The 20 Rules of Manhood

Don’t seek it, look for it, or depend on it. Be open to the possibility of it.

14. Put your fucking phone down.

TV corrupted my generation, and now phones have taken that torch and, along with social media, are destroying the social experience. Life is about experience and relationships, this is where we’ll find meaning, learn valuable lessons, and love and laugh and live.

Life can’t exist within a text message or on a facebook wall. Pictures aren’t your life, they’re often a projection of what you want people to think is your life, but they’re not your life. Your life is what you do with the limited time you have. And more everyday, people are spending this time with their hands latched to their phone, eyes fixated, mesmerized, hanging on the possibility that their photo may get liked, their text may get responded to, or their message will be shared.

Man the fuck up! A man isn’t a slave to his technology, he uses it to do more, be more, and create more. Put your fucking phone down and experience this epic journey.

15. Be grateful.

Forget about being a real man, be grateful. Genuinely being grateful about life is one of the most important things you can practice on your road to becoming a man and a success. And yes I said practice.

Since implementing this into my routine, good things have formed in my life that either wouldn’t have otherwise, or I wouldn’t have recognized them as such had I not started doing this everyday.

That thing I’ve added to my routine is writing down 3 things that I’m grateful for. These 3 things are specific and genuine. They’re not the same 3 things everyday, and they can be very small things, moments, or gifts. Without this practice we tend to focus on what we don’t have in life rather than what we do. And what you’ll find after doing this exercise for a few weeks is that you have a lot more to be thankful for than you ever realized.

16. Never compare yourself to others.

Your success exists and occurs on its own paradigm and within its own timeline. It won’t occur in the exact same way as anyone else’s. It can only occur in relation to your actions, risks, and the breaks you get along the way.

As such, never compare your life, what you have, who you are, where you are, or what you’re building, to another person’s successes or failures. That’s not how life is supposed to work, and it’s an incredibly effective way to live an unhappy, unfulfilled life.

Set your goals in a personal manner, not in competition with other people, only in competition with yourself. Track those goals in the same way. While much of the meaning we can extract from life occurs due to the relationships we cultivate, we are who we make ourselves and who we perceive ourselves to be. The opinions of others don’t matter, nor do the accomplishments of others.

A man is his own man. His success in life isn’t dependent on what others think of him. Be the man that marches to his own beat.

17. Don’t blindly regurgitate knowledge.

The stupid man reads one book and feels he’s learned everything he needs to know. His opinions and worldview are now in tact. The wise man uses books and experiences to shape his own opinions. His thoughts may be founded on those who’ve come before him, but he agrees with them because he’s heard, read, and experienced each side of the problem.

Think critically. Don’t blindly follow. Learn and lead. A man is a leader. A leader is an original. He can’t be a copycat.

18. Stand by your values.john wayne

No matter what I say on this site, you won’t agree with 100% of it. And that’s a very good thing. Stick to your guns on those things you deem important and worth standing for. Know your values and stand by them. They may evolve, even change as you age, experience more, and grow into the man you’re already well on your way to becoming, that’s normal, but stand by those that you hold in the highest regard.

Does that mean you can’t work and coexist with people with different values than you have? Of course not. Here’s a credo I live by:

I’d rather have a man disagree with me, than agree with me and oppose his own values.

19. Love hardship.

Hardship is one of the greatest gifts we can receive. We never see it as such. We always see it as a curse. But think about it like this…

Most of our growth occurs when we’re forced to do more than we think we can do, dig ourselves out of the depths we’re in. Grit, one of the greatest attributes a man can possess is developed in pain, struggle, and circumstances that are less than ideal. Humility is created in failure and hardship, as is work ethic, and perspective.

Our honor is tested when things are going terribly, as is our character and the extent to which we’re willing to stand by our values and morals.

Sure, they’re also tested when things are going too good to be true, but it’s in hardship that we make ourselves, and find out what we can accomplish.

This part of the article is the most important and exciting for me to write. I’ve been in tough spots in my life, a life that is only still in its relative infancy. I’ve looked to others to blame. I’ve tried to find an easy way out. I’ve come to grips with what’s real and what are perceptions. And, I’ve learned to appreciate those hardships. I’ve learned to use those hardships to help me evolve, perfect my craft, and become a better man.

Now, on the other side of past hardships and of hardships that will surely come in the future, I don’t fear them. Sure, they suck, but they’re an important part of life that a man must appreciate and struggle through, not around, above, or underneath, but through.

20. Measure your success by your level of happiness.

When you take the acquiring of wealth out of how you measure and perceive success, you’re opening yourself up to a much happier, fulfilling life. You’ll also probably make more money because, as the evidence shows, happy people make more money than grumpy, worried, unhappy people do.

Surround yourself with people that make you happy. Put your family first – this is a must as a man, and something that will lead you to be a happier, more successful man in the long run. Spend the majority of your time doing shit that makes you happy. Doing those 3 things is a sure-fire route to happiness.

Parting Thoughts

For those that feel that there can be no guide to manhood, look at the state of men in our current society. While we’re filled with bright spots, with real men who understand everything that manhood entails, they’re the minority. The majority is a lazy mob who not only don’t understand the value of a dollar or of hard work, but don’t want to understand it. They’re content with mediocrity, ease, and failure.

So while you may claim that articles like this try and whittle what a man is down to a set of rules, laws, or numbers, this article – and articles like this – provide a service to men everywhere by reminding them of, or showing them for the first time, the characteristics and attributes that are prerequisites for manhood.

  • Jeffrey Patton

    Great article! It’s comforting to know that I’m on the right track. Not having a dad to look up to when I was young I substituted with my grandfather. You always hear that the WW2 generation was the greatest, I don’t know about that, but he showed me the value of hard work, commitment and being true to yourself.
    Thanks for this

    • No problem at all Jeffrey, glad you liked the article – and great last name…

      Be thankful that you had that male influence in your life – as I see you are. That’s cool. None of our fathers, grandfathers, or male influences growing up are perfect, but there’s always something that they can teach us about being a man.

  • Dylan Peterson

    Fantastic article yet again, man. I’ve been lucky enough to have a few people in my circle that think along these same lines, and I have to say it’s very motivating. Especially when you see the patterns of destruction taking place in our society today. I really like the idea of writing down 3 things that I am grateful for. I’ve never really been one to journal, though I have heard from many fine sources that it is a great habit to get into, so I will use that idea to get the habit started. Thanks, bud, keep on keepin’ on.

    • Get on it man. I highly recommend it. I have two journals, one for big ideas and one for day to day stuff. Both have helped a lot.

  • J H

    utter garbage. This is a manual for slaves, not men

    • Rule #21 – Never disrespect another man’s work when it’s clearly doing – and meant to do – good.

      Memorize that lesson. Each one of these “rules” gives you more freedom to be a better man. Not one of them is inhibiting in that adventure. Your attitude, however, is. Leave and don’t return.

    • Dylan Peterson

      I have to wonder what your reasons are. “That’s Stupid” isn’t really a quality argument to anything, ever. I would say the classic “keep your head down and do what you are told” is the mantra of slaves. “That’s stupid” is the mantra of slaves. Not that Chad needs any backing up, I just wonder what your premises are for your argument.

  • Victor Hugo Brito Fernandes

    I’m really happy I found your blog Mr Howse, it was the motivation I lacked to get my life going the right way. Congratulations on the good job!

  • minhaz

    Great article Chad! Kind of off topic but would you recommend training in a weighted vest considering I’m fairly strong and have never experienced joint discomfort? Appreciate it.

    • I love weighted vests. Grab one for sure, especially if you do a lot of bodyweight training and plyometrics.

  • “14. Put your fucking phone down.”

    Thank you!

  • Aj Smit

    Great article Chad. Similar to Jeffrey, but also different. My father is an emasculated man (an so his father) so I never really got taught “man things”. Through applying things like this and relentlessly striving towards an alpha male I will be overturning this cycle.

    • Hey man thanks for the comment. Just curious, why do you think your old man is emasculated? Or what makes him so?

  • Spence

    Man, there are so many times when I want to say “Put your fucking phone down!” to people I see. I have a phone that I use for calling people. Imagine, a piece of technology that allows you to call people! I think that we were doomed when phone companies made it possible to do things like playing games or checking Facebook.

    My parents are far more attached to their phones than me or my brother. Kinda funny… Anyway, I thought 14 was a good point.

    • That’s nuts man, my parents are the opposite, but I can’t stand it. People are addicted to those things – the downside of technology.

  • JM

    just wanted to say you’ re a great inspiration, man, really great! Your articles are being read in other continents. Best regards from Europe.

    • Thanks so much man! Glad you found the site.

  • 1000 lives, 1 soul

    I’m pretty sure that
    #1. If you have to read on how to be a man, you definitely aren’t one, and reading about it won’t change anything. You will only be acting as if you were a man only to fool yourself into believing that you are one.

    #2. There are approximately 0 ways of knowing what a man is. There are no so-called manuals or “This is what a man is” books in to determine so.

    #3. A man knows when he becomes a man. That’s the only possible way of knowing if he is. It isn’t some age set by law, rule, or religion; but by his actions and responsibilities. Some may never become men, and be stuck as guys or even boys.

  • Andy Blake

    Great article man,I really needed this today,feeling much better after reading it.

  • Stephen Coganator

    Good writing. Some I agree with, some I disagree with. A lot I want to incorporate into who I am already to become the man I want to be.

  • roc5kicker

    Great article Chad

  • Computer_Expert

    Wish I had this advice, 40 years ago!