1. Own your mistakes and learn from them
Nobody needs to tell you that we all make mistakes. Making mistakes is an enormous part of life. In fact, the types of mistakes you have made and how you have handled them may be the most accurate indicator as to the quality of your character. Mature men make just as many mistakes as anyone else, the remarkable difference is that the mature man will recognize his mistake as such, and take exact measures to right any wrongs caused by his mistakes. A grown man should never project his mistakes onto others, but own them, work to understand them, and learn from them as to not repeat them in the future.
2. Always stand up for what is right, especially when it is the difficult thing to do
A mature man will understand and learn from his mistakes. A great man will understand and learn from the mistakes of others and work actively toward righting any wrongs perpetrated by others in his presence. There is no such thing as a silent hero. Too often does violence feed on the silence of the masses. Passive bystanders to unjust actions are just as immoral as those who commit the transgression. No matter how socially uncomfortable or inconvenient it feels, a mature man never allows verbal or physical violence to go ignored. Never believe somebody else will deal with it. You will deal with it, or nobody will.
3. Get lost
Seriously, get lost. Set aside time in your regular routine to get genuinely lost. Go somewhere you have never been, turn off your phone, and simply walk around for a while. Interact with the world as you were meant to, face-to-face, with no presuppositions or back story. This could be as simple as shopping in a store you've never been to, or going on a destination-less hike in the woods. Personal growth is something you come across when you are far away from your comfort zone. A mature man does not settle into a singular understanding of himself or his surroundings. He is cultured and experienced. There is no such thing as a bad experience. You may have experiences that you wish not to repeat, but that does not mean they lack value. Get out in the world and try something new. Go somewhere you have never been, eat something you suspect you will hate, and talk to that stranger on the bus. Every new experience adds to who you are.
4. Speak and act honestly
You will save yourself much heartache and even more headaches if you simply say what you mean when you mean it. Men are notorious for swallowing their emotions and suppressing how they really feel. Doing this does nobody justice. Speak what you feel with confidence. You will respect yourself for it and so will others.
5. Work toward something greater than yourself
Find something you are genuinely passionate about and work to make it a part of your everyday life. There are a million and one ways to get involved in your community. Find something that not only makes you happy but helps those around you. You will come to find meaning and power in your work.
(This column was originally published here on The Good Men Project)