To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.
– e.e. cummings
It’s the best and the worst advice: Just Be Yourself.
Worried about your job interview later today? Don’t worry, just be yourself and everything’ll be fine.
Meeting that girl from the internet for coffee tonight and worried about if it’ll work out? Hey man, just be yourself and she’ll be all over you.
But seriously, how do you approach a girl? What do you talk about? Just be yourself, baby. It’s that easy.
“Just be yourself” really is brilliant advice, but it lacks precision, and is therefore often misinterpreted. What exactly does being yourself entail? How will being yourself get you the kind of women you desire? How do you know if you’re being yourself, or if you’re just trying to get into her panties? Where does honest individuality end and social conditioning begin? And when should you tell the whole truth–be it through words or actions–versus a little white lie?
Do Something Scary Every Day
There are two kinds of fear: the fight-or-flight kind, and the psychological, ego-based kind. The former fear is healthy as it protects us from real, physical danger. The latter fear is entirely self-created, and the threats imaginary.
In fact, the psychological, ego-based fears pose a danger of their own. These are the fears that keep us in unhealthy relationships because we fear being alone or that prevent us from talking to that strikingly beautiful girl for fear that we might get rejected. To really be yourself, working through your psychological fears must become a habit, and the best way to develop a habit is to do it every day.
A good rule of thumb for being yourself is this: Authenticity is fucking hard. If being yourself doesn’t feel a little terrifying, you’re not doing it right.
Speaking of which, I haven’t done anything really scary today. One of the things on my todo list is to approach at least one girl, just to keep up the habit, so I’m going to head to the park right now and do that before I even finish this post. Back in a bit…(I’ll let you know what happens, no matter how lame.)
Alright, an hour later and I’m back. Here’s what happened:
I hopped on my longboard and skated to an awesome park by my house. It’s always full of gorgeous girls and I’ve met some really cool people there. I was being a pussy at first, and skated around the park a couple times. I was actually getting worried that I might chicken out.
Finally, after about 10 minutes of inaction, I saw this cute, stylish girl sitting on a bench by herself reading a book. I went up and sat down beside her and started talking to her. A couple minutes into the convo, she introduced herself. Her name was Jen, from Vancouver, in town visiting some friends who study at McGill. She looked about 20, but I didn’t ask. We had a good conversation for about 15-20 minutes. She seemed like a sweet girl. She was heading back to Vancouver tomorrow so I didn’t bother to suggest we meet again. Time is precious, and I wanted to get back and finish this article, so I wished her a good last night in Montreal and headed on my way.
If you haven’t yet done something scary today, stop reading this article and do it now.
Follow Your Own Lead
We spend a lot of time wondering about what the “rules” are: What should you say when you approach a girl? How many days should you wait before calling her? What’s a good idea for a first date? How much money should you ask for to take this job?
Write your own rulebook. Follow your own lead. Call the girl whenever you feel like calling her. Forget about trying to time it perfectly to hopefully not screw up your chance of getting laid. Suggest a date that you think will be fun. Ask your potential employer for an amount of money that will satisfy you.
Being yourself means not needing to keep counsel with others.
Practice Radical Honesty
Radical Honesty, by Dr. Brad Blanton, is a fantastic book about just being yourself. It talks about social conditioning, the war between the being and the mind, and the damage we do to ourselves if we aren’t totally honest with ourselves and others. While there are many things in this book that I don’t agree with, and I do think Blanton pushes the envelope a little too much, Radical Honesty is a good reminder of the importance of being truthful in ways big and small.
For example, on the small end, when I talked to that girl in the park today, I told her about how I was writing this article. I told her that one of the points I was making was to scare the shit out of yourself every day, and that that’s what prompted me to approach her.
On the bigger end, I’ve used this very blog as a medium for my own Radical Honesty. I had to think long and hard about writing about my experiences in the seduction community (Part I and Part II). On the inside, it’s treated like a secret society. Most guys who are into it wouldn’t dare admit it to anyone outside of that community.
But, while I completely respect the privacy of any “pickup artist” who wishes to remain in the shadows, the only difference that talking about this stuff on my blog has made for me is that it’s freed me from the worry of “slipping up” and accidentally linking myself to that world.
Being yourself is as easy and as hard as it sounds. It means scaring yourself out of your comfort zone on a continual basis, and listening to your inner council to guide you through the tough spots.
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