Most guys don’t plan on coming up short in relationships, but a failure to plan is the same as a plan to fail. We all want to be the best men that we can be for ourselves and our lovers, but how can we achieve our best without a reasonable goal? Our culture lacks a definition for the word “man,” so men who want to be good often lack direction. We’ve already shown you five characteristics every man should strive for, and now we’re back with five more. Read on!
Courage without vulnerability is reduced to riskiness. Vulnerability is the honesty, self-reflection, and acceptance that fills courage with wisdom, potency, and purpose. An invulnerable man blames his failures on external factors because he associates failure with his identity; an invulnerable man is stuck in an imaginary shell of his own inadequacy. A vulnerable man blames his failures on his actions and allows room for growth because he accepts his actions as separate from who he is. If a vulnerable man fails, he can look for the error of his actions and do better next time; he has faith. When an invulnerable man fails, he blames the failure on his nature and succumbs to fear; he has no faith in himself, and will not risk exposing his imaginary identify of “failure.”
Vulnerability is especially important in relationships because it leads to these all-important words: “What I did was wrong, and I’m sorry.” Vulnerable men know that they can improve their actions with commitment and persistence, and that there is no shame in having been wrong. Vulnerable men are the ones who can connect deeply emotionally, intellectually, and sexually for lifelong intimacy. You can grow vulnerability by reflecting on your history and reframing your life with “I screwed up” instead of “I was a screw up.” Perceiving failure as an event, and not a person, will open you up to take bigger risks and to grow. Without vulnerability, a man cannot grow.
2. Truth seeking
The trait of truth seeking is reserved for people who want to be real human beings. Admitting that there is truth requires courage, vulnerability, resilience, and faith; truth is not for sissies. Truth seeking requires wisdom, because you cannot seek it if you don’t recognize it to exist.
Many people stray from truth because it so inconveniences their lives and routines. If the truth is that cheating is harmful to relationships and to society, someone who indulges in the short term pleasures of infidelity would be wont to call truth a subjective thing; that his truth is different from yours or mine. But here’s the deal: If absolute truth didn’t exist, one couldn’t refute its existence by denying it. If there is no truth, then the denial of truth could not be true and would therefore have no meaning.
Truth-seeking men are also long-term thinkers. Truth is the prize that motivates good men to stay away from the tempting drug of passing pleasure, so those who seek it are necessarily focused on the long term. Truth-seeking men are also the ones who will be the most dependable and the most courageous; they are the best husbands because their wives and children can rely on for long-term security and love.
Truth seeking is a trait you can cultivate only after you ingrain vulnerability and courage. Truth will require you to humble yourself and admit when you have done wrong, and also to step outside of your comfort zone to explore truth and to make it your own. To grow as a truth seeker, you get to question everything. Question what you thought was good for you, question cultural norms, question religions, question scientific facts, and question everything.
A truth-seeking man will be the most curious and fun-loving man because truth never stays in one spot — it is forever one step ahead of you, begging for you to stretch yourself and grasp it. Truth seeking is at the heart of adventurousness and every other trait that makes a man a man. Truth-seeking men recognize that growth is a requirement for the human being, and that truth is the ultimate tool to grow with. If you accept that there is such a thing as truth, you will be curious, courageous, vulnerable, resilient, dependable, and many other things that go into making an amazing careerist, husband and father.
This trait is the opposite of what modern society has become — flashy, glamorous, extravagant, ritzy, ostentatiousness, and braggy. But all of those expressions require energy that doesn’t actually serve the growth and character of a person, so it is the humble man who has the most energy to accomplish meaningful work.
If truth is a knight, humility is the page. Humility assists people in preparing to accept truth, and the opposite of humility is pridefulness. Whereas humility says, “I know nothing,” pride claims to know everything. When you know that you know nothing, then you are receptive to learning everything. This is why good men are also humble men; there is nothing they can’t learn, and no way they can’t grow. You can grow humility by adopting a learner’s attitude, which is “Never stop learning.”
Spouses of humble husbands get the pleasure of always being wanted and desired because their husbands are continually seeking to know them better, never presuming to know everything there is to know about her. Humble husbands are the ones who grow in intimacy with their partners until their dying days. Humble dads will always look for the best in their children and will be instrumental in helping to shape positive identities that allow their children to flourish.
Patience is such an amazing and sexy trait, but it hardly ever takes the spotlight because most people are set on short-term thinking. Patience unlocks the privileges that come through the responsibility of truth seeking and long-term thinking.
Without patience a man will give into the desire for passing pleasure and become consumed with a lust for sexual gratification while the infinite beauty within a woman remains unseen. Patience gives a man the time to unlock the treasures in the heart of a good woman, and to know her mind and soul. The patient man is one who acknowledges there is a whole lifetime of intimacy and sexual satisfaction ahead with his wife if he gets to know her innermost world first.
Patient men are well prepared men. They seek to refine themselves so that when the opportunity for great risk and reward comes along, he will have the eyes to see it and the skill to succeed. Patient men are also the gentlest men. By practicing patience they give themselves time to assess emotions and respond positively to people around them. You can practice patience by setting long-term goals, and by having faith in your ability to attain them one step at a time. You can grow patience by counting to ten when you are angry, and by breathing deeply when you want to respond harshly to someone. Reading big books is also a great way to develop patience. The treasure of knowledge and experience in a 1,000-page book must be discovered one page at a time for up to weeks on end. Patience leads to long-term thinking and a life of responsibility and privilege.
Assertiveness is the balancing trait to patience. You can be patient all damn year and it won’t do you any good if you lack the assertiveness to strike when the iron’s hot. Without patience, assertiveness becomes rashness and false confidence which gets people into hot water and sticky situations. Assertiveness is having faith in your preparedness and knowledge, and the courage to make the big leaps even if you look like a fool in the end.
Assertive men are generally truth-seeking men because they stick up for what is right, and they believe in themselves. Assertive men demonstrate hard work, faith, and courage in the spotlight to model the behavior of younger people. Assertive men make the best fathers for this reason.
If you commit to developing these character traits, your life will effloresce and your family and community will overflow with the rare gifts that come from good men. The alternative is to define manhood by anatomy, in which case you have no challenges, save for tender nipples and testicles during puberty. But striving for these traits will be a daily challenge that you make yourself, and through battling and achieving, you will craft the greatest man that you can be. The world needs more great men.
Be sure to check out part one of this two-part series.