Alpha male traits

You don’t lead by hitting people over the head – that’s assault, not leadership.
Dwight D. Eisenhower

When someone thinks of alpha male traits and characteristics they would usually think of big muscle, aggression and physical dominance. This is more a kin to the animal kingdom where success and survival was much more connected to fighting and hunting. But in this day and age these are no longer the traits that are required in a leader. Competence, knowledge and being proactive are what makes a someone suitable to lead and be followed. So here is my breakdown of what I consider the top alpha male traits and characteristic.


The ability to do something successfully or efficiently.

This is straight forward your ability to be effectual, you don’t need to be great at everything (actually that quite distinctly impossible). But to inspire people to want to follow you, listen to you and respect you it is important to be competent in some areas of your life. You follow a leader because you believe they will be able to drive you to success, complete incompetence cannot be disguised for long.

A Sense of worth

Most people inevitably get treated the way they permit themselves to be treated, if you allow someone to treat you like you’re worthless then they will. Respect yourself enough not to put up with being mistreated. – Unknown

Ultimately if you don’t value or respect yourself no one else will. This cannot be faked for any period of time, humans on a very base level can detect your insecurities through body language and vocal tonality. For your whole life advertising has been trying to tell you your not good enough so they can sell you things, so this is pretty ingrained in most people.  This is something that is often the hardest to work on and what make 99% of men live a life of beta servitude.

Internal referencing

Someone who is externally referenced is always looking to things external of themselves (usually people) to define their identity and hence their self worth. These are the kind of people who need to have the latest fashion, spend fortune on cars try very hard to be funny or interesting. In extreme these type of people attempt to become social chameleons, when they are with the lads they act all macho, with girls they act sensitive, around professors they use longer more educated words. They are desperate to fit in. The more externally referenced you are the more needy you seem since you need others approval.

Someone who is internally referenced will have decided for themselves who they are and what values they should hold themselves too. This tends to bring with it a level of calm and confidence, since the pressure to conform to society is greatly reduced. It also allows you to be comfortable with being disliked by other people and holding unpopular opinions.

A commitment to reality

In NLP their is a core principle which is referred to as “The map is not the territory”, this suggests the the ‘map’ (how we see the world) in our heads is not the same as the ‘territory’ (how the world actually is).

Groups look to the Alpha male to define the reality, to guide them to how the world works. Some of this is subjective and highly flexible, for example what is fashionable, what songs are cool and what social group are good, bad, evil so on. This is what could be referred to as soft reality, human defined and the ability control this is often through something called framing, is a very useful tool.

However there is something that I would describe as hard reality, laws of physics, biology, evolutionary drives. An alpha male with his role of leading a group should not be dogmatic to the point where they are ignoring evidence in order to maintain an opinion which is pleasing to them or that they are heavily invested in. To be competent in the world getting your ‘map’ to more accurately represent the ‘territory’ you will be able to guide people better and will be capable of being more effective.

Religious people are at a disadvantage here because faith requires any evidence that might change the map to disagree with the religion to be ignored in order to retain faith I believe Tim Mitchin explained it best here.


Being a beta male can be be a pretty sweet deal, someone else tell you what to do, someone else take responsibility for your actions. There is a good reason why most people want a nice office job, with some alpha making sure they get a regular paycheck, taking all the risk, doing the thinking for them.

Alpha male need to be brave, risk takes. They will fail, they will act the fool.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt

There is good news though for the want to be alpha. The fear we feel in this day and age are nearly all throw back from our evolutionary past. We fear social rejection because in the past being thrown out of your pack was a death sentence, we feel social pressure around women because in the past a wrong move could earn you a fierce beating from her mate. In this day and age these fears are antiquated and the world is considerably safer. Being a risk taker in this day and age pretty much all the benefit with very few actual ‘risks’.

  1. EltaX says:

    “Religious people are at a disadvantage here….. ”

    What a shocker! :-p

  2. ____ says:

    a beta pretending to be alpha will still be beta

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