Reclaiming the Art of Manliness with Brett McKay

When you hear the word ‘manliness’ what comes to mind? In this modern age, it seems like good old-fashioned manliness has disappeared. Today, Brett McKay from The Art of Manliness is here to tell us what being a great man is truly about.

Brett McKay

Brett McKay is the creator of The Art of Manliness, the largest independent men’s interest magazine on the web. He has been married to his wife Kate since 2005 and has two kids, six-year-old son Gus and three-year-old daughter Scout.

When Brett McKay started out in law school, he noticed that men’s magazines were dominated by articles about sports cars, celebrities, and six-pack abs. There was no content that resonated with him. There was no advice on how to become a great man. Brett decided to fill that void and created The Art of Manliness.

Since then, the blog has exploded in popularity and Brett McKay made the bold decision to quit his corporate job to work on the site full-time. The Art of Manliness now produces a podcast and has published several books. The latest book is called The Illustrated Art of Manliness. It comes out on May 16th and covers six aspects of what it means to be a man.

6 Roles a Man Will Have in Life

As men, we wear many hats and have many responsibilities to our community and our families. We have to develop ourselves in each of these roles to become an honorable, well-rounded, and satisfied man.

  1. Warrior – As warriors, we need to develop tactical skills. We must be aware of threats and take precautions. We take safety for granted. Brett says to treat family like VIPs and we are their security detail.
  2. Gentleman – Be considerate. Dress well. Refine yourself. Not for your ego or for vanity, but to make others feel comfortable so you can be of service to them.
  3. Adventurer –Every man in his life wants to go on adventure. Men are attracted to risk. We like activities that test our mettle in unknown situations. As dads, we have a responsibility to expose kids to adventure too.
  4. Leader – Every guy is going to be a leader at one point or another. As dads, we are the leader of our families. As professionals, we are leaders at work. We need to learn the skills to being an effective leader so we can influence with others, not to be manipulative and opportunistic, but to make others feel comfortable so we can gain their trust.
  5. Family Man – Part of being a dad is having things in order for your family. This means taking care of estate planning, financial planning, and vacation planning. Brett says that much of the time we are busy, but not effective. We must be aware of the difference, and spend our resources and time on the most important, meaningful parts of our lives.
  6. Technician – What’s the correct way to hold a hammer? How does a car engine work? Men should learn craftsman skills to be useful around home to business, not just to save time or money, but to bring meaning to life. Being able to be effective and competent in the world brings great satisfaction.

Brett McKay’s Manly Dad Wisdom

Brett says his biggest challenge as a father is staying patient. Kids will test patience to the max, and his advice to dads is to treat parenting like a video game. When it comes to disciplining our kids, we must keep calm and move on quickly. Why? Most kids crave attention whether it’s positive or negative. As authoritarians, we tend to make a big deal when our kids misbehave. This is counterproductive because we’re giving them the exact attention they’re craving. Brett says to treat these situations like Super Mario Brothers. Acknowledge the misbehavior, give the punishment without getting overly emotional, and just keep starting over again.

“Treat parenting like a video game.”


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  1. Great episode today Larry! Your comment about patience (51:30)…you have to read page 8 of Mark Manson’s “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” (page 8 is on Amazon’s look inside feature (page 7 isn’t)) it talks about feeling guilty for feeling guilty (and anger, etc.) not to promote another author’s book on Brett’s episode (I LOVE the Art of Manliness (I’ve already pre-ordered his book and have purchased other books, etc.)). Just check out that page…I’ll bet it totally resonates.

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