It’s ultimately what we’re all trying to figure out. It’s what we
were really learning about as an English major. It’s what is
constantly in the back of our mind as we do what we have to do to
pay the bills. We even look for the answer in others – friends and
romantic counterparts. Who am I? What am I meant to be doing? – or,
for the less deterministic – am I living to my fullest potential?
And what the heck is my fullest potential, my ‘path’, if you will?
We look in a lot of different places to answer this question. As my
brilliant friend Christian Hudson highlighted, this industry
especially and our society more generally send men the message that
who they are – their very masculinity – is very much tied to their
“success” with women. “How many women have you slept with?”, “how
attractive were they?” These rules for defining one’s worth have
been instilled in us since puberty, and and anyone who’s been
around the block once or twice knows that they can learn a lot
about themselves from lots of hooking up… but lots of hooking up
doesn’t define a person.
More than once, I’ve looked to women to tell me who I was – to a
greater or lesser extent. Was I attractive, funny, sexy? If they
told me I was… then I was. Becoming aware of this certainly was a
huge leap in self-knowledge – and it also proved that as wonderful
as women are, they can’t determine who I am.
Maybe it’s clothes, food, or maybe it’s just getting caught up in
the thoughts of who we think we should be, and how our current self
falls short. We think this ideal – wherever it came from – is who
we truly are… but it’s not.
When it comes down to it, the answer to this question is actually a
simple one. It has nothing whatsoever to do with our past and
certainly nothing to do with who you want to convince other people
you are. Quite simply, it all comes down to actions in the present
Who you were before this second is in the past. People may judge you
by past actions – and sometimes, rightly so – but in this second
you can change anything you want to change. So is it the big
decisions that determine who we are? The make-or-break moments
where everything matters?
Not at all. In fact, it’s the tiniest decisions that we make every
moment of our lives, that ultimately determine the person that we
How do I feel this morning? How did I sleep last night? What did I
do to ensure that I’d have a good night of sleep? Did I have a
healthy breakfast, or let that slide without thinking of the energy
drops that would come as a result? Did I meditate / take some quiet
time for myself? Did I take care of the personal responsibilities
that I needed to take care of, or do I let them fester as anxiety
on my shoulders throughout my day? Do I get some sort of physical
activity in to alleviate stress and keep my body healthy? Do I
realize that although it’s hard to see when you’re 28, life is
short and am I therefore making the most of my days? Am I being
kind and thoughtful toward the people I know, as well as the guy at
the convenience store?
This could go on for 10 pages, and you know your own tendencies
better than I do, so fill them in. I want to shift the focus to
what I do know: the little decisions that make a big difference in
your social and dating life.
If things aren’t working, the first step is to fundamentally change
the way in which you interact with people every day, everywhere.
Everyone knows to make eye contact, but how often do you
consciously do it, especially around a member of the opposite sex
that you’re attracted to? Unless people are responding powerfully
to your overwhelming charisma I can promise you you’re not doing it
very much at all.
You could choose to do it more – or that choice might be being made
You’re in line at CVS and fate happens to toss a pretty brunette in
line right behind you. Do you say anything? Her response will
probably be the same whether you have the most charming line in the
world or you just say, “man, those tropical skittles look pretty
good right now” – or whatever the first thing that comes to your
mind is. At that moment, or similar moments in the coffee shop,
grocery store, bar, etc – it doesn’t matter what you say – as long
as you say something, with some semblance of emotion on your face
so you don’t look like Jeffrey Dahmer. You’re making the decision
to find out if you and this person were meant to have a nice
conversation and more, or not, but at least you’re deciding to act.
How often do you decide not to act? Either consciously or
unconsciously? How often do you make excuses that sound and feel
perfectly reasonable at the time, but upon closer inspection under
the cold light of the truth you realize that they’re just excuses?
This isn’t rocket science. Your self-doubt is the only thing
making it difficult.
This is about first taking the simple actions that we know will
make us the people that we want to be, instead of making excuses and
choosing to live a life that is incongruent with who we truly want
to be. This is what my forthcoming Fearless program is about (but
more on that in a few weeks).
It really comes back to this moment – this day – and there are
plenty of actions you can take this second, from getting active on
our forums or signing up for a salsa class or committing to going
out tonight and having an AWESOME time.
So what decision are you making? The past is the past, and at this
moment the story of your life is waiting for your to write it, whether
you’re aware of the decisions your making or not.
The only question is this: who do you want to be today… in an
hour… and right now?