neeson freeman

How to Be A Real Man, A Legend.

Becoming a Legend:

A Guide to Creating the Heart of a Real Man

As a former skinny guy, amateur boxer, athlete, and a boy entering manhood in a world where manliness is scarce. I’m obsessed with creating the best person I can create. And my site reflects my desire.

The further along a go on this journey, the more I learn about how to create this ideal version of myself, and the more I figure out how to help you do the same. A reoccurring theme in any Legendary life, is a man’s courage; how he reacts in response to tribulation. Where some men run, the real man stands and fights. The heart of a man is the only distinguishable difference between the real, and the fake. Every other characteristic that we talk about are irrelevant if a guy doesn’t have a warrior’s heart.

The Checklist

Understanding what a real man is, is almost like some view a prospective mate. Some have a checklist – my younger self included; is she hot enough, smart enough, funny enough, successful enough and so forth. If a girl passes the first few on the list, they can then proceed.

To each their own. But I have one thing on my list that has turned out to be much harder to check off than would be a list of 100 attributes: does this girl have a good heart?

Looks are fleeting, attributes change and evolve. Girls with a good heart are far more scarce than girls who are hot, successful, smart, or funny.

Real men are the same.

Guys of today are more concerned with looking good in the eyes of others, than they are with developing character. There are also a lot of smart, funny, successful guys out there who can’t call themselves real men because at the first hint of tribulation, they run. When times get tough, they leave their families. When the shit hits the fan they look for excuses, never manning up and taking the fall.

A real man has a warrior’s heart first. Other manly attributes will come naturally and with work. But without character, and a good heart, a guy will ever be a Legend.

Creating Yourself vs Finding Yourself Legends

“I’m finding myself” is a statement I have a lot of trouble with. If you’re trying to find yourself, you’re going to spend a lifetime searching. You’ll have this excuse in whatever trouble comes your way.

If you’re trying to ‘find yourself’, you’re weak. If you’re CREATING yourself, you’re taking responsibility for the end result.

Never give the responsibility for the man you are, and are becoming, to an outside force. You can give praise and credit to the help or strength you’ve been given by others, but who you are and what you achieve lands firmly on your shoulders.

You deserve where you are right now, and where you are going to end up in life. Bad stuff happens to good people. Expect it. Deal with it. Face it head on. But never cower, run, look for an easy way out or for someone or something else to blame. That’s not courage.

A real man creates himself. A weak man tries in vain to find himself, often in all the wrong places.

You Will Have Tribulation

“The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose ones attitude in any given circumstance.” ~ Viktor Frankl

Tough times don’t last, tough people do. Cliche. But truth.

The images that are scattered throughout this article are filled with Legendary men, each of whom have had their fair share of tribulation. It’s inescapable.

A man is tough. There’s no way to escape this fact. It’s true in every example of a Legendary man. He’s faced with an obstacle and either finds a way around it, or forces his way through it.

Winston Churchill, a Legend in the truest sense of the word, said it best…

“If you’re going through hell, keep on going.”

If you know that you’re going to be faced with tribulation, you expect it to come. Not that you’re expecting the worst, but you’re prepared for them. They won’t surprise you or get you down when they do.

What you’ll find in most cases is that tough times are rarely that tough. No matter what they are. They usually require perspective, hard work, discipline, and the right mindset to climb out of them.

Legends are made from darkness, forged from fire, and created out of hardship. A real man is a Legend. A real man pushes his way through the hard times, dragging those lagging behind with him up the mountain.

Being Kind is Being a Warrior.

Toughness is often perceived as harshness. A tough man isn’t the life of the party. He’s not the guy people flock to for conversation or for a laugh. I disagree.

Toughness is kindness. To be a real man you have to be kind. You have to lift others up. The more people you lift up, the more you’ll have wanting to lift you up. A real man or a Legend, is a guy who people want to see successful. When he succeeds, people are happy, they celebrate with him. When he fails, they help him pick up the pieces.

A warrior is kind. He fights for those who can’t fight. Carries those who can’t walk. Lifts those up who can’t stand.

While developing the heart of a real man requires toughness, thick skin, courage, and persistence, I’d be wrong if I didn’t also say that a real man has a soft heart. The attributes we’ve mentioned, and are going to continue to talk about, make up the most important aspect of what a real man is: who he is in his heart. Words like a warrior, a Legend, a man, are thrown around and give off a sense of rigidity or coldness. But a real man is far from cold.

His heart is softened by experience. But his will is steadfast in his pursuit of something greater.

Live As If It Were On Purpose

“Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Appreciate your friends. Continue to learn. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.” ~ Mary Anne Radmacher

Live with intent. Intend to do something great today. Wake up as if it were on purpose. Don’t wake up and thoughtlessly go through the routine.

A key characteristic of the heart of a warrior, and of a man, is how he reacts to tribulation. He sees what others may call crisis, as a challenge. He sees life as a challenge. One that he intends to conquer and overcome. Every day is a new and exciting challenge, not a mindless act that fits in a long line of other meaningless acts.

Have a goal, yes. But an idea of what you want your life to ideally look like, down to the very smallest, most seemingly insignificant detail, like your first thought of your ideal day, is just as important. Even if you’re not doing your dream job right now. Or you’re in a spot in your life that you’re not ecstatic about, a clear idea of where you’d want to be, will get your started on a purposeful path.

In his book, Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill has a section where you write down the life you are going to have. You write the time, date, and amount of financial success you’re going to have as if it is a foregone conclusion. If you’re not on a career path to creating this life already, you write “I’m awaiting for a plan”, when that plan comes I will give it my best effort both in quality and quantity.

Just because we’re not doing what we love, doesn’t mean we aren’t in the midst of creating our dream life.

Work hard. Persist. And remain open to whatever opportunities that may come your way.

Becoming a Legend

A real man doesn’t exist in a list of characteristics. I’ve used them on my site. They’re fun. We can argue which one’s should stay, and which aren’t necessary. Most of them do make a guy more of a man. Or at least a most successful, strong, and honorable guy.

Above all else, however, a real man can be found in the kind of person he is. How he treats others. How he reacts to adversity, as well as his outlook on life.

A guy’s heart, therefor, is what makes him a weak man, or a strong one. A real man’s spirit is developed, and a man isn’t a real man based on birthright. A real man is a title that is earned.

Becoming a Legend among the likes of a Sinatra, Churchill, or Freeman, then, is going to be your doing. YOU are responsible for where you end up in life and the man you become. Upbringing helps. People who surround you are important. But to take your destiny out of your hands is to leave things to chance.

Great men, real men, do everything they can to get what they want while doing the right, honorable thing along this journey. And then let the chips fall where they may.

Legend, isn’t born. He is created.

Some Motivation:

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  • Abe

    Always thought provoking Chad. I'll definitely be reading this once a week or so. Quick question: What have you been reading lately? Any recommendations?

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/blog/ Chad Howse

      Hey Abe,

      I'm getting an article done that will be ready in a week about books I've been reading.

      Definitely check out "Bounce" by Matthew Syed.

  • Chris

    "A warrior is kind. He fights for those who can’t fight. Carries those who can’t walk. Lifts those up who can’t stand."……… wow that was mind changing. Thanks for this one Chad!!

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/blog/ Chad Howse

      No problem Chris!

  • https://www.facebook.com/jamiedumont0 Jamie Dumont

    Particularly poignant and appropriate for me at the moment. I'm pleased to say that I've recognised some elements of your post in my life the last month or so; yet there is always more work to do. At present I'm living too safe and need to endure some hardship and remove myself from the comfortable little cocoon I currently find myself in.

    The job I'm currently doing isn't what I want to do, I cannot begin that journey until next year; however I can be doing more relevant work by taking some risks, chancing having no income for a time and living hard on little money. It's a decision that I know I need to make, I just need to psyche myself up for it and accept that it won't be easy but realise that the results will be worth it.

    Another great post Chad!

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/blog/ Chad Howse

      Thanks Jamie!

      I'm a big fan of burning bridges, so all we have is the option to move forward. That's what I've done. But it's just about as tough a road as you can take. If you have ways to make it a bit easier on yourself (not easy, but a bit easier), take advantage of them.

      Glad you liked the article man!

  • Doug jones

    Chad I love your stuff I've always wondered how do you write so much?

    You also give away so much for free, fo you personal train at a gym too ?

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

      Hey Doug, no this is my job. This site is my business/company etc… I just like writing man! I love giving away as much free content as possible and I don’t plan on changing that any time soon.

      Glad you’re liking the articles, it’s awesome to hear!

  • John

    Wow, that was a very motivating article Chad! I was just wondering what song you used in the background of that video?

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/blog/ Chad Howse

      Thanks John – not sure of the name. If I find it, I'll put it below.