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Leadership Masculinity

How to Cultivate Gravitas

Gravitas means you have weight. People tend to conflate it with somberness and over-seriousness, but the men who have the most gravitas usually have an equal amount of charisma.

Gravitas means you have responsibilities that you take seriously, but you don’t take yourself seriously. You treat things with the tone and attention they deserve.

Modern society is constantly trying to tear down the gravitas of fatherhood. Most media portrayals present fathers as bumbling boys whose greatest contribution is the occasional “dad joke.”

No wonder many men refuse the call to true fatherhood. They see weak men who get no respect and they run far, far away from whatever that is.

But true fathers have gravitas. They have a weight that attracts and influences. If you want to have influence on your children, and on others around you (including young men who are looking for good models of fatherhood), then you need to cultivate and promote your own gravitas.

Here are a few ways.

  1. Learn to breath. Be intentional with your breathing. Full breaths through the nose. Fill from your stomach, not your chest. Practice keeping your breathing smooth by hopping in a cold shower.
  2. Learn to speak. Modulation. Speed. Don’t talk fast but taste your words before you speak them. Speak from the chest, not the throat. Read to your kids and practice the art of storytelling.
  3. Learn to speak (part 2). Be straightforward and direct. Eliminate waffle words like “perhaps” and “maybe” Say what you mean. Mean what you say.
  4. Control your temper. A man with gravitas is a slow burning fire. Slights and offenses burn up in orbit or bounce off harmlessly. His anger is stored and reserved to fight for those he is responsible for. Every time you lose your temper you lose some of your gravitas.
  5. Lift heavy things (figuratively). Take responsibility for yourself and others. Every responsibility you put upon your shoulders increases your weight. Do things that need to be done and don’t ask for permission to do them.
  6. Lift heavy things (literally). Become strong. Add some literal mass and weight to your shoulders.
  7. Take joy in the struggle. Don’t complain. Don’t whine. Treat difficulties as opportunities. You can even tell the occasional Dad joke.