The Gentleman Spectrum | from Perfect Jackass to Perfect Gentleman
by Juan Sepulveda
In his 1919 book, The Perfect Gentleman, Ralph Bergengren describes what I call the Gentleman Spectrum. He writes "the Perfect Gentleman...is a high ideal of human behavior, although, in the narrower but honest admiration of many, he is also a Perfect Ass". I think we all lie somewhere within that spectrum of Perfect Gentlemen to Perfect Ass and fluctuate within it based on our behavior. When I made the decision to start The Gentlemen's Brotherhood, I didn't do it because I saw myself as a perfect gentleman ready to teach all men how to be great. I recognized that I was a work in progress, but had the passion to learn and help others in their individual pursuits of perfection. Although I doubt that any of us will ever attain that elusive perfection we seek, simply moving higher up that spectrum by adjusting our behavior gives us an advantage over others who may not consider The Perfect Gentleman to be the highest ideal.
Now I ask you, where do you live within that spectrum of Perfect Gentleman to Perfect Ass? A useful way to look at this is by turning that spectrum into a 10 point scale where 1 makes you a Perfect Ass and 10 makes you a Perfect Gentleman. Also, don't think of the scale as an absolute score for your entire life, but rather a gauge by which you measure the various aspects of your life. For example, you may be a 7 in the Husband Category, while scoring an admirable 9 in the Career Category.
"Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement. If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it."
-Dr. H. James Harrington
As the prolific business author, Dr. H. James Harrington, eloquently said "Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement. If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it." With this in mind, it becomes clear how helpful it is to have a measurement unit by which to gauge our place as Gentlemen. what I would suggest to any man who recognizes the importance of being an exemplary gentleman, is to look at the various areas of his life, parenting, finances, relationships, business dealings, etc. and rate them using the Gentleman Spectrum.
Performing this exercise will give you a better understanding of where each area of your life is performing and can help you make concrete decisions that will get you closer to being a Perfect Gentleman. I challenge you to start this introspective process today and join me in the effort to make courtesy common again. If you know of other men who could benefit from having a measurement tool to use to continue improving as a gentleman, please share this with them and invite them to join The Gentlemen's Brotherhood. Our mission is to help Men rediscover The Lost Art of The Gentleman (After all, nobody wants to be regarded as a Burro).
Things to consider: In which areas of your life are you closer to The Perfect Gentleman? In which areas are you more like a JackAss?
Photo Credit: Portrait of a Gentleman on a Donkey by Paul Clarke ©2014 All rights reserved.