9 personality traits to expect in a really great man

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It goes without saying that there are decent men everywhere… but truly great men? Well, they’re few and far between. 

Great men tend to possess a certain set of traits that, when embodied collectively, are incredibly rare. 

These traits don’t come overnight, they manifest through constant dedication, commitment, and the sheer will to be a better person.

To get you started, I’ll walk you through some of these key qualities. Once you become aware of them, you can start acting accordingly. 

Ready to become an extraordinary man? Let’s dive in! 

1) He’s emotionally intelligent

Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise: as a man, having a grasp of emotion is critical.  

The emotionally intelligent male has the distinct capability to recognize, comprehend, and manage his own emotions. 

He is also able to empathize with the situations of those around him, and even those who aren’t.  

He has the power to defuse tensions and reduce stress, which reflects in his positive interpersonal relationships. 

While the average man might lose his cool when faced with adversity, the emotionally intelligent man will stay composed and move methodically with the interests of others constantly in mind. 

Screw Andrew Tate. Make men emotionally intelligent again!  

2) He’s assertive

It’s the easiest thing in the world to be passive and idly wait around for luck to land in your lap. 

By taking initiative and being assertive about things, you’re separating yourself from the pack; trust me, people will notice. 

The great men of history didn’t reach such towering heights by playing Xbox (or the equivalent) on the sofa all day. They had concrete goals and took steps to meet them. 

In your life, this can mean things like getting the girl (or guy) of your dreams, getting physically fit, or reaching work goals. 

When you snooze you lose, and when you’re proactive… well, success is always within reach. 

3) He’s growth-oriented

Men who believe in personal development have the humility to continuously learn from their shortcomings. They also show a ton of character in the process. 

Many ordinary men would rather live in a bubble and rarely venture out. They might think they have it all figured out and become fixed in their ways. 

They don’t learn from mistakes, they don’t leave their comfort zone, and they don’t grow and evolve.

This makes their world pretty small, which means plenty of limitations for growth. 

The great man, however, is constantly pushing himself to evolve by absorbing knowledge and learning from past failures. 

He doesn’t become defeated by obstacles, rather he uses them as motivation to come back stronger than ever. 

So next time the going gets tough, just remember that Michael Jordan, widely considered the greatest basketball player of all time, was cut from his high school team. 

This approach to growth is ultimately rooted in patience. 

And speaking of patience…

4) He’s patient

Real talk: great men have an inherent understanding that things of value take time to achieve. 

They don’t rush to make rash, anxiety-induced decisions. 

By sticking it out just a little longer, more favorable results are inevitable. 

During the pandemic, I was so crippled with debt that I became extremely eager to sell my company. 

I didn’t wait for the highest bidder. When the first offer came, I took it immediately. 

I felt I didn’t have the luxury to be rational or patient. I was in a perpetual state of panic and my decisions reflected that. 

The buyers likely sensed the desperation too.

A year later, I received another inquiry asking if the business was still up for sale. This time, the offer was double what I originally sold it for. 

Unfortunately, I can’t turn back the hands of time; but what I can do is learn patience and not let my fears overwhelm me. You’re more than capable of this too. 

5) He’s an optimist  

The world is a cynical enough place so a consistently optimistic man is a breath of fresh air. 

Sometimes, success is just a shift in mindset away. When a man is optimistic, he is able to conquer some of the more insurmountable and overwhelming challenges in life. 

He is able to see the positives in every situation. He doesn’t wallow in defeat or self-pity, he continually moves forward, lowering the collective levels of stress on himself and those around him. 

So start cultivating that positive thinking, even when things aren’t going your way. History will be kind to you. 

I remember Gandhi once saying:

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it — always.”

6) He’s well-balanced 

Life is not all about work; life is not all about partying; life is not all about streaming movies and TV shows either; the great man is attuned to this mentality.

He knows that work-life balance is necessary for true success. 

Don’t listen to the online talking heads yammering on about this toxic grind mentality, i.e. working yourself into oblivion as a way of finding meaning. 

Overwork is unhealthy in almost every aspect. If you think working twelve hours a day is cool, you’re lying to yourself and probably setting unsustainable goals. 

The great man knows when to push himself to thrive and simultaneously, he knows how to take time off to relax.

He is aware that in order to succeed, finding the right balance in life, without falling into either extreme, is the name of the game. 

7) He’s adaptable

Here’s the thing: those who are inflexible and afraid of change are bound to be left behind. 

Really great men are able to adjust to the inevitable changes of life, both minor and major. 

They aren’t rigid in their ways, they know that life is unpredictable and a curve ball can be thrown in their direction at any time. 

Hence, a sense of adaptability to cope and thrive in the face of change is a non-negotiable quality of a really great man

After all, if there’s one thing that’s certain in this universe, it’s that change is constant.

Bruce Lee understood the importance of adaptability in an uncertain world, famously saying:

“If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle.”

So, my friend, try being like water and change with change. 

8) He’s reliable 

I’ll be honest: nobody likes a flake. And the opposite is true: when you’re dependable and others can count on you, that says quite a lot about your character. 

When you’re reliable, your relationships will also likely flourish–that’s what it’s all about really.

Imagine a dad who is an anchor for his kids. He’s not constantly going out and partying nor is he slaving away at the office all week. 

He’s always there for them, through birthdays, graduations, and just mundane, day-to-day bonding, never missing a beat. 

The kids sleep soundly knowing their old man is on top of things.

Chances are he’ll end up with some pretty well-raised, sensible children. 

When you’re reliable, you will gain the respect and admiration of others, particularly those closest to you–an achievement that will thrust you to greatness down the line. 

9) He keeps an open-mind 

From my experience, it’s pretty rare for a close-minded guy to be genuinely classified as ‘great.’ 

After all, how can a man be really great if he is shut off from the rest of the world, only accepting beliefs and ways of life that resonate with his own? 

Exceptional people tend to respect a wide range of opinions, experiences, and perspectives, seeking to understand what he readily does not. 

They don’t just tolerate differences, they embrace them

I have a friend who exclusively eats Western food. He loves his buffalo wings, pizza, burgers, or southern barbeque. 

Ironically, he has also been fortunate enough able to travel the world for his job. Yet wherever he goes, he never tries the local fare. 

He can be in a culinary wonderland like Tokyo or Tuscany and still end up in Burger King. 

I remember meeting him in Bangkok a few years ago, and he finally mustered up the courage to take a small bite of a Thai sausage (since I convinced him that this sausage was a close enough relative to the hotdog, another of his favorites). 

Instead of savoring it, he spat it out into a napkin immediately, gagging audibly. 

Do you think the local Thais who witnessed such an atrocious display of narrow-mindedness would consider this man ‘great?’ I think we all know the answer! 

Final words 

To recap, to be a great man, you must be ready to commit to transformation. Like anything in life, becoming ‘great’ takes hard work. 

You can’t go to the gym for a week and become an Olympic athlete, you’ll need years of training to achieve such a feat. 

Becoming a great man may not always take as long as this, but it does require a similar mentality. 

So if you’re dedicated and make the right decisions moving forward, greatness will always be within your reach. 

Take it a day at a time and set realistic expectations.

Remember, greatness is not about perfection, it’s simply about the desire and self-discipline to be a better man than you were yesterday

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Justin Brown

Justin Brown is an entrepreneur and thought leader in personal development and digital media, with a foundation in education from The London School of Economics and The Australian National University. As the co-founder of Ideapod, The Vessel, and a director at Brown Brothers Media, Justin has spearheaded platforms that significantly contribute to personal and collective growth. His deep insights are shared on his YouTube channel, JustinBrownVids, offering a rich blend of guidance on living a meaningful and purposeful life.

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