• SumoMe

The following is a guest post by Brock McGoff of The Modest Man, a website focused on shorter gentlemen that discusses women, dating, careers, fashion, and inspiration. Head over to his website to learn more about him.

When we are facing a problem or need advice, it’s tempting to reinvent the wheel by going it alone or turn to our peers for help. If you are an Electrogent reader, however, you probably know how important it is to look to our predecessors for wisdom that can only be gained from years of living, learning and reflection.

Whether the answers we seek are philosophical, sartorial or practical in nature, we must remember that our fathers, grandfathers and the men that came before them dealt with them same basic questions that we deal with:

Over at my blog, The Modest Man, I write about fashion and style tips for men under 5’8” tall. I focus on this group of men because, while it’s tough for any man to find well-fitting clothes off the rack, it’s especially hard for us shorter gents.

Height, like many physical attributes, is genetically determined and cannot be changed. Sometimes, it can be the source of insecurity for a man. This is why I urge my readers to look their best by developing a sharp sense of personal style and staying well groomed. By doing so, they can offset the natural bias toward their taller counterparts.

So, as we look back to our predecessors in an effort to glean some wisdom from their musings, we’re going to focus on three men of modest height. These three men were extremely successful and influential, despite their small stature.

Bruce Lee

Everyone knows that Bruce Lee was a badass martial arts master, but did you know that he was also a director, choreographer, teacher and philosopher? Lee was a deep man. Even though he died young at just 32 years of age, he influenced the lives of many people in China and America (and across the globe, for that matter).

At 5’8”, Bruce Lee wasn’t a big guy. This wasn’t a source of insecurity for him, though. He treated his body like a temple and was always in amazing shape, and he didn’t think that anyone should depend on validation from other people:

“I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.”

Rather than showing off, trying to impress others and wondering what everyone else is thinking about us, we should derive our self-worth from our own thoughts and feelings. We should give ourselves credit and acknowledgement for the things that we’ve accomplished.

Deriving your self-image from others is a surefire way to feel bad about yourself and constantly question your decisions. Look inward for validation and focus on being the best man you can be.

Winston Churchill

The British Bulldog – also known as Winston Churchill – was a ridiculously well dressed man who accomplished extraordinary political and military feats while enjoying the finest luxuries that life has to offer.

Whether he was making important wartime decisions while smoking an expensive cigar in bed or enjoying Polo in bespoke dress, he was larger than life at just five foot seven inches tall.

How did Churchill accomplish so much in one lifetime? He believed in persistence:

“Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.”

Regardless of size, strength, wealth or the situation in which you were born into, continuous effort will help you reach your full potential. In a world where everyone feels entitled and is constantly looking for shortcuts and get rich quick schemes, us men need to keep Churchill’s words in mind.

Oh, and just so you know, he also said really badass things like this:

“A prisoner of war is a man who tries to kill you and fails, and then asks you not to kill him.”


Switching gears, let’s look at the most famous pacifist of all time – Mahatma Gandhi. Using non-violent tactics, Gandhi led British-ruled India to independence, paving the way for civil rights activists and civil disobedience proponents all over the world.

Gandhi was a very small man. He stood five feet and four inches tall and weighed roughly one hundred pounds. He believed in strict vegetarianism and used fasting (or hunger strikes) as a political weapon for protests. Because of this, he often looked skinny and borderline sickly. Most of us picture Gandhi as a tiny, thin old man sporting a loose robe, round glasses and a huge smile.

Clearly, Gandhi was not a warrior. He wasn’t built like one, and even if he was, he didn’t believe in violence. But he was extremely disciplined, and he made a tremendous impact on the world. One of my favorite Gandhi quotes is:

“A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.”

He is saying that it’s not just our actions that determine who we are. It’s also our thoughts. The body is not easy to tame, but the mind is even harder. These days, with so many distractions all around us, it’s hard not to feel like we have ADD. Between our smart phones’ constant cries for attention, the non-stop stream of emails, never-ending updates from whatever social media networks, etc., it can feel like our brain is channel-surfing all day long.

It takes massive amounts of discipline and practice to get and maintain control of our thoughts, but the benefits are amazing. No matter what hand you were dealt physically, despite your size, strength or handsomeness, your mind is the most powerful weapon in your arsenal. Guaranteed. Just look at Gandhi!

Summing It Up

It’s so important to study the great men that paved the way for our society in order to better understand what sort of lives we should live. Bruce Lee, Winston Churchill and Mahatma Gandhi are three men who achieved great success despite their small stature, and we can all learn from each of their personal philosophies on life.

Next time you have a problem or are facing a difficult situation/decision, I hope you remember that you’re not the first man to face a particular challenge, and you’re not in it alone.

Who is your favorite shorter man in history who stood tall? Let’s talk history in the comments below.