Dating Doctrine – Step 0 – Having and reaching life goals

What’s up, dude?

“Hey Vichet. Wait… what are you doing in my room?”

Just hangin’ out. Don’t pay me no mind. I do want you to do something, though.

“Okay… you’re not gonna ask me to bend over, are you?”

Of course not. Take a look in the mirror.

“Alright…”

Do you like what you see?

“Yeah, I guess? I’m pretty cool with myself.”

Good. That’s step one. Now look deeper. Are there any things you’d like to improve?

“Well, yeah, of course. But I don’t know if I can do anything about it.”

Why not?

“Well, I dunno. It just seems like ______, _______, _______ and all that is holding me back. And I don’t know if I can.”

Have you tried?

“Uh… kind of. Maybe? I dunno.”

Hmm… you’re starting to sound less satisfied with yourself.

“Well, yeah, now that you bring it up, asshole.”

Okay, sorry. Been kinda rough on you these last few weeks. Let’s do one more thing – assuming you are capable of making the changes you want to make in your life, what would you need to DO and how would you do it?

“Oh, well, Vichet, now that you ask that way, it’s a lot easier. Assuming it’s in my genetics to get fit, I would go to the gym and work out more, and eat right. Assuming I’m capable of getting a promotion at work, I would work harder and prove to my boss that I’m capable of taking on the responsibilities in the new position. Assuming I have the time, I would take up my old hobbies that I gave up because I come home from work drained and just feel like watching TV. I’d do lots of things, assuming I was capable.”

Really? Well… what if I told you you’re capable of most if not all of those things, and that almost any goal where you’re the primary driver (as in it doesn’t hugely depend on other people’s actions) is achievable?

“I’m calling bullshit. I’m not Superman – how the hell would you know what I’m capable of?”

Because all of the people who are better than you were in your position once, wondering if they would be able to the things they wanted to do. They’ve all done “impossible” things because they decided they would try. And if they failed they would try again. They took their goals and ran with them, seeing how far they could go. Only if they’ve failed utterly and miserably more times than they could count on two hands have they reconsidered the nature of their goal, or whether they were capable.

Sure, they’re all talented in some way. But every single one of them could point to someone else they knew who was better at it, but not as determined to succeed.

Because honestly, we’re all pretty comfortable surviving in mediocrity. I mean, you really are living a blessed life if you are healthy, surviving with enough food to eat, a shelter over your head, and people who care about you. I don’t mean that sarcastically because my family was in Cambodia while THIS was happening. If you have internet access and are reading this, be aware that people in other parts of the world don’t have those things I listed up there, and THEY’RE the ones who have real excuses when you ask them what they’ve done to achieve their dreams.

Side by side, your excuses will look… disingenuous. First world problems much?

Case in point – some guys come to me, dissatisfied with their love lives. I tell them what to do. They tell me it makes sense. They come up with a list, like this:

  • Get back in shape.
  • Get back into my sport hobby/music hobby/art hobby.
  • Meet new people.
  • Get that promotion.

And then I watch. Some make the changes – they get happier. They make more changes. They keep pushing the limit of what they can do, and stop asking themselves “whether they’re capable,” because that question is really only necessary if lives are hanging in the balance. Are you a bomb defusal expert – if you’re not, then you really don’t need to ask yourself those self-doubting questions. 90 percent of the population is in an occupation where no one will die because someone didn’t stop to turn into a movie cliche and say to themselves “I don’t know if I can do this.”

Bottom line: most of the internal changes you (yes, YOU) want to make in your life are pretty simple, and will make you a LOT happier.

Inconvenient truth: knowing that, 75 percent of you (yes, YOU) will do nothing, even if the changes are good for you, because you’re cool enough with where you are and don’t want to sweat for it. Can’t hate on you for that, but if you’re this type, stop asking for advice until you’re ready to work.

Caveat: some of you may be clinically depressed or have some other chronic mental health issue. If that’s the case, then you are probably already much more aware of what you need to be doing to cope with your particular situation, and don’t need my advice.

Now ask yourself – is there something you’ve been wanting to do?

You know there is.

You can think of at least 5 things.

Now ask yourself if it’s really a mystery how to achieve these things?

Because some of you have asked about my goals, I’ll lay this little exercise out for myself:

I want to:

  • Be as fit as I can possibly be. This is related to my next goal…
  • … which is to be the best dancer I can be.
  • I want to finish writing my novel.
Those are all simple goals that depend on ME. Here is what I’m doing to achieve them:
  • Fitness – eat right and exercise. This is not complicated. Might be more so if I had depression or a full on disorder. Either way, I’m of sound enough judgment to eat what I need. No fad diets (though balancing all of my meals with what nutrients I need IS important) – just self-discipline. I asked my nutritionist friend what I needed to do. He told me, and I did it. It worked.
  • Dance – I go to at least 3, sometimes as many as 5 hour and a half long dance classes per week, not including the time I spend practicing with my dance partner or rehearsing for shows. When I’m sore and aching, I remind myself that, actually, yes, I am happy when I’m moving.
  • My mentor reminds me of this at least twice a month: you finish your novel by writing it. There’s nothing complicated about this. I already know everything about it that I need to know. I just need to finish writing it. I’m 1/5th of the way through.

So look at what you want to do. Are there reasons that you’re not already on your way to getting them done?

Here are common responses when I challenge my friends to find a way to achieve their goals.

  • I don’t have enough time.
  • I don’t have enough money.
  • I’m not capable.
  • It’s not important enough.

Sometimes the excuse is legit, sometimes it’s… not.

Even less often, sometimes people are smart about it – if they have 10 goals but can only achieve 5, they pick their most important 5. Those people don’t really need to read this advice.

The point is, if you know what obstacles are in your way, and something is important enough to you, you will try to find a way to remove those obstacles.

See, it’s almost never a question of what to do or how to do it. I don’t care what your goal is:

  • Become a singer.
  • Become a rocket scientist.
  • Become a sports star.
  • Become _________

Someone has done it before, or something related to it, and there’s a knowledge base and community pumping these people out.

Some of you will call BS on some of these goals:

“Vichet, I’m not Michael Jordan/Carl Sagan/Frank Sinatra – those guys were just GOOD!”

Yeah. They were good. But that wasn’t common knowledge until after they got famous.

Remember, at some point they weren’t successful yet. At some point, they were probably wondering about whether they could make it.  Michael Jordan was just another kid in North Carolina, who didn’t make his High School basketball team when he first tried out, Carl Sagan was just a curious kid who wanted to know what stars were, and Frank Sinatra was just a greasy nightclub singer getting by.

You think any of them knew how big they were gonna be before they made their big breaks? You think that someone was telling them “you’re destined to be the f*ckin’ man?”

No. More likely there were lots of people telling them that they weren’t sure they were capable.

At best – and don’t get me wrong, this is a HUGE help – a select two or three people were telling them to ignore their doubts for a bit. To stick with it. To see how far they could go, because they hadn’t REALLY reached limit yet. Being discouraged doesn’t mean failure, and someone was probably reminding them of that.

Each of them tried, and tried, and tried. Then they made it. And then – surprise – worked their asses off the remainder of their professional lives to keep up with their own standards for themselves.

It helps to remember that everything in the human experience has pretty much been defined by someone else already having done it. There’s some luck in there, and there’s some timing, and there are a handful of genuine unique experiences that no one has ever encountered before. But by and large, success (not money – success… whatever it is you’d be proud to have done before you die) is hard won, and to think otherwise is insulting to the people who have attacked their goals.

Also, anyone telling you that success isn’t hard work is LYING. If it were easy, EVERYONE would do it. Being mediocre is easy. Success, and maintaining it, makes your life objectively harder.

But it’s not impossible. At least two or three of your goals are doable, unless you’re really living in fantasy land. If you’ve never tried to reach those goals, then you have no idea how empowering it is to know that you can make something for yourself in this world.

Practical advice – get a mentor. Someone who has done what you want to do. Ask them what steps they took.

Then, stop thinking about whether you’re capable, and just try. Reality and results will tell you if you’re capable.

In the experiment of being alive, your hypothesis means nothing. Where is the data? Go out and get it.

You might surprise yourself.

On a final note, what does this all have to do with getting women?

This article is step zero. Don’t you get it by now? This is about being happy. Happiness doesn’t start or end with a woman, and anyone who tells you that is trying to sell you something.

Be happy with yourself. It comes from you. Master yourself, and then I can work with you.

3 Responses to Dating Doctrine – Step 0 – Having and reaching life goals

  1. “Fitness – eat right and exercise.”

    I think it is important to clarify the levels of importance, too. About 80% of your body composition is determined by what you eat. That is why they say 6 packs are made in the kitchen, not in the gym. You can spend hours doing ab exercises, but if you eat shit, that 6 pack isn’t coming.

    Another 10% is determined by sleep. You need to get GOOD & adequate amounts of sleep.

    And the last 10% is exercise. That doesn’t mean exercise isn’t important, it just means that you can’t exercise your way out of shitty decisions.

    Once I realized that I needed to eat healthier and get more regular sleep, I actually saw my fitness levels improve greatly from what they were. Dropped 25 pounds (205 -> 180) within 3-4 months and have kept it off for another 4 months without making any insane life changes… didn’t have to give up alcohol either! :p

  2. itsmevichet says:

    True stuff, Frank – it wasn’t until I really started learning more about nutrition did I reach my best levels of fitness. Until recently, I’d always been in crash diets that left me at the “right weight” (meaningless number) and in a shitty mood. When I reached that target weight, keeping it off would be unsustainable and I’d invariably gain the weight back.

    This has happened regardless of how much I’d gone to the gym (5-6 days a week even), until I wised up and just started eating right.

    Each day – vegetables, protein, and enough food energy to get you through today – not the next 10 days.

    My buddy Deedee has a blog specifically about fitness and nutrition – he’s not the person I consulted personally, but a lot of his advice is very accessible for those who know zero about nutrition and exercise:

    http://www.facebook.com/FitnessWeapons

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