How to Be More Masculine: 10 Things You Must Start Doing

Meet Gregory, a writer and the brains behind Face Dragons. He's the go-to guy for getting things done. Gregory's been living the digital nomad life in Asia for as long as anyone can remember, helping clients smash their goals. He writes on topics like software, personal knowledge management (PKM), and personal development. When he's not writing, you'll catch him at the local MMA gym, nose buried in a book, or just chilling with the family.

You don’t have to be a man to face dragons, but some masculine energy can help when confronted by a big one.

Controversial as it may now be, masculinity is not a negative that men should be trying to run from. Men are naturally masculine because that’s who they are, so becoming more masculine only strengthens who you are. It’s masculinity that built the infrastructure of your country and the networks on which you’re reading this. So if you want some courageous, productive energy, you must know how to be more masculine.

What Is Masculinity?

Skip this section and get to the meat of the article below!

A quick way to understand masculinity, is just to follow David Goggins on X.

Masculinity is a complex idea, part biological and part cultural.

In adolescence, girls and boys continue to develop their biological differences; testosterone is vital in young men developing masculine traits. It’s so essential that when transgender females want to become male, it’s the drug that makes it all happen.

Testosterone is a hormone present in both men and women, but quantities are up to 20 times higher in men. Testosterone is responsible for many of the typical male characteristics:

  • Increased Libido
  • Increased Aggression
  • Increased Size (muscle mass)
  • Increased Strength
  • Better Focus
  • More Creative
  • Higher bone density

Masculinity is more than simply biology. It’s also heavily influenced by the cultural norms, gender roles, and stereotypes of society. Society has traditionally associated masculinity with traits like competitiveness, assertiveness, dominance, and aggression. Femininity, on the other hand, is more often associated with empathy, emotions, and a nurturing nature.

Culturally, men have also had a role different from women and one that defines the masculine gender. Historically, male and female used their traditional gender roles to work together and survive, called the division of labor. The masculine ideal, therefore, became a muscular type with leadership traits full of machismo and vitality because they made better hunters and builders.

A womanly or feminine woman, on the other hand, was one who was skilled at parenting and housework.

Of course, these are just gender stereotypes now. Masculine and feminine roles have changed significantly over the past century; however, the general population’s expectations of men and the cultural stereotypes of masculinity have remained stable.

Social scientists and some feminists might think that men opening a door for a woman is archaic and offensive; however, the average man or woman on the street still sees it as the courteous gesture that it’s meant to be. Chivalry isn’t dead; it’s just that academics think it should be.

Traditional cultural ideas about the masculine gender include:

  • The breadwinner
  • The Stoic
  • The white knight
  • The protector

Every man has a sensor in the back of their head that tells them when they encounter a man more masculine than them or an alpha-type male. It might be in the gym or just in the line at the grocery store; without asking a single question, you can just tell. So you don’t need to know what a manly man is; you just need to know how to be more masculine yourself. Here’s how.

10 Ways to Be More Masculine

Don’t try to start all ten of these at once! Becoming more masculine or turning into the man you want to be will take time. Utilizing monk mode will give you a headstart, but even then, you should only concentrate on one or two of these methods at one time.

1. Understand Give and Take

When I go to the gym, I take this thick workout logbook with me. After getting to know a couple of guys at my new gym, one walked over while I was doing seated dumbbell presses. He saw my logbook and shouted, “Hey, you bring a Bible to training?”

I steadied the dumbbells and shouted back, “I’ll pray you make it through your next set!” He chuckled and walked back to his station.

This is give and take. One man pokes, the other pokes back.

Give and take shows you’re not a beta male, and you won’t roll over and take it.

Who would you rather have on your side, the guy who always barks back or the guy who always shrinks back?

One of them will stand with you shoulder to shoulder – the other is a burden you may have to protect.

It’s the same in fighting, too. At the start of a fight, two men size each other up. One may throw a light jab to see what the other does. If nothing comes back his way, he’ll throw another and maybe follow it with more punches. But if the opponent throws a jab back, he’ll remain weary and cautious.

How do you learn to give and take?

  1. You don’t need to be funny, clever or witty. “I’ll pray for you…” wasn’t exactly inspired.
  2. Don’t wait or think about it.
  3. If you can’t think of something to say, laugh and say you’ll get them back later, e.g., ” Haha, I’ll come disturb you during your next set!”

2. Challenge Yourself: Be a Man!

Gregory Gaynor at Everest Base Camp

Me at Everest Base Camp

Blades are sharpened against other blades, and even the smoothest pebble can be sharpened into a weapon, but only if you continuously hit it against something harder. You must do the same to become more masculine.

A challenge isn’t something you do once and then put the trophy on the shelf so you can see it with your feet up. Instead, a challenge should be something you’re always working on. Constantly pushing yourself further in some aspect of your life. Follow these rules for challenging yourself and forcing yourself to grow:

  1. A challenge should be slightly beyond your current level – not too easy or too hard.
  2. Work on one or two at a time – You can’t train for a marathon and a new deadlift PR while also doing a 7-day fast.
  3. Celebrate the failures – If you aren’t failing, you aren’t challenging yourself.
  4. Celebrate the wins – Take some time to reflect on all the things you’ve accomplished (I have a character sheet with all my achievements, like a video game)

Challenges that will redefine you but are achievable:

  • Climb to Everest Base Camp
  • Become a Black Belt
  • 30 Days of cold showers

3. Good Men Learn to Fight

Man training martial arts

Fighting doesn’t make you a man; as most martial arts will tell you, learning to fight is not really about fighting. But putting yourself in a combat situation every week does something to your mentality. It teaches you not to fear other men.

Of course, there may be a time when you need to use your fighting skills to defend yourself or your family, but even if you never do, learning to fight has many other benefits.

Fighting forces you to confront other men (albeit in a controlled environment) and understand that you can survive and even overcome them. If you learn a martial art like jiu-jitsu, you’ll even discover that after a few years of training, you can easily control and submit men much bigger and stronger than you.

Putting yourself into the stress of the sparring ring makes everything else seem more effortless. For example, you can’t stress out about the car waiting behind you while you park if you spend the day trying not to get punched in the face.

Knowing that you’re not “prey” will boost your confidence. Whether talking with strangers on the street, picking up women, or taking on new tasks at work, the newfound confidence will stay with you.

Try one of these manly combat hobbies to learn real-life fighting skills:

  • Jiu Jitsu
  • Kickboxing
  • Boxing
  • MMA

4. Learn to Say Your Piece for Internal Well Being

Some of the things I regret most are times when I didn’t say something I knew I should. Maybe I didn’t correct someone for fear of offending them, or I didn’t want to start an argument. Over the years, however, I’ve realized that nothing is worth the feeling I get when I wish I’d said my piece.

It comes down to being who you really are. If you want to say something but don’t, are you actually living your life? Who’s life are you living?

5. Increase your Size and Strength: More Than Self Esteem

From a biological standpoint, men are bigger and stronger than women, it’s one of the most apparent things defining masculinity, and it’s there for everyone to see at all times.

So, by increasing your size and strength, the world will automatically see you as more masculine.

If you’ve never lifted weights before or been to the gym, this will be fairly straightforward, and the results will come quickly. With just three months of consistent working out (3-5 times a week), you’ll see significant changes in your body. It really doesn’t matter which workout plan you choose when you’re first starting out; just lift heavy things, and you’ll make some progress.

Find a workout and stick to it for at least six weeks before switching it up.

On your first trip to the gym, ask someone to show you how to use the machines or research them beforehand on YouTube so you know what you’re doing and don’t hurt yourself.

If you’re already a gym bro and have already made your beginner gains, it won’t be so easy, but you already know what you need to do.

6. Learn to Dress to Accentuate Your Masculine Features

How you dress might be the fastest way to appear more masculine. It takes very little effort and only a little know-how.

Males and females dress differently. We have different bodies, and so need different types of clothes, it’s that simple. So increase your manliness instantly by wearing clothes that have a masculine feel. If you’re unsure how to dress more like a man, think of what fathers or middle-class men and boys of the past wore.

  • Shirts
  • Suits
  • Jackets
  • Trousers

Most gender-neutral clothing like t-shirts, hoodies, and sweatpants are unlikely to give you the physical appearance of being male. Instead, swap them out for a shirt with a collar, a suit, and some leather shoes, and people will notice instantly that something has changed about you.

7. Produce Something to Express Your Maleness

In prehistoric times, men weren’t only hunters; they were also builders. When a hut needed to be erected, it was the men who carried the logs, dug the holes, and built the home. Even today, according to Construction UK Magazine, “24,000 females employed in jobs including bricklayers, roofers, and scaffolders, account for five percent of the total workforce.”

So, one of the manifestations of masculine energy is that of the producer, creator, or builder. So ask yourself, what do you produce?

You could take up a hobby for men with a creative side, such as:

  • Woodworking
  • Coding
  • Writing
  • Drawing

Or perhaps start a business and create something that society could benefit from. It could be a product, service, or even a blog (like this one!)

8. Take on the Burdens of Life

Manhood should be hard. Life is hard. Anyone who’s tried to make it on their own knows this. But just like that 200kg barbell was impossible to live with when you first stepped into the gym, it becomes possible only by strengthening yourself. It doesn’t get lighter.

Life is the same, JFK famously said, “Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men.” Life won’t get any easier, but you can become more than who you are and more capable of shouldering the burdens of life.

They might be:

  • Financial burdens, such as bills, paying off debt, and trying to save or make investments
  • Family responsibilities like taking care of family members
  • Raising children
  • Keeping your partner happy
  • Holding down a job
  • Building a business
  • Chores around the house
  • Charity work
  • Other community responsibilities like church or local government
  • Hobbies and societies

That’s a lot to take on, but many men shoulder all those responsibilities and more by the time they are in their 50s. The secret is that they weren’t always that way; they had to develop it over time.

  • Take on responsibilities one at a time.
  • Take on a little more than you can handle and figure out a way to make it work.
  • Become more efficient.
  • Learn to compartmentalize (don’t think about one thing while trying to do another.)
  • Manage your tasks effectively.

9. Be a Leader, Be More Manly

When you think of a highly masculine man, you think of an alpha male. Not only big and solid but confident and in charge. In chimp groups, the alpha male is the leader, the most dominant, and the other male chimps submit to his will.

Therefore, seeking out leadership opportunities and developing a strong leadership style will set you apart from everyone else; it’s how you become more masculine.

10. Being a Man Means Taking Control of Your Life

If you want to know how to be more masculine, it starts with taking control, not of other people, but of your own life. Taking control doesn’t mean focusing on the right things and setting the right goals, although they are important too. Instead, taking control is much more specific and practical.

A real man should be assertive, but there is a difference between being masculine and being a tyrant. You must take control of yourself, not of others.

Taking control comes down to the steps you will take to achieve those goals and produce what you want.

It’s all well and good having a goal to make more money, but without a plan or even a next action step, you’re out of control and likely to flip-flop from one thing to another; lots of action but little progress.

The way to take control is with a plan and some self-awareness. Starting a second brain using Obsidian is a great way to achieve that. It’s free, and writing in markdown for obsidian takes no time to learn.

There are plenty of ways you create plans and outline actions, steps, or tasks. Still, most of them are far too complicated for anyone to actually use day to day, which is why I created a minimalist productivity system. Here are the basics:

When you have a new project, brainstorm and do your research (i.e., Google it) and write down any potential tasks, order them, and that’s your project plan. Then, put the tasks on your master list.

  1. Keep a master list of everything you want to do
  2. Every day, write a daily list and add three (or more) things from your master list.
  3. Do them!

Despite how simple this system is, it can hold everything you want to do in life and stop you from getting overwhelmed with everything you have going on.

Don’t Forget to Work on Your Masculine Characteristics

Becoming more masculine ultimately comes down to you changing you. You won’t find it in your friends, your family, or by finding a partner with more feminine qualities. No, you have to focus on yourself and develop your masculine characteristics. It will take time and effort, but you can do it. Start today!