Thursday, October 30, 2008
Positivity And State Conditioning -- Why Seeing The Good In Yourself, Your Experiences, And Other People Makes You A More Potent Dude
Heeeeeeeey, what's UP??
I want to start by saying thanks to everyone who read and enjoyed the last article.
That's really where my life is at right now -- the zone I'm in -- so it was awesome to see people relating to it.
So I'm still snowed in with the December deadlines for Blueprint book and new RSD Nation. This is definitely the hardest period of work I've experienced in my life, but in many ways, also one of the most rewarding.
Today I want to talk about another topic that's become significant for me over the past few years, which is the philosophy of "Positivity".
As a dude who was pretty friggin' aggressive and angry most of my life, this has been a new way of thinking that's helped me on a lot of profound levels -- with meeting women, relationships, my professional life, and generally just with the vibe I'm in on a day to day basis.
So hopefully there's at least something in here you can learn from. Let's do it.
THE PHILOSOPHY OF POSITIVITY
Positivity is hands down, one of the most attractive qualities a man can have.
That means your attitude, the things you focus on and talk about, your view of yourself, your view of others, and the emotions that you’re addicted to feeling on a day to day basis.
To have this go “click” in your head you need to understand how it works and how it can benefit you, and then develop a sort of personal philosophy for dealing with the world that keeps you in a positive emotional state.
This is important not only for attracting girls, but also because it’s a sort of hidden code that “cool” people intuitively understand and “uncool” people are usually clueless about.
HOW POSITIVITY MAKES WOMEN MORE ATTRACTED
Positivity makes women attracted to you. Why??
First off, human beings are unique in that we are consciously aware that life is uncertain and we’re going to die some day, and yet at the same time we have the ability to focus on the positive and maintain a healthy and optimistic worldview.
Generally speaking, a positive worldview is an indication to women that you’re resourceful enough to engage with the world full-on.
When a guy is too mentally flimsy to keep himself in a good mood, women are left unsure about whether he’s fit to cope with the day to day challenges of his life. But when you are engaged with the world in a state of positivity, your mind is attuned to all of the hidden opportunity that is constantly surrounding you, and you are infinitely more resourceful.
Next is that being a happy person is an indicator of good emotional and mental-health. It communicates to the girl that your emotions are wired properly, and that your time and energy aren’t being depleted by personal drama. Being positive also gives you an air of being vibrant and physically healthy, as opposed to being delicate and meek.
Lastly, and possibly the most important, is that the way you feel internally is always being projected outwardly and transferred to the people around you.
When you feel positive you infect people with positive energy, and when you feel negative you infect people with negative energy. Being an attractive adult man means managing your emotions so that people feel uplifted when you’re around.
Emotions are contagious.
Especially with women, whose minds are wired with the ability to mirror and empathize with whatever it is that you feel (which is why when you feel overwhelmingly happy girls will say “You’re so awesome!”)
This effect is also amplified when you’re the person who is more socially forceful, which is usually expected if you’re going to attract women. So the transfer of how you feel to the woman you’re talking to becomes even more intense.
THE FOUNDATION OF EMOTION BENEATH THE WORDS
A secret that most guys who do well with women grasp instinctively, and that almost everyone else fails to realize, is that women respond more to the emotional state you’re in than your actual words.
Even if you’re yelling at a girl and giving her a hard time, if you have a strong foundation of positive energy beneath the words she’ll usually like it because you seem fun.
She may even giggle and shriek because you’re overloading her with positive emotions – and you’re being funny by mixing up the verbal and non verbal channels (like saying “You’re crazy” while beaming with positive energy, or “I’m shy” while beaming with self esteem).
This is similar to the modern day prescription drug television commercials, where the narrator describes the various nasty potential side effects with a soothing voice and relaxing music, and people just focus on the positive tone.
On the other hand, you can be in an emotionally depressed state and try to cover it up with jokes and happy words, and the girl will laugh for a second but still sense that something about you is out of alignment.
BE AUTHENTIC FROM WHATEVER STATE YOU’RE IN
Now this knowledge might cause you to become paranoid if you’re in a bad mood. You might even feel yourself descending into an excuse based mindset of “I can’t talk to girls today because I’m not feeling at my best.”
This is mentally scattered, and a totally useless way of looking at it.
A man always has to be able to communicate authentically from whatever emotional state he happens to be experiencing.
You will feel negative at certain points of your life, but you also have to know that it can never stop you from being who you are. Otherwise you become afraid of bad emotions and wind up blowing them out of proportion (and you inadvertently create a self-fuelling loop of “feeling bad about feeling bad”).
An analogy would be how studies have shown that being positive and eliminating stress can improve your immune system. But if this knowledge makes you think “I’m being negative, this is destroying my health” then it becomes yet another way to make yourself even more stressed.
The same goes for meeting women. You can understand that being positive makes you more attractive, but if you play a game with yourself where you say “I’m not feeling good, so I know this is going to go bad” then you’re creating a self fulfilling prophecy that wasn’t necessarily the case.
It’s all about working with what you’ve got. If you’re feeling great, then know that this will help you and approach with confidence. If you’re feeling down, then approach regardless and assume she’ll be attracted based on some other quality in your character.
The point is that being positive is in your best interests, you will never be perfect with it, but you generally just do the best you can.
You use this knowledge when it serves you, and discard it when it’s not.
WHAT POSITIVITY IS AND IS NOT
Positivity is a decision to seek out and focus the value in all people and situations, while filtering out anything that’s of no use.
Being positive doesn’t mean that you can never be “negative.” There is a time and a place for everything.
But it does mean that you have to draw clear lines in your mind about when you’re willing to engage in negative energy, and not allow yourself to be sucked into it at any time outside of that.
Positivity is not about burying your head in the sand and being naïve.
Positivity is not about being the weird over-positive guy who has a blank stare into space.
Positivity is not about overdramatizing everything as if it’s “Sooooooo great!!” in a way that seems inauthentic and fake.
And positivity is definitely not about ignoring the essential truths of life, or running away from the entire nature of a situation and interpreting it objectively.
What positivity is about is recognizing the subjective nature of the human experience – how what you focus on becomes an unconscious habit and creates your sense of reality – and then becoming the type of guy who radiates an attractive positive energy out towards the world.
So let’s have a look at the benefits…
YOU STEP INTO THE SHOES OF GUYS WHO ATTRACT WOMEN
When you take on a positive mindset, you’re walking in the shoes of the guys who naturally attract girls.
The reason for this is obvious: if you’re enjoying a lifestyle where you have everything you want – women, sex, fun, friends, purpose, challenge, hobbies – what do you have to be upset about? Not much.
Being positive is basically a way of communicating that you’re smart and resourceful enough to get your life together. It gives the impression that you must be internally fulfilled.
Ironically it’s often the people who live very unsuccessful lives, and don’t respect themselves enough to care, who come across as being the most happy (the lack of personal standards allows them to be naturally “care free”). But regardless of how they achieve it, their attitude still gives the initial perspective to an outsider that “life is good with this guy”.
Now on the other hand, you can probably find counter examples of guys who are positive but still haven’t had a lot of success with girls (maybe they aren’t being assertive enough). And you can probably find examples of emotional train-wrecks who still have women chasing them regardless. The world is a big place and you can usually find examples of just about anything.
But generally speaking, if you’re living a happy life and you continually renew your emotional chemistry through a healthy sex life, the difficulties of life don’t need to affect you the same way they affect “normal” guys.
(And when you think about it, by being negative you are in some ways pinpointing yourself as a guy who could be frustrated for a variety of reasons, including loneliness and a lack of physical intimacy.)
The bottom line is that when you take on the mindset of the guys who get the success you want, you are taking a step closer to getting similar results for yourself.
"Positivity is potency" for exactly this reason – it is a self fulfilling prophecy.
YOU ASSUME THAT PEOPLE SEE THE BEST IN YOU
Even if it’s not always realistic, your emotions tend to react on the assumption that whatever you’re thinking about other people is probably pretty similar to whatever they’re thinking about you.
If you think badly of people – of course you’re going to feel defensive – it’s your reality that people are having all sorts of negative thoughts.
But when you get good at finding the best in people, suddenly your reality is that they probably see the best in you as well, and you speak with the full assumption that people will be totally cool.
This is different from being a groupie or a fan boy – where you think so highly of someone you place them on a pedestal above yourself. That isn’t really thinking positively, because it’s just some personal drama you’re dealing with that people don’t even appreciate.
The point is just that when you see the best in people, you free yourself up from the mental noise about whether or not they’re judging you, and it makes you more at ease to put your real personality on the line.
This changes you in a very profound way because you are sort of “side stepping” the psychological need to feel high status when you’re “putting yourself out there”. You’re just at ease with yourself, at ease with other people, and at ease with the fact that people have their pros and cons.
On the other hand, sometimes people will try to “side step” the need to feel status by just looking down on everyone, so they can feel good about themselves by comparison. This can actually work in the short term, but it’s a cheaper way of feeling confident that forces you to rely on all sorts of nonsense rationalizations to continually justify it.
More powerful is just to judge no one (you can discern their behaviour – but not judge their inherent worth), and to be social with an almost child-like freedom of expression.
PEOPLE LIVE UP TO THE IDENTITY YOU SET FOR THEM
When you expect the best in people, you give them a new identity to live up to.
A girlfriend who wants to cheat on you will be far less likely if you give her a total trust (assuming you have personal boundaries and you’re not tolerating blatant disrespect).
Being jealous you give her the excuse to say “Well he already thinks I’m going to cheat so I might as well just do it and have fun.” But giving her an identity as a girl who you regard as having integrity, she suddenly has a lot more to lose.
It’s the same thing with your opinions of people in general.
If someone is frustrating you, give them a better identity to live up to. Oftentimes their behaviour will totally change.
Other times it will accomplish nothing, and from there you can call them out on it or blow them off. But the general practice of “helping people to find their way back to the positive person they really are” is often the better approach.
PEOPLE WHO ACT FAKE TAKE OFF THEIR MASKS
It’s a funny aspect of human nature that we often relate to each other through a filter of social positioning, seeking approval, and general weirdness.
Sometimes you might feel inclined to complain about it, like “People are so superficial” or “Everyone is so self-absorbed!”
But when people act fake it’s usually because they’re afraid of putting their real selves out there. And when you obviously have a positive outlook towards everyone, people can sense they have no reason to put their mask on in front of you, because you’ll like them either way.
This can be a self-fulfilling prophecy in your everyday life.
Suddenly the exact same people who cause headaches for everyone else will put their best personalities forward for you, and your reality becomes a much better place to live.
GIRLS FEEL MORE QUALIFIED TO BE WITH YOU
When you have your life together, it can be hard to find a girl who measures up.
Most physically attractive girls don’t have the same motivation to work on themselves that you do – because the opposite sex is going to fawn over them either way.
For a lot of guys this creates a barrier. Girls will feel comfortable talking to them because it’s just a spontaneous conversation in a social environment. But when the same guy takes the time to call and invite her out it seems like he has an agenda, because he obviously doesn’t value anything in her other than sex.
Being the kind of guy who sees the value in people does a lot to side step this common issue. Ultimately it comes from realizing that the strong points in a girl are usually going to be found in areas totally different from yours. That’s the beauty of masculine and feminine energy.
When you’re inclined to see the best in people, girls feel like it’s more congruent and normal that you’re interested in them, which makes them more interested in returning your calls.
It also makes you an addictive source of validation, because they become their “best selves” when you’re around.
YOU LEARN FROM EVERYONE AND BECOME MORE RELATABLE
As you become “socially stronger” one of the biggest issues becomes relating to people on a level that makes them feel good. Oftentimes people will initially “like you” because they respond to status as a knee jerk reaction. But if you don’t reciprocate a genuine interest, it leaves them with a feeling of lingering mistrust.
Now think about it from the reverse perspective...
When a social interaction is important to you, your mind tends to be hyper aware of every little detail. You’re bracing yourself for something crazy to happen, and being extra aware causes you to “make meaning” out of random nonsense the person said or did that really has little significance.
Likewise when you become an object of importance in people’s minds, they’ll tend to do the same to you. With the best of intentions, and without realizing they’re doing it.
People often have a paradoxical relationship with people of high status. They love them, hate them, want their validation, and want to punch them in the face at the same time. They’ll be as fast to talk badly behind their backs as they’ll be to say “Oh hiiiiii!” when they bump into them in real life.
One of the most important things you can do for yourself is to make the decision that “You can learn something from everyone.” This is what makes you a relatable and a genuine human being.
And more important than the petty (and impossible) pursuit of making everyone like you, is that there really is something that you can learn from everyone.
With some people it’s obvious, and with some people it’s a lot harder to find, but there is value to be found in every person on earth if you are curious and open-minded.
By taking an active interest in learning from people’s best qualities, you are adding heaps of new ideas and abilities to your own personal repertoire.
It’s easy to learn only from people who you identify with. But more powerful is also to learn from people different from you, even who have qualities you dislike.
YOU OPEN YOUR MIND TO LEARN FROM SUCCESS
Seeing the best in people also applies if you’re not the most popular guy, and you’re making excuses in your head about how the popular people are all big jerks.
When you refuse to identify with people who are doing better than you, and you refuse to relate to their point of view, your mind turns off from learning what they’re doing.
This is similar to when poor people look down on the rich, believe that rich people have no problems, believe that rich people are holding them down and manipulating them – instead of simply learning from what makes them successful.
Even nastier is “side stepping” the need to feel status by looking down on the popular people, when you lack the substance to back it up. This causes all sorts of intense rationalizations. Elaborate webs of personal myths that become more important to you than your experience of the world in real life.
Obviously these sorts of mindsets represent a tremendous waste of time and energy, and a lot of useless emotional drama.
The healthy and powerful approach to life is just to see the value in people, ignore what’s of no use, and reap the benefits that come with a positive outlook.
POSITIVITY DOESN’T MEAN YOU LACK STANDARDS
The most obvious objection to seeing the best in people is that it conveys a lack of standards about who you’ll allow into your life.
Being a cool guy means people have to earn your friendship. You won’t be friends with just anyone. That’s a part of what makes people value your time and attention.
The difference is that there is always a foundation of no judgement and positivity in your view of people, regardless of whether or not you decide to spend time with them. Some people you meet for only a few seconds, and others you know for your whole life.
On the surface it seems paradoxical, but you can have a love for all people and still discern which relationships you’re going to invest your time and energy into. You can also establish boundaries, call out bad behaviour, and expect people to be their best selves around you, while still seeing them in an extremely positive light.
It’s the difference between how you operate in the world, and the sense of positivity and love towards people that you have at your core.
(As utterly funny as that sounds...)
Obviously this opens up a lot of room for hypocrisy. But any time you’re working on your own code of conduct, you aspire towards acting more in alignment with your values and integrity over the course of your life.
Beyond that, the other obvious objection is that seeing the best in people could mean you lack standards about learning from people’s behaviour.
The distinction is that as a guy who has a strong sense of reality, and who has the ability to interpret the world through your own eyes, you naturally focus on the “good stuff” and screen out anything that’s “bad”.
Usually it’s people who are unclear in their sense of reality who feel the need to dwell on the negative. They do this with a positive intention, because they’re in a zone where they feel like if they didn’t, they’d inadvertently lose themselves.
The point is that once you’ve reached a level where you know who you are, you know your place in the world, and you have a decent sense of what’s realistic and what’s not, you can see the best in people and anything outside of that doesn’t hit your radar.
You can make “discernments” about people’s behaviour without having to make “judgements” about whether they are “good or bad” (except in extreme cases).
This doesn’t really require a lot of thought. It just happens.
THE WORLD IS OFTEN WHATEVER YOU THINK IT IS
As you can see, positivity is just a big self-fulfilling prophecy.
Most of the time the world is whatever you think it is.
By being positive, you bring more positive people into their life, and make people who would have frustrated you act ten times better when you’re around.
You think better of people... which gives you the confidence to act better... which gets people to act better around you.
You look for the good in the world... which makes you find the good in the world… which makes you a more resourceful person.
And so on and so forth.
Bottom line: be a positive guy.
THE SKEPTICAL VOICE OF WISDOM
Over the course of your life, your mind has a tendency to pull you towards the social roles that you determine will suit you best.
At some point you might have taken on the role of being the guy who is sceptical or critical, and gotten more attention from it than if you’d been a quiet nobody with nothing to say.
Stop and consider...
Out of all the things you criticize, would they still bother you if you had all the attention you wanted from women and people and friends?
This can be a hard question to answer. It’s hard to know what issues are truly important to you, and what you focus on more from a place of frustration and a lack of identity.
You have to realize that while the issues that bother you might be fully legitimate, a lot of them you wouldn’t be focusing on and talking about if you had everything you wanted out of life.
A man has to have a sort of “standard” of what issues are worth his attention. The types of issues you ““make an issue out of” are a reflection of how you value yourself and your time.
There are issues that are “profoundly relevant” and “befitting” for a successful guy to be speaking out against (issues that extend beyond the needs of his ego and his own petty circumstances). And then there are issues that more geared towards people who don’t see themselves as having any bigger shoes to fill.
When you’ll make noise about just anything, it reveals you as being the guy who has little to offer other than the role of the “sceptical voice of wisdom”. It’s not that your criticism isn’t valid. It’s just that the amount you focus on it shows you have nothing else going on.
The real players in this world are rarely critics. They’re the people who do what they do, and who create the energy that other people latch onto, including the critics.
Ultimately you have to be firm in the role that’s most in alignment with the life you want to live and enjoy.
POSITIVITY IS A CLEAN ENERGY THAT PEOPLE APPRECIATE AND TRUST IN THE LONGTERM
Sometimes it’s just easier to relate to people in a frenzy of trash talk and negativity
(We’re talking about bitterness and a false feeling of superiority here – not when it’s teasing or joking around in good fun.)
This is a very tempting thing to do, because people often seem to enjoy talking about other people and feeling better than them by comparison, or talking about their problems and getting all self righteous.
The problem is that trash talking has a tendency to be addictive, and it becomes your “default mode” for relating to people and creating a bond. After a while it gets embedded into your psychology. You can barely go a day without using it as a “conversational crutch”.
Think of negativity as like a dirty energy that gives people an erratic buzz for a short period of time, but then leaves them feeling drained and sick of it in the long term.
That’s why you can relate to a lot of guys by calling women “bitches” – and at first they’ll be laughing and feeding into it. But later they’ll realize it’s a “wounded mindset” and lose a lot of respect for you.
(The same goes for women who are wounded about men. Their girlfriends will feed into it at first, but later they’ll realize it’s just immature.)
Positive energy, on the other hand, is a sustainable and “clean buzz”.
You can feel a positive state for an indefinite period of time, and it only further energizes and enlivens you. Positivity is always cool.
It also builds an incredible amount of trust, because people see they can speak well of you and you won’t trash them when they’re not around.
NEGATIVE EMOTIONS CAN PLAY A HEALTHY ROLE
An important question to ask your self is “What is negativity, really?”
Is it negative to recognize nonsense as being nonsense?
Is it negative to discern people’s good and bad behaviour, and to make distinctions about what’s acceptable and what’s not?
That’s not the case at all.
Negative thoughts and emotions are meant to serve a purpose. They direct your attention towards your needs that aren’t being met.
That might be a personal boundary that you’re failing to maintain. Or a bad situation that you’re seeing on the horizon. Whatever.
When you interpret internal negativity as a “signal” that there’s a problem you need to address quickly, it is serving the purpose for which it’s designed.
And that’s a very positive thing.
Dealing with negativity is also good for you when it’s in reasonable doses. It keeps you grounded in the reality of the world, so that when difficult situations arise they don’t floor you.
(An analogy would be how if you spent your entire life avoiding germs your immune system wouldn’t be as resilient. A certain amount of exposure is actually good for you.)
The issue is that the emotional state you’re most accustomed to experiencing becomes engrained and addictive over time.
So when you’re experiencing negative emotions too regularly, and it becomes a pattern, you later wind up being negative even when there’s no point.
YOU CAN’T JUST TURN IT ON AND OFF
Your mind is extremely adaptive.
Whatever emotional-state you experience the most, your mind lays down mental pathways to it, and you become unconsciously inclined to access it again and again.
Over time, the state that you’re most used to feeling becomes wired. It might not feel good, but it feels familiar. You’ve become addicted to it.
If you’re a gangster and you spend 10 years of your life fighting rivals and dodging authorities, your mind will adapt to thrive in an aggressive and paranoid emotional state.
At first you learn to fight to deter and avoid problems. But eventually you grow to like it, and you unconsciously put yourself in situations where you know chaos will ensue.
You’ve been born with this ability to allow you to adapt (and eventually thrive) in even the harshest and most undesirable of circumstances. It’s a gift.
The key is to use it consciously in your favour instead of addicting yourself to a state of mind you don’t want, without even realizing that you’re doing it.
YOU CAN TELL WHAT ENERGY YOU’RE ADDICTED TO
Generally you can tell what energy it is that you’re addicted to, positive or negative, by looking at a few basic factors.
-The way you see people
-The types of people you resonate with
-The vibe of most of your conversations
-The way you remember the events in your life
When you talk to a positive guy, you’ll usually notice that it’s hard to get him onto negative topics for too long. That’s because when you’re addicted to an emotional state, your mind will often create blind spots to anything that could jar you out of it.
You can be fully angry or upset, but if you talk to him about it he won’t really process with the same depth. He’ll probably just say “That sucks man... Awww well...” and then direct the conversation back to something funny or interesting just by reflex.
A guy who tends to be negative, on the other hand, won’t be able to get enough of it. He’ll love the topic, keep directing the conversation back to it, and go on and on and on about all the negative ramifications of your dilemma.
That’s because as a rule of thumb, people tend to gravitate towards conversation topics that reflect their inner state.
When you start to look for this stuff, you start to see it all around you. That doesn’t mean that any time someone addresses a negative issue that they’re negative. But you can get a general sense of what the state they’re most accustomed to by looking at the overall larger picture of how they act.
Beyond all that, generally speaking you can see what emotions you're addicted to just by the company you keep and the way that you remember your life.
If you're a guy who has a lot of negativity "wired into your neurology" then people who are negative will resonate with you on a very deep level.
And likewise, when you think about your life you'll probably remember a lot of the more fun events as being a lot less cool than they actually were.
This happens because with memory "every recall is a reframe" -- so whatever emotional state you're experiencing, when you recall your past experiences you'll likely re-focus what you remember out of it to match up with the way you feel at the time.
SO IN CONCLUSION... MAKE THE DECISION TO BECOME A MORE POSITIVE DUDE
Hopefully at this point you're seeing at least some of the value in a philosophy of being positive.
Maybe you agree with everything you read here, or maybe you feel some of it applies to you and some of it doesn't. Whatever.
The point is that if you're ready to make a change in your life, you have to be very deliberate about it.
It might seem crazy, but if you're willing to get out of your comfort zone then try the "Positivity Challenge" where you spend 10 days reframing everything in your life with a positive spin, and using the way you use your body to take on a more positive way of carrying yourself.
A big key here is also joking around and laughing a lot. Nothing is better for creating the foundation of a positive state.
You'll find that when you do this, you begin to see yourself as being a better guy, you'll see the best in other people, and you'll see your life in an infinitely better light.
It's up to you, and the choice is yours about how you want to live your life, but when you're ready to give this a try, it's always here waiting for you.
Thanks for surviving this massive read!! I'm back to work.
Posted by Tyler-Real Social Dynamics at 7:53 AM