It’s a glorious day here in London, the sun beating down from a cloudless blue sky, the ladies of Clapham stripping back the layers to reveal their pasty British flesh underneath.
Not 15 minutes hence, I was walking up the High St, rocking out the gym kit after just finishing off a brutal leg session and partaking of a sunbed (I’m metrosexual, so sue me). I spotted a really cute girl sat astride an electrical cabinet on the pavement, handing out flyers for a food drive. I took one, made some comment about the way the was straddling the cabinet, and walked into the supermarket where I had to do some shopping. I figured I’d make a play on her, so I picked up a few tins of beans as well as an excuse to go back. Upon returning, I bantered with her for a bit (she told me she was helping out for a church that her sister was a member of), fed her some of my gourmet biltong (smooth move huh), and then took her number, telling her I’d take her out for a drink sometime.
And as I walked away… a powerful wave of disgust and self-loathing washed over me. I had been nervous throughout the entire encounter (as I generally am still at this stage in my development when talking to a girl who I consider to be >8.5 – I see so few of them), and consequently had to surf a wave of adrenaline to form my sentences, and had stumbled in the conversation a couple of times. I began to tell myself that she had thought I was weird. She’d given me her number to get rid of me. She’d flake. Rather than be pleased that I’d spotted a girl I fancied, and had had the balls to go and get number, all I could feel was shame that I hadn’t handled it better.
Welcome to my perfectionism.
It completely prevented me from even doing street approaches for so much of my life. I knew full well that if I went up to a girl who I genuinely thought was hot (so there was something at stake), and made (what I perceived to be) a total fool of myself by not delivering the best version of myself that I can be, then I’d feel total disgust and shame at myself afterwards. So I totally avoided it.
How did I eventually start doing it? I had to develop my inner confidence in the rest of my life to a massively high level – nearly every single person that knows me now says I am the most confident person they’ve ever met. As a result of my high level self-esteem, the disgust I feel at myself for not acting like a man in such a situation outweighs the fear of the disgust I’d feel if I made a hash of the pickup attempt, and so I am compelled to act. Rock and a hard place eh!
If I’m honest, I can’t pinpoint exactly where my perfectionism stems from. It’s obviously something in my childhood, the most likely candidates I’ve been able to come up with are:
- I was always top of the class effortlessly at everything at school (and a the worst behaved kid simultaneously!), and so perhaps this instilled in me a fear of failure, and therefore risk avoidance
- I was completely shut out by my father and brother growing up, and therefore subconsciously blamed myself for not being good enough
Whatever the cause, it can be utterly crippling at times, and means that if I feel there is a risk of myself looking like a twat by being bad at something, I simply won’t even try. I know it’s all in my own head, and no-one else except me gives a shit, but you can’t always logic yourself out of these things.
The CBT sessions I attended helped massively with this. My own studies into how to achieve presence and the nature of consciousness also were of massive benefit – despite being nervous throughout the whole encounter, my presence didn’t slip once. I was aware of the feelings I was having, but it was like they were happening to someone else. So thanks Steve Jabba for getting me on to that.
Don’t get me wrong, being a perfectionist isn’t all bad. It causes me to have incredibly high standards for everything in my life. I take massive pride in my work, my appearance, my social skills. Continually seeking out how to get one level better at everything has made me excel at nearly everything I do, way past 99.99% of the rest of the population. And once I feel that I have achieved a very high level at something, which satisfies my perfectionism – I’m like a force of nature unleashed in terms of my unshakeable confidence in myself and unwavering self-belief. This is why reference experiences are so important.
Unfortunately, as it stands, I’m not going to consider that I’ve achieved a high enough level in pickup to satisfy my perfectionism until I can march up to a supermodel in the middle of the street and deliver the most suave, urbane and witty banter she’s ever heard whilst possessing glacial inner calm throughout the entire encounter. Possible? Yes of course, but it’s going to take a while to get there. I will get there however.
At least I’m finally in a position where the shame I feel for not acting in these situations makes me feel worse than the fear of the resultant shame from making a less than perfect attempt of the pickup, so I will always take action rather than remain passive.
People tell me I’m too hard on myself – I tell them they’re not hard enough on themselves. I know for certain my perfectionism will drive me on to be more successful than almost everyone else in the world eventually, in every sphere of life I care about. Maybe I’ll give myself a break one day… when I’m dead!
Enjoy your weekend, cheers