Building Self-Confidence

Confidence can be your greatest ally or your worst enemy. When your confidence levels are high everything in your life seems to flow naturally without doubt or fear. However, when you aren’t feeling confident at all, it is very easy to get caught up in a destructive cycle in which minor mistakes take on unbelievable weight, and your performance, in whatever you may be doing will plummet drastically. When dealing with the opposite sex, confidence is of the utmost importance, in fact, it is the very foundation of attraction. If you read surveys or ask women directly what they find attractive in a man confidence will always be at the top or right near the top of the list. It is this simple feeling of self-assurance that can carry interactions to new levels of depth and command the interest of the woman you are talking with. Very often it seems that guys looking to land a girlfriend or simply attract women want to know what they should say, or when the right time to approach is, or some other tactic that will get them the result they want. The folly of this method is that they begin to internalize a set of rules or tactics without having the very foundation from which they need to build their skills upon.  Confidence is that foundation, and because it takes plenty of work and experience to attain consistently, it gets overlooked in favor of pickup lines, that on the whole won’t work because they are delivered from a place of self-doubt and incongruence. (Read: How to Start a Conversation with Girls)

I think that too often people mistake certain behaviors for true inner-confidence. For instance, if you happen to be in a typical night club environment, you will see what passes for confident behavior based on the projected social values of that environment. At night clubs, value tends to be given based on appearances, both physical and material. So, you may see a guy projecting confidence through wealth by his purchases of bottles of champagne, or his access to a VIP area, or how he is dressed. From the female side of things, a ‘hot’ girl will be able to project more confidence than she normally would through her perceived value physically. In either case, these people may have their entire sense of well-being wrapped up solely in this external validation, and if they were placed in another situation their façade would crumble rather quickly.

The lesson, then, is that confidence that is based on external variables will always be situational. Thus, true confidence is something that must be cultivated internally, or else it will be dependent on factors outside of your control. You probably are familiar with this situational confidence in your own life. Around your family and friends you may be extremely confident and outgoing and then when you find yourself attempting to talk to women, who you do not know, your behavior changes and you become shy and timid. This uncertainty can be based on a lack of experience with women, previous bad experiences that hurt your ego and inhibited further action, or a not having a fully-developed sense of self (knowing who you are and what you want). If situational confidence leads to emotional states that are constantly in flux and reinforces negative behaviors and thoughts, then what we need is a new mode of thought that breeds confidence. One that can be drawn upon as sort of a default way of operating. (Why not practice in a dream? 🙂  How to Lucid Dream )

 

“As for the way to true manhood, the way to the immortals, he has, it is true, an inkling of it and starts upon it now and then for a few hesitating steps and pays for them with much suffering and many pangs of loneliness. But as for striving with assurance, in response to that supreme demand, towards the genuine manhood of the spirit, and going the narrow way to immortality, he is deeply afraid of it. He knows too well that it leads to still greater sufferings, to proscription, to the last renunciation, perhaps to the scaffold, and even though the enticement of immortality lies at the journey’s end, he is still unwilling to suffer all these sufferings and to die all these deaths.”- from Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse

It is my belief that there is no reason not to be confident when approaching a woman. Okay, that is simple enough to say but let’s analyze that idea a bit. What am I actually confident in? That I will get her number? No. That she will like me? No. What I am confident in is my self-worth. I know who I am and what my values are and they are not dependent on external validation. You see, my confidence is independent of the outcome of approaching the woman. Whether she falls in love with me or yells obscenities in my direction is irrelevant to who I am as a person. I approach women because they present an opportunity to enhance my life, not because they make me happy. Now that woman may eventually enhance the experience of my life, maybe she’ll make it worse, or simply brush me off and have no further impact, but the idea of the approach is to explore these possibilities and not to base your sense of self on the ultimate results of these interactions.

INTRODUCING ATTRACT YOUR DEVELOPMENT’S FIRST EBOOK

GAME WITHOUT GAMES: TRANSCENDING PICKUP ARTISTRY AND PURSUING ATTRACTION THROUGH CONSCIOUS PERSONAL GROWTH 

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Exploring the world of dating and so-called Pick-up Artistry, through the lens of the mind. Game without Games, from attractyourdevelopment.com, eschews traditional pickup advice and gets down to the core concepts of self including: fear, truth, connection, and desire. Taken from the author’s own personal experience in approaching, attracting, and dating women from age eighteen through his twenties, this book strips away all of the tips and tactics of the PUA community. Instead, this book focuses on personal development and cultivating what the ancient Stoic philosophers referred to as the internal.

With a greater inner strength and by focusing on developing one’s life in totality, attraction occurs naturally by becoming a ‘desirable man’. Game then is about expressing of oneself and exploring who she is, instead of trying to remember lame pick-up lines or tricks and tactics to get laid. Things become natural and flow from the relaxed and confident state of the man. He has control of his mental faculties and thus can accept life and social interactions on his own terms. Not chasing women or putting up with disrespect or other nonsense.

If you want to learn how to talk to girls, in a step by step format…go elsewhere. However, if you want to explore the mental side of game and the letting go of pickup dogma, Game without Game might be the book for you.

 

 

In the previous paragraph, you can see that by changing the perception of the situation, you can alter the situational nature of confidence. I’m not confident that she will like me; rather, I’m only confident in my own self-worth. This goes against the conditioning of our society that has taught us that getting ‘rejected’ by a woman is a failure and you should feel like a loser if it ever happens to you. Could I therefore state that if I successfully ‘get’ the girl (however you measure that: phone number? Sex? Relationship?) that I am now a winner? What about the women that I have successfully picked-up and later found out were terrible human beings? Is that ‘winning’ or even a situation I should prefer versus getting turned down one-hundred times? (Side note: Rejection can often be funny, dealing with some types of women rarely, if ever, is). The answer is obviously no.

So, in order to change our confidence from non-existent or situational into something that becomes an ingrained belief about ourselves, it seems that we must change our perceptions of reality.

“Whenever externals are more important to you than your own integrity, then be prepared to serve them the remainder of your life. Don’t hedge and agree to be their slave, then change your mind later; commit to one or the other position at once and without reserve. Choose to be either free or a slave, enlightened or a fool, a thoroughbred or a nag. Either resign yourself to a life of abuse till you die, or escape it immediately. For God’s sake, don’t put up with years of abuse, and then change your mind! This humiliation can be avoided before it begins: just decide now what you think is truly good and bad.”-Epictetus.

Get Comfortable with Discomfort

You have a fear, a discomfort talking to women in certain situations, and you need to get rid of it. In how you currently view the world, this fear is justified because it protects you from feelings of embarrassment or exposing yourself to uncertainty. The ego wants to preserve itself in these situations and it controls your action by the intense feelings of doubt and fear that flood your body and feel paralyzing. These fears aren’t life threatening, they are not your biological response to a dangerous situation, such as a tiger chasing you, they are ego plain and simple.

We humans are often completely self-absorbed and that is not necessarily always a bad thing. In this case, I’m not talking about being conceited or being oblivious to the feelings of others, rather, I’m referring to the idea that the whole world is watching you and laughing at your failures or praising your successes. The truth is, billions of people have roamed the Earth throughout history, and some have done things in their time that would be considered ‘successful’ in their particular culture and time period that would have no meaning in our own culture. Among these billions of people, were of course men who got rejected or felt fear when talking to women. Perhaps the social conditioning and mass media in our own culture has made this worse for our generation, but that is out of the realm of this post. The point is, that you are not unique in feeling the fear that you feel and other men have gone through the same thing and probably much worse than you ever will experience. Let go of this notion of embarrassment in the moment, and focus on the bigger picture of life being short and that you must work through the fear to live the life that you want.

Your fear can only thrive when you are facing the complete unknown or something you have very little experience in. In order to rid yourself of the high level of anxiety you feel in your current mode of perception and move toward greater inner confidence, you must immerse yourself in situations that currently make you uncomfortable. In short, you must face your fears. You can read all the books and articles that you’d like on talking to women and they can indeed help fuel you with the courage to take the first step and help motivate you to press on, but they are no substitute for first-hand experience (See: Attract Your Development Reading List). A book that you read can present ideas to you that seem correct and motivate you to make the internal changes necessary to get what you want out of life, however, in a stressful situation your mind will most likely revert back to its old habits and patterns unless you experience otherwise. The key to making these internal changes, in this case building inner-confidence, is to continually expose yourself to that which you fear in order to build enough familiarity with it so that the fear loses its grip. If you fear talking to women then you must talk to women!

Start Small

Different people are at different comfort levels in social situations. That’s okay, everyone has to start their self-improvement journey somewhere. When I say that it is a journey, I literally mean a long-term process that in my opinion, should never end. There are no short-term fixes to building confidence because, as I wrote earlier, experience is required to make an internal shift and break down the false beliefs that currently plague your life.  Some guys lack social skills in every situation, yet are searching for answers to how to attract women….cart before the horse.

If you have no friends, no girls, and no real social life, then a process of changing that must begin first. Joining organizations, clubs, sports teams, or whatever is a great place to start because you will find people who all have that organization in common and thus have common interests. Maybe you don’t like playing sports… well, man up, and learn (see: How to Get Ripped Abs for my workout tips). Maybe you don’t think you’ll like what a certain club does, stop being judgmental without the experience to back it up. Remember, pushing your boundaries will lead to growth, and personal growth is what we should be after and not simply women. The idea in this starting from scratch socially is to build comfort around other people. It is a good idea not to try too hard or force yourself on other people socially, because it reeks of desperation (huge turnoff for everybody). Also, if you’re trying to build your confidence with women and they happen to be in these organization, then it is a great opportunity to learn how to talk to them. Don’t hit on them. Don’t creep them out.  Just talk. If you are clueless socially, it will generally take more experience to be able to calibrate and build connections with people. It is a learning process that can be very frustrating but just stick with it.

Fear in the moment can affect guys who are further along socially as well.  Little mantras and breathing exercises can help to get your anxiety levels under control. To me, this is where reading and activities such as meditation really pay off. I find that reading books on self-improvement, philosophy, and psychology help to prime my brain and not sink into the distorted perception of my ego. I think that it helps to lend perspective on life that I can then carry into social situations that may present some level of fear. I can also focus on one particular quote or concept and it serves as sort of a mantra that I can repeat to induce me to take action and not give into the fear.

Control Your Desire

This might be a tricky concept for me to explain, but I will try my best to do so. As heterosexual men we have sexual desire towards women and in return they have it towards us. Sexual desire is a healthy thing and quite helpful when it is properly controlled. The problem with desire is that it can often be out of control and cloud our judgment as men. Desire can many times lead to a fantasy that pushes our minds further from the reality of the situation. This becomes a problem when approaching a woman that you’ve never met because you can either subconsciously or consciously project your fantasy into reality.

For example, if you see a beautiful woman you may project onto her certain qualities that you look for in a mate. You might assume that she is some wonderful person or you may do the opposite and project your worse fears on to her, and may assume she is a bitch when that is probably not at all the case. In either case, your assumptions essentially dehumanize the woman and either elevate or denigrate her, all based on some fantasy that your brain has concocted. You are biased towards her in some way, making her seem unattainable or successfully talking yourself out of getting to know her because she’s ‘probably mean’.

Desire is a good thing when it is projected in a calm, confident way. Desire is a bad thing when it is projected as out of control horniness. Think a slow simmer versus a pot that is boiling over. Losing control of your desire to me also seems pretty comparable to a drug addict running around and looking desperately for their next hit. It is a loss of self-control and this can often lead to a loss of self-respect. You find yourself willing to do anything in order to obtain the girl and thus elevate her to a higher plane of existence than you. She is not a demi-god, she is a woman. This type of thinking leads to having nothing to say in a conversation or not even talking to her to begin with because she is ‘too hot for me’. Also, what type of woman would want a man that is unable to even speak to her because his desire is so out of control that it has affected his motor skills and confidence level?

What I have found that works for controlling desire is putting sex in its proper perspective. I know that when you’re a virgin, sex can seem like a really big deal. It can seem like a concept that is really distant and you want nothing more than to experience it. In my own experience, I have found that it can be great or it can be terrible, but it was never the life-altering thing that it was always made out to be (in the sense that losing your virginity is like finding the holy grail, it can indeed alter your life in other ways). Also, I found that it can be used as a weapon. When I started noticing women trying to take advantage of my desire for sex, I inadvertently stumbled on to this idea of boosting confidence through controlling desire. I noticed that when I went out to bars or clubs and talked to women without caring whether I slept with them or not, I was more apt to say and do what I wanted and wouldn’t put up with any disrespect on their part. Sex became something that I could take or leave and if I didn’t get it, it frankly didn’t phase me. The fantasies and pedestal had begun to fade away and all that was left was a man talking to a woman.

I then began to view sex as something that was inevitable. I don’t mean inevitable in the sense that I could sleep with any chick I talked to, but that sex was a natural byproduct of me being social and meeting women. If I talked to women, there would be some percentage that would be attracted to me, and as we progressed and got comfortable with one another further, sex would probably just happen at some point. The ability to control my desire really marked a shift, in my confidence and interactions with women, because it further demonstrated that I was in control of my own faculties and external factors shouldn’t have a bearing on whether I feel confident or not. Another side effect of this shift was that women really began to respond more positively towards me because my desire was expressed through a quiet confidence, an emphasis on having fun, and a relaxed demeanor that wasn’t needy or made her feel uncomfortable.

 

Know What You Want

Uncertainty breeds fear. I touched on that point in the first section when I talked about facing your fears directly in order to eliminate them and forge a new perspective. We cannot completely control events and people outside of ourselves, so there will always exist some bit of uncertainty. However, if you don’t know what you want, it opens up a whole bunch of uncertainty that is directly within your control. What kind of girl do you want? Ideally, what would she physically look like? What personality traits are attractive to you? What are your boundaries? In other words, when would you be willing to walk away?

There are a lot of guys with the scarcity belief. They go out and will hit on or think about hitting on any woman who looks decent. Hell, many times that isn’t even a requirement. This type of thinking basically states that you should take what you can get and that a hot girl won’t like me because she is ‘out of my league’. I hate this level of thinking and, yes, there was a time that I was guilty of it myself. Some girls are very good looking and will be into you, while other girls will be ugly and find you repulsive. It is not a cut and dry thing, where the girl’s physical appearance will determine whether she will be into you or not.

When you don’t know what you want, you don’t have any criteria, and are subsequently more likely to accept anything that comes your way out of desperation. On the other hand, if you believe yourself to be someone of value, then it is only natural to seek out someone that will complement your life and not merely someone who just happened to say yes. Having criteria allows you to approach your interactions with women differently. Instead of thinking of the best pick up line or how to quickly try and trick the girl into bed, the criteria for what you want acts as a filter, and helps to rid you of falling for the women you don’t want. The dynamic of the conversation can change because you now have standards and aren’t going to sleep with a girl by virtue of the fact that she has a vagina. No, she must meet your standards and prove to you why she would be a good fit in your life.

Desperation melts away in this scenario because it clicks in your head that, “Hey, this isn’t the last girl I’ll ever meet. Girls are all around and they outnumber us men. I don’t need to chase a girl or sleep with her if it means losing my self-respect.” Secondly, there is no more pressure! You have control of your desire and know what you want in a woman, now you can simply relax and carry on a conversation regardless of the outcome. If it doesn’t go well, so what, she wasn’t for you. If it does go well, then maybe she will be a part of your life in the future. That’s it.

This Will NOT Make or Break Your Life (unless you let it)

When I was younger I was pretty much clueless on how to get a girlfriend or even how to talk to them without feeling like I was facing a firing squad. At some point I got fed up and decided to push myself and hit the night clubs so that I could finally solve this ‘problem’. It started out slowly by getting myself comfortable in those environments, dressing nice, smiling, etc. From then I moved up to approaching girls, dancing, and getting phone numbers. Naturally, that led to dates, sex, and relationships.  At the time, I was damn proud of what I had accomplished, I went from never having one girl to having experienced the gamut of relationships and women in under two years. The thing is that I cannot honestly say that it made my life that much better. Sure, it was fun, I had some great times, and I developed enough courage to get over my social anxieties but what else had I gained? A time came in which all of those girls I had met were out of my life and I was back to square one. I was by myself again. That’s when it clicked. It was never about the women in the first place, it was always about me. Women were there to have a place within my life, not to make my life, and through all the bitterness and desperation that I felt when I had no women, I had become blind to that fact. I had become too focused on the external and lost track of my internal development and well-being.

Look, having the ability to talk to women and interact with them is a great skill to develop but it is not the be all and end all of your life. Having a girlfriend will not make you happy, it can certainly make things better, but happiness does not stem from it. We tend to take things personally, especially when they don’t go our way, and we even take things to heart when a situation works in our favor.  A woman digs us and we feel like the man. A woman tells us to ‘fuck off’ and we feel absolutely terrible. This is the wrong way to go because we are always dependent on others to direct how we should feel about ourselves. The more you can maintain the perspective that you are the source of your own contentment and the less you take the things that people say and do personally, the more your inner-confidence will grow. Growth is a key concept here, as that is what approaching women should be about, your personal growth. It is the gradual chipping away at the fear and anxiety that you currently feel when talking to women. The great side benefit of this is that you will get to meet a ton of attractive women while developing yourself.

You approach these attractive women out of curiosity about who they are and what they could possibly bring to the table. At first it will be nerve-wracking and when you get dissed it will probably hurt your ego. Push through this pain barrier as it is a necessary step in the process. Experience will lessen the pain and present the fact that rejection isn’t a big deal. You do not take what happens, either positive or negative, personally. It is feedback. Feedback is what you use to make adjustment to how you interact with people, it is what you use to improve internally which leads to results externally (making friends, attracting women, etc.). Developing confidence is an education, you explore and experiment out in the world, and thereby learn more about who you are and how you wish to live.

Putting this All Together

There are things that you can control and not control in your life, confidence lies in the former category. You can decide that you want to change the way you live today. Social conditioning and the pressures you tend to feel from your family and peers is what prevents you from making the changes, because you believe that the barriers are real. People label you as shy, nerdy, or whatever because it is an easy way to classify people and our brains tend to like to organize things in a simple manner. I’ve been labeled shy, other people think I’m funny, while others still insist I am outgoing. The truth is that I am all and I am none of those things. My personality is not set in stone, I am fluid and adapt to different situations, and I try to grow and push my boundaries. If you wish to be more confident with women, then by all means act more confident with women. Learn to not take the hits personally and break down these fears until you’re no longer dependent on external validation to tell you how to feel about yourself.

In order to get women, yes, you must indeed learn how to be social. Yes, improving yourself physically can help boost your chances of attracting someone. Yes, having interesting hobbies will help cast you in a better light. All of these things are great and will help to develop who you are as a person but confidence is where it all begins. Confidence protects you from the highs and lows. Confidence helps you make more clear-headed decisions and not get swept away by your most impulsive desires. Confidence gives you a correct sense of your own value and helps you to think empathetically about those around you. Confidence with women is not a magic formula or pick up line, it is a confidence in yourself that extends to all areas of your life, including women. Push yourself. There will be short-term gains and losses. You will experience plateaus where you feel as if you’ve stopped growing. The process is never-ending but if you stick to it, you will begin to see the internal fortitude you actually have and your confidence will be as strong as steel.