My friend was telling me about attending a men’s event he attended a few years ago. A group of women were brought in to give direct feedback about how they perceived the guys and their clothing, their demeanor, the way they came across. These were grown men — construction workers, authors, professionals.
Try to imagine what happened.
“The guys were crying,” my friend told me told me. “Nobody had ever given us this kind of brutal feedback.” The women called them “creepy” and “dorky.”
My friend realized NOBODY HAD TAUGHT HIM how to talk to women. Worse, he’d been doing it wrong his entire life.
In his head, he was a nice guy. But the way he was coming across was terrible. The women weren’t being mean, and there was no reason to lie. He simply hadn’t realized how he was being perceived…for his whole life.
How many of us have things our friends aren’t telling us?
Maybe you’re socially awkward. Or you have an irritating verbal tic. Are you always late? Do you smell, but nobody will tell you?
What if you have a trait that’s crippling your social skills, or your career…but you never find out?
I realized this after a few years of not getting what I wanted. I tried to improve myself (e.g., to gain weight so I wasn’t so skinny, to get less socially awkward, etc), but it didn’t work.
You know what happens after a while?
We start to think about ourselves in a terrible way: “This is who I am.”
“I’m the skinny guy who can’t gain weight.” (I used to joke about that. I didn’t realize the impact that insulting myself had on my own self-concept.)
“I’m just lazy.”
“I’m not the kind of person who can start a business.”
We start to think that we’re not the kind of person who can earn more, or throw parties, or improve our style/appearance, or even our career skills!Of course, it’s not politically correct to tell ourselves that we’re limited, so we rationalize it:
- “Nobody’s perfect”
- “Best to focus on your strengths and ignore your weaknesses”
- “I don’t want to lose what I already have”
The truth is, it’s EASY to give up on yourself — much easier than forcing yourself to change! As we get older, it’s HARD to learn new skills. Just ask yourself: When was the last time you tried doing something new where you truly felt like a beginner?
This is the weirdest and most depressing part. At the moment where we accept our weaknesses and stop deciding to grow, we’re the BEST we’re ever going to be. It’s all downhill from there.
Or…we could take a different approach.
We could subject ourselves to uncomfortable situations where we take on the “beginner’s mind” and force ourselves to grow.
We could realize that ANYONE can get older…but few actually get “better with age” unless they’re intentional about it.
And we can pick a few areas of life we want to improve — just a few — and become masters at them.
Remember the men’s group I just told you about?
The friend was Michael Ellsberg. And I recently invited him into my NYC video studio to share his detailed story. I rarely get “shocked” by people any more, but his brutal honesty really surprised me.
In the interview, he shares:
- His rags-to-riches story: How he moved to Buenos Aires because he had no money and he couldn’t make it in America
- Now he makes multiple 6 figures/year (he named the exact figure on camera) and is a noted speaker on social skills
- His formula for why parents are often so worried about us, instead of supporting us (“They want safety for their kids — not excellence”)
And he talks about how he went through a grueling 10+ years of self-development to work on improving himself…sharing the toughest lessons so I could learn from his journey.
If you’re interested in learning about the “blind spots” you might have in your life — like how those women told Michael he was coming across as creepy — I want to show you this video.
Here’s a preview of the interview:
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