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Authors: Neil Strauss

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BOOK: Rules of the Game
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Eat healthier.
Control your caloric intake and review your diet to limit saturated fats, refined sugars, excess salt, and food high in preservatives and carbohydrates. Eat fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean
protein. If you're more than forty percent over the weight you should be, consult a doctor about weight loss options.

Make sure your clothes fit.
Go through your closet and try on everything. If jackets drop off your shoulders, jeans droop off your butt, short sleeves stop at your elbows, or shirt necks hang down to your chest, either get the item tailored or donate it to a thrift store. Same goes for anything else that doesn't flatter you. Commit to replacing these items with well-fitting clothes that best suit your build.

If you have any grooming or appearance issue not listed above—be it underarm sweat, foot odor, an unsightly blemish, or your ex-girlfriend's name tattooed on your neck—this is the day to start taking care of it. Research solutions online; talk to fellow Challengers in the Stylelife forum; and, if necessary, pick up recommended products or make that doctor's appointment.

Don't let yourself off the hook when it comes to looks. You no longer have an excuse.

Conquering AA

Today we're going to discuss the single most debilitating problem facing would-be Casanovas: approach anxiety.

Approach anxiety is a crippling disease that occurs when a man is confronted by the prospect of approaching an attractive woman. Symptoms include sweaty palms, increased heart rate, shortness of breath, and a lump in the throat. Psychologically speaking, it's less a fear of approaching than a fear of rejection.

If you hesitated before walking up to anyone during any of your field assignments so far, then you have approach anxiety. If you haven't been nervous yet, you probably will as the missions grow more advanced, or when you see that one special girl. It happens to the best of us.

So turn to your Day 6 Briefing while there's still time and read the cure proposed by Don Diego Garcia, a senior coach in the Stylelife Academy.

If You Can't Say Something Nice…

Make sure you shower, shave, and feel good before you leave the house today. If you developed a confidence boosting ritual on Day 4, do it. If you purchased any new items yesterday, put them on. You're going out again.

Your mission: Give four women spontaneous compliments. Two of these women can be people you know—friends, coworkers, even your mother. But two should be strangers.

Avoid general compliments such as “You're beautiful.” And avoid saying anything that could be construed as showing sexual interest, like “You're hot.” Instead, focus on complimenting something specific, such as her nails, shoes,
handbag, or posture. After spending time rigorously examining yourself yesterday, you should find it easier to spot and appreciate these details.

The most common response will be a sincere, polite, or dismissive thank-you. Leave after the compliment, unless she continues the conversation.

The key is to be perceived not as trying to flatter or hit on her but as showing sincere appreciation of something you've noticed spontaneously.

Though giving compliments isn't recommended for all approaches, generating attraction isn't the goal today. This exercise is designed to help eliminate approach anxiety, improve your skills of observation, and get you out of your head and aware of someone else's reality.

The Eight-hour Rule

Get a good night's sleep, because tomorrow is one of the most crucial days in the Stylelife Challenge.

By Don Diego Garcia

There are millions of words of wisdom offered by experts on creating and developing a successful intimate relationship, but seven words stand above them all:
You can't win if you don't play

That is the bottom line of bottom lines, courtesy of the California State Lottery. If you stay in your solipsistic cave, you will never form a new relationship. You
get out of the house and interact with new people.

Approach anxiety is a name for the internal demon that keeps men from talking to attractive strangers when there are no external barriers. Before working on ways to convert approach anxiety into approach excitement, let's discuss two key concepts: the limiting mind and the freedom mind.

The Limiting Mind

When we are born, nature installs two major instinctual fears to keep us safe: a fear of heights and a fear of loud noises.

Fear in moderation is a good thing. It protects us from harm. For example, a fear of heights protects us from falling off cliffs. A fear of loud noises enables us to react quickly to warnings of danger. However, most fears and limits we have are the result not of nature but of nurture. We place limits on ourselves as the result of negative experiences from our childhood and the influence of authority figures.

The Freedom Mind

The biological freedom mind gives us signals of hunger to eat, thirst to drink, and desire to procreate. In modern times, we also have cultural drives for power through career, enjoyment through play, and purpose through spiritual practice.

When our limiting mind and freedom mind are in homeostatic balance, all is good. We live in harmony with the world, effectively solving problems as they arise. But when our freedom mind and limiting mind fall out of balance, all kinds of afflictions arise.

Identify Your Limiting Mind

Most of your limiting mind's beliefs were spoon-fed to you by your parents, guardians, teachers, clergy, peers, or whomever you admired while growing up. While there is some value in tracing the sources of your own personal limiting mind, it's more important to understand its structure. The limiting mind tends to feed on itself in a downward spiral. Placing blame on others or on yourself for the material in your limiting mind only serves to strengthen it. It's best to forgive, forget, and move on.

The first step on most roads to recovery is acceptance—admitting that there's a problem. The second step in overcoming the source of our anxiety is to bring it out of unconscious darkness and into the light of our conscious awareness. Only then can we begin to dismantle it, see how it works, and create procedures to nullify it.

The limiting mind may present hindering voices, images, or physical feelings when it's time to approach strangers and make their acquaintance. Let's identify the types of internal media it can use to intimidate you into aborting a social mission.

Voices of the limiting mind include:

“You won't know what to say” or “Remember last time you messed up?”

Other-oriented doubt:
“She probably has a boyfriend,” “She wouldn't be interested in me,” or “She's busy and I'd be interrupting her.”

Environmental doubt:
“Everyone around will make fun of me” or “It's too loud for her to hear me.”

Existential rationalization:
“Why bother? It won't work out anyway,” “I don't feel like it right now,” or “I'm having too much fun with my friends.”

False judgments:
“She isn't attractive enough” or “She seems way too shallow for me.”

Images of the limiting mind include getting ignored; being mocked or bullied; being sad and alone; being observed and judged; getting beaten up; being rejected; and seeing more qualified or successful men in the room.

The limiting mind also expresses itself through physical sensations. When a potential threat registers on your radar, the acute stress response (also known as the fight-or-flight response) releases adrenaline into your system. This hormone increases your breathing and heart rate; constricts blood vessels; tenses muscles; dilates pupils; elevates your blood sugar level; and weakens your immune system.

Awaken Your Freedom Mind

To abolish approach anxiety, convince yourself logically that the dialogue of your limiting mind is incorrect and in fact self-sabotaging. In your Day 1 reading assignment, several limiting beliefs were disproven. These are the kinds of rational responses your freedom mind can use when the limiting mind rears its ugly head.

For example, if your limiting mind tells you, “She won't hear you,” your freedom mind should answer back, “If she doesn't hear me the first time, I'll smile and politely repeat myself more loudly, slowly, and clearly.”

If your limiting mind tells you that you're going to get nervous, your freedom mind can say, “I may have a natural stress reaction to this situation because, after all, it is somewhat stressful. But that doesn't mean I won't be able to push through it. In the past, nervousness has given me the energy I needed to perform at my best and feel good about myself. So let's do this!”

Take a moment to write down your own limiting mind's reservations about approaching. Then write down corresponding freedom mind responses that empower you. Use the word
for the scripts of your limiting mind, and the words
in your freedom mind responses. This will help you disassociate from your limiting mind and associate more closely with your freedom mind.

It's up to you to feed positive scripts into your freedom mind on a regular basis, to give it the power to overcome, persevere, and succeed. To do this, pick three freedom mind scripts or affirmations that you feel would best replace your specific fears, whether they're the ones you just wrote down or ones included in this book. Write them on a single sheet of paper. Then read them out loud with conviction during your morning or evening freedom mind ritual, and run them through your mind over the course of the day. Once you start to feel the beneficial changes, switch to another set of affirmations according to your new needs.

Shift Your Submodalities

Submodalities are the media through which your senses receive, remember, and process information. For example, auditory submodalities include volume, pitch, tempo, and timbre.

To help eliminate negative internal dialogue, try adjusting the submodalities of your limiting mind's voice. Make it quieter and further away; stammering and squeaky; or use the voice of a person you don't like.

At the same time, give your freedom mind a strong, low-pitched, calm, nearby voice. Consider making it the voice of someone you respect: a mentor, an actor, or your future best self.

If these exercises seem at first glance like New Age tripe, that's your limiting
mind at work again. This process is exactly what trainers instruct top athletes to do to master their game. It's also one way that therapists eliminate phobias.

Visually, put your mental pictures and movies through the same filters. First, overpower the images of failure in your limiting mind with the successful images of your freedom mind. Change a picture of getting ignored to one of being adored; change a picture of being rejected into a bright, vivid visualization of a beautiful woman pressing her phone number into your palm.

Now change the submodalities. Make the images in your limiting mind small, distant, black-and-white, slow-moving, blurry, and dark. Disassociate with these negative images by seeing them not through your own eyes but as if you're watching yourself as a character on a movie screen.

Whenever your limiting mind images pop up, instantly replace them with large, bright, sharp, colorful pictures of successful situations. Associate with these images by seeing them through your own eyes.

BOOK: Rules of the Game
5.76Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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