I’ve never taken anything but straw polls on the matter, but ask any woman what she wants in a man, and “confidence” is sure to be one of the top three or four character traits. So it’s worth spending some time asking ourselves what it is and how to discover it inside of yourself. Our Unbreakable program really drives into the heart of it, but I think we can do the subject matter some service here without spending 30 pages on it.
Let’s start with a definition. To me, confidence is a feeling you have that drives bold actions towards things you want. It is having some faith in yourself that when you speak up, people will listen, and when you go for something, you’ll get it. It’s trusting yourself, but beyond that, it’s a force that drives action.
When you make the approach, or go for the kiss, or invite her back to yours, it’s because you trust that she’s going to like you and want to go along with it. And if she doesn’t, confidence is having the faith in your skills to overcome her protestations. And if she rejects you, confidence is having the feeling that you’re still an awesome guy.
Confidence builds on a lot of things. Knowing that you have skills gives you confidence. Knowing that you have more important things in your life – a solid foundation – gives you confidence. Knowing what you want and being clear about it gives you confidence. So does having a sense of entitlement.
Ahh, and that’s the rub, right there.
Confidence doesn’t actually have to be based on any great soul search – it can merely come from feeling like the world owes you twenty times over, then going out and collecting that debt. Some people are just born and/or raised that way.
Now, what usually happens in life is that we keep on going after what we want, until a roadblock is thrown in front of us. If we manage to avoid that roadblock, or blast right through it, we build some confidence. But if it stops us, diverts us, or worst of all – if we crash into it and body parts go flying – we have to have a serious think about both the direction we were headed, and how quickly we could get there.
Let’s consider this in practice. When a third grade boy goes to hold a girl’s hand and, after she casually slaps him away once, she then accepts his romantic little overture, something clicks inside this little boy’s head and reinforces the notion that he can get away with such behavior. By fifth grade, he’s planting kisses on the cheeks of any girl he can convince to join him under the jungle gym, and he’s full-on smooching (no tongue, of course) six months later. Players are made, not born… and this player just happened to get a head start on the rest of us. He encountered a small roadblock in third grade, drove right through it, and every subsequent time that he’s seen a similar looking roadblock, he knows what to do.
You can probably imagine the flipside of this story. The boy who got held up by that roadblock convinced himself that women didn’t like him, and continued to tell himself that story well into his early adult years. Then one day, he realizes that he’s not very confident around women, and finds himself reading this article.
Lack of confidence doesn’t always have such obscure causes, though. Sometimes we gather a fairly large head of steam, then run into a roadblock sizeable enough to compel us into a Come to Jesus moment. Again, we can use a story to illustrate…
In the late winter / early spring of 2006, life was humming along nicely for me. I had a great circle of friends, I was the CEO of a promising beverage startup, and was dating a great girl. But within a three-week period, everything turned around – my company failed to clear a critical regulatory hurdle, leading to a battle with my partner that caused me to lose my stake in the company, and left me nearly six figures in debt. My girlfriend left me, and took with her big parts of our mutual social circle. And my best friend stopped hanging out with me… and started spending a lot of time with my now ex-girlfriend.
I’ve had my share of humdingers, but nothing this acute in such short a timeframe. And it perfectly illustrates the point; I was a cocky mofo in the months leading up to this experience. But the subsequent months were spent reflecting upon what had happened, and more importantly, what mistakes I’d made that led to such circumstances. Had I failed to surround myself with the right people? Had I been careless in managing my business? Had I seen warning signs and ignored them?
I’m is a bit more confident these days – you can be assured of that – but it comes from knowing myself better and trusting myself more.
One common thread in any story about confidence – whether it be those illustrated above, or those from any other confident person you’ll talk to, is the following: their confidence came from clearing the roadblocks. That’s always how it is. You can prepare to clear the roadblocks if you see them ahead, or you can scout for alternate routes, or you can be lucky enough to have great reflexes so that you’re able to adopt on the fly. But at the end of the day, true confidence comes from getting past them and getting closer to your goals.
The metaphor here should be obvious. Becoming confident with women ultimately requires that you become successful with women. There’s no shortcut or instant, Matrix-style brain download that can compete with real experience and real success. The neural pathways in your brain have a way of wiring themselves through experiences that no amount of cogitating and preparatory thinking can achieve. In that way, it’s a sort of weird Catch-22. So how do you get around it?
Of course, there are lots of things that can boost your confidence with women prior to achieving of all-out pimpdom. Success in any other part of your life has spillover effects into your pursuit of the feminine. Dressing better, making cooler friends, getting in shape, learning a new skill or hobby… those all help, and we’ll be getting into them in a bit. Even hypnosis CDs and other such self-help programs can contribute. But if you spend too much time dwelling on the periphery of the issue of confidence with women, without dealing with it directly, you’re just postponing the inevitable.
How to break the logjam? Well, it’s kind of weird… but you just start doing the things you need to do. You just go do it, and all of a sudden, good stuff starts happening. You feel better about yourself for going after it. You stop having those regretful nights of “what if I’d talked to her?” or “what if I’d escalated?”. Whether you succeed or fail, you know you went for it. Then you regroup, figure out how to overcome the next roadblock, and go back out there.
You just keep doing. You get out there and you do some more, until those roadblocks aren’t stopping you anymore. It’s frustrating sometimes, and depending on how well you learn and how devoted you are, it could take a little bit of time or a lot. But the confidence from being a man who does, who takes action, is a force to be reckoned with.
And what is action’s opposite? Analysis, and paralysis. Your time as a single man is precious and to be enjoyed; waste it at your own peril, and eventual regret. English poet Andrew Marvell, attempting to seduce a young lady, and having no unlimited nationwide text plan available in the 17th century, put it thusly in rhymed verse:
Had we but world enough and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime.
The grave’s a fine and private place,
But none, I think, do there embrace.
Your days on this terra firma are limited, and the longer that you postpone your pursuit of the feminine, the closer you are to that fine and private place. Action is all that matters. Repeated, disciplined action and eventual success breeds confidence like nothing else.