I’ve noticed something lately. Something surprisingly common, especially amongst geeky guys. Especially among geeky guys who’re trying to get better at dating.
There’s a lot of you venting your frustration about your dating lives, in your letters to me and in the comments on the blog. You’ve been taking my advice. You’re approaching the women you’re interested in. You’re working on your banter. Hell, you’ve been hitting the gym for the first time in forever.
But nothing’s getting better. Friday night’s still the lonliest night of the week and you’re stuck at home, wondering what the hell it is that everyone else has that you don’t.
It’s all bullshit right? Who cares how much you work at “being confident” or not being “the nice guy”, none of it’s ever gonna help. Girls are just gonna keep throwing themselves at assholes and you’re stuck at home while everybody else in the world is having way more sex1 than you ever will.
That right there? That’s the problem.
Let’s talk about your attitude.
If you’ve spent any time in the self-help section of a bookstore or were online any time around 2006, you’ll have heard more than you can stand about how your mindset affects your life. Whether it’s Think and Grow Rich to the pseudoscience hokum of The Secret,you undoubtedly have been bombarded with messages about how your mentality and your attitude can affect your success in life.
You know what?
They’re absolutely right.
Now, don’t get me wrong. You’re not gonna cure cancer, win the lottery or sleep with Scarlett Johansson just because you really really want it 2. But your attitude and mentality will make a difference in your life, especially when it comes to your love life.
Y’see, your attitudes and beliefs color everything you do. It affects how you react to rejection. It affects how you respond to criticism. It affects how people see you. It affects how you see yourself.
Let’s look at the attitudes that hold you back… and more importantly, the ones you should have and why.
Negativity Is a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
Raise your hand (metaphorically speaking) if you’ve ever thought something like this:
“Women don’t like me because I’m too _______”
“Only ______ people get what they want.”
“If I do _______, people will figure out I’m a fake.”
“There’s no point in ________, it’ll never work anyway.”
Any of this sound familiar?
These are what’re known as self-limiting beliefs; ideas that become so entrenched within your sense of self and identity that they’ve become part of you. They’re the little voice in the back of your mind that keeps telling you that nothing you do is going to work and that you may as well learn to settle for your life as it is now, because it’s never going to get any better.
I know that voice pretty damn well. When I was younger, I had a group of friends. As with any group, we all had our roles.
I was “the guy who wasn’t good with girls”. I accepted that identity. It became part of who I was. And because I believed it, it became true.
Y’see, when you let negative beliefs like these take root, it starts to spread and influence everything. Every interaction I had with women carried the subtext of “It’s ok if you don’t like me. I wouldn’t like me either if I were you.” It showed in my posture – hunched over, compressed, eyes anywhere but on the person I was talking to. It showed in the way I spoke – too quickly, my voice a little higher than my natural register, sounding as though I were pleading rather than speaking. God knows it showed in my attitudes towards women, equal parts desperation and resentment. The few relationships I did have were unhealthy; either I stayed in relationships that had turned toxic because I didn’t think I could do better or spent my entire time consumed with the idea that at any moment I would get the dreaded “We need to talk…” as my girlfriend realized that she could do better.
Negative beliefs and attitudes become self-fulfilling prophesies because when you give into them, you make them come true. You will see everything in a negative light, missing out on opportunities (or not being willing to take advantage of them) and focusing on the bad. You’re perpetually on the look-out for the next shoe to drop or the next thing to go completely wrong. After a while, you become bitter and resentful of everything. It starts to feel like the universe itself conspires against you. And let me tell you, when you’re walking around with a chip on your shoulder and a little black rain cloud following you, you’re going to chase off people who might well have been attracted to you. And when you do, it becomes further evidence that these beliefs are correct and justified, thus reinforcing them and perpetuating the ugly cycle.
Even your language can reflect this mentality. Take the word “try”. “I’m trying to get better.” “I’m trying to get a date.” Trying implies that failure the inevitable result and any success is, at best, a surprise. To quote one respected philosopher and dating coach: “Do, or do not. There is no ‘try’.”
The first step is to make yourself aware that you’ve accepted these beliefs, that they’re holding you back and they don’t . You need to break yourself of this mindset, and it can be difficult. The longer you’ve held onto it, the more deeply ingrained it can be. If you have any issues with chronic depression, like I did, you may well need medication to help pull you out enough to start taking control again.
So how do you break the habits of years, or even a lifetime?
Well to start with, you change your physicality. Your body influences the brain. Adopt the posture and bearing of someone who not only attracts women but feels as though he deserves to. As I’ve said before, I am a huge proponent of “fake it until you make it.” Putting on the attitude that you’re awesome and you know it, even when it’s a front at first, will help you start you down the right path. Reframe negative thoughts and ideations; when you find yourself thinking “Women don’t like me because…”, stop and force yourself to change it. “Women do like guys like me because…”
The next step can differ from person to person. There’s no one way to break yourself of these beliefs. You may practice relentless positivity. You may use visualization exercises, picturing your ideal self. You may repeat affirmations to yourself. You may take outside supporting evidence of a more positive belief and reinforce it with Grant Morrison’s charged sigil exercises. Find one that works for you and run with it. The sooner you break your negative mentality, the better.
Similar to the issue of self-limiting beliefs is the idea of “validation”.
A lot of guys who want to get better with women often have issues with validation.They feel an emptiness in their lives and they believe that having more dates, more sex, more girlfriends, more everything that they feel they have been denied will fill it. You see this frequently in the pick-up community; many men feel that if they were better with women, if they were having more sex with the hottest women out there, their lives would be fixed. They dive headfirst into the “player” lifestyle. They try to surround themselves with constant sources of external validation – parties, booze, women, sex…
Unfortunately, all this idea does is make things worse. They’ve taken their locus of control and self-worth and given it to an external source. The need for external validation becomes an end unto itself; even when they are successful, they still can’t ignore that hole in the center. They can never be truly happy or satisfied because no matter what, that emptiness is still there.
This attitude leads men to seek validation from others and puts their self-esteem and self-worth in the hands of other people. Being rejected already feels like a referendum on everything about you, but now those people are unwittingly in charge of his self-esteem; every rejection is now a judgment of his worth. They need to chase that external source and every time they reach for it and fail, it gets worse.
I can’t stress this enough: women cannot and will not fill any holes in your life. You will, at best, numb yourself temporarily… and even then, the emptiness will still be there, waiting for you when the afterglow wears off. The holes in your life can only be fixed by sorting out your life. Get your life in order and you bring your locus of control back where it needs to be: within you.
This doesn’t mean you need to be rich with an impressive loft apartment. You don’t need a dream job or hundreds of friends. Even if you’re not where you want to be yet, you should know, deep into the pit of your soul, that you’re on the way and it’s just a matter of time.
You need to be the source of your own validation, which will in turn, help provide you with that external validation as well. You need to find the zen state where you don’t need the approval of others and the ease and confidence that comes from knowing what you’re worth and you’re worth a whole goddamn lot.
Everybody loves the life of the party. He’s the one who makes things fun because his sense of fun is infectious and he makes the people around him feel good. People like other people who make them feel good; they’re drawn to them, want to spend more time around them.
Many of ’em want to spend naked time around ’em.
The key, of course, is that these people are self-amusing. Much like with self-validation, these are people who aren’t reliant on others to bring the fun. They’re the ones having fun, regardless of whatever’s going on. They roll into a group of strangers at a party and it doesn’t matter how they react; love him or hate him, either way, he’s still enjoying himself.
One of the best examples of this concept is Trent from Swingers. Trent is the personification of self-amusing. No matter what else is going on, Trent’s having a damned good time.
It’s this attitude that lets Trent have the success that he does; no matter what else goes on, he’s having the time of his life. Even when things go badly, it’s not that bad. He doesn’t take things seriously because, hey, he’s still enjoying himself. Does he get rejected? Ok fine, he got rejected. Doesn’t mean he didn’t have fun in the attempt. He’s outcome independent.
People respond to this attitude. People want to feel good. They want to have fun. Being the person who can provide the fun makes you more appealing to them.
Learn to be able to amuse yourself and to be having fun in everything you do. Hum that song that keeps putting a bounce in your step and a little strut in your walk. Find the fun in the situation.
It’s a sign of confidence that you don’t require others for your enjoyment, and as I have said many a time before: confidence is sexy.
Adopt an Abundance Mentality
This one is possibly the most important attitude to develop and maintain.
Y’see, a lot of guys, especially nerdy guys, tend to come from a scarcity mentality, especially when it comes to women. Everything to them is a zero-sum game; there’s not much out there so you’d better grab what you can or else there will be nothing left for you.
When it comes to dating, the scarcity mentality is poison. The idea that there are only so many women in the world leads guys to focus on the negative; every woman who rejects them is one less in the ever-shrinking pool of available women. This leads to guys putting too much effort and importance on one person; after all, their options are shrinking all of the time. Oneitis is the scarcity mentality taken to it’s extreme; it’s not that there’s a dearth of women, there’s only one and if you don’t land her then you’re destined to die alone and unloved.
This is, of course, bullshit. 49% of the population 18 and over in the US is single. Out of that pool of single people, more than 52% are women. What this means in practice is that not only is there not a dearth of available women, they outnumber single guys.
A man with an abundance mentality understands this at an instinctive level. More importantly, he believes this to the core of his being. The knowledge that women are not scarce, that there are, in fact, plenty of amazing women out there to meet informs how he interacts with women. He doesn’t put all of the importance on one woman; if things go badly, if he gets rejected it doesn’t matter. There are literally millions of other out there to meet who are just as perfect, unique and wonderful as the one he just left.
Just for a second, imagine what life would be like if you know – with dead certainty – that no matter how many times you were rejected, no matter how many times a woman turned out to be married or had a boyfriend, that there would be another incredible woman just around the corner? Imagine the way freedom you would feel, knowing that you had more options than you had ever believed.
It’d make you far less afraid of taking a chance, wouldn’t it? You would have an almost endless number of opportunities to find the love you want.
This is why attitude matters.
And why you should change yours.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YwNVE37BGVE – you’re welcome. [↩]
- ‘cuz if that were true, I would’ve beaten all of you to that particular finishing line… [↩]