Leveling Up: Building an Attractive Lifestyle

Now that Valentine’s Day is over and we’re running headlong into spring, people’s thoughts will naturally turn towards sex and relationships. This makes it a great time to start taking those steps to turning your life around and making the transition into being the person you’ve always wanted to be.

Which is why I’m kicking off a series of articles all about leveling up your life by making changes to help you transform into a new, happier, more confident you. Because I believe that the key to social success is a holistic approach that encompasses every aspect of your life, we’re going to be talking about all of the aspects of self improvement and increasing your attractiveness. It’s not just a case of having clever things to say or chiseled facial features, it’s about who you are at your core.

Which is why we’re going to start by talking about the power of an attractive lifestyle.

You Are What You Do

A person’s lifestyle is often simultaneously the most important and the most neglected area of self-improvement, especially when it comes to improving one’s love life. The lion’s share of attention is showered on surface issues – physical attractiveness, having witty opening lines, knowing how to banter – often at the expense of the deeper issues.

The fact of the matter is, your lifestyle can have a greater effect on your dating success than you’ve ever realized.

How we see and interact with the world is colored and filtered by our day-to-day behaviors and activities; what we do every day wears a groove into our brains that affects everything we do and see… not to mention affecting the people we meet and the way they perceive us.

Lifestyle is more than just superficial issues such as job, income and spending levels, and fashion choices. Your lifestyle is the manner in which you live, which reflects who you are as a person. It includes your values and your attitudes, what you find fulfilling and where you choose to spend your time and attention – and this, in turn, will affect how you present yourself and how you come across to others.

Neglecting your lifestyle can actively sabotage improvement in other areas; changing your sense of style and improving your looks can help, but an incompatable or unattractive lifestyle will end up making things actively worse.

Don’t Poison The Well

Your attitude is an incredibly important part of being attractive and socially successful. As I’ve said many times before, the way you perceive the world is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you carry around a shitty attitude and outlook, you’re going to find yourself having a much harder time meeting awesome people than someone who is positive.

A negative outlook is going to, by its very nature, filter out the people you’re hoping to attract. Negative, unhappy people aren’t fun or pleasant to be around.

There are, of course, exceptions.

There are, of course, exceptions.

There are reasons why people aren’t holding Oscar The Grouch up as a dating role model… at least ones that go beyond being made of felt and having a stranger’s fist permanently lodged up your colon.

Your lifestyle is both a reflection of your life and attitudes and an influence on them. Problems in your lifestyle will inevitably infect the rest of your life… especially your social life.

If you aren’t happy with your lifestyle – you work a job you hate for far too little money, you have no creative outlet,  you’re socially disconnected, or you have little to your life beyond just day to day drudgery – you are going to have a much harder time meeting people and finding people who want to spend time with you. Your dissatisfaction will affect how you interact with the world around you and how others react to you. The less you have going for you that makes you happy, the more problems you will face in your dating life.

This isn’t to say that you must have your dream job or make buckets of money before you can start dating; it means that you need to have something in your life that brings you satisfaction and fulfillment.

You Are Not Your Job, Your Apartment, or Your Fucking Khakis

One of the most common mistakes that people make when talking about lifestyle is that they equate a “good” lifestyle with material goods and success. It’s a truism in many PUA circles, for example, that to have an attractive lifestyle means a flashy car, the most stylish clothes or a socially desirable job – all the better to rope in those “hypergamous” women. And yet for all that people will claim that being financially well off is a pre-requisite for dating success, I have known plenty of people who are richer than God who can’t score a date to save their lives.

While financial success can bring comfort and increase one’s opportunities in other  areas, it is by no means the definition of a “good” or “attractive” lifestyle. You can have money or a high-status job and still have little to no satisfaction with your life. Lifestyle isn’t just about what you own or the size of your apartment – it’s about how you live your life, how you pursue your passions, how you spend your time and who you spend it with.

"You'd think that dominating the stock market and sleeping on a giant pile of money would help ease the pain of the emptiness of my life."

“You’d think that dominating the stock market and sleeping on a giant pile of money would help ease the pain of the emptiness of my life.”

Most writers or artists for example, have jobs that they don’t care for because being a full-time writer or artist usually doesn’t pay the bills. Their day job may not bring much in the way of personal satisfaction, but it does give them the opportunity to indulge their passion: painting, music, writing, etc. Being able to follow their passion – even though it may not bring financial success – helps enhance their lifestyle.

Part of an attractive lifestyle is pursuing your interests and your passions, finding the things that bring you joy and satisfaction. Having passion in your life is an incredibly attractive trait and exploring and expanding your horizons helps make you a more well-rounded, interesting individual. This is why it’s important to cultivate your interests and hobbies, especially if they are in areas you’ve always wanted to explore but have been afraid to; taking chances and facing your fears are great ways of building confidence on top of improving your lifestyle.

Your Lifestyle Is Your Filter

Part of why your lifestyle is important is in how it affects the people you meet and the people who will be attracted to you.

One of the reasons I constantly advocate exploring hobbies and being more social is that it makes meeting new people a natural and inevitable part of your life. Instead of having to go out specifically to find people, an active and engaging lifestyle helps bring the people you are interested in to you, by helping to ensure that you’re in a position where meeting new people is going to just happen. If your lifestyle is predominantly one of staying at home and cutting yourself off from contact with the world, you are going to have a much harder time meeting people than someone going out and taking some language classes or participating in an amateur sports league. Similarly, having an attractive lifestyle will increase your personal appeal to others – if you’re leading an interesting life, others are going to want to be a part of it. On the other hand, if your daily life consists of shuttling between work and home with only a few rounds of Call of Duty to break up the hours in between, far fewer people are going to want to take part.

Your lifestyle will also help determine the type of people you meet and attract. Despite what we’ve been told, opposites rarely attract; we are much more likely to be interested in people who are similar to us. If there’s a particular type of person you’re interested in – alt-girls, for example – then you are much more likely to find success if you are compatible with that world. A 56 year old corporate type who’s into opera and wine-tastings isn’t necessarily going to be attractive to the 23 year old recent college graduate in a retail job who lives for shot specials downtown and clubbing on weekends, no matter how much the corporate type may want it. Their lifestyles are going to be too incompatible: they have entirely different life experiences, values, attitudes and priorities. The business type rarely succeeds with the bohemian; more often than not their lifestyles conflict with one another to a point where it’s almost impossible for the two to be happy together. The more overlap between lifestyles that you have, the more basis for attraction and commonalities exist.

If you’re an introvert, the odds of meeting someone that you’re interested in – and who would be interested in you – at a Thirsty Thursday happy hour at Baby A’s are remote at best.

Yup. This seems like the perfect place for the shy, bookish sort to find love.

Yup. This seems like the perfect place for the shy, bookish sort to find love.

This is not to say that nerds can and should only date nerds, mind you. You don’t need matching lifestyles so much as compatible ones. A geek who’s a bit of a homebody with an interest in anime and video games can still find happiness with a non-geek who also enjoys quiet nights at home, but they will be far less happy with an outdoors-y geek who doesn’t care for reading and prefers bar-hopping to a night in.

Play To Your Strengths

One of the common mistakes I see when people talk about what makes an attractive lifestyle is the assumption that there is one lifestyle that is universally attractive and should be the goal of anyone looking to improve their dating life. Frequently when I see people trying to explain what makes a “good” lifestyle, it tends to involve defining an attractive lifestyle in a very narrow fashion and trying to apply it regardless of age, interests or life experience. Just as certain lifestyles tend to be incompatible with others, some lifestyles are going to be incompatible with individuals. An introvert will be uncomfortable trying to wedge themselves into being a fixture on the club-scene just as hardcore punks are going to be less likely to fit in at an exclusive country club.

"So who's up for grabbing some clubs and hitting the back nine?"

“So who’s up for grabbing some clubs and hitting the back nine?”

Spend some time thinking not only about the sort of things that you’re interested in but the sorts of traits and values in the people you want to meet: where are they likely to hang out? What are they likely to do in their spare time, and how much crossover would there be with what you love to do?

By following your passions, you increase the likelihood of meeting people who share your interests and values; people who, in other words, you are more likely to be compatible with. If you’re a high-energy person who gets a charge from large groups of people you are far more likely to meet people you’d be into at rowdy parties rather than at an open mic night or a poetry reading. If you’re passionate about art, gallery shows and art history classes will be much more of your speed. If you’re politically active or socially minded, you will find more success volunteering your time for local politicians or non-profit organizations.

If you’re not sure what it is that you’re passionate about, then take some time to experiment. Give yourself permission to try things you’ve been curious about but never could quite bring yourself to pull the trigger on – travel, learning another language, studying a martial art, taking up a musical instrument or even something as esoteric as learning how to be a DJ. Even if it turns out not to be your thing, it can still help round you out as a person and collecting new experiences and stories is a great way to expand your personal horizons.

Finding ways to indulge and fulfill your passions and interests and making that a part of your life will naturally bring you more in contact with the sort of people you want to meet. If you’re unsure about how or where to meet people who share your passions, look online. Sites like meetup.com1 are one of the best ways to find people who share your interests.

Love Your Life

You will get the best results and the most return on your emotional investment if you love your life. The less happy you are with the direction your life is taking, the more problems you will encounter as you try to make your transformation.

If you’re unsatisfied with your lifestyle, it’s time to sit down and examine just what it is that you feel is wrong. Do you feel stifled with where you live? Do you have a dead-end job that drains your life away and sucks out your soul? Do you not have a life outside of work or school? Do you have a strong network of friends – people who genuinely care about you as a person – or do you just have people you hang out with out of convenience but who don’t share any of your interests?

Even if it seems daunting, solving your lifestyle issues and learning how to craft a life that brings you satisfaction and fulfillment will supercharge your social life. The happier you are with who you are, the better you will be at interacting with others.

  1. Which gets brought up here so often that I’m starting to consider asking them to sponsor the site… []