What is a gentleman?

What differentiates a gentleman from the rest of the men around him?

There are many arguments one could present as perfectly reasonable answers to that question. Though today I want to discuss one thing in particular that I’ve seen to be the most common trait in any gentleman I’ve encountered.

In my experience, the true difference between a man, and a gentleman, is the gentleman’s commitment to conducting himself with excellence in everything he does.

The most defining characteristic of any gentleman, is his unwavering commitment to excellence. Click To Tweet

We find ourselves today in a society that not only devalues excellence, but often discourages and shames it. We are shown that to be successful is to be fast. To perform well is to deliver at all costs. I believe this to be a fatally flawed way of thinking, and one that we as gentleman should utterly reject.

A gentleman is to perform with excellence, without exception, in every endeavor he undertakes and in every responsibility given to him. Granted, often this means we are to perform quickly and efficiently…but never at the costs of doing things excellently.

Men, I implore you…carry yourselves with uncompromising excellence. This is the way in which you will set yourself apart, and truly make an impact.

Men, carry yourselves with uncompromising excellence. This is how you will set yourself apart. Click To Tweet

Do not make the mistake of assuming that to be excellent is also to be “successful” by the world’s standards. You don’t need to be bringing in six figures to carry yourself with excellence. And carrying yourself with excellence most certainly doesn’t always result in six figures. In fact, I would put forth the assumption that unseen and unnoticed excellence is perhaps a more important indicator of a man’s true character. That a man who is uncompromising in his commitment to doing his job well, whatever that job in front of him may be, is a better man than one who has a large salary and got there by cutting corners.

This can manifest itself in a variety of ways. Acting with excellence can simply mean that you ensure all the screws are tightly fastened inside a workbench you’re assembling so that it stands the test of time. Acting with excellence can mean being patient with a new hire at work as they learn. Acting with excellence can mean closing your laptop early one evening so you can teach your son who’s been asking you for weeks how to properly dribble a basketball. That’s excellence.

Sure…performing well and making more income can be the result of excellence and that shouldn’t be looked down upon on it’s own. But do not look only to this. As I said, you may rarely see specific examples of a man acting with excellence, as most of them will be unseen. But what you most certainly will not miss, is the way that shows through in his character and in his relationships. A man who is able to do small things well, will make the largest impact.

A man who is able to do small things well, will make the largest impact. Click To Tweet

So, gentleman, I’ll leave you with this quote from Vince Lombardi. A man who is synonymous with excellence in his field of work, football. Though he eventually found fame and fortune through his profession, that only came through years of an uncompromising commitment to acting with excellence in all he did.

Now…go into the world and be men of excellence. Quite simply….be gentlemen.

“The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.” – Vince Lombardi

Brandon Reed

Founding Member at The Distinguished Society of Fine Gentlemen
"Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy." - Norman Schwarzkopf