what does it mean to be a man

What It Means to Be a Man and Embracing Excellence

What does it mean to be a man? 

Throughout history, different cultures and societies had their own definitions and expectations of manhood.

As a man who’s journeyed down the winding path of self-improvement and self-discovery, I’ve spent years diving into masculinity’s societal, physiological, and personal aspects.

Today, we have the opportunity to redefine and embrace a healthier, more inclusive notion of what it means to be a man.

I’ll explore various perspectives on manhood, from ancient philosophers to the traits of the modern high-value man. We’ll also discuss positive male brotherhood, mental health, and essential life skills for success.

This exploration is for anyone who interacts with high-value men and seeks to understand them better. Let’s delve into the fascinating question: What does it mean to be a man? 

Quick Summary

  • High-value men embody qualities such as honesty, integrity & confidence to inspire others.
  • Developing life skills like communication and emotional intelligence can help men succeed in both personal & professional lives.
  • Building a strong network of people around you is key to success. Focus on mental health too!

What It Means to Be a Man as Defined by History

Ancient philosophers from Greece, Rome, and China discussing what it means to be a man

Ancient philosophers from Greece, Rome, and China had different definitions of being a man.

They focused on virtues, strength, and wisdom. Their teachings emphasized that a man should embody certain traits and virtues to live a meaningful and fulfilling life.

These ancient perspectives help us understand manhood and its evolution throughout history better than tabloid opinions.

Greek Philosophy

In ancient Greece, philosophers believed that a man’s natural purpose was to practice virtue in a masculine way.

They associated manhood with virtues like courage, wisdom, and justice, considered masculine means of expressing one’s character.

They also emphasized the importance of man’s relationship with society, asserting that man would not be considered human without society, starkly contrasting the idea of “toxic masculinity”.

When diving into ancient Greek philosophy, the concept of manhood takes on a profound, intricate dimension. One of the most compelling quotes comes from the philosophers Diogenes (attributed to Socrates). 

“I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world.”

Though simple, this powerful statement profoundly interprets what it means to be a man and calls for universal brotherhood, encapsulating the essence of manhood as part of a larger, global community.

Roman Philosophy

The Romans had a different view of manhood, valuing strength, discipline, and honor. They considered a man to be someone with virtues such as:

  • Prudence
  • Justice
  • Temperance
  • Courage

These qualities contribute to doing a pretty good job in life, even from a young age.

Strength, discipline, and honor were seen as must-haves for a man to be respected and successful in Roman society, making them key components in the Roman idea of manhood.

Indeed, these qualities were deeply ingrained in the fabric of Roman society, consistently reinforced through societal norms and expectations. But were these the only factors that defined a man? 

“Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.” – Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor and Philosopher.

The quote by Marcus Aurelius, a revered Roman philosopher, suggests that the essence of being a man lies in possessing specific attributes and LIVING by them. It’s about embodying those qualities and demonstrating them through actions.

Chinese Philosophy

Ancient Chinese thinkers held a unique perspective on manhood.

They believed that human beings were one of the three elements of the universe, alongside heaven and earth. According to their philosophy, humanity is the soul of the world and, thus, the most important of all things.

In this context, “man” embodies the world’s essence.

Wisdom, integrity, and respect for others were the three elements of the Chinese definition of qualities that all good men should possess.

These elements echo the teachings of one of the greatest Chinese philosophers, Confucius. Let’s take a look at one of his famous quotes that reflects these qualities: 

“The superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions.”

This quote speaks volumes about what it means to be a man. It suggests that a true man exercises restraint in his words but excels through his actions.

He understands the importance of humility yet recognizes the significance of proving his worth through his deeds.

The High-Value Man at the Epicenter

A man standing in front of a crowd of people, representing the idea of a high-value man.

In today’s world, what it means to be a man translates well into the definition of a high-value man, someone that embodies traits such as:

  • being a gentleman
  • overcoming struggles
  • achieving financial affluence
  • taking care of his family

A high-value man sets himself apart from others by embracing himself and the world around him, striving for growth and improvement, just like a young boy discovering new things every day and a young lady exploring her potential.

These traits are essential for personal and professional success and can serve as a guide for men seeking a fulfilling and purposeful life.

Being a gentleman

Being a gentleman is about more than just good manners and etiquette; it’s about showing respect to others, exercising restraint, and taking responsibility for your actions.

A gentleman treats others with kindness and consideration, valuing and respecting the feelings and opinions of those around him.

By being courteous and polite, a gentleman creates a positive environment and encourages people to interact respectfully.

Seeking out and overcoming struggle

High-value young men don’t shy away from challenges; they seek them out and grow from them.

They take on difficulties directly, facing their fears and learning from them. This helps build resilience and character, allowing them to overcome obstacles and reach their goals.

A strong mindset is essential when dealing with challenges, as it helps maintain focus and trust in one’s abilities, even during difficult times.

Being Financially Affluent

A high value man being financially affluent

Financial affluence is not just about having a high income and a large net worth; it’s about using financial resources to support one’s well-being and that of their loved ones.

Achieving financial affluence provides stability and security, allowing individuals to pursue their dreams and live a comfortable lifestyle.

Wise investments, budgeting, and saving can help reach this goal, along with a good understanding of financial markets and the risks associated with investing.

Taking care of your family

A high-value man understands the importance of taking care of his family. Providing for them financially, emotionally, and physically is a top priority. 

By prioritizing the well-being of your family, you contribute to their overall happiness and success, leading to a more fulfilling life for everyone involved. It’s about being there for them when they need you and supporting them in their dreams and ambitions.

To show your family love and care, you men can focus on their well-being by ensuring they:

1. Feel safe and protected

Providing a secure environment is one of the most fundamental aspects of masculinity. This doesn’t just mean physical; it also entails creating a home where your family feels loved, valued, and free to express themselves. This includes keeping the home’s finances in order and supporting a safe environment financially.

2. Are emotionally supported

Being a man isn’t about suppressing feelings but understanding and addressing them. Be there to listen, to talk, and to offer support when it’s needed most.

3. Get enough physical exercise

A healthy body leads to a healthy mind, and a man’s role is to encourage this in his family. From coaching your child’s soccer team to scheduling regular family walks, there are myriad ways to promote physical health.

Embodying Traits and Demeanors of a High-Value Man

When we talk about a high-value man, we’re not necessarily talking about wealth or status, although those can be components. 

A high-value man demonstrates qualities such as:

  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • Confidence
  • Intelligence
  • Loyalty
  • Empathy
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Physical fitness
  • The ability to support and value others

These traits make him a net positive force for good in the world, inspiring others to follow his example.

And Integrity is the cornerstone of these traits. A high-value man sticks to his words and values even when no one is watching. He takes responsibility for his actions and treats others fairly and with respect. 

The cause is also crucial. A high-value man is passionate about something—his career, a meaningful hobby, or a cause. It’s this passion that makes him attractive, and it’s this passion that gives him purpose.

Lastly, let’s not forget about self-care. He understands the importance of physical fitness, mental health, style, and personal grooming. Not only for aesthetic reasons but for overall well-being too.

Being a high-value man is about embodying these traits and more. It’s about being a man of substance who adds value to his relationships and society. 

Moreover, a high-value man understands the importance of enthusiastic consent, ensuring everyone involved is comfortable and happy to participate.

Positive Male Brotherhood

A group of men standing together, representing the idea of positive male brotherhood.

Positive male brotherhood is about creating a supportive community of high-value men who can share their experiences, learn from one another, and grow together.

This brotherhood focuses on having high-value role models, understanding the importance of your network, and building a supportive community.

It’s a powerful tool for personal growth, enabling men to navigate life’s challenges with confidence and resilience.

High-Value Men as Role Models

High-value men serve as role models for other men, demonstrating what it looks like to live a successful and meaningful life.

They embody the traits and demeanors of a high-value man, inspiring others to strive for the same level of success and personal growth.

By setting a good example, men help others believe in their own potential and encourage them to work towards their goals.

Your Net Worth Is Your Network

The people you surround yourself with can significantly impact your personal and professional success. Your network provides access to resources, knowledge, and opportunities you may not otherwise have access to.

Building and maintaining relationships is crucial for establishing trust and credibility with others, which benefits personally and professionally.

Building a Supportive Network

A supportive network consists of people who provide emotional, practical, and professional support in times of need. This network can include family, friends, brothers, acquaintances, and even online communities with similar-minded people.

Building a supportive network help you reach your personal and professional goals, leading to improved health, longer life, and increased well-being.

Men’s Mental Health

A man meditating, representing the idea of building a strong mindset.

Men’s mental health is a crucial aspect of overall well-being that often goes overlooked.

Building a strong mindset and adopting a high-performance mentality is essential for achieving personal and professional success.

By focusing on mental health, men can develop the resilience and adaptability needed to face adversity and continue moving forward.

Building a strong mindset

A strong mindset involves resilience, adaptability, and self-awareness. These traits help men face challenges head-on, learn from their experiences, and grow as individuals.

By cultivating mental toughness and resilience, men stay focused on their objectives and maintain a sense of hope and positivity, even in the face of adversity.

Adopting a High-performance mindset

A high-performance mindset is centered on continuous growth and improvement, embracing challenges, and persistence despite setbacks. Men can optimize their thoughts and actions to reach their goals by focusing on the process instead of the outcome.

Developing mental skills like mindfulness and self-awareness help men to manage their emotions better and stay on track toward success.

Developing Life Skills for Success

Developing essential life skills significantly contributes to personal and professional success as well.

Two key components of these skills are communication and emotional intelligence. By honing these abilities, men establish strong relationships, navigate challenging situations, and make better life decisions.

Communication Skills

A man listening to another person, representing the idea of developing emotional intelligence.

Effective communication is crucial for building personal and professional relationships.

It involves expressing oneself clearly and actively listening to others. Using the appropriate communication method and being friendly and confident creates a positive environment and encourage respectful interactions. Good communication skills are essential for expressing thoughts, resolving conflicts, and creating connections with others.

In a world where people are getting isolated thanks to the internet and social media, practicing and developing communication skills is vital for all men.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence, a key aspect of emotional health, is understanding, expressing, and managing one’s emotions and those around you.

Developing emotional intelligence helps men build strong relationships, manage stress, and make better decisions.

By cultivating empathy, self-awareness, and self-regulation, both men and women can better navigate the complexities of human emotions and interactions.

Wrapping It Up

In the turbulent tides of modern societal norms, “What does it mean to be a man?” has been at the forefront of many conversations.

Ultimately, redefining manhood today involves embracing diverse qualities, traits, and skills with a net positive effect on your life and those around you.

The essence of being a man is being authentic, strong, respecting others, and contributing positively to society.

Drawing inspiration from ancient philosophers and cultivating the traits of a high-value man are all ways to acquire positive trait that leads to a more fulfilling and purposeful life while contributing positively to society.

In the end, the question ‘What does it mean to be a man?’ is personal, where the answer lies within each individual’s understanding of his responsibilities and purpose in life.

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes a man the man?

Power, strength, and a lack of emotion have traditionally defined masculinity for what seems like forever; these qualities make a man.

However, in recent years, there has been a shift in the definition of masculinity. Men are now encouraged to be more emotionally open and vulnerable and to express their feelings. This shift has been welcomed by many, as well.

What did ancient Greek philosophers consider to be the defining characteristics of a man?

Ancient Greek philosophers believed that practicing virtue, being rational, and existing within a social structure were the defining characteristics of a man.

How can I build a strong mindset?

Develop mental toughness and resilience through visualization, mindfulness, and small behavior changes. Welcome change, be courageous and stay focused on the present to build a strong mindset.

What does it mean to be a gentleman?

Being a gentleman means being kind and considerate, having good etiquette, showing respect, exercising restraint, and taking responsibility for your actions.

What does it mean to have emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence involves understanding, expressing, and managing your emotions, being aware of yourself and those around you, regulating emotions, remaining motivated, and possessing strong social skills.

These skills are essential for successful communication, relationships, and overall well-being. They can help you better understand yourself and others, build strong relationships, and make better decisions.

They can also help you to be more resilient in the face of adversity and to manage stress better.

Chris, Chief Editor Avatar


Chief Editor & Growth Expert