Are You Really the Man You Should Be?

 

Before you can answer this question, you’d better first figure out just what the hell “a man” is.

 

Because let’s face it, in this day and age, we’ve lost sight of what it means to be a man. And if we don’t know what a man should be — how he should act — how will we ever know if we can consider ourselves “a man?”

 

So my question is this: what makes a man a man?

 

Is it simply physical? The obvious traits that mark him different from a woman? Damn straight a beard is manly, but does a beard make the man? How about a hairy chest?

 

No. A man is much more than just a beard and a hairy chest.

 

A man possesses character . . . determination . . .

 

Strength.

 

At the core of every real man lies strength.

 

In “Sculpt the Real You,” I described exactly the kind of man I want to be. Forgive me for quoting myself:

 

“I picture a man strong in body and spirit. He’s unafraid to do the hard work necessary, and refuses to quit no matter how tough things get.

           

Resilient. Persistent. Up to the challenge.

           

He lives by a moral code and stands by his beliefs – even when the wind blows the other way. He speaks his mind, gives respect where respect is due, and will defend his loved ones to the death.

             

This man can be relied upon — he will never hesitate to help a friend in need. And so his friendships are unbreakable. People from all over seek his advice, for he has wisdom and speaks the hard truths without fear. He is who he is and absolutely will not fucking apologize for it.

           

This is a man who travels the hard path. A man of iron.”

           

That’s the kind of man I want to be. That’s the kind of strength I wish to embody. Every choice I make is either a step closer or a step further away.

 

But the choice is mine. Just as the choice is yours.

 

The truth of the matter is we make ourselves. The idea of sculpting ourselves is a beautiful metaphor, but we could also say we build ourselves, or we forge ourselves, or we cultivate ourselves.

 

However you choose to look at it, we create ourselves. It’s up to us to make ourselves into the man we want to be.

 

And it won’t be easy.

 

It shouldn’t be.

 

If it were easy then it wouldn’t build the strength required of a man. Becoming the man you want to be will be painful. It will mean taking a hard look at who you are. It will mean accepting your faults . . . then chipping away at them one by one.

 

But that pain is necessary.

 

Only through fire can the Pheonix be reborn. So it is with man.

 

You must scorch the earth. You must be ruthless. Purge yourself of the weakness. Only then can you find the strength that lies within. The strength that marks you a man.

 

So figure out for yourself what makes a man. But don’t think overly hard. Writing a list of virtues from which to pick and choose is not going to get you any closer to becoming a man.

 

Picture this man you want to be. See him clearly.

 

Follow your gut.

 

Let your intuition and common sense be your guide. Deep down, you already know what makes a man. For a few quiet moments, allow yourself to look inside. Open your heart and mind.

 

The revelation will hit you hard. If you don’t shed a few tears then you’ve missed the mark.

 

You may never reach that ultimate goal – your idealized man. You shouldn’t. If you did then the ideal wasn’t pure enough. You set the bar too low.

 

Becoming the perfect man is not the point.

 

The point is the journey . . . the path you take. I’ve chosen the hard path. It leads me to the qualities I seek as a man. But there are other paths . . .

 

The path of tranquility.

 

The path of service.

 

The path of devotion.

 

Maybe yours is the path of family or the path of community. Or maybe it’s the adventurous path for you.

 

Whatever road yours might be, find and follow it. They are not so different. They crisscross. And they all lead to the same destination.

 

Know your destination. Find your path. And with each choice . . . with every step . . . be sure to set foot in the right direction.

 

In time, you won’t need to ask what kind of man you are. You’ll know. As will all those around you.

 

Cheers!

(Special thanks to my good friend Maestro for providing the image that inspired this post.)

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Comments

  1. Enjoyed the post Trevor. The word “GRIT” comes to mind, as in firmness of mind and spirit, an”unyielding courage in the face of hardship or danger”.

    This is a really intersting topic to me actually, something I’ve personally been exploring on a personally level as I try and determine the boundaries of grit versus simple stuborness and delusional self-reliance.

    Powerful post and image, thanks.

    • Grit. That sums it up perfectly. I probably could have eliminated half that post had I thought of using that word.

      Grit is a quality that was once cherished as a manly virtue. No one talks about it anymore. I think the idea deserves a post in itself. Hmmm . . .

      If you ever figure out those boundaries let me know. I’d love to hear your take on it.

      Thanks for stopping by Aaron.

      Cheers!

  2. Hi Trevor, great post. I agree that finding and following your own path in life is essential, both to the individual and to society as a whole. After all, who wants to be living in a world of clones, and who wants to die having never lived the life they truly wanted?

    • Exactly.

      Life is about living, it’s about finding our own path . . . setting our own expectations. Who we are as men is determined by our actions. And our actions are determined by our choices. We need to make the choice as to what kind of man we want to be. Then we must choose to be that man. If everyone made the same choice, it’d be one bland-as-shit world, that’s for sure.

      Thanks for adding to the discussion Paul. Much appreciated. And my apologies . . . my spam filter marked you as spam for no good reason. I’m going to have to mess around with it a bit. I’m sorry for the delay in getting your comment posted.

      Cheers!

  3. Hi Trevor,
    I like what you said here about being a man. I believe when our feelings and thoughts are congruent with our words and actions we are truly being a real man.

    Congruency and integrity is something we all would benefit from.

    • Hi Justin, I agree completely. When our thoughts are out of alignment with our deeds then we have a real problem brewing. Part of the quest of becoming a man is finding that alignment . . . that congruency.

      But it’s a tough road, especially since we get so many mixed messages of what a man is. Is he a mustached muscle-bound tattooed biker guy? Or a manscaped baby-faced pretty boy on the cover of GQ?

      Every person is different, and so is every man. That is why I feel it’s important to come to your own conclusion of what makes a man. I can’t tell you who you should be any more than anyone else can tell you. But when you’ve hit upon your ideal of a man . . . the man you want to be, you WILL know it. And that makes your path so much clearer.

      Thanks for commenting Justin. It’s good to see you here.

      Cheers!

  4. I have found a true man is more about what’s on the inside than the outside. What we are on the inside (good or bad) shows through our actions and attitude. That’s why I believe it’s essential we focus on the inside.

    • I have to agree with you there Dan. Inner traits are the most important aspect of being a man, though I do believe the physical has it’s place as well. Afterall, we’re physically different from women for a reason. Those difference are part of what makes us a man . . . and they’re aspects we can improve on as well.

      But back to your point, when we’re talking about strength and determination . . . grit, as Aaron put it . . . we’re talking mainly of the mental fortitude required of a man. We’re talking about his character. His honor.

      Every man is different, but there are some universal qualities that make a man. Those are the qualities we find on the inside. They are the qualities that make us a good father and husband, an inspiring teacher, a true friend. They are the qualities that make us dependable and trustworthy.

      Inner strength is the most important strength there is. But believe me, building physical strength goes a long way in building inner strength as well.

      Thanks for stopping by Dan. And especially thanks for pointing out that my spam filter was acting screwy. I’m sorry for the delay in getting your comment posted. I’m working on it.

      Cheers!

  5. Trevor, I agree that we have to sculpt ourselves… to a point. But where does a higher, creative power fit in. What a about the potter and His vessel? Perhaps we sculpt ourselves based on our relationship with that higher power. Perhaps, the more in tune we are with Him, the more artistic sculptors we become. Either way, your posts rock! “But dude, do you have to use so much profanity” – Sam Elliot from the Big Lobowski ; )

    • Ha! I don’t have to, but it sure is fun! You’re not going to like my next post ;)

      I see what you’re getting at here though. I would think that a higher power would be inclined to let us nurture ourselves. See what we are capable of. It goes back to what I said on your blog about free will. To me, other than life itself, that is the greatest gift. And in fact, life wouldn’t be much of a gift without the free will to live it as we choose.

      That’s not to say we wouldn’t see signs, clues, messages, congruencies, or whatnot. But whether we choose to heed them or not is all on us. And so, by sculpting ourselves into the best person we can be, we would be brigning ourselves more into alignment with that higher power. We become more in tune, and so we would become more harmonic with the powers that be.

      Cheers!

  6. Beards are high on my list of manliness and I’d also add the ability to evaluate a situation and make a confident decision that will garner the trust of those around you.

    • I agree with you on the manly beard Caleb. Beards just plain kick ass.

      And the ability to assess and decide with confidence is a great manly trait. As you say, it garners trust . . . turns a man into a natural leader. Whether he chooses to lead or not, a man of character should have the ability nonetheless. He should inspire. If only by example alone.

      Thanks for joining the conversation Caleb.

      Cheers!

  7. In the movie 300, King Leonidas has so much confidence in who he (and Sparta) is, that his people don’t hesitate to follow him into sure death. When I think about how just today when I told people how to get to Columbus Ave, and they didn’t seem to believe I actually knew, I’m not doing a good job of projecting confidence in what I say (to be fair, I was sick and a little delirious, but still). I’m going to work on this, and it will give me something to think about in the coming days. Thank you.

    • King Leonidas was such a badass in that movie. Gotta love it. Deep in our hearts, all men have the desire to show that kind of strength. I believe that’s why his archetype is such a powerful one. But we don’t need to be spartan warriors to show strength in our everyday lives.

      Simply standing firm when others waver will suffice.

      Thanks for stopping by Stephen. Anyone who name-drops King Leonidas is welcome here anytime.

      Cheers!

  8. Hey,I’m not sure if you’ve heard about codeyear.com by the code acmdaey.I’m learning to program too. I work in VFX so there are always people around me typing code like facebook updates. I’m a matte painter so more comfortable with a photoshop brush than a variable but codeyear seems AWESOME AND ITS FREE.

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