the core four ways to define masculinity

How to Define Masculinity: The 4 Core Spheres of Self

When you’re trying to define masculinity you’re bound to encounter a number of problems. Is masculinity physical? Or is it biological? Different cultures define masculinity differently; is there some sort of objective way to define masculinity?

These are all valid questions, and I think that there’s some merit to their respective answers, but in this article, I will attempt to explain masculinity using the “Four Core Spheres of Self,” a term I’ve coined that consists of:

  • Your mind
  • Your body
  • Your emotions
  • Your spirituality

 

You Are One

how to define masculinity

In reality, there is a huge amount of overlap within these four categories—what improves one and defines one, may bleed into the others. For the sake of simplicity, however, I will refer to each of the four core spheres of self as being separate, individual entities.

Keep in mind, also, that a lot of men come here wanting to just “get bitches and get money,” and I completely understand that. Everyone wants to have a thriving sex life and to be well off financially, but these areas of your life are actually extensions of the four core spheres of self. And if you can’t define masculinity in each of these core four spheres, it will be difficult to accomplish much.

For instance, you won’t be able to get that many girls if your emotional side is lacking. In order to seduce women, you have to be intuitive, be able to read body language, and sense what they’re feeling. So if your emotional sphere of self is lacking, “getting bitches,” won’t even be possible.

Likewise, if you want millions of dollars, but don’t even read (aka improve your mental sphere of self), you can completely forget about it. To become wealthy, you must educate yourself.

Your career and lifestyle are a manifestation of the four core spheres of self. For example, someone who is very strong in the bodily sphere of their life, but weak in all the others, may be an athlete with a dysfunctional girlfriend, deep-seeded depression, and lack of knowledge of the world.

Someone who is very strong in the emotional and bodily spheres, is probably a player—women are drawn to his attractive body and emotional intuitiveness, but he can’t manage to keep the “intellectual” or “spiritual” girls around, because he’s not in touch with that side of himself.

Somebody who is strong in all four of these spheres would literally be a god amongst men—most people don’t even excel in just one of these core four spheres. A few excel in two, and even fewer excel in three.

If you can become aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and train yourself to excel in all four, however, your dreams will literally come true before your eyes.

 

Masculinity: Yang

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There are many ways to view masculinity, as I have said before. Some, like Jack Donovan, take a more primal and tribal approach to define masculinity, while others, such as David Deida, take a much more spiritual and emotional approach. I would recommend reading these articles before we continue:

In this article, however, I will define masculinity in each of the four core spheres of self. This can also be understood quite simply in terms of embodying “yang,” if you’re a man, or embodying “yin,” if you’re a woman.

Yang is the Taoist term for all in the universe that is expansive, assertive, aggressive, destructive, outgoing, and giving. In other words, Yang is “masculine energy.”  Yin is the Taoist term for all in the universe that is receptive, submissive, nurturing, passive, regenerative, and creative. In other words, Yin is “feminine energy.”

Applying this lens to the four core spheres of self will allow us to better understand how to not be just men, but to be great men. It will help us better define masculinity.

As I said before, keep in mind that there is a lot of overlap between these four categories—again, this is because in reality, you aren’t four different entities. You’re one. You’re you.

 

Mind: The Masculine

how to define masculinity

For the sake of this discussion, the mind represents the ability to interpret logical and analytical information. Men are typically stronger in this area, because they are left brain dominant.

The masculine mind has the following characteristics:

  • It thinks in terms of causality
  • It thinks in terms of objectivity

In short, this is how you define masculinity in terms of your mind: “One’s ability to think in terms of causality and objectivity.”

The mind is the simplest to understand out of all the four core spheres of self, perhaps because we’re using the mind to understand it. In other words, when I explain what “mind” is to you, you’re using your rational mind to understand it. It makes sense.

Men, on average, are stronger in this area than women. They are able to think more concisely and logically than their female counterparts. Despite this, however, most men are still absolutely piss poor in this sphere of self.

Most men drift through their whole lives without ever fully realizing the potential of their mind. A man who has fully realized the potential of his mind is one who will be able to succeed at almost anything that he does. He will be able to see the strings that control the system, the hidden “rules” of the game, and once he understands them, he’ll be able to use them to his advantage.

Fully realizing your mind means being able to think logically, which is so much harder than people think. Don’t believe me? Try getting into a rational argument with most men. Ultimately, they will resort to justifying their beliefs using one of several tactics:

  • “I believe this, because I feel a certain way.”
  • “I believe this, because this one thing happened to me.”
  • “I believe this, because that’s what other people said.”

This is literally how 95% of men “think,” if you can call it that.

Here is how a fully realized masculine mind approaches beliefs and problems:

  • “A proves that B. If B is true, then C must be true. If C is true, then D follows logically. If D is true, then this proves that E must be the case. This is why I believe E.”

Do you see the clear, concise, logical thought pattern here? This is what a masculine mind looks like. It does not float about, from random thought to random thought like a leaf in the wind, but rather it thinks clearly and concisely.

It can even think in terms of correlation, rather than causation. In other words, it can see the “general truths,” even if they’re not absolutes. For example:

  • “Most people that are successful attribute their success to a core set of habits, such as reading, being persistent, and having discipline. It seems that there are some people that have these traits, that are not successful, but most people who have these traits are in fact successful. Following this line of thought, if I want to maximize my chances of being successful, I must read, be persistent, and have discipline.”

Do you see the logic behind this? That is how a logical mind approaches reality.

I want to make it very clear that women are capable of thinking logically and analytically too, however men are typically stronger in this sphere of self.

That is why you typically see far more men in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. These are all highly analytical, logical fields of thought. Conversely, however, most men in these fields are absolutely retarded when it comes to their emotions and being intuitive.

This is fine. That is why the sexes complete one another—women are typically more intuitive and emotional, and thus can help men get in touch with that side of themselves. Men, when they have a masculine mind, can serve as an organizing force in a woman’s life, providing her with a rock to plant herself firmly on.

Some recommended sources to improve this sphere of your life:

  1. Seeking Wisdom: From Darin to Munger—This is by far one of the most comprehensive books written on “cognitive biases,” or ways that your emotions fool you and prevent you from using logic clearly. I highly recommend it.
  2. Introduction to Logic—I recall using this book in a philosophy course I took as a sophomore in college. In fact, I still have it tucked away in my bookshelf. It presents a comprehensive review of logic from Aristotle, the man who created the scientific method, to modern day logicians.
  3. Fucking read—This is so important, that I can’t say it enough. If you’re not reading, you are going to be a train-wreck in life. Every single successful person reads at least a little bit every day, so start now. If you need book recommendations, I’ve got you covered.

 

Emotions: The Feminine

how to define masculinity

The flip-side of the logical, analytical left brain, is the emotional and intuitive right brain. Most men are absolutely horrible in this sphere of their life, and women typically excel at it.

However, with practice, men can learn to improve this sphere of their life. Here is what the emotional looks like in people who have fully realized this sphere of self:

  • They are fully in touch with their emotions. Most people think that they are, but 99% of us have repressed emotions. A good way to get in touch with your emotions is to meditate. I’ve released so many repressed emotions through this practice.
  • They are fully aware of what others are feeling. They can “sense” when others are uncomfortable, happy, secure, insecure, intend to hurt you, want to help you, etc.
  • They have a deep sense of empathy and compassion for others in pain, and have an almost supernatural ability to socialize and make friends.

Emotions are the polar opposite of the mind; where the mind interprets reality through a “logical/analytical,” frame, emotions interpret reality through a “social/intuitive,” frame.

This is where most guys fuck up when they’re trying to get girls. They try to think of all these logical reasons that they aren’t getting women. They ask questions like:

  • “Did I say the right thing?”
  • “Maybe she doesn’t like me, because I’m not tall/buff/handsome enough.”
  • “Maybe I should do X, Y, and Z, and then she’ll like me!”

What they don’t realize, is that you can’t logically get girls. Yes, to some extent, you can use logic to learn game and understand your emotional self and others, but ultimately, if you want to be really good with women, you have to get in touch with your emotional side.

I wrote an entire article on this and how emotions apply to verbal game—most guys ask “what should I say,” but it’s more helpful to analyze the underlying emotional state that your words are coming from! Are you upbeat and congruent? Expressing your genuine self?

Rather than asking logical questions, you should be asking emotional questions:

  • “How did I feel when I was around her? Maybe she could feel that I was nervous and that’s why she blew me out.”
  • “How did I make her feel when I did this? Maybe I didn’t realize I made her feel uncomfortable, and that’s why she left me.”
  • “If I want to get girls, how should I feel when I’m around them? How should I make them feel?’

These questions will help you with women so much more than asking logical questions. But don’t just improve your emotional side for women. Do it for yourself.

When a man is fully in touch with his emotional side, he’ll find that the benefits are incredible:

  • Develop much stronger male camaraderie
  • Develop more connections with people
  • Get better jobs from these connections
  • Be happier, because you have a thriving social circle.

This is why women typically have larger social circles than men. It’s because they’re able to tell what others are feeling, which guides them in how to act. In other words, they have better social skills.

If you’re lacking in this sphere of self, I’d highly recommend the following:

  1. Meditate—This alone will do so much to get you in touch with emotions that you’ve repressed. And if you don’t think you have repressed emotions, then I guarantee you do.
  2. Go out regularly. I don’t care if it’s to night clubs, bars, out to the movies, or whatever. Do something at the end of the day that you enjoy—this will start the process of getting you more in touch with your emotions and developing better social skills.
  3. Get more women in your life. This is perhaps the best way to get in touch with your emotional side. You can honestly learn so much from women, even if you’ve been friend-zoned. If you don’t have many women in your life, then learn game. Just a side note: don’t fall into the “manipulative/taking value” mindset that a lot of PUA communities out there advise. It doesn’t work, trust me—I’ve been there.

 

Introducing: The Male/Female Dichotomy

how to define masculinity

Up until this point, there hasn’t been any deviation in whether the categories can be masculine or feminine. In other words, the sphere of mind can only be masculine, and the sphere of emotions can only be feminine, just by their very natures. This is one way to define masculinity vs. femininity (mind vs. emotions).

Logical and analytical thoughts are masculine by their very nature, and emotional/intuitive thoughts are feminine by their very nature. This all changes once we approach the body and the spirit, however. The body can be both feminine and masculine, depending on a number of factors, and so can your spirit.

Most men nowadays have both a feminine body and a feminine spirit. Their bodies are not physically strong and they’re chubby. Their spirits are passive, receptive, and take in energy from their environment.

Unfortunately, most men don’t even know this though, because they can’t define masculinity in these areas. They don’t even know what having a masculine spirit or a masculine body means due to years of social lies and programming.

These two spheres are where most men need help, particularly in the spiritual sphere. If this doesn’t make sense to you, just keep reading.

 

The Body

how to define masculinity

In general, a masculine body has several obvious characteristics. Men are typically more muscular, more agile, and bigger than women. Masculine bodies are built for battle, whereas feminine bodies are built for pleasure. Masculine bodies are machines designed for action; they’re utility vehicles. Feminine bodies are curvy and voluptuous—they’re sensual, luxury vehicles.

Now obviously there’s a bunch of badass warrior chicks and a bunch of weak, frail guys—but in general, there are very distinct generalities between the masculine and feminine bodies.

As a man, you must train your body for several reasons:

  • Our bodies are built to move, and when they don’t, we don’t function as well.
  • With physical strength comes mental strength.
  • Other men will respect you more; we are hardwired to respect those that are bigger and stronger than us.
  • Women will be more attracted to you; they’re hardwired to be initially attracted (this can change) to men that are physically able to protect them.

If you don’t exercise, you are screwing up big time. If you’re trying to get started building a masculine body, I recommend the following sources:

  1. If you’re a beginner, do Starting Strength. It will build you a strong, sturdy physique in a matter of a few months.
  2. If you think you’re ready to take it to the next level, do Body of an Alpha, which is my personal guide to getting jacked as hell.
  3. Nourish your body with healthy food.
    1. If you’re trying to lose weight or maintain your current weight: The Bulletproof Diet/Paleo
    2. If you’re trying to bulk up: Jon’s Cheap Ass Bulking Diet
    3. In general, if you’re trying to lose weight or maintain, eat more healthy proteins and fats. If you’re trying to bulk up, eat more slow-digesting carbs.

 

The Spirit

how to define masculinity

This is perhaps the most abstract and difficult sphere of self to understand. If we’re trying to define masculinity of spirit, we’re going to have to resort to a lot of abstractions. Most men can’t even define masculinity in terms of their spirit, let alone actually become masculine in terms of their spirit.

In fact, I would argue that you can’t really even fully realize this sphere of self until you’re in your late 20’s. Most people don’t ever realize this aspect of themselves at all.

In a nutshell, the core difference between masculine and feminine “spirit” or “energy,” is this: man goes forth, and woman receives. All of the masculine spiritual traits fall under this umbrella of going forth:

All of these have to do with “going forth,” or putting yourself into the world. This is why men typically start things. They’re the ones that plan parties, start businesses, build inventions, and do things. They go forth and change their reality to suit them.

As a contrast, feminine energy, or yin, “receives.” Feminine energy, the polar opposite of masculine energy, is receptive and passive. All of the feminine spiritual characteristics fall under this category:

  • Passivity
  • Following
  • Submissiveness
  • Indecisiveness
  • Intuition
  • Wanting to be led

Note, that wanting to be led is not the same as being treated like shit or being in an abusive relationship. Wanting to be led, which is a feminine spiritual characteristic, means that women want a strong man who will lead them confidently through life.

When women are very in touch with their femininity they don’t want to “think,” aka channel “masculine energy,” (their mind). They want to feel, aka channel feminine energy.

Women are hardwired to be attracted to men who have these characteristics. This is not speculation, this is evolutionary biology. It’s why in an ideal male/female sexual relationship, the man leads and the woman follows. The man is decisive, and he serves as a rock that grounds a woman’s changing of emotions. He is the lighthouse that serves as guidance to the tumultuous ocean that is a woman’s mind.

This is how you define masculinity on a spiritual level. You must penetrate the world with your energy, just as you must penetrate a woman’s body, mind, emotions, and spirit.

You can only do this, however, if you are a man on your purpose. Achieving spiritual masculinity is literally impossible unless you have a purpose.

It doesn’t matter what this purpose is. It could be that you want to be the best bodybuilder of all time, the greatest musician of all time, you want to start a billion dollar business, or you just want to be the absolute best human being that you could possibly be. What matters is that you have a purpose.

When you have a purpose, you must place it above all else. Women will sense this, and other men will too. Women will become madly attracted to you when they sense that you are doing something important. They will become attracted to you on a spiritual level.

 

Masculinity in its Fullness

how to define masculinity

The masculine spirit serves as the foundation for the prior 3 spheres.

What this means if you don’t have a strong spiritual sphere of self is that your mind, body, and emotions will be weak. If you don’t have a strong masculine purpose in life, what’s the purpose of working out? Or reading? Or improving your emotions?

You must have a strong purpose, and from this everything else will follow. If you don’t have one, then make finding one your purpose. My purpose, right now, is to share self-development lessons I’ve learned over my life, and help men improve.

Note: If you can’t define masculinity in all core four spheres off the top of your head, re-read this article because it’s about to get even more complicated.

 

How to Define Masculinity in the Mental Sphere

When you have strong spirituality, aka a strong purpose, you’ll scour the world for knowledge and books that will help you accomplish your goal. You will speak and think in a very clear, logical, and concise manner, because that’s how you’re used to thinking.

Being set on achieving a goal forces you to think logically, otherwise you will fail. This is how spirituality cultivates the mental sphere. If you want to be the best bodybuilder in the world, you’re going to literally spend hours and hours researching every single different muscle in the body, reading autobiographies of the greats that came before you, and learning about all of the best steroid cycles and supplements to take.

If you want to be the best musician in the world, you’re going to scour the world for knowledge on how the greats before you did it. You’ll be searching for the best strategies to find good performance venues, how to find good agents, you’ll study music theory, etc, etc.

The difference between a woman and a man in this sphere, however, is that women are great at absorbing information. This is their feminine energy at work—they are receptive. Men, however, are better at taking action with the information, aka going forth or “masculine energy.” This is how you define masculinity in your mental sphere. It is to use information to go forth, take action, and accomplish your goals.

 

How to Define Masculinity in the Emotional Sphere

When you have a strong spirituality, you become convicted on your path. You cultivate “emotional toughness,” so to speak. This doesn’t mean that you don’t feel your emotions, rather it means that you dictate your own emotions. In other words, nothing fazes you, because you’re so confident and secure in yourself and your purpose. This is how you define masculinity in the emotional sphere.

Emotional masculinity means being certain. It means penetrating the world with your emotions. This is how you get girls. When you are so emotionally masculine that you can literally make her feel whatever you’re feeling, she will desperately want you. Women want a man who creates his own emotions, because their feminine energy wants to receive his emotions.

Do you see the dynamic here? Masculinity, when channeled through the emotional sphere, has to do with you creating your own emotions rather than being at the whim of the outside world. You’ll see this a lot with good pickup artists; when a guy confronts a good PUA about hitting on his girlfriend, the PUA just laughs, feels happy, and cracks jokes…and the weirdest thing happens.

The guy who was mad just a second ago, literally starts to feel his anger slip away. This is because the PUA’s emotional sphere is so masculine that it literally “penetrates” everything else around it. That’s why men who are emotionally contagious (you can’t help but feel good when you’re around them) get laid so much. They know how to channel the masculine side of their emotional sphere.

 

How to Define Masculinity in the Bodily Sphere

Masculinity in the bodily sphere is the physical manifestation of your other three spheres. For example, if your emotional sphere is horrible, you’ll likely eat junk food as a coping mechanism. This will make you fat. If your spiritual sphere is horrible, you’ll likely be very weak and lazy, because deep down you don’t sense that there’s any purpose to your life. If your mental sphere is horrible, you might mess around in the gym and have no clue what exercises to do.

When you’re a very masculine man, however, it manifests itself through your body. You use your knowledge to design workout routines (or research ones that others have made), and to figure out the best nutrition for your goals. You use your emotional masculinity to control your urges and go to the gym, despite feeling tired or lazy. You use your spiritual masculinity to guide your body: do you want to get as big as possible? Do you want to lean down? Do you want to just maximize time in the gym?

This is why you can tell so much about somebody based off of their body; it is the physical manifestation of their emotions, mind, and spirituality. If someone walks around aimlessly, floating about, it’s probably because they have a weak spiritual sphere. If someone walks around looking depressed or anxious, it’s because they haven’t strengthened their emotional sphere.

 

The Spiritual Sphere is the Foundation

Do you see now why it is so important to have a purpose? Having a strong sense of purpose, aka spirituality, is something that our generation of men has been robbed of. We are starting to see the effects with millions of men who are stuck in the grips of existential angst. Some men are even driven to suicide or mass shootings, because we lack a purpose.

But, the good news is that you can cultivate your own purpose through self-discovery. Here are some tips on cultivating your spirituality:

  1. Read books on masculine spirituality.
  2. Sometimes you have to start the other way around if all of your spheres are fucked up. This is what I did. If this is the  case, start by cultivating your mind, body, and emotions. You will eventually discover your purpose.
  3. Take some psilocybin, peyote, mescalin, or ayahuasca. These drugs have been used for centuries by different native cultures during their “dream quests,” or “spirit rituals.” They can provide a massive shortcut to getting in touch with your spirituality. Disclaimer: check with your doctor first.
  4. Ask yourself: “If I died today, what would I wish I’d accomplished?”
  5. Try writing down all of the characteristics that you look up to. Then, figure out how you can combine all of them into a job
    1. For example: physical strength, empathy, and knowledge would make you a good personal trainer.
    2. Courage, decisiveness, and creativity would make you a good artist.

The 1st Strategy in my eBook is meant to help you find your masculine purpose for a reason. Without it, you float through life aimlessly—when you have a STRONG sense of purpose, your feet move magically, and your life clicks into place, because you know where you’re headed.

 

Summary

how to define masculinity

Cultivating all of the four core spheres of self is something that anybody can do if they put in the work. It just takes time. But first, we have to be able to define masculinity in these core four spheres before we can improve them.

In summary, the four spheres are: your mind, your emotions, your body, and your spirit. Cultivating each one will lead to a very specific set of skills that can be utilized for certain activities, but ultimately they all bleed into one another.

Having a stronger emotional sphere will allow you to see things from others’ perspectives, enhancing your mind. Having a stronger mental sphere will allow you to read and comprehend more dense literature, which can increase your bodily knowledge or spiritual knowledge.

Start by choosing one weakness that you have, and cultivate it.

But you have to actually start. That’s the key. Don’t put it off until tomorrow, don’t put it off 15 minutes, don’t say you’ll “get to it later,” or that you’re tired. Start right now. Just. Fucking. Start.

In fact, why don’t you answer two questions before you go:

  1. What’s my strongest “sphere” right now? How am I going to maximize it?
  2. What’s my weakest “sphere” right now? How am I going to improve it?

About the Author Jon Anthony

Jon Anthony is a world renowned dating coach and the founder of Masculine Development, a website specifically dedicated to helping men improve their personal, dating, and financial lives. After years of training men how to attract women, build muscle, and make more money, Jon created the "7 Strategies" program to help kickstart your journey to success. Jon firmly believes that every man should have control over his own life, and he created Masculine Development to share his passion with men who want success in all areas.

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