How to Be More Masculine

I was watching Jimmy Kimmel Live! the other night. Mark Ruffalo was Jimmy’s guest, and he was describing a time when he met one of his favorite actors, a hero of his, Sean Penn. Penn grabbed him at a movie premiere and took him for a drink. As they sat down to order, Ruffalo became anxious. He wanted to make a good impression. He wanted to show Penn who that he too was a masculine man. Kimmel chimed in saying, Well yeah, he’s about as masculine as it gets. Ruffalo, ordering first, ordered a Makers Mark bourbon, neat. Penn immediately ordered a white Russian. Ruffalo, caught off guard at the lack of masculinity of Penn’s drink, quickly changed his order to the same, which is what he’d truly wanted anyway.hemingway masculinity

The lesson: masculinity is a part of the Self, it’s who you are. It can’t be defined by a list of things that can be done to appear more masculine.

Masculinity is a journey. It’s forged in a man through his experience. Something in a man’s life, be it tribulation, opportunity, the guidance of a father or a friend, makes him more masculine than others. He could order the fruitiest drink at the bar but still look like a real, masculine man. The circumstances may change, but his masculinity doesn’t because it’s so engrained in the person he is.

Masculinity  is, however, something that can be learned. Don’t think you’re lost in the world to be who you are at the moment if you’re not completely in line with the man you want to become (which has to be at the most, a bringing out of the powerful man you are in your soul, not a creation of some other being). Life is about internal and external evolution. There will be those that read this and say that masculinity can’t be taught, that it’s not something you can learn, it’s something you have to be.

You’re wrong.

What’s beautiful about anything in life, be it success, courage, passion, charisma, patience, hunger, or any other valiant characteristic, they can be learned. They are not innate. Through experience they may come to others more easily, but life isn’t about easy. Lessons are learned best through struggle and pain. If you have the courage to put yourself in the situations that will brand these values into your Self and psyche, then you too can learn them. Even something like masculinity; a characteristic of strength, assertiveness, and action, can be learned, developed, and created.

If you’re a guy, you possess it somewhere in your psyche. Today we’ll work on bringing it out, letting it breathe and grow.

Know What You Want

The heart of masculinity is boldness and assertiveness. To be a masculine male you need to know what you want, both in the greater scheme, as well as in the little stuff. In our hearts, we all know what we want, that knowledge, however, gets convoluted and lost in the sea of what we’re told we want, and what we think we want. It’s in clearing the noise that we get in touch with our masculinity, where we become the original, unique, masculine man that we are meant to be.

How do we clear the noise?

I start every morning in silence. I spend an hour reading and journalling. Writing my thoughts, my desires, and my goals down daily, and reviewing them weekly, has helped me better determine what I want in life. It’s brought clarity to a noisy, busy existence. One of the keys to self reflection is silence. We spend so little time alone and in silence that we don’t know our own, original thoughts. As a result, we don’t know what we truly want.

Assertiveness also needs to be practiced and improved. When you’re at a restaurant, know what you want to drink and eat and order. If you see a girl you like at the bar, walk up to her and start talking, who cares if you don’t know what to say, start with a joke (my favorite: Excuse me, do you know how much a polar bear weighs? … Enough to break the ice, [your name], nice to meet you). Assertiveness is a learned action. Practice it daily in every part of your life and it will translate to every area of your life.

Be Bold

Boldness and bravery go hand in hand. I immediately think of this quote when I hear the word “bold”:

“Be brave, my heart. Plant your feet and square your shoulders to the enemy. Meet him among the man-killing spears. Hold your ground. In victory, do not brag; in defeat, do not weep.” ~Archilochus

The bold man goes where others fear. He does what others are too lazy to do. As Murray says below, Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Boldness is taking action first and worrying about the consequences later. Pain can result from boldness, but safety is the way of too many men of today. So much gets talked about, but few actually do.

Live life with your heart leading your actions. Take pride in the fears you face daily, in the boldness of your goals, the audacity of your dreams. To be bold is to be masculine. To be timid and fearful is to kill your masculinity. If you want to be a masculine male, you need to be bold in your ways, courageous in your decisions and actions.

Live with a brass set of balls, a warriors spirit, and as Teddy said:  Speak softly and carry a big stick.

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.” ― William Hutchison Murray

Teddy Roosevelt Real Man

Take Action

The masculine male takes action. He uses his mind, but while others are deliberating, he recognizes the time for action and moves forward.

“Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.” ~ Napoleon Bonaparte

Life is lived when we take action. So many waste their lives lived on the sidelines. The sidelines is no place for a man. He needs to be in the heat of the battle.

“It’s not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or when the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worth cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at the worst if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.”Theodore Roosevelt

No one remembers the man who had the greatest dreams, the greatest actions are the only things that count in life. Continue to Page 2 >>>

  • Stojan

    Thank you sir!

  • Gareth

    Hey Chad, i’ve been reading your blog for over a year and its fantastic!! It’s great to see you and people like Brett (Art of Manliness) still know what it means to be a real man in a often confusing world for many guys.

    The reason that I decided to comment is that lately i’ve been wrestling with a decision. I’m a 26 year old guy with a decent job (good pay) and a good education (masters degree), but just haven’t been happy with it and been thinking of going back to study nursing. Its a decent paying job that has a positive impact, but i’ve been worried to pursue it as its not exactly a “manly” career.

    The first part of your article taliking about Mark Ruffalo and Sean Penn really hit home. So f*** it m going back to study and be the best damn nurse I can be. Thanks allot Chad and keep up the good work mate!

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      That’s awesome man…

      Masculinity is who you are, not what you do for work, what you order at the bar, what you wear etc… You’re having a positive impact, and a very personal one on peoples lives. If you love what you do, keep at it, and I salute you.

    • Joe

      In my college graduating class there were two guys heading to nursing. One was a big guy with a huge beard who looked like a bear. He wanted to do it because he likes helping people in traumatic emergency situations. The other was a ripped Australian guy who liked sports and smoking cigars with his friends.

  • Kaleb

    ah, quoting ol’ Theodore Roosevelt once again … help up as another one of the vapid pinnacles of masculinity when he had to have his hunting party club a baby bear to death so he could say he bagged it and wouldn’t feel like such a loser

    good on those who continue to propagate these hollow half-truths

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      Here we go… He was a great man, one who acted, faced fears, and went against the grain. He was a pioneer in many, many ways – especially when he created his own party.

  • Chris

    This was amazing!! its unfortunate that masculinity is dying!! We need to bring it back!! and we need guys like you Chad that can show us the way! Thanks for this man!

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      Let’s do it man.
      Thanks.

  • Vincent

    Some great lessons, as always. Thanks a lot.

  • Richie

    Again nice and inspirational article. I’ve been following your articles for almost 3 months and it had enormous impact on me. Keep up your great work ! Sorry for my bad english…

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      That’s great to hear man, thanks for the comment, and thanks for being a part of what we’re doing here.

  • Christian Fong

    What’s up Chad, fantastic article. My life in recent years has been plagued by drug abuse, indecision, and a fear of becoming the man I know I can be. This article in particular really hit home for me. It helps to know that I can learn aforementioned traits which I cherish, and yearn to possess in my being. Thank you man, you never know who you help with these articles, it truly means a lot.

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      Christian I can’t thank you enough for this comment. Means a lot man, glad I can be a part of your journey.

  • theKuge

    I really liked that point you touched on with being original. It’s really trendy with many young people to be anit-establishment, like they’re being revolutionary and brave. This really bothers me because originality is not defined by being against the status-quo, even if that happens to be a consistent feature. I feel bad for these guys because in their desperation to be original and meaningful, many have just traded one herd mentality for another. Being a man or woman of character and integrity is pretty original these days (maybe unique is a better word). But it seems to have always been that way. The point is: whether what I do is completely counter-culture or if many believe I’m part of their camp, I am beholden to no one save God.
    Keep up the good work, Chad.

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      I agree man. We try to be original by following a smaller niche, but we’re still following.

      Thanks for that. Great perspective.

  • R.L.M.

    “the guidance of a father or a friend, makes him more masculine than others.” I did not have this and today I seek to be more masculine looking, reading, learning, living and missing. Good job Chad. His writings help me a lot.