Are You Too Nice to Break Up with Him?

Are You Too Nice to Break Up with Him?You’ve been dating for a while.

He’s a good guy. A really good guy.

He’s nice, your parents like him, he’s got a solid career, and he picks up after himself.

What do you have to complain about?

And yet…

The thought of walking down the aisle with him fills your heart with dread. Because he has some habits that really bother you. And you’re not sure if it’s just a phase or the beginning of a downward spiral.

So what should you do?

Break up with him?

Stick with it and hope things get better?

I’m going to offer a different suggestion.

One that goes counter to everything most people do.

If you’re like most people, you don’t pay a lot of attention to those relationship doubts at first. It’s not like you’re committed.

But if your girlfriends ask, you’re honest. You mention your reservations about him. They’re encouraging. They want you to be happy. They want to see you with someone who’s good for you.

Maybe you talk it over with your mother, and she gives you that old platitude, “Time will tell.”

So you go back to him, and you keep seeing each other. You take each day as it comes. Besides, your relationship is comfortable. It’s much better than being single. He doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to have “The Talk” about your future, so you don’t have to decide anything yet.

But…

Is this state of indecision serving you?

Is it serving your relationship?

And what about him? Are you completely certain he’s in the dark about your doubts?

Does he really have no clue you’ve got one foot in the relationship and one foot out?

Or is he doing exactly what you’re doing:

Avoiding the topic so neither of you have to face the uncomfortable truth that you might not be suited to each other?

That’s why I suggest doing something that might hurt a bit but will ultimately serve your relationship (and you) better in the long run.

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The Mindset Makeover for Confidence

The Mindset Makeover for ConfidenceThis article is about building your social confidence and optimism. So you might find this next sentence a bit strange.

It’s common for Buddhist monks to meditate on death. Specifically, their own death.

Why would they do that? Well, Buddhists seek enlightenment, a state of blissful oneness and joy that can only emerge in a person who has relinquished all attachment to self-referential goals.

By contemplating how the world will continue on without them, long after their death, these monks become less afraid, less selfish, and more interested in the unfolding beauty of the present moment.

It helps them to detach from fear and take one step closer to bliss.

Perhaps that’s why peak performance psychologist, Michael Gervais says, “The most powerful people in the world are those that have nothing to lose.” We tend not to get nervous when we have nothing to lose.

Dr. Gervais has worked with some of the world’s top performers, like the Seattle Seahawks, Felix Baumgartner (the Red Bull athlete who completed the stratosphere Jump), Olympians, musicians, and other champions who face high-stakes performance situations for a living. So I believe he knows what he’s talking about when it comes to handling anxiety.

Fortunately, he realizes it’s unrealistic for most of us to achieve a mental state where we literally believe we have nothing to lose. So for us mere mortals, he offers this alternative:

“Those who have nothing to PROVE are incredibly powerful.”

When it comes to dating and building strong romantic relationships, this mindset can relieve a lot of stress and tension. You relax a little when you don’t feel the need to prove your worth.

The actor, Matthew McConaughey explains it well in a commencement speech he gave about finding happiness. He says his acting career really took off when he stopped using his acting as a means to an end, and instead threw himself completely into the work itself.

He stopped thinking about getting famous, winning awards, or gaining the approval of his peers in the acting world. Instead, he tried to find joy in the work itself. And he says that’s when he suddenly began to receive acting awards. That’s when his career really took off.

Why? Because he stopped chasing happiness. The strange truth is, happiness is only a byproduct of achieving goals. But each time we achieve a goal, we just raise the bar. So happiness is a fleeting experience. Only a ripple that occurs for a short time after each new desire is achieved.

Joy is different.

Joy is a lasting sense of well-being that emerges from fully immersing ourselves in the process of living life well. In the process of working. In the process of being a good parent. In the process of meeting potential partners. In the process of inviting a partner into deeper levels of shared intimacy.

Joy happens along the way. It emerges on the journey.

What would happen if you became less concerned with outcomes in your romantic relationship? Would you find yourself feeling more confident as a result?

An enlightened person no longer experiences the world through the typical filter the rest of us do. Through meditation, they learn to observe their own thoughts and then mentally separate themselves from the natural desires that typically drive our daily thoughts, interpretations, and emotional reactions.

Maybe you’re not into meditation. But what would happen if, before your next date, you simply paused to consider what the world will be like 200 years beyond your own death? Do you think it might awaken something inside of you?

Might it cause the light of your being to burn more brightly as you relinquish the need to control the future, and instead become fascinated with just this one vibrant experience of interacting with another human being?

That’s one way to practice a mindset that unlocks your natural confidence.

You see, Michael Gervais says confidence is a skill. You’re not born with it. You have to train it.

Just like everything else, your genetics are involved, and your upbringing and environment are involved. But so are the choices you make about what gets your attention. In other words, you can train your mind toward things like optimism and confidence.

But it doesn’t happen automatically just because you had parents who loved you, or just because you had 12 or more years of education.

Your mindset is up to you. No one else is going to train it for you.

Carol Dweck has rocketed on to the public scene with her book, Mindset. And the reason is simple. It’s a message we needed to hear.

Though her book is primarily about raising children so that they love learning, there’s a deeper message in there for all of us. And the deeper message is that anxiety hampers performance and learning.

Anxiety has the worst impact on kids who are labeled as “smart.” Why? Because those kids gradually develop a fixed mindset. The idea that being smart is something you are or you aren’t… and the tests will tell you which one you are.

In contrast, the kids who go on to do great things, get PhD’s, and develop a lifelong love of learning are the ones who have a growth mindset. These children are encouraged to see their grades as feedback about the process of learning rather than feedback about whether or not they are a smart person.

The key to decreased anxiety and increased confidence is a growth mindset. So what does this mean for your relationships?

It means you should revel in the process of getting better at relationships. Focus less on future outcomes and more on getting better each day or each minute.

If you feel nervous on a date, treat it like an opportunity to practice and learn. Take on the “growth mindset.”

For example, you could turn your attention to practicing good small talk skills. Or turn your attention to the skill of reading his nonverbal signals. Or simply focus on building your skill for practicing gratitude right at that moment.

With time, this mindset training will become a part of your identity. And you won’t want to give it up.

Always on your side,
James

P.S. If you liked this article, you’ll love the other two articles in this series on building your natural reservoir of confidence. Choose your next step toward confidence by clicking one of the articles below.

Flirting Bootcamp
Social Skills Bootcamp

Social Skills Boot Camp

Social Skills Boot CampI like confident people.

Especially when the source of their confidence is good social skills (rather than good looks, wealth, or accomplishments). Because, here’s the thing about a person who is socially adept…

They can:

  • make you feel good about yourself,
  • help you relax into comfortable conversation with them,
  • and make it all feel effortless.

Do you want to feel more confident? Then let’s boost your social skills!

Few things can boost your social confidence more than taking action to deliberately build your social skills. And if you’re like most people, you’ve never done ANYTHING to purposefully develop your social confidence.

Of all the things you had to study in school, charisma was not one of them. If only we had spent as much time with a charisma instructor as we did with our P.E. instructors.

In lieu of that educational deficit, I’d like to provide you my top 10 list of specific actions you can take if you choose to purposely build up your social skills.

This list is by no means exhaustive. And not all of my methods will work for you. But I’d encourage you to peruse this list in search of just two methods you could use to invest in your confidence this week.

Ready? Okay, here we go.

The James Bauer Top 10 List of Ways to take action for Enhanced Social Confidence.

  1. Ask your friends those etiquette questions that have bugged you for years.
    Being uncertain about social expectations makes us feel insecure. Whether it’s business etiquette, dating etiquette, email etiquette, dining etiquette, or anything else, don’t live with that uncertainty! It’s simply unnecessary. Follow these steps:

    • Make a list of three things you always wondered about were never felt 100% certain about when it comes to the proper way to act in a given social context.
    • Ask three of your closest friends for their opinion on the matter. Ask them separately so they don’t fall prey to “groupthink” where everyone sensors their true thoughts to fit with the person that speaks at first.

  2. Read How To Be More Interesting, by Jessica Hagy.
    This is one of those books that is not only helpful, but also fun to read. It’s almost more of a picture book than a real self-help book. Yet the golden nuggets it contains are worth your attention.

  3. Make lists of things you like about people.
    Here’s why you should do this. Writing slows down our thoughts, allowing new insights to emerge and solidifying concepts in our memory. As a result of making this list, you will naturally find those things you like about people emerging in your conversations with them. And there are few things that make people like us more than knowing we like them.

  4. Get confident about the way you look.
    Maxwell Maltz published a book in 1960 called Psycho-Cybernetics. He was a plastic surgeon who became fascinated by the way people’s self-confidence often improved in dramatic ways after rather insignificant plastic surgery operations.

    His book is now famous as a self-help classic. And that’s because it showed how much our self-perception affects our confidence.

    The truth is, physical attractiveness can make you more confident, but only because of how it changes your thoughts about yourself.

    Sometimes, people lose self-confidence because of gaining weight. Other people might still think you look fine. But all you see in the mirror is a body that doesn’t reflect the way you want to look. If that’s true for you, don’t use random experimentation in your efforts to lose weight. Follow these steps:

    • Give yourself permission to go after the body you want, without any guilt. If it matters to your happiness, then it’s a good investment of your time and attention.
    • Learn the one underlying key to all weight loss methods by following The Metabolic Factor step-by-step plan for a thinner, sexier version of you.
    • Download (and actually use) the training modules in The Metabolic Factor until people start asking you how you lost all that weight!Now, to be clear, you don’t need any new information to start investing in the kind of action that leads to weight loss. But if you’re looking for a more systematic way to ramp up and gain traction at a faster pace, this is the system we’ve seen work.If you’re not sure if this is for you they have a short quiz you can take HERE.

  5. Tell stories about your flops, failures, and unmet goals.
    Most of us spend far too much time trying to impress others. The truth is, we are most drawn to those who seem real. And people seem most real when they admit their flaws, openly discuss their struggles in life, and invite us to do the same. Follow these steps:

    • Make a list of three things you want, even if it’s the kind of desire that is not very flattering to admit. Choose just one of those desires and resolve to talk openly about it with at least two people within the next 24 hours.
    • Think of one person you’d really like to impress. Decide on one “failure story” to share with them the next time the opportunity arises. You’ll be surprised how often they either reciprocate with the story of their own or start rooting for you to succeed in the future.

  6. Practice reading between the lines.
    Try to guess what people are thinking or feeling. When you have a private moment with them, verbally reflect on what you have noticed. Reflect on it in the form of a question, “Are you feeling tired today?”

    Here’s why. You’ll either be right or wrong. In most cases, they will give you corrective feedback. This accomplishes two things at once. First, you enhance your ability to read the thoughts and feelings of others. Second, you display interest and empathy, encouraging people to open up about their inner world. And of course, that tends to enhance relationships.

    We all have innate talents. But most people underestimate the power of feedback. Use feedback to gradually improve your ability to read the thoughts and feelings of others.

  7. Assume others feel more insecure than you do.
    Do you try to project an air of confidence even when you feel a bit insecure? So does everybody else. And that’s why you should operate on the assumption that even people who look cool, calm, and collected may be feeling insecure on the inside.

    Just realizing this can help you take the focus off yourself, which has a way of calming nerves and making you feel more confident. Focus on making other people feel accepted, interesting, and funny. Follow these steps:

    • Think of two people who seem to have it all together.
    • Consider the possibility that they may not feel as secure on the inside as they appear on the outside.
    • In your mind’s eye, rehearse the kinds of things you could say or do the next time you see one of these people to make them feel safe and appreciated.

  8. Start 15 conversations per day.
    Treat it like a game. Reach for conversation starters that seem to energize conversations almost instantly. This is a skill you can only get better at with practice. Follow these steps:

    • For the first three days, use any silent moment with others to think of a good conversation starter. You don’t have to say it out loud. Just critique the initial ideas that come to your mind, trying to think of an even better conversation starter than the first one that pops into your mind.
    • For the next week, keep a log. Try to start five small conversations each day. It could be a complete stranger, a coworker, or someone you know well. Everything counts.
    • Try to beat your last number until you eventually hit 15 new conversations for three days in a row.
    • Over time, the sheer volume of practice will improve your ability to pick conversation topics that instantly trigger engagement and interest from others.

  9. Learn how to use mnemonics to remember people’s names.
    When I was 19, as a sophomore in college, a psychology professor told me about mnemonics. I was immediately intrigued with the idea of studying less and remembering more. So I bought a book about mnemonics.

    That book had several useful techniques. But to this day, the skill I use the most is for remembering people’s names the first time I meet them, and rarely (if ever) for getting them.

    Now, I loaned that book to a friend 20 years ago, and (ironically) I don’t remember the name of the book. But this one is written better and explains the same concepts.

  10. At social gatherings, break past small talk.
    Many people feel nervous about social gatherings. We don’t want to look dumb, standing there with no one to talk to and nothing to say. Even if you have no interest in being “the life of the party,” you still want to look like you belong.

    Here’s the thing. Everyone else wants the same thing. But we often get stuck in endless cycles of small talk no one enjoys. To break past small talk, follow these steps:

    • Ask “tell me how,” questions.
    • For example, “tell me how you ended up in sales. “Tell me how” questions invite a story instead of a flat, one-word answer. They also provide plenty of opportunities for you to ask follow-up questions that lead to even more interesting spinoff discussions.
    • Practice asking “tell me how,” questions to get used to the flow of it before you find yourself at the next awkward social gathering.

And finally, don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Try to enjoy the warmth of friendship rather than impressing people all the time. You’ll enjoy life more and end up making a better impression.

Till next time,

James

Flirting Boot Camp

Flirting Boot CampFlirting is essential to building AND maintaining romantic relationships.

Whether you’ve been too self-conscious to start, or you just want to expand your comfort with flirting, this article will help. We’re going to rapidly review the basics…the “active ingredients” of flirting.

When you understand that flirting is nothing more than a language of interest, you will begin to see new opportunities to use it. You’ll use it to increase the energy flowing between you and a man you like.

A lot of people think they cannot flirt. They’re afraid they’ll look stupid or get rejected. But think of it this way, flirting can range from extremely subtle to outrageously daring.

The subtle forms of flirting offer the least intrusive, least risky ways of demonstrating interest. So if you feel nervous, start there. (I’ll show you how in just a minute).

Start thinking of flirting as nothing more than a special language designed to increase the energy between two people.

You send a message that allows the recipient to read between the lines. You are sending a message of unspoken possibilities.

And by the way, everyone has a right to flirt. You don’t need to have a gorgeous figure or flawless skin to get in on this game.

Yes, taking action to build confidence in your looks is important too. That’s another place where it helps to follow a proven system to remove all the guesswork. Something like the Venus factor for rapid weight loss, or The Metabolic Factor if you’ve succeeded with weight loss in the past but your metabolism is too slow to keep the weight off long term.   

Do everything you can to feel attractive. If you haven’t already seen it, Leslie Munsell’s amazing shake recipe book can do wonders for your skin, which research suggests is your “sexiest organ.” Maybe that’s because your skin broadcasts a lot about our health.

But good looks won’t necessarily rid you of fear. Some of my most attractive clients feel too nervous to openly flirt with a guy. Why? Because they lack experience.

But I have good news for you. The best antidote to fear is practice, and that practice will be much easier if you start out so subtle that he doesn’t even notice at first.

You’ve got to start somewhere. Get your feet wet, and then gradually wade in to less subtle forms of flirting as it begins to feel less like a performance and more like a language you’re already fluent in. A language of fun and possibility.

Principles of Flirting

I will try to sum up the most important principles for flirting in a single sentence.

Exude warmth while taking risks to demonstrate interest so he feels good about himself and the interaction.

Now, breaking that sentence down, here are some key points you want to keep in mind:

  • Demonstrate warmth.
  • Be willing to take playful risks.
  • Make him feel good about himself.
  • Show interest.

I want to add one additional principle here. Flirting is not something you do continuously.

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