He reeked of a combination of body odor and stale weed. His hair (what was left of it) hadn’t been washed or brushed in a week, and his beer gut protruded from his outdated, ill-fitted, T-shirt. His rants were all over the map, oscillating between his militant affection for obscure movies, and loneliness, thinly disguised as anger, that women always choose douches over “nice guys” like him. His buddy, whom I heard him call Tyler, was exhausted, and looked like he regretted hanging out that night with this odoriferous buzzkill.
“Maybe you should, you know man, make a few positive changes, and you might get more dates. Women like fit guys, funny guys. Maybe learn a few conversation tips, and hit the gym more…”
His response to Tyler was mind-blowing. He was fine “just as he was,” and he wasn’t going to change for some woman. He was very smart, taller than average, and offered a lot to women just by “being himself.” Besides, learning conversation tricks was “manipulative” and he didn’t want to turn into a douchebag gym rat, which he said as he pointed to a guy in the corner of the bar with his arm around a pretty girl.
As Tyler audibly groaned, I couldn’t help but smirk, since I was long past being surprised by this behavior. I had dealt with guys like him hundreds of times. Guys whose lack of sex, dates, and/or relationships are crippling them, causing angst and frustration, yet they spend their money and time on virtually everything – alcohol, video games, in-app purchases, sports, music, weed, religion – except improving themselves.
And this leads to the mistake that keep a lot of guys totally dateless and going nowhere in life (since the advice here applies to all areas of life, not just dating)…
You Have A “Fixed Mindset” About Self-Improvement
Psychologist and author Carol Dweck, in her book Mindset, has concluded from her research that there are two radically different mindsets people have about issues, problems, and even themselves, which influence success. These mindsets often develop at very young ages.
Some people take a fixed mindset. They believe that people really can’t improve. You either have intelligence, charm, social skills, etc., or you don’t. People with a fixed mindset avoid real challenges, give up easily, see effort as pointless, refuse helpful feedback, end up resenting the success of others and blame an outside and uncontrollable force for their failure. Failure is paralyzing and haunting.
People with a fixed mindset always choose the easier, self-validating path that makes them appear perfect, versus taking a riskier, more challenging path that may result in personal growth, but shatter the facade of their perfection.
In research provided in Dweck’s book, people with this mindset were hooked up to a brainwave measuring machine (EEG). When taking a quiz, they only showed interest in whether the answer they chose was correct; they had no interest in the follow-up content related to actually learning something.
Virtually every perpetually dateless guy I know has a fixed mindset. They constantly lament how they are single and lonely, and it shows up as anger and frustration, but they have no desire to change, or even self-awareness that they may be the problem. They are single because of “shallow women” or “douchebag guys.” They would be more successful if only they lived in another city (or country!), or even another time period. Whatever their failings, it’s never their fault.
Everyone around them knows they need social help, but these guys will not only stubbornly refuse help, but even mock and ridicule people that attempt self-improvement. To quote the lax parents of Ned Flanders (who was unruly as a child): they’ve tried nothing and they’re all out of ideas!
(And, to be fair, women suffer from fixed mindsets too. The whole “fat acceptance” movement, which blames obesity on everything but actual unhealthy behavior, is an example of this mindset in action)
So, if the problem is a fixed mindset, the solution is…
Take A “Growth Mindset”
People who take this mindset believe that things like intelligence, social skills, and charm (or whatever other skills and traits you’d like to have that relate to your values and goals) can be learned and improved upon. You can improve with learning, practice, effort, and risk.
They see risk and failure as a necessary part of self-improvement, and welcome failure as a learning experience.
Guys who take this mindset realize when they aren’t getting the dates they want (or the body, career, free time, etc. they want), and decide to do something about it. They take time and money devoted to other things and divert them to success. They read books, seek out online resources, and learn how guys who succeed think and act.
Then, they start the hard work. They get to the gym and work through the soreness. They talk to women, and if they get rejected, they learn from it, and talk to more women. They learn about body language and gradually change theirs even when it feels awkward.
And in a year, the guy in my story (with a “fixed mindset”) is likely fatter, balder, angrier, more single and awkward than ever before, and even his old friends like Tyler have probably gotten sick of him.
In a year, the guy with a growth mindset is fitter, more stylish, happier, and going on more dates than he ever has. And, each day, it gets even better.
So, which guy (or gal) are you? What about people in your life?