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How to Be a Man

By: Brian Kim - August 2, 2007

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Every guy in his lifetime is going to ask himself this question.

Am I a man?

How do I know if I’m a man?

What does it mean to be a man?

A crisis of masculine identity seems to be gripping the young males of today’s generation. Why is this happening? What factors can we attribute this to?

Looking back through history and at the state of today’s society and culture in general, you can attribute this crisis to many reasons but two stand out like sore thumbs.

1. A Lack of Interaction Between Fathers and Sons.

There is a lack of interaction between fathers and sons now and as a result, that “bond” that’s essential toward masculine development never really forms.

Due to the industrial revolution, fathers were separated from their sons during most of the day as they went to go work in the factories and by the time they came back, they had very little time to interact with their sons. Fast forward to today and it’s still the same. Fathers are absent during most of a child’s life due to work. And thanks to the sky rocketing rates of divorce and abandonment, some sons don’t even have fathers to interact with, while some decide to join a gang to find their “manhood”.

It wasn’t like this before.

During the pre industrial revolution, fathers spent a lot of their time with their sons while teaching them their trade. During this time, a bond was formed and all the knowledge, experience, mindset of being a man was passed through this bond even if neither party really realized it.

It was natural. The sacred ritual of fathers initiating sons, teaching them the ways of being a man - hard work, responsibility, honor, etc., the way nature intended it.

Nowadays, boys grow up without any real male figures to look up to and they join gangs to find their manhood which doesn’t really amount to anything as it’s really the blind leading the blind (boys leading boys).

Then there are single moms who try to teach their sons to be a man and try as hard as she may, she cannot because it is not in her nature as she is predominantly feminine.

As a result, we have a lot of “soft” males today. Boys who never really became men.

2. Lack of a Rite of Passage From Boy to Man.

Adding to that, there is no clear rite of passage of boy to man, at least in American society.

Other societies had a set rite of passage.

You go live by yourself in the wilderness for a week. You go on a vision quest. You go out alone and hunt a buffalo and come back dragging the carcass.

In other words, you did “x” mission and if you were successful in “x” mission, you became a man. You saw yourself as a man and everyone in the community you lived in saw you as a man and treated you as such and you grew from there.

There is no such rite of passage today for boys. Sure we may have turning 18, drinking, getting a driver’s license, going to college, but these aren’t real rites of passage.

They are superficial ones because we know that even though a boy turns 18, and that he can drink, drive and is going to college, that does not necessarily make him a man.

Boys these days are growing up with MTV as their role models, thinking being a man means dating and having sex with as many women as possible, getting drunk, making a lot of money, and driving expensive cars.

With the lack of male influence at home and with the lack of no clear, real rite of passage for boys, it’s no wonder why there is a crisis in masculine identity today.

All of this then brings us to the million dollar question.

What exactly does it mean to be a man?

If you stop anyone on the street and ask them this question, here are the typical answers you will get.

“A man is confident.” “A man is strong physically and mentally.” “A man defends the weak.” “A man stands up for injustice.” “A man protects his family.” “A man provides for his family.” “A man is true to his word.” “A man is tenacious.” “A man is a hard worker.” “A man is honorable.” “A man is loyal.” “A man is dedicated.” “A man is noble.” “A man is brave.” “A man is courageous” “A man is a leader.” “A man is decisive.” “A man is persistent.” “A man is action oriented.” “A man is true to himself.”

These are the usual answers that people give to the question of what it means to be a man and while it’s a nice attempt at providing the right answer, it’s not really an answer.

I think they are great qualities, idealistic of the nature of man, but when people do this, when people just spew off a list of qualities, it’s usually a sign they are skirting around the issue because they cannot truly define it.

Nobody wants to tackle the question dead on. They like to dance around it rather than take their fist and plow through to the essence of it in order to bring up a definitive answer.

I think we all have an “idea” deep down inside of what a man really is and we attempt to bring that picture into clarity and articulate it through these qualities, but again, that’s a superficial attempt at best.

We need to dig deeper. We need to dig to the root of the issue.

What is the essence of masculinity?

What is the essence that brings about all the qualities that everybody in the world lists when it comes to defining what a man is?

To answer that question, we can divide a man into two realms – the physical and the mental.

How do we define a man, strictly speaking from the physical/biological point of view? By the fact that he has a penis and a pair of testicles? A boy has that too.

That’s the definition of what a male is, not a man.

There’s a big difference between a male and a man. Ask any woman and you will undoubtedly see them nodding their head in agreement.

Biologically speaking, solely in the eyes of mother nature, you are a man if you’ve successfully gone through puberty.

But what happens to a boy during puberty that makes him a man in the eyes of mother nature?

The boy is flooded with testosterone.

The essence of masculinity, strictly speaking in terms of biology and the physical aspect of man, is testosterone.

Testosterone floods the boy when he undergoes puberty in order to complete the biological process of turning a boy into a man. But we know obviously that just because a boy has gone through puberty, that it does not make him a “man”, in the sense of the ideal of a man that every person on this planet has.

But going back to the biological aspect of masculinity, what can we find about testosterone that helps make a man?

Nature has endowed man with a great asset, the chemical essence of masculinity and that is testosterone. Testosterone is nature’s elixir that helps aid, nurture, and produce the qualities we see when we think of “men” – courage, strength, force, decisiveness, action, in other words “force”.

However, if this force is not properly channeled, then “man” becomes like an animal (so to speak), full of “raw” energy that is neither channeled nor directed, and as a result, he becomes a slave to that force.

I’m sure you’ve seen guys like this who let their testosterone control them into doing dangerous, reckless things without any form of self control, such as sleeping with women left and right, getting into fights, and committing various crimes.

This is where the mental aspect of becoming a “man” comes into play.

Just as a boy grows physically into a man, a boy must also grow “mentally” into a man.

He must adopt the mindset of a true man, the mindset of the essence of masculinity.

What is that mindset? What is that mental essence of masculinity?

The mental essence of masculinity is to channel that physical force nature has given him in a noble direction and in order to do that, he must determine exactly what that direction is and have the courage to pursue it.

Depending upon the culture, the country, the society a male has grown up in, that environment will influence the direction he has chosen for his life, ultimately making that direction different for each individual.

Each one will have his own idea of what constitutes noble direction.

That noble direction might be fighting for your country. It might be always providing for your family. It might be learning how to rid the world of disease.

And I use the word noble here because I believe it’s essential. If the word noble is left out, then man is free to choose any direction in life and pursue that with courage, and if that direction happens to be of evil nature, history has shown the devastating consequences of such actions.

Another important element worth mentioning is to make sure that the man chooses his direction in life on his own volition. Otherwise, he is but a mere boy acting out the wishes of those around him.

The Line

When determining direction, he must decide what “The Line” is going to be. That line is the extent of his direction or how far he is willing to go to pursue it.

And once he determines what that line is, he must respect that line, and have the integrity to stick to it.

That line will represent many things to many individuals as they will be different for each, but a majority of men might represent that line as nothing less than the achievement of his goal/purpose within his direction in life.

And what you’ll find is that this line usually deals with the degree of sacrifice he is willing to make in order to pursue his direction in life.

Sacrifice

He will have to sacrifice, time, energy, money, other opportunities, etc., to pursue his direction in life, but he is willing to do that because he has drawn the line.

Sacrifice is an element synonymous with the ideal man, with the ultimate form of sacrifice being self sacrifice, meaning the sacrifice of one’s own life for the lives of those around him or for a higher ideal.

Seemingly intertwined with this concept of sacrifice is courage because once he has decided the direction he wants to go in and has drawn the line, he’s going to need courage to pursue it and to weather the sacrifices he will have to make on the way.

Courage

The ultimate sacrifice, self sacrifice, calls for the ultimate form of courage - the courage to sacrifice your own life for the lives of those around you and/or for a higher ideal.

It is this defining trait that seemingly permeates the definition of what it means to be a man across all cultures, across all nations, across all religions around the world.

Confidence to Overcome and Persevere

Along with direction, drawn lines, sacrifices, and courage, comes the confidence and persistence necessary to overcome the obstacles he will meet along the way of pursuing his direction in life.

This is another seemingly universal trait to be found among all definitions of man throughout the world.

Contrary to what most people think, the ultimate male fantasy is not a night of passionate love making with the most beautiful woman on the planet.

It is having the will, confidence, and strength to overcome any obstacle set forth before him.

And this is precisely why men are so obsessed with sports.

If women have ever wondered why men are so fascinated by sports, it is because sports is the simplified epitome of masculinity.

Sports provide a safe haven to showcase masculinity in the absence of other dangerous mediums that require it, such as warfare.

Direction, drawn lines, sacrifice, courage, goals, hard work, leadership, teamwork, planning, putting it all on the line, physical exercise, endurance - all of this mirrors the foundational essence of masculinity. All of this leads up to precisely what the universal archetype of man always seems to be:

The Hero.

Think of the natural archetypes that are universally defined as “men” in any society. Knights, warriors, soldiers. What can we see here?

We can see the elements of noble direction, drawn lines, sacrifice, perseverance, and courage, and not just any type of courage, the ultimate form of courage – the courage to sacrifice one’s life for the lives of those around him and/or for a higher ideal.

The firefighters of 9/11 who climbed up countless flights of stairs in order to rescue people trapped on the top floors, knowing full well that the towers could collapse on them at anytime – these are who we regard as heroes.

The soldiers who died serving their country and protecting the world from Hitler’s agendas - these are who we regard as heroes.

The 300 Spartans who defended Greece against the invading Persians, knowing full well they would die doing so - these are who we regard as heroes.

These are who we regard as men.

Even if you look at religion and the heroes of each respective religion, you will see all the elements discussed come into play – the elements of noble direction, drawn lines, sacrifice, perseverance, and courage, and not just any type of courage, the ultimate form of courage – the courage to sacrifice one’s life for the lives of those around him and/or for a higher ideal.

It is this archetype, the archetype of a hero, who has noble direction, who has drawn the line, who has sacrificed, who has persevered and confidently overcome obstacles, who possesses the ultimate form of courage, the courage to sacrifice oneself for the lives of those around him and/or for a higher ideal, it is this definition of man that seem to permeate and transcend ALL cultures, societies, and religions around the globe, making it the universal definition of man.

So with this all this being said, how does one become a man?

1. Embrace Nature’s Elixir of Masculinity

Embrace what nature has given you in terms of the elixir for man. Start working out to build muscle, eat right, and rest in order to get your body to produce more testosterone.

The difference between a male with low testosterone and a male with high testosterone is as different as night and day.

One is lethargic, easily depressed, and passive while the other is energetic, happy, and action oriented.

Testosterone will give you all the elements that man needs in order to pursue whatever noble direction he chooses to go for.

Some might argue: Do you have to do this in order to be a man?

Of course not.

But can it help?

Of course it can.

It would be like turning down free money that’s offered to you to help achieve your goals Would you turn down free money? You could, you have that choice, but why not take it and use it to your advantage? It’s the same thing with what nature has given you. Nature has given you the gift of testosterone to aid your quest as a man.

Use it.

2. Seek Out Older Men You Look Up To And Have Them Mentor You

In our modern society, we lack a coherent masculine culture, where men can get together with other men and “initiate” one another. Men need this or they become weak. No man is his own island.

Being mentored by older men you look up to can help you shape your own direction in life, help you determine what the lines you draw will be, help you have the courage and confidence to go in your chosen direction, and help you have the strength to persist and overcome obstacles along the way.

3. Establish Noble Direction in All Areas Of Your Life That Are of Your OWN Volition

The worst thing any male can do is drift and wander aimlessly in life. It is the greatest way to dissipate all the potential within him.

If you find yourself drifting and wandering aimlessly in life, get help from older men to help make you decide what your direction is and make it your direction to find direction.

Establish noble direction in all areas of your life – spiritually, mentally, physically, socially, financially, etc.

But remember that direction must ultimately be chosen by you and you alone.

4. For Each Direction, Draw “The Line”

Will you sacrifice family time for your career? Or will you put family above work?

You have to ask yourself how far you’re willing to pursue each direction in life, in other words, where you’ll draw the line in relation to the other directions in your life.

5. Have the Courage to Pursue Your Directions In Life

Some say that courage itself is the essence of masculinity and while I agree that it’s a big part of it, it’s nothing without direction. Courage is the essence that powers direction in men and it is absolutely required for them in order to move forward in their chosen direction.

6. Honor Your Respective Lines

This is synonymous with staying true to your beliefs, to staying true to your word, to showing integrity with respect to the lines you've drawn. Honor the lines you have drawn for yourself in each of your directions in life.

7. Overcome The Obstacles and Persist

Along the way, you will encounter obstacles, but have the confidence to overcome them and to persist. Work hard, use different approaches, use your creativity, but know that you can handle anything that’s thrown at you along the way.


As close of a definition as to what a man is that this essay has touched upon, I don’t think there’s any language sufficient enough to really articulate it.

There is no 100% accurate definition, but what we find is that we know a man when we see one.

We can just feel it. There is something about him that oozes masculinity, a sense of confidence in the direction he has undertaken in his life and the courage to do so tempered with self discipline and the persistence to overcome any obstacles that arise along the way.

Each culture, each society, each religion will probably have their own specific definition of masculinity, but the basic “frame” of it remains.

Determining one’s noble direction in life. Drawing the lines. Making the sacrifices. Having the courage to continue to press forward in one’s chosen direction. And having the confidence to overcome any and all obstacles along the way.

This is the true essence of man.

This is the true essence of mankind.

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41 Responses to “How to Be a Man”

  1. Owen Says:

    Brian - thank you for that - I don’t totally agree but I agree in principle and in many of the details. It is a big problem and it is a problem that actually gets worse through life if it isn’t addressed. Sure, over time many people do grow into being a proper man, but some do not and do not know why they feel bad about themselves and their lives.

    Anyway - one of the most thoughtful posts I’ve read in a while. Reminds me of the poem Kim - which is so overused and dismissed as a cliche that many people never take the time to actually read it and think about it. And it’s worth doing (really reading and undserstanding it)

  2. Brian Kim Says:

    Owen,

    No problem. I’m really glad you got something out of it. I agree with you when you say it’s a big problem that only gets worse if it isn’t properly addressed. I felt exactly the same way so that was one of the man reasons that motivated me to write this article.

    I’ll check out that poem you mentioned.

    Thanks again for the kind words.

  3. Erica Says:

    Great article. Can you do one on how to be a woman too? Thanks :)

  4. Brian Kim Says:

    Hi Erica,

    Thanks for the kind word!

    With regard to yoru request, I would like to, but I don’t think I’m qualified, just because of my gender. It just doesn’t feel right to me. I think it would be better coming from a woman in my opinion ;) .

    Brian

  5. Sandra Says:

    Brian I’m curious since I’m new to your articles. Where did you get such wisdom? I’m impressed with your thought process! As I read I kept thinking of all the men I know who do or do not exemplify the essence of a man. So many start with a real handicap of no or dysfunctional fathers. The media examples and technology doesn’t help. My son is a single father, a widower, who had a poor role model as a father. He has a 16 yr old son who by the grace of God is, so far, a fine young man. No guarantees though that he will move through the steps you describe.
    I’ve just begun a 2nd career as a personal life coach and I will put this in my file to draw on when appropriate. The one man I’ve coached considers himself a nerdy person of little worth. By the time we finished he (as well as myself) was surprised to discover how truely worthy he is. He had the gift of “being” within him. He just had to find and recognize it.

  6. Brian Kim Says:

    Hi Sandra,

    I apologize for the late reply. As the number of articles on this site grows, it becomes really hard to keep track of all the comments that need to be responded to.

    First off, I just want to thank you for the kind words. I really appreciate it. It’s flattering to hear coming from a personal life coach.

    To answer yoru question of where I get such wisdom, it’s just a compliation of ideas that come into my head that I let “soak” for a while and the result is what you see written. It’s just how my mind works and I think it’s what one of my more strong attributes that I have.

    You bring up an interesting point when you mention that the men you knew who did NOT exemplify the essence of man had dysfunctional or no fathers. It’s a very important factor that’s often overlooked and I think we are beginning to see the results of that, particularly in this generation.

    Like you mentioned, I think people have always had everything they need found within them - it’s just that they need help finding and recognizing it and it’s people such as yourself that help them do that so for that I thank you.

    Thanks again for sharing!

  7. Ryan Says:

    Wow, great article. It’s not too often I see someone verbalize masculine qualities so well. My blog is centered around a similar idea. Perhaps we could swap links. Cheers, Ryan.

  8. Todd Says:

    I think I avoided being a man for most of my 20’s and 30’s. Now that I’m in my 40’s, I’m finding that it’s the men that succeed in business, and that a woman truely wants a man.
    Probably why my first wife divorced me.
    Working on it, thanks for a well thought out post.

  9. Brian Kim Says:

    Ryan,

    Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate it.

    (Also, I don’t really know what you mean by swapping links)

    Todd,

    Thanks for the kind words as well and for sharing your findings and experience with us.

    I’m sure a lot of people will agree with what you said about men succeeding in business and women wanting men.

    As for the first wife divorcing you, don’t beat yourself up over it. It looks like you’ve grown from it.

    I’m glad to see you’re working on it!

    Brian

  10. James Says:

    Brian,
    Your artical has moved me deeply to to take a very good look at myself, and you have given me a good start on how to improve. I’m having alot of problems with my wife and if I dont get them worked out I’m going to loose the best thing that ever happend to me. What im tring to say is can you help me gain my footing again. there was never a man around me to help me and I feel like I’m lost in this world. Thank you for your time.

  11. Brian Kim Says:

    James,

    I’m so glad to see that the article has helped you look inside yourself and find a starting point on how to improve.

    I’m sorry to hear that you’re having problems with your wife. With regard to getting help on that situation, I wouldn’t feel comfortable helping you gain your footing on that for a number of reasons. I would suggest you seek advice from close friends and family who are married and have strong marriages in order to see how you can deal with the problems you are having with your wife.

    I hope it all works out ok.

  12. Bob Says:

    Thank you sooo much for writing this article. I think this is a huge problem. Personally, my parents divorced and I had no interaction with my dad, so I’m exactly as you’ve described. I’m effiminate, “soft”, and lack many of those qualities because I never had a role model.

    Can you recommend more articles or books or tips on this topic? I’d love to read more. Thanks!

  13. Brian Kim Says:

    Bob,

    You’re very welcome. It’s great to see that you’re taking steps to explore and develop your masculinity.

    I don’t really have any articles or books to recommend on the topic but I’m sure there are some out there if you search and ask around some more. If not, maybe it’s time I research and write one ;)

  14. Danijel Orsolic Says:

    This article made me think, and I believe I am more open towards exploring my manhood. However, while you might not have intended this, it feels as if the article puts it as a sort of an obligation to every man to constantly pursue to be as much of a man as possible. And it also seems as if in big part the ideal of a true man is derived from social norms - from a collectively recognized ideal of what it means to be a man.

    And I think we should all know social norms go wrong quite regularly and even your own point often is that we should look into ourselves rather then on to the society when trying to determine who we are and who we really want to be.

    So say that I at some point become satisfied with how much of a man I am. I may not have distinct muscle mass. I may not be leaving an impression of me as “The Hero”. I may not prefer some manly sparring battles. In essence I may not fit the archetype of man that has been set up as an ideal. Instead I may have just enough testosterone and physical strength to be satisfied with myself and confident enough to move through life. And I may have a lot more strength in a mental sense towards pursuing my goals.

    So would that be good enough? I say why not? Some people may require a lot of physical confirmation as food for their confidence, others may require more of the intellectual confidence. We aren’t all the same. Not all men are the same nor should they be the same. Why would any level of manhood be universally better than any other level of manhood? Setting up a scale of manhood where ones are lower and others are higher just opens the doors for rather ugly presuppositions and misjudgements of humans as inferior or superior to each other.

    I think the best thing to say would be this: “Be a man you want to be.” Not this: “This is an ideal man. Be as much of a man you can possibly be.”

    At first there may seem to be nothing wrong with the latter, but the problem is that it sets one up to the goal of becoming as much of a man regardless of how far he really wants to go or needs to go, to accomplish his goals and his peace of mind and happiness. It is sort of like setting him up for a race. The ideal set up is rarely reached even in the history of men. To expect people to go through their lives constantly racing with each other and themselves to be “more of a man” seems quite inefficient and even frustrating.

    Instead, I think the philosophy of “to each his own” should be adopted. Sure, it is good to know what an ideal man is commonly considered to be, just to have a point of reference. But everyone should determine for themselves how much testosterone and mental “heroism” one really needs in his life to be happy and successful. Nobody should pressure any sort of a norm about this on to him.

    Besides, we should be more open minded than to set everything up in simplistic “this is The Man and this is The Woman” terms. Humans are more complicated than that.

    Regards

  15. Brian Kim Says:

    Danijel,

    You make some really great points and I wholeheartedly agree with them. It was not my intention to make it seem that every man should go “all out” so to speak - that was just done for illustrative purposes.

    Each man should establish his own direction in life and his limits as well - hence the phrase, “to each his own”.

  16. Danijel Orsolic Says:

    Thanks Brian. I understand. I think I might have gone slightly overboard in assuming, but anyway. The article is definitely very valuable to all men looking to live fuller lives.

    Many thanks!

  17. Will is GALVANIZD Says:

    Hmm.. sounds very similar to what Zan Perrion has to say. But solid content nonetheless! I feel that a lot of men can benefit from this article.

    Thanks,

    Will

  18. Brian Kim Says:

    You’re welcome Will. I’m glad you got something out of it.

  19. David Says:

    Thanks for writing such a thoughtful article. This is a topic that I’ve been interested in for a while now and I think your article is as good or better than any I’ve read so far. I really like the fact that you can apply most of the traits you listed to Ghandi just as easily as you could to Alexander the Great. It’s sad that today a lot of young men are growing up thinking that if they have the right car, and drink the right beer that they will magicly become men. I’m glad that some people out there are trying to set them straight.

  20. Musa Khan Says:

    Hi

    People, i’m exactly the man who’s not what a man should be. I admit it. But this article has cleared my mind and opened it to some truths that I denied before reading this. Mr. Brian Kim, sir, it’s a great honor to read something like this, that has given me to confidence to be what I should be. It has made me realise that I had everything I needed to be what a man is, but I was not using it to my full potential. I’m a nothingman, and I am something now I feel after reading this. God bless you sir!

  21. Brad Spencer Says:

    Hey Brian, I just discovered your blog and I have about 10 windows opened and I’m reading all your popular articles. This one is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO true. Not to be dramatic but this is one of the most under-discussed things in self-improvement and society in general.

    A few notes are in order.

    1. This article is great. I liked the part about rite of passage and lack of definition of “man.”

    2. You are really on point and your writing style is good. However, I think this article should have probably been broken up. You write A LOT and I think your message would be delivered in a shorter way. Some people probably won’t read the article b/c it’s so long but could definitely benefit from the knowledge in this article.

    Just a few observations but definitely an “A” article. Better than the rehashed crap in this niche.

  22. Arsh Says:

    Great article. I have been looking for something like this. Something as definite as this on this topic.

  23. Brian Kim Says:

    David,

    Thanks for the kind words and for sharing your thoughts on the article. I really appreciate it.

    I like how you pointed out that “you can apply most of the traits you listed to Ghandi just as easily as you could to Alexander the Great.” It’s one of the things I like best about the article as well.

    Musa Khan,

    I’m so glad you got so much out of the article. Here’s to your new journey!

    Brad,

    Thanks for your kind words and for your notes as well. I really appreciate it. I can see how you might view the article as too long and it did cross my mind as well. However, I reasoned that those who want to read the entire article from start to finish are the ones who really deserve it so I viewed the length of it as sort of a “test” to weed out the ones who really wanted to learn from the ones who didn’t.

    Arsh,

    Thanks for the kind words as well. I really appreciate it. I’m glad you’ve found it!

  24. The Definitive Guide to Self Improvement » Self Improvement Blog - BrianKim.net Says:

    […] How to Be A Man […]

  25. Steve Says:

    Dear, Brian-
    Thank you so much for this article. I believe things happen for a reason
    and I came across your site looking for other information and have been
    blown away by everything you written I’ve had a chance to read so far.
    I grew up with no father and few role models. I’ve found myself wandering
    aimlessly, unable to commit to a direction in my life. Your words not only inspire me
    but clairify what I was unable to put into words for myself. You are the first person
    to really put it down so clearly, in ways I can apply to my life and situation.
    Thank you for the inspiration and steps I can use to really feel like a man
    for the first time in my life.

    My best wishes,
    Steve

  26. Brian Kim Says:

    Steve,

    You’re very welcome. I’m so glad you’ve found the article.

    It feels like from what you wrote that you’ve found that DEFINING moment in your life, when things will never be the same for you ever again.

    So here’s to that new journey that awaits you and all the great experiences you will find along the way,

    Brian

  27. Gary Says:

    I agree with the others… this is a very good article.

    However, I do feel that there is one important point missed that really completes the puzzle.

    8. Willing to stand up and take responsibility for one’s actions and the outcome (consequences).

    Ultimately this goes back to point #1. One of the big reasons IMO that young men today are lacking the male role-models in their lives is that many of the men who helped to sire them in the first place refuse to take responsibility for the family they helped to create. A man can help create a baby, but being a father is a responsibility. Or to use another example, sure it takes all the above examples to say go out and fight a war, but does that mean that the man is willing to live with the consequences of destroying another human life?

  28. Brian Kim Says:

    Hi Gary,

    You bring up a good point. Taking responsibility for one’s actions is a very important and I think that can be an important part of being an adult, regardless of being male/female.

  29. Michael Says:

    Hi Brian, my name is Michael, and I’ll be turning 17 this memorial weekend. This is my first time on your site and I absolutely love it. I’ve read your article on how to find yourself, why men should weight lift, why girls don’t like nice guys, and obviously this article and they were all so helpful. I learned ten times more than I do in school in just a few hours. It’s amazing and great to have someone who has all this knowledge they can share with the world. If the world had more people like you we’d be on a totally different level. You sound like such a great male role model too, and I really need one so thank you. I can’t wait ’till I start implementing these concepts in my life. I’m actually shocked that you don’t have a Ph. D or some degree (unless you do than I apologize) in psychology or something, I wish that one day I could poses at least an ounce of that wisdom. My mom is always telling me to act like a man so I thought it was hilarious to find an article on how to be one. Your doing a great job here, so keep it up, and I can’t wait to read more. Thank You Brian.

  30. Being a Man « Nahili Underground (enlightenment mode) Says:

    […] One commenter gave me a link to BrianKim.net, I guess it’s one of the most popular self-development websites out there. As a person who tried many systems, I don’t think people normally follow the advises on self improvement continually. They start, get bored and eventually stop (besides several exceptions). So Brian Kim’s How to Be a Man has some good points, however the article is spoiled (for me) with giving to much credit to testosterone and “mother nature”. […]

  31. Brian Kim Says:

    Hi Michael,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and for the kind words as well. I really appreciate it.

    It’s so great to see someone of your age stumble across these articles and not only read them, but go on to implement them.

    I wish you nothing but success in all your future endeavors!

  32. Mike Says:

    Brian Kim, normally I would post a comment like this under my online alias, Skrunks, but for something that has affected me as profoundly as this, I felt it was only adequate to post with my real name. I turned 20 in January, and for the longest time I hadn’t really felt like a man. I had been having confidence, motivational and self-affirmation issues. I’d go to work, and say ‘So I’ve started doing *insert activity that I never complete here*’ hoping for some form of validation from my co-workers. I’d do the same thing for anything in my life, for example I’d whine about ‘how I need to get in shape’ or ‘how I so need a girlfriend’. I knew that it wasn’t a good thing, but I did it anyway. I’d been doing it all through high school, and I could never figure out why I never attracted any girls and was always just ‘friends’.

    I’ve just been working at the same pizza place lamenting my situation without bothering to lift a finger to change it. About a week ago, I was all set to move in with my oldest friend, but at a cost to her. I sat her down and made sure she was willing to go through with being room-mates, knowing the consequences, and and we made a verbal contract. I got my self pumped for a major change in my life, something that I felt would usher in a new chapter for me.

    Naturally, she backed out a few days later and I felt absolutely crushed. I had such a difficult time not exploding with anger on one of my closest friends, things got a little emotional, but I didn’t verbally strike out at her, and I feel the better for it. I still felt like the ‘big change’ that I needed had fallen apart. At some point in during the next couple nights, I decided to surf the web, and somehow I ended up on a similar but far less enlightening article about ‘Being a Man’ on a different website. A few nights later, I googled it, seeing what else I could dig up and I found this marvelous piece of insight.

    Sufficient to say, that this ‘change’ I’d been wanting had already begun before reading your article, but I had never expected to find something so perfectly put together in a single article. I’m making some big changes in my life over the next couple months, and now I have a reference point. I’m putting this article under my Favorites.

    As a side note, it’s given me tremendous confidence to know that most of the stuff you’ve mentioned have already started to change in me. The child that was me started to disappear about a year ago, and I’ve been steadily maturing for some time now. But I’ve finally hit that point where I no longer feel like a boy. I no longer need people’s approval or validation, no longer need my hand held or someone to give me a kick in my pants. From now on, the only validation and approval I need is my own, and I’ll be giving myself the motivational kicks in the pants when I need them.

    I’ve already drawn the lines you’ve talked about, I’ve already decided that Courage, Integrity, Honor and Nobility are 4 of the traits I’ve held in highest regard. I’m starting School agian in less then a month, and if all goes well, 9 years from now I’ll have accomplished my goal, and I’ll be a Doctor.

    Furthermore, your article hits the head right on the money. My father was always…. effeminate, and he has no goal other then to take care of his family. The rest of my family spend much of their time around him degrading him, particularly my Grandpa on my mother’s side. It’s been difficult trying to come into my own as a man, but this article of yours has laid it all down plain and simple.

    And I’m not going to be just a man. I am THE MAN! Buhahahahahaha!!!!

  33. Brian Kim Says:

    Mike,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I really appreciate it.

    It’s always great to see someone’s metamorphosis from their own words and I’m glad the article was able to help with that process.

    It seems you’ve embraced everything in the article and that you’ve broken free from the “cocoon” and I know that your life will never be the same again.

    You ARE THE MAN!

  34. Robert R. Says:

    Even if a father doesn’t taught his son “how to be masculine”, there is still no problem. I think that everything can be learned. You can learn from books, movies personal heroes or you can go to seminars.
    I think self confidence is the most important of all. If you’re not confident, then nothing else matters. And the good thing is, that self confidence can be learned. It just needs practice. And failure. But that’s the way it is. And that’s my personal opinion on this.

  35. Alvin Ooi Says:

    Brian,

    i am somewhat like Mike, he shared the same problem i faced and the same age. Basically, i am amazed as i read this article it made me stuck to it and upon reading it till the end i am very very happy i came to see your article it is amazing how you put it to be and how systematic u explain it out. i am going to print it out and start to learn to stand on my own and draw my line and have the courage to go all out and in the direction i myself want to walk on. simply amazing. i stumbled on your article first but it is just AWESOME!

    Brian you are the man~
    Thank you for such a great post!

  36. Brian Kim Says:

    Robert,

    Thanks for sharing your personal opinion. I really appreciate it!

    Alvin,

    You’re very welcome. I’m glad the article was able to help.

    And thank you very much for the kind words. I really appreciate that as well!

  37. Omarr Says:

    This is one of the best articles on manhood I’ve read. It inspires me and gives a true definition of manhood. I heard a man is courageous, provider for the family etc. My goal is to spend more time with my family. I don’t want to be engaged in work all the time. Thanks for the article. More men need to read it.

  38. Brian Kim Says:

    You’re very welcome Ommarr. I’m glad you’ve decided to spend more time with your family. It’s something not enough men do nowadays.

  39. Reader Success Story: Now That He Found What He Wants and Quit Holding Back From Pursuing It, “Life is Beautiful!!” » The Definitive Self Improvement Blog - BrianKim.net Says:

    […] How to Be A Man […]

  40. Ashim Says:

    Excellent article and great clarity of mind…

    i have one doubt…
    Wherever i look for the essence of masculinity, one point that is always mentioned is that ‘a man is capable of dominating’. Interestingly, domination per se has never been mentioned in this article. i invite your thoughts in this regard.

    Thank You.

  41. Brian Kim Says:

    Hi Ashim,

    You pose an interesting question that I think deserves an article rather than a comment. If I have time, I’ll think about it and compose an article on it.

Due to the 500+ articles and comments being left everyday on them, I no longer have the time to respond to each one so I have disabled the comments section. If you wish to comment on articles and interact with me and other readers, you may want to sign up for The BrianKim.net Inner Circle. Invites are only given once a month and you can get more information by signing up for the VIP Newsletter.

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