Your self-image is a biased, inaccurate, collection of beliefs that were created by external
influences. These beliefs were formed when you were too young to filter out the relentless
deluge of bullshit that we are all exposed to, day in and day out. Your parents, teachers, peers,
and media influences planted the seeds of the mindset that you now carry with you.
Remember the movie Inception? In that movie, an inception was an event in which a team
planted an idea in someone’s dream that would take root and change their life without their
knowledge. They would think the incepted belief was their own idea because it came to them
from a dream.
You probably haven’t had your dreams hijacked, but we have all been influenced by a
psychological force eerily similar to an inception. When you were a child and your parents
angrily told you not to talk back, your school taught you to shut up and listen, and commercials
taught you that you needed a new product to feel good about yourself, you were too young
and vulnerable to distinguish these ideas as toxic. You were a sponge absorbing everything
At your current age, you can consciously filter out good ideas from bullshit (to some extent).
What you might not realize, though, is that your current values and self-image are largely the
product of the seeds of ideas that were planted when you were young and vulnerable.
We naturally assume that our beliefs must exist for good reason. We have to trust our own
mind. Unfortunately, because of this trust, we have difficulty accepting that many of our ideas
about ourselves and the world are totally illogical, toxic beliefs that we take ownership of
simply because we had those ideas planted in our mindsets at a young age.
Say you don’t think you’re good looking enough to date attractive women. To you, this seems
like a logical belief. You can clearly see that girls don’t find you attractive; you can see all
around you that it’s mostly the good-looking guys that get attractive women. You know for a
fact that you’re not attractive to these women because they don’t even give you the time of
day. If you were able to get an attractive girlfriend, you’d obviously have one by now.
What you don’t realize is that this belief really stems from your childhood. Maybe people
teased you about your appearance, maybe you saw in films that the hot movie star ends up
with the hot actress. One way or another, you unconsciously absorbed the cultural belief that
physical attractiveness was necessary to date attractive women, and that you aren’t good
enough by this measure.
This idea that you picked up at a young age was like a seed that grew into a patch of weeds in
your belief system. It’s incredibly difficult to let go of the mindsets you picked up in your
formative years because to do so would be to choose to abandon the foundation that your
identity has been built on. Even if the foundation is a house of cards, it’s your house of cards,
something you’ve nurtured for years (without ever consciously deciding to). Your belief that
attractive women can’t like you is now a fundamental part of your belief system.
This means that if you were to find counter-evidence, if for example an attractive girl were to
flirt with you, it would feel like an attack on your identity. You would resist the idea, fight
against it, self-sabotage in your interactions with that girl so that you can prove that you’re
right in your belief that attractive girls don’t like you.
If you don’t believe attractive women should find you attractive, you have a confirmation bias
(without knowing it) that is constantly searching for evidence that reinforces this belief. You will
only see evidence that reinforces your negative self-belief. For example, when a girl looks at
you and then quickly looks away, you’ll assume she was repulsed by you. She must have looked
away to avoid the pain of looking at you for another second.
But another guy, who got the same exact reaction from a girl, would think she was too shy to
hold eye contact. He will assume she wanted to talk to him and approach her. He will ask for
her number. She might say no, she might say yes. But because he doesn’t have a mindset that
causes him to reject himself, he doesn’t miss the countless opportunities that most guys do.
A negative mindset is the psychological equivalent of cancer. The host doesn’t know it is
destroying itself. Becoming aware of this is intrinsically difficult because you’d have to admit
that a part of you isn’t really you, but a cancer.
It is your responsibility to have the courage to notice your own negative thinking, to question
your insecurities, and to doubt your own self-doubt.
If your body were to become aware that it had cancer, your immune system would easily snuff
it out. The same is true for a negative mindset, awareness of your own self-destructive beliefs is
This article is an excerpt from my book: Zero F*cks GivenFollow me on Snapchat to see daily infield footage (approaches, makeouts, pulls) Username: AveryGHayden
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