Over the past few years, masculinity has gotten a bad rap.
We’ve been told that it’s toxic, that it’s dangerous, and that it’s a vice instead of a virtue.
Somewhere along the way, men took the hint and decided to reject mature masculine virtues in favor of a seemingly permanent adolescence.
As a result, we have an entire generation of “men” who have yet to grow up.
They live at home, rely on their parents’ income to support their lifestyles, and opt for the life of the permanent partier instead of a life of contribution.
I’vefrom dozens of fields over the past half decade.
Over the course of these interviews, I noticed that nearly every “Great Man” has a core set of mindsets and habits that lead to massive productivity, impact, and fulfillment.
Their tactics, strategies, and approaches to masculinity might differ. But the core values remain the same.
Being a “man” isn’t determined by your age, your experience, or your accomplishments.
It’s determined by the core virtues and values that drive your life.
There’s an old quote that says, “Being male is a matter of birth, being a man is a matter of age, being a gentleman is a matter of choice”
For our purposes:
Being male is a matter of birth. Being a man is a matter of age. Being a strong grounded man is a matter of virtue and choice
Here are 7 of the most common core values that separate the men from the boys.
1. Boys Act on Feelings Men Act on Vision
The most basic distinction between boys and grounded men is that boys act on feelings, men act on vision.
Boys are like a feather in the wind. They allow their emotional state to govern their actions and they decide whether or not to keep their commitments in the heat of the moment.
If they don’t feel like doing something then they don’t.
Boys will hit snooze on their alarm instead of waking up early and doing what needs to be done. They will show up late to meetings. They will procrastinate on their work. They will defer what they should do for what they want to do in the moment.
Men are different.
Men create a crystal clear vision for their future and then base every action on that vision.
It doesn’t matter if a man wants to eat another piece of cake, smoke that cigarette, or sleep in an extra 50 minutes. He knows the vision that he has for his life and he isn’t willing to compromise his future success for pleasure in the present moment.
A strong grounded man is willing to do something that he dislikes, even something that he hates if it will propel him forward towards his vision. Boys will not.
Does this mean that grounded men never compromise? That they never screw up, sleep through an alarm, miss a workout, or cheat on their diet? Of course not!
They are human just like you and me.
But “real” men know that their actions must be congruent with their vision most of the time if they want to survive and thrive in this world.
2. Boys Waste their Mental Energy. Men Preserve It
Here’s an interesting fact that some of you might not know.
According to the law of supply and demand, time is not your most valuable asset.
Unless you suffer some sort of tragic early death, most of you reading this will live to be 79 or so. This means that the total number of hours in your life will be somewhere around 690,000.
You will be operating at peak mental energy levels for fewer than 25% of those hours!
And you will have optimal (10/10) mental energy levels for fewer than 6% of those hours! (Mental energy levels tend to peak for 90-120 minutes roughly 2 hours after you wake up)
So while your time might be limited, your mental energy is even MORE limited.
Boys do not acknowledge this fact.
They are happy to waste their mental energy arguing with trolls on the internet, watching porn, surfing the web, and indulging in mentally draining activities.
Men are not.
Men know that this is the only life we are guaranteed to have.
They value their mental energy and preserve it carefully.
They are selective about what projects and tasks they will tackle and always make sure that they are investing their mental energy in ways that will ultimately help them build their best lives.
If they “waste” their mental energy watching TV, playing video games, or indulging in other unproductive activities, they always do so strategically after using their peak mental energy levels to build their legacy.
3. Boys Abuse their Bodies. Men Weaponize Their Bodies
In a country with an obesity rate of more than 33%, this is not a popular opinion to hold.
But I don’t write this blog to be popular. I do it to help you become the strongest version of yourself… Even if it hurts a little bit.
If you are not taking care of your body, you cannot call yourself a strong grounded man. Period!
Your health is your most valuable asset and if you abuse it with drugs, alcohol, shitty foods, and bad sleep, then you are acting like a boy.
Boys believe that they are invincible. As such, they treat their bodies with contempt.
They don’t prioritize sleep. They overindulge in drugs and alcohol. They have unsafe sex. They never train. And they aren’t cognizant of what they are putting into their bodies.
Men are different.
Men know that their body is one of the most valuable assets that they have. It’s the vessel that will take them to the next level and allow them to experience everything that this life has to offer.
And they treat it as such.
Men train at least 3 times a week. They value their sleep. They know that food is for fuel not for fun. They avoid hard drugs and if they drink, they do so in moderation.
Men care for their bodies because they realize that they are their bodies.
4. Boys Value Entertainment. Men Value Knowledge and Wisdom
You can tell a lot about someone by asking a simple question:
“What was the last book that you read?’
I’ve noticed that 9 times out of 10 if someone says that they don’t read, especially if they make this statement with a sense of pride and ego, they are likely to be immature and unsuccessful.
In fact, studies have shown that 86% of rich people read for personal development for at least 30 minutes a day compared to only 2% of poor people (who are likely on the path to becoming rich!).
Boys will complain about studying. They don’t understand the value of reading. And they will rarely if ever, try to learn a new skill simply for the sake of expanding their mind.
Men, on the other hand, value their mind and treat it as a precious resource.
Boys watch hours of Netflix and TV.
Men read for hours each day.
Boys waste time playing video games and watching porn.
Men hone their minds by acquiring new skills and challenging their brains.
Boys refuse to consider new ideas and information that challenges their beliefs.
Men proactively seek out information that disproves their most cherished beliefs.
Men value their mind and constantly seek to expand it. Boys are simply looking for their next distraction.
5. Boys Let Other People Steer their Lives. Men Are Self Reliant
One of the key differentiators between boys and strong grounded men is that boys base their life decisions on the opinions and whims of other people whereas men are self-reliant and captain their own boat.
Boys will go to college because their parents want them to.
Boys will take a job because their friends think that they should.
Boys will get married because “Everyone else is doing it”.
Men have a core set of values, beliefs, and goals and they refuse to be swayed by the will of others.
They will listen to advise from people who are wiser and more experienced then they are, of course. But ultimately, their decisions are theirs and theirs alone.
Boys are like a feather. They go wherever the wind blows.
A grounded man is like a rock. Even in the strongest storm, he stands firm in what he believes and the vision that he has for his life.
6. Boys Use Women for Validation. Men Seek Out Women to Share Experiences
Boys care about “Getting laid”.
They want as many notches on their belt as possible.
They see women as objects of sexual validation and satisfaction and will say anything to get in a woman’s pants and bolster their sexual prowess.
Men, whether monogamous or not, care about finding incredible partners to share in life’s amazing experiences. (This same principle applies in gay relationships as well).
They don’t seek out women for validation or for “Street Cred”.
They seek out women because they want someone who can come alongside them and share in the journey of life.
Whether they limit themselves to one partner or enjoy multiple partners, men value and appreciate the fairer sex and see women as equals with whom they can share life, not as simply another lay.
7. Boys Blame Others. Men Take Full Responsibility
Boys blame others for their failures and their mess ups.
They blame their parents, their spouses, their boss, their co-workers, the economy, the weather and anything else they can point a finger at.
Men take 100% responsibility for their actions every time all the time.
Whether they are truly at fault or not, men know that they are ultimately responsible for everything that happens to them.
When their girlfriend cheats on them they take responsibility for ignoring the red flags and dating the wrong person.
When their boss screws them out of a large bonus they take responsibility for staying with an unethical company.
When their business tanks because of a bad economic spiral, they take responsibility for failing to prepare for a declining market.
Men take 100% responsibility for everything in their life and everything not in their life.
Because when they take 100% responsibility for their lives they have 100% of the power for the trajectory and the outcome of their lives.
Although masculinity has become a convoluted and confusing topic in recent years, the “Boy vs. Man” debate can be summarized very simply.
Men take responsibility for their lives, treat others with respect, and do what needs to be done.
Boys do not.
So as cliche as it may sound, it’s time to grow up. Quit being a boy and embrace the strong grounded man inside of you.