The 6 Traits of the Charismatic Man

Charisma is the combination of power, presence, and warmth — according to Olivia Fox Cabane  in her book, The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism. However, I went one step further and I argued that charisma is mostly power with a pinch of presence and warmth. If in doubt, acquire more power.

Her book is good, but not great. Its main fault is its emphasis on the business setting … on male charisma. How to have good eye contact. How to give a good first impression with a strong handshake. How to deliver an impactful presentation. But men and women do not draw people to them in the same way.

Let me give you an example:

Think of the hero in those trashy romance novels. What are they like?

Do they gaze into your eyes without flinching or do they avert eye contact and look at the ground sheepishly?

Do they go after what they want or do they hint at what they want and pout when they don’t get what they want?

Are they rich and ambitious or are they poor and helpless?

You didn’t have to read the novels for you to know the answer.

An ambitious, rich, and direct man with strong eye contact attracts respects. A helpless, poor, pouty man with averted eye contact attracts disrespect.

Similarly, an ambitious, rich, and direct woman with strong eye contact repels suitors. A helpless, poor, pouty woman with averted eye contact attracts saviors.

Charisma Is Different for Men and Women

Charisma is mainly power. And power comes in different forms for men and women. Ideally, men possess masculine power which leads to respect and women possess feminine power which leads to adoration.

But modern society seeks to produce aberrations — men who are not men and women who are not women.

Thus, feminine power in a man reduces charisma. Think of the nice guy or the beta male. No man envies him.

Masculine power in a woman reduces charisma. Look at the physically repulsive, but perpetually angry feminist. No woman wants to be her. Thus, a woman who follows Olivia Fox Cabane ‘s advice would have been even worse off than before. Feminine power in a woman leads to adoration.

How a Man Can Increase His Charisma

No matter if you are man or woman, for charisma to radiate from the core of your being, you must do more than practice tactics. Male charisma is more than having a straight posture, a strong handshake, or a good eye contact. You must first have the right mindset. Masculinity must be your core.

Incorporate the following 6 traits into the core of your being and you will be a charismatic natural:

1. Self-Sufficient
2. Dominant
3. Capable
4. Passionate
5. Playful
6. Benevolent

1. Self-Sufficient

Self-sufficiency means that you already possess everything you need. You do not lack. Whatever desire you have, you can fulfill. If you have desires that require someone else to fulfill, you will do everything you can to remove them. Self-sufficiency is the most important of all the traits. Because when your desires are under your control, no one else can control you.

As a result of being self-sufficient, you remain composed in the face of adversity when lesser men would freak out. You remain composed in the face of massive loss of wealth because you are ok living a basic life. You remain composed when family, friends, or lovers leave because you don’t need someone else to make you feel better. Anyways, you do not believe in the myth of the lonely old man. You are outcome independent. The world around you may crumble, but you will stand firm.

Personally, this was the hardest trait for me to swallow. I got rid of my desires for material things early on in life. But I held onto the fairy tale of love and loyalty for the longest time. I thought I needed someone who was always going to be there for me. I thought I found her. And when the illusion was shattered, I did not want to accept reality. It was the first time I cried over someone leaving. It will also be the last.

I have no desires that I cannot fulfill myself.

How to acquire self-sufficiency?

The best way to acquire self-sufficiency is to reduce your desires. Do not have any needs that you cannot satisfy. Be content with what you have.

2. Dominant

Dominance means that you can exert your will in spite of resistance, push-back, and opposition. It is the power to get what you want and to control others. You lead from the front. You make split decisions. You speak your mind without mincing words. You are not passive-aggressive and won’t pout if you don’t get your way. Instead, you will hit back harder and inflict damage to those who crosses you.

Dominance is the rawest form of power and as the saying goes, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Sometimes you have to dial it down, other times you have to dial it up. Hence, you must have self-control. You must control your ego. And just because you can dominate the situation does not mean you should always do so. Let people be and step in only when you have to.

In one situation, there was a woman that I wanted to bury professionally. I was in charge and problem were brewing. I asked for assistance and she refused. I demanded assistance and she refused. She took my down-to-earthiness and laid-back attitude for weakness.

Later on in the night, after I got the problem under control, I asked her, “Why should I let your behavior slide? You know I can make your life very difficult.”

It freaked her out because she didn’t expect me to confront her about her behavior. She kept coming up with excuses — “reasons” why should didn’t have to help. Let’s just say logic isn’t women’s strong point.

I told her that it was her job to do so, and showed her the words verbatim in employee handbook.

She kept insisting that she wasn’t going to be pushed around, that she’s going to fight for herself.

“Good. Keep getting back up and I’ll keep on knocking you down.” I was right. I knew it. She knew it.

With typical female hysterics, her defense was purely emotional. I shot down every excuse she brought up with a logical counterpoint.

I was about to bury her real good. But then my mentor approached me in private and asked me to let it slide. For his sake and out of respect for him, I agreed.

She freaked out for several days after the incident. I said my piece. I put her in her place. I doubt she’ll repeat her mistake again.

Know when to be dominant and know when to dial it back.

How to acquire dominance?

The best way to acquire dominance is to be bold. Boldness comes from controlling your fate and taking risks. And when poop hits the fan, face the consequences directly. Sometimes, that means admitting your mistakes and asking for forgiveness. Do not run away like most people. Then be bold over again and again and again. Once you face enough consequences, you will be confident enough to handle any problems.

Oh, and it doesn’t hurt if you dress the part either.

3. Capable

Being capable means to do excellent work. And to do excellent work, you need experience. At first, you will do crappy work. But with enough repetitions, you will do excellent work. Eventually, your work will be so good, you will be irreplaceable. You will be a linchpin.

Many good things happen to those who are capable and produce excellent work. First, you gain confidence. You know that in your realm of expertise, nothing will take you by surprise. You can handle any problem, no matter how big or small. Second, as you become increasingly valuable, you will reap more and more rewards – maybe even enough for a stash of f-you money. After all, the best makes 10x or even 100x more than the second best.

Self-made men spend most of their lives building up this trait — increasing their capability to do excellent work and to provide immense value to the world. It would be wise for you to do the same.

How to acquire capability?

The best way to become capable is to develop the craftsman mindset. Seek mastery of whatever you do through focus, consistency, and daily improvement. That means choose one skill, do it every day, and review how you can improve after each session.

4. Passionate

Self-sufficiency, dominance, and capability are nothing without a direction in a life. Your passion will lead the way and give strength to your other traits. When your passion focuses on self-achievement, such as becoming a master wordsmith, it blunts the allure of external influences. You will no longer covet superficial things and people.

Your passion will guide you on your choice of mastery. There are so many skills you can acquire. Given the limited amount of time, which one should you pick? The one you love the most. If you love what you do, you will spend almost every waking hour obsessed over it. When that’s the case, you will find your capability and mastery soon enough.

People with passion often have big dreams. They are interesting and inspiring. You will talk about your passion with much enthusiasm. And enthusiasm’s contagious. It will spread to those around you. With enough influence, others will adopt your dream as well.

Big dreams back by big actions invite respect. Everyone respected Steve Jobs.

How to acquire passion?

The best way to find your passion is to meld your big dreams with your life experience. Think big! You spend the same time thinking big or thinking small. So why not think big? Imagine what could be reality instead of what is reality.

I enjoy spending time with my charismatic friend because he dreams big. He shares about the Wagyu steak, cigars, beachfront homes, and the businesses he will have. He talks about them with so much enthusiasm, even I can see them. Among a desert of people who think about surviving another day, he is a refreshing oasis.

5. Playful

Playfulness means not taking things too seriously. A confident, untouchable man does not sweat the small stuff. Therefore, a playful man is lighthearted. He does not complain easily. He does not criticize easily. He does not get upset easily. Most importantly, everything will be a game. He will not spill his secrets nor wear his heart on his sleeve. Those who want to know will have to work for it. A shroud of mystery surrounds him.

He has a sense of humor. He can joke around with the guys and will seem like a cool dude to be around. The same man will feel at ease with women — even the beautiful ones. Therefore, he will tease them and not take their complaints so seriously. When he relaxes, those he associates with also relaxes. Everyone feels good around him.

Being playful works particularly well around women because they are essentially big kids. And kids love to play.

How to acquire playfulness?

The best way to be playful is to be carefree. Do not worry. Relax and reveal your true self. And whenever you can, hold back from revealing the whole truth about yourself. Be covert, not overt. Leave something up to the imagination.

Anyways, power players speak overtly, always with plausible deniability.

6. Benevolent

Of the 6 traits, this is the least important one for being charismatic. And all you need is a sprinkle of it. Benevolence means having the other person’s best interest at heart. People cannot see what’s in your heart, so they only things they can see are your words and actions.

Be present. When someone speaks to you, maintain good eye contact to show you are paying full attention. Look interested in what they have to say. Smile. This way, people will feel you are warm and approachable. Act civilized. Know your manners. Seem trustworthy. Don’t break your word unnecessarily. Basically, give the impression that someone can rely on you to have their back.

How to acquire benevolence?

You can’t acquire benevolence. You either care for the person or you don’t. No matter the case, you just have to seem like you care. This is the trait you can fake for a short time. Sociopaths are good at this. Study how people interact. Study social etiquette. Make sure you do these two things:

Give the person your undivided attention for a short while to make him feel like he matters. Smile once in a while so people will feel you are warm and approachable.

Key Points

You don’t need all 6 traits to be charismatic. But the more traits you have, the more magnetic you will be.

Remember that charisma is mainly power with a pinch of presence and warmth. Too much benevolence and you will seem weak, the opposite of charismatic. Don’t be the man who begs and cries when his lover leaves. It never works out because those very acts, even though they are expressed with the fullness of his love, lowers his power. When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with more power.

Remember that masculine charisma differs from female charisma. Engrave this into your mind. A man should enhance his masculinity — his power. Among a sea of weak men, it is a great time to be a powerful and charismatic man.

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  1. A very good article, but there are some “typos” (with corrections in brackets):
    *Charisma is mainly power. And power comes in different forms for men and women. Ideally, men “possesses”(possess) masculine power which leads to respect and women “possesses” (possess) feminine power which leads to adoration.

    *Playfulness means not taking things too seriously. A confident, untouchable man does not sweat the small stuff. Therefore, a playful man is lighthearted. He does not complain easily. He does not criticize easily. He does not get upset easily. Most importantly, everything will be a game. He will not spill his secrets nor wear his heart on his sleeve. Those who want to know will have to work for it. “A shroud mysterious surrounds him.” Should read, (a shroud of mystery surrounds him).
    Thanks for your writing. I found you via The Rational Male. I am working on putting my own blog for middle-aged men together called The Solitary Silver FoX. I will keep you posted…


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