Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Guest Post: The Relationships between Value, Confidence and Ego (by John)

John, a reader on my blog, left a serious of comments on my blog post on the pitfalls of "demonstrating high value", in which I highlighted a post on my forum. I've collected John's comments here, for better readability.
What is ironic about PUA advice is that its understanding of human psychology is so poor that it does not know which behaviors actually express the qualities it seeks to express. Its psychology is so crude.

Most people cannot quite verbalize it, but we all intuitively grasp that the guy who is "showing off" is not genuinely high status or genuinely confident. We instinctively react to show-offy behavior as an indication of lower status and lack of confidence. It is why Hollywood actors who are trying to convey ultra-confidence or extreme high status are trained to express themselves with restraint and moderation and avoid anything excessive "over-acting".

Yet interestingly, in popular culture the average guy is firmly convinced that confidence is best expressed through "over-acting", or being extravagantly assertive and "putting himself out there", firmly convinced they are impressing the ladies with evidence of their high levels of confidence as the women - and savvy men - are simply rolling their eyes. That's why "over-acting" and goofy behavior is so common by guys in clubs - they really think it's the face of confidence. The crude, shallow, popular-culture conception of confidence which gets it so wrong is really hard for most guys to outgrow.

Yet most guys are simply addicted to this kind of "over-acting" behavior and cannot quite convince themselves that it is actually a sign of insecurity. I have had conversations with friends who kind of saw my point, and could understand me intellectually and agree with me, but who would instinctively revert to show-offy behavior in clubs, and often try to defend it or deny that that's what they were doing. Show-offy behavior is "just having fun", they are just "more emotionally expressive than me", etc, etc. Such is the subconscious minds attachment to modes of thinking and acting that our conscious minds might be advanced enough to recognize as retrogressive.

Of course, the entire concept of DHV is null - because you cannot overtly demonstrate high status or confidence. In fact, both qualities are characterized specifically by an absence of excessive display, and by a subdued reticence that specifically avoids ANY effort to impress or make others think highly of you.

Conversely, avoiding excessive display or efforts to impress others in an effort to appear "cool" - which is sometimes counseled in PUA circles - is apt to come off as the kind of try-hard being "aloof" and "stony-faced" that is just as absurd and obvious an indication of insecurity as show-offy behavior. I have heard women mock this kind of obvious try-hard attempts at masculinity.

Paradoxically, confident people are characterized by having "NO EGO". This seems like a paradox, but it isn't, really. In popular language the word "ego" is often used to denote the kind of behavior that is meant to impress ourselves on others and assert ourselves against them inappropriately. The frame of reference of such behavior is "what other people think of us", even if we are not always aware of this and sometimes such behavior appears to be not caring at all what others think. Being inappropriately assertive towards others, say, (trying to dominate them or not be appropriately considerate towards them), comes from a place of needing others to ACKNOWLEDGE your superiority (you need them to submit to you or acknowledge your superior right to mistreat them). The man genuinely free from need doesn't need others to acknowledge his superiority - the truly self-secure - does not need them to "submit" to him, and is not seeking to demonstrate his superiority through failing to be considerate, and so is typically not inappropriately assertive.

So having "no ego" in the sense that one is not seeking to impress oneself on others is actually to have a firm, secure, and mature ego - in other words having "no ego" in the popular sense is to have a balanced and well-developed ego, one where you are not afraid to claim what is due you but are free from childish dreams of megalomania and the need to be inappropriately assertive towards others. Such well-balanced, truly secure individuals are rare in modern Western culture, especially in America, where a kind of childish and inappropriate assertiveness is encouraged as an expression of "confidence".

So in sum, one should NOT try to be "show-offy - even in subtle ways - NOR should one try to be "aloof" or "indifferent" - one is an active attempt to show-off, and one is a passive attempt to show-off. They are two sides of the same coin. I do not want to give the silly impression that I believe confidence is expressed by being "aloof" or "indifferent". I want to make clear that such a silly notion is as bad as thinking that confidence is expressed by acting flamboyantly or with excessive self-assertion.

Rather, according to my belief that confidence is best expressed by having "no ego" in the popular conception of that word, I believe one should be polite, considerate, and "open" (not aloof) to others, while at the same time, refusing to fawn over anyone or allowing oneself to be mistreated. Not trying in the least bit to appear "superior" - not by being "indifferent", and not by being excessively self-assertive - as you simply do not need others to "acknowledge" your supposed superiority. In fact, you care so little about them acknowledging your superiority that you are quite prepared to treat them politely as equals :)

When I go out in this frame of mind, I have my best social encounters, with both men and women. I tend to connect with women very well in this state of mind and other guys are quite willing to socialize with me. Of course, a woman still has to be sexually attracted to me to go home with me, but I believe this state of mind is optimum and at least removes any social barriers.

The moment arrogance or "ego" creeps back into my mindset, I bomb socially, every time.

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic post! This is a concept I've slowly been grasping as I've matured. Game definitely promotes the loud and brash type of ego expression, which is definitely damaging in most social interactions.


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