10 Effective Tips To Be A Modern Gentleman

A boy becomes a man when a man is needed
— John Steinbeck

While the above statement holds true in general, it may lead one to believe that there may come a situation in your life where the magical transformation will happen. The journey from a boy to a man, from being naïve to sensible, from careless to responsible, is a gradual change. It is not defined by age, and certainly not by the parameters set by the society. Getting married or becoming a father may be the milestones of your life, but doing so doesn’t necessarily mean that you were actually prepared to take on the responsibility of yourself and others.

Growing up, you should not aim to be an ideal man no matter what traits someone may list out for you because no one can absolutely define what ideal is. But what you must strive for is to become a sensible, useful and compassionate man with well-cultivated habits. Our idea of a modern Indian man is that of someone who simply never stops improving.

Habits will shape you up. They will sculpt the blithe child inside you into an efficient and productive man. Habits are not just what you do physically but also how you train yourself to behave mentally. Below is a list of best habits to pick from that will effortlessly help bring out the best in you.

1.       Be responsible – when we talk about a grown up man, responsibilities is what comes to mind first. Indeed, within the same age group a man with more responsibilities will be maturer than his peers, but having fewer tasks don’t mean you can be careless. Know how to not blame others, know how to pick pieces of your heart up when it shatters without a ruckus, and take care of your loved ones and be sensitive to their needs.

2.       Read – what you read can greatly impact your thoughts. Read to know what great minds think like. Read to know about the hardships achievers face before succeeding. Read to know about how you can improve yourself. And just sometimes, read to escape the reality with fiction/romance/thriller as fantasy is an important part of living.

3.       Take care of your health – as you grow up, your bodies demands are increasing. Not paying attention means inviting trouble as you age. A man cannot look after others if he is himself falling sick always. Work out regularly (vacation is not an excuse!), have a proper diet (take supplements if needed) and drink lots of water.

4.       Volunteer – indulging in occasional social work will make you compassionate to the needs of the less privileged. You'll see how people survive in tough times, and this will make you appreciate your life more and be humble.

5.       Pay attention to appearance – understand what looks good on you and dress smartly according to your age. Be well groomed (read proper haircut, well-maintained beard, trimmed nails and a light fragrance), and look after basic hygiene. Always looking presentable is not about wearing expensive clothes but about carrying yourself nicely. Needless to say, working out regularly greatly enhances your appearance.

6.       Be adventurous – curious, adventurous and well-travelled have always interesting stories to share. Having experiences out of your comfort zone (read here for many suggestions in India) can make you wiser beyond your age. A new culture, a new place, a new activity will make you realise there's so much more to the world than your own problems you keep dwelling over sometimes.

A mind stretched by new experiences can never go back to its old dimensions
— Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

7.        Learn how to cook – it may look like we’re picking up a trivial skill, but seriously, don’t be that boy who thinks he’ll always have his mother, sister, wife to cook for him. You need food as much as the females in your life. Learn how to survive on your own.

8.       Define your values – this takes time, but make sure you try to figure it out. Know what you believe in so that you know who you are and who you want to be. Do not compromise on things important to you. Perseverance is what separates a restless boy from a man with a vision; honesty is what will make people trust you; being respectful to everyone is what will get you respect in return. Always be ambitious.

9.       Be aware of your surroundings – consciously make efforts to keep in touch with politics, current affairs and latest trends in your area of interest. A boy would hardly care about life beyond himself and his friends, but a smart man tries to keep up with the ever-changing world so that he knows how to actively participate in the society.

10.   Have good manners – a gentleman is someone who has a mild way of treating everyone, and good manners make a man much more pleasant to be with. So shake hands firmly, don’t speak in a loud voice and don’t badmouth someone, to begin with. When it comes to women, chivalry will always get you bonus points.

Once you see yourself walking down the path of manhood, help those around you in becoming a better man. Be a coach, father, friend, brother, partner and help others see through their shortcomings without being judgemental. Some people are able to naturally make better choices, but some people learn through their mistakes. Be forgiving and give them a chance to improve and grow.