10 Laws of Manhood

Hanging out in the mountains of Tugri, Panama. Had to have a picture taken with that rainbow after a storm!

1 ) Grin and Bear It

This one comes from my father and is something I’ve heard approximately 25,000 times. I’m naturally inclined to become riled up when someone makes a nasty comment towards me or treats me unfavorably. It’s just the way I’m wired. What I’ve come to learn is that embracing the ‘grin and bear it’ strategy is crucial to contentment. When your mother-in-law makes a passive-aggressive comment, rather than turning it into a big ordeal, smile and move on. Essentially, don’t take life or yourself too seriously. Be the bigger person.

2 ) Know What You Stand For

Some of the more inspiring people to me are the ones who have a definite set of beliefs and they don’t deviate from them. It’s vital to identify our values and let them lead us in life. These values should know waver regardless of who is around and what it is going on.

3 ) Commit

To your job. To serving the homeless. To work out every morning. To a woman (or man). My generation seems to be all over the place. A lot of people seem to travel to escape their reality. Many guys sleep around because they’re afraid to be vulnerable with just one person. Others hop from job to job with no semblance of a plan. I’m not saying these things are inherently bad but committing to something and seeing it through despite the turbulence can be transcending.

4 ) Responsibility

This correlates to commitment. So many people invest hours upon hours into video games, social media and other forms of escapism, yet they complain when their license expires, or they miss their credit card payment. We’ve got to wake up! Life is work…and they call it work for a reason. Sure, sometimes we need to take days to explore and treat ourselves. We also need to sort ourselves out and develop a semblance of order.

5 ) Deep Work

The ability to focus on a cognitively demanding task is becoming a rarer skill with each passing day. Cal Newport highlights the value of deep work in his book which is one of my absolute favorite reads from the past few years. Making deep work a daily habit is imperative for those seeking to become high-achievers.

6 ) Serve

My dad would do damn near anything for my mom. Why? Because he has a servant’s heart. He wants to make her happy and when he mops the floors, mows the lawn and helps her in the garden, he does so. It’s not because she holds power over him. He could very easily not do those things. He could wait until the floors are disgustingly dirty, the lawn is overgrown, and the vegetables are spoiled…but he doesn’t. He’s proactive and he’s intentional. He serves.

7 ) Plan

Having a long-term goal or vision can be the difference between a success and failure. Often, I have found myself going through life without a clearly defined objective. As a result, I’ve felt discouraged and disoriented. Now, I know what I want. I’ve written down what it looks like. I know how to get there. It’s just a matter of patience and discipline.

8 ) “It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody.”

Maya Angelou is full of fantastic quotes like the one above. Forgiving can be one of the most challenging tasks as a guy. We are often full of ego and pride…two things that are the antithesis to forgiveness. What many fail to recognize is that holding on to resentment hurts us even more. Practicing forgiveness first for our owns failures can be a powerful first step.

9 ) Listen

Everyone feels the need to share their thoughts and opinions with the world. I mean, here I am composing an answer on Quora hoping that people will not only read it but also respond favorably so that I’m encouraged to continue sharing my thoughts and perspectives. But I’m also incredibly intentional about listening. I read many of your answers. I ask more questions than I answer. I tend to be one of the quieter individuals in a meeting. It’s important to listen to understand rather than listen to respond. Two ears, one mouth. Use them accordingly.

10 ) Be Yourself

My opinion on manhood certainly shouldn’t be the same as yours. We’ve had completely different experiences here on Earth and therefore our frame of reference is unique. Lean into your quirky side. Wear weird shirts. Wear a shirt and tie. Tell dad jokes. Don’t tell jokes at all. Lift weights. Go for a run. Have sex in the shower. Don’t have sex at all. Do whatever you desire. Embrace your version of manhood and don’t you dare worry about what the world says about it!