Lewis Howes is a lifestyle entrepreneur, business coach and keynote speaker. He is mostly known for his podcast “The School Of Greatness” . On this podcast, Lewis Interviews the TOP performers in their field, from entrepreneurs to doctors and psychologists. Up to now, his podcast gained over 45 million subscribers. Besides that, Lewis is a NYT best-selling author of the book “The School of Greatness”, which is basically a summary of all his podcast interviews.
So, what made Lewis Howes write this book?
Well, after his first successful book launch, Lewis started to feel unfulfilled. Despite his successes as a businessman, his intimate relationships started to fall apart. He started to feel lonely and insecure about himself.
During his whole life, Lewis was thought that becoming a ‘real man’ is about toughening up, striving for more and not showing emotions. In other words, Lewis was thought the traditional notions of masculinity such as “work hard”, “be though”, “don’t be emotional”.
But is this way of teaching masculinity really working? Lewis started researching this question in more detail. On his podcast, he started asking every male person the following questions:
- “What does it mean for you to be a man?”
- “What is your greatest fear?”
- “Who are you pretending to be?”
After a journey of interviewing and self-discovery, he learnt that men put on 9 different masks of masculinity. In his book, Lewis explains WHY man wear certain masks and how putting them off will benefit their life. As Lewis explains, putting off these masks will allow you to be who you really are.
Anyway, let’s get to the point.
Here are the 9 Masks of Masculinity:
1. The Stoic Mask
The Stoic mask will tell a man to prove himself by being invulnerable and tough. All his emotions should be carefully managed and suppressed. There is no room for crying, pain, feelings or emotions. The stoics would refer to this emotionless state as “Apatheia”. If you want to learn more about the stoic philosophy, I recommend starting with this summary of Seneca’s book: On The Shortness of Life.
However, Lewis learnt that there is nothing wrong with showing your real emotions. Dropping this mask, he says, will give men emotional freedom, deeper relationships with men and women, and the permission to feel again.
2. The Athlete Mask
The Athlete mask tells a man to prove himself by being good at sports. It will try to convince men from the fact that a good athlete equals a good man. This translates into him spending hours in the gym to get in shape. Or him fighting through injuries and pain to win at all cost.
However, as Lewis explains, wearing this mask can strip you from a lot of joyful things in life. Dropping this mask, he says, will help men gain back new experiences, a better relationship with other people, and time to do other things that they enjoy.
3. The Material Mask
The material mask will tell a man to prove his worth by the amount of money in his bank account. In this way, his cars, his houses, his watches and social media feeds become a representation of who he is.
As Lewis argues, this a game you can’t win. There will always be someone who will earn more money, or own a bigger house or car. What we need to realize, he says, is that we are valuable regardless of what we possess.
When men drop this mask, they will start to attract people who are interested in them for who they ARE rather than what they HAVE. Additionally, they will find inner peace and gratitude.
4. The Sexual Mask
The sexual mask will tell a man that his worth is proven by his sexual conquests and the number of women he has slept with. This mask tells men that relationships are for settlers and quitters. A real man loves briefly and then leaves.
As Lewis says, a man behind the sexual mask is always looking for the next hook-up. He will always need someone else to make him feel good. It’s a never-ending cycle and can drive him crazy.
Dropping this mask, Lewis argues, will bring men more inner peace, and allow them to create more fulfilling, intimate and grounded relationships.
5. The Aggressive Mask
The aggressive mask will tell a man to prove himself by being aggressive. When he sees something that he wants, he must go after it regardless the feelings of other people. Aggressive man get into heavy arguments and fights. They think that it’s “ok” or normal to have enemies and haters.
However, as Lewis explains, this mask will never allow men to forgive fully and live e a peaceful life. Dropping this mask, Lewis says, will bring men more emotional control, self-awareness, patience and forgiveness of others.
6. The Joker Mask
The Joker mask will tell a man to prove himself that he is funny and always able to laugh away all his problems. A man behind the joker mask uses cynicism and sarcasm against every attempt from someone to soften him.
Using humor is not a bad thing, but as Lewis argues, men often use humor as an avoidance tool in order to put attention away from their uncomfortable emotions. The result is him being perceived as closed off, or “unavailable”.
As Lewis explains, dropping this mask will allow men to have deeper relationships, people taking them more seriously, and a better connection in general.
7. The Invincible Mask
This mask will tell a man to not feel fear, ever. A man behind the invincible mask takes risk and doesn’t take into consideration the consequences of his actions. That’s why real men go skydiving or dive from a cliff.
As Lewis explains, it’s ok to admit weakness, to be scared and to opt out of stuff that you don’t want to do. We have to recognize that we are not invincible. Dropping this mask will bring men a more fulfilled and healthy lifespan, deeper relationships, self-esteem, and the permission to just be and not constantly do.
8. The ‘Know-It-All’ Mask
This mask will tell a man to prove himself by his knowledge. A real man is supposed to have all the answers and to know exactly what to do in every situation. Because not knowing equals weakness and this cannot be tolerated by the know-it-all mask.
As Lewis argues, every person you meet is better than you at something and you should make sure you learn from them.
Dropping this mask as a man will make other people want to be around you. It will also increase your ability to learn and grow, and gain wisdom from others.
9. The Alpha Mask
The Alpha mask will tell a man to prove himself as an alpha man, meaning: someone who is a true winner. A true man must dominate, and win everything he can. However, as Lewis says: putting up this “Alpha” façade prevents men from truly connecting with other people. Be honest: Nobody truly wants to be around someone who always wants to be right, win or dominate.
As Lewis explains, putting off this mask will allow men to create win-win scenarios. It will allow them to be the hero who lifts others up, or who empowers others. It will give him freedom and a deeper sense of love.
Identifying these masks and putting them off allowed Lewis Howes to become a more approach-able and love-able man. He became a man of service and contribution to others.
As Lewis explains, men wear these masks interchangeably. They can wear multiple masks at the same time. The question is: Which masks do you wear the most? Try to put them off for a week and see what happens. Just as for Lewis, It might also change your life.