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The Modern Gentleman’s Guide to a Life Well-Crafted

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What makes a man?

To quote William Horman, ‘Manners maketh man’. 

But this is more than your pleases and thank yous. What the 15th century English headmaster meant by this was that a person may be judged according to his behaviour towards other people.

And he alone is responsible for this – starting with his behaviour towards himself.

We’ve compiled the updated guide to what a man needs to implement in this day and age in order to consider himself a gentleman. Read on to craft your life like a true modern gentleman.

Be a Role Model

You don’t need to model yourself on someone else, celebrity or relative. You need to create in yourself someone worthy of being looked up to.

We could make an endless list of desirable qualities to have, but here are the most important ones.

  • Be ambitious. This is not in the sense of competitiveness. Rather, always strive to be better – to be the best version of yourself. This can be at work or in your personal life, as long as you don’t become complacent or settle for less than your potential.
  • Seek knowledge. Whether you are honing a hobby or growing in your career, always be curious and expand your world. The go-to in this regard is to travel and see the world, but if you can’t do that just yet, look a bit closer. Read books, meet new people – broaden your horizons from wherever you are.
  • Be punctual. Punctuality is a symbol of respect. Use it as a tool to show those around you that you do not think your time is any more valuable than theirs. Show up on time, every time, and you will be seen as more than punctual – you will be seen as reliable.
  • Be polite. Remember, being polite does not mean becoming a yes man who does not have a backbone. There is always a way to say your point, assertively, without being rude.
  • Listen more than your talk. Again, this does not mean that you have nothing to say. But by listening first and fully understanding what others are meaning, you will filter out what you absolutely have to say and what has no worth in being said.
  • Be a leader that follows. You don’t have to be at the front or on a podium to lead. You don’t even have to be in a leadership position to lead. Leading is done by example. A good follower is as good a leader; and a good leader is one that can put his ego aside to follow anyone who knows better than him.

Always practise self-awareness

Self-awareness is a practice that works from the inside out. 

Inside

Mental health is more important than ever. But, unfortunately, many men have grown up with the false belief that they should not be experiencing, let alone showing, their emotions. Bottling a myriad of feelings like this results in explosions and unhealthy coping mechanisms.
But being aware of what you are feeling – be that by practising mindfulness or opening up to those closest to you – allows you to experience all emotions, the good and the bad, in a healthy way.

It’s okay to be vulnerable. It takes strength to show weakness. Crying is a natural bodily function. And aggression can be controlled.
Happiness is beautiful – to see and to feel. Love is precious, and meant to be cherished by all. And you have it all around you. All you have to do is see it.

Outside

The way you look and carry yourself tells others so much about you – all before you even open your mouth to introduce yourself.

Don’t worry, fashion is not as complicated as it used to be, despite all the many dress rules and fashion faux pas you can read about online daily.

Today, fashion is simple – as simple as wearing whatever you want with complete confidence and care. 

Fashion is taking the time and care to wash your face, consider some kind of skincare routine, cut your nails and set your hair the way you like it – because when you feel that you are well put-together, it shows. 

So show off your inner Harry Styles or Kid Cudi and wear a dress if you like. Pair it with boat shoes or pair it with a heel. If you are confident in what you are wearing, you are in vogue.

Harry Styles And Kid Cudi Dress
From Left: Kid Cudi SNL Performance and Harry Styles Dec 2020 Vogue Cover | Images from manenough.com

Nurture your relationships 

Your most important relationship is with yourself. Without first taking care of that, the others don’t stand a chance.

But once you’ve decided to treat yourself with the kindness you deserve, here is what you should look at next:

  • Curate your friend circle. If the people you are spending your time with are not good for you, practise that self-awareness we spoke about earlier and maintain some distance.
  • Be a good partner. We are all looking for the perfect partner, but you also need to be the perfect partner if that’s what you expect from someone else. But let’s be honest – no one is perfect. So work on your relationship with your significant other and build something special that includes respect, equality, friendship and, of course, love.
  • Know your effect on others. The key is to make those around you feel comfortable enough to be themselves. Jokes are fun, but not if they’re at someone else’s expense. Look out for the little guy, even if it’s a new work acquaintance, and ensure that your presence is meaningful in any room you walk into.

If we were to summarise this guide into just a few words, it would be this: 

The modern gentleman is one that practises respect. He is someone that cares – about himself, those around him, and his environment.

And he is inside every man who has the heart and grit to craft his life like a true gentleman.