1. Emotional Health – The fundamental basis of being independent. It implies someone has taken charge of themselves and largely eradicated – or at least controls – the neurotic behaviors of guilt, anxiety, anger, and insecurity. It implies someone who fulfills many of Dr. Vaillant’s criteria for mature adaptations from the Harvard Grant Study, including altruism, humor, anticipation (looking ahead and planning for future discomfort), suppression (conscious decision to postpone attention to an impulse or conflict, to be addressed in good time), and sublimation (finding outlets for feelings, like putting aggression into sport, or lust into courtship). If these developments cannot be coached and developed on his own or mentors, he should unashamedly seek the assistance of a psychologist. I’ve done it, Mark has done it, Tom Brady has done it. You rush to the doctor after an arm is broken, so rush to him with similar fervor when your thoughts aren’t making you more healthy.
2. Communication of Identity – The fundamental basis of being interdependent. I like to think of identity as your personality after the neurotic behaviors are washed away. This stage is the interaction of that persona with the outside world. Mark defines it as “your beliefs, your values, your passions, your relationships. It’s what you have chosen in your life to define yourself.” It implies someone who quietly draws boundaries and sticks to them. It implies someone who will share his experiences and stories but will be equally engaged in the stories of others. Effective communication of your identity will polarize those around you, but isn’t that the point? This is where you define what you stand for, regardless of popularity. How would those around you describe you? What adjectives would they use? Are they consistent, or do they differ by person? The stronger your identity, the more consistent those descriptions will be.
3. Attractive Behaviors – Commonly referred to as “outer game.” These include the nuances that stoke emotion within the conversation, sparking intrigue and eliciting emotional investment. It implies someone who displays a similar or slightly lower level of investment than the person they are talking to. While superior emotional health and a strong identity nurture the authenticity of this feeling, attractive behaviors develop the expression of these traits. Dating gurus continue to innovate Rube Goldberg machine-like procedures and models that fundamentally all teach the same thing: how to flirt. These behaviors can attract women so long as the man acts in complete congruence with them.
The red flag ro me that indicated a huge emotional imbalance among the PUA community – from Doers and Scholars alike – is the extreme market demand for products promoting Attractive Behaviors rather than Emotional Health and Communication of Identity. Guys go for the quick fix. They don’t want to hear they have emotional problems, that learning “game” alone is akin to treating the symptoms and not the source. Doers are respected – deservedly so – as they master Attractive Behaviors. But why paint beautiful murals on the third floor of a mansion if the foundation is still sinking? Start at the beginning.
[ ] I believe once you have self-awareness and control of those issues, then, and only then, should you worry about the next step. [ ] As you invest in the bottom two foundations, Attractive Behaviors will naturally take shape. It will be authentic and real, not fabricated because a $99 eBook instructed you to do it. Always come back to the essence of Emotional Health: “I’m enjoying myself and everything is as it should be.” Never think past this until you believe it.
If you foster any of these limiting beliefs, your foundation is sinking:
- “If I get a girlfriend/sleep with 20 women/get a same night lay every weekend…. THEN I’ll be happy!”
- “If only I was taller/fitter/smarter/more tan/more chill/more like/a different race like that guy, etc.”
- “I need to replace her by fucking 10 other women.”
- “I need her.”
- “I’m willing to sacrifice my work, hobbies, or life to be with her.”
- “I’m better/worse than everyone else.”
- “I’ll never figure this out.”
I contend that, for many of us, the solution to our problems at the bar lies not in our computer screens but refining our attitude on the man in the mirror. That’s what ultimately helped me the most. And I think it will help you too.