The following article is a free excerpt from my upcoming book, Attraction On Demand.
You’re reading this book because you’re not satisfied with your dating life and you want to make a change. You understand that to make progress, you must start meeting new women and learn from experience. But at the same time, you know that if you approach women, there’s going to be stress and resistance. You know that you’re probably going to have awkward interactions that don’t go anywhere and that some women will reject you.
The idea of getting a better dating life is appealing, but the actual process for making that change involves a lot of frustration, stress, and patience.
Realistically, you’re not always going to feel like taking action, your emotions will try to guide towards an easy way out, towards comfort.
As you begin to go out and meet women, your mind will think things like,
- “I really just want my ex back, this is all a waste of time, I should focus on her.”
- “I’m not in good enough shape to make this work right now.”
- “I can’t do this, I’m not good looking enough, I should just meet women through my social circle.”
- “Honestly, it would be easier to meet girls on Tinder, why am I putting so much effort into this?”
- “Approaching women is creepy, I don’t want to get a bad reputation.”
There may be a degree of truth to these thoughts, but they’re mostly a manifestation of your desire to seek comfort and avoid pain. You won’t think of any of these thoughts after an amazing time out approaching women; you’ll think these thoughts when you’re not getting the results you want – especially after a frustrating or unproductive game session.
We tend to believe that we make our decisions based on logic, but in truth, our emotions play a much larger role in our behavior than most of us would like to admit.
A thought like, “I’m not in good enough shape to attract women,” sounds rational at first glance, yet if you pay close attention, you’ll notice these thoughts conveniently arise when you are experiencing emotional distress.
The idea that you need to get into better physical shape before meeting women brings you comfort because it means you no longer have to do something that was causing you discomfort (approaching women).
Put simply, when you experience a negative emotion, your mind crafts an explanation for what happened that will allow you to avoid experiencing that emotion again in the future.
The harsh reality about the human brain is that we are hardwired to seek pleasure and avoid pain. Initially, we pursue a goal because we hope it will bring us pleasure in the long-term, but as we start taking action, we are flooded with negative emotions (approach anxiety, frustration with our mistakes, the sense that we’re making progress too slowly). And if the pain of pursuing our goal becomes greater than our desire to achieve it, we will eventually give up on the pursuit of that goal.
This process of initial excitement, build up of stress, and eventual goal abandonment happens outside our conscious awareness.
The part of our brain that is responsible for logical decision making (the prefrontal cortex) is the part that communicates to us in words: it’s the voice in our head. What many of us don’t know is that the emotional parts of our brain (the lymbic system/ brain stem) also communicate to us through the voice in our head, though indirectly.
When we feel an emotion, whether it be stress or gratitude or anger, the prefrontal cortex tries to understand why we’re feeling that emotion. If the emotion is unpleasant, our brain determines how we can eliminate that feeling and avoid it in the future.
Unfortunately, the emotional centers of our brain don’t have the ability to process language, so the communication between our logical and emotional brain is based on guesswork.
To make matters worse, our emotions twist our ability to think logically in the first place. When we feel a powerful negative emotion, long-term thinking goes out the window and our mind scrambles to come up with any excuse possible to eliminate that feeling.
For instance, if you go out to meet women and you start to feel anxiety, the logical part of your brain will be influenced by that emotion and your thoughts will begin to fixate on ways to escape your approach anxiety. The simplest answer, of course, is to go back home.
Then, once you get home, you will remember how bad that experience felt, and the logical part of your brain will try to rationalize those feelings in a way that will prevent you from experiencing those feelings again.
For example, you might tell yourself, “I’m not in good enough shape to attract women right now. I’ll hit the gym hard, then, once I’m ripped, I’ll start going out.”
By thinking this thought, you’ve aligned your emotions with your conscious, logical goals: now you can avoid the negative feeling of approach anxiety and make progress towards your goal by doing something else, in this case, building muscle.
The process I just described is the fundamental reason that most people fail to achieve their goals not just in dating, but in any area of life
Fortunately, you’ve already taken the first step to outsmarting this destructive pattern. Simply knowing that your brain has an instinctual desire to make excuses and avoid hard work will help you notice your own negative patterns
Once you know that your desire to go home when you’re experiencing approach anxiety is really nothing more than a rationalization, you will not be able to believe your own excuses, and therefore you will be able to act against them.
The next step to embracing discomfort is changing how you react to your own thoughts and emotions.
Be Skeptical Of Comfort
Accept that not all of your thoughts are logical: many are based on emotions that are misaligned with your long-term interests.
It’s easy to see this pattern play out in others. Clearly, our obese friend who eats fast food everyday is being illogical.
But it’s hard to see similar patterns in ourselves. Truthfully, we all share a natural desire to give in to momentary pleasures, even when it comes at the cost of our long-term well-being. Furthermore, in a society where pleasure is available in our pocket at all times, we become addicted to finding immediate stress relief (in video games, video streaming platforms, etc.) even when we face deep-seated problems that can only truly be solved by a lasting, and uncomfortable, change in our behavior.
Realize that comfort is not your friend. It is an addiction that makes you feel good for a moment at the cost of a lifetime of suffering. Comfort is the enemy: your ability to give up comfort now will determine your ability to get what you want later in life. Mandy Hale put it well, “Growth is painful. Change is painful. But nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong.”
Find Pleasure In The Pain
Not only should you be skeptical of anything that brings you comfort, but you should learn to find joy in discomfort. Our default interpretation of pain is that it should be avoided at any cost, but you can reorient your beliefs about discomfort so that you see it as positive, as something to look forward to.
Whenever you’re doing something that’s stressful in the moment, but good for your long-term well-being, remind yourself, “This pain is a sign that I am progressing. The longer I face this pain head on, the more I will improve myself.”
Pain isn’t a negative emotion, it is in fact a positive emotion. Approach anxiety may be painful, rejection may be painful, but you only experience these emotions when you’re on a path towards growth.
Over time, you can train your mind to embrace pain as a positive experience. Take weight lifting, for instance. On our first trips to the gym, lifting heavy weights causes physical pain that we can’t imagine will be enjoyable at some point in the future. Yet, as the weeks and months go by, we start to look forward to lifting weights: we’re able to find pleasure in the pain because we know that pain is linked to progress.
The same principal applies to any change in your behavior, including meeting women. At first, the experience of going out will likely be stressful and frustrating, but if you persist through the initial pain period, you will make an internal shift. The once frustrating act of going out to approach women is now exciting. What was once a source of stress is now a source of stress-relief.
Make A Bright Line
This process of turning something painful into something enjoyable takes time, and you must learn to embrace that temporary suffering is inherent to positive change. There is a simple, yet powerful, tool that can help you make this shift – make a bright line.
In psychology, a bright line is a clear rule that you’ve committed to follow. For instance, when I started writing articles about men’s dating advice, I wasn’t sure if this was something I wanted to do in the long-term. This became an excuse to dabble in a variety of genres: self-help, psychology, and even fiction. I didn’t know what my ‘true passion’ was, but I knew I couldn’t make a living as a writer unless I honed in on one niche.
So, I made a bright line for myself: I decided to write exclusively about men’s dating advice until I published at least 100 articles on that topic.
Once I made this rule, I still occasionally felt a desire to switch to other genres from time to time, but instead of following my emotions, I remembered, “I just have to get to 100 articles, if I get to that point and I still want to try something else, I can.”
Following this bright line allowed me to successfully make a living creating dating advice content.
You can create a bright line for dating, too. For example, you might make a rule like:
- “I will not give up on going out to meet women until I’ve approached 500 girls.”
- “I will not stop cold approaching women until I’ve gone on at least 10 dates.”
Creating a bright line is a powerful strategy for counteracting the mind’s natural tendency to avoid discomfort. You can be creative with this, but make sure the rule you create requires you put at least a few months of consistent effort into this.
It can take some time to get past the initial pain period in which a new behavior is more stressful than enjoyable; a bright line won’t be useful if it only takes a few weeks to accomplish it.
For example, I once made a goal to work out consistently until I lost 6% body fat. Changing my diet and sticking to a strict exercise regiment was stressful, but I was able to reach my goal within a month. Unfortunately, when I reached my goal, I felt like my job was done and I let myself go – in the next 90 days I gained all the weight I had initially lost, back (and more).
It can take several months to make a new behavior a habit. Make sure that whatever bright line you create is reflective of a longer term goal rather than something you can finish in a few weeks.
Lower Your Expectations
Once you’ve created a bright line, the key to success becomes patience. Don’t expect to get instant gratification from approaching women. You may have amazing days, you may have a lot of fun going out, and you may even meet a girl who you fall in love with in your first week. Any of those outcomes is possible, but you should mentally prepare for the opposite. If you expect your first few months of cold approach to be an effortless joyride that leads to a string of dates with beautiful women, then you’ll be disappointed when you get approach anxiety, you get rejected, and girls who give you their number flake on you. This disappointment can be so frustrating that you’ll want to entirely give up on approaching women.
If, on the other hand, you expect your first few months of cold approach to be challenging, to be stressful at times, to result in more failures than successes, then you will be grateful for every small win you get.
Consciously or subconsciously, we have a bar for success set in our minds. The higher that bar is set, the more difficult it is to feel motivated to pursue your goals.
To illustrate, let’s say you currently live paycheck to paycheck, but you’re offered a job that pays 60,000 dollars a year. Your entire life would change, this would be a transformative moment.
Yet, if you were a billionaire and someone anonymously donated 60,000 dollars to you, you would feel a mild hit of excitement that might last for five minutes, then you would get back to whatever you were doing beforehand: your bar has been set too high to care.
When it comes to game, most guys have a bar for success that’s set way too high: they want to get a date or to sleep with a girl. And yes, if either of those things happen, that’s great. But if you expect to get a date tomorrow even though you’ve never approached a girl, you’re going to end up frustrated, even resentful.
Don’t expect approaching women to be effortless and don’t expect to get instant results. Expect emotional resistance, expect that you’ll want to quit, expect your ego to get stomped on. Setting your expectations so low will help you cultivate the resilience you need to push through the initial pain-period, and it will also teach you to experience gratitude for every small positive experience you have.
Our society reinforces a tacit assumption that what feels good, is good. This thinking has lead people in the modern world to become so addicted to comfort that 70% of Americans are overweight and the average American spends more than 4 hours per day watching TV.
Comfort is the enemy of growth. Every day that you don’t do something uncomfortable is a day of stagnation. Embracing discomfort means accepting pain now and getting a lifetime of success later. Gary Vaynerchuck said it best, “Eat shit for a year, and you’ll get to eat caviar for the rest of your life.”
This article was an excerpt from the upcoming book, Attraction On Demand. Join my email list (by filling out the form below) to get free access to additional sample chapters and content before the book is released.Follow me on Snapchat to see daily infield footage (approaches, makeouts, pulls) Username: AveryGHayden
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