If I asked you to imagine what is an alpha male, it probably wouldn’t take too long for a famous sportsman, celebrity or superhero to enter your mind. That, or you’d just step over them all and go straight for James Bond.
When thinking about what is an alpha male, you’d imagine a man who is strong, assertive, dominates others, attracts the best looking women, and always wins. Right?
And that image is appealing. Who doesn’t want to be all of those things? Who doesn’t want to be attractive to women? And if life went how it does in your head, it would probably be that simple. But in reality, being an alpha male is a little different.
And it doesn’t work in the way you think.
What is an alpha male really? The version you're thinking of isn't all that "alpha"
The concept on an alpha male has a strange history. Starting out in primatology, where classifications of chimpanzee social structures became popularised.
The basic idea was that the strongest chimp at the top of the social hierarchy got all the females. This was the alpha male. The idea eventually spread its way into everyday human life, in part because of Neil Strauss and his best seller “The Game” -- A book which promised to show men how to become alpha in order to get women into bed.
No matter how much of a beta you might be at the start, it’s an attractive promise. But when you ask people about what an alpha is in day-to-day life, the answers you receive are often so different it can be hard to figure out exactly what it is.
They’ll say things like: Successful, confident, dominant, good with women, wins, comfortable with confrontation.
But the problem with all of these traits is that whilst on the surface they’d appear to describe an ideal man, when you really dig into them, they’re situational and only serve to complicate the idea of an alpha male even more.
When I was younger and used to spend hours going to bars and clubs to pick up women, I made a lot of similarly-minded guy friends who were incredibly gifted at picking up women. To every else in the club, and myself included, these guys were textbook ‘alpha males.’
But the more I got to know them, the more it became apparent that they had an abundance of emotional issues. They were often incredibly needy with women and passive aggressive rather than comfortable with confrontation.
They were at once ‘alpha’ and at the same time, the exact opposite. There was something missing.
What is an Alpha Male personality?
What I eventually came to realize is that whilst all these traits were admirable, they usually revolved around something that a man had. ‘Alpha’ was something that resulted from something he possessed. Success, women, a nice flat, etc. But the guy himself was never ‘alpha.’ It was just an illusion that quickly came undone.
This experience repeated itself for some time, to the point where I just came to find the idea of an ‘alpha male’ laughable. In every example I’d encountered it, I’d found it be fake, and not something I admired. So I put it to the back of my mind and forgot about it.
It wasn’t until a few years later, when I was traveling in South America that all of this stuff came back to me. I was trekking through the Amazon and I met a man who had lived there for his entire life. He had next to no possessions, but possessed a richness and strength of character I’d never encountered in anyone else.
Whilst he wasn’t as rich as a king, his humble self-possession and strength of character allowed him to reign over himself as one. There was nothing outside of him that could validate him as a man - he already was one. He highlighted to me a paradox of how we typically viewed someone as an alpha male.
We judge someone as an alpha male by what they achieve or externally possess but it isn’t these things that actually make someone an alpha male. What makes someone an alpha male is the quality of what they possess internally, and how that affects their day-to-day actions.
The Truth About Alpha Males
The connection between this and an ideal of masculinity isn’t anything new. The word “virtue” actually derives from the latin root “vir,” which means manliness or valour. It soon evolved into moral excellence.
While the idea of how to do this differed culturally -- the Greeks were all behind the individual and cultures like the Aztecs were more skeptical of the individuals flawed nature -- the same theme persisted in all:
Unless you have something internally, you don’t have it at all.
This is why the guys who were good at getting women but also wracked by emotional issues didn’t cut the mustard. It also explains the countless times that I’ve fallen short, and the few times I haven’t. It had nothing to do with what I had and everything to do with what I was.
And here’s the bad news:
Everything that you are always comes down to your emotions.
If you're a victim of your fears, you will never be confident. Having a poor relationship with your neediness, will make you always fear women. If you value the opinions of others over the opinion of yourself, you will always feel socially afraid.
To be an alpha male is to understand and manage your emotions so that you can achieve the things you want to achieve. But in order to understand and manage your own emotions, you have to confront them, and build a relationship with whatever’s there.
This is where 100 percent of guys trying to act alpha go wrong. They try to switch off their feelings and not care and act in a way they think they have to behave - instead of dealing with their emotions so that their natural, alpha male traits take care of themselves organically.
Why being Alpha is important
Most guys want to be an alpha male for one simple reason: They want to get more attention from women.
They’ve decided (despite all the evidence to the contrary) that being an alpha male is the only way to get a woman to have sex with them. It’s this exact decision that not only means they’ll fail to have sex with women, but it’s also the one that means they’ll never be the "bad boy" alpha male.
Being an alpha male is about confronting what needs to be confronted in order to get what you want. It’s not about finding ways around it. The only way out is through.
This is important because it forces you to confront sides of yourself that you have refused to acknowledge and take responsibility for. Your emotional weaknesses, flaws, vulnerabilities, and failings.
It forces you to confront those weaknesses that are unique to you, and build a relationship with them so that you can manage them and they are no longer your master. Because it is through this confrontation that you become a better a man. The alpha male that is entirely unique to you.
That’s not something that’s important for matters of success or sex, that’s something that’s important because it’s about your basic ability to express who you are. But it doesn’t stop there.
As I’ve said, becoming an alpha male is about developing a relationship with admirable virtues within yourself, so that you can pursue the things you desire outside of yourself. I.e success, women, etc.
What is an alpha male in reality? How do you become one?
An alpha male doesn’t have to fake being an alpha male. He just is one. This means that instead of mimicking being alpha, you have to build the real thing within you. This is done in a few specific ways:
Cut out all lying, faking and acting like you don't care. The second you start trying to impress people, or influence their opinion of you, you’re operating from a place that isn’t ‘alpha.’ You’re operating from a place of neediness. You’re telling yourself you need them to like you, probably because you don’t like yourself.
Build a relationship with your emotions. The longer you are unconscious of your emotions, or do your best to prevent them from being felt, the longer you’ll always be swept in whatever direction they choose. And it won’t be a good one.
If, however, you move towards fear and anxiety, you lean into vulnerability and embarrassment; and confront failure and rejection. Then slowly and surely you’ll begin to understand to act despite them. You’ll learn that through allowing yourself to feel them, you allow yourself to master them.
Pursue internal validation. An alpha male is validated by the internal strength of his character. Like anyone, he enjoys the reward of his efforts (i.e. women and money), but these are an offshoot of what he truly pursues: mastery over himself.
He works hard because he values self-discipline. He approaches women because he values honoring his sexuality. Telling the truth and asserting his boundaries is because he values his integrity. All of this doesn’t necessarily get him anything externally, but it builds a concrete foundation within him internally.
And it is that foundation that makes him alpha. He rules within himself, where nobody else can.