When you first think of a high-value man you should be able to form a pretty quick image of a man who fits the bill.
Maybe it’s your father, an uncle, a movie star, or even an athlete.
They’re almost always good-looking, masculine, and wealthy. The type of guy who you sort of resent but deep down wish you could swap places with. Just to see what it’s like. The type of man who lives on their own terms and has enough money to buy all of his favorite cars.
It’s guys like Richard Cooper, Connor McGregor, Mark Wahlberg, or Greg Gallagher. Even the Aussie guy behind the RealSolBrah Instagram account makes the cut.
These guys aren’t necessarily young, but they’re jacked, wealthy, driven, and most of all - they live life on their own terms. Which is what makes them of high value.
It’s important to distinguish the difference between alpha and high-value. Alpha men are usually at the top of the sexual hierarchy. Maybe they’re jacked or wealthy or famous. But not necessarily all three.
High-value men are outliers in this sense. Not only are they alpha, but they’re also well-rounded in all other aspects of their life.
In this article, I’ll identify traits that make a high-value man and how to achieve them. I’ll do so with reference to basic psychology and wisdom from some of the greatest men to share it.
It’s rare to see high-value men under the age of thirty. This isn’t surprising because it’s not something you can manifest overnight. It takes years of grinding, mistakes, life experiences, commitment, and adherence to your values.
It’s important to note that everything is in the setup.
Don’t believe me?
You can’t wake up one day and suddenly be wise, wealthy, jacked, and attractive. You need a plan and you need to spend years working towards it with deep intention. It’s a lot of work but the beauty is that your efforts compound over time.
Making small improvements each day and sticking to positive habits is the only way you can become a true man of value. Your belief system, ability to unplug, and commitment will determine how far you get with this.
Qualities of a high-value man
1. Self Respect
The first trait of a high-value man is self-respect.
There’s no point trying to become a high-value man if you do not have any self-esteem.
Put simply - it’s the trait of valuing and respecting yourself in a positive way.
Oftentimes this can be really difficult. Men are not taught to appreciate themselves, and depending on their childhood experiences it can be an uphill battle.
Younger guys are still trying to find their feet so it’s easy to get disheartened when comparing themselves to the older guys.
However, it’s a foundational step that is necessary to improve your life. Without having self-respect you won’t be able to be ruthlessly committed to your purpose.
Self-respect is critical for men because it shapes the rest of their life. Men with self-respect aren’t obese, getting drunk on the weekends, waking up late for work, or putting off their business tasks. They’re committed to their craft and the improvement of their life. Not just for themselves but for the people they care about.
Be your own best friend and truly value who you are as a man - it will pay off.
The transformation of David Goggins from broke, unhappy, and overweight to a Navy Seal and Best Selling author is a testament to this.
This one is fairly straightforward. However, men struggle with this given the detrimental effects of social media. Especially the younger guys.
It’s not uncommon for men to feel a sense of entitlement in life. It’s hard seeing other men with the best body, fastest cars, smoking hot girlfriends, and luxury watches. All seemingly obtained in an effortless way. Of course, this is a fallacy but it builds resentment and entitlement.
High-value men don’t fall for this sh*t. They take extreme ownership of everything that happens in their life. They understand what is in their control and what is not. A high-quality man will often live by stoic virtues.
A high-value man doesn’t complain about the things that don’t go his way. He simply accepts responsibility, does the work to correct whatever he needs to, and moves on.
This is especially important in business. No successful entrepreneur will blame market conditions, their employees, lack of resources, etc. They all accept responsibility for whatever isn’t working and they fix it.
“Leaders must own everything in their world. There is no one else to blame.” - Jocko Willink on Extreme Ownership
Richard Cooper, the Author of The Unplugged Alpha and the face behind Entrepreneurs in Cars speaks about this frequently.
Most men know what purpose means. What they struggle with is actually finding purpose in their own lives.
Having a purpose will give you a clear reason to get up each and every morning and chip away at your craft. The better you become at your craft the more valuable you are as a man.
Purpose helps you stay focussed on your business for years instead of folding a couple of months in. It’s the reason you’ll sleep early and say no to having beers with the boys every Friday night.
The only way to find your purpose is for you to simply start taking action. Action in every sense. Start trying new things, join an online community, travel alone, start a blog, learn to code, go to the gym, and read a book on a growing industry. There’s no right answer here. Trust me, I’ve spent years searching.
There are tons of resources available that will help you find an industry, community, or business model. To name a few:
- Trends VC: Newsletter and community of entrepreneurs discovering new markets and ideas.
- Trends by The Hustle: Newsletter and community helping you identify early trends before they explode.
- Sweaty Startup: Principles, strategies, and methods used to grow successful companies.
- Contrarian Thinking: Ideas and blueprints on building and buying cash flow positive businesses.
If you’re still struggling, the “Wait But Why Career Guide” is a great starting point. The exercises are extensive and will take you a while.
Discipline is being able to behave and work in a controlled way that involves adhering to a set of rules or standards. Usually for a long time.
Discipline closely relates to consistency. Being able to consistently practice your craft for a long time will separate you from everyone else. It’s hard and requires focus and commitment.
The Helsinki Bus Theory was formed in a graduation speech given by American/Finnish photographer Arno Rafael Minkkinen. The speech is specific to photography although it can be applied to anything.
Minkkinen explains how all the buses at the Helsinki bus depo take the exact same route for the first couple of miles. He suggests that each bus stop represents a stage of your career. This means everyone who takes a bus from the depo will be exposed to the exact same experiences at the beginning of their career - since the route is the same at the beginning.
People look around at the beginning stages of their careers and notice everyone has already done what they have. They get disheartened and feel like they haven’t made significant progress or breakthroughs.
Mikkinen suggests this is normal, however, too frequently people will catch a cab back to the bus depo and find another route. This is where they go wrong since they’ll end up in the same situation.
In short, Mikkinen says “Stay on the bus. Stay on the f*cking bus. Because if you do, in time, you will begin to see a difference.”
Having the discipline to stay consistent with your craft and continue working through the initial phases is critical. This is becoming more difficult considering social media keeps showing us people who already have everything.
Confidence is being sure of your ability. It’s knowing that you’re capable. Confidence is a byproduct of experience and discipline. It comes naturally when you’ve done the work.
There are many ways to increase your confidence immediately. Everything from power poses to positive reinforcement will boost your confidence. An easy one is to simply remove or reduce social media usage. It ruins your self-esteem and makes you feel less capable.
60% of people using social media reported that it has impacted their self-esteem in a negative way - Clarissa Silver from Huffington Post
High-value men are often labeled as overconfident or ego-driven. Confidence is intimidating. These men believe in themselves so much that other people find it uncomfortable. Consider F1 Driver Lewis Hamilton for example.
Lewis Hamilton has over 100 F1 wins in his career. His Instagram account has 27m followers but he doesn't follow a single person in return. He frequently shares his views on everything important to him but isn’t exposed to anyone else's thoughts. This is what confidence looks like.
Hamilton would easily have affluent people with 50m+ followers following him and he still refuses to return the favor. Whilst this is subtle, only a high-value and confident man could do this. Confident high-value men are given a higher level of respect.
6. Self Awareness
This is all about your ability to perceive, control, and evaluate your emotions. Some researchers suggest it can be learned and improved over time. Either way, high-quality men can recognize, understand and positively control their emotions. They rarely lose control. They’re sharp, they digest information well and they make calculated decisions.
The stoics were great leaders when it came to self-awareness of their emotional state.
Marcus Aurelius, one of the most well-known and respected stoics, kept a journal now famously known as Meditations. He had a daily writing habit where he reflected upon his thoughts and emotions. Always searching for patterns or room for improvement. In doing so he adhered to the four stoic virtues which are wisdom, courage, justice, and temperance.
Whilst emotional intelligence (EQ) is often discussed it’s important to note that it’s not an accurate measure of how emotionally “smart” you are. Jordan Peterson often flags that EQ is an inherently flawed measure of emotional success. Knowing that you are feeling something and having the self-awareness to understand why is powerful.
High-value men are often leaders and leadership requires a high level of self-awareness. These are the men who inherit large responsibilities and always lead by example.
7. Growth Mindset
Think of all the people in your life who graduated from University and couldn’t land a job in their respective fields. Especially the competitive fields such as Law or Investment Banking.
Did they settle for any corporate job they could find?
Or did they upskill, network, and go to extensive measures to land a job in their field?
Someone with a fixed mindset would call it a day and settle for what they were given.
Someone with a growth mindset wouldn’t take no for an answer.
It’s the same with high-value men.
No just means not yet.
Having a growth mindset is one of the most important traits for men. Knowing that nothing good comes easy will help you push through adversity to reach your goals. It’s necessary.
Harvard Business Review suggests those who have a growth mindset believe their talents can be developed through hard work, good strategies, and input from others.
8. Rational Optimism
The term “rational optimist” has been popularised by Matt Ridley in his book “The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves”.
Ridley suggests that we’re actually lucky to be living in the current times. We can’t compare modern life to ancient living. Dying from an insignificant disease or being eaten by a lion aren’t things we worry about each day.
To be a rational optimist is to take a realistic assessment of the present moment. It is an important trait for entrepreneurs and subsequently high-value men.
Naval Ravikant shares his thoughts on happiness and wealth through his tweetstorms and podcasts. He often suggests that to be successful in business and life we should be rational optimists.
To create things, you have to be a rational optimist. Rational in the sense that you have to see the world for what it really is. And yet you have to be optimistic about your own capabilities, and your capability to get things done. - Naval Ravikant
[Related article: 10 Key Virtues of Success Men]
There are two types of men in this world.
The men who get what they’re given and the men who take what they want.
It’s not hard to know which is the high-value man.
Standing up for yourself is crucial.
Doing so in a calm and respectful manner is a key trait of high-quality men.
Assertive people get their point across without being aggressive or causing arguments. It’s the sweet spot between passive and aggressive. Assertive men know what they want. You can’t make yourself heard or get your way if you don’t stand for anything.
According to MayoClinic being assertive can increase your self-esteem and earn the respect of others. In essence, don’t be a pushover. No one respects a man who can’t fight for things he cares about.
The nine key traits of a high-value man:
- Growth mindset
- Rational optimism
You might resonate with some qualities more than others. Which is normal. However, they’re all important in their own respect and should be considered.
Oftentimes these qualities can be developed as a byproduct of others. Confidence and purpose for instance can sometimes develop on their own through life experiences.
A woman simply is, but a man must become - Cammille Anna Paglia
Build positive habits that are in line with these qualities, and over time they will compound.