Welcome to the Masculine Psychology Podcast, where we answer key questions in dating, relationships, success, and fulfillment, and explore the psychology of masculinity. Now, here's your host, world-renowned therapist and life coach, David Tian.
David: Welcome to the Masculine Psychology Podcast. I’m David Tian, your host.
In this episode, we're going to dive into the classic question of how to become more attractive while still being you, and I'm reminded of the scene in the also classic movie Hitch, starring Will Smith, and that scene near the beginning of the movie where the client is putting on some new shoes and the dialogue goes something like this.
Will Smith's character, Hitch, says, “The shoes are hot. You went to the place I told you?” and the client says, “Yeah, but I don't think these shoes are really me.” Then Will Smith says, “‘You’ is a very fluid concept right now. You bought the shoes. You look great in the shoes. That's the you I'm talking about,” so we kind of get this guy. [01:06.4]
We understand the client's hesitation here because the shoes he's putting on don't feel like him, and in this podcast, we're going to be looking at not just shoes or fashion, or the externalities, the outward appearance, but more importantly, the person that, at some level, a lot of guys feel, especially these days, that to be better with women, to become more attractive, if they do figure out what it will take, which personality traits, for instance, adopting those personality traits might feel like it's putting on a new you and it's not being him anymore. He's not liked or loved, or getting the attention for who he is. The objection is “but then I'm not going to be me anymore,” and we're going to address that right here, right now, in this episode. [01:55.4]
Speaking of that movie Hitch, and hope you know the movie I'm talking about—I'm not going to have time to do a synopsis or anything—but in that movie, so a spoiler alert, you get to the end and the main character's love interest finds out that the character was getting coaching on the sly and felt cheated because the guy she fell in love with, she suspected and the whole world kind of just assumed, wasn't him, wasn't the client.
It was just some kind of act or it was just Will Smith, I suppose, Will Smith being the dating coach in this example, coaching through an ear piece or something, so all the words that the client said weren’t really from the client and I guess that was the fear.
Then, towards the end, the love interest finds out, wait, the things that she really liked the most about this guy were the very things that the dating coach told him not to do and those were the quirks of this client, his own unique personality or something, and that made it all okay. [03:00.0]
That's sort of the narrative that is out there in the world and I'm going to be addressing that right here right now, because the entire movie reinforces this idea that in order for a guy or a person to become more attractive, more than just putting on a new set of clothes or new shoes, but to become more attractive as a person in their personality, that it would mean that you would no longer be you anymore and that you're some kind of fake or false you.
Right off the bat, we're attacking this myth that in order to become more attractive, it would always necessarily mean that you no longer are you anymore, the assumption being that who you are now is set in stone and that, if you were to change from how you are now or how your dominant personality is, then that would mean that you are no longer you because you are set in stone, and this new person that this new personality that you take on, which happens to be more attractive, means that now you are no longer you and it would suck to be liked for being other than you are. [04:08.3]
It's a myth that becoming more attractive means that you have to sacrifice who you are in order to become more attractive. Looking back at the years of content I’ve created and uploaded onto various places on the internet, I have noticed that I might have contributed to some of this confusion that listeners or readers might have walked away with because I used the term “false self” before, and I’ve used it prominently in a four-part series that I did called “Modern Meeting Explained” that is on YouTube and in my older podcast and this has been out since, I think, 2016, 2017. [04:57.3]
The follow-on series, “Practical Psychology for Extraordinary Living”, another four-part video series, and in these eight videos, I used the term “false self”. What I don't mean by the false self is simply being a way that your default is not. I'm not saying that false self is bad if it's how you are not currently as your default. If your default is shy, nerdy, awkward, then I guess the false self would be anything that's not shy, nerdy, awkward, but that's not how I'm using that concept at all.
The false self is, basically, or the way I'm using it is a fully formed self. For instance, I’ll take myself as an example, the way I was before I was good with women—and if you don't know my story, I have a long story—the first way I got into learning about getting better with women was coming out of a divorce in my late-twenties and coming to the age of 30, having to figure out the dating scene again. [06:04.2]
Having been married for several years, and during my earlier life, having been completely conservative and, in many ways, religiously, culturally, socially, and not having experiences like any kind of partying or anything like that, and then having moved into a phase where that would be allowable for me of exploring the party scene, dating casually and all that, but not knowing what the heck I was doing.
Then learning how to actually be more attractive, how to get better at dating, and there is a relatively straightforward process for this and I’ve created many courses—including the course “Invincible” that walks people through, walks you through the dating skills and all the mindsets that go along with it—and that's what I did for myself. [06:52.1]
It was simply, and, in fact, one way to look at what I did was I created a fully fleshed-out part of me that back then was known as the “Rake”. I even had a URL, my first blog in this area. It was called AsianRake.com and that was part of the unwitting creation of a persona that was referred to loosely as the Rake. I also had many other parts of me that were very useful in that context, like the Charismatic. I also had a Dandy. I had all kinds of different characters that I could pull out depending on the context, and did very well and really enjoyed the dating scene.
Now, those became false selves, simply because of this one distinction. Okay, first of all, they were fully fleshed-out selves. They weren't us unsuccessful attempts, right? A lot of the guys in the pickup lairs, back in the day, never actually got to the point of a false self, because they didn't actually develop it fully. They never internalized it to the point where it was second nature where they could enter into this second persona. Instead, it was just like an unsuccessful attempt at being, I don’t know, suave or Charismatic or something. [08:03.0]
It's a lot of work to create a false self, and the more you do it, the easier it gets, but especially that first self-conscious creation of it. By the way, we've all created false selves. I wouldn't call them false selves per se because of this one dis distinction. The only distinction and the one distinction that makes it toxic is if you think that the false self is your true self or if you desperately want it to be your true self.
Like I’ve said, I’ve done an eight-video series that walks you through this, but just in a very quick bite-sized nutshell, I’ll tell it to you here and it is that the creation of the false self arises from shame, toxic shame, shame in the way that you-- Let me take myself as an example. It’s the easiest. Shame in the way I was when I started the journey of getting better with women that geeky, nerdy, shy, awkward self, and making and seeing that as the part of me or the me that I didn't want to be, and then creating a new me and hoping to God that new me, the one that now is powerful, alpha, dominant, whatever, that now is the real me. [09:14.5]
Now that becomes the false self, right? It's false only insofar as I am desperately hoping it's my true self. That's why it's so important to call it the false self, to distinguish it from your true self. But I still didn't know who my true self was and, in addition, the false self was just a part of me. It is a part of me that does not die and is a valuable part of me, but because I had put it, thrusted into this position of being my true [self], hoping to God this is my true self out of shame, now it becomes toxic because it's not my true self, so to speak.
It's not the eight Cs true self of IFS therapy, and if you've been following my podcast, you would know what that means. If you don't, I’ve created lots of other content that walks you through it. [10:01.4]
This higher self, it's not my higher self, but it is still a part of me and it's a valuable part of me, and I would only label it false rather than a persona or a part, a protective part, which is probably the most accurate way and that's what I would call it now, the protector parts.
The Rake, the Charismatic and so forth, these are protector parts and they're valuable parts, and they come out when I take my wife out for dates or when we go to a bar or a club together, or when I find myself in a social setting, the charmer might come out. These are all really awesome, powerful, and enjoyable parts of me, but they're not all of me and they are not my true self, so to speak, my higher self. I prefer that term. Let's just stay with higher self on that score.
But they are parts of me that are valuable and they're only false, they only become false when I thrust them into the role of the true self and I try to, out of shame, exile the shy, awkward, nerdy parts of me, instead of going to those shy, awkward, nerdy, geeky parts, and getting to know them better, sending them love, compassion, coming to understand them better and helping them to unburden, because they're not naturally that way. [11:11.8]
They become that way, whatever way that they don't enjoy being, and most people don’t enjoy being shy. They're shy because of fear and these insecurities, and if you're able to help them unburden from those, then you'll discover that these exiled young parts of yourself are actually full of play and spontaneity, and joy and vivaciousness. That's vitality that's there underneath the surface of their reactions to the fear that they hold, and that's what you can do in therapy. That's what good therapy will do for you.
The creation of the false self and my work, actually, my work on the false self in these videos, are all taking into the context of the false self being only false insofar as it is thrust into the role of the higher self and they're not that, but they are still valuable parts of you, right? [12:06.6]
If the bigger question that I'm addressing here is “How do you become more attractive while still being you?” hopefully, you understand now that the big problem is the concept of you, your identity, who you are, what is you. Let me answer that in this podcast episode and in the next couple episodes to really unpack what “you” is, because that's the lynchpin here, the linchpin concept.
But just before I go any further, I’ve got three points. But just before I dive into them, I want to put out a caveat that this podcast episode and the next couple ones, especially, but, really, all of my work since 2017 has been aimed at and catering to, speaking directly to people who are more interested in a committed, lasting relationship and finding the right one, or right women or women or matches for them, than in just maximizing how many pickup opportunities you can close. [13:12.4]
Okay, just a case you somehow found me through the pickup world that I used to inhabit and used to create content for several years ago, over a decade ago, that's not what this is about, and if that's what you're interested, in other words, maximizing pickup opportunities to close, whatever the closing might mean for you—it might be sex, but it might just be numbers or kisses or whatever, make-outs—if that's what you're interested in, if you just want to walk up to a woman that you see in a bookstore and, within minutes, get her really into you and then hook up, then this is not for you. [13:50.3]
If that's what you're after, then, in a way, you can get a lot of success in that, doing just, just maximizing your closes from a pickup perspective, you can do that by adopting a narcissistic personality or playing Machiavellian type of mind games, or creating lots of false selves, okay, because that works in the short term. I'm not speaking to that.
If pickup and getting pickup closes is what you're after, then what I'm covering here isn't for you and I'm not for you, really, and I wish you the best of luck. Maybe later, if you go through a process where you mature, then you can come back to this and it will hopefully speak to you more.
But I'm speaking to those guys who will really want to find the right woman for you and want to be in a lasting relationship that's a relationship of love, of intimacy, of passion, and succeed in a long-term relationship, because it's important to realize that what it takes for that, first of all, it's more challenging because it's a long-term thing. It's not just a hookup and it's going to be something that will really cause you or require you to dig deep and confront your repressed or shadow parts and so forth, and to do lots of healing. [15:15.0]
I mean, it's going to be the case for everyone in order to have a lasting relationship and I was told to do a whole other podcast episode on why that's the case, because there's this other myth floating out there in the world that a love relationship should be easy and effortless, and should require no effort and no growth. But, anyway, that's for another episode.
But a lasting relationship is not just or the challenge is not just that it's long, much longer than a short-term hookup, but also the good news is it's easier in some ways because you're looking for that one, and what you want to do is optimize for the one—whereas when you're maximizing pickup closes, you're optimizing for the many, right? You're just trying to get the highest percentage. Basically you're trying to change how you are to attract the most number or quantity of women. Of course, within the quantity, you also want to raise the quality, so to speak, but those are the pickup metrics. [16:12.0]
I’ve created other podcast episodes that point out that if you're optimizing or maximizing for pickup closes, which is sort if you're really maximizing for it and, let me point out, most guys that I’ve met, noticed on the internet or whatever, they're not actually maximizing or optimizing for this. They think they are, but they're not.
But if you really were trying to get as many women as you can hooked on you and to close as many of them as you can, it's a totally different approach and totally different set of priorities than if you're looking for the one, because if you're looking for the one that you're going to be committed to and that you'll be in a lasting relationship with, that you want to start a family with, that will be there when you wake up and when you fall asleep every day for the next 50 years or something like that in your life, that you'll be building a life with, then that's a completely different prospect and that's going to require a completely different approach. [17:03.7]
I've made many other podcast episodes that address this and point out this important difference. Just as a caveat, everything I'm going to be saying here and, really, everything I’ve been in all of the podcast episodes have been aimed at those who are looking for the one and, therefore, ought to optimize for the one.
When you're optimizing for the one, what you want to do is to have as many to sift through as many other potential options as quickly as possible. In other words, you are how you want to be forever for the rest of your life. In other words, if you have parts of you that are shy, if you love jazz, if you love video games, whatever it is, if you think it might turn her off but it's important to you, that's something you’ve got to put out right at the get, right at the beginning, because you want to sift through those who would be right for you as early as you can. Right?
Whereas with pickup, if you're just optimizing for the hookup, you only need to keep it together for four hours until she's in bed with you or whatever, however long it takes for you for that hookup to happen. You can be very selective in what you put out and it's a completely different approach. [18:07.8]
I just want to put that out there. If what you're looking for is to optimize or maximize short-term pickups, you don't need to be listening to this or following me at all. But if what you're most interested in is a lasting relationship of love and passion, then you really have to pay attention to what I'm putting out in this entire podcast, especially in this episode and in the next couple.
The first point of three, the first point is just getting clear on what actually makes you attractive, because the question is, If I meet David, if I become attractive, will that mean that I will have to not be me? Because the me I am right now is not very attractive to the women that I like, and in order for me to become more attractive, does that mean I'm not me? And so we're going to just point out you can get a fashion makeover. I mean, that's part of the example from Hitch that I gave. [18:57.8]
A good fashion stylist will ask you about your lifestyle, about what you enjoy and stuff like that, and so they won't put you in cowboy boots if that's not your personality and so on, right? That's just normal and good style consulting. But within whatever parameters you give her or him, they can find for you based on your body type and so forth, measurements and all that, your skin tone, the best, what they consider to be, and this is assuming that you find a good fashion stylist, the best fashion for you, and you get a good haircut and all that. That’s okay. Take that for granted. You want to get in shape and that's obvious, right?
But the question is usually posed not in terms of the external or outward makeover that would happen, but in terms of the personality, because the guy is saying, I am quiet and shy, and it turns out, are you saying, David, that I’ll have to be the happy-go-lucky, funny guy who is really loud? That's often a common misconception of nerdy, geeky guys like myself in the way I was who think that the guy who is attractive is the loud club dude, which is not the case at all. [20:05.3]
The loud club dude is sort of a dancing monkey. He can get people’s attention, but he's not the sex, generally speaking, unless he can balance out that personality with others, like the strong, silent type, if he's got some of that in him. But, otherwise, if you're just the loud, funny guy, that's not going to be very conducive to sexual tension. You're good for some laughs and a good time, but not a sexy time, and that guy is going to end up in the friend zone quite a bit, too, if he can't balance out that personality.
What are the personality traits that are attractive? I'm just going to list out a whole bunch, but I'm going to start with five that I think are the most important. In terms of 80-20, this is the 20 percent that makes 80 percent of the difference, and I’ll end with them just to remind you. Then in the middle, I’ll just list off a whole ton for which there is research and just for my own personal experience as well. [20:56.4]
The first five that are the 80-20, you can remember them through an acronym LASAE. I don't know how much that will help you, but that's how I remember it. The “L” stands for leadership, having leadership skills or leadership quality that includes being comfortable with being dominant, speaking up, okay, that sort of thing, leadership, being in a leadership role, having that responsibility and stepping up to it, having the courage for it, so leadership.
“A”, the next letter is “A”, “LA-”. “A” for assertiveness. Those two kind of go hand in hand, leadership and assertiveness. If you want to work on your assertiveness, any trouble with assertiveness almost always has to do with toxic shame, and I address that in an entire in-depth module in my course, “Rock-solid relationships.” The second “A” is assertiveness. “LA-”
The “S” is sexual. If you're comfortable with your sexuality. Okay, so the “LAS-”. It's like, Oh, my real self is not comfortable with sexuality, and if I become comfortable with sexuality, then that's not my real self. Hopefully, you can see how ridiculous that is. The fact that you are uncomfortable with your sexuality as a result of some stuff that happened in your childhood, the shame and so forth. Anyway, that's the “S”, sexual. [22:18.2]
The next letter, “LASA-” is again an “A”, and that stands for adventurous. Adventurous. It's pretty straightforward.
Then the last letter is “E”. “LASAE”. The last letter is “E” and that stands for easy-going, and you might think that easy-going might be in tension with assertiveness, but they're not. But you can see how they're the two sides of the same coin where you're easy going about everything, except the things that really matter for which you are assertive. Assertiveness and easy-going balance each other out in important ways.
That's the last letter, easy-going, laidback, being clear on what really matters to you and in life, and then letting everything else slide. That's easy-going. That's actually a really attractive trait and it's a big part of having a good time and enjoying life. [23:11.0]
“LASAE.” The more of those five traits that you can incorporate into who you are, the more that you develop these, these are things that you develop just like leadership skills and mindsets. You develop those. You work on those. The more you experience you get with them, the more you become them, the more attractive you will be, especially a man to women.
Now I'm going to just rattle off a bunch of other attractive personality traits for which there is empirical research, and I'm now drawing from David Buss’ book, his textbook on evolutionary psychology. He has written many books on this subject and I’ll just list off some of these that have plenty of empirical research or empirical evidence for, women's mate preferences and what they're looking for in men, especially in terms of a long-term relationship, in terms of personality. [24:00.0]
Okay, what they're looking for is ambition and industriousness. These are things you can develop.
Dependability and stability. For a guy to say, “My true self is not dependable or stable, meh,” become more dependable and stable. Don't you think that's a good thing? Dependability and stability.
Love and commitment. A preference for a willingness to invest in children, and kindness. Humor.
I'm going to read you another list of traits that, in addition to empirical evidence for them, are also common sense, so I'm sure that you will see how these are attractive. Confident. By the way, the more of these you have, the more likely you will be attractive to any one, given a female, a heterosexual woman.
Confident, charismatic, witty, self-controlled, funny, social, thinks for himself, indifferent to arbitrary social norms. First of all, that requires you to know which social norms are arbitrary, so that includes thinking. [25:01.8]
Health, wealth, power, being powerful, elegant, creative, ambitious, being a leader, having fashion sense, being groomed, being perceptive, having a strong vocal tonality, being socially dominant, socially savvy, emotionally steadfast, cultured, classy. Those two, cultured and classy, you don't apply to all people. They aren't attractive to all women, but to many. Having survival instincts, having quick reflexes, valuing yourself, being hardworking.
It's kind of just common sense that they would be attractive to women. But, again, I’ll bring it back to the 80-20, right? The 20 percent that makes 80 percent of the difference, those five traits of being a leader, assertive, comfortable with sexuality, adventurous and easy-going, right? Those are the traits that are going to lead you to be the most attractive. [25:57.5]
Now the assumption is, okay, your default you, the default part of you, the part of you that's out more in the world, I'm assuming that you're not that, because, otherwise, you probably wouldn't be listening to this or probably would not have clicked on it, right? I'm assuming just for the sake of argument, maybe you have a whole bunch of those traits already, but the more of them you have, the more attractive you will likely be to any given woman. Individual women will value certain traits more than others, but the more of them you have, the more likely you will be attractive to any given woman, and especially those five traits.
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Assuming now that you don't have those five, would you, if you were to develop those five, if you were to develop your leadership skills, if your company grooms you in leadership and has sent you to all of these leadership retreats and all that, and you stepped into your role as a leader, does that mean that you are no longer you?
Because when you started out as a 21-year-old, you were not a good leader, and now as a 35-year-old executive, you are a good leader, does that mean now that at 35 being a good leader, because you developed it through all of these different to practices and skills and stuff like that, that that's not you anymore? That's just bullshit, right? You can just obviously see that that's not the case.
But there are guys who object that if they go from being shy, introverted, and awkward, into being actually charming, outgoing, being comfortable with people, being comfortable with their sexual and so forth, that somehow that that's not them. That's just not true. That's just another aspect of them. [28:09.6]
Going back to the executive at 35, who has now stepped into his role as a leader, having undergone lots of leadership training and having lots of practice and experience now, that has become another side of him that is more in the forefront now and that's just equally a part of him as are the parts that maybe are still socially awkward and shy in some context and haven't been addressed.
That person would really benefit from therapy, because then you can get to know those parts that are now, in a way, repressed, exiled, forgotten or hidden away, that might still be there that only come up once in a while, every now and then when they're triggered, and those are the parts that need some attention now.
I’ll also tell you, eventually those parts that are doing all this heavy-lifting and the leadership roles are going to need some attention because they're going to be tired, so part of it is going to be getting to know your higher self so that your higher self can be in leadership over all of these different parts of you that have developed. [29:08.0]
For those who do step into their leadership role, what I see now with hindsight is happening and has happened is it was the same when it came to pick up and dating and all that. My parts that are the Rake and the Charismatic and so on, they were there in me earlier. I can see little glimpses of them in my childhood and in my early teens, but they were not encouraged, partly because of my very conservative religious upbringing that had just kind of blanketed sexual shame throughout. They were discouraged and the little sprouts of their potential was sort of trampled on, or maybe tramped on as too active a word. More like just ignored and not cultivated.
But then when I was able to cultivate them, bring them lots of attention in my early-thirties, starting in my early-thirties, making this transition to learning how to become better with women, then they really flourished and came into their fore. [30:00.5]
Then they became false selves because, like I said earlier, I was hoping to God out of my toxic shame that those were just the real me now and the old versions of me, the original mes or the earlier versions would just go away, and that whole process became toxic, as a result. But they are not toxic. Those parts are not toxic. Those parts are equally parts of me.
Okay, the first point was really just to rattle off a whole bunch of personality traits that are attractive and, hopefully, now you can see that there are ways of shaping your personality into having more of these or you can actually become more adventurous through various life experiences.
You can be comfortable with your sexuality over time through therapy, through exposure to different experiences, through even just cognitive understanding and shifts in your understanding. All of those help and have their place, so you can shift your personality. You can shape it. You can develop character, right? This is a very well-known thing for hundreds of years, thousands of years in human history of developing character. Character development. This is something that schools are supposed to be doing as well, right? [31:09.0]
It’s this idea that whatever your default part of you is, it’s stuck in stone—there’s no “stuck” in stone—and that you can't change it, and if you do change it, then it's not you anymore. Hopefully, you can see how malleable who you are is, your personal identity, that you, especially you guys in your twenties, don't really know who you are yet, the fullness of you, all the parts of you. You don't know the potential of you yet. You don't know you fully yet.
You just know a few parts of you, a side or two of you, and to take that part or sides and think that that's all of you is just as toxic as developing a false self of a player or something like that. It's just as toxic, because what's happening is you're taking one part of you and thrusting that part into the role of your true self, and there's going to be all kinds of psychological damage as a result. [32:04.8]
The guys who are stuck in being unable to transform or shift, or grow—maybe that's a better word that won't trigger people—grow your personality, grow your character, develop your character, they're not able to do that if they're stuck in the way that they are, happen to be now as their young selves in their twenties or thirties, and not open to evolving.
Okay, the first point is what personality traits are actually attractive. The second point I already was getting into, which is your identity. How do you know who you are and how do you know who you were?
All right, it's a fair question. Through experiences. Character formation. Formative experiences when we are younger shape our character into how we find ourselves to be now in our twenties, thirties, forties, fifties, sixties, and you can actually continue to shape your personality, believe it or not., even after schooling ends. You can still learn new things. You can still develop your character through formative experiences. [33:06.6]
You can still have formative experiences later in life, okay, in your twenties, thirties, forties, and so on, and all the way through, because it's just a matter of your perspective and going through the experiences. Part of it, sure, is genetic. Definitely, there's maybe as much as 50 percent or more, maybe 80 percent of how your personality shapes out or ends up is a result of genetics.
But the genetics are really just providing a propensity, a tendency in one direction, and then that tendency has to be encouraged through the environment, the environment being your parents, your home situation, your schooling, your peers, and all of these others, and your society at large. All of these different factors go into shaping how your genetic predispositions actually play out over time in real life. There's a lot of wiggle room there and there's a lot that you can develop. [34:01.8]
Then, in addition to just the standard way of looking at personality of character formation, experiences and genetics, there's also the perspective, this really original and very powerful perspective of parts. If you take parts theory seriously like IFS therapy does—and I’ve been talking about this a lot in this podcast, this whole podcast series—then you have to take seriously the fact that there are different personalities in one individual, that every one of us has many different parts of us.
Maybe you've only been able to access consistently one or two parts of you and maybe the one that's most dominant is the shy, awkward part of you. But I'm very confident that if you were to reflect in a calm, clearheaded way on how you have become this way and how you have been in the past, you will find other parts of you that are not like this, that are not shy, awkward, insecure and so on, but that there are parts of you that, especially when you're in flow in an activity, for instance, or when you're around people that you feel comfortable with, that other parts of you will come out—and they're there and they can also learn, and they can develop. [35:16.0]
In IFS therapy, there's this concept of the true self or the higher self, and then there are parts. Those are the two biggest divisions, true self or higher self, and parts. Our parts are actually what account for our uniqueness, because, more or less, our higher selves in us are the same in everyone.
That's the assumption. We all have a true self and the true self is more or less the same in terms of its qualities of confidence and creativity, and courage and compassion, and connected missions and so on. That's in common among us, but what we don't have in common, what differs are these various parts of us and they are what contribute to making our unique personalities. We have all kinds of parts that we may not have discovered or have only had glimpses of, and it's only in certain special contexts that we notice them, and we can encourage them and they can learn things. [36:04.6]
That leads into the third point, which is skill acquisition. If you were to look at becoming attractive as a skill, which is what I’ve been hammering home over and over and over, even if you can look at character formation or personality shaping as a skill, getting better and better at it—and you can get better and better at it. If you can learn it, then you can get better at it. If you can learn it and you can train it, you can practice it and you can master it. You can get better and better at the skills involved—and if that's the case, then it would be completely ridiculous to say …
Let's take the skill of math, somebody who at the beginning of learning math, wasn't very good at it. It was coming slowly to this person, but this person persisted, went to extra math help in free periods at school, got a math tutor and all that, and then actually was able to get through these humps in learning and actually really got good at math and actually started to enjoy it.
Would you then and say, after three or four years of really applying himself and getting better at math, and now enjoying math and being good at it, that this new version of him, this new part of him, really, who enjoys math and is good at it is not him, that that's not you anymore? Ridiculous, right? [37:14.7]
Here are some other skills. Driving a car. Actually any skill. I was talking about martial arts just a few episodes ago. That's a skill. Humor is a skill. All of these things are skills.
Now, you can become better at the skills and have natural talents of the skills, right? Take the skills in basketball. I mean, basketball involves many disparate skills that all come together into the game, but you can get better at just basketball, in general.
Now, if you were tall and athletic naturally or if you have genetic predispositions to being tall and muscular, whatever, fast and nimble and all that, that would help you be better at developing these skills, no question. Right?
There are some of us who maybe are extroverted genetically and would generally have more friends, be more comfortable in social settings and more excited in social settings and so forth. Is that an advantage, generally speaking, in the dating world? [38:09.0]
Most of the time. Yeah, sure. I'm not extroverted genetically. I am introverted, but I learned how to be outgoing. I learned how to extend time with people without getting exhausted, tired or overstretched. But then knowing that I'm introverted, I also, of course, will take the time to meditate and have some me time and alone time, and it’s just a matter of balance.
Like I said, you can extend it, just like working out. When you first start working out, you may only be able to last 10 minutes at a good pace, and as you practice and develop more experience, and your body changes over time and you get more skilled at the activity, whatever that game or athletic activity is, you'll find that you'll be able to endure longer.
It's the same with socializing. It is a set of skills, and the better you get at it, the more experience you have at it, the longer you can last. It's the same with when it comes to introversion and extroversion. There's a lot that you can learn, so you can become a learned extrovert. [39:11.0]
It's not always the case, by the way, that extroverts are more successful with women or more successful in the dating world. There is a very old tradition of the strong, silent type as being attractive to women, and that is absolutely the case, but you have to balance that out with other more warm traits. But there's something that's very attractive about the strong silent type, and there's the dark, handsome stranger, right?
That's another kind of imagery of the dark and strong, and silent. This is an introverted archetype and you don't have to talk a lot and to be loud and all of that to be attractive. In fact, in many cases that will harm you more than it will help you, if you are kind of like the dancing monkey jester, right? It's really fun for entertainment purposes, but it's really going to be more of a challenge when that person is going to need to shift into kind of more of a sexual tension. So, there are strengths and weaknesses on both sides or advantages and disadvantages to whatever character set you get. [40:13.8]
Just as in basketball, I started with that example, if you are a shorter player, there are some advantages that you can have. There are some positions that open up for you more easily, and just as if you are a much taller player, you have some disadvantages, but then there are some advantages. You have to know what you are working with, what your parts are and know them really, really well, and that will help you to see how best to arrange your parts to take the most, to do the best in any given context.
Just before I leave this point of skill acquisition, I also want to point out that it's the same when it comes to fitness. At the beginning of your fitness journey, maybe you are obese or maybe you are very underweight, and then you go through the process of eating better working out and so on. [40:58.8]
At the end of that, or I wouldn't call it even an end because the fitness journey and health journey never ends until you die, but when you finish the program, you look back and now you're in shape and you're eating healthy, and you’ve got more energy and so on. Would you say that that's not you anymore? That would be ridiculous, right? It's just that you have changed how you appear on the outside and you've developed these new skills, and it's now just filled you out more, filled out your personality. Now you have access to this new side of you.
Similarly, for me, as a result of going through the pickup journey, I got to fully develop my different parts that really enjoy socializing, really enjoy romance and dating and all that. Like I mentioned, the Rake and the Charismatic are two examples, and I can call on these parts whenever necessary.
If I'm at a mixer or networking event, or in a situation where I need to charm some people, or put them at ease more often is how I would see it, I can do that. I've had the experience and the skill set, and I can dip back into that tool. It's like a tool belt or toolkit for special situations, and those parts really enjoy it. In fact, if I don't bring them out, they start to feel abandoned and they're looking for attention. [42:16.0]
It's just that if I am in my higher self, the more I'm in my higher self, the easier it will be and the easier it is to give attention to those parts that need it and to notice where the roles that they would like to play that are healthy in my life. I'm very grateful for that period of my life. There was a lot of fun, too, of developing these parts of my personality that are fully fleshed-out parts of, for instance, the Rake and the Charismatic.
Those are the three points I wanted to bring up. I wanted to list out a whole bunch of personality traits for which there was empirical evidence that they were attractive in men, and just had noticed that the more of those you have, the more likely it will be that you can attract women. [43:00.7]
On that first point, the pickup goals and the long-term relationship goals come together.
Then the second point is your identity. How do you know who you are? And I listed out a bunch of ways that you can develop, through experiences and character formation, your identity, but even more importantly, at a deeper level, the concept of parts in making sense of who you are in your identity, in that if you're in your twenties and thirties, you're still just discovering all of what you are.
Then the third point is skills acquisition, that if you see it in the terms of a skill, then it's not a question of your identity or personality per se. It's in acquiring a new skill, and getting better at dating, getting better in relationships is about developing skill sets.
You'll notice that you become what you repeatedly do, right, so that developing the skills ends up creating a character, just as it’s true for those who have been through a fitness journey. Now a part of you that's a part of your identity, if you've come to love it, then that has actually become part of who you are, but it's a result of developing the skills that has become part of who you are. [44:10.3]
Okay, so it's sort of like that's what I’ve been going through myself. I've been bringing up myself, my own life, as an example, and in every case, whether it was developing character in terms of Christianity, maybe my earliest context for understanding character formation, and then later in becoming a good academic and making that a part of who I am, and then later becoming a good dater, really a pickup artist to start and a player to start, and then being better in social settings, all kinds of social settings, and then fully fleshing out the Rake, the Charismatic, the Dandy and so on, and then now in psychotherapy, in every case, it begins with a thought and it goes like this: Sow a thought, reap in action. Sow an action, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a character. Sow a character, reap a destiny. [45:03.6]
This is just another way of putting that you are what you repeatedly do. You become what you repeatedly do. Who you are yet is still open. It is still fluid. It is still flexible. You haven't discovered the fullness of you yet. You just know parts of you and you will only know all of you, or you may not even know all of you on your deathbed, but I was going to say you only know all of the different parts of you when near the end of your life and you look back on it.
For many people, they still haven't discovered the fullness of who they are, even on their deathbed, and for most people, they don't because they haven't gone through this process of exploring through these new experiences that further character formation past when a school forces you to do it and maybe your company forces you. But beyond that, people just think, No, I'm set, this is me. No, it's not you. It's just the you that you think you are. [45:57.6]
If you are thinking about this more deeply, it's just like personality tests, too. You might think, Oh, I sat for a personality test, maybe the Big Five or maybe Myers-Brigg, and you think, That's me. No, that's just a part of you that sat and did that exercise, that filled out the questionnaire, answered the questions on the survey.
In other contexts, maybe under the influence of alcohol, other parts of you come out because the ones that are in control are numbed and fall asleep, and now some other parts come out. Maybe some of you are so uptight and afraid of those parts coming out that you’ve vowed off alcohol completely, which is fine. I totally get it. I'm not championing alcohol or anything. But just pointing out a common experience for people to discover that there are other parts of them that they may not be aware of.
Of course, there are the inner-child parts. There's the warrior. There's a lover in you. There are all different kind of parts that are there in you that you have not accessed consistently or that are hidden away behind various layers of very commonly, intellectual armor for my audience, but they're there and exploring them one way of exploring and bringing these parts out is by developing skills that are useful to you and that you would enjoy. [47:09.6]
Along the way, what gets developed and formed is a character that comes with the skill development, and a great way of looking at it is you start with an act, a thought that leads to action, and you do the action over and over and over again. Guess what? You've now created a habit.
When you have habits, now you develop, over time, a character, and then your character or characters—your different characters and different personalities of the various parts that each part is a fully fleshed-out personality and we have several if not dozens of parts in our psyche, in our internal system—the health of our parts and the balance there and the harmony there will create how our lives go, our destiny. [47:55.5]
You do not want to be stuck like so many of these men are ending up incel land because they think that it is not in their control, and then they get stuck because they think that, even if they were to improve, then it would not be them, so they don't ever bother to improve. That would be a horrible position to be in and I am going to address that situation in the next episode, the question being, what if after all of this work, I'm still unattractive? What if my true self is not attractive? Come back in the next episode. I'll be dealing with that.
If you like this podcast, please share it with anyone you think would benefit from it. Thanks so much for listening, really appreciate it. David Tian, signing out.
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