I used to be one of the biggest failures during my Junior College days. You wouldn’t believe the grades that I got for my Advanced Levels examinations. I was rebellious, audacious and pretended that I didn’t give a fuck about anything. It was a combination of overcompensation of my insecurities and shit-y beliefs growing up.
Fast forward 7 years. I’ve traveled a good portion of the world, dated girls from all over the world, helped two businesses with marketing campaigns, started my own, studied psychology in one of the top Universities in the world, understood how to invest in the financial market and proudly declared that I’m a constant avid learner of life.
You often hear self help gurus say that it’s all about ‘mindset’. They throw phrases like ‘mind over matter’, all it matters is ‘how much you want it’ and all that sort of popular phrases you see on Instagram memes.
It’s not about ‘wanting it bad enough’. It’s not about ‘mind over matter’. Infact, psychological research shows that willpower is finite.
The fastest way to involve behavioral change is to actually change the environment around you.
When I was being a total underperforming asshole during my Junior college days, the people I spent the majority of my time around were rebels. Skipping school and lectures was something to be proud of. In fact, I was more proud of finding loop holes in the system as opposed to getting my grades right. Needless to say, I didn’t do well for my examinations.
So how did I go from a chain smoking rebel who didn’t give a hoot about academics to feeling proud that I Ace-ed my summer program in one of the top Universities in the world?
Well, simply put, it’s environment.
When a huge group of friends stopped hanging out with me when I was in the military, I was forced to build social skillsets and make new friends on the go. When my ex girlfriend broke up with me after I left the country for a week, I was forced to understand female psychology and social skillsets in order to not be a lonely person holding my dick in my hand on Friday nights.
When I was shit poor in my University coursework, I knew I couldn’t compete with the majority base do my academic results, I was forced to pick up entrepreneurial skillsets and read widely outside of school. When my freelance clients undervalued my work and stopped paying on time, that was when I told myself: I am going to stop being a freelancer and start being an entrepreneur.
These changes were made out of necessity. Not jumping about chanting affirmations or hitting a bongo drum.
How to Structure Behavioral Change?
You are a product of your environment, whether you like it or not. Psychological research shows that habit change occurs you change your environment and not the habit itself.
I got introduced to the idea of top performers. For most part of my life, I dived straight into my pursuits. I was fearless. I would get good at something for 3 months, lose interest in it, and stopped doing it. There was a lack of consistency in my life.
I realized that top performers in the world plan their schedule and pursuits way ahead of time. The friends I had from Junior college always seemed to have something going on for them next. They never seemed to fall behind in life. I was on the other hand, changing my career plans every two weeks. I was making short run decisions because I wasn’t planning ahead of time. That cost me years and years of indecision.
You should already be planning to hit the clubs twice a week. You already be allocating time for your social events to practice your social skills. It’s not something that you plan for from day to day. It’s only through preparation, then you’ll have the cushion to ‘live in the moment’.
So how can you become a top performer in your dating life?
It’s simple, it’s accomplished by changing your environment.
For years straight, I hung around with friends who made last minute plans, cancelled on me last minute and showed up late constantly.
It was only when I mapped out the qualities of people that I wanted to surround myself with, the behaviors that I’ll accept and not accept in my life that I got myself out of this karmic loop of feeling undervalued and frustrated in my social life.
Furthermore, when you create the right environment for your desired goals, your desired behaviors follow automatically.
Whenever I go to the club these day, I’m normally with a friend who is able to approach strangers effortlessly. He and I are not going to waste any time staring into the dance floor or wait around like 98% of the other guys. You’ll find both of us talking to strangers and girls within a couple of minutes in the club. That’s because both of us have the ability and the skillset to strike up a conversation with a stranger and when either of us see each other performing the desired behavior, the other will follow.
It’s a system that I created in my life.
You and I don’t like to think that external factors have a bigger than usual influence in our life, however, it does.
- The Milgram Experiment showed that situation, not personality, could cause random people to give terminal shocks to helpless participants.
- There’s a study that shows that a person in a hurry is less likely to help people, even if he is going to speak on a seminar related to the Good Samaritan. Some of them stepped over the victim on their way to the next building! It shows that thinking about norms does not imply that one will act on them.
- There is research to show that our dieting choices are influenced by the packaging, portion size or the waiter when we’re eating out.
How does this play out in your dating life?
If you’re constantly upset by someone or something in your external environment, then it may be good to remove that particular influence in your life. If you got friends constantly putting you down, making you feel shit-y about yourself, then you may want to cut them out. Sometimes, this can even your parents or childhood friends.
Billionaire Warren Buffet was quoted saying: it’s better to hang out with people better than you. If you pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours, you’ll drift in that direction.
Changing your friends when you’re in your twenties it’s hard. It’s something I personally struggle with. It means saying no to a lot of people. It also means feeling lonely with these ideas for a period of time.
However, if it’s something you are aware of right from the start by mapping out the qualities and values of the people you wish to be around with, you’ll pick the right people and create the environment you wish for yourself.