Growing up in various small towns in the South and the North of England, I recall clearly when I first moved to Manchester. For those not from this country, Manchester is the country’s third largest urban area behind London and Birmingham, playing host to just over 2 million residents. How very large it seemed to me at the time, how sprawling was the city centre, how abundant the bars and clubs, how hot the women and thronging the streets.
Young and impressionable, I felt that I had arrived in a bustling metropolis, intimidated and overwhelmed by the seeming success of the people, afraid to approach the women, who seemed to be not only out of my league, but playing a different sport.
Last week, on a return visit to the North to visit my parents, I stopped by Manchester for a quick visit. What had happened to it in my absence? Was this really the same place, the once bustling and wealthy streets now faded and shabby, the throngs of once important seeming people now dishevelled and downcast, the bounteous beautiful women now replaced with roving packs of cheap slappers wearing too much makeup? Wondering how once I had been in such awe, I strode around feeling like I owned the place, owning every interaction, drawing more admiring glances in the space of an hour than I had accumulated in the entire 5 years that I have lived there hence.
Of course, Manchester hadn’t changed – it was just the same as it always has been. It was me who had changed.
The last 12 months since I moved to London have seen my personal development come on in massive leaps and bounds. Now here is a city that truly has wealth, opportunity, opulence, and successful people. The sheer amount of money on display in some parts of the city is staggering at times. At first, upon arriving fresh from my time in the North, I was at once overwhelmed again, much as I had been on first moving to Manchester. Except this time, within the space of a few short months, I found it had forged a steely resolve within me to better all these people I saw around me. Starved for so long of a real target to aim for, my natural competitive urges, withered and dormant, sprung suddenly back into life, stronger than ever. I wanted what these people had. The money, the lifestyle, the cars, the girls. What did any of these people possess innately in their characters that I did not? Nothing, and I would prove it.
Having now moved pretty close to the top of the pile down here, I no longer feel there are any cities in the world which are capable of overwhelming me. I feel completely in control, and master of all I survey wherever I now go in the world.
Apologising in advance for the preponderance of piscine analogies in about to lean on… I feel that is important that you realise the size of the pond you inhabit defines the size of the fish you can become. You can only get to be an average sized fish if you live in an average sized pond. Even smaller, if you live in a puddle. To truly reap the benefits of being a big fish in a small pond, you need to push yourself out of your comfort zone, and move somewhere which is going to allow you to grow to the fullest extent of your capabilities, before returning.
Better still than returning to your home pond once you have become the biggest fish you care to become, is to seek out foreign ponds. Not only will you be bigger than most of the the other fish there, you will also be exotic to the local aquatic fauna. Some ponds are so small in comparison to the one where cut your teeth that you will be a shark, dangerously cruising the waters, seeking your prey with a ruthless killer instinct.
Whilst it is fully possible to be a big fish in a big pond, you’re always going to be competing against numerous other big fish. Much better in my opinion to take advantage of your size by visiting smaller foreign ponds, where you are the only one. We see plenty of evidence of this in action, with numerous PUAs absolutely cleaning up in places like the Phillipines currently. You’ll need to move quickly though, because due to globalisation, ponds around the world are only going to get bigger and bigger in a short space of time.
Of course, these are all fishy analogies, to be taken with a pinch of salt. I’m not advocating strutting around like some pompous prick wherever you go, since that will land you on a one way street to getting your head kicked in most places in the world. The analogies merely serve as a metaphor for how you will feel, how it will influence your state and inner confidence, and the lens through which you view the world that colours your interactions with everyone else.
Stop making excuse after excuse as to why you cannot leave your job, why you cannot move away from your small town, and man the hell up and get on with it. The world is out there, merely waiting for you to step up and take it.