It's not easy being a man — any man will tell you that. Our generation is more competitive and demanding than ever. We are subject to certain expectations and assumptions. Also, in a culture that's constantly changing (especially so for us Gen-Y men), values continue changing.
There are some traits that some claim men have lost over the generations. There are other traits that — regardless of time and age — we strive to embody. In my opinion and experience, especially for us Gen-Y men, these are the top 10 values we should aspire to embody:
Loyalty seems to be lost in today’s world. We demand immediate fixes for everything, which has its consequences, like people not feeling open to creating powerful relationships. Our obsession with having immediate results leaves us incapable of long-term thinking.
However, we should strive to reclaim and embody this loyalty. There are people who will help us throughout life, whom we can help in return. It's important, especially as men, to reject the part of our culture that demands immediate relationships and immediate results.
We should focus on long-term "win-win" relationships with people of value.
Respect is one of the highest signs of an actualized man. It's easy to underestimate people, to be sloppy, to not give adversaries, work colleagues or competitors the respect they deserve.
It’s easy to be cavalier, to think we're the best and to ignore the facts. Paying respect is one of the most highly regarded signs of a man.
Respect means you have experience and you've done your homework. Even though you may aspire to be the best, you recognize that others do, as well. As a man, one of the highest demonstrations of our worth is giving people the respect they deserve.
Society has conditioned people — men, especially — not to be people of action. We're given everything and expect immediate solutions for everything. But, becoming a man of action is refreshing and a sign that, regardless of conditioning, we know we have to get things done.
Action is one of the most important traits a man should strive to possess. It’s important that we know our values, capabilities and what we are willing to do for ourselves.
Ambition is the opposite of laziness. It's an indicator that, when choosing between comfort and risking to have a better life, you choose the latter. Ambition is prioritizing opportunity before comfort. It's knowing what you want and going after it, regardless of the consequences for your comfort zone.
Even though we live in a generation that is more jaded and demands instant gratification more than our predecessors, the struggle with ambition has been an eternal one. Fight for a better future and continuously refine your craft.
Compassion is a sign of a true man. We live in a harsh world. Unexpected problems and obstacles transpire each day. We're subject to setbacks and fail to achieve the things we want. When things don't go our way, it's easy to get aggressive.
It's hard to understand others. It's a sign of a wise man when he has compassion for others; when he understands, even when he doesn't get his way, that life is sometimes just as it is. He understands that other people are suffering from similar problems and understanding them.
Resilience is a characteristic that is especially important in our generation. As previously mentioned, we live in a generation that prioritizes instant gratification.
Resilience is a sign of wisdom because you understand that even if things don't go your way right here and now, there will be other ways.
Opportunities will arise. Keep fighting; change your approach and attack again. Don't give up immediately because something didn't work out the first time.
As men, we have an impulse to be adventurous, to take risks, to explore and to do more. Society has conditioned us to not take further risks or put ourselves out there. It has conditioned us to comply with existing rules.
One value we should always strive to cultivate, as men, is risk; adventure; taking action and chasing goals. We will never have anything of true worth in life without risking rejection or embarrassment. This is a reality we need to embrace and use to our advantage.
As men, it's important to be the source of centeredness for others: women, children and other men.
However, especially in today’s world, where society's rules are so constricting and we've been so conditioned to react to the environment, it's harder for men to be centered and to be true to ourselves.
One trait we should always aspire to have is to stay centered and to not react to any given environment. We should strive to be the source of centeredness for the people around us and to provide security for them.
Self-esteem is something men should take very seriously and aspire to have. Society now tries to shape and define itself more than any previous generation. Self-esteem is not the opposite of ego; they go together.
A reasonable quantity of ego is good and a reasonable quantity of external validation is okay.
However, in order to be inspired, motivated and do more with our lives, most of our validation must come from within ourselves. We must be able to follow our own visions rather than what others demand or want from us.
The final value — and in a way, the sum of all previous ones — is wisdom. Wisdom is experience. It's about having experienced something before and knowing the pitfalls.
It's having experienced similar things. It's having taken risks in the past and being more willing to take risks in the future. It's having taken action in the past and being more willing to take action in the future.
Wisdom is, essentially, what you get after you gain life experience. It's a sign of how much you know about the world and life and all of the specific details because you've experienced a multitude of situations before. We should all strive to be wiser each day.