What’s the point of being a father, when most family men are fat and broke and f-cking exhausted?
Why chase money, when most rich guys have had more ex-wives than you’ve had hot meals?
Why spend all day in the gym, when most gym bros can’t walk past a mirror without staring at themselves?
It’s hard to find examples of men who have it all.
Often the most impressive men, with the most money or the best bodies or the most friends, are significantly lacking in some other critical area.
What makes truly great men great? What does a man who has it all really look like?
This article will explain the 7 characteristics of a well-rounded man.
Common misconceptions about well-rounded men
In my research, I came across all kinds of wild advice.
Spend time in museums and art galleries.
Take plenty of vacations.
Eat different cuisines.
This is not what I was expecting
These kinds of activities have their place, but there’s a difference between being well-rounded and having a pleasant and balanced life.
Balance is all about not overexerting yourself. You can enjoy your brunches, and your volleyball, and your museums.
You can get to a respectable level of material success, and take plenty of time to enjoy what you’ve built.
It’s a pretty good life, all things considered.
To become a truly well-rounded man is far more difficult.
Very few men even come close.
Getting any skill to a high level is hard. Getting all the essential skills to a high level simultaneously is damn near impossible.
If you’re going to do it, you’ll need to understand what is truly important.
What characteristics, ultimately, make a man well-rounded?
What makes a well-rounded man
- Well-rounded men are financially literate
- Well-rounded men are physically capable
- Well-rounded men learn constantly
- Well-rounded men are well connected
- Well-rounded men prioritize family and relationships
- Well-rounded men embrace challenge and discipline
- Well-rounded men have a strong sense of right and wrong.
Well-rounded men are financially literate
First and foremost, man must provide.
In this day and age, the ability to provide is tied to the ability to make, keep and spend money wisely.
There’s no limit to how much money 1 man can make, but being good with money doesn’t require you to be some billionaire. This isn’t about money for the sake of money.
Here’s what being financially literate really looks like:
You aren’t making the obvious mistakes.
You don’t have bad debt, you don’t overspend your income, and you don’t buy lottery tickets and get-rich-quick schemes. You don’t invest in things without knowing what they are, you don’t avoid looking at your bank balance to make yourself feel better, and you don’t live your life 1 missed paycheck away from being on the street.
The first step of financial literacy is to stop being stupid, basically. Stop shutting your eyes and throwing your money everywhere.
You understand how money works
The second stage of financial literacy is learning how money works.
When you’ve spent some time learning the ins and outs of finance, you will be far better at holding on to the money that comes your way.
You’ll understand what the banks do, how investing works, and how the central bank controls the money supply.
You’ll know about inflation and interest rates, and the different ways that the government taxes your income.
You’ll understand how they get you.
If the economy tanked for some reason, you’ll understand how it happened and how best to respond.
You make money
Knowing about money only gets you so far. The third stage of financial literacy is actually making it.
You gotta get money.
Every man understands this intuitively.
If you can’t provide, then you’ll have to be provided for.
How much money do you need? Enough. You need enough money.
When you have enough money, you can give your family a life that fulfills them. You can get your friends out of trouble. You are capable of really helping people.
When you have enough money, you don’t have to call someone else “boss”.
You’re a grown-ass man. Who is your boss?
When you have enough money, You can decide what needs to be done. If your wife gets cancer, you can spend 6 weeks in the hospital holding her hand. You don’t have to be anywhere, and you don’t have to check with anyone that it’s ok.
Money, ultimately, is freedom. It’s freedom for you, and it’s freedom for the people around you.
This freedom makes financial literacy such an essential skill to obtain.
Well-rounded men are physically capable
Sure, men must provide. But men also must protect.
For most of history, this wasn’t something that needed to be explained to people.
The world was a dangerous and hostile place.
Early homo sapiens ate each other. Literally.
In ancient Sparta, all men were soldiers. Boys were trained to be warriors from the day they were born.
In the last century, the whole world went to war.
1970-1999 was dubbed the golden age of serial murder.
Hopefully, you see my point.
The world is hostile.
The good news is, that we’ve made some great progress. The united nations, forensic science, advancements in technology, and political reform have all played their part in making the 2020’s some of the safest times we’ve ever experienced.
One drawback of these largely positive changes is that what used to be obvious and intuitive is for the first time being questioned.
Physical brawl is less necessary for survival today. Most work is brain work. Is it intelligent to invest time and energy into maintaining physical strength?
The world is getting safer and safer for the most part. Criminals are more often convicted now. Do men still need to take it upon themselves to protect their women and families?
The answer is yes. 100% yes. Modern men are still men, after all.
Men need to protect their loved ones. The police are great don’t get me wrong, but they won’t always be there. No woman wants to be with a man who can’t keep her safe.
Well-rounded men need to be generally capable. Capable of lifting things, and fixing things, and running and jumping and swimming.
You need to be strong. You’re a man. It’s really that simple.
Well-rounded men learn constantly
If your 8-year-old son doesn’t want to go to class one day, what do you do?
You throw the little f-cker in the car and you take him to class.
It’s for his own good. He needs to learn! Look at him!
He doesn’t know the first thing about the first thing.
How’s he ever going to make anything of himself off the strength of his kindergarten education?
We all understand what knowledge can do for us. And yet for most, the rate of learning quickly tails off as people get settled into their careers.
Almost everything you know about math, history, and literature, you learned when you were a teenager.
How could that possibly be an effective way to live a life?
Here’s what Charlie Munger, a billionaire investor/polymath, had to say on the matter.
“In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area) who didn’t read all the time – none, zero.”
Why don’t people constantly learn throughout their life?
Part of the problem is systemic.
The modern education system was originally designed to produce factory workers that were “punctual, docile, and sober” during the industrial revolution.
Someone had to teach the working class to read, write, and get in line.
Schools have come a long way. But there are still aspects of schooling that discourage kids from thinking for themselves.
Kids have to sit, quietly, for 7 hours per day. They have to put their hand up to go to the bathroom. They cannot speak unless they are spoken to. The whole system is designed to foster conformity.
As soon as you graduate and someone stops feeding you information, you stop learning. You put your head down and join the workforce. You’re like a comfortable, well-paid slave.
You could argue that the system needs to change, but you won’t get very far in life if you sit around waiting for corrupt systems to change. You must take responsibility for your own knowledge.
A well-rounded man is an avid reader, who takes it upon himself to constantly learn and develop his skills.
Well-rounded men are well connected
No matter how much you learn, or how capable you think you are, ultimately there will be times in life when you’ll need to pick up the phone.
A well-rounded man has access to a network of capable individuals, that he can call at any time of the day.
There’s a real skill to building this kind of influence. No one likes to feel like they’re being taken advantage of.
With the rise of the internet, the idea of a network has been cheapened.
People talk about LinkedIn, networking events, and social media followers.
But no one’s gonna pick you up in the middle of the night at a moment’s notice, because you connected with them on LinkedIn.
Most networking is shallow and for show. It’s 1 more thing people like to do to feel like they’re making progress. When you see networking, you can usually read wasting time shaking hands with other people not working.
How to build a serious network
So how do you build a real network? How do you get yourself to a point where you’ve got a phone full of winners ready to go out of their way for you at a moment’s notice?
- Winners make friends
The first thing to understand is that strong men want friends who are strong. If you want a network full of capable men with plenty to offer, you must first ensure that you are a capable man with something to offer.
The single greatest thing that you can do for your network, then, is to work on yourself. Build your business. Level up in your career. Improve your dating life. Build your body.
You must become notable in some way.
You have to have some useful experience doing something.
Without this, building any kind of network is going to be an uphill battle.
- People will always reciprocate
A network is useful because of how it can help you. But that doesn’t mean that it’s all about you.
The way to make sure that people will always jump to get you out of trouble is to bring these people value first.
We all have friends that we would do anything for. Typically these are people that we are grateful for knowing, because of what they have given us materially and emotionally over the years.
Be that person for the people in your network.
- Be intentional, even ruthless
People don’t like the idea that there are winners and losers in this world.
Some of us will always find a way to be successful, and some of us are all talk.
I don’t make the rules.
You don’t have to go around shouting about who you think won’t amount to anything, but make sure you aren’t naive about how the world works.
Identify interesting people, and bring them value. Identify losers, and avoid them. Do this again, and again, and make sure that you are pursuing your own goals first and foremost.
Eventually, your whole team will be nothing but savages.
Well-rounded men prioritize family and relationships
So far, it’s all been a bit red pill. Get money, get connections, all that James Bond sh-t.
Relationships and family are where so many high-achieving men stumble.
Some of the most remarkable men of our time are unable to maintain any kind of marriage or relationship with their kids. It’s wild.
This is a huge mistake. You can have all the money you want – without a family, there will be a void in your life that nothing else can fill.
Why are family and relationships so non-negotiable?
“Money only solves money problems—
Then you’re left with problems money can’t solve.”Alex Hormozi
When you’re broke, all you can think about is making money. You cannot imagine anything more important than becoming wealthy and freeing yourself from your 9-5.
But as you acquire wealth, the marginal fulfillment that money provides decreases.
Once you have enough, by your own standards, what’s another million really going to do for you?
The same concept applies to getting in shape. Without it, you’re screwed. You lie awake at night ashamed of your own weakness. But once you look good, feel good, and can protect your family, what’s the point of another lb of muscle?
A man has multiple needs. And besides survival, perhaps the most urgent need of them all is the need to produce offspring and pass down his DNA.
You might consider yourself an entrepreneur, an athlete, or a man with connections.
But before all of that, you are a Homosapien.
This isn’t self-development or business advice. This is human biology.
A stable family setup benefits your character, too
Raising kids involves growing up and getting your sh-t together.
It involves leading by example.
It requires that you think beyond yourself.
Right now you’re most likely a young man full of ambition and energy.
You’re trying to get your ass paid.
As you get older, you will begin to realize just how crucial family is to your overall well-being and fulfillment.
By all means, do your thing, but make sure you don’t forget what really matters.
Well-rounded men embrace challenge and discipline
“Success is not a matter of mastering subtle, sophisticated theory but rather of embracing common sense with uncommon levels of discipline and persistence.”
There are no secrets to being a winner.
Make money. Be smart. Get physically strong. Be good to your family and friends.
Why then, simple as it is, are so few men performing at a high level?
Applying your intellectual understanding requires discipline. And discipline doesn’t care about how much you know.
Discipline is all about how much you are willing to suffer.
As humans, we love the path of least resistance. We are evolutionarily adapted to conserve energy.
The trait that drove us to develop farming and invent the wheel, is the trait that urges us to avoid anything uncomfortable.
This is devastating and amazing.
Devastating, because we are all working against ourselves. Your brain will lead you down a self-destructive path of mediocrity and apathy. Many men will leave this world having never come anywhere close to achieving their potential.
Amazing, because of the opportunity that this presents. You don’t have to be the smartest man around to be the most successful. Most men are out here sabotaging themselves. If you can control your impulses and become disciplined, you can quickly out accomplish the majority of the population.
Theodore Roosevelt taught the virtues of a strenuous life. He understood that in discipline and embracing challenge, man could achieve the highest forms of success.
“I wish to preach, not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the doctrine of the strenuous life, the life of toil and effort, of labor and strife; to preach that highest form of success which comes, not to the man who desires mere easy peace, but to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph.”
Well-rounded men have a strong sense of right and wrong
A man with money, influence, and physical strength is a man with serious power.
But power is not enough. Hitler had power. Politicians and drug dealers have power.
A well-rounded man has a strong sense of right and wrong. He will not betray his own conscience.
When a man maintains his integrity and makes it his mission to do the right thing, he leaves the world in a better state than he found it. He justifies the privileges that he has and the sacrifices that have been made for his benefit.
This isn’t about following the law. This has nothing to do with any legal system.
This is about knowing that you’re the kind of man that will do the right thing. You are a genuine force for good. You don’t have to deceive yourself just to get to sleep at night.
With a strong conscience, people will trust you because they’ll know you can be trusted.
You will avoid the various traps that people with material success fall into.
You will be able to become the kind of man that your friends and family can be proud to know.
A sure sense of right and wrong is invaluable.