How To Be a Man: How Boys Turn into Men 

Learning how to be a man is an essential part of every man’s life. 

masculine men are becoming more and more of a rarity in our modern world, and this is a bad thing for both men and the world as a whole.  

Moreover, without the right information or proper role models, learning how to become a man is nigh impossible.  

Read on to find out how to be a man. 

What Does it Mean to Be a Man? 

What does it mean to be a man? This is a question that has been asked almost for as long as humans have been around.  

It’s also a question that has become somewhat controversial in recent years. 

While there isn’t a certain list of rules that men have to follow in order to be considered a man, there are a few universal qualities that all men possess.  

Starting with the most obvious; there’s physical strength.  

Being physically strong can allow men to provide more utility to their loved ones and their community, and it also allows them to better protect themselves and their families.

However, physical strength is just one of the many qualities a man should possess.  

Something that is even more important than physical strength is wisdom.  

Being wise and knowing what is right and wrong is an essential part of being a good man, and without it, we are reduced to little more than apes.  

There’s also doing what needs to be done, no matter how it may feel.  

This is a trait that is universally admired in strong men – it is why the hero who sacrifices himself to save the world is the quintessential protagonist that is featured in almost every story.  

In real life, this simply looks like working long hours to provide for your family, or it could mean being strict with children even though it doesn’t feel good to make them grow to be good people.  

These are but a few of the many traits that men should possess, and we are going to talk about many more in this article.  

However, perhaps more importantly than knowing what a man is is what it isn’t. 

Someone who treats others terribly or is always looking to start fights is not a man. 

In almost all cases, these are just people who are insecure.  

This is why you often see weaker people being the loudest – it is a way of overcompensating for their smaller stature.  

A man should be a protector, not an aggressor.  

You should be fully capable of protecting yourself and those around you, but you should try everything in your power to resolve a situation without violence if possible.  

Wanting to hurt other people is certainly not masculine – it is just insecurity parading as confidence. 

With all that being said, let’s dive deeper into what it means to be a man.  

Undergo a Big Challenge or a “Coming of Age Trial”  

a vector image of a man pushing a boulder up a hill - it is the second image of the article "how to be a man"

In most past societies and civilisations, there were rituals or challenges that boys had to face in order to be deemed men.  

These rituals were incredibly important – not only did it symbolise that a man is strong enough to endure pain or hardship, but it also made the men realise what they were capable of. 

This is something that is notably absent in our society.  

Modern life is extremely easy, and this means that we ourselves have no true idea of how strong we are. 

This quote puts it perfectly:  

“Hard times create strong men, strong men create good times, good times create weak men, and weak men create hard times”

– G. Michael Hopf 

This is why we need to seek out challenge and create hard times for ourselves. 

While what you choose to do is completely up to you, it should be something you are afraid of. 

This could be camping in the woods by yourself for a few days, getting a tattoo, finally passing your driving test if you found it difficult, participating in a boxing match – the list is endless. 

There is no wrong answer to this.  

As long as you are afraid of something and it will require you to grow as a person, you can’t go wrong.  

This is what turns boys into men. 

Improving Yourself Internally 

As we said before, physicality is far from the only thing that makes a man. In fact, the true measure of a man is how he thinks and acts.

As a man, you should do everything in your power to become wiser, calmer, stronger, and more grounded.  

This can be done by reading books, mediating, studying stoic philosophy, as well as valuing independence and sticking to a certain code, such as never breaking a promise. 

The latter part of this is of particular importance – having a code should be essential for every man as it shapes the way you think and act.  

For example, two rules that we believe absolutely every man should live by are sticking to promises and always being honest. 

Sticking to these rules will be difficult at times – it may even put us in some bad situations.  

However, this is where true growth is.  

Nobody respects the man that doesn’t stick to his word or who lies all the time. 

You shouldn’t only do these things to “become more of a man”, you should do them for yourself.  

By sticking to a code, you trust yourself more.  

You will be more grounded, and you know that you will always stick to things when you say you are going to do them. 

This is going to help you so much throughout your entire life, and it will quite literally change you as a person for the better. 

It’s also a good idea to learn some practical skills – the more useful a man is, the better.  

For easy returns, here are some of the internal things you should do to improve yourself:  

  • Read books 
  • Study stoic philosophy  
  • Meditate  
  • Learn skills 
  • Stick to things 
  • Never break a promise 
  • Do things on your own (develop independence) 

Improving Yourself Externally 

While making internal changes is an essential part of the picture when it comes to how to be a man, that’s not to say that taking care of your external affairs isn’t also important.  

Simple things like hitting the gym and trying to get stronger, doing small DIY tasks around the house, eating healthily, and getting out of our comfort zones can all make us better men, and you should be doing as many of the aforementioned activities as you can.  

That’s not to say you are less of a man if you are bad at DIY or have a lower bench press than someone else.  

You shouldn’t compare yourself to other people – as long as you are taking steps to improve, this is all that matters.  

These are a few of the things you can do to improve yourself externally: 

  • Hit the gym  
  • Learn a martial art 
  • Do small DIY tasks 
  • Get out of your comfort zone 
  • Socialise  
  • Keep your home/room tidy 
  • Eat healthily  

Thinking Beyond Yourself 

Improving ourselves and becoming better men is all well and good – but who are we doing it for, and why? 

The answer is to help other people. 

Finding meaning in life is of astronomical importance, and the primary purpose for humans is to help one another. 

We are social beings – can you imagine a world where we decided the prosperity of humanity was not the most important goal? 

That goes without mentioning the many benefits that come from thinking beyond ourselves – studies have shown that people who regularly volunteer experience greater life satisfaction and have less stress and anxiety. 

As men, we should do as much as we can to help those around us as well as our local communities. 

Here are a few ways we can help others:    

  • Donate to charities 
  • Be kind to others  
  • Try to make the world a better place 
  • Volunteer 
  • Help people who are in need  

The Qualities of Masculinity 

While there are no set criteria for what makes a man, there are a plethora of qualities that all men should possess. 

In this section, we will explore what qualities make a man and why they are so important.   

Honesty With Yourself  

The first quality that is absolutely necessary for every man is honesty with oneself.  

If we are unable to admit to ourselves when we make a mistake or willingly lean into a lie to avoid doing something, it is almost impossible to make progress. 

Embrace mistakes and failure.  

If we do not admit when we make a mistake, we cannot make the necessary changes to get back on the right track.  

Anyone who deceives themselves or cannot admit when they are wrong is no man.  

Honesty With Others 

Staying on the topic of honesty; being honest with others is also incredibly important.  

While lying may allow us to get out of a bad situation or please someone, the consequences that come from lying are always worse than being honest. 

On top of this, if you lie, no one will trust you. 

Everyone knows that one person who lies all the time – would you trust this individual with something important?  

You do not want to be this person.  

Even when it is tough or feels wrong, you need to be honest. 

If you take one thing from this article, it should be that you should NEVER lie. It doesn’t matter what the situation may be.  


Strength, both mental and physical, is an extremely important trait for men.  

Without strength, we would be unable to stand up to those who want to harm us and our loved ones.  

Hopefully, you never have to protect yourself or your family, but it is always better to have the capability.  

This quote explains this perfectly:  

“It is better to be a warrior in a garden, than a gardener in a war.”

 – Miyamoto Musashi 


Utility is just a measure of how useful we are. 

If we have a ton of skills, are knowledgeable, and are physically strong, we will be of much more use to those around us and the world. 

The value of any individual is directly correlated to how much utility they bring to the world (we don’t mean intrinsic value, but tangible value). 

The more capable you are, the better.  


Wisdom is not usually something that is brought up in the conversation when it comes to how to be a man, but we would argue that it is one of the most important qualities.  

Without wisdom, we do not properly know how to direct our strength and knowledge. 

It’s also just worth mentioning that a man who is both strong and wise is a force to be reckoned with – people like this are impenetrable.

“The Society that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools.”

– Thucydides 


Responsibility is huge for men.  

Most men tend to shy away from responsibility in the modern day and age, and this does make sense at a glance.  

Having less responsibility means having more freedom, and it also means you have less to worry about.  

This is true. However, it’s also missing a big part of the picture. 

Responsibility gives us meaning.  

As men, if we do not have any responsibility, we will be reduced to weak, fragile people.  

It also makes us grow. Having things to take care of other than ourselves makes us stronger and better. 

Men NEED responsibility in order to thrive.  


When you first think of the qualities that make a man, compassion is likely not the first that comes to mind.  

However, compassion is something that can break or make a man. 

Think about it – who is more masculine in a war film; the man who risks his life to save hundreds of innocents or the man who leaves them because he simply doesn’t care? 

This is obviously an extreme example, but you get the point.  

Being compassionate is an essential quality that all men should strive to possess. 

You should never want to hurt someone. 


Courage is perhaps the quintessential quality that is associated with masculinity.  

However, there is a misconception about courage that most people get wrong.  

Courage is not a lack of fear. Courage is doing something despite fear.  

Courage is what allows men to go to war even though they are petrified of what’s to come, and it is what makes fathers get in front of their families when there is a threat. 

This trait has played an integral role in keeping us alive throughout all the trying times humans have faced, and without courage, malevolent people would have free reign to do whatever they like.


Yet again, discipline is another quality that is vital for a man.  

In fact, this is much more so the case than most of the other qualities in this list. 

Think about it – if a woman is undisciplined, it would just be seen as quirky or deemed as laziness. 

However, when it’s a man, the impact of being undisciplined is much worse – it can even seem a little pathetic.  

A man who isn’t disciplined is just a boy who has gotten older. 

Discipline is what allows us to get stuff done, and without it, we will never achieve anything of worth.  

Discipline is a special trait that deserves your utmost respect.  

If you lack discipline, you need to set about rectifying this immediately.  


While physical strength is important for men, it doesn’t necessarily translate into overall fitness. 

In fact, taken to the extreme, prioritising strength can even worsen one’s health quite dramatically. 

This is where fitness comes in. 

Keeping our bodies in good condition allows us to deal with anything we come up against – once again, this makes us more useful both to ourselves and to the people around us. 

It also drastically reduces the chances of a ton of different medical issues, meaning you will be much healthier and are more likely to live to an old age.  


Pride and ego are the enemy. 

People with huge egos or a ton of pride are often laughed at behind closed doors, and while having a big ego may feel good at the time, there are way more negatives than positives. 

This is why humility is so important.  

Without humility, men will become prideful, egotistical, and much weaker mentally.  

Humility is especially important once you start improving yourself. 

It is not uncommon for people to get a big ego boost once they start taking steps to become better men – they may even begin to think they are better than everyone.  

This isn’t the case. 

It is important to understand that you are not better than anyone.  

This even applies to people who you may consider to be “weak” or “unmasculine”.  

You should also never strive to improve yourself to be “better than other people”. 

Do it for yourself and to help others.  

If you lack humility, you will make life much more difficult for yourself. 


Every man should have a goal.  

Whether it be to start a business, become the world’s best sprinter, travel the world, or build a log cabin deep in the woods, having a vision is vital for fulfilment and meaning.  

Your vision should be a picture of what you would like your ideal future to look like – what do you want to do with your life? 

Bonus points if you can also help others along the way. 


Stoicism is the trait that allows men to do the right thing even when it doesn’t feel right.  

Telling off a child, standing up for oneself, staying strong and being the rock when a family member dies – these are all scenarios that require stoicism.  

In some situations, you just have to push your feelings to one side and focus on the task at hand. 

Who would you want if you had a medical emergency; the man that faints at the sight of blood or the man who calmly puts a gauge around your wound and rings an ambulance?  

The answer is obvious. 

Stoicism is going to help you in so many different aspects of life, and on top of helping others, it will make you less stressed, stronger, and more grounded. 


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In this section, we will take a look at some tips that can help you become a better man.  

We will split these tips up into four sections; mind, body, spirit, and love.  


It is vital that you do not only focus on the physical aspects of masculinity and forget about your mind.  

While physicality is great, it is nothing without a good mind guiding it.  

This means not only trying to develop all of the qualities we have mentioned in this article, but also managing stress, anxiety, and depression. 

Fortunately, many of the activities we listed in the improving yourself section also help to reduce mental ailments too, so this should be less of a problem than it was before. 

However, you should never hesitate to get help if you feel like anxiety or stress is holding you back.  

Developing your mind will make your whole life better.  

Whether it be through reading about stoicism, mediating, or never breaking a promise, you should take developing your mind incredibly seriously.  


While the desire to improve our bodies is great, it means nothing if we do not know how to do it. 

As we said earlier, hitting the gym is the best way to improve your body; but if you do not know how to eat to build muscle, all of your effort will have been wasted. 

Luckily, the whole thing is pretty simple.  

To build muscle, you need to eat in a caloric surplus and consume a lot of protein. 

A calorie surplus simply means eating more than your maintenance calories, and you can find this out by going online and inputting your details into an online calorie calculator.  

Apart from this, just make sure you eat healthily and drink a lot of water. 

Hitting the gym and being healthy are of tremendous importance – you should take every step you can to improve your health.  


Spirit often gets a bad rep – I mean, it is most likely a made-up concept that stems from religion, right? (No disrespect if you are religious – more power to you). 

While this may be true, viewing spirit as another component of yourself does have some benefits.  

The best way to look at spirit is to look it as the theory of what happens to you upon death. 

Many men fear death, and this comes as no surprise now that it is never talked about – talking about death in our society is almost taboo. 

However, you should not view death as a bad thing. 

While the thought of dying may be scary, that’s not to say your thoughts reflect that of real life. 

Many people die pain-free and happy, and even those that don’t are quickly sedated by modern medications. 

It’s also worth noting that death is necessary for the world, and without it, overpopulation, disease, and famine would run rampant.  

 Death is just something that is out of our control, and for this reason, we shouldn’t fear it. 


It can be hard to love people.  

People can do horrible things, and that goes without mentioning the variety of unfavourable things people do on a regular basis. 

However, despite this, you should still try to love other people.  

Most people make mistakes out of ignorance, not out of malice.  

You should try to look at everyone as your brother and sister and realise that every person in this world is a part of a very distant family.  

The world is our city, and its people are our neighbours.  

Of course, we are not saying you should love everyone as if they were a close family member – this would be a little strange. 

However, you should look out for people and have their best interests at heart.  


Before we leave you, there are a few things you should know before applying everything we have spoken about in this article.  

We would just like to reiterate and stress how important it is to stay grounded.  

Once you begin improving yourself and start to notice positive change, you may be deluded into getting a sense of ego.  

This is not good – not for you or for those around you.  

You don’t want to be going around telling everyone “how to man up” just because you started hitting the gym and reading about stoicism. 

There is so much more to being a man than this, and in reality, becoming a man just takes time and experience.  

Even so; you should never belittle anyone or put anyone down.  

Another thing that we would like to mention is that you should not be ashamed of your masculinity. 

For one reason or another, many men almost feel bad to express their masculine side by getting stronger or becoming more stoic.  

This shouldn’t be the case, and if anyone tells you that it should be, then they probably aren’t worth your time.  

Lastly, becoming more masculine is possible for anyone, but it will take some time. 

Do not expect to become the definition of a man overnight. 

It’s going to take time and a ton of work on your end, and in some cases, the only way you can truly learn things is through life experience.

How To Be a Man – FAQs 

How To Man Up? 

To man up, you need to start being honest, do what needs to be done, develop a stoic mindset, pursue wisdom, and gain physical strength.  

Manning up also means setting aside your fears and worries and looking after your loved ones.  

What Makes a Man? 

A man is strong, both mentally and physically, and does everything he can to protect those around him.  

A man also always strives to do the right thing and tries to make society a better place.  

How To Become a Man?  

To become a man, you need to work on yourself both mentally and physically.  

This means developing traits like courage, compassion, and mental strength through reading and experience, and also developing physical strength by doing strenuous work or hitting the gym. 

We hope this article will be helpful to you. 

Very few people know what makes a man in our current world, and it goes without saying that we are currently experiencing somewhat of a masculinity crisis.  

Men and masculinity are so important to the proper functioning of society, and it is no wonder that so many men are anxious and depressed – we have not been taught how to live.  

By following everything we have said in this article, you will improve your life as well as the lives of the people around you.  

 If you would like to get access to more self-improvement content, don’t hesitate to check out the rest of our articles at MovingForwards.  

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