The guy who gives zero fucks is the guy other men want to be and women want to be with. Everything he does disproportionately draws the attention of others. People imitate him not because he’s perfect, but because he’s comfortable with his imperfection.
Women want to be with him not because he’s unusually attractive but because he does not care whether women find him attractive. Others believe in him because he believes in himself. Other people call him confident, charismatic, and charming, not because he has some measurable quality that others don’t, but because everything he does reflects how little he worries about others ‘opinions. Some people hate him, but he doesn’t waste his time, energy, or emotion on those people.
He is free in all the ways everyone else isn’t, and we all envy what we falsely assume is his innate social superiority to most others.
If there is one thing that weighs us down in our social (and professional) lives, it is caring what other people think, and it has so much power over us because we’re afraid to admit how neurotic and obsessive we look to others for our own self-worth. Nearly everyone cares way too much, and it’s easy to see in other people.
You can see that your friend cares so much about whether his crush likes him back that he won’t ask her out. You can tell that your other friend is afraid to be free-spirited, and puts on a serious front because he’s afraid that people won’t approve of his genuine, goofy personality. It’s easy to see that your parents try to control you because they define their self-worth on your success (a success that they define).
We can tell that many people are so afraid of their faults that they won’t admit they exist, but can we see these kinds of behaviors in ourselves? Is it possible that we have a blindspot to accurately seeing our own flaws, that we have trouble admitting our own obsessive need to be approved by others? Might we be blind to our own blindness?
I think there’s strong evidence that most of us are, and that until we become aware of this, our efforts to improve our social lives are being built on a house of cards, we can’t become more socially confident until we accept the beliefs we don’t know we have that are making us act and feel so insecure. The aim of this article is to prove this.
I’m Jack’s Need to Belong
Tyler Durden from Fight Club is the cultural icon for giving zero fucks. He genuinely did not care what anyone else thought, and because of this he had no desire to be nice, appropriate, or agreeable.
He laughed at what most people feared and he was so unafraid of social rejection and so at ease with his own imperfections that people admired him, even worshiped him.
Even though he is a fictional character that ran underground fight clubs (sorry for talking about it, but to be fair, everyone breaks the first rule), his character was so magnetically appealing that people in the real world started actual fight clubs based on the movie. Eight years after the movie’s release a fight club got started at my high school due to my best friend’s admiration for Tyler Durden and what he represented.
And what did this sociopathic cult-leader who didn’t care about anything, including himself represent? He put it best himself, when speaking to the narrator of the movie he said, “All the ways you wish you could be, that’s me. I am smart, capable, and most importantly, I am free in all the ways you are not.”
Tyler Durden became a cultural icon because he represented total social and personal freedom, a freedom most of us envy, because deep down, we know we don’t have it. We care too fucking much about the opinion of others.
We’ve all been fed more than a decade’s worth of bullshit beliefs and values about what’s important and how we should act. Because we were fed these beliefs in our formative years, we’ve accepted these beliefs as our own because not to do so would put us at war with ourselves. Let’s expose that bullshit which is unconsciously choking our ability to interact with others as our most genuine and charismatic selves.
We’ve all known a few of those guys who just don’t care what other people think, and secretly or not, we wish we had what they have (and many people pretend to not care to show that they do have this). There’s nothing terribly special about these guys that are envied, they just have a mindset that allows them to have deep confidence in themselves.
The Power of Mindset
Most self-improvement advice focus on the external, this makes sense because all we can observe is the external. If you want to be more charismatic, a book might teach you how to make good eye contact, that tone of voice to speak with, or how to power-pose to exude confidence.
There is some truth to this flavor of advice, strong eye contact and open body language do show confidence. But, having put years and thousands of hours of conscious effort into a medley of these techniques and ‘tricks’ to build confidence, I can say they’re not very effective, and even miss the point entirely.
There are a few problems with this kind of practical advice, firstly, to make a change like this stick, you have to practice long enough to make it into an automatic habit, and in most cases, that just isn’t going to happen. Recent research has shown that it takes 66 days of conscious effort to make a new habit. Are you going to consciously practice a new type of body language for 66 days? Does anyone actually do this? It’s extremely unlikely, it takes too much faith and discipline.
Even worse, in the process of learning this technique, you’re going to appear and even feel less confident before you reap its social benefits. The act of monitoring your body language is bringing your attention to the fact that you don’t like your body language, and that you need to fix it to come across the way you want to come across.
But there’s an even worse limitation to this kind of advice. We attribute charisma and confidence to the external symptoms, things we can see, like someone’s body language, how a person talks, how they listen, and their eye contact. But what really makes them different isn’t something you can see, it’s something that is completely invisible, it’s their mindset.
The lens someone with deep confidence see the world through is qualitatively different than the lens most people see the world through. It’s because of that lens that these people naturally act in more visibly confident ways. External traits like word choice, body language, and the quality of your voice are the tip of the iceberg, they’re the 1% of confidence that you can see with your eyes, but the vast majority of what makes people who are deeply self-confident different is what lay beneath the surface. The external attributes are the symptoms of confidence, the mindset is the cause.
Do you think people who are extremely self-confident, who don’t give a fuck what anyone else thinks are worried about their body language or the tone of the voice? No, they don’t even consider things like this worthy of their attention. They are so confident BECAUSE they don’t monitor themselves, because they don’t feel their external behaviors are lacking in any way. They believe they’re already good enough, and because of this, they act in ways that appear confident.
Scientific research on mindsets has found that a simple mindset intervention can make changes that last a lifetime. In one study, psychologist Jeremy Jamieson tested the power of mindset. He split students into two groups (which were randomly assigned/controlled for GPA and SAT scores) and gave the first group a mindset intervention to change their minds about test anxiety before having them take a practice standardized test.
The intervention was a simple lecture in which Jamieson showed the students evidence that test anxiety wasn’t a bad thing. And that in fact, research has shown high stress-levels can improve performance, therefore you shouldn’t resist test anxiety, but embrace it, it can actually help you.
Jamieson hoped that this message would boost students’ performance, and it worked, students in the mindset intervention group performed significantly better on the test than did the other students who received no lecture.
Over the next several months, the students took the GRE and sent their scores to Jamieson’s team, not only did students who received the mindset intervention do better than those who did not, the difference in scores was larger than it had been with the practice test. Implying that the effect had grown stronger over time.
I know this sounds too good to be true, I thought the same thing when I first learned about mindset interventions, but that study is one of hundreds of studies that have shown the uncanny power of mindset, and that have shown they can easily be changed.
In a 1998 study, 30,000 American adults were asked how much stress they experienced the past year and whether they believed stress was harmful. Those who had a high amount of stress over the past year and believed that stress was harmful had a 43% higher of dying than those who didn’t believe stress was harmful. Even more shockingly, those who had high levels of stress, but believed stress was not harmful were less likely to die over the next eight years than those who had relatively low levels of stress, but believed that stress was harmful. In short, your mindset about stress affects the physical impact that stress has on you, to the point where it significantly affects your chance of dying over the next eight years.
In another study, researcher Alia Crum found that simply being told that housework is a good form of exercise reduced maids’ body fat percentage and blood pressure significantly compared to maids that were not told this.
This is just scratching the surface of mindset research, but what it’s found is that meaningful, lasting change can be facilitated through a simple mindset intervention that takes as few as five minutes to complete. Psychologists have found, time and time again, that our real-world outcomes are determined by unconscious mindsets, beliefs that in many cases we aren’t even aware we have.
Most people have mindsets that cause them to act in unconfident and often neurotic ways. You’re not afraid to approach a girl because you didn’t do a power pose to boost your confidence, you’re afraid to approach a girl because of beliefs you have about yourself that feel real because you’ve had them for years.
Change your belief systems, and the rest will take care of itself over time. This doesn’t mean change is easy, it takes a lot of honest self-reflection and requires you to develop an ability to question your most deeply rooted assumptions about yourself.Follow me on Snapchat to see daily infield footage (approaches, makeouts, pulls) Username: AveryGHayden
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