Become a Better Man: Humility is a Strength and Trait of A Real Man

humility is strength

We live in a world where the measure of a man is upside down, and most men and women have it backwards. The traits of a real man are no longer on display, but are instead replaced with fakes that are masquerading all around our TV’s, magazines, and infiltrating our lives. If we’re honest with ourselves we all know it’s a lie; except for maybe those still “living in High School”.

How to become a better man isn’t hip or cool. But it should be. The Alpha Male is a poor representation of what Alpha in Manliness should really be. Our generation of men, and perhaps the one before mine, got it wrong. One of our female readers recently shared, “The GentleMan is always the Alpha”. Unfortunately this isn’t always the case, but it should be.

False Humility – The Masquerader

When a man is full of himself it’s because he thinks only of himself. He is prideful. He might pretend to be a man of character but he only acts when it’s to his gain. If there’s nothing in it for him or is a danger to him, he is nowhere to be seen.  He’ll conveniently excuse himself or have an excuse for his disappearance. He’s irresponsible. This is not the trait of authentic humility that a real man possesses. This man is a coward.

I’m sure you’ve heard the old idiom Pride comes before a fall and maybe the Proverb that inspired it – Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall (18:16). And it doesn’t always have to happen immediately. It usual strikes when you least expect it.

Authentic Humility – A Trait of a Real Man

When a man of character adds humility to his arsenal he no longer thinks of himself first. He’s confident in his abilities and uses them for others. He isn’t self-promoting but is self-less. He thinks team first and I last. He’s responsible.

He will be there to help, but you might not always see him. Humility can be easily passed-on-by. And if you believe the lie that the masquerader is humble, then you definitely won’t be able to identify authentic humility.

“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” –CS Lewis

The definition of humility isn’t that you’re walked all over and don’t know how to be assertive. Humility is wrongly associated with weakness, being soft and afraid. But real humility is a strength and takes authentic confidence. Be careful not to mistake confidence with arrogance for these two are not the same.

The opposite of humility is arrogance, conceit and self-importance.

Become A Better Man

The Wrong Choice:

Be quick-witted and you’ll sound sharp. Have that body gracing the cover of Men’s Health. Be a sports jock and drive a mustang, or truck if you’re from the south. Be the center of attention. Talk over others or “flex” your muscle. All of this is an image that men are trying to attain. With all their focus on this they forget about the traits of a real man.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying fitness, a beautiful lady in your life and car (or truck) is wrong. But when we expect these to define our manliness then it’s wrong. Material possessions are not manly traits but do help display what traits we possess, or lack.

The Right Choice: A Man with Humility…

  • Knows his abilities and thinks no less or more of them than they really are.
  • Is honest with himself. He knows his strengths and weaknesses. Is self-aware.
  • Is Confident and remains modest.
  • Will ask for help when required
  • Lifts others up and makes others stronger.
  • Shares the praise with those around him.
  • Does not seek to be praised or self-glorified.
  • Does not question his manliness; he has confidence in who he is and doesn’t have to put others down to believe in himself.
  • Is always learning, because he knows he has much to learn.
  • Honors God and Others

Here’s a great excerpt from the Art of ManlinessMaximus_Gladiator

It seems as you study the men in history we consider great or heroic, their life is often characterized not by how high they attempted to maneuver themselves in respect to other men, but rather how low. In the incredible movie, “Gladiator,” we see this displayed in convincing fashion. The coward son of Marcus Aurelius fought to mask his insecurities through swagger and a mad dash for power.

In contrast, the hero Maximus, the epitome of manhood, consistently chooses restraint and humility. He took care of the men around him, teaching them how to fight in the arena, and not for a second deeming himself more valuable or worthy. The result? His men adored him and many gave their lives for him. The great power of Maximus was in his humility.

How To Be A Man – 8 Traits Of Real Men

My inspiration behind writing this article was a recreational volleyball game I once witnessed. It wasn’t a competitive league or intense match; just a game amongst friends. There were many guys and girls playing, but it was two individuals that stood out to me. One appeared to be the Alpha Male or sports jock (they usually stand out immediately) and the other actually didn’t even stand out to me until after his team lost.

Note: No one playing seemed to know the right volleyball rules.

The Alpha male was “louder” and made his presence known. If he said so, grabbing the net, palming the ball and such were ok. He wasn’t a volleyball player but others still listened to his lead even when he was wrong. He complained about others mistakes and invaded their playing space if he thought he could do better. The indicators of false humility here are that his presence was only known when it benefitted him. He appeared to be a leader, but only when to his gain. And when he led it didn’t strengthen others or include them into the team. They won the first game and he took the credit. They lost their 2nd game and he blamed others while taking the loss hard because part of his image, his manliness, was lost on the court.

I noticed the other guy as he walked off the court after his team’s loss. I asked him if he played before and he said he plays beach volleyball all the time. I asked him why he didn’t make a bigger deal about the rules and he replied with something along the lines of ‘everybody is having fun’ so it’s no big deal. In my mind I was thinking, “No Big Deal!”. If you win you stay on the court, if you lose you walk. For him he wanted to have fun with his friends and enjoy some team sports. It wasn’t a match of male dominance and stroking egos’. He encouraged his friends to play even when they had no business being on the court. He demonstrated right technique and threw encouraging words around. He led by demonstration and let others learn through their own trial and error. He supported teamwork and fun.

Where are the real men? What happened to manliness? Humility and desires to Become a Better Man are being drowned out and stampeded over by the glory and fame of men like Iron Man and self-seeking ego’s.

I prefer Batman…his famous quote about everyone having potential to be a hero.

Jim Gordon: I never cared who you were…

Batman: And you were right.

Jim Gordon: …but shouldn’t the people know the hero who saved them?

Batman: A hero can be anyone. Even a man doing something as simple and reassuring as putting a coat around a young boy’s shoulders to let him know that the world hadn’t ended.

If you look closely there are humble men all around you that you will notice. You might not see them at first if authentic humility is a foreign concept to you. But as you grow and learn it won’t be that hard to spot, and you will also start developing some humility.

I came across a tweet from one of our followers on Twitter that I’m going to leave you with. In these three sentences are some powerful words.

Talent is God given. Be humble

Fame is man given. Be grateful

Conceit is self given. Be careful.

-John Wooden “Wizard of Westwood”, Basketball Player and Coach

Please share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you.

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About John

Passionate. Life Learner. Thinker. Christ Follower. Investor. Conversationalist. Army Veteran. Dog Lover. Corporate Colleague. Bears, Blackhawks, Cubs fan. Follow me on Twitter.


  1. Great article and great quotes! Lots to chew on. It is interesting that discovering and learning how to become a better man ISN’T popular. I hope that people are so tired of Alpha males, jerks, and abusers that we’ll have a generation (this one hopefully) that thinks it’s awesome to be a true man.

    • Thanks dude! Yea, I did pack a lot in there. Hopefully we can help men desire to become better man. This is going to be a fun series!

  2. John, what a solid solid post. Thanks for throwing out the tweet to bring to my attention. Humility is such a strong trait for men and yet we see it so little these days in our culture. I have learned the best way to teach humility to other men is to practice it myself each and everyday. I can definitely think of my arrogant times in the past and do a half laugh now, knowing how dumb I must have looked. Keep it up brother!

    • Thanks Bryan! I definitely also had and still have those arrogant times. It’s easy for me to laugh about them now. Ha! In my teens and early 20’s I didn’t understand humility and was following the crowd while trying to attain some “elite” status of Alpha male. Like an unattainable dream that shoouldn’t be pursued in the first place. Maybe one day it’ll be cool/desired to “become a better man” and the godly men we were created to be.

  3. John,

    Thank you for having the courage and conviction (two truly manly traits) to express these truths. I personally believe that the decline of true masculinity in our culture is mainly attributable to the decline of the marriage-based family and the marginalization of Christianity.

    All boys acquire role models and it will either be a father or their peer group. In the absence of a father, other boys and mass media provide the template for manliness.

    How about those boys who do have a father but Dad has no idea of what Truth is, much less how to express it to his son? A father has to be able to offer his son something more than just his own example. Fathers must be able to train and equip their sons to discern wisdom and truth on their own.

  4. Appreciate the encouraging words. Growing up I was fortunate to have come across a few great examples of manly humility. I think your last sentence speaks to that. It took some life living to understand it and start to learn, but I think I’m finally traveling a better road. The biggest game changer was becoming Christian in my late 20’s. Only then did I start to see with fresh eyes.

  5. Hello John i really enjoyed this article.
    I do agree with you on this subject that humility is strength and a trait of a man. s men we can easily get carried away by fame, money and the rest. One way we can remain humble is by remembering that there is nothing new under the earth.
    If i make a million dollars it is obvious someone else has done it too so there won’t be any need of becoming proud and arrogant.
    I love the quotes and the bible verse, I am a Now a follower on twitter.
    He thinks team first and I last. He’s responsible.

  6. Humility is an awesome thing, pity there is not more of it around.

  7. Love the quotes. Great read.

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