When you’re a boy, it’s alright to do kid things. That’s what our childhood and teenage years are for.
But with each passing year, the line between “boy” and “man” is becoming blurred. We’re taking longer to move out, find steady jobs and get married. We delay the responsibilities of manhood to enjoy ourselves for longer.
This is fantastic. It’s great that we’re making the most of our lives, exploring all available options and challenging the status quo. But all these things only have value if you do them as a man – not as a boy.
Below are 5 ways to know you’re not a real man (yet). If any of them apply to you, make some changes to your life and start living with strength, dignity and manliness. It’s the best decision you’ll ever make.
1. You Blame
I was late to work because my stupid car wouldn’t start.
We went snowboarding last winter but the snowstorm ruined everything.
I hate my job; my boss always makes me run little errands for him, ugh.
I hear people say things like these every day, and I feel deeply confused each time. When did it become so acceptable to blame other people, random events and even inanimate objects for everything that’s wrong?
Everything you do in life is a personal choice. Even when forces beyond your control are at work, the way you react to them is 100% on you.
Late to work? Apologize and fix your car (or get a bus pass).
Snowstorm during your vacation? Find ways to have a good time, shit happens.
Don’t like getting coffee for your boss? Get a new job.
That’s it. If you don’t like something, either remove it from your life or find a way to accept it.
It’s fine to blame others when you’re a child. You don’t know much about life and, when things go wrong, it often is somebody else’s fault.
As a grown-ass man, you don’t have that kind of luxury. Everything you do is your personal choice and responsibility. Blame might make you feel better for a short while but is ultimately useless.
2. You Depend on Others
When I think “real man”, I think of someone who could wake up in a foreign country with nothing but the pants on his legs and find ways to survive and prosper.
This isn’t how most modern men are. They want to be coddled by their parents, then their girlfriends. They don’t have the hustle, emotional strength and overall wisdom to stand alone when push comes to shove.
This is a very weak state of mind to live in. The things you depend on control you. If want to stop being a boy, find ways to be independent in as many aspects of your life as possible.
3. You’re Not Being Yourself
From the happily ever after myth to the ads we see on T.V. screens every day, society does its best to train us to act, think and look a certain way.
On top of that, being a man means being challenged all the time. The women we want, our friends and society in general can be hard on us. It’s tempting to do whatever it takes to fit in and get left alone.
But like Helen Keller said, life is either a daring adventure or nothing. You can either be yourself or be a nobody with no flavor or personality; which is it gonna be?
Other people can think whatever they want: this is your life to live. Stand up and be your true, uninhibited self in everything you do if you want to call yourself a man.
4. You’re Not Taking Action
If you want to be successful, you’ve got to take relentless action. Timothy Ferris may have written the “4 hour work week”, but he’d never have gotten so far without busting his ass day in, day out to get what he wanted.
So throw away the idea that the good things in life come easy. The road to success is filled with hard work, sacrifice and relentless action. You’ll want to quit – often – but only those who keep a-truckin’ come out victorious.
So stop being complacent, stop procrastinating, stop blaming. Talk less and do more. Or, in simpler terms – buck the hell up and do whatever it takes.
5. You’re Irresponsible With Other People
As good as it is to be free, a man’s life is never fully his own. We have parents, girlfriends, wives, friends, children – and all of them are counting on us. Rising to their expectations while remaining true to yourself is what makes a real man.
If your parents raised you well, give back to them as they get older – and carry on their tradition with your own children (should you have any).
If someone’s counting on you – a girlfriend, a friend, a business partner – make good on their trust each and every time.
Like Spiderman’s uncle said, “with great power comes great responsibility.” I’m not telling you to be an altruist and live in a hippie commune. But if you’re real man, you need to step up when you’re needed by those who need you.
Not because you have to – because you can.
Ultimately we’re all children trying to find our way in this world. It’s okay to feel like a boy and do boy things; I try to do one silly, immature thing every week.
At the same time, you should always be ready to be a man when you – or someone important – needs you to step up.
So be brave. Be independent, honest and responsible. Be a real man.