As men, we tend to look with respect at those who have achieved great feats ahead of us. There’s a recent meme that suggests young men “download the personality traits” of the cool guys they see in the cinema, using them as examples of how they should act and the perspective they should navigate the world through.
Yet it’s always true that the person you see on the screen isn’t even who the actor is in real life, so it’s always important to focus on authenticity more than anything else. But as a man’s natural inclination is to emulate the ideal and even pursue it, how do you balance those two considerations?
Well, it’s simpler than you might think. All you have to do is optimize the guy you are, as opposed to the guy you think you should be. This is a faith-based approach because it assumes that if you do enough for yourself to be the best man you could be, that’s the kind of man that is needed, and that will always be enough.
So, let’s consider how you can make real tangible steps in that direction. Hopefully, this advice can apply regardless of age:
Identify & Develop Your Core Values
It’s very helpful to identify and develop your core values as a man. If you can do that, then you always have a code you can live by and optimize according to that path. Perhaps you want to be more industrious, more curious about the world, or even pursue a noble path within the career you have, focusing on sustainability in your chosen passion and running a startup through that lens. When you have core values that mean something to you, you won’t have to compare your journey to anyone else’s, because you’ve already found that north star.
Improve What You Can, Accept What You Can’t
It’s always helpful to improve the little things you can. That might be as simple as working out and getting in shape, using a teeth whitening kit after building coffee stains, getting good haircuts, eating more healthily, and never neglecting good sleep. However, you could also accept what you may not be able to change such as the small imperfections you have. They texture you anyway and help you remain unique. There’s a reason the characters we most like in fiction are flawed, so don’t prevent yourself from expressing the same unique qualities.
Fit Your Own Mold
It’s good to fit your own mold. Doing so can help you avoid trying to emulate others. It will also help you avoid trying to be something you’re not. Perhaps you’re not the toughest guy in the world, but you’re witty, interesting, and you think you have a good heart. That’s more than enough, actually serving as great qualities to embody. Even men who are stoic and speak little can be the essential figureheads of a family, allowing their conscientiousness and sense of duty to speak for them. You’d be surprised of the qualities people can notice in you.
With this advice, you’re sure to optimize the guy you are, not force the guy you “could be”.