It’s after work. You’re in the supermarket picking up some food and you see her. She’s beautiful. And sexy as hell. You want her.
Maybe in the past there would be no way you would go up to her and talk to her. But now you have a game plan. You decide you are going to approach her.
And you are gripped by fear.
Perhaps the first thing you notice is your heart start to race. You can feel it thumping in your chest.
Your rate of breathing increases. You feel a constriction in your throat. Your blood pressure rises. You may get a feeling in the pit of your stomach.
Anxiety is a form of arousal. It is an uncomfortable feeling, much like pain, that motivates you to immediately stop whatever you are doing or planning to do. Like vertigo it may cause you to even feel dizzy.
With little or no experience getting past this fear of approaching women, this aroused state seems to leave you completely out of control. You take a step toward her and it feels like you are stepping off of a cliff.
‘Oh, there goes gravity!’ says Eminem.
If I told you you could just wave a magic wand and make this fear go away, you probably would.
But as odd and as uncomfortable as the feeling is, this state of arousal is your friend. It means that you are challenging yourself. It means that you are actually interested in the girl and that you are making yourself vulnerable to her.
In Blink, Malcolm Gladwell discusses how this arousal can improve your performance.
Dave Grossman, a former army lieutenant colonel and the author of On Killing, argues that the optimal state of “arousal” — the range in which stress improves performance — is when our heart rate is between 115 and 145 beats per minute. Grossman says that when he measured the heart rate of champion marksman Ron Avery, Avery’s pulse was at the top of that range when he was performing in the field. The basketball superstar Larry Bird used to say that at critical moments in the game, the court would go quiet and the players would seem to be moving in slow motion. He clearly played basketball in that same optimal range of arousal in which Ron Avery performed. But very few basketball players see the court as clearly as Larry Bird did, and that’s because very few people play in that optimal range. Most of us, under pressure, get too aroused, and past a certain point, our bodies begin shutting down so many sources of information that we start to become useless.
“After 145,” Grossman says “bad things begin to happen. Complex motor skills start to break down. Doing something with one hand and not the other becomes very difficult… At 175, we begin to see an absolute break-down of cognitive processing… The forebrain shuts down, and the mid-brain — the part of your brain that is the same as your dog’s (all mammals have that part of the brain) — reaches up and hijacks the forebrain. Have you ever tried to have a discussion with an angry or frightened human being? You can’t do it… You might as well try to argue with your dog.” Vision becomes even more restricted. Behavior becomes inappropriately aggressive. Blood is withdrawn from our outer muscle layer and concentrated in core muscle mass. The evolutionary point of that is to make the muscles as hard as possible — to turn them into a kind of armor and limit bleeding in the event of injury. But that leaves us clumsy and helpless.
Sounds like me when I experience strong approach anxiety. Some arousal is a good thing. But too much can cause me to perform badly.
How do you get to that optimal state where your arousal puts you ‘in the zone’?
If you approach one girl every day consistently, pretty soon you start getting a lot less nervous. You experience a few hard rejections and embarrassments, and soon it’s pretty difficult for someone to embarrass you or leave you feeling bad about a rejection. (For more information about how to approach women on a daily basis, see The Single Most Important Thing You Can Do To Get Beyond Approach Anxiety.)
This is exactly why it’s important to approach girls that you find super attractive. Even if you don’t do well, even if you are so nervous that your words come out poorly, you will still be getting comfortable talking to extremely hot women. And any other women will seem that much less intimidating.
After a while, you will get used to your heart rate increasing a bit. Like an athlete that exercises every day, it will feel normal and not out of control any more.
And that ‘fear’ that gripped you when you first started doing pickup? Well, you may even begin to enjoy it.
posted in AcceptanceCOMMENTS