The Most Important Trait for Men, and How to Get It.

by Michael on June 2, 2009 · 0 comments

The best things in life are earned. Trust. Respect. Knowledge. The free CD I get for buying 12 at my local record store.

Probably the most important trait in a man’s life is what pickup artists call “inner game,” and what the average woman’s profile calls “comfortable in your own skin”: plain old-fashioned confidence. It gets you ahead at work, it’s

And you can only really get confidence the old-fashioned way: you must earn it.

They can't make a statue of you if you don't leave the house. (Flickr photo by ChiBart)

They can't make a statue of you if you never leave the house. (Flickr photo by ChiBart)

Confidence is at its root the knowledge that you can succeed, that you have succeeded, and that failure is simply an opportunity to make adjustments for bigger future success. But how do you get from shyness and paralysis to confidence?

Start with small steps

There are very few areas where someone can go from zero to raging success with no steps in between. The McDonald brothers – maybe you’ve heard of their restaurants – started with a hot dog stand. Microsoft started out creating software and hardware for Apple computers. Google started as a college research project. The list goes on.

Find the low-hanging fruit and get those notches in your belt. Find the easiest goals in your life and accomplish them. The key here is to find an achievable goal that isn’t contingent on others’ opinions of your achievement. Been telling yourself that one day you’re going to paint those walls? Think it would be an accomplishment to talk to five strangers? Always wanted to blog? Go for it, my friend.

A good place to start might be with these 22 tips to jumpstart your life.

It’s important to feel your success – that will help you to visualize future successes as you take on bigger goals and more risk.

Learning is critical

I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.

– Michael Jordan

As you move up the success ladder, you’ll suffer setbacks. Everyone does, from Bill Clinton losing re-election in Arkansas to Donald Trump going bankrupt. Neither backed down after their losses. Instead, they learned from the mistakes and turned them into even bigger successes down the road.

When you don’t achieve a goal, try to look objectively at what you (and only you) could have done differently. It might be a mistake, or it might be some education you need. Acknowledge the improvements you’ll make, visualize yourself making those improvements, then move on to the next goal. Don’t dwell. And likewise when you succeed, make note of what you think went particularly well, reward yourself, and get on to your next goal.

Take some risk

The more you risk, the sweeter the success. When you get on roller skates, you risk falling. When you approach a woman, you risk being “shot down.” But it’s only after you’ve fallen a dozen times or been shot down repeatedly that you realize what you thought was “failure” isn’t so bad after all.

Here’s the thing: by taking on that risk in the first place, you succeed.

Ever watch Jackass? The whole show is based on guys fearlessly doing incredibly stupid things. How did they get to the point of making millions of dollars by giving each other paper cuts and letting farm animals kick them? They all did less stupid things and survived. And they realized that even when they “fail” (and they fail often) they still have the exhilaration of getting in there and doing it.

After a while you just start enjoying the ride. And when that happens, just like Michael Jordan, you’ll want the ball every time.

Where confidence really comes from

I skied for the first time only two years ago. My girlfriend at the time loved to ski, and I thought booking a trip to a ski resort would be great for our relationship. I’d hit the bunny slope, maybe take a lesson, and then we’d bond over après and après-après.

Well, it was late in the season, and the green beginner runs were all closed. Long story short, I found myself with skis on my feet for the first time in my life, pointed down what looked like a cliff. Even keeping my feet in the “snowplow” position and taking it slow, I fell down a lot. By the end of the day I was a cold, soggy mess, and the GF got bored as hell watching me flail and flop. And guess what else – we broke up not long afterward.

But out of that experience I made two discoveries: despite eating snow all day, I liked to ski, and falling on 80 inches of snow was far from the end of the world. So the next year I signed up for lessons and a discount pass, and at the end of the season I went back and skied that run perfectly.

Now, I ski with friends of mine who have been doing it for years. Occasionally they’ll choose to plunge down a steep that is clearly above my general skill level. And I’ll usually look down, mumble “damn,” then “let’s do this,” and follow them – because I’m not too proud to take it slow, or to fall. Most of all, I know not only what I’m capable of now, but that I’m capable of more.

And so are you. What’s your first goal?

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