There are males and there are men. Men are easy to spot. They’re strong and tough and dangerous. They’re the guys you call when you need help. They’re dependable, self-reliant, and they’ve got their shit together, they’re not boys wandering aimlessly on this planet.

They’re creating something, a legacy, a place in this world, a leadership role even in their own, small tribe.

We need more of them. Hopefully, this article will help you better understand what it means to be a man by better defining the characteristics that make up this ideal.

  1. Toughness

Toughness is persisting through the pain. Men do not succumb to pain. We do not allow it to stand in the way of the goal, or simply what must be done.

  1. Stoic

A man does not worry about the opinions of others. He concerns himself only with what he can control. He’s not a worrier, he’s a warrior. Whether he knows it or not he’s a Stoic.

  1. Self-reliance

People depend on him, as much as he can, he depends on himself. Self-reliance is learned over time. If you’re not quite there, keep learning new skills, it’s a journey that never ends.

  1. Dependability

He shows up. He does what he says he’s going to do. He’s not a flaky little kid. He dependable. He’s a man.

  1. The Capacity for Danger

Manliness demands that you’re not only a good man morally, but that you’re good at being a man from a utility standpoint, and men are men so they can protect and defend. If you have no capacity for danger, you’re not doing this masculinity thing very well. Join a boxing gym.

  1. Adventurous

Read Farther Than Any Man, by Martin Dugard. It’s a book about the life of James Cook. Men are explorers by nature. Don’t turn your back on your nature.

  1. Daring

When there’s a group of people who are afraid to go down the dark alley, or into the cave in the mountains, the man ventures forward. He’s daring, dangerously so.

  1. Successful

Accomplishment is as necessary for our souls as air for our ability to live another day. We need to accomplish. Focus on one thing and focus on achieving it and nothing else. You need to be successful to feel like you’re a man (but you define success! Don’t let someone else’s definition rule over your life).

  1. Loyal

To be a man you can’t be fickle, especially with your friendships. You’re the guy other’s go to when they need help because you’re loyal, you’re always there.

  1. Impressive

You’re impressive to someone. Something you do, how you carry yourself, how you act, the work you get completed, is impressive to someone.

Take pride in how you act, work, and live. Be an impressive human, not just a mediocre male. Men desire improvement. That very fact means they’re going to act in a more impressive manner than those content with mediocrity.

  1. Gritty

Grit is found less and less in modern humans. It’s the ability to persist through failure, for a long duration, under great pressure. It’s toughness over time. It doesn’t matter who you are on one day if you’re good or tough in a moment, but if you can be so forever.

  1. Persistent

Whatever a man’s going through, he must persist. It doesn’t mean you can pivot or learn from your mistakes, but your quest for improvement cannot end, your adherence to your ideals cannot falter.

  1. Consistent

Define rules. We don’t like rules, but we need them. We need guides to align our daily actions and thoughts to our ideal. Our ideal is both who we are and the life we aspire to live. Being consistent demands we understand what we want to be consistent at. Define rules for your life. Live by them daily.

  1. Courageous

To be a man, the man you ideally want to become, you cannot let fear deter you from the actions your masculine soul begs you to take, actions of adventure and daring, it has to be a compass, a guide that shows you want to pursue and not what to avoid.

  1. Self-sacrificing

When you have a tribe of your own, you do what you do for them, you work your ass off, you save and invest and create a legacy, but your basic needs come last to theirs. You serve them by being their rock, their provider, and their protector.

  1. Focused

Kids have the luxury of wandering. Men need to be focused on something grand, at the very least their daily improvement.

  1. Rough around the edges

You cannot be a man and be completely refined and polished and well-mannered. You must be rough around the edges. You must be a little barbaric, a tad dangerous, a Viking at heart. Being a man means you’re not fully civilized. There will always be an aspect of you that has the capacity to do harm especially if it’s for good.

  1. Disciplined

What can you accomplish if you’re not disciplined? Likely nothing of value. Men need accomplishment in some form. We need to see the fruits of our endless labor, and the path to accomplishment is always discipline.

  1. Relentless

Who you want to become is who you are now. Be him now. Hold yourself to a higher ideal. Aspire to achieve what you want to achieve and let nothing stand in your way.

The greats, Theodore Roosevelt, James Cook, Stephen Smith (slave turned millionaire, look him up), were relentless. Nothing stopped them. Nothing.

Let nothing stand in your way, whatever it is the reason you feel you’re here.

Get after it.

Be the Man.


  1. dude loved this list!

    I personally think the 1 trait is Action.

  2. Great list to follow and improve on. Ive had this isue with my so and shes mentioned she wants a man and someone to depend on and protect her. I am a tad lazy and laid back and thats not what a man is about

  3. Great list. Another thing that’s very important: a real man shouldn’t be politically correct.


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Chad Howse

Chad’s mission is to get you in the arena, ‘marred by the dust and sweat and blood’, to help you set and achieve audacious goals in the face of fear, and not only build your ideal body, but the life you were meant to live.

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