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Why won’t anyone be honest with you?

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Jesus, relationship advice for women is the worst.

I was reading a women’s relationship-advice site.

This girl was asking for advice about a guy she was seeing. They had gone on a few dates, but he hardly called her and mostly sent short text replies when she initiated.

“LEAVE HIM!” the other women on the forum yelled.

“Here is what you do,” one said. “You need to test him and make him work for it.”

Another said, “Let him chase you. You need to filter out guys like this and go for men who want you.”

Ok, that advice isn’t bad.

But do you notice something funny about the advice?

NOT ONE PERSON TOLD HER TO IMPROVE HERSELF.

Instead, they told her about filtering men…and how HE needed to work to win her…and how she shouldn’t put up with the way he was treating her.

I prefer the advice of my man, R&B singer Lyfe Jennings, who memorably said:

Be the person you wanna find
Don’t be a nickel out here lookin’ for a dime

That’s right. To develop new behavioral-change techniques, on Mondays I read the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology for new research. And on Tuesdays, I blast Lyfe Jennings. BOOM.

Skip to 0:40 to kick this off

Yes, that girl on the advice forum should probably kick that guy to the curb (he’s just not that into her). But I guarantee she could improve herself — becoming more fun, getting more fit, picking up interesting activities, and overall working on her positive attitude.

This idea of actually improving yourself is advice NOBODY tells their friends. It’s politically incorrect and impolite, and it’s easier to tell them to DUMP THAT LOSER! But it also happens to be 100% true.

Ramit’s blunt relationship advice

I want to show you what I mean.

A friend of mine had a crush on one of my friends, a big-name, top-tier guy. She was mystified that he didn’t seem to be into her, and she asked for my advice. I don’t usually give relationship advice (because people are weirdos and start hating you when you don’t tell them they’re the greatest), but she was persistent.

I said one thing: “What kind of woman does a man like him want?”

She responded with generic BS: “Confident, smart, blah blah.”

I said, “Ok, just stop. This dude is a high-caliber man. He is SWIMMING in women. Of course he wants that — but that’s just the price of admission. What else?”

She was stumped — and admitted she’d never really thought of what HE would want — because in her mind, for her entire life, she’d been the prize that men pursued.

It turned out there were a few things she COULD work on. She recognized that to attract a top-tier partner, she had to be at the top of your game.

(By the way, this is just as true for guys. It’s not enough to just coast by — improving yourself means becoming more interesting, fit, engaging, and entertaining. When you become the life of the party, women will be attracted to you, instead of simply having to chase after whatever you can get. Harsh truths.

I know this first-hand. Over the last 10 years, I systematically improved myself mentally, physically, emotionally, and intellectually. When my friends and I used to walk up and introduce ourselves to girls, they would walk away in the MIDDLE OF OUR INTRODUCTION. That doesn’t happen any more.

Back then, I had crippling beliefs. For example, I would always tell jokes with friends, and girls would laugh, but they would laugh like this: “Oh ha ha…he’s so funny…some girl is really gonna like him one day” (Classic Nice Guy Syndrome). Overcoming them literally took YEARS, so I know why it’s so challenging to hear someone say you should work on yourself.)

But I’m telling you this because I’m not here to make you feel syrup-y good — I’m here to help you improve and live a rich life. And sometimes that takes brutal honesty.

By the way, I’m not just talking about relationships…

We do the same thing with careers. We write about what WE want in a job…how WE want a flexible schedule, how WE need to make $X, how WE want to work from home on Fridays.

I call this “I, I, I Syndrome,” because average people spend so much time thinking about what they want…that they NEVER pay attention to what the hiring manager wants!

Pay close attention here: If you’re early in your career, you can wait around for 10 years and try to get more experience.

OR

You can deeply understand the hopes, fears, and dreams of a hiring manager at your Dream Job…and shortcut everyone else. (Or your ideal partner.)

  • Even if you don’t have 10 years of experience
  • Even if you’re not sure you’re the right fit for the job (or person)
  • Even if you’re not sure what your dream job is

This principle — that 80% of the work is done before you ever set foot in the room — is something I covered two days ago on Fox & Friends, a national morning show:

People want the magic bullets — “Ramit, what should I say in a negotiation?? What’s the magic phrase??” but the truth is, 80% of the work happens BEFORE you ever walk into that room.

I can give you word-for-word negotiation scripts for earning thousands more — and I WILL give it to you in a couple weeks on my email list — but if you haven’t done the 80% of the pre-work, the scripts won’t help you.

If you don’t understand the psychology of barriers, no amount of fancy scripts will help. This is why amateur “pickup artists” always want to know, “What did you say to talk to her?? Tell me the line!!!” but they fail to understand that no script will persuade someone to stay with you if you’re not an interesting, engaging person.

So how do you do it? How do you out-prep everyone so by the time you walk in the room, you have an UNFAIR ADVANTAGE over everyone else?

In other words, instead of waiting for others to “like you for who you are” (classic loser mentality), why not become a better person? Why not become truly IRRESISTIBLE by becoming more skilled, more attractive, more truly understanding their hopes/fears/dreams, and by becoming so popular they can’t help but want you?

This year, I’m going to show you how to do exactly that.

Becoming a top performer isn’t as simple as reading some script like a magical incantation, but there are MASSIVE strategic shortcuts you can use to save years.

Plus — what’s the alternative? Doing the same thing you’ve always done?

Complaining about Washington politicians and tax policies?

Whining about the economy and how the Baby Boomers took all our jobs?

Get a life. Let other people whine. IWT readers will be busy dominating.

Btw, why am I doing this? Why make TAKING CONTROL the theme of this year?

Because I’ve systematically studied and tested these techniques for over 10 years. Not hand-wavy generic advice like “Be more confident” (vomit), but the actual SPECIFIC ways to conquer your psychological barriers, build a systematic way of deciding what’s important, and eliminate distractions.

You can apply these to being more productive, earning more, finding a dream job, and even becoming more attractive.

In fact, I’ll show you.

Here’s what I’m going to be revealing in the next few weeks:

  • The Top 5 Productivity Mistakes that keep most people stagnant, as if there’s an invisible anchor attached to them (instead of using productivity techniques that top performers routinely employ)
  • The scientifically proven and tested process for building better habits, coming in a mega-post featuring two habit-formation experts — BJ Fogg, founder of the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab, and Charles Duhigg, bestselling author of The Power of Habit.
  • 3 “Small Talk Hacks” so you’ll never again feel alone when you walk into a room of new people.
  • How to avoid the biggest social blunders men and women make — with before-and-after video examples. This is one of my favorites since you can actually SEE the difference.
  • Tested scripts for turning any introduction into a lasting relationship. (If you think success is all about WHO you know, not WHAT you know, then this post will be for you.)
  • And a few other surprises I can’t mention yet.

Whether it’s relationships or finding your dream job — or any area of self improvement — you can choose to complain about tax policy, and how you’re not tall enough, or how that guy got hired because of his dad.

Or you can play the cards you were dealt and optimize for what you’ve got, recognizing that we all start at different levels. I was a socially awkward 127-lb dude who came from a very middle-class family. I worked — and worked HARD — to become skilled at psychology, systems, business, and behavioral change.

Others wait to be recognized for their brilliance and complain, WAAA he doesn’t call me, WAAA I didn’t get the job. Winners become better catches.

This month, I’ll be covering how to improve yourself in tremendous detail. No platitudes, but actual tested data, case studies, and videos of IWT students just like you who have actually DONE IT.

Moment of truth: How is your life going?

Have you had a friend who said, “Yeah, I should really do X” (work out, stop spending so much, leave a bad relationship)…but you KNOW THEY’RE NOT GOING TO DO IT?

My eternal fascination is when people SAY one thing, but DO another.

So in the next few weeks, I’m going to show you how to go deep to understand the difference between what people SAY and what they really MEAN.

When you can do this right — digging, almost excavating their language for what they REALLY mean — you can understand people’s hopes, fears, and dreams. It’s the ultimate way of ethically connecting with people beyond the perfunctory “Hey, what do you do?”

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147 Comments

 
  1. Awesome start to what should be a great topic for this year. I definitely think there is a problem with people never being willing to tell people to better themselves. I see it on social media sites like Facebook all of the time, where somebody just got out of some crappy relationship or mess that they started and all of their friends start telling them how awesome the person is and how they can do so much better and should just “wait for the right one” (be it a job or person). I wonder if there is some deeper selfish motivation for blindly supporting our friends failures, as if to allow us to say “well this person couldn’t do it either, so it’s probably not my fault that I failed too.”

    • Interesting take, Jesse. I’ve noticed it, too.

      It seems that a person’s significant other is wonderful and perfect–the finest human specimen. Then, the second they break up, the new-ex-boyfriend is bashed mercilessly for being the biggest d-bag the world has ever known.

      “Two minutes ago, you all wanted to have his babies! Now, he’s the spawn of Satan?!”

  2. I am a total believer in becoming the best version of yourself. I would add that that becoming irresistible is very individual to each person and requires you to become more of who you are (rather than someone else or society’s idea of what irresistible means). Intrigued to see how you tackle this!

    • Louise – you make an interesting point and I agree that being irresistible is an individual thing.

      However, I would challenge the notion that you don’t need to consider someone else or society’s idea of what irresistible means.

      It’s all relative.

      Let’s take attracting a partner as an example.

      You may think that the person you want to attract will find you irresistible if they knew you, and so you improve on your personality. But what if the person you are trying to attract places an importance on appearance also? This has to be taken into consideration, no?

    • “Becoming the best version of yourself” is a great way to describe it.

    • Rawzwana, I think we’re on the same page. Improving yourself/becoming irresistible is about becoming more of who YOU are, not what someone thinks you should be/do.

      If someone isn’t attracted to you because you have blond hair, well, that’s their problem! If you want to get fit, do it in the way YOU want to. If someone is telling you to go to the gym and lift weights, but you’d rather take a dance class or run outside, then do it!

  3. Great Post Ramit!

    I think it was Jim Rohn who said “you have to pour out the glass before you can fill it up”. To me this means giving a bit of yourself before you can gain more of what you have been wanting, be it in a career, relationship, etc. Looking forward to your work this year. Have you thought about doing any work on teaching charisma? I think people might really like that-I know I would be interested. Cheers!
    -Derek

  4. If you’ve ever tried online dating, you’ll recognize these invisible scripts right away. Here’s an example of profile ever written:

    “Hi. My name is _______. I’m really unique. You’ll never meet another girl like me. I like to go out and have fun with my friends. My family means the world to me. My cat, Mr. Snuggles, is the bestest cat EVERRR!!! LOLZZZ! Hit me up if you want to know more!!!!!”

    Every time I read a profile like that, I think, “Yeah. Really unique. I just read that same thing in 73 other profiles.”

    But it’s kinda like you say, Ramit. Even though a person’s situation (or dating profile) may be the same as everyone else’s, THEY think it’s unique.

    “Well, you just don’t understand. My situation is different.”

    “Really? How?” I often ask.

    Case in point: Marriage

    50% of marriages end in divorce. But if you ask a newly engaged couple if they’ll get divorced, the reply is universal.

    “No! We love each other.”

    So, I ask, “What about the 50% divorce rate? Statistics exist for a reason, you know.”

    Usually, they reply with something like: “Well, our situation is different. We REALLY love each other.”

    “OH! Well, what you put it THAT way…”

    • You know that the 50% divorce rate statistic is flawed, right? You are followi g a script right there yourself. The divorce rate for college educated people in first marriages that start after age 25 is different (20%) than those begun before 25, less than college education (50%), second marriages (40-50%), third marriages (60%), etc. Having a shared faith also affects the likelihood of divorce.

      Maybe your friends don’t want to tell you that they have spent time discussing communication styles, desired lifestyles, how they have both automated their finances?

    • Good pt but come on — the 50% statistic is totally misinterpreted. Irene is correct. Depending on your socioeconomic status (race, education, etc), your chances of divorce are WAY different. More on that 50% statistic here.

    • “OH! Well, when you put it THAT way . . . . ”

      JOKES for days John Garven!!!!

  5. Here is the problem with advice number one: you need to better yourselves in order to attract someone. It implies that there is something fundamentally wrong with you.

    If only I were skinnier – somebody surely would love me then! How many obnoxious or unattractive people do you know who are attached? Exactly.

    Don’t get me wrong – I am all for exercising and learning how to hustle. It is the principle that you are faulty and need to be fixed that does not sit well with me.

    The second principle I like much better because it focuses on empathy. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes and ask yourself what they need. Maybe then you can stop wasting your time feeling bad about yourself and start helping others.

    • I think we need to better ourselves FOR ourselves, and in the process we become more attractive to others. We should strive to be the best that we can be and the honest truth is that most of us are not. There is a lot of room for improvement in almost all of us.

      Also, attractiveness and obnoxiousness are so subjective- your value system may have nothing in common with those couples that you mentioned in your comment. Perhaps those “unattractive people” took a long, hard look at who they were as people and decided to make changes that made them feel better about themselves that were perhaps not physical, but mental and emotional. Once they found that solid ground as people, their confidence and self-satisfaction was apparent to those around them, thus attracting someone who wanted to be with them.

      Which I think is the way it should be, to be honest.

    • we are ALL flawed. not one of us is “perfect”
      People get really worked up when we are reminded that literally we are wired to be imperfect.
      2 people can be “perfect for each other” but that still only qualifies the equal matching in terms of THAT relationship not the notion of perfection itself..

      We ALL can be more (or less) of something based upon WHAT WE WANT for our lives…. life is a process not a fixed circumstance

      What I find ironic is that you are making qualifying judgments in the same breath is saying that being faulty doesn’t sit well with you.

      “If only I were skinnier – somebody surely would love me then! How many obnoxious or unattractive people do you know who are attached?”

      So you can take the time to judge another as obnoxious or unattractive (both completely subjective traits) but the idea of someone accusing you (I use that term ubiquitously) doesn’t “sit” well with you?

      btw, it takes feeling bad about yourself to actually want to change something, do better for yourself or overcome something that isn’t working..

    • Hi Eve,
      Just wanted to point one thing out. Advice number one isn’t so much saying that you “need to better yourself because you are fundamentally flawed”, but that you CAN improve yourself, which will benefit you, and the world around you. Whether the changes make that particular individual more attracted to you is really inconsequential, you will always benefit from being a better version of yourself!
      I’m not trying to say “Eve, you are wrong”, just hoped you might be able to see advice number one from a perspective that makes it more valuable to you.
      Happy New Year!

    • I think it’s just about taking responsibility for your life. IF what you want is to attract someone, and IF you’re not attracting anyone, you could sit around and blame it on everyone else OR you could change something you’re doing. It has nothing to do with something being wrong with you. It’s just about whether or not you’re getting what you want.

  6. You are crazy good Rami! Just took your survey and had a crazy AHA moment!!!

  7. I wonder if I’m fundamentally flawed. If someone addresses me as Alec Baldwin’s character did, I immediately feel defensive and shut down. I’ve had coaches that took the “beat you over the head” approach to honesty and it completely demotivates me. On the other hand, if the same information is approached from a slightly gentler perspective, I give my all to exceed expectations. For example, if his character had said, “You are in this job because you’ve been a terrific salesperson for this company. At the moment, however, you’re not meeting your quota. You must meet your quota tonight, or we’ll have to replace you with someone who can,” I would kill myself selling the product to meet the quota.

    So, does this make me too flawed to be a top performer?

    • I’d say that’s the seed of an invisible script, right there.

      There’s no single way that people succeed, and if you can identify the sort of environment you do best in and pursue that environment, then go for it. Some people get really fired up in a competitive arena, and some people really go nuts for highly-collaborative environments. It’s possible to exceed in either one.

      However, I think you do need to be able to take grains of truth from wherever you find them, even if the lesson is a bitter pill. If it’s the kind of situation where you know it’ll make you hate your job and hate yourself, you need to get out of it, but you should still be able to look at the situation through a lens of: okay, this guy is a dick and I don’t want to work anywhere near him, but what motivated him to say that? He’s picking at a real issue, how would *I* frame this issue and what would *I* do about it?

      “Fundamental flaws” remove responsibility from you and your actions. If there’s ever an explanation that doesn’t reduce issues to that, I’d suggest aggressively seeking it. 😉

    • Thanks for your insights, An. I’ve always performed extremely well in competitive arenas (career, athletics, judged creative competitions, etc). As such, I’ve had to deal with hard truths to improve my performance. How those hard truths are presented, though, can make a huge difference in whether I react defensively or accept the truths and use them to improve. I prefer my truths delivered with some social lubricant instead of unfiltered vitriol. I was curious if others had the same reaction, or if I’m the odd man out.

  8. Totally agree about self-improvement. I have a teenage son and daughter and tell them if you want to find the right girl or right guy then you need to become the right girl or right guy first. Work on that, no matter your age, and the rest will follow.

  9. Hey Ramit,
    I’d definitely love to understand the difference between what people SAY and what they really MEAN. I’m sure it’s once again not a “silver bullet” script type thing and likely more has to do with deep psychology and body language but it’d be damn handy during every day life to be able to cut through the crap with people. That way I can quickly know who to ignore because they’re not going anywhere and who to start paying more attention to etc.

  10. I believe that it is essential to first get to know ourselves deeply, to understand our individual drives. This enables us to identify the career, job, person (or whatever) that is right – that fits. From there, self-improvement becomes an exercise in being the best version of oneself. Anything we are attracted to is aligned with our core imperatives, making it joyous and purposeful to strive towards. Plus, learning to understand our own hopes, dreams and fears is good training for doing so with others.

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