I recently had an epiphany about the mixed image of success that I project and why it is so confusing from an outsider looking in. I’m writing this to turn my inner monologue outwards in the off chance that someone else has experienced the same thing, but also to help others understand where I’m coming from.
I haven’t had a long history of success with women, but I’ve been in enough situations where women were competing for my attention that my standards were unrealistically high, and my game unfortunately low. This was always really puzzling to me and I would enjoy being successful in the situations where I was and not waste time chasing women in situations where I wasn’t.
It wasn’t until a bad date recently where I decided to try and understand my mixed bag a little better so that the next girl I date won’t be so confident that I’m not the right choice.
I read a book on what women are looking for and it put my experience into perspective for me. As someone who has always walked confidently to the beat of his own drum, I’ve been a very confusing input into the formula that women have for judging success.
The formula I’ve always followed has been to maximize my ability to change the world in service of the exciting science fiction future I always dreamed of. Sure, there are other things along the way that factored into the equation, but everything felt like a tool on the way to this goal.
I have a very large family that I value intrinsically, but has proved essential at keeping me grounded to reality while I take off in persuit of the impossible, but my inability to find friends who understand me served to limit my social reach. For this reason, family earned a pretty high priority in my formula.
Work, also earned a high priority. As a driven, highly practiced, no bullshit personality, I excelled quite quickly through the early stages of my career. It is for this same reason, that I started to get women’s attention. What I didn’t realize, is that women don’t care about my craft, they care about my ability to command respect from and lead a group of intelligent people.
It turns out that the way I choose to behave, and the way women judge attractiveness, only lined up some of the time. For instance, if I perceived a situation demanded action in service of my goals, I would take action. If that action was to change the minds of a large group of people, or start a new trend, it was perceived as attractive. Or, a more frequent one at work, if I worked solo on a project and gave it a significant boost, people would talk about it, and those whispers would get places before I did.
Now there have been instances where I was attractive to women outside of work, but it has always been when my perceived competence has shown. The ability to manage a relationship well, the ability to take care of children, the ability to steer a group, the ability to program, cook, ski, climb, play piano… demonstrating these things made me attractive to women but it didn’t give me a strong social fabric.
Because of this, my perceived success on a date, especially in quarantine, is quite low. This is compounded by a combination of how reluctant I am to sell myself and the impossible standard with which I judge myself. In my mind, if I’m not on track to achieve my dreams, I’m a failure, even if I have all the things other people dream of.
It wasn’t until my mid twenties that I realized having a strong social fabric at work was very nice and generally made things better, but since all my sports are solo sports, I didn’t spend much time building social capital outside work. Because I have a tendency to feel like people don’t understand me, it hasn’t really been a priority for me. My recent experience at work pushing past a plateau I’ve been stuck on, along with a gentile reminder by this book I just read, have pushed me to start getting serious about my social life.
This isn’t about succeeding or becoming better, but simply maintaining a healthy emotional state and keeping the emotional state of everyone around you healthy. Adjusting my priority on this alone is the difference between the place in my life where I’ve been stuck, and the place I need to get to.
As an aside, It is important to me that people get something from my blogs, so I’ve been writing a bit less. The problem is I’m not assessing the emotional value of my blogs, only the logical value. I hope reading about someone else’s struggle to become better helps you, and it would help me to hear that also.