100% is Easy. 99% is a Death Trap

by Eric Disco
Sep 7

What does flossing have to do with meeting women?

Everything.

And nothing.

Let me explain.

I like to floss in the shower. I’m weird like that.

I get into the shower, I floss and I move onto the next step.

The other day, I was feeling really lazy and decided to skip a day.

Bad bad bad.

Skipping a day flossing is not the worst thing in the world. But what it does is hugely problematic.

Once I skip a day and its okay in my mind, flossing stops being automatic. I’ve broken my habit.

Now, when I step into the shower, I have a huge question in my mind: Do I floss today or do I not floss today?

It’s good for me to floss every day. But would it be so bad if I flossed 6 out of 7 days?

Probably not.

I probably would not see a huge rise in my cavities.

But you and I know, that’s not usually what happens.

6 out of 7 days turns into 50% the days.

And then all of a sudden, I’m flossing 1 out of 7 days.

Or 1 out of 30 days.

How did I go from skipping one day to flossing only once a month?

It was because of that quick rationalization that it’s okay to skip one day.

Theoretically, it would be. But that one day causes an avalanche.

It’s the same thing for me with going out and talking with women.

There is a cost for me when I go out to meet women.

I’m old. I get tired from walking around. If I’m going to be seeing a woman tonight, I’m tempted to just skip it for today.

But what happens? Tomorrow I’ll have an even better reason to skip it.

I won’t feel right. Or the weather will suck.

My brain is good at coming up with a million reasons not to do something.

And the worst part about this is that it was once automatic. Now it’s a chore.

Getting up and going out has now become something I need to think about.

I agonize over it. It takes a ton of mental energy.

The truth is, if you’ve got a habit in place…

You should be scared to death of missing a day.

And if you don’t have a habit in place, the quickest way to get one is to not let yourself miss a day.

Even if it’s pouring rain, I still go out and take a walk around the local supermarket and talk with someone.

Even if I feel like crap. Just so I don’t miss a day.

The habit is more important than what you accomplish. Because without it, you soon won’t accomplish anything at all.

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posted in Initiative and Inhibition

COMMENTS
26 responses
Matt says:

Eric,

There is a book I will read in the future and you should read called “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg. I read the intro at a local bookstore and found it fascinating.

Eric Disco says:

Yup. I need to check it out. I hear it’s pretty good.

Eric

usefulcreature says:

I CANT WRITE ON THE FORUMS. WHAT MIGHT BE THE REASON?

Eric Disco says:

If you’re having trouble writing on the forum, send me an email to this address here. Let me know what your username and password are and I’ll check it out.

Eric

Crebral says:

I can totally relate to this, being someone who is susceptible to the “snowball” effect. Great post.

ps flossing is underrated as well :-)

centrino says:

so true eric. bad habit is like a weed. they will grow without you nurture them..God, why does not apply to good habit as well??

Upperlane says:

Funnily enough, flossing is often used as a habit-forming exercise in behavioural studies. It’s said that a behaviour, is the sum of motivation, the ability to undertake the behaviour and a trigger (B = MAT). Where any one item is missing, the behaviour will not occur.

For you, getting into the shower is the trigger to floss. Oftentimes, guys don’t have a strong enough trigger to approach, as the best triggers are anchored to activities we do everyday, i.e. get in the shower. Guys should work to establish a very specific trigger when it comes to approaching women as opposed to ‘today I will approach 3 women’. A better example is, ‘whenever I’ve ordered a coffee and am waiting for it to be made, I will have a 30 second conversation with a woman’.

MrAntiquity says:

@Eric–

This is an interesting post-

But as one of the site’s resident contrarians–there’s something that bothers me about it. I don’t want to be doing this forever. To be honest, I don’t even really like this ‘game’ all that much–but since I didn’t learn things early on I want to fill in the gaps so that I’m relatively decent with girls and don’t have to worry about screwing up the dating process.

But to be years and years into this and feel like you still have to do this every day–that doesn’t sit right with me. I mean–so what if you miss Tuesday? So what if you miss the entire month of September, for that matter? You’ve learned something you hadn’t learned before–and now you have it. If it takes a few days to come back, so what?

Sorry to go against the grain–but once you’ve figured it out…shouldn’t this shift from a self-improvement project to just your normal personality?? Isn’t the goal just to let go of hangups and date women?

Eric Disco says:

It depends what your goal is and where you are. Are you happy with the women you’re dating now? Are you happy with your own ability with women?

There are times when I’ve been in relationships and getting better with women was not the most important thing to me. Other things were. And other times when I have focused on dating.

There are other ways to challenge yourself in life besides dating women. Maybe you’ve found a great woman and you’re happy with her. Or you already have as many dates as you need now.

Then by all means, stop trying to improve yourself with women. Work on something else in your life. Put your energy elsewhere.

But if you want to improve, the most important ingredient is consistency. That’s the most important ingredient no matter how you set out to change your life.

And yes, if you stop for a while, you can get back into it again. But you lose a lot of momentum. It’s been said that it takes 30 days to set up a habit. But I think you can destroy a habit a lot faster than that if you aren’t vigilant.

Eric

MrAntiquity says:

@Eric–

Thanks for the response. I guess what I”m getting at is this: I’m still mediocre at all this. So I do need go out and practice as much as I can (and I do a pretty good job at staying consistent.) Because I don’t feel that I’ve fully ‘figured it out’, as it were.

But it seems to me that once you get it, you get it–and you can relax a bit, no? I mean take riding a bike. You learn. Say you don’t do it for 5 years. You have the confidence to know that even if it doesn’t come back to you that second, it will come back shortly–because it’s become a learned skill.

What’s bothered me about the whole ‘community’ stuff in general is actually something pretty simple: Most guys don’t practice–or feel the need to. They’ve just sort of internalized flirting/dating/sex, and do it. I’m talking about normal people who just date–not ‘AFC’s’ or ‘players’ or whatever–normal guys. I look around and I see zillions of average Joes with really really attractive women.

We–the people in the ‘community’–are here primarily because something didn’t click early on. But once it clicks–shouldn’t that be the end? How can you get any better? Is getting a date with 25% of the girls we talk to any greater achievement than 23%?

The way I hope to see it, maybe in a year or two, is this: FINALLY–I’ve learned how to date effectively. Now I get it. Now I can go on my merry way and never have to worry about, say, ‘cold approaches’ again–unless I really do feel like it.

Ariel says:

I think it is more like aerobics and lifting weights than learning to ride a bike – there is no point in your life where you can say `Finally, I am in shape. I will never need to exercise again.’ I practiced with a coach called Blusher in Amsterdam – I have never seen someone who captivates women so completely, and he is a natural and has been good at this since he was young. And he himself said he is lucky to have this job to keep his `social musclessocial energy’ in good shape(I don’t remember what he called it exactly) as otherwise his relationship with his girlfriend would not be balanced, as a hot girl gets her social exercise without having to initiate anything, anytime she goes out.
So I try to embrace challenge and emotionalphysical discomfort, as I do not think they are going to end in 1/2/5/20 years when I have `made it’.
Off topic: My belief – they do end when you reach full enlightenment , which for most of us will be after many lives of developing ourselves

MrAntiquity says:

@Ariel–

But most people outside the ‘community’ DON’T practice, and this is true whether they’re good at it nor not. This whole thing that dating is supposed to be like–whatever–a workout, or bike riding, or playing piano–that’s something that WE’VE largely come up with.

Human sexuality is supposed to be innate. Instinct. We’re animals, for crying out loud–what animals ‘practice’ the mating ritual? We do here–because for whatever reason–most of us got stuck, or missed the mark, so we’re playing ‘catch-up’.

My philosophy on this is that all of this ‘stuff’ is meant to be instinctive–but we suppress it to varying extents. If you never learned to suppress it, there’s nothing to really practice. So my approach has been–instead of trying to ‘get better’– it’s been more to ‘let go’.

GradStudent says:

@MrAntiquity,

As someone who has had similar thoughts to yours on this topic, I’d like to quickly share where I’m at with it.

What you say is true – as we learn these concepts and practice them, we should be internalizing them, to the point where we’re not needing to practice and practice concepts that we’ve already learned.

I guess, at least for me, the other side of that coin has much more to do with personality type than skill sets. Meaning, I know myself well enough to know that I can be awesome at meeting women one week, take some time off of approaching or being social, and come back into the game totally inhibited. It’s not that I “forgot” the skills which I had internalized, but that my natural inclinations took over.

My experience (which of course may be substantially different from yours) has been that my personality has certain defaults which may never completely change. I hardly want to play a psychologist for myself or psychoanalyze, but this community for me has been an education in what parts of my personality are plastic (changeable) and which must simply be overcome. The only way for me to gain traction in the social sphere of my life (women included) is to consistently be in practice.

Ultimately, these skills aren’t just for finding and keeping women in my life (though of course that’s a *huge* motivator), but to bring awesome people into my life in all spheres. The more social I’m forcing myself to be, in whatever setting of my life, the happier I seem to be with the overall outcomes.

SamwiseGamgee says:

Alright — field report.

Pretty minor one.

So, last few weeks has been learning and self-development and choosing guided-session hypnosis audios to do, which is new for me.

Walking back from the grocery store in unshowered full-on “Al Gore after-he-lost-the-election” beard mode, see this pretty blonde chick. She’s less than half my age.

We’re going out on Tuesday.

I was totally relaxed and matter of fact about it, no anxiety about it at all, and after it, was like, “She’s just a woman,” and attached no great importance to it other than it’ll be fun and I guess I’ll be cleaning myself (and you never no, so place too) a few days earlier than I’d planned.

I DID NOT “consistently” approach before this, although I’ve made the odd one here and there, successfully and otherwise.

My point is this.

Even though I believe it is — for me also, definitely — by far easier to maintain a skill by doing it daily, especially an overcoming-fear skill (or exercised or what have you), I don’t want to have to do this! I don’t even want to have to be the kind of man who has to do this, I’ve decided.

While James Bond is fiction, it occurs to me he can spend a few days fighting baddies, and still go for the hottie — maybe in the middle of events, maybe when all is said and done.

That’s what I want to be like. Likewise, he can be relaxed and on vacation and deal with emergencies as they come up. I wish to be likewise, although different emergencies, and hopefully not so often. ;-) If at all.

So even though I will lose practise, efficiency, perhaps increase my anxiety, and DEFINITELY have less women’s numbers to work with, I simply want to be someone who can take it or leave it.

Now, I will habitually talk to people more often, I think. Maybe I’ll approach more. Maybe a lot more, maybe not.

But I will not set a long-term goal of one per day I’ve decided.

In the past, I’ve picked up multiple women in the same rapid transit train car … and I did it without a formal goal.

But damn, they were cute. At least one of which tasty too.

That was 11 years ago. I heard from her a week ago — from Switzerland.

So doing things a lot is great, but I won’t identify it as a “must”. If it isn’t fun for me, I won’t bother. What’s the point of this if it isn’t fun?

That said, it IS fun. Have you ever regretted an approach? I haven’t — not even the few that went hilariously bad.

I WAS riddled with “approach anxiety” recently, but I think I’m going to overcome it mostly through a mental shift, or series of mental shifts.

If that doesn’t work, I’ll be back to buy your book. :-P

SamwiseGamgee says:

Oh, side note. On the flossing analogy.

I’m really big into dental hygiene, but occasionally I miss a day, and that doesn’t not make me big into dental hygiene. I guess the thing is I really like having a clean mouth and don’t mind flossing itself.

So that’s my anology — to really like it.

Marcello says:

“Human sexuality is supposed to be innate. Instinct. We’re animals, for crying out loud–what animals ‘practice’ the mating ritual?”

Our instincts are probably in tune with the social reality of the environment they developed in, which is much different from the current one. Cold approaching was not a daily issue for hunters gatherers or even the typical farmers of not so long ago.

I must say that the flossing analogy, though it does serve the article purpose, does not convey some key issues.
One: approaching is an emotionally charged act. No matter how many times I did for extended periods, it never became something I was really comfortable with. Never mind to the level of a mundane activity such as flossing.
Two: it is not a mechanic activity where doing A results in B. When learning to drive the car does not care about your confidence. Lack of confidence will however guarantee a 100% rejection rate with girls regardless of what moves you try. There is also no direct link between effort and results;trying harder could result in getting better as much as as digging yourself in a deeper hole.

MrAntiquity says:

@Marcello–

I’d say that while they are certainly deeply cultivated by the social realities–there is a great deal of biological instinct there. The sex dreams you have when you’re an adolescent are natural–although they might be shaped by your social reality in terms of the objects, they draw from much deeper mechanism.

When you’re a toddler, if you want something, you go get it–you take it. You learn to share–you learn restraint–you learn caution. Same with dating–you learn what not to do–what’s socially ‘unacceptable’, etc. Rejection is, in part, not a fear of losing so much as a fear of social wrong-doing–I think that what the ‘community’ has to say about fear of rejection, particularly in the social-evolutionary context, is generally incorrect. Sure, losing something you want may make you a BIT nervous–but most of us aren’t so afraid to, say, call a girl up that we won’t do it. It’s socially allowed–whereas approaching is something that gets blocked off pretty early on.

‘Don’t talk to strangers’.
‘Don’t talk to her–she might not like you’
‘You don’t fit the accepted profile of a male that they show on beer commercials–better lay low’.

And you’re right–it’s not mechanical. There’s no guarantee that A will result in B and it probably won’t. But it’s the freedom to allow that connection that matters, I think–not whether or not the connections actually happen, or how much.

Long-winded post :)

Marcello says:

“It’s socially allowed–whereas approaching is something that gets blocked off pretty early on.”

I never had any “blocked off” experience, such as being made fun for talking to a girl in my early teens or anything of the sort. Yet when trying to approach I have to face a great deal of anxiety. Note that I have done a thousands of appproaches and experienced pretty much any reasonable “worst case” scenario along the way: approaching the same girl twice, girls with boyfriends etc. I know that they are survivable. Yet the anxiety never goes away. To me the only reasonable explanation it is it’s hardwired in some fashion.

Ariel says:

It’s not true that we are just playing catch-up to what the normal people outside the community already know. Being able to approach a beautiful woman, not to mention, being able to do it without freaking out and looking like a psycho, is something a very small minority of men can do.
It’s not practicing an instinctive mating ritual, it’s practicing resistance to social pressure or social comfort which makes you more attractive to women the more you develop it.
The great thing about modern society is that we have a way to practice this that is not dangerous – cold-approaching women.

MrAntiquity says:

Ariel–

I think it’s a myth, though. Lots of guys don’t particularly see ‘beautiful women’ as any particularly big deal–it just never occurred to them that it actually IS ok to go and talk to people outside of their realm of friends, co-workers, etc. So they’re not aware they have options beyond the people they already know.

Lots of guys are happy to hit on their cute friend–right? It’s a natural thing to do–unless they’re really nervous for some reason.

The fear is going outside of social convention and dealing with strangers–but I don’t think it has much to do with sex or rejection, although people seem to think it does.

Pradeep says:

I agree with Eric and Ariel – practice keeps the social muscle on; in this regard pickup & approach is more like going to the gym or maintaining a consistent yoga practice ; while coming back to pickup after a short break is easier for us than it is for someone just starting out, that first approach of the day remains a challenge for me; Get past the 3rd approach to the 4th & 5th in a day and its so much smoother and flowing.

Ariel says:

Mr Antiquity – in the context of it not having to do with sex-
I am dating and did not want to approach women today, just approach people say Hi or something – as I noticed I get depressed if I do not have that daily interaction – especially after sitting alone in my office. And I noticed that approaching someone who is not a cute girl is actually *harder* for me right now, as with the cute girl I have an excuse – I am attracted to her- but it feels so weird just saying how are you to a 60 year old man. But I’m going to take this as a project.

Ariel says:

Though I do think it has everything to do with ego and rejection – I am embarrassed to admit/express , also to someone that is not a hot girl, that I have a need for social interaction

dave says:

Ariel – There is a really identifiable skill and bent to approaching people. Many companies now actually test for these skills before hiring outside salespeople. It looks like Eric has a way of getting you guys through this. You ARE going to be a different person.

Ariel says:

A few days ago I expermiented with this approaching peoplenot necessarily cute girls thing. It was so much fun. I was in the Krakow market square, and just came up to people `Hey, How are you?’ . This old British guy was like `what do you want?’ in a grumpy voice. I said `I’m just bored so I’m saying Hi to people’. I met a really good wing this way.
What I find changing is that there is a lot less reaction seeking on my part.. this approaching together with my mediation practice, I do find it really transforming

Ariel says:

mediation=meditation

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