What makes a high-quality man?
If you want to become one, it’s an important question.
And, even more important, is the answer to that question.
By the end of this article, you will know exactly what traits you need to develop to become a high-quality man -or “high-value man” (there is a strong overlap between the two).
- The Basics to Male High-Value Traits
- Balance & High-Quality Men
The Basics to Male High-Value Traits
This article leverages sound psychology to get to the core of what makes a high-quality man.
Every single trait directly affects personality or, more or less indirectly, allows the individual to acquire important life assets such as status, resources, mates, or friends.
To keep the list concise, the traits are high-level and can be broken down into further subsets.
#1. He Is Emotionally Intelligent
- Self-awareness: one’s own emotions, drives, personality, passions
- Self-management: deferring pleasure, staying power, grit
- Social awareness: other people’s emotions and social dynamics
- Relationship management: building and managing positive relationships
Although some psychologists contest the existence of emotional intelligence as a measurable trait, we can all agree that the above subsets of the emotional intelligence trait do exist and that they vary from person to person.
All of the above are important qualities for a high-value man because they heavily influence his ability to acquire social status, move forward in life, develop as a man and, finally, effectively relate with others. This includes his ability to acquire friends, gain allies, and develop healthy relationships with women.
Self Awareness + Self Management
Some people get emotional intelligence all wrong.
They think it’s some touchy-feely approach to life, sitting on a mat and doing yoga, crying, or being “vulnerable“.
But it’s not.
Self-awareness and self-management are what differentiate men who meander around life from those who know where they’re going.
When you have self-awareness you don’t go around asking “what’s my passion” your whole life long.
Because self-aware men know what their passions are. And with self-management, they work to get there.
That’s the N.1 cluster of traits of a high-quality man: personal drive, the ability to identify what they want to achieve with their drive, and the mental faculties to draft a plan, learn along the way, adjust, and stay the course.
Knowing what you want sets, high-quality men, apart from the masses that follow what others want them to do.
And self-management, without mincing words, is what differentiates the bums from the high achievers of this world.
Low-quality men who go nowhere chase the immediate high of booze and drugs, without any regard for tomorrow (and for themselves).
High achievers instead work their way to the top by deferring pleasure and doing what needs to be done.
Social Awareness + Relationship Management
Same as the above.
Some people think this is about long talks and hand-holding.
Which it might as well be when the situation calls for it.
But it’s also much more.
Social awareness is the equivalent of self-awareness applied to social situations. It allows high-quality men to understand the social dynamics around them. Who’s in charge, who’s confident, who’s chasing whom and who is submissive, and who counts for nothing.
Relationship management leverages social awareness to build a network of positive and value-adding relationships.
These are all traits you can increase with focus.
In a way, you could see this whole website as a big platform to increase your emotional intelligence.
#2. He Has a Purpose
When a man knows what he wants and likes, then it only takes a minimum amount of drive to develop a purpose.
A purpose, in Simon Sinek’s words, means a man has a WHY.
And when a man knows his WHY he moves through life with confidence and purpose. He displays the charismatic leadership qualities of those who seem to know their paths, even when it’s dark and difficult.
It’s especially captivating for those who don’t know where they’re going which, of course, is the vast majority.
A purpose is what differentiates the men spending their evening watching football and drinking beer from those who work and plot to move ahead in life.
Example: James Bond
James Bond is so charismatic and attractive to women also because he always seems to be on a bigger pursuit:
Reversal of Purpose: When It’s Too Focused
A relentless drive to achieve a certain goal will definitely make it more likely you will achieve that goal.
But, depending on your goal, it can come at the cost of the overall personality.
The stereotype of the crazy genius with bad air and a messy place is the tale of a man with too single-minded drive.
And you can already see the limitations there.
Could you have a conversation with someone who lives and breathes for only, say, black holes research?
Would such a man fare well in a crowd of socialites, at an art gallery, or a housewarming party?
Exactly, he would be out of place and sticking out like a sore thumb.
Could he manage a happy relationship?
Too driven people also often don’t make for good relationship partners (see Einstein), friends, or even conversation partners.
To be a high-quality man, you also need some balance.
And if your life goal does not include people, you also need to develop people skills to become a high-quality -and happier- man.
#3. He Takes Care of Himself
Driven men with a purpose look at themselves as if they were machines.
And they have the mindset that the more they take care of the machine, the farther they will go.
Also, they know how things work, and they know that the dichotomy of “being or appearing” is nonsense.
The two feed into each other. Everyone judges the book also from its cover, so you also need to take care of that book cover.
So high-quality men always:
- Eat well
- Keep learning and investing in themselves.
High-quality men are like a high-quality wine.
You meet them today and they’re good. You stick with them and tomorrow they’re very good. You stick with them until the day after tomorrow and they’re great.
… And Of People Around, Because They Got Leadership Qualities
Equally important, high-quality men take responsibility for the people around them as well.
Taking responsibility for things and people around is what turns high-quality men into high-quality leaders.
#4. He Has High Self-Esteem
It’s self-esteem, not confidence.
Self-esteem is different.
Confidence ebbs and flows depending on your results and skills in a given field. But self-esteem stays.
Confidence is founded on strengths and results, while self-esteem encompasses losses and weakness.
#5. He Generates His Own Self-Esteem
Why is this important?
Because as long as you depend on external forces to prop up your ego and self-esteem, you will always be dependent on those external forces.
And, of course, dependence is the root cause of all potential weaknesses.
Now, granted, few people if any can reach a level of being completely independent of results, the external environment, and other people’s opinions.
But high-quality men have much stronger control of their own self-esteem than most other men.
I call this “the antifragile-ego“.
Men with an antifragile ego enjoy more confidence, more internal strength, and more emotional resilience in the face of adversities.
Since a man with an antifragile does not build his self-esteem around other people’s approval, he is more confident in his opinion. Even when they are unpopular.
These high-quality men are not afraid of standing up for what they believe in because they don’t need your approval.
They look like they have stronger inner conviction than anyone else, and everyone looks up to people with inner conviction.
Especially in times of uncertainty. They are our rock in the hurricane.
#6. He Is Assertive
Assertiveness is the sweet spot that allows the high-quality man to:
- Speak up for his rights, without undermining others’
- Expect and demand fair treatment, while treating others respectfully
- Seek power, while respecting others’ right to self-determination
The high-quality man adopts this mantra of assertive communication:
Say what you mean, mean you what you say, without being mean
In contrast, the passive man is too afraid to speak and enforce his boundaries, and that puts him in a weak position in life. Whenever the passive man meets bullies and manipulators, he lets them take advantage of him.
And the aggressive man instead takes advantage of others’ lack of power and assertiveness.
He hides behind a facade of “honesty” and “getting things done”, but it’s just a cover-up for bullying.
6.2. He Has a Secure Attachment Style
When a man has a secure attachment style he is emotionally mature.
Men with a secure attachment style are comfortable with intimacy.
They are not afraid of loving, of opening up, and at the same time, they are not afraid of abandonment.
Vulnerability is a high-quality trait because it highlights the courage of being oneself.
Including the flaws.
Truly vulnerable men step out of the fakeness rat race and are more likely to achieve a contagiously soothing inner confidence.
Vulnerability also makes sure that:
- He is genuine: You get to know the real him: he’s not wearing any mask
- He is more honest: It’s when you can accept your shortcomings, including your darker side, that you also gain the freedom of speaking your mind
- He is uplifting: He doesn’t need to “prove” his masculinity by abusing others
Example: Lewis Howes
Lewis Howes, author of The Mask of Masculinity, is a great example of a high-quality man with a secure attachment style and who also manages to fully embrace vulnerability.
The guy is warm, welcoming and he always gives off the vibe of a man who is just being himself, comfortable being himself, with little or no social masks.
See an example:
He fully opens up, doesn’t try to sound cooler, doesn’t even try to stand straight to look better
#7. He Knows Power Dynamics
Power dynamics are advanced social skills.
And you don’t get to high quality without being advanced in some crucial areas of life.
And since humans are social animals, social skills is one of those areas where you need to reach an advanced level, no matter what your chosen life path is.
High-quality men know what’s fair and not fair, what’s friendly and what’s rude, and what they can take and what they will not take.
And they set and enforce their boundaries accordingly.
The high-quality man is not a too nice guy afraid of standing up for himself.
And when someone crosses his boundaries, he will let them know he’s not cool with it and that he has to insist on the limits he thinks are fair.
He will also do it with higher-ups, because he doesn’t take gratuitous meanness and disrespect, not even from a boss.
High-quality men know that disrespect is a slippery slope, and if you allow it to happen once, people lose respect for you and they will keep doing it.
They know it’s a risk, but their self-respect and their moral code is worth more than a job (plus high-quality men can usually get good jobs anyway).
At the upper echelons, high-quality men will also defend the boundaries of the people they care for and the people they take responsibility for.
And of course, needless to say, they demand fair behavior at home as well and they take no disrespect.
If their spouse cheats, she’s out.
And if she threatens to break up, they know how to handle it.
#8. He Is Honest To His Own Value System
High-quality men don’t indiscriminately accept value systems from others.
There is no shortage of people telling men how they should behave these days:
- Mom and dad
- Red Pill
- This or that author…
High-value men listen attentively to them all.
But, ultimately, they build their own value system and have their own moral compass. That’s what they stick to.
There are many different value systems that can make a man high value. However, there are a few constraints.
Alpha male is different. You can be a piece of shit and be an alpha male. But you can’t be a piece of shit and be a high-value man.
For example, high-quality men:
- Don’t get into a relationship if they want to sleep around
- Don’t promise endless love if they don’t plan to stick around
- If they promise something, they will do their best to make it happen
And, if they get into a relationship and promise monogamy, they’ll try to stick with it (and demand the same back).
#9. He Has A Growth Mindset
Carol Dweck in her seminal psychological research outlines two different approaches people have to skills and talent:
- Fixed mindset
- Growth mindset
Fixed Mindset people believe their qualities are set at birth and carved in stone.
You are who you are, and there isn’t much you can do about it.
People with a fixed mindset shy away from challenges because losing means “they’re bad” and that would hurt their ego.
These people are highly outcome dependent and when they fail, they make a lot of excuses because they feel the need to “cover up” their lack.
It’s difficult having open discussions and honest feedback with fixed mindset men because they are always guarded and take things very personally.
Growth Mindset people believe they can learn and grow.
They seek learning and growth opportunities because failing does not define them. On the contrary, failing is the only way they can improve.
Men with a growth mindset move forward in their lives, are open to feedback and criticism, and are generally happier and more pleasant people to be around.
#10. He Takes Responsibility
The locus of control is the degree to which people believe that they have -or don’t have- control over their life.
These are the two types of locus of control:
- Internal locus of control
- External locus of control
Internal locus of control means you believe you are in control of your life.
External locus of control means you believe life events determine the course of your life and you don’t have control over them.
The locus of control determines whether you feel like you’re at the helm of your life or like a castaway in a rudderless lifeboat.
And high-quality men feel like they are at the helm of their lives.
Taking responsibility starts with your own life first and foremost: you take responsibility for your current station in life, and for where you want to go.
Great leadership is an extension of this principle. Great leadership rests on responsibility and a sense of ownership. It’s the responsibility of taking care not just for oneself, but for those around, and the feeling that you can help your group with your leadership.
Example: Tom Bilyeu
Tom Bilyeu didn’t build a billion-dollar company by accident.
He built one because he has a mindset whereby he takes ownership of everything that happens in his life.
Tom Bilyeu is an example of an extreme locus of control:
Tom: Everything is your fault
An internal locus of control also shields you from superstitious BS. I remember a girlfriend of mine asking if “I really didn’t believe at all in the horoscope”.
She loved me much more when I told her that men like myself are incompatible with the horoscope. The horoscope tells you what’s going to happen to you. It tells you what your path is going to look like. So then what, you can just sit back and let it unfold? That’s inconceivable.
We don’t let anyone tell us what’s going to happen to us, because we, and we alone, are at the helm of our lives.
Balance & High-Quality Men
Finally, keep this in mind:
Almost everything related to humans is about balance and trade-offs.
You could take almost any single positive and, when you take them to the extreme, they would become a drawback.
Taking care of oneself to the extreme crosses into narcissism, too much vulnerability can become an excuse for ineffective crybabies, and sticking to one’s values no matter what can lead to big mistakes.
Indeed, like Benazir says in The Tao of Dating, balance is just another sign of high-quality men.