Gentlemen are a rare breed in today's society.
Being a male is a matter of birth, being a man is a matter of age, but being a gentleman is a matter of choice. Not a choice made once or twice during one's life, but a series of choices made every single day when navigating the world, and life.
So what then are these choices that separate the gentlemen from the rest of the pack? The men who hold themselves to higher standards. Let's explore.
1. A gentleman is kind to everyone.
A man of quality is never afraid of equality. There's no reason to talk down to or disrespect anyone who you come across in your daily life. Whether it's the person serving your coffee, cleaning the floor at the gym, or the CEO of your company, they are all human beings and are deserving of respect.
2. A gentleman never shows up empty handed.
If someone is extending the kindness of hosting you at their home, never show up without a sign of gratitude. Your choice will range depending on the context of the occasion and who's doing the hosting, but showing that you're grateful for the invitation is what counts.
3. A gentleman always improves himself.
In order to get respect from others, you first must have it for yourself. This means taking care of both your physical and mental well-being. In a Photoshop-ridden society, our generations certainly appear to value surface over substance, but a gentleman understands the importance of what goes beyond the outer shell.
Whether it's reading books, listening to lectures, watching documentaries, or any other education medium he prefers, it's important to not lose sight of improving the mind while also working on improving the body.
More important than professional accomplishment and success is cultivating the relationships with the people whom you will share it with. A gentleman will understand that no matter how far he makes it in life, it's better to be in a cottage with people he loves than it is to be in a mansion by himself.
5. A gentleman isn't afraid to be wrong.
Many people in today's day and age seem to have an incredible avoidance to being wrong. They will take a stand on a position and never allow new information or evidence to change their mind. This puts up a stone wall around your current base of knowledge and allows no room for expansion beyond it.
The only way to learn or grow is to be wrong. Only when you're wrong do you absorb new information, change your stance, and subsequently become "right." Without the ability to admit a mistake, there will be no lessons to take from it.
6. A gentleman always keeps the woman in his life happy.
It's important for a gentleman to hold high standards for how he acts when he's in a relationship. This includes never mistreating her or taking her for granted, always valuing her and showing her that he does (not just telling her).
He will understand that the effort it took to get the type of woman he wants is the same effort it will take to keep her, and that a lady would never accept being taken for granted any more than he would. He will never lose sight of doing the small things that make her happy.
7. A gentleman is always honest.
A reputation for honesty breeds a reputation for reliability. A reputation for trustworthiness. A reputation for being honorable. Consistency is important in both personal and professional life.
8. A gentleman understands the difference between confidence and arrogance.
And knows which side of the line to stay on.
9. A gentleman knows the difference between calling a woman sexy, and calling her beautiful.
And he knows how and when to use each term.
10. A gentleman puts others first.
There's no room among the gentlemanly for the selfish. There's no room for those who believe climbing the ladder means stepping on others along the way. There's no room for those who mistreat others for their own benefit, or any reason at all.
A gentleman isn't kind to people because of who they are — he's kind to people because of who he is. A gentleman will respect other men, women, children, and animals, and treats them with kindness. There's no need for a confident man to hurt another being in any way, as he gains nothing from it.
Gentlemen are a rare breed in today's society. It's important for men to strive for these ideals, as well as for women to show the men their efforts are appreciated and recognized.
While many men reach for these qualities without any need for outside influence, we can also assume that more would put in effort if they knew how much of a difference it would make in their life.
But if they don't, gentleman cannot be afraid to separate themselves from the crowd. The effort they put into living the best life they can comes with a reward that many others will never receive: The accomplishment of that goal.
This article was originally published at James M. Sama. Reprinted with permission from the author.