The Art of Manliness: The Secret of Great Men

by Gregg Hake on November 21, 2010

If you are a guy who wishes he were more of a gentleman, I would highly encourage you to visit The Art of Manliness, an uncommonly rich online resource that aims to “reviv[e] the lost art of manliness.” My brother-in-law, Zach, pointed me to the site as he has found it tremendously useful in his pursuit of ongoing refinement and I must say, I wish I had known about it earlier! It is chock-full of information and inspiration.

One of the articles in particular, “The Secret of Great Men: Deliberate Practice” piqued my interest and I hope you take a few minutes to read it, whether you are a man or a woman. Greatness is inherent in each of us, but it is foolhardy to expect that your unique brand of excellence will magically appear out of nowhere.

Of course certain rare individuals in the recorded history of man were blessed with the unrestrained expression of genius in one area or another, such a revelation usually comes at a high price. Most “geniuses” suffer from imbalances that make everyday life a challenge. I have to wonder if the imbalances emerge in part from the highly focused attention given to a certain activity, be it a sport, a musical instrument, invention, art or in whatever area you may be seen as being gifted.

The author challenged his readers to “man-up” by applying the principles of deliberate practice to an area of their lives that is in need of improvement. One of my own goals at the moment is to be more proficient and efficient in the encompassment of those for whom I am responsible at home and at work.

The life of a leader is a demanding one, and I am keenly aware that certain pastures in the various fields of responsibility suffer from inattention at times. When I have a lot of irons in the fire I find that I have to be hyper-vigilant and careful to visit – in thought, word or deed – every person, place and thing that depends upon me for guidance and leadership at least weekly. While significant loss is not always avoidable as there are things out there that are beyond the control of any and all of us, doing the best that you can – without excuse, carelessness or thoughtlessness is a great starting point.

I’ve been practicing deliberately and with regard to this particular goal I have made notable progress, especially since the conclusion of a significant business transaction that I’ve been working on for nearly two years now. Will life go back to normal? Well, maybe a new normal…we’ll see!

If there is anything I’ve learned about the application of deliberate practice it is this: don’t celebrate overly when you take ground and don’t waste time griping and bemoaning your fate when you don’t. Keep on keeping on, as they like to say in this neck of the woods.

I’ve also learned that it is important to keep the larger vision in mind, especially when you encounter setbacks. The failure to do so inevitably constrains to a loss of perspective while consistently doing so leads to a more balanced approach to the ups and downs that you encounter along the way.

Life’s lessons are endless and manliness (not bravado), grace (the product of humility) and the constant pursuit of refinement of your ability to bless the world around you are the mark of a gentleman. Thank you, The Art of Manliness and thank you, Zach for inspiring me to press onward and upward!

 

 

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Colin

Art of Manliness is a great website. It really runs the gamut with tips that are now hard to find. Just that there’s such an array of advice goes to show that it takes work and dedication to be an effective person. It makes it harder that this kind of thinking is rarely taught or encouraged in our age. Yet there are still obviously people who care enough to not only live an effective life themselves, but to teach others to live effectively as well (as evidenced by this blog and Art of Manliness). Keep on keeping on, we appreciate it!

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2 Gregg Hake

Will do!

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3 NK

Thanks for this great post that provides such inspiration for anyone to be a great person!

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4 Estelle M.

Congratulations on 300 consecutive daily posts! I’ve enjoyed every one!

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5 Gregg Hake

Thank you!

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6 chaiteaheart2heart

Though I am a female, I found this quite inspiring! It made me think back to the yearly “Goals.” I have always failed, merely because I was not practising. I told myself this is where I am going to be next year. But excuses, after excuses not only took time to create, but also created an escape from “keeping on,” if you will. And from my own experiences- once the consistent practise becomes ‘spare tries’ it usually dwindles into nothing but a goal spoken outloud a year ago. So, I thank you for this lovely reminder and hope to now practise what I speak. :)

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7 Gregg Hake

You’re very welcome. Diligence and consistency are enormously important. You can do it!

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8 Kimberly

Great article on deliberate practice. I’ve seen so many people quit before they even have a chance for success. It’s refreshing to see the myths of instant success, the gifted or those blessed with natural talent, dispelled. I’m sure we all have some quality that is dominant but even that will most likely stay under developed if we don’t participate in the means by which it can be cultivated…diligent and engaged repetition.
Well done… 300!

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