Lessons to Learn from Manly Men of Yesteryear

Aside from chivalry, there are many lessons today's gents can learn from the manly men of yesteryear.

Lessons to Learn from Manly Men of Yesteryear

True masculinity never goes out of style - but as timeless as it is, it's a form of masculinity that's incredibly hard to come by. Being a man is never easy, and today's role models simply don't really cut the mustard as well as they should.

Speaking as someone who loves the company of a good man, there are some traits and characteristics that many modern guys could learn from men of the past. These lessons aren't always easy to master, but if you read up on the men who perfected these masculine traits, you'll be a lot more respected (and desired) than most other guys in your crew.

George Patton - Leadership

George Patton was a classic man's man in every sense of the phrase. He was a star athlete in high school, and when he enlisted in the army, became a charismatic, "larger than life" general who inspired men to fight against Nazis with all their might.

Patton's natural skill and charisma had a lot to do with how people followed him into battle, but what really set him apart from many other generals in history was that he would march alongside his soldiers. Unlike other officers who may have thought themselves "too good" for grunt work, Patton made a point of showing his teammates that he played by the same rules as they did.

Unlike many leaders of today, Patton also wasn't a micromanager. He would tell people what they should accomplish and leave them to their own devices to do it. This showed faith in his soldiers, and that made his soldiers have more respect for him, too.

When soldiers failed to finish all their pushups or were unable to shoot down planes, Patton never shamed them or made fun of them. As he once said, "Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom."

By encouraging keeping morale high, improving camaraderie between himself and his soldiers, and by giving his soldiers enough room to do their jobs right, Patton helped lead the Allies to victory in one of the most difficult wars in human history.

Mad Jack Churchill - Fearlessness

While Patton was commanding the US army, World War II British fighter "Mad" Jack Churchill was busy giving Axis powers a world of pain on his own. Churchill was known for being an insanely tough fighter who had once continued fighting despite having been shot in the neck by a German machine gun.

Mad Jack was the kind of man who made a point of making an entrance on the battlefield. In fact, he never went to battle without his trusty sword - despite the British Army never issuing him a sword. Many of his ambushes on Nazi groups were planned on his own and were carried out while he rode on his motorcycle.

Churchill's incredible levels of bravery resulted in him being almost solely responsible for the taking of Maaloy Island's batteries, and in him singlehandedly taking 42 German prisoners in one night using only his broadsword.

Mad Jack had faced quite a lot of threats of death while in the war. At one point, he was captured and sent to a concentration camp. Jack promptly escaped, re-enlisted in the British army, and asked to continue fighting in the war.

England's military was undoubtedly impressed with his bravery, and they gifted him two extremely prestigious awards - including the esteemed Military Cross of Bravery.

After they gave him word that the war was about to end, it seemed like adventures would be over for Mad Jack. With the war done, he decided to settle down into a life of accounting and quiet reading. Just kidding - he became an extreme surfer and traveled the world after his stint in the military wrapped up.

Lord Byron - Sophistication And Charm

When it comes to poise, manners, and sophistication, few men in history were as highly regarded as Lord Byron. The 18th century writer, poet, and all-around bon vivant was a man who was famous for his way with words, his love of fine wine, and his many connections with European aristocracy.

Byron was, in every sense of the word, an elegant man. He dressed well. His dining manners were impeccable. He was masterful at conversation, well groomed, and was excellent when it came to just knowing how to enjoy the finer things in life.

Incidentally, these classy traits made him an extreme version of a ladies' man. Historians believe that Lord Byron may have slept with as many as 250 women in throughout his life.

What's really interesting about this is that Byron wasn't always this way - nor was Lord Byron particularly attractive. Lord Byron was born with a club foot and had very effeminate features.

In his early childhood, he was actually known to get violent to overcompensate for what he lacked in physique. In fact, when he was a teenager, most people were a bit scared of him.

This meant that he took time to actually cultivate that charm and elegance, quell that temper of his, and improve himself to the point that he became irresistible to both men and women alike.

This also meant that he learned to take rejection and loss in stride - a rare feat in today's society. Moreover, Lord Byron also never hit, insulted, or otherwise showed anger to the women he was involved with, even when they grated on his nerves.

Byron's story is proof that anyone can become super charming, even if they aren't built like Adonis. All it takes is a little bit of personality improvement, polishing, and reading to do so.

Ernest Hemingway - Strength

Ernest Hemingway might be the manliest author to have lived in the 20th century - and we mean that in every single way possible. He fought in World War I. He regularly attended bullfights and hunted big game in the Serengeti. In New York City, he was legendary for being able to hold his liquor and charm A-list celebrities.

Oh, and he literally wrote the book on being a strong, manly hero. He was the one who defined the Hemingway Hero. Moreover, he lived by his own definition of what a man was.

According to him, a hero is "a man who lives correctly, following the ideals of honor, courage and endurance in a world that is sometimes chaotic, often stressful, and always painful."

Hemingway was famous for being able to stoically handle stressful situations, bravely face trauma without flinching, and for his dedication to his code of honor.

He also was a huge fan of endurance, and would constantly keep trying to better himself and succeed. Perhaps that's why he once wrote, “Man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated.”

Walter Cronkite - Gravitas

According to The Art of Manliness, the ancient Romans believed that there were four virtues: dignitas (dignity, influence, and status), pietas (faith, duty, and loyalty), gravitas (seriousness, importance, and decorum), and virtus (valor, manliness, and courage.)

Men who took themselves seriously, had a sense of decorum, and used their hard work to better the world around them were said to have gravitas. In a word, they were men of solid character.

Men of gravitas never bothered with excessive luxury or frivolity. They were men on a mission - and made a point of show it in their committed, honest, yet serious demeanor.

This is a manliness trait that has been, for the most part, lost. However, we do have a good example of this virtue in fairly recent history: Walter Cronkite.

This TV announcer had a career that spanned a jaw-dropping 60 years, and much of his ability to gain viewers' trust depended on his serious yet always appropriate demeanor.

At one point in time, he was considered to be the "most trusted man in America" thanks to his warm yet constantly even-keeled demeanor. His commitment to reporting is legendary even now, and he's considered to be one of the greats because of the gravitas he possessed.

Oscar Wilde - Individuality

Oscar Wilde was, and still is, one of the most beloved writers and humorists of the 19th century. His razor sharp witticisms can still elicit a chuckle today, and his plays are just as timeless today as they were back when he first penned them.

But, this really isn't about his writing work. After all, your high school teacher probably drilled that knowledge into your head already. No, this was about Oscar Wilde's dedication to staying true to himself.

In British society, there were a few things that you simply did not do. Dressing overly flamboyantly, for example, was one of those things. Being gay, too, was another one of those things - and if you were gay, you definitely didn't have sexual relations with members of British high society.

Oscar Wilde, incidentally, did every single one of those things you don't do - even though it came with the threat of scandal, ostracization, and even imprisonment. Even when he did get jailed for his love life, he never backed down.

If you ask us, that level of staying true to oneself is awesome.

Hunter S. Thompson - Adventurousness

If you've ever read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, you probably have already figured out that Hunter S. Thompson was a truly adventurous man. Unlike others on this list, his brand of adventuring also wasn't socially condoned at the time.

In an era that was marked by staunch anti-drug activism, Thompson was a man who dropped tons of acid, smoked just about everything, and went so far as to ride alongside Hell's Angels. Not only did he survive all that insanity, but he also ended up writing about his experiences.

Thompson's sense of adventure helped him create the genre of "gonzo" literature and also inspired hundreds (if not thousands) of other people to follow in his footsteps and just live life.

Gautama Buddha - Self-Control

Most people on this list of manly men grew up in poverty, lived rough lives, or just "earned their stripes" in the trenches. But, prince Gautama Buddha was not one of these people.

Rather than have struggles that involve an uphill battle against the bad cards that life dealt him, Gautama Buddha had everything he could ever want handed to him on a platter. He had women who would have done whatever he told them to. He had wealth beyond most peoples' wildest dreams. He even had servants that waited on him hand and foot.

However, Gautama wasn't happy - and began to wonder why that was. So, in order to figure out what was going on, he did something that most of us would never have the willpower to do: he gave it all up.

Buddha went on a massive journey to attain enlightenment, and eventually founded a religion that is still practiced today. One of the main tenets is self-control and the removal of oneself from greed.

The truth is that most men in this article , if not all of them, are famous for their extraordinary levels of self-control. It's a truly masculine trait, and that makes it awesome to work on.

John D. Rockefeller - Work Ethic

When John D. Rockefeller was a kid, he grew up in poverty. But, by the time he died, he was the richest man in the world and had grown one of the largest businesses to have ever existed.

So, what made him so wealthy? It was a mix of his ingenuity, his work ethic, and his luck. But, mostly, it was his work ethic.

During the time when he was just starting out, he had barely any education in accounting and walked from business to business asking for a position. He walked the streets asking for jobs until his feet bled, searching for a job for six days a week, and it was only after the sixth week that he found a firm willing to hire him.

It was the skills he learned there, as well as the money he earned there, that had allowed him to start his own business. Rockefeller was famous for working the majority of the day. When he wasn't working, he was thinking about how he could better expand his business and gain more clients.

If people turned him down, he also would work harder to gain their business. His relentless persistence also came with another trait that he worked to attain: incredible self-control.

The reason why he worked so hard to become so controlled was because he realized that he had to boss himself if he was going to remain his own boss. His hard-earned control over his emotions made him an expert negotiator and helped him gain contacts, contracts, as well as respect from an elite society that initially snubbed him.

Benjamin Franklin - Diplomacy And Humor

We just couldn't put together a list of awesome men without Benjamin Franklin on it. Often considered to be one of the most successful diplomats in American history, Benjamin Franklin's success is mostly attributed to his hard work and his amazing ability to understand people.

His ability to charm was one that has become legendary, and many psychologists actually study the methods he used to gain friends and influence others to this very day.

One of the most well-known things he did was become friends with a rival after asking to borrow a book from him. The fact that he knew that men were more likely to like someone they did good for was something novel at the time, but it's now known as the Benjamin Franklin Effect.

His other big weapon in his arsenal was his humor - and it was that super sharp wit that made him incredibly popular with men and women alike. In many cases, huge scandals and fights were disarmed with his humorous quips. Some even suggest that America may not have actually become as successful without him.

Benjamin Franklin's gift of gab wasn't just something that helped him with American politics, either. His awesome humor and charm made him a hit with the ladies - even though he wasn't exactly the fittest guy on Earth.

Mackenzie Z. Kennedy
Mackenzie Z. Kennedy
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Mackenzie Z. Kennedy

Socialite and dating guru Mackenzie Kennedy knows all about the inner workings of people and society as a whole. It's not only her lifestyle - it's her passion. She lives in Hoboken with her pet dogs, Cassie and Callie.

See all posts by Mackenzie Z. Kennedy