Think of any manly guy you know. What is that makes him so masculine? Is it his appearance, like his rippling muscles and trimmed beard? Maybe it's his business success? Could someone have all of those things and still not strike you as particularly manly?
The truth is that being manly has nothing to do with any of that. It has nothing to do with 99.99% of the things that are sold to us by men’s magazines, Instagram, or movies. Being manly is all about the ability to confront fear and take risks.
Imagine a guy who appears on the outside to be particularly manly. Jaw like a shovel. Built like a superhero. Drives a motorbike and has a hot babe on his arm. Y’know, the guy most guys want to be. Now imagine his exact opposite. Some down on his luck guy. Terrible posture. Dresses like crap. Jawline vanishing into his double chin. For all intents and purposes, he looks like a caricature of a loser.
Now consider this:
Imagine Mr. Jawline, for all his merits, has never really confronted any risk in life. He was born good looking and wealthy and capitalized on it for his entire life. The world he was born into was the world he stayed in. It was comfortable, it was predictable. It made him feel safe.
Now imagine Mr. Loser guy wakes up one day. He looks in the mirror and goes, “Jeez, I really am a loser,” and he decides enough is enough. Mr. Loser is going to make something of himself. He starts dressing better, but messes it up at first and looks a bit stupid. He starts working out and devoting more time to his passions, and yet he fails a lot. It takes him years. People doubt him. He doubts himself. But eventually, he changes. This man becomes a better version of himself. He’s less afraid and has more self-respect. He’s turned his life into a ladder that he’s now climbing.
Which one do you think is more manly?
Like you will read about in the best dating books for guys, despite appearances, it’s Mr. Loser. Who, incidentally, isn't the loser in that story. Whilst he lacks Mr. Jawline’s money and looks, he has ten times his character. He takes risks. Often he fails; eventually he succeeds. He challenges and develops who he is.
To paint an even clearer picture, although Mr. Jawline looks like Indiana Jones, Mr. Loser actually behaves like him. He is more manly because when it comes to being manly there is only ONE thing that counts:
Can you take risks?
The risks you take in life determine not just the outcomes of your life, but also the person you will become. To achieve a better dating life, you'll have to confront your fear of women and rejection. If you want to succeed at your goal, then you have to risk failing at it. You have to risk the reality that you might not be capable of achieving it.
To alter an old phrase:
Risks maketh the man.
And to learn how to be more manly, these are the risks you need to learn to confront:
A man goes after what he wants. And most of the time (let’s be honest guys) what he wants is going to be that woman he’s attracted to whether he met her on the sidewalk or matched with her on one of the few hookup apps that work for guys. Sure, he’ll want money, to see his dreams achieved, to have meaning in his life, and so on. But throughout all of that, he’s going to be attracted to certain women. Maybe one. Maybe hundreds. Either way, he’s going to have to be able to go after them.
If a man can’t go after women, he starts to overcompensate. It’s such a big area of his life, that if he even tries to neglect it, he’s just kidding himself. He’ll end up trying to impress them, befriend them, and do anything that’s safer than just outright expressing his interest.
But why do guys struggle to go after women they’re attracted to.
There’s a bunch of reasons, but I think it boils down to these: they’re afraid of rejection; they don’t want to feel unattractive, unloveable, and worthless; they don’t want to validate those feelings; and they want to find a way to get what they want without risking those uncomfortable feelings.
For whatever reason, they feel inferior to women and want their validation. But here’s the thing:
All those feelings of inferiority? They’re only reinforced the more you don’t follow your desire to risk rejection and approach her. Because when you let that fear hold you back, you’re telling yourself those feelings are correct. But when you ignore them, pursue what you want, and risk rejection anyway? You’re telling yourself you’re okay as you are and you’ll still okay no matter the outcome.
If you want to learn how to be more manly with women, this is the risk you have to take.
One of the simplest ways to learn how to become more masculine is to embrace conflict.
If you never risk conflict, people will always walk all over you. That’s just the way people are. They aren’t malicious or trying to hurt you (at least, not most of the time). They’re just wrapped up in their own needs, wants, and insecurities. Sometimes that will make them say or do things that are disrespectful, demeaning or antagonistic towards you.
If you fear conflict because you fear being told off, socially rejected, or some (imagined) physical consequence, then you will never address the fact that people are treating you badly. And if this isn’t out of maliciousness on their part, and you aren’t bringing them up on it. Whose fault is that?
You have to assert your boundaries and tell people you’re not okay with the way they treat you. Yes, you will be risking conflict. That doesn't matter, because this is your responsibility and nobody else’s. This is how to become more masculine.
There are a few ways to do this. The first is to bring an awareness of when people are crossing your boundaries. The second is to start addressing it and accepting that potential conflict.
An easy, but unconventional way to get comfortable with conflict as a man is to learn how to fight. This isn’t because you will fight other men (don’t do that). It’s because you’ll develop a passive awareness that you can take care of yourself. Any lingering fear you have of “consequences” will now be something you’re okay with.
Then you just have to take the risk.
Everyone has a dream or goal. Or maybe they just fantasize about one. Either way, they have something they want to achieve, or an idea of their life they want to live. But whatever this is, achieving it always involves the risk of failure.
When we have a goal that is important to us, we tie up questions of our identity. If our goal is to start a successful business, then that suggests our idea of ourselves is that we are someone who has the ability to start a successful business. This goal is something that comforts us. The very idea of what it suggests about us is something we can indulge in, regardless of whether we’ve actually achieved it. And this is, in my opinion, the main reason we never try.
When we attempt to achieve a goal, we risk failing at that goal. Not just failing once along the way, but also completely failing and having to admit we can’t do it. And if that goal and its implications for us are something we find comforting, then we will avoid this at all costs.
That is because, to fail at our goal would mean we aren’t the person we think are. We aren’t as good or capable as we think we are.
The truth, however, is we don’t really know who we are until we try. We don’t even know if we actually want what we think we want until we try. Our assumptions about our identities and our happiness are rarely, if ever, accurate. All we can do is embrace this uncertainty and try anyway.
In other words, we have to risk failure, because to do anything else is to set who we are in stone. A fantasist who never even tried.
By now, you should have an idea of how to become more masculine. You take risks that the vast majority of men will never even approach taking. But to slow down for a second, this isn’t the full picture.
Let’s be realistic, if you aren’t comfortable taking risks with women, confrontation, or failure, then this isn’t going to change overnight. Fear and anxiety are powerful obstacles. They’re persistent, overwhelming, and ever-present. With that in mind, you need to start small.
Don’t set yourself enormous risks to take all at once. That’s an easy way to crash and burn. This is something you want to build up to, because it’s a way of living and a perspective that will dramatically change you life.
Start taking small, consistent risks and keep them up over a long period of time. Don’t expect big changes all at once, but if you’re persistent, you will see the change you’re looking for. And you will discover exactly the kind of man you never knew you had the potential to be.
I'll leave you with one final question: What risks can you start taking today?