should be the end at which men of all classes should aim, and it is this only which constitutes greatness. ―Douglas Jerrold
Popular culture shows manly heroes broadly in two different ways. The first kind are the exceptional men. They are suave, impressive heroes who save the day through ingenuity, power, and charisma.
Batman, for example, is a lone hero. He terrifies his enemies with a mixture of charisma and stealth to undermine their confidence. He uses his incredible physical strength and skill to fight dozens of men. He uses his wealth and ingenuity to create impressive gadgets beyond what anyone else can devise.
The other, rarely seen in contemporary television or movies, are average men who rise to an occasion. They do what they can to accomplish something beyond themselves through sacrifice and discipline.
In Gran Turino, Walt Kowalski (played by Clint Eastwood) begins the story as a disgruntled, racist war veteran. Over time, he befriends a Hmong family, and stands up to a local gang. At the end of the movie, he sacrifices his own life to send the gang to prison, freeing his small neighborhood from their terror.
Which hero represents true manliness? It’d be amazing to be like Batman, but even the most talented among us can never match a superhero. If the world needs a Batman, all the rest of us have to wait, passively for him to save us.
Walt Kowalski, however, is a regular guy. He knows that he can’t overcome all the evil in his neighborhood, but he knows that he can make a difference. He uses what he can to end one menace, not by destroying his enemies but through sacrifice.
That’s the kind of man I want to be, the kind of man any man could aspire to be. You can see this kind of manliness in everyday heroes:
If you want to learn how to be a man, this is the right place to start. This mega guide will lead you to the virtues that make a boy into a man such as these:
Of course, there are many more virtues to being a man.
Check out our tips on how to be more manly below for ways to become the man you have always wanted to be.
Some think about masculinity as if it’s genetic condition. You’re either born manly or your not.
That’s total BS. Sure, the raw material of a man, our genetics, is set, but we can choose what we do with it. Just like any skill, you can learn to be a man, and you can always grow in your masculinity.
When someone tells a man to be a man, they mean that there is a way to be a man. A man is not just a thing to be—it is also a way to be, a path to follow and a way to walk.
Kobe Bryant is famous for his work ethic. He’s the first guy on the team in the gym, and he works hard at every aspect of his game. There are a lot of guys in basketball with great potential, but it’s the work ethic that makes Bryant great.
If you want to be a man, you have to act like one. You practice, every day. You work on one skill and then the next, one quality and then the next, and you grow into manhood.
Deep in his heart, every man longs for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue. ― John Eldredge
The first step doesn’t have to be big one. In a commencement address for the University of Texas Austin in 2014, Admiral William H. McRaven talked about the first step to getting stuff done: make your bed.
Simple, right? That’s how you become a man, one step at a time. There’s no trick, no secret. You just gotta do it.
Masculinity is not something given to you, but something you gain. And you gain it by winning small battles with honor. ―Norman Mailer
Do hard things. If anything summarizes manliness, this is it. The many battles to become a man are only won when you make the hard choice instead of the easy one.
Every man needs a challenge. Without obstacles to overcome, or enemies to defeat, our edge becomes dull. We need adversity to keep ourselves sharp.
A man does what he must– in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures– and that is the basis of all human morality. ―Winston Churchill
Of course, to know what difficult choices a man must make, he needs to know what is right. A man needs to have values and principles.
A man needs a worldview that comes from outside himself. For millennia, men gained their values from a religious tradition. In the West, we garnered them primarily from Christianity. If you uphold the values of freedom, rule of law, and the like, they come from our common Judeo-Christian past.
Others garner their values from a shared history. Americans tell stories of our founders such as George Washington and the cherry tree, the midnight ride of Paul Revere, or Patrick Henry’s great exclamation, “Give me liberty, or give me death.” Whatever value system you adopt, use it as the anchor for your life.
To be a man is, precisely, to be responsible. ―Antoine de Saint-Exupery
When men refuse to grow up, psychologists call it “Peter Pan Syndrome.” Humbelina Robles Ortega, a professor at University of Granada describes it this way, “[Peter Pans] see the adult world as very problematic and glorify adolescence, which is why they want to stay in that state of privilege.”
Peter Pan looks at the world, decides it’s too hard, and he opts out. The traditional marks of adulthood are hard: career, marriage, family, and leadership in a community. But they are also the most meaningful things a man can do.
But if that doesn’t convince you, this should. When Peter Pan meets a girl, he never gets a partner, he gets a Wendy.
Again, Ortega writes that a Wendy “makes every decision and takes on the responsibilities of her partner, thus justifying his unreliability. We can find Wendy people even within the immediate family: the overprotecting mothers.”
Wendy acts more like mom than a girlfriend. Is that what you want? I didn’t think so.
It is very sad for a man to make himself servant to a single thing; his manhood all taken out of him by the hydraulic pressure of excessive business. I should not like to be merely a doctor, a great lawyer, a great minister, a great politician. I should like to be, also, something of a man. ―Theodore Parker
Work is always a part of becoming a man. Your job is one way to wrestle the chaos into order to build a better world.
It’s easy to make what you do the center of your identity. We do it all the time when people ask us what we do. “I’m a lawyer.” “I’m a carpenter.” Our job becomes central to our identity.
Jobs come and go. If you’re work defines you, you’ll fall apart when it’s gone. If you want to be a strong, reliable man, you gotta find your identity elsewhere. You gotta live for something greater.
Manly virtues are at the heart of becoming a man. They are the blood that flows through his veins. Here are a few that are the most important.
In Rocky 4, Rocky Balboa fights a monster of a man, Ivan Drago. Rocky is totally outmatched. Drago is bigger, stronger, and tougher. But, Rocky wins in the end (of course). How? Resilience. When Rocky gets knocked down, he gets back up. Every time.
Life punches everyone in the face. When men get knocked down, no matter how many times, they get back up again.
Without effort, your talent is nothing more than unmet potential. Without effort, your skill is nothing more than what you could have done but didn't. ―Angela Duckworth, author of Grit: Passion, Perseverance, and the Science of Success
A man is resilient when he refuses to let life break him. A man is tenacious when he refuses to let obstacles get in the way of a goal. It’s the grit to stick to something for the long term. Tenacity takes potential and makes it actual.
Personally, I hold that a man, who deliberately and intelligently takes a pledge and then breaks it, forfeits his manhood. ―Mahatma Gandhi
Everyone has a friend who’s a flake. He makes a promise but doesn’t keep it. He texts an apology right before he’s supposed to show up. He offers help, but is never there.
If you want to be a man, you have to be reliable. Do what you say you’ll do. When you start a job, finish it. Do it to the best of your ability. Yeah. It can suck. It can be hard. But men do hard things.
When I started playing basketball, my coach gave me some great advice. When you make a great shot, don’t celebrate. Act like it happens all the time.
I learned that he that will be a hero will barely be a man; that he that will be nothing but a doer of his work is sure of his manhood. ―George MacDonald
Actions speak louder than words. Cliche, but true. A humble man doesn’t need to call attention to himself and his accomplishments. He lets his actions speak for themselves.
A man must stand erect, not be kept erect by others.