This is part 1 in our series, Becoming The Modern Gentleman. To complete your journey to becoming a modern gentleman, proceed to part 2 after the past and subscribe at the bottom for updates.
Have you ever overheard a group of women talking about today’s men?
Maybe you were at the office. Maybe you were at a bar. Maybe your girlfriend was watching The View at full volume. Wherever you look, it seems that women are expressing their utter contempt for the modern man. We’ve all heard those familiar laments:
“There are no good men left.”
“Chivalry is dead.”
“All the best guys are taken.“
We are bombarded with messages in the news and popular media about a crisis in masculinity. Best-selling books like Hannah Rosin’s The End of Men and Kay Hymowitz’s Manning Up tell the familiar story of an entire generation of men who are “falling behind” and “unable to grow up”. We no longer live in a world of Father Knows Best. Today’s TV dads are portrayed as bumbling buffoons; completely hopeless without the constant guidance and saintly patience of their levelheaded wives.
So is it true? Is there really a shortage of good men out there?
Sadly, I find that the obvious answer to that question is a resounding YES. Today’s men are not living up to their true potential. They have fallen behind women in both university enrollment and professional employment. Men have descended from being the reliable pillars of society to being a mob of spineless clowns living out of their mothers’ basements. Dropouts, douchebags. and deadbeat dads. These words may not describe you, but they describe far too many men out there.
How did we get here? What brought us to this shameful state of affairs?
To put it simply, we have lost touch with our manhood. We have collectively forgotten what it means to be real men. We have lost our motivation to become the much-needed heroes we all dreamt about being when we were boys.
So what’s the solution to this problem? The answer is clear: It’s time to BE THE BETTER MAN. We desperately need a new definition of modern masculinity. We need men to be heroes again. We need the Modern Gentleman.
What defines the Modern Gentleman? In a word… DISCIPLINE.
The Modern Gentleman is marked by his discipline. He is a man who practices relentless self-improvement. He constantly strives to better himself on every possible level – mind, body, and soul. He harbors an insatiable desire to become the most well-rounded, adaptable person he can imagine.
He will stop at nothing to achieve his goals. He is strong, confident, and kind. He is ambitious, worldly, and open-minded. He is courageous, generous, and forgiving. He is comfortable in any circumstance; capable of handling anything that comes his way. Above all else, he is a gentleman.
Michel de Montaigne captured the idea beautifully in his essay, On Experience:
[quote]”Have you been able to think out and manage your own life? You have done the greatest task of all. To show and exploit her resources Nature has no need of fortune; she shows herself equally on all levels and behind a curtain as well as without one. To compose our character is our duty, not to compose books, and to win, not battles and provinces, but order and tranquility in our conduct. Our great and glorious masterpiece is to live appropriately. All other things, ruling, hoarding, building, are only little appendages and props, at most.“[/quote]
So how does one become this versatile Modern Gentleman?
It begins with a simple decision. Do you truly want to become the best man you can be? If so, you are going to need a completely new attitude towards life. It’s time to take a good long look at yourself from an objective and critical point of view. You’re going to have to ask yourself some tough questions.
If you want to become the best man you can be, you must learn to be very hard on yourself. You must become your own toughest critic and your own biggest fan.
The word “Versatile” can be defined as: “capable of or adapted for turning easily from one to another of various tasks, fields of endeavor, etc.” In a nutshell, versatility means being able to adapt easily to anything, at any time. Sounds like a tall order, doesn’t it?
In other articles, I will go into greater detail about how you can start behaving more like a Modern Gentleman. For now, here are a few simple steps you can take today to start on your own path to optimum personal development:
1) Cultivate your curiosity and pick up a book
Embracing your natural curiosity is the first step towards growing into a more well-rounded and interesting person. I am certain that there are some subjects out there that you would like to know more about. Everyone is naturally curious about one thing or another. Unfortunately, most people are too lazy to really go after what interests them. Most people are satisfied with just a cursory knowledge of a subject, unwilling to dive deeper into the wealth of available information that could turn them from an amateur into an expert in their chosen area of interest.
A true Modern Gentleman should always be willing to do the work involved in becoming genuinely competent in their chosen fields. Competence is merely the result of many long hours of study, and a real man should always be willing to put in the time it takes to achieve a worthy goal. It doesn’t matter if you prefer woodworking, river kayaking, or spoken word poetry. Buy a book on the subject and start reading! You should aim to learn as much as possible about the things that interest you. Never be intimidated by the difficult road ahead. Hard work will always help you grow into a better man. Always.
2) Turn off the TV and get a real hobby
Everyone wants to do more with their day, but they struggle to find the time. Ask yourself honestly… How much time do you waste every day sitting on the couch and staring at that idiot box? There is nothing wrong with a little cheap entertainment after a hard day’s work, but more often than not, the time you spend watching television contributes nothing in the way of making you a better person. Before you decide to invest time watching TV, you should ask yourself:
[quote]“Am I about to learn anything of value from watching this?”[/quote]
[quote]“Is there anything about this program that will contribute to making me a more interesting person?”[/quote]
If the answer to those questions is “No”, then you should turn off the TV and use that precious time to pursue a hobby that you’ve been putting off because of your “tight schedule”. The most important thing is that you TAKE ACTION. It doesn’t matter what you choose to do. Do something! Anything! Pick up a guitar. Ride a bike. Fly a kite. Just stop wasting time sitting on that couch watching a bunch of reality show rejects argue about nothing.
Trust me. You won’t miss it once you’re busy pursuing a hobby you love. One day, when someone says “What?!? You’ve never seen ‘Breaking Bad’? Dude! You haven’t lived!!!”, you will laugh at how wrong they are about you and about living.
3) Discover what you love and develop your passion
If there is one thing that the world’s happiest, most successful people all have in common, it is PASSION. A true sense of passion is essential to the Modern Gentleman. Nothing worthwhile comes easily, and your passion is what will drive you through the most difficult obstacles to achieve your goals.
Passion cannot be faked or forced, however. It is born from the time and energy you spend doing what you love. If you have already taken the time to learn more about your interests and pursue a hobby related to those interests, then discovering what you love should be easy. Keep an open mind. Always be willing to try something new. If you find that you don’t like it, then stop doing it. If you find that you love it, go after it with all your passion! You will be surprised at just how much strength and determination it will give you.
Always remember: It is your ATTITUDE that determines what kind of man you become. You must detach yourself from the toxic attitudes of lesser, lazier men. You should never be satisfied with this modern-day mediocrity. Today’s men and women have tragically low standards for each other. You must learn to judge yourself by a far higher standard. Only then will you begin to grow. It is simply a personal choice you make. Nothing more.
Change your attitude, and you will change your life.
Eduardo is a modern-day renaissance man. Years as an entrepreneur, traveler & cultural expert have given him his own unique perspective on personal development and what it means to be a great man.