Learning to manage oneself and the basic life skills is an important aspect of becoming a mature man. Throughout this series about creating a roadmap for better manhood, I’ve described what I believe are the key aspects of being a good and proper man. While I believe men are at their best when they become godly men, few people will disagree that the world needs good men today. This next post describes why learning to manage yourself well first is important to becoming a mature man.
Let’s see how the skills needed for men have changed over the years before I describe the skills needed to navigate today’s world well.
Man-Skills Throughout History
Manly skills have evolved throughout history. Back in prehistoric days, primitive man’s skill set was clear and relatively narrow. It involved making tools and using fire. These allowed them to hunt and gather food effectively and largely revolved around protecting and providing for the tribe. Early civilizations evolved from knowing simply what to eat and how to protect themselves from other warring tribes to learn how to navigate and travel. Some prehistoric societies eventually developed technologies for making better weapons and strategies for conquering other groups to expand their nations. (See my post, Men Sharpen Men for more about how the ancients discovered how to refine iron ore into weapons. It also describes why Proverbs 27:27 “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” which has become my favorite Bible verse).
From Fighting to Thinking
Later ancient civilizations and people groups like the Greeks, Romans, Persian, and Egyptians developed complex systems of writing, mathematics, and engineering that allowed them to build monumental structures, create literature and art, and develop sophisticated political, philosophical, and religious systems. This led to a new era where thinking and reasoning were as important as fighting and dominance for men.
Knighthood and Nobility
During the Middle Ages, adult men possessed a variety of skills for knighthood, such as weapon handling, physical strength, and stamina. Young men needed to learn about chivalry and knowledge of heraldry, courtly manners, and basic literacy. These squires were expected to care for a full knight’s weapons, horses, and armor. Squires accompanied their knights into battle, proving their bravery and skills after years of training and dedication. During this time, nobility was important to becoming a proper man.
Apprenticeship and Artistry
During the Early Modern Era, men needed a variety of skills to succeed in different professions. Men needed to possess skills specific to craftsmanship, trade skills, or business acumen. Military skills were also in high demand, particularly during the Thirty Years’ War and other conflicts of the era. Furthermore, the invention of the printing press and the rise of literacy became increasingly important, so men who learned to read and write were better positioned to succeed in any field.
The European Renaissance brought about a renewed interest in the arts, sciences, religion, and philosophy. This era demanded a wide range of skills, from intellectual and artistic pursuits to practical and vocational skills so much so that I’ve even suggested that many men should Become a Renaissance Man of God.
Modernity Changed Everything
However, in modern times, the breadth of skills needed for men is much wider, including both hard and soft skills. As the workplace has evolved to value interpersonal skills and empathy more than ever before, strong soft skills such as communication, time management, interpersonal skills, critical thinking, leadership, adaptability, teamwork, creativity, problem-solving, and a positive attitude are highly valued. These are crucial for career longevity, transferability, and remote work, and they provide a competitive edge in obtaining desired advancement and earning potential.
It also means being adaptable and learning new skills. Innovation and technologies, like personal computers, the internet, advanced medical treatments, and social media have transformed the way we live, work, and interact with each other. Complicated human resources practices over the last few decades required more cooperation, sensibility, and sensitivity. COVID-19 also deepened emotional distress among all age groups. There’s more remote work and fewer face-to-face interactions so strong interpersonal skills have become even more important to a successful life.
Developing New Skills
Part of becoming a man today is being competent and effective in the world. Most of us no longer need skills to conquer the world (aside from our honorable military men and women) so we must learn to educate ourselves and become adaptable. In my opinion, this means being responsible for all your actions and interactions with others. It means learning how to manage yourself first rather than having to rely on others. It means knowing how to act, rather than be acted upon and taken advantage of. You need to develop confidence and skills to handle adversity and not blame others. Ultimately, it means owning your responsibilities, including the results of any difficulties along the road of life.
In my last post on Using Your Masculinity Properly, I suggested there are several ways a young male can start managing his life well.
- He Sets Goals
- He Develops Good Habits
- He Learns to Prioritize
- He Develops Self-Discipline
- He Seeks Feedback
- He Learns from Mistakes
- He is Self-Aware
These areas help a man build confidence as he matures into an adult man who learns to adapt and adjust to the difficulty of life.
Man-Skills Needed Today
Overall, the basic man-skills needed today include a mix of soft and hard skills, from communication and social etiquette to practical modern-day survival and vocational skills.
So the natural question is: What are the areas I need to learn to manage my life well?
Here are several areas I believe a young man must develop skills and manage well to become a mature man.
- Money: Personal Budgeting, Debt Management, and Investing.
- Personal Grooming: Clothing, Cleanliness/Hygiene, Healthcare.
- Time Management
- Organization of Belongings
- Behavior and Communication
- Education and Employment
- Relationships: Dating, Friends, and Family
- Domestic Life: Managing a Home and Family
- Transportation: Navigation and maintenance
- Problem-solving and Decision-making
- Planning and Goal-setting
- Finishing Strong
I will provide more details on each in future posts but becoming a mature man starts by learning to manage your life well first. This takes discipline and consistency, which leads to success in your career and family. This discipline leads to maturity and balance. It also helps men later transition later in life from a period of building success to a life of significance.
One of the marks of a mature man is that he knows who he is as a man. He is confident and content. he knows how to transition well through the various stages of life. He knows how to move from a life of building success to one of experiencing significance.
The mature and godly man also knows Who’s he is as a child of God. He becomes more selfless and learns to serve others around him. He lives with an eternal mindset and desires to become more like Jesus Christ, the ultimate role model for manhood.
- Which areas of your early life did you build discipline and consistency well?
- What areas still need your attention and improvement?
- Who can help you develop goals to help you build these strengths?
Leave your comments below about this topic. Feel free to forward this post to someone else and get together with them to discuss the topic. Make sure you read my next post of this series in two weeks.