…and that’s ok.
Or at least, you may never fit the identity of the stereotypical “alpha male” that apparently sets the bar for what being a quintessential man is all about.
Perhaps the question shouldn’t be “how do I become an alpha male?“. Maybe it should be “how do I become my personal version of an alpha male?“.
Or better yet, “how can I be the best version of myself as a man?“.
I think adjusting out the term “alpha male” allows us to focus less on a certain image of what an alpha male should be and instead focus on being the best individual version of ourselves.
The core component of masculinity really boils down to confidence, but if we wrap our confidence up in something unattainable then we’ll never really find true confidence and thus fail to find that confident masculinity.
Just because you’re a blue-collar guy doesn’t mean you need to get in touch with a Duck Dynasty persona just like a white-collar personality doesn’t need to aim for becoming the Next Wolf of Wall Street. You just need to be able to look in the mirror and be happy and confident with becoming the best version of yourself in whatever form that’s going to be.
I believe there are certain traits of masculinity that are important to embrace as a man and that tend to be attractive to women in general, but I also believe women are attracted to a multitude of guys for a variety of reasons. A lack of success in dating is often incorrectly correlated to not being a particular version of alpha masculinity when the real problem is just a lack of confidence in our own personal version of masculinity and letting that insecurity limit who we approach.
I’m 165 pounds and a touch below 5′-9″. I’m athletic and exercise, but hardly fit the mold of muscular. I’d rather type up my feelings on a blog post than punch a bag at the gym. When my friends are watching sports, I’m probably sitting on the couch reading about a financial topic they’d think was boring. I’ve never been able to master shotgunning a beer and so I’m a little insecure about my chugging abilities. And if you ask me to go hunting with you, I’ll probably vomit if I have to help gut the deer. I’m far and away from so many things that make up what being a rugged manly-man is all about. But I own who I am and I’m proud of the man in the mirror. That confidence has allowed me to put myself out there.
I’ve been known to walk into a club filled with gorgeous women and find it difficult to muster up the confidence to strike up a conversation with them based purely on the fact they’re surrounded by so many guys that are 6′-2″ of muscle. In so many ways, I’m the polar opposite of that image of masculinity and I’ve let that insecurity define how successful I am with women and in my careers unjustifiably so.
First, I had to realize that I’ll never be like those guys. And secondly, I had to realize that’s not anything to be ashamed of and that my own insecurity about that was preventing me from attracting women, not the reality of it.
When I started this blog, I knew there were things in my life I was struggling with as a guy. I wanted to flesh out those thoughts in ways that might help other men. At the very least, in a world where our feelings often leave us in a mindset of being alone in our emotions, I figured connecting with other men through my words would perhaps help other guys who might be in the same spot as me, especially if I could share how I had risen above my insecurities and seclusion cycle.
Part of the process in piecing together the blog was doing a lot of keyword research. If I was going to aim to be a blog in the vein of “Girl, Wash Your Face” for men I was going to have to know above and beyond my own feelings what other guys were struggling with in life.
This one term kept popping up over and over again: alpha male.
“How do I become an alpha male?”
“How do I dress like an alpha male?”
“What is an alpha male?”
In fact, I went so far as to put together a blog post early on literally titled, slightly cringe-worthily “How to become a more respected alpha male.”
But what exactly is an alpha male?
I think we all have this idea of what an alpha male is and yet that idea rests solely upon a blanket image of what society paints is a manly-man. When you start to associate alpha males with a certain stereotype it neglects a lot of guys from ever becoming an alpha male.
That’s destructive to male confidence overall.
At the end of the day, we might joke about brocodes and ComMANdments for being a guy, but the reality is men come in all different shapes, sizes, interests, and personalities. Being an alpha male isn’t about being one particular shape and size with a certain set of interests and a particular personality.
It’s about being an alpha in your shape and size.
It’s about being an alpha in your interests.
It’s about having an alpha personality that’s genuine to who you are.
That boils down to being confident in who you are ingrained to be.
Does a guy lose his ability to be an alpha male because he would rather build a business from lines of code than sweat and physical work? Is a shy person immediately incapable of ever reaching alpha status because they aren’t extroverted?
Be a confident leader among software programmers. Don’t let your preference for introversion allow you to be taken advantage of. Those are the traits of being an alpha personality so sorely missing from the typical image of alpha males.
If we compartmentalize the identity of an alpha male as a very specific thing men should aim to become we’re now conforming to the idea men can only like certain things, act a certain way, express themselves through very specific avenues, or wear specific types of apparel. Doing so would mean anything that doesn’t fit into that compartment isn’t an alpha male and thus if not alpha it must be beta.
I’d argue becoming an “alpha male” isn’t about any of the things it often gets associated with. Yet when guys go looking for advice on becoming an alpha male they’re often looking for advice on how to become a certain image of man versus just becoming a better man and better version of themselves.
Approaching male confidence from the perspective of using the term “alpha male” has almost tied masculinity to one single picturesque identity of what a man should be. So instead of asking ourselves “how we can become more confident with who we are“, we start asking ourselves “how can we become what he is“.
Finding inspiration in others is great. Mirroring them to fit that image at the sacrifice of autonomy is not.
Granted, for some people the best version of themselves might require a total transformation away from the toxic habits that have formed their lives. More often, though, I think men seeking how to become alpha are fixated on a persona that misses the mark entirely on what being “alpha” is really all about.
What it boils down to is this. If you’re just a naturally introverted, quiet person the best version of yourself probably doesn’t require becoming an extrovert. It might just be not letting your quiet nature turn you into a doormat.
Instead, you see many quiet men assuming the key to being an alpha male is becoming loud and extroverted. They focus on what they need to do to grab attention when they enter a room. They incorrectly associate being loud and demanding to be noticed is synonymous with being respected or attractive – it’s not.
Presenting yourself with self-respect and standing up for your perspectives and opinions might mean realizing that you can step out of an introverted shell, but stepping out of your shell alone isn’t a defining feature of being an alpha personality.
Interestingly enough, idealizing over what it takes to be the picture-perfect caricature of alpha male that seems to demand attention is precisely bending over and conforming to a certain image. Yet, that seems to be the direction many men seek in becoming an alpha male because they want to identify as a certain type of person and that identity tends to deal more with a “look” than with actual confidence in who they are.
Seeking that may represent a sort of inauthenticity about who they truly are and being fake is completely opposite from what being confident is all about.
The term alpha male has this sort of persona of a ripped physique, strikingly handsome, stern, and testosterone-fueled personality that society sells to us as the pinnacle of what women want. But if you have to completely sacrifice the things you enjoy and pretend to exhibit a different personality to reach that, you’ll never really grasp happiness and are actually off-target on what being “alpha” truly is.
Even worse, if that’s what we set the bar at, many men for no fault of their own won’t be able to achieve that. Life isn’t fair, but you don’t have to settle on your life as it is because you’re a victim of genetics or some other situation that doesn’t allow you to reach that bar.
We have to stop correlating becoming an alpha male with “how do I stop being a nice guy and look the part of a bad boy?”.
Instead, we need to stop asking ourselves how to be the best version of an “alpha male” and just solely reflect on “how do we become the best version of ourselves”. If we tie our value as a man to an image of what it takes to be the stereotypical “alpha male”, I feel like many men will be reaching for the unachievable and setting themselves up for failure.
I think we can ask ourselves “how do I become more respected”, “how do I become stronger”, “how do I become more intelligent”, “how do I stop being such a pushover”, or “what are some cool male fashion styles”. Those things can lead us to experiment with new and potentially better versions of our core selves.
Confidence is Loving the Man in the Mirror
At the end of the day, supposedly the quintessential “alpha male” exhibits these very specific traits: financially successful, smooth with their words, muscular, manly-man that women wet over. When you think of “alpha male” I assume there’s the image of male “perfection” with a perfectly groomed beard, 6-pack abs, and a perfectly tailored suit whose best accessory is a perfectly white smile.
But trying to aim for that look is denying yourself that maybe you’re not any of those things, that maybe you’ll never really be any of those things, and that most importantly that there’s nothing wrong with that.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t aspects of what we see in the mirror we can improve upon. There’s nothing wrong in wanting to work toward certain aspects of what society deems as the peak of masculinity.
There’s nothing wrong with asking how you can become more financially successful to try and someday afford a Lamborghini, but wrapping up your confidence over whether or not you have one is a disaster – yet people compare ourselves to Instagram highlights all the time. Newsflash: Not every guy out there is going to ever afford a Lamborghini and a Rolex. If fancy cars are a pre-requisite to what it takes to be an “alpha male”, the majority of men are screwed.
There’s nothing wrong with asking how you can get stronger and more fit, but wrapping your confidence up in strictly how much you can bench press is a disaster because there will always be someone stronger. Frankly, there are many different ways we as men can spend our time. It’s ridiculous to suggest that prioritizing bodybuilding is the only way to reach the summit of virility.
And if the answer to becoming an “alpha male” is to lose all sense of empathy and give in to the dog-eat-dog world, once again we’re all screwed. Survival of the fittest suggests there will always be someone more fit and suggesting our confidence as men are wrapped up in a no-holds-barred approach to success means we’ll forever be resetting the bar as to what constitutes the “alpha male”.
So stop asking “how do I become an alpha male act” and start asking “how do I become the best version of the man I’m meant to be“.
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