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It seems to be the question “What does it mean to be a man?” is timeless, and it's a sure thing that no one can begin to answer it in one short post.

Activities and attributes of men vary by whom you ask; some say hard work, others say military service; playing football, bench press max at the gym, alcohol tolerance, and number of women bedded all come up as well. None of these completely sum up manhood, and more abstract conceptions of masculinity seem to evade most modern men completely. They were genuinely confused by yesterday’s conception of manhood, and I couldn’t really blame them; sensitivity’s victory over modern civilization is complete for the time being. Even using the word “manliness” will be laughed at if used seriously in many crowds.

Adventures

The modern man needs adventure like he needs air. It tugs at him from his very core, calling him to go. Go where? Somewhere, anywhere.

Adventure is a powerful catalyst for a man’s growth. It means going into the unknown, unexplored, undiscovered. It is the facing down of danger, uncertainty and unfamiliarity. It is a means of sharpening your awareness, your resourcefulness and your calm under pressure. Adventure grows nerve.

Notice how when you don’t go anywhere for a while, you start to feel bored, stagnant and repetitive. Even an otherwise interesting life can become a mundane routine without an occasional foray into the unknown. Adventure restores your relish for the quotidian and banal. And since life consists mostly of this day-to-day stuff, learning how to enjoy the little things is vital.

Take a trip to somewhere you’ve never been. Go alone. Book a ticket to another country and challenge the hell out of yourself. You’ll come back home brimming with life and renewed enthusiasm for your life goals. Works every time.

‘The Crew’

We have an inherent need to belong to a group of like-minded people and to jockey for status within that group. The higher the status we’re able to achieve, the better we feel things are going. There’s a reward mechanism in our emotional circuitry that sends us feel-good chemicals for ascending to the upper echelon of a worthwhile hierarchy.

Not only that, but a good crew supports you, encourages you and, equally as importantly, calls you out on your s@#t. They constantly keep you honest and they keep you hungry. Even if you’re an introvert, you’ll never feel whole without earning your place in a strong crew.

But pick your crew carefully. If you don’t, their pettiness, childishness and complacency will rub off on you. But if you pick well, the bonds you make and the warmth and inspiration of other, similarly driven people will keep you on the straight and narrow of responsible manhood. And you may develop friendships that will last a lifetime.

Holding Something

Ever hear that “money doesn’t buy happiness”? Well, it’s only semi-true. Money doesn’t buy happiness by itself, but it’s rare to meet a broke dude who has the ability to enjoy life the same way that a man with means can.

The idea that you can be broke and happy is a slap in the face to any guy who has ever been truly broke. The only enjoyable parts of being a bum are the lack of immediate responsibility and the prospect of building a new life the way you picture it.

It’s true that living in your cheap universe can satiate the need for avoiding exploring the rewards of life. But that excitement soon gives way to the realization that you’ve got to crawl out of a ditch and make something of yourself before life passes you by.

Money isn’t everything but it’s a lot. It gives you the ability to live according to your own terms. It’s not the end but it’s certainly the best means to a lot of your ends, whether it’s traveling, enjoying fine dining, indulging in your hobbies, and finding new interests.

Matt Parise also contributed to the post.

Chuck Holliday

Chuck Holliday is a television producer & showrunner, award-winning fashion photographer, and semi-conservative Native New Yorker.

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