By Patrick Tuttle
on 12.13.09

four-steps-to-be-a-better-man1

Beyond being a product review site, we at Gear Patrol have been striving to create a community of men that (for lack of a better term) help men. We don’t draw the line at simply hashing out the best insights into the products we cover, but we extend that mantra to life in general. We’ve kicked around the idea of being a better man before and are circling back to take another, more subjective run at it. There isn’t a manual to follow, but consider this some well advised doctrine. There’s never a better time to practice these maxims than the holiday season, so read on and hopefully you’ll find yourself representing yourself and your fellow man… better.

Being a better man isn’t about having the most expensive toys.  It’s not about being the most fashion-forward.  And you certainly won’t become a better man by trying simply to be better than someone else.  You’re the measuring stick here, my friend.  If reading this website has inspired you to better yourself in any way then we’ve both succeeded.  If there’s one thing we personally could share with the greater GP community it would be our belief that the only thing it takes to be a better man is effort.  Simply putting forth the effort to be better is, in of itself, the key to being better.  Trippy, I know.  Too simple?  I think not.

Realize that Being Better Doesn’t Mean Being the Best

There are few people in this world who can claim to be the best at what they do.  If we strive to only accept success by being the best, we’ve set ourselves up for failure.  Instead, measure yourself on where you came from.  We as men come from all walks of life and have vastly different value systems.  Don’t hold that against yourself, embrace it.  If you’ve set out to be better in one facet of your life, measure success from where you started, not against what others have achieved.

This may sound odd, but it’s ok to fail.  We learn more from our mistakes than we ever could from our successes.  Realizing that you may fail in your pursuits is not only healthy but will help you to pick yourself up and try again.  Don’t let the fear of failure stop you from trying.  If necessary, break your goals down into incremental steps that are far less scary and ease through the transition.

Surround Yourself with the Right People

We’ve always believed that you can tell a lot about a man by the company he keeps.  We’ve all had those friends/acquaintances that are not good for us.  They’re either overly negative, too critical, or simply need to put you down to make themselves feel better.  Life is too short and too precious to waste any more time with people who don’t support and challenge you.  I have a lot of acquaintances, but I count few of them as true friends.  In this writer’s humble opinion, a true friend challenges you to be better.  I knew I found a great home at Gear Patrol when I started trying to be a better man for the rest of the crew.  It wasn’t anything they did; it was just the way I felt when I was around them. A true friend will tell you to your face when they think you’re making a bad decision but will support you in spite of that.  My friends aren’t afraid to tell me when I’m full of shit and I love that about them.  It’s not always easy to hear, but I know they’d never say it if I didn’t need to hear it.

Find people like this and surround yourself with them.  At work, in your social circles, in your neighborhood or community, these positive influences are going to make you want to become a better man.  Having the desire to improve is the first step.  Having their support will be invaluable.  As for the naysayers, don’t let them bring you down.  If you’re true to yourself, others will take note and respect you for that.  Even if they don’t necessarily share the same view.

Return the Favor

I had an amazing boss when I first graduated college and entered the workforce.  The man was a mentor to me.  He took an interest in my professional development and wasn’t afraid to take me aside when I’d made a mistake and help me see where I’d gone wrong.  But he did it in a way I could learn from.  For that I’m grateful.  Later in life, I was presented with my own opportunity to take a fresh-out-of-school kid under my wing and show him the ropes.  He wasn’t my subordinate, but I saw that he wasn’t getting the support he needed.  I have to say that it really felt great to be able to give to another person what I had been given, namely, an opportunity to grow.

You don’t necessarily have to take on a mentor role to give back.  You could coach a youth team, volunteer in your community, or simply go out of your way to help another person.  Helping others is a mark of a man who has his priorities in order.

Be True to Who You Are

Just because we write about it on Gear Patrol or your friends are into something doesn’t mean you have to be.  Honestly, there are articles we post I have no interest in, and that’s ok.  The point is don’t let anyone else tell you what’s important in life.  That’s for you to decide.  If you’re a t-shirt and jeans guys, don’t let a preppy friend make you feel bad about your wardrobe choices.  If you’re happy with them, then that’s all that matters.  If you hate camping, that’s ok; you shouldn’t feel like less of a man for it.  To each their own.  If on the other hand being around your friends makes you want to change than I would say you’ve picked a good group of friends.

So we’ll leave you with this last bit of advice.  If you want to be a better man, then simply try.  The journey towards your goals is what makes you a better man, not the finish line (cliché, I know, but true).  I’d also like to encourage everyone who reads Gear Patrol to consider our Reader Submission feature.  After all, the sole intent of GP is to help men evolve and we can’t do it alone.  Share you passions; I guarantee there are others out there who’ll be interested and thankful you did.

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