When you picture a manly man — a guy who every guy wants to be — you’re often picturing someone pretty rugged. Since strength and success are so intertwined with masculinity, a man’s man has to be someone who’s good at things and unlikely to fail or fall short. In other words, in the popular imagination, a man has to possess skills in order to be a real man.
Not just any skills will do, however. We know this because, frankly, some skills are openly mocked. You could be the world’s best crossword puzzle solver and be made fun of by a mediocre car mechanic for being a geek. You could be the world’s best opera singer, and get razzed by a middling boxer for your high-pitched voice. Some skills just aren’t considered very manly.
The skills men aspire to are the Man Skills, an ability to solve real-world problems, often involving physical strength or technical know-how, rather than creativity or emotional intelligence. Unfortunately, however, as the technology in our lives shifts from analog to digital and from a luxury to a necessity, a lot of the traditional Man Skills are lessening in importance.
What that means is guys still care about being good at things that have no (or little) practical usage today, while ignoring the growing importance of developing experience and comfort with new types of skill sets.
Now, if you want to stay focused on being the coolest guy ever circa the 20th century, knock yourself out! Nobody can make you respect 21st century manliness if you don’t want to. But if you’re at all interested in being ahead of the curve and exploring how to be the kind of man who’s tops in the near future rather than the distant past, then read on to discover which skills are becoming obsolete, and what you should be looking to replace them with.