In the animal kingdom, there is often a pack mentality based on the presence of a dominant leader known as an alpha male. Other males and females in these packs adapt their own behavior according to the example set by the alpha, who is naturally selected as the leader. This same phenomenon often occurs in human social groups, with certain males emerging as natural leaders, as well as prime examples of masculinity. A man can choose to modify his behavior and lifestyle in order to appear more masculine or self-confident to others. This may lead to a higher social status and at least the appearance of being a leader instead of a follower.
An alpha male is commonly considered to be a "man's man," exuding a high level of self-esteem and self-confidence. Some question whether or not a person could modify his behavior to become more of an alpha, and natural pack leaders are often thought to be born, not made. Their behavior, however, can also be viewed by others as an unflattering arrogance or machismo. Not all alpha males have natural leadership qualities, and some may be less influential on others because of their perceived arrogance or intolerant attitudes.
In order to become an alpha male, it is important to examine all of the qualities that define such a person. For example, such a man is generally aware of his physical appearance and body image. Others often modify their own behavior once they encounter a strong, physically fit man who has obviously taken good care of his body. Weight training and participation in team or individual sports is a good way to attain a good physique and healthy body. Many people consider professional male athletes to be ideal representations of traditional masculinity, and they will often modify their own attitudes towards health and fitness because of these role models.
Another element of a traditional alpha male is emotional control. During times of crisis, many people look to men such as doctors, police officers, and firefighters for a sense of strength and discipline under pressure. These men learn to keep their own emotions in check while others are depending on them to remain professional. An adult could develop a sense of self-discipline and stoicism over time, but many males with alpha qualities have been conditioned since early childhood to keep their emotions hidden or unexpressed. He may be perceived by others as emotionally distant or overly stoic, but many natural leaders have learned to detach themselves in order to accomplish what is expected of them during a crisis.
An alpha male can also have a strong sense of traditional masculine behavior. Because of the higher levels of testosterone, many seek out occupations that require exceptional physical abilities or have a significant risk factor. Many of these men join military organizations in order to develop exceptional self-confidence and self-reliance, especially during times when strong leadership qualities are required. Some seek employment in high risk career fields such as law enforcement or fire fighting. Many professional actors and athletes possess strong alpha qualities, as do many political leaders and medical professionals.