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10 Things You Need To Do To Be A Gentleman

10 Things You Need To Do To Be A Gentleman

In our world, the word ‘gentleman’ can mean many things. It can mean a generic man, or a solid, dependable guy, or it can be a cloying word for the halcyon men of 1950s advertisements.

Let’s face it, in the 21st century, gentlemen are becoming harder and harder to find. Or perhaps the definition of what makes a gentleman a gentleman is changing and evolving with the times, rather than remaining rooted in older principles and traditions.

So what makes a gentleman? And how easy is it to actually become one? Well, we’ve racked our brains and come up with 10 essential things you need to do on a regular basis that will make you a gentleman and will actually have a positive effect on your life.

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1. Always have good hygiene.

This one is a basic requirement, so come on, guys, be clean! Taking a shower or a bath every day isn’t really optional. You should take one every day, even if it’s just a perfunctory five minutes. Keeping clean not only makes you smell infinitely nicer, it also makes going about your day-to-day life much more pleasant for those around you. Keep some deodorant or body spray in your bag or on your person at all times so that you don’t start to smell throughout whatever the day may bring. Having good hygiene also helps maintain self-esteem and boosts your mood—some things you need to be a gentleman.

2. Always be on time.

Being late is never attractive—fashion and parties be damned!—as it shows a lack of respect for someone else’s time and life that you waltzed in 15 minutes late without a care. Becoming a gentleman means having a focus on other people and so arriving at least 10 to 15 minutes early is advisable. Bring a newspaper or a book if you get bored easily, but chances are that the person you’re meeting will be pleased that punctuality is one of your top traits. If your route to work is often hindered by traffic that makes you late, head out earlier or find a new route.

3. Always have good manners.

This one is not optional either: being a gentleman means being polite and well-mannered all the time, no matter what the circumstances. The way to think here is to lead by example. Imagine yourself as an outsider. What would you look for in a gentleman? Impeccable manners and behavior are always near the top of the list, so make sure that you always use your pleases and thank yous, even if no one else bothers. Why? Because it’ll make you look much more of a polite, decent human being, and over time will actually change the way you behave around other people for the better. It’s nice to be nice.

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4. Always know your clothes.

One of the hallmarks of a true gentleman is that he dresses according to his own style and owns it. If you have a suit—and you should own at least one—make sure it fits well, but not tightly. Everyone’s body shape is unique, so going to a tailor for alterations is worth more than the money it costs, as the right tailoring will fit your suit to your body and not the other way around. Many gentleman often plump for toned down or strong color palettes and investing in some clean shirts, pants and jackets in solid, subdued colors (navy, maroon, black, grey, white, etc.) will give you great choices to build your wardrobe on before you go exploring new styles to find your own.

5. Always keep the swearing to a minimum.

Swearing isn’t cool and isn’t going to make you a gentleman. Well, okay, we’ll admit that in some circumstances, a well-timed curse word is both effective at summarizing the situation at hand and being a cathartic blast. However, cutting down on the everyday swearing will have a positive effect on yourself and those around you and is certainly something you need to do to be a gentleman. Showing consideration for the people around you by not dropping the f-bomb every 30 seconds when you’re angry is not only a sign of maturity, but one of innate calmness and confidence in yourself, something that is the hallmark of a gentleman.

6. Always be controlled.

You cannot control everything, the world does not dance to the beat of your drum, but what you can control is how you react to situations and the choices you make. Getting angry and verbally abusive? Not the work of a gentleman. A gentleman tries to keep cool and calm and removes himself from the situation quietly if he fears he is getting too angry. On a night out, a gentleman never drinks more than he can handle because getting wasted might ensure all his good attributes go out the window and he winds up back at square one. A gentleman might not be teetotal, but restraint and control is required over all vices to make sure they don’t become excessive.

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7. Always be kind.

Kindness is one of those lesser-recognized attributes in the modern day world, but being a kind and courteous guy will always ensure you’re seen as a gentleman. However, don’t let this be one of those performances you put on in public—let kindness into your inner life and reap the benefits for your mindset and thinking. Always go the extra mile to help out a friend or a neighbor. Call your loved ones often—send gifts if you can; just generally be an upstanding guy who cares as much about the new couple in the apartment block as he does an old friend. Letting yourself become kind has nothing but good benefits and will ensure your standing as a gentleman.

8. Always be considerate.

Being considerate means being aware of your surroundings and the way you affect the people around you. A true gentleman always takes other peoples’ opinions and feelings into consideration before doing anything. For example, a gentleman takes his less-than-fragrant lunch outside of the office to eat so that co-workers won’t have to smell it should they be offended. A gentleman offers his seat on the bus to anyone who looks as if they may need one. A gentleman never makes jokes that people will be offended or hurt by, even if they’re not around to hear them, leading by example. Being considerate is one of the fundamental tenets of how to be a gentleman, and one every man should take on board immediately if he hasn’t already.

9. Always respect everyone.

Respecting everyone is something a gentleman always does, no matter the circumstances; and looking down your nose at someone who appears to be further down the food chain than yourself is possibly the most disrespectful, ungentlemanly thing you could do. Absolutely everyone is worthy of your respect, so treat them accordingly and warmly, no matter your personal opinion of them. This also goes for respecting yourself: do not tear yourself down every time you make a mistake and think that you have made a colossal error. You are human, and the best thing we can do is accept our mistakes and learn from them to do better in the future.

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10. Always be the best version of yourself.

Being the best person that you can be is the way of the gentleman. A man cannot be perfect, but striving towards the basic core of humanity and decency is what makes a gentleman, once you dig beneath the suits and the smiles. A true gentleman knows his limits and keeps trying to stretch them, going further to both improve himself and to aid other people in whatever way he can.

Find your best qualities and work on them. Find your worst qualities and work on trying to improve them. The real secret of how to be a gentleman lies in being yourself—but the best version of yourself that you can work towards and improve on so you can be the best ‘you’ you can be.

More by this author

Chris Haigh

Writer, baker, co-host of "Good Evening Podcast" and "North By Nerdwest".

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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