A Great Lesson: Showing Up to Learn

One of the greatest lessons that I have learned is the power of reframing failures as learning experiences. It literally propelled my dating life and success with women.

Throughout my twenties, my self-esteem was so low, and my confidence in my own attractiveness so non-existent, that I not only didn’t have much success with members of the opposite sex–I didn’t even try. I was sure I would fail, and my fragile ego couldn’t handle the rejection.

But a few years ago I decided to reframe every failure as a learning experience. I joined dating websites, made the effort, and even forced myself to go on dates that, honestly, I almost talked myself out of going through with.

And sure, I was awkward and socially inept in the beginning. I had a lot of failures. But I shrugged my shoulders, made note of what I did wrong, and resolved to improve the next time around. I looked at it like a scientist, didn’t take anything personally, and just worked on improving my game.

I researched a lot, kept what seemed to work, threw out what didn’t. I didn’t approach with an ideology in mind, or with set beliefs. I approached it with the desire to test out ideas and keep what actually works, not what I wanted to have work.

Part of improving a new skill and a new habit is just showing up. Author James Clear writes about this in his book Atomic Habits: the most important thing is not to get everything right the first time, but to just be there. He advocates putting all efforts into the first two minutes of every goal. If you want to start exercising, just go to the gym; don’t hold any expectations about what you do once you’re there. Build the habit of showing up, and the rest will develop over time.

I had to learn the art of showing up to dates, even if I was feeling overwhelmed with a lack of confidence. Just showing up, just observing my failures or successes from a detached point of view, led to phenomenal success in my dating life!

Four months ago, I was meeting at least one new woman every week, having more and more second, third, and fourth dates, and meeting a LOT of new friends! I was having so much success that I had to tone it down, because I wasn’t getting much else done.

Dwelling on failure is a sure way to fail in the future; it puts you into a negative loop of self-doubt, and this destroys your confidence, self-esteem, and can’t help but partially disengage your full potential. Worst of all, it can prevent you from showing up, because a fragile ego seeks to protect itself and the flimsy narrative it’s built up.

Research has shown that dwelling on our weaknesses makes us more likely to fail, whereas concentrating on strengths makes us perform much better in our tasks. I concentrated on the fact that I am a superb learner; I LOVE learning, in fact. So I put my emotions to the side and became a dating scientist.

These days, I’m approaching my projects and habits with the same mindset. I try, knowing that I may look stupid, fail, and experience setbacks. But I know that showing up is half the battle, and that learning is all that matters.

Namaste, and thanks for reading!

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