How to Be a Great Man in 2018

March 9, 2018

Simon writes a letter to his younger self with his tips on how to be a great man in 2018.

Tasked with writing this blog I felt a little awkward bandying around life advice like some sort of jumped up oracle. Though admittedly I do feel as though I have overcome some difficult hurdles and seem to have come out the other side of them a little wiser.  I am optimistic about the future and feel I’ve got my s**t together for want of a better phrase. This was not always the case though, I reflect back on my younger years and still sometimes wince about decisions I’ve made and situations I’d got myself into. I’m sure all of us have thought at some point or another, “if only I knew then what I know now”. So, here is a letter to my younger self, to act as a guide for the 20 something man trying to make his way in the world.

Dear Simon,

First things first, it will be alright in the end!

Look after your mental health. This is the scourge of men in our generation with suicide being the greatest cause of death in under 45’s, 75% of which are male.

Stay in touch with all of your friends, talk to them, face to face, be honest with them and yourself and you will be respected much more in the long term. When social media gets invented, use it to stay in touch, but don’t solely communicate via likes and thumbs up (you’ll know what I mean when you see it!). Make new friends! I know you’re a bit weird and worried about frightening people away, but guess what? It turns out everyone’s a bit weird (in the future, nearly everyone likes Star Wars and Lego!). Just be yourself!

Use social awareness to your advantage. Look for the positives in uncomfortable circumstances and control negative behaviour around others. Take ownership for your behaviour, don’t try and blag it, you’re a bad liar. Accept negative feedback from others as a positive way to change (don’t sulk!). Listen (no, really listen don’t just smile and nod!).

Exercise! Okay I know you do lots now, but do the right type of exercise and don’t overdo it (my right shoulder and left ankle will testify that it doesn’t always pay to ‘go hard or go home!’).  Do more outside. This is one of the best pieces of advice I can give you, there really is no substitute for fresh air and sunshine.

Eat well. In 5 years, you will be 2 stone heavier (no, not relaxed muscle). Stop drinking coke and eating crisps and chocolate all day. You will suffer for this in the long term. I know you know your way around a kitchen! Eat plenty of fruit and veg, meat, fish, nuts and seeds. Cut out soft drinks and drink plenty of water.

Make a realistic assessment of your career. Are you in a job you enjoy? What are the pros and cons? Where do you want to be in 5 years’ time? (don’t say you want to be a manager, just because you think that’s what people want to hear.) Does the job suit your lifestyle? Do you even like the people you work with? Are you just working there because you fancy Jane in accounts? Don’t be afraid to change jobs or careers it’s very common these days and you never know which great company you could end up working for!

Learn new skills. Never pass on the opportunity to learn a new skill or attend additional training courses or gain qualifications. These will stand you in good stead and broaden your knowledge (although maybe side step the A-level maths evening class, you’ll know it when it comes along!).  Don’t just learn new skills in the workplace, over the last few years we’ve been in a choir, acted on stage, gone back to piano lessons, taken up road cycling and ran a 12-mile cross country race (all mostly educational and great fun!). Do things that you enjoy and that are slightly out of your comfort zone, the benefit will be greater.

One last thing, her name is Sarah, she’s the cute swim teacher that everyone complains shouts too loud (don’t be shy!).

Oh, and because I know you didn’t listen, it’ll be alright in the end!

Yours sincerely,


If you need any help or support with any of the issues that were covered in my letter then please contact me at HR180 on 0113 287 8150 or

Leeds based HR180 is a team of superheroes in HR Outsourcing, Projects and Consultancy committed to work in partnership with organisations of all sizes to establish working policies to go above and beyond Employment Law requirements, to protect both employees and employers alike. We love to hear from you, so call us on 0113 287 8150 or hit the Rescue Me button.

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