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The 21 Laws of Manliness

I’ve had a great run as of late in that I’ve had a string of wonderful books that I’ve read, studying some of the most impressive men I’ve come across. It started with The Rise of Napoleon Bonaparte, a wonderful read about one of the greatest success stories in the history of man kind. To follow that up I read, Robert E. Lee on Leadership, a book that opened my eyes to a man that has never been held in such high regard by other strong men, regardless they’re his friends, or his enemies. A man who’s been called the greatest general the western world has ever produced (yes, even ahead of Mr. Napoleon). A legend that I will study more, and aim to emulate. Most recently I’ve gone back to one of my favorite historical figures and an example of true manliness, Theodore Roosevelt, in the Rise of Theodore Roosevelt.

There’s a longing to bring things back to the way they were. Impossible on the whole, of course, but I understand the sentiment. And I see where it’s necessary, especially after reading about these great, masculine archetypes.

Courtesy of ArtofManliness.com

There is, whether you choose to believe it or not, a battle being fought against masculinity, and masculine values. The weak, who are far greater in numbers, fear masculinity. They fear masculine values because they don’t understand them, and they refuse to look at the big, societal and worldwide picture. Masculinity is what our society needs more than ever. As we lose our strength as a society, as we become more corruptible, self-entitled, less self-reliant, and more dependent on others, we need to bring back real men and real leaders, to bring back real strength.

Strength and masculinity are cousins. Before we were the head of our families, we were the leaders of tribes, defending them from great beasts and evil men. We’re protectors and warriors. Men, to be men, need to be strong, be it in the spirit or physically, but ideally in both. It’s this strength and assertiveness that has, and will always serve us well, whether it’s in the battlefield, in our homes, or in the arena of life.

These men were champions, and unapologetically so. They were badasses that did what they want, and society and culture benefitted from their boldness and definiteness of purpose. They didn’t cower or quiver. They didn’t flee or hide in moments of tribulation. They stood up and fought. It’s these masculine values that need to be brought back into popular culture.

Alas, we’ve come up with the 21 Laws of Manliness. Each designed not to confine you to a single mold, but to free you to become the liberated, strong, courageous, ambitious man you have somewhere deep down.

Keep this in mind, you’re part of a fraternity. You are Napoleon, Lee, and Roosevelt. Somewhere deep down in the depths of your Self exists the courage of Leonidas, the boldness of Caesar, and the bravery of David. Every man has the capacity to do great things, but as we fail to teach these values, and as we refuse to initiate our youth into manhood, we’re producing fewer of these great warriors. Let these laws bring about that warrior, and quell the coward.

Whether you agree with them or not, tell me why in the comments section. If you have one to add, add it there as well.

The 21 Laws of Manliness

1. A man must be self-reliant.

Self-reliance is a dwindling characteristic amongst men. We’re developing a dangerous sense of entitlement, where we feel we warrant things without earning them. Don’t look for a handout. If you need help, accept it. Then repay it. But don’t live to be sustained by others, sustain yourself.

A man must be as self reliant as possible. He can depend on others for support and guidance, but if he’s to be truly free, his life, his future, his success, and his happiness all have to be dependent him. Only a weak man would give that power to someone or something else.

Be the guy others lean on for support. The the shoulder and the soldier that they need. Worry about yourself later.

2. Understand the hard work that success, even happiness, requires of you. 

Don’t hold the common delusion that success is something you’re born into, not something you have to work for and earn. 70% of all billionaire’s are self-made. And this definition of success isn’t relegated to success within a career, but success in life, which has to be accompanied by happiness.

As soon as you neglect to understand that success requires hard work, not birthright, and that there’s some other way to achieve it, you’ve lost. You’ve weakened your resolve. You’ll look for a quick fix to a long, arduous problem. You’ll end life unhappy and poor and unsatisfied.

The power for your destiny is in your own hands. This is the year that you grasp it firmly and never again let it go.

3. Forge your own path. Step into the arena. Don’t be the coward who lives a small life. 

This is a tricky “law”, and it’s one that requires a lot of trial and error. You have to fail a lot and try a lot of different things in life before you figure out the path you want to take and the man you are to become.

However, the only way to fail, is to step into the arena and try. You have to face your greatest fears and conquer your greatest demons if you’re going to be an original, a warrior, and a real man. Be the guy at the end of the game who wants the ball. Be the guy in the gym sparring for hours after everyone else has left.

Set out on your own path in life, and do the work that others aren’t willing to do.

4. Practice self-denial. Completely forget about instant gratification.

We are the generation of instant gratification, we’re the generation of credit card debt spent on things we can’t afford to impress people we don’t like. This has to change, and it can change now and here.

In all the books I’ve read that study great men in history, self-denial is always a common characteristic. You won’t get your work done if you don’t practice self-denial. It’s almost impossible to improve and become a better man without this very important attribute or skill.

Practice this one day at a time. Identify those things in your life that hinder your growth. And remove them from your life. This could be TV, or junk food, or porn. Whatever these things are, rip them from your routine and replace them with something that helps you moving forward.

5. Don’t be afraid to stand alone on your principles and values. The weak need numbers because they have none.Mark Twain Quote

You need a support system, we all do. We all need mentors and teachers and followers and leaders. But we don’t necessarily need numbers. There’s strength in numbers, but we don’t need that strength because it exists within us.

Don’t crave attention or acceptance from others. Society is clearly heading in that direction, where our value is more and more dependent on what others think of us, and we tend to alter our thinking to atone for this desire to be and feel accepted.

Don’t. It’s the original’s that walk to the tune of their own drum that are the real leaders. Be a leader.

Be you. Think for yourself. Be an original.

The more I read and study great men, I see the their uniqueness. I see their originality, not just in action but in thought. They were definitely influenced by others, but they formed their own thoughts and stuck to them. If you want to be an original – and that’s something we should all strive for – think for yourself.

Note: You don’t have to adhere to everything I’m saying. If it rubs you the wrong way, then don’t practice it. I am, however, providing a different narrative than the one that bombards us on a daily basis on billboards and TV and the interwebz. But think for yourself. Be your own man. Hopefully this site helps you move closer back to your true identity.

6. Fight. Even though you know you may lose, fight. A coward will throw someone else under the bus to clean up his mess. That isn’t you.

Don’t be afraid of a bloody nose – in the physical, literal sense, and otherwise. Don’t be afraid to live a hard life. It’s the life of the eternal fighter, the warrior, that we remember. Teddy was a fighter, as was Lee, and Napoleon. But so was Jobs, Jesus, and Mother Teresa.

Most of the men I come across have never been in a real fight. And I think it’s an important thing to get in. Be careful, of course, but if you have something to protect, like your lady or your honor, don’t be afraid to protect it. The same goes for your values, fight for them, don’t turn your back on them simply because they aren’t popular or in line with the majority.

7. Accept responsibility for your actions. Go out of the way to take the blame. A coward rarely sees his own faults, and blames others for his lack of success.

Honor is a fleeting, almost extinct characteristic in the modern society. We no longer accept blame, but provide excuses. We no longer own up to our mistakes, but find a way to deflect them on to another.

Take a look at these two leaders: Robert E. Lee and Barack Obama.

Set your political beliefs aside, forget about your allegiances and alliances, and merely look at their character. We’re looking at two leaders who stand out in their eras. Lee was somewhat a product of his time, a time when values were taught and honor revered, but he was also an original and a man founded upon deep principles, far more-so than any of his peers. Obama, on the other hand, is definitely a product of his time, our timeHe refuses, like most politicians today, to accept blame for any wrong done within his administration. He also takes “selfie’s” at the memorial service of one of the greatest men of our time, Nelson Mandela, which is completely deplorable and a clear projection of the vanity of our men in today’s society.

warrior

Lee understood that any mistakes made by a man under his command was, by relation, his mistake as well, and he accepted blame for not being a strong enough leader (in his own eyes), or for making the bad judgement of promoting the person in question. Obama places blame on those who he’s hired, yet accepts none of it on his own shoulders. He blames opposing parties and extenuating economic environments, yet refuses to stand, like a man, and accept responsibility. Even if the blame truly should be on someone else’s shoulders, Obama and Lee have two very different ways of dealing with it. And each are a microcosm of the values of their time and their peers.

Men of Lee’s integrity are a dying breed. Most of us are like Obama, our immediate action is to provide excuses, not to stand up and take the blame. This needs to change.

A man has to be a man of honor to call himself a manly man. If he’s weak, if he doesn’t actually “lead”, he cannot deem himself by that moniker.

8. Don’t be afraid to fail. Be far more afraid of never trying. A coward fears everything, and does nothing.

We all talk a big game, even if its self-talk or boasting amongst friends. Who of us actually acts on their audacious dreams rather than holding their actions for “the future”?

Few, today, act. More talk.

A man says little but does a lot. His actions leave his footprint, his legacy, not merely his words.

9. Practice kindness, but not weakness.

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you will feed him for a lifetime.

People don’t need gifts, they need skills. One “solution” is to throw money at the problem. The real solution is to teach the skills needed to become self-reliant. If you have said skills, teach them. Give your time and your mind to the problem. Not merely your money.

Is money enough sometimes? Yes. It can be incredibly valuable in the hands of the right person. For example, there are charities that need money to build schools and hospitals. Give them your money. There are other areas of life, however, where money is the easy, lazy way to go about solving a problem, and it’s often put to misuse.

Be kind. Help others in every way you can, but don’t be a doormat. Don’t give because you think it’s the right thing to do. Do your due diligence, always. Be kind, but not weak. Weakness is a lack of effort and actual caring for the welfare of your common man. Weakness is merely thinking about yourself.

No man wants to be carried, he want to carry himself. Figure out how to give them that power and you’ll be doing the world a great service.

10. Be just and fair.

As manly qualities diminish from our society, our idea of what’s fair gets bastardized as well. There’s a growing number of people who want what others have worked for, without earning it on their own.

It’s a weak mentality. Do some people need and deserve help simply because we’re humans, and we, as humans, have a duty to take care of those who can’t take care of themselves? Of course. And it’s on you and me to help these people.

But, as a man, you need to hear this: it’s a dangerous and weak mentality to envy what another man has accomplished (or even been given). It’s a weak mentality to think that “fairness” is him giving you some of what he has simply because you feel you haven’t been given the same opportunities in life.

That isn’t fairness, that’s weakness.

And life isn’t fair. That’s just the way it is. You make your life what you want to make it.

The strong, masculine figure will respect that man for what he has accomplished. He’ll want to accomplish the same on his own accord. He’ll also understand that money is far from everything in the world, and that making your own way on this planet is far more satisfying than having it handed to you.

11. Never turn a blind eye to injustice. Never walk past a fellow man or women in need, if you can help.

For thousands upon thousands of years men protected their tribes. They protected them, at first, from beasts, and then from other men.

Today, men aren’t protecting their tribes. Our world is filled with evil and cowardly fucks who rape and molest women and children who are physically weaker than they are. And as a society we turn a blind eye to this incredible injustice.

As we, men, leave mothers to fend for their families on their own, we leave them vulnerable. If you have a child, you have a duty to protect that child. As a society, we have a duty to protect that child from the vile characters that inhabit our planet. Stand up to the injustices you see around you.

Martin Luther King Jr. said it best, In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

As women in the Middle East have acid thrown on their faces, as they’re raped and seen as the property of a man, we stand idly by. As children who’ve yet to reach their teens are sent off to marry a man three times their age, we stand idly by. As the poor get poorer, we buy more “things”, trying to fill the empty void in our lives that we can’t quite pinpoint. As Coptic Christians are slaughtered in Egypt, we stand idly by, only worried about what goes on in our own lives, let alone our communities. As men and women abuse their power, we fall into line and resume our role in society, never speaking out or doing anything about it.

As people are hated on and hurt because of their sex, their beliefs, their sexual orientation, their race, we, the strong, aren’t acting very strong. We’re afraid to stand alone and to stand against the majority.

A real man doesn’t cower in danger’s face. He stands, be it with an army at his back, or nothing but the wind, and fights hate and injustice.

mlk quote

12. Read often. Read everything.

Read about your heroes, but also about people who’s views oppose your own. If you’re conservative in nature, read something written by a liberal. If you’re liberal, read something written by a conservative. Read about business, religion, fitness, science, and economics. Learn about politics and different cultures.

I’ve learned the most in my life from books, and from doing things that were way out of my comfort zone. Everyone should discover the gift of reading. It expands your world, opens your eyes, and strengthens your character and resolve.

13. Unplug weekly.

It’s amidst the noise of our everyday lives that we become evermore disconnected with our mission, our values, and our beliefs. Our intentions in life become clouded. Our purpose becomes less vivid.

Silence is a valuable friend in life. We, as men, need silence. We need to reconnect with ourselves, our Maker, our purpose, values, and beliefs. We need silence to find clarity. It’s in silence that we’ll recharge and rediscover why we’re here and what we’re doing. We’ll hear our fears loud and clear.

Unplug at least once a week. You can’t have a clear purpose if you can’t hear your own thoughts.

14. Laugh daily, especially at yourself.

What is life without joy? Each of the great men I’ve studied in history, and the real men I know in my own life, laugh a lot. They have a sense of humor.

Not to toot my own horn, but if there’s one thing that I’ve developed over the past couple of years that has helped me love life more, work harder, accomplish more, and enjoy the highs and find the good in the lows, it’s the ability to not only laugh at myself, but make fun of myself.

I can be weird. Everyone can be weird. We each have odd little idiosyncrasies that make us unique, and funny. It’s okay to laugh at yourself. It’s alright to be the butt of a joke. It’s fine to lighten the mood with an off color joke. I’ve found humor to be the fastest and simplest method to use to bring two opposing sides together.

Humor can relax a tense situation. It can show us the absurdity of some of the things we believe and practice. As a man, its incredibly important that you be able to laugh at yourself. That’s the ultimate exercise of security in who you are.

15. Don’t live on the internet.

With the rise of social networks on the interwebz, we’re being given a new platform to show the world who we are. Real, physical, interactions aren’t as common any more, allowing people to create a persona online, and not have to live that persona in the real world.

We can be selective about what we portray on Facebook, for example. We don’t have to give people the whole story about who we truly are, like we do when we’re face to face and in person. That’s dangerous.

What gives our lives meaning, then, changes. We’re caring more about what others think of our profile pages than who we are as men. We find dates online rather than venturing out in the world and meeting new people. We craft virtual relationships, rather than real ones.

A man doesn’t live on the internet. He lives in the real, physical world. Don’t get caught up in your profile. Don’t worry about how many “likes” your posts are getting, or how many “friends” you have online. Your real friends are those who are actually in your life, and who know you on a personal level. Facebook isn’t real. Twitter isn’t tangible. Live in the present, and in the real world. Let the world see who you really are and fuck ‘em if they don’t like what they see.

16. Be chivalrous.

Chivalry is almost dead. Partly because men just don’t care enough to go the extra mile, they’re weak, and they’ve just never been taught how to be chivalrous before. The other part is because the feminist movement has misguidedly removed chivalry from what’s acceptable in our society.

With all the good it has done, the feminist movement got some things wrong. Rather than creating a fair and just environment and society, they removed fairness from many of our institutions. In an effort to be treated “as fairly as men”, they want to be treated “like men”.

This, though, is the voice of the minority. Most women do want a guy to open the door for them, for a guy to pay for the meal (at least on the first date), and for a guy to ask them out. 

Even though it’s not as popular as it once was, chivalry, and the respect it shows for the fairer sex, needs to exist. A man sees this necessity. He lives by this code.

17. Have at least one grand adventure.

I was sitting down at my computer the other week when I was struck with a simple truth, I’m single, I have the freedom to work from anywhere, and yet I’m working and living in the same place I’ve worked and lived my entire life. Where’s the adventure in that?

And so, I booked a 3 month trip to Italy.

That’s my grand adventure for the year – or at least the only one planned thus far. I’ve always wanted to visit the nation that my beautiful mother was born into. A nation that once ruled the world for a thousand years, that has some of the greatest architecture and art on the planet. But that’s my adventure. And I finally took action on it.

What’s yours?

A few tips for travel:

a. Get a good credit card.

I booked my entire trip on points. I hadn’t realized it but over the past couple of years I’d racked up enough points for a free trip to Europe an back.

b. Don’t stay in a hotel.

Hotel’s are expensive as shit. And if you want to have any kind of extended stay, you can’t be forking over hundreds of dollars a day. I want to continue to grow my business and save money, even though I’m in a different country.

Airbnb.com will help me do that. Even in Rome, the center of Italy, I’ve found places that range from $500-$700 a month. I’m a simple guy, I don’t need much, and I’d much rather spend my money on my business, or on little mini-adventures while I’m over there. If you’re planning a trip, check out Airbnb.

c. Don’t limit yourself.

Whatever you truly want to do, do. Don’t worry about failure or death or getting lost and stranded in a foreign place. Just get there and rely on your strength and survival skills.

18. Speak with your actions, not with your mouth.

A big mouth don’t make a big man. ~ John Wayne

Most talk, but don’t do. A man does, but doesn’t talk. In all of his characters on the silver screen, John Wayne required that they each have manly values. He wanted to portray toughness, humility, and pride, not weakness, vanity, and envy. He wanted to portray these characters in films to teach men of a younger generation how to be a real man, at the benefit of society on the whole.

We lack these archetypes in movies today. Men who are quiet, and do, rather than talking about doing.

Be that man. Be wise with your words, each of them hold weight. Be firm in your actions, every one of them is your fingerprint on this world, your legacy.

tyler

19. Don’t chase money, find meaning.

My “vision board” used to be covered with Aston Martins, motorcycles, and mansions. Things dominated my “wish-lists”. As you age, however, and as you buy some of these things, you realize how trivial and empty they are.

It’s important and healthy to understand that meaning can’t be found in things. That your pride shouldn’t be because of what you own or what you wear, but who you are and what you’ve done.

Fill your life with meaning. Live for your mission, your family, your faith. Live for other people, for adventure. Don’t live for a paycheck, or a car, or a house. If you place too much importance on things, it’s true, they end up owning you. They consume you. Your identity becomes intertwined with things that have no real value.

Buy all the things you want, but always be aware of their insignificance in the grand scheme.

20. Be the best at what you do.

It isn’t okay to merely exist. A man understands that he has to at least attempt to be at his best, to become his best. As a fundamental law, you have to try to be the best at what you do, whatever you do.

If you’re a father, you have to be the best father to your kids, the best husband to your wife. If you’re a writer, be the best writer. A boxer, be the best boxer. A soldier, be the best soldier.

Don’t accept mediocrity. It’s the manly way to go above and beyond.

21. Make the best out of every situation.

If you’re looking for an example of a man who made the best of every situation, even those that seemed to have no good in them, look to Robert E. Lee. Never did he shift blame to another, nor complain about his current position. That’s how a real man acts.

We make the best of every situation, even those that appear to be only dark and filled with despair. We always see some semblance of light, or we discover the lesson that is to be learned. This is how you think. You don’t wallow in your sorrows. You never wish you were somewhere else, living someone else’s life. You are where you are and you’re making the best of the life you’re leading.

That’s the way of the real man, the warrior, and the hero. He’s the one leading the charge.

YOU are Leonidas, TR, and Lincoln. You’re Mandela, Pat Tillman, and Napoleon. YOU, my friend, are Jesus, Desmond Tutu, and Pope Francis. You’re Gandhi, Churchill, and King. You are William Wallace.

Every manly warrior that has come before you, is within you. Their courage is somewhere in your soul. The capacity for their great feats can be brought about, if you have the courage to bring them to fruition. You are a warrior. You’re a real man. This is the year that you become that heroic, masculine archetype that your community, your country, and your family needs and deserves.

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  • Milos

    Good, as usual.
    While in Italy, feel invited to come and be my guest in Montenegro for a few days. It’s in the neighbourhood :)

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

      Will keep that in mind for sure. I wasn’t planning on doing any traveling when there, but that could change. Appreciate the hospitality man!

      • Milos

        You’re welcome. It’s an hour of flight from Rome and a beautiful country, it would be a shame to miss that ;)

  • @yibblyapp

    Thank you for writing this.

  • Ali

    I needed to read this man …. thank you

  • alex dabroso

    Thank you for another epic article Chad. You’re one of my biggest idols and I really look up to you because you are so wise. Every time I read yohr blog, I become a better man, so thank you!