Most men have an unrealistic image of what it means to be powerful.
You don’t need to be a jacked, loud, and all-dominating alpha who does 50 pushups every morning while he listens to “Now You’re a Man” and chews raw steak.
Truly masculine traits are much more subtle – and powerful.
- You stay calm, collected, and centered, no matter what life throws at you.
- You radiate real confidence and self-trust, inspiring others to trust you as well.
- You show integrity by living up to your values and doing the right thing even if it’s hard.
When you have them, you ooze power. But if you don’t?
You can wear all the fancy clothes, drive all the fast cars, and flex all the biceps in the world – people still won’t see you as a confident, competent man.
Your character won’t change overnight.
But there are a few simple exercises that help you express these masculine traits when you need them.
How To Stay Calm as a Rock Amidst the Storms of Life
“Opportunity seldom rises with blood pressure.” – Jarod Kintz
The movie The Godfather shows the life of one of the most powerful mafia men – Don Vito Corleone. In one scene, fellow mafia member Amigo Bonasera asks him for a favor in a disrespectful way.
Corleone is the boss. He could scream, get him beaten, or straight-up shoot him. Instead, he does something far more powerful.
He stays calm – the most impressive display of power.
By the end of the scene, Bonasera asks him for his friendship, bows down before him, and kisses his hand.
Calmness during the storm shows that nothing can unsettle you.
But it isn’t easy.
I used to have a bad temper. If someone knew which buttons to push, I’d fly off the handle like I tried to open a steel door wired to a power outlet. My anger felt impressive to me but ridiculous to others.
You’ll have thousands of situations in life where staying calm will pay off.
- Arguments with your partner or spouse
- Discussing an important project with an annoying coworker
- Chaotic environments and hectic days
And just about any other scenario.
If you want to keep your cool instead of having your mind run wild and getting angry or shaky, there’s a simple breathing exercise that helps you with it.
It works quickly and is almost invisible – nobody will notice it.
I first heard about the technique from neuroscientist Andrew Huberman. Since then, I’ve used it often – especially when I discussed my childhood traumata with my mum on our last holiday. Here’s how it works:
- Take two consequent breaths in through the nose. Fill up your lungs about half, pause for a quick second, fill the other half.
- Exhale through your mouth.
- Repeat two to three times or until calm.
The double inhale causes your alveoli – the small bubbles in your lungs – to reinflate with air. You remove CO2 from your bloodstream, relaxing your body and mind.
A long exhale causes receptors in your heart to send signals to the brain to slow down the heart rate, another key component of staying relaxed.
It’s simple, quick, and effective – so use it whenever you need calmness and presence.
How To Boost Your Confidence in Seconds
“Confidence is silent, insecurities are loud.” – Unknown
I always wear big, fat, noise-canceling over-ears at the gym, blasting techno loud enough to drown out any outside noise. Well, almost any.
A few weeks ago, a guy was speaking so loudly that I could hear him even over Carl Cox’s 130 deafening beats per minute. He also had the razorblades-under-his-arms walk. One look was enough to make it painstakingly obvious that he tried to appear like the king of the jungle, but felt like a young and confused Mowgli inside.
Instead of trying hard to show confidence, you need to feel it.
But how can you feel more confident?
Long-term, you need to level up yourself and your life. Nothing can replace that. You can’t fake real, authentic confidence.
Short-term, there’s something else you can do.
Here’s a little experiment:
Lower your head, round your back, and hunch your shoulders. Then, read the following words:
Doesn’t feel very good, does it?
Now, try this. Sit or stand up straight. Pull your belly in, chest out, shoulders back. Look straight ahead. Then, read the following words.
Now, how do you feel? I bet much better.
Your brain and your body are well-connected. When you feel too nervous or anxious enough to approach an attractive person, say something bold, or make an important call, put your body in the right position. The feeling will follow.
Increase the effectiveness of this exercise by remembering a successful cold approach, praise you received, or a challenge you mastered.
Like the first one, this is almost invisible – a neat little trick to temporarily up your confidence when you need it.
How To Stand Up for What You Believe In
“When we stand up for what we believe in—for what’s right—there is always a chance that we risk the very things we fight for: our safety, our lives, our freedom. But if we stand down, the risk is definite.”― Kelseyleigh Reber
A man is only as good as his word – nobody trusts a weathervane who changes their opinion like their underwear.
That’s why not sticking to your values is the least masculine thing you can do and will lose you respect from men and women alike.
I have a very simple philosophy when it comes to apologies. If I did wrong, I apologize and take the blame, without cutting corners or holding back. If I didn’t mess up, no amount of guilt-talking will get me to say sorry.
This isn’t always easy – when five different people stand against you, it’s hard to keep your stance.
Integrity means you do the right thing, even if it’s hard.
But when the social pressure gets too big, many men cave. They rationalize, apologize, and down talk when they shouldn’t.
- “I didn’t mean it like that…”
- “Well, I guess you’re right…”
- “Yes, maybe I shouldn’t do that…”
There’s nothing wrong with changing your opinion because you’ve learned new information or taken a different perspective – but never betray your values and principles.
When you feel like the pressure gets too big, ask yourself:
“What do I believe in?”
If you believe in prioritizing your business over going out for beers, do it.
If you believe in being honest instead of sugarcoating things, do it.
If you believe in settling down with the person you love instead of chasing empty flings, do it.
Not everybody will like it, but they will respect you and your ways. And if they don’t, you can still respect yourself.
Do the right thing, even if it’s hard.