I recently watched the new film, The Kingsman: The Secret Service and was impressed with the amount of quotes used on being a gentleman.
Among these quotes was one by Ernest Hemingway, “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”
Often the word noble seems to be misunderstood. We consider it part of the old world aristocrats or pretentious snobs, but that is not the case.
Nobility is what makes a man better. It is a refinement of character that makes one superior, the worth of action and deeds that improves a man.
Ernest Hemingway is widely regarded as one of the most manly American authors of all time. He hits the nail right on the head here. In our American system there is no place for dukes and duchesses, but there is always a position for men and women of character. Being of gentle birth means little, but becoming someone greater is what brings value to yourself and those you serve.
Measure Yourself – Take stock of who and what you are and where you should improve. Do not compare yourself to others except as a goal to reach. There is nothing wrong with wanting to emulate men such as Washington or Jefferson. Comparing yourself to your friends as evidence of superiority is the sin.
Find Ambition – To become a better man requires a measure of ambition a drive that forces you to become better. It is an engine that drives you forward in life. Baltasar Gracian said, “Of lofty ambition. The first requist to make the hero, because it spurs him to every species of greatness, improving his taste, quickening his heart, stimulating his mind, ennobling his spirit, and dignifying his majesty.”