Monday, March 29, 2010

[Editorial] The Pink Swan

“Nobody Knows Anything”
-William Goldman

One of the things that fascinates me as a dating nerd is the predictability or unpredictability of certain things.

Watching a bar hook up for example, I can usually predict based on the first five seconds how well the first minute is going to go. If the interaction hits the one minute mark, I’m usually pretty on the money for the direction the next five minutes takes.

After those first five minutes though, variables start to creep in and things get a little shaky.

Similarly, I’m not too bad with the early stages of relationships. A co-worker of mine started dating someone new a couple months ago, and I was spot-on with my prediction (I didn’t tell her what it was for fear of self-fulfilling prophecy syndrome) of how it would go. Yet other co-workers are in long-term relationships and I wouldn’t dare to hazard a guess about those relationships’ ultimate success or failure. They could end tomorrow or last for the rest of their lives; I wouldn’t be surprised either way.

Dating and relationships are fundamentally unpredictable. There are patterns, but there is also a tremendous amount of chance involved.

That’s probably why I found Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s The Black Swan such a fascinating read since it’s all about unexpected, unpredictable events and their effect on our lives.

Black Swans are

1 - Unexpected
2 - Have a massive impact on our lives
3 - After the fact, we concoct an explanation that makes it appear less random and more predictable than it actually was.

Sounds like love to me.

Here are some of the insights I got from Taleb's book applied to finding love…The Pink Swan.

The more information you have, the worse off you are.

There are always reasons not to approach the pretty girl. There are always reasons to stay in a bad relationship. And even though the people around you might say (or might be biting their lip NOT to say) what’s obvious to them, to the person facing the situation, it’s always “more complicated.”

It’s not.

Beware the Narrative Fallacy

We have a tendency to make things into stories. We give everything a cause and effect relationship even when there isn’t one.

“The reason I haven’t found my soul mate is because I’m a hopeless loser.”

“I’m not good-looking enough to attract pretty women.”

“Guys are jerks who are just going to have sex with me and then abandon me.”

There are two problems with these stories. one is a big problem, and one is a small problem

The small one problem, these statements may not be true.

The big problem is, it is possible to MAKE them true by turning them into self-fulfilling prophecies. We take our narrative fallacies and make them the truth.

It’s a pretty amazing thing, human nature.

The good news is, this cuts both ways. What would happen if you decided you were good enough for any man or that there is no question you’ll find the type of relationships you want.

Give it a try and find out.

No Evidence of Pink Swans is not the same as Evidence of No Pink Swans

We tend to predict the future based on the past--“The sun has risen for the last million years, so it will probably rise again tomorrow.”

Single people often apply the same thinking to their lives. “I was single yesterday, and I’m single today, so tomorrow will be another day of crushing, empty loneliness.”

It’s not true.

And remember this.

Contrary to what it might feel like, love is NOT a gamble. You lose nothing by putting yourself out there, and you only have to win once to win big. And if the win doesn’t last forever…well, you’ve still lost nothing. You’ve gained experience and learned a lot and when you’re ready to go back out there, you have that much more to give.

Your pink swan--whatever it looks like to you--is waiting for you. Go find it.

And do yourself a favor…enjoy the search.

Believe it or not, it can be a lot of fun.

-May All Beings Be Sexy

Check out this link for information on how to get Dan's Dating for Shy Guys ebook.

Join The Heart Way Support Group on Facebook here.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

You Are Not Broken

I have no idea who you are, and what you need, so I am going to start with this one thing, which is the most important:

You are not broken.

There is nothing wrong with you. You are not damaged or unloveable or any of the other nasty things that certain unpleasant voices in your head may be telling you.

Things didn't work out because things didn't work out. There might be a reason for it. There might not.

But you are fine. Whatever happened, whatever went wrong, it is not your fault.

It's normal to ask questions about yourself when a relationship goes wrong. How could this happen? What does this say about me? How could I LET this happen? How can I fix this or fix myself or fix this other person or situation?

It's normal to have strong emotional reactions. However, they come on their own schedule and in their own ways. They aren't always the feelings you want or expect. Sometimes you aren't going to like them. They come up at inconvenient times, in inconvenient places and then vanish or turn into something else just when you think you've got them figured out.

It's normal to compare yourself to other people, or even The Other Person. Why is everybody happy but me? What do people know that I don't? What is the Other Person doing right now? How can they be moving on so quickly?

In short, it is easy to convince yourself that you are the most worthless, screwed-up person in the world (It is equally easy to convince yourself that the world is to blame, that you are "the smartest man left on the cinder." But that only works for so long). It is easy to find yourself lying awake at night wondering what is wrong with you, despairing that you'll ever able to fix it.

Or maybe that's just me.

Who knows? I write from my personal experience and ONLY from my personal experience. I'm not here to convince anyone of anything.

But I suspect I am not the only one who has ever felt this way. And I can tell you this with certainty.

You are going to be okay. In fact, you are okay NOW, whether or not you realize it.

There is nothing wrong with you. It's possible you have made unhelpful decisions, but that doesn't make you a deficient person. It means somewhere along the line, you came to believe certain things or learned to behave in a certain way.

It was your way of adapting to circumstances. All that's happened now is that circumstances have changed. And we learn to change with it.

You are not broken. You are not damaged. You do not need fixing.

If you remember nothing else you read on this blog, remember that.

-May All Beings Be Sexy

Check out this link for information on how to get Dan's Dating for Shy Guys ebook.

Join The Heart Way Support Group on Facebook here.