In our modern society, it can be difficult to see healthy male role models in our media, and sometimes, even in our lives. Certain ways of being a man are considered outdated. Certain qualities of character are being challenged, but we’re here to say that the principles of The Code of the West are still alive and well today.

The symbol of the cowboy is iconic, a character in which young men throughout the country grow up learning from. From stories of lone cowboys roaming the range, to heroic figures caring for those in distress. Cowboying wasn’t just a way of life, it was a way of being. But as that way of life became less and less prevalent to this modern age, our role models and icons have also changed. So many people no longer understand the meaning of the Code of the West, but we believe it’s an important set of ethics for every young man to know.

The Code and Cowboy Ethics

Maybe you didn’t grow up around cowhands, or even watching the classic Hollywood cowboys, regardless, one thing remains true; many of the cowboys of yesteryear, as well as the cowboys of today, still chose to live by a particular code of honor. Every young man can learn from the code, and choose to live by it.

  1. Live each day with courage. Courage is a choice and an important one to make. Through times of stress and fear, it’s the choice to saddle up and take life on anyway. It’s deciding to continue down a difficult path with just the faith that your journey will be worth it.
  2. Take pride in your work. The word “pride” comes with many negative connotations. However, having pride can be a positive thing. For instance, taking pride in building a reputation of good, honest work is something we should all strive for. Take pride in your role in the world, and strive to make yourself proud every day.
  3. Always finish what you start. Take responsibility for the tasks you’ve started. You’ve likely heard it before, but don’t start something you can’t finish. This isn’t to say that you have to finish a task that you’re not ready to finish, however, never give up on your goals or yourself. Remember, it’s not always a sprint to the finish line. Some tasks take time.
  4. Do what has to be done. Sometimes what needs to be done will be the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do. In life, you’re going to get thrown off a few horses. Assess the situation honestly, decide what has to be done to fix your current situation and get the job done.
  5. Be tough, but fair. It’s important to understand the difference between cruelty and fairness. It’s okay to be tough on yourself and others if the goal is self-betterment. There is no reason for cruelty or unfairness toward yourself and those around you. It can be difficult to know the difference, but always try to come from a place of fairness instead of anger or aggression.
  6. When you make a promise, keep it. Your word is your bond. It’s tempting to make promises to ourselves and others that we can’t keep. When it’s simple for us to make promises we know we can’t keep, there is an internal issue within ourselves we should aim to fix.
  7. Ride for the brand. This statement means a whole lot for a young man. It means earning the trust of those around you, putting in work, staying dedicated, being true to yourself, being unselfish in your actions, and showing care for those you interact with. It means saddling up when the going gets tough and choosing to do your best.
  8. Talk less and say more. Your actions speak louder than your words.
  9. Remember that some things aren’t for sale. You can buy your way in or out of an experience. No money in the world can make up for self-learning and self-worth.
  10. Know where to draw the line. This could take a lifetime to learn, but it’s important to become a better man. Set a limit for what you can or cannot do, and what you can or cannot accept in this life. Accept those limits and grow stronger because of them.

A young man with troubles needs something to strive to become. There’s always hope, and if you’re holding yourself accountable for your past actions, there’s always a chance for a brighter future. Take the time to understand the code and build upon those to find ethics to live by.

Why We Still Need Cowboy Ethics