The 20 Rules of Manhood

I’ve just returned from the post office where I picked up my new favorite shirt. ‘Tis navy in color, adorned with the wise words that a Legendary man once spoke in his speech to countrymen: Dare Mighty Things. That man, of course, is Theodore Roosevelt. That speech, incredibly, was made when he was the President of the United States of America.

Caring little about his perception or about politics, and more about the people who made up his fine country. His words were meant to call to action and to inspire. He is a man of his time, and the politicians of today are men of theirs.

Roosevelt, a man of true grit, action, and daring, audacious plans, dreams, and goals. The politicians of today reflect the men of today; timid, swayed by public opinion, lacking genuine motivation in their goals, often living in complete opposition of what they stand for. And things are getting worse.dare mighty things

As a society our men are no longer leaders. We no longer – as a general, broad look at the species – posses the work ethic that our great grandparents did. We’re lazy. We want without merit. We lack values, morals, and the backbone to stand by them. We’re utterly lost and absolutely emasculated.

There are, however, bright spots. Many of them actually. There are men who do dare mighty things. Somehow, even though the masses decay around them, bright spots continue to emerge. Elon Musk is daring great things. As is Ron Paul, Bill Gates, and Steven Pressfield (study each of them). There will always be men who push beyond their current comforts, who dare to question why not? Rather that why me?

We need more of them. We need innovators. We need hard working men who don’t simply take from their government, instead choosing to make their own way. We need men who have the ability and the wherewithal to lead a family and a community by their actions, not merely their boisterous words.

The common complaints about articles like this are that a real man doesn’t need a list of rules to follow. To that I say a real man isn’t born, but forged through struggle, the relentless acquiring of knowledge, self-sacrifice, and persistence. If you look at this list and say there’s no need for it, I beg you to first look in the mirror and see where you can improve, then look to your community, the content in your newspapers, news programs, and again try and claim that men, young and old, need no guidance.

We are weaker than ever before, but in pockets we’re coming back, growing stronger, and developing the grit that a man needs. If you’re a young guy reading this article, take notes. Please, understand what matters in this world isn’t what you get, but what you give.

With that…

Rules for Manliness

1. Find something to work towards.

A man without a goal is a man without a purpose, and a man without a purpose is not a man. If you don’t have something to work towards create something to work towards. It’s with work that we create passion and inspiration. Those who wait for “their calling” will spend a lifetime waiting, doing nothing, being nothing, and providing nothing for the rest of humanity.

If you ever feel insignificant or lost, dive into your work, your purpose. There may be no simpler way to give your life meaning, and it’s something that is completely under your control.

2. Be good and do good.

Part of being a real man is being a good man. Manliness, at its essence, is the role of the leader, the protector, and the hunter within his clan. Sure, men have raped and pillaged for centuries, but it’s also the good men who serve as protection against the evil. A real man isn’t merely an ambitious hunter/gatherer, he’s a leader, a man of honor, pride, and integrity.

As you grow up and take on new roles in your life, don’t forget about being good. Be good to other people, your family, and to strangers. By doing good deeds and thinking good thoughts, you will be rewarded. ‘Tis the way of the world.

3. Practice discipline.Hector

Somewhere in our history ease and excess became sexier than work and success. No one would make Teddy’s speech today because people don’t want to be told to work hard. In his speech Teddy praises the one in the arena, the person working their ass off, bettering himself, pushing himself to do more and be more. Discipline has probably never been sexy, but it always has been effective.

Discipline isn’t easy. It’s the harder of the two choices, but without a doubt, it’s always the better of the two choices. If you want to be a man, a real man, a successful man, practice discipline every day of your life.

Make it your mission and a source of pride to ward off distractions and things in your life like booze, loose broads, and greed, that will pull your away from your purpose and the focus of your hustle.

4. Take pride in your work.

Social media has done incredible things for this world. It’s bridged gaps, removed borders, lead to changes in government, and connected people who would never have been connected otherwise. It’s also shown us what people care about most: image. The amount of “I’m on a beach drinking” photo’s is a joke. Everyone wants everyone else to think they’re living the easy life.

Why? Because many of them are, and everyone else wants to be. Men of today place more pride in their vanity than in their work. That is not, and cannot be, the way of the man. Be proud of the fact that you’re working while others are sunbathing. You’re making a life for yourself and for your family. You’re creating jobs for others. You’re building something, leaving an impact on this planet.

Take pride first and foremost in the kind of man you are, and also in the kind and quality of work you do. For you to be able to take pride in your work, you have to do a lot of it at the highest quality. So get to work.

5. Don’t let someone take care of you if you can take care of yourself.

Laziness is the evil of all evils. Sadly, in today’s society its also the norm. We’re in a culture that places more value on ease than on hard work. We’ve failed to see that hard work isn’t merely about attaining wealth, but about attaining freedom. We’ve neglected to see the value of hard work and how it builds the character of a man, and how its absence destroys a man’s character and any chance that he could develop one.

A man doesn’t let other people take care of him when he has the capacity and the ability to take care of himself. If you’re able to work, but too lazy to take action, you’ve given away the right to call yourself a man.

6. Experience life, don’t watch it.

More and more you’re seeing lives being lived behind a screen; be it a phone, a computer, or a television screen, they’re consuming our lives, our imaginations, and destroying the experience that is living life.

Make a conscious effort to experience life. Far too many of us, and this is incredibly sad to state as a fact, will live more through the lives of the fictional and non-fictional characters we see on TV and in movies, than we do through our own experiences. Don’t fall into that trap. As a man, you’re wild, you’re strong, you’re courageous. Give yourself the opportunity to prove these traits by putting yourself in the situations that would bring them about.

the wealthiest places on earth are cemetariesA man is a man of action, not merely of thought, dream, or possibility.

7. Do something that scares the shit out of you as often as possible.

Our growth and evolution can only occur on the outside of our comfort zone. Laziness and a life filled with, and controlled by limits occurs when we are comfortable. If you want to improve, as every man must, do something that scares the shit out of you as often as possible.

While these fears can be immediate and physical, like sparring with another man in the ring or going skydiving, what we’ll find is that our greatest fears are also our greatest goals. We’re more afraid to embark on a life-altering adventure than we are of snakes. We’re far more fearful of pursuing the dreams we’ve held our entire lives than we are of rats.

Do things that scare the crap out of you. Whether it’s quitting your job and starting your own company, or going on a wilderness excursion with nothing but a tent and a gun, conquering these fears will make you a better, stronger, more powerful man and a warrior. Good luck.

8. Give back.

The most rewarding thing a man can do doesn’t reside in his own goals, ambitions, or dreams. The single thing that makes us the happiest and gives life the most meaning, is giving.

There are, however, stages in life that a man must go through. If you give everything you have before you have much to give, you’ll not only put your future at risk, but your families security as well. So before you have the ability to give your money, give you time, energy, and passion as often as you can. But back to those stages…

First, a man has to learn. This stage happens early on, in our 20′s and 30′s. This is where we bust our asses working 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, all in an effort to get better. Money comes after that, often in our 40′s and 50′s. This is our big earning period where we put all of the lessons we’ve learn to this point to work. Then comes the most important stage, and a stage that every man needs to partake in:

Giving back.

Throughout your life – whether you recognize it or not – you’ll be given a lot of help. If you’re ambitious, kind, and hard working, you’re going to get a lot of help. As you accomplish what you’ve set out to accomplish, it’s important that you give back.

For everything you’ve been given in life, you should strive to give more. And give early in life. Even when you’re learning and earning, you should be giving. If that giving can’t be money, then give your time, energy, and perspective to help others int heir endeavors. The world conspires and rewards people who give more of themselves than they take. If it isn’t for the pure joy of giving (which you’ll find to be rewarding and exciting), give for that feeling and for the bettering of your own position in life.

9. Never complain. Ever.

A man doesn’t complain. Period. If you find yourself whining, even internally, within your own thoughts, stop immediately. Complaining has a powerful effect. Whatever you’re complaining about will only get worse as your attitude towards it leads to a spiral effect that is hard to halt.

If you’re complaining about hard work, you’re doomed. So stop now. Man up. Do what you can and don’t complain about those things you have no control over.

10. Learn to love silence and solitude.

To truly be happy and at peace as a man, you have to be comfortable with silence and solitude. It’s when you’re in silence that your thinking will be clearest. It’s when you’re going to solve the problems in your own life, and when you’re going to truly get to know yourself, your ambitions, and your desires in life.

Silence will break the coward and make the man. Spend an hour in silence everyday. Read, write, think, and find clarity in a world that enables  and creates noise and chaos.

11. Control your thoughts.toughness

We’ve been given incredible power in that we can control our thoughts, our mood, and our emotions. When you’re down, you have the ability to change your mood into a more positive one. If your life is guided and limited by fear, you have the ability to break through those obstacles and create your own path, goals, and possibilities.

Practice this control. Don’t let your mind wander to the dark places that our minds tend to wander.

The sad thing is that most people never use this control, instead they allow their surroundings, the things that happen to them on a daily basis, to sway their mood, what they think is possible, and the actions they take.

If you start pitying yourself, stop. If you begin to envy others, don’t. If you start to worry about things that have yet to occur, recognize the futility in this line of thinking and instead focus on what you can do in the present to ensure that your life ends up where you want it to be.

Something I do when I start to worry is I start working. I don’t wait for motivation or inspiration or for the perfect timing, I just start writing, editing, planning, and creating. Try it. When you start to worry, work. Work on anything. It can be a hobby, a big goal, a small aspect of a big project, whatever. You’ll find that work is the cure for a lot of the negativity that can pour into your life.

12. Never blame others for anything.

You are exactly where you’re supposed to be in life. Let me say that in another way…

The work you’ve done up to this point, the action steps you’ve taken, the persistence, patience, and discipline you’ve practiced have earned you the life you’re living. Is this where you have to stay? Of course not.

I love my life right now, but I don’t plan on remaining in this position and situation for very long. I want to improve and evolve. Thus, I pledge to the the work to be where I want to be in one years time every day of the week. Do the same. Don’t think about it, plan it, or promise it, do it. Be the successful, badass mother fucker you want to be. Don’t wait for the timing to be right, it never works out that way.

By blaming others you give them control over what you accomplish in life. That’s weakness. Toughness is taking control by taking responsibility.

13. Never look for love.

Be open to it, but don’t be dependent on it. It may come into your life, or it may not. Regardless of whether it does or not, your happiness and your life’s meaning shouldn’t hang on this fact.

For starters, you have to be a whole, complete individual to be ready for love and for a family. So if you’re constantly worrying about finding love, finding a woman, you’re not going to be moving forward with your own progression as a man. And when you find that lady, which is what usually happens anyway, you’ll be so attached to the broad that you’ll forget about being your own man. Continue Reading on Page 2 >>>

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  • Jeffrey Patton

    Great article! It’s comforting to know that I’m on the right track. Not having a dad to look up to when I was young I substituted with my grandfather. You always hear that the WW2 generation was the greatest, I don’t know about that, but he showed me the value of hard work, commitment and being true to yourself.
    Thanks for this

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

      No problem at all Jeffrey, glad you liked the article – and great last name…

      Be thankful that you had that male influence in your life – as I see you are. That’s cool. None of our fathers, grandfathers, or male influences growing up are perfect, but there’s always something that they can teach us about being a man.

  • Dylan Peterson

    Fantastic article yet again, man. I’ve been lucky enough to have a few people in my circle that think along these same lines, and I have to say it’s very motivating. Especially when you see the patterns of destruction taking place in our society today. I really like the idea of writing down 3 things that I am grateful for. I’ve never really been one to journal, though I have heard from many fine sources that it is a great habit to get into, so I will use that idea to get the habit started. Thanks, bud, keep on keepin’ on.

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

      Get on it man. I highly recommend it. I have two journals, one for big ideas and one for day to day stuff. Both have helped a lot.

  • J H

    utter garbage. This is a manual for slaves, not men

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

      Rule #21 – Never disrespect another man’s work when it’s clearly doing – and meant to do – good.

      Memorize that lesson. Each one of these “rules” gives you more freedom to be a better man. Not one of them is inhibiting in that adventure. Your attitude, however, is. Leave and don’t return.

    • Dylan Peterson

      I have to wonder what your reasons are. “That’s Stupid” isn’t really a quality argument to anything, ever. I would say the classic “keep your head down and do what you are told” is the mantra of slaves. “That’s stupid” is the mantra of slaves. Not that Chad needs any backing up, I just wonder what your premises are for your argument.

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

        Well said Dylan.

  • Victor Hugo Brito Fernandes

    I’m really happy I found your blog Mr Howse, it was the motivation I lacked to get my life going the right way. Congratulations on the good job!

  • minhaz

    Great article Chad! Kind of off topic but would you recommend training in a weighted vest considering I’m fairly strong and have never experienced joint discomfort? Appreciate it.

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

      I love weighted vests. Grab one for sure, especially if you do a lot of bodyweight training and plyometrics.

  • http://sweetsciencecoding.com Dan Martin

    “14. Put your fucking phone down.”

    Thank you!

  • Aj Smit

    Great article Chad. Similar to Jeffrey, but also different. My father is an emasculated man (an so his father) so I never really got taught “man things”. Through applying things like this and relentlessly striving towards an alpha male I will be overturning this cycle.

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

      Hey man thanks for the comment. Just curious, why do you think your old man is emasculated? Or what makes him so?

  • Spence

    Man, there are so many times when I want to say “Put your fucking phone down!” to people I see. I have a phone that I use for calling people. Imagine, a piece of technology that allows you to call people! I think that we were doomed when phone companies made it possible to do things like playing games or checking Facebook.

    My parents are far more attached to their phones than me or my brother. Kinda funny… Anyway, I thought 14 was a good point.

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

      That’s nuts man, my parents are the opposite, but I can’t stand it. People are addicted to those things – the downside of technology.

  • JM

    just wanted to say you’ re a great inspiration, man, really great! Your articles are being read in other continents. Best regards from Europe.

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

      Thanks so much man! Glad you found the site.

  • 1000 lives, 1 soul

    I’m pretty sure that
    #1. If you have to read on how to be a man, you definitely aren’t one, and reading about it won’t change anything. You will only be acting as if you were a man only to fool yourself into believing that you are one.

    #2. There are approximately 0 ways of knowing what a man is. There are no so-called manuals or “This is what a man is” books in to determine so.

    #3. A man knows when he becomes a man. That’s the only possible way of knowing if he is. It isn’t some age set by law, rule, or religion; but by his actions and responsibilities. Some may never become men, and be stuck as guys or even boys.