We understand each man lives by his own set of principles. However, there are poets, thinkers and scholars who have a much better way of articulating the proper ideals of man, and “I believe it was Nietzsche who said… ” always sounds better than, “Phil the plumber says… ”
So to help keep you on the right track in life, here are 10 quotes about men, written by men who’ve lived more notable lives than us, that every man should live by.
10. John Kennedy
“A man does what he must -- in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers, and pressures -- and that is the basis of all human morality.”
Doing the right thing is not always easy, but the greatest of men understand the obligation to do it anyways. JFK may have faltered on this front with Marilyn Monroe and the 700 other presidential playmates, but maintaining complete morality is a tough process. This isn’t only for men who make decisions on foreign policy, the space race and oval office intercourse, but the everyday decisions as well. Do the right thing and don’t look back; a clear conscience is often underrated.
9. Chuck Norris
“Men are like steel. When they lose their temper, they lose their worth.”
A man can model his life solely on the Walker, Texas Ranger ethos, but for the purposes of diversity, we settled for just one Chuck Norris quote. This metallic metaphor reiterates the importance of self-control, and just how destructive your temper can be. Norris knows there’s nothing more pitiful than a father having a tantrum over a high strike at his son’s little league game. Losing your cool in the boardroom or on the sidelines, is perhaps the most devaluing of exercises. Thank you, sensei.
8. Albert Camus
“After a certain age every man is responsible for his face”
Camus’ quote from The Fall is in reference to the protagonist Clamence, a self-absorbed hypocrite who realizes his entire existence is a farce. Hopefully his face looks a lot different from yours. We’re all products of our pasts, and at a certain point “who we are” is a reflection of “what we’ve done.” And when you'd reach that age, you better be proud of the choices you’ve made and the actions you’ve committed, because you’re responsible for them. And if you make a few mistakes, there’s always botox.
7. Theodore Roosevelt
“Big jobs usually go to the men who prove their ability to outgrow small ones.”
The long and arduous path to the top of the totem pole is about proving yourself on the bottom. Underachievers always think they’ll start performing when they get the promotion to the bigger job, but they’re only fooling themselves. Jim from the compliance department may think he has the goods to get the corner office, but streaming reruns of Alf all day isn’t exactly outgrowing your current position.
6. George Washington
“Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder.”
A cynical quote from old GW, who was perhaps still bitter he didn’t accept the Brit’s offer to throw Valley Forge, but nonetheless, an insightful quote. Anyone can be bought, and only a select number of strong willed men are impervious to a price. There are two lessons here: One, a man should always strive to honor his principles no matter what the monetary offer may be. Two, if it’s $500,000 or more, make sure you get it in cash -- up front.
5. Oscar Wilde
“Between men and women there is no friendship possible. There is passion, enmity, worship, love, but no friendship.”
It’s an old quote that’s revisited by Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally -- there’s no such thing as a platonic relationship between a man and a woman. The man is usually consumed with the idea of sleeping with her. It’s a belief widely acknowledged by men, but rarely accepted by women. Remember that. Movie and dinner nights might mean one thing to you, but she certainly doesn’t view it as a precursor to intercourse.
Check out the other 5 over at AskMen.com