Brené Brown is a University of Houston research professor who has spent decades studying shame and vulnerability.
For most of human civilization, men have hid behind the mask of masculinity, concealing any signs of shame and vulnerability because they believed that a man should never show weakness.
But it turns out that Brené found that vulnerability is a vital part of mental health, communication, and working relationships through her scientific study. Men are waking up and realizing this — even entrepreneurs like Lewis Howes have wrote books on it.
If you’re not familiar with the vulnerability, shame, and guilt movement, start out by checking our Brené’s TED talk, which has gotten millions of views:
“Vulnerability is not weakness. I define vulnerability as emotional risk, exposure, uncertainty … Vulnerability is our most accurate measure of courage.” -Brené Brown
Are you dealing with shame? How do you identify if you have it and how do you handle it? Listen to my podcast episode to find out:
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“Shame is a focus on self. Guilt is a focus on behavior.” -Brené Brown
Here are some key lessons I learned from her book, Daring Greatly:
There is no data that shows there is any benefit to shame.
Shame resiliency is the ability to realize what you did is still worth it regardless of the risks of shame and embarrassment.
Shame resiliency is important and useful and can be improved.
Validating your self-worth based on the external is a recipe for disaster and shame. You must be okay with what you do and who you are regardless of what others think.
Vulnerability is not weakness. It is courage.
Denying vulnerability that exists is weakness because you have a weakness you’re not admitting.
Vulnerability is not revealing your deepest secrets to strangers. Get to know someone and see if you can trust them first.
Trust must be slowly built over time.
Every action that someone you know takes to show their reliability (or lack thereof) is another score on your trust scorecard to determine if you can trust them.
Men get their shame not only from other men, but also from the women they know. Women also get massive shame from other women. Both genders try to live up to a perfect ideal of who they have to be that’s impossible.
Research shows that there is nothing good to perfectionism. It leads to depression, life paralysis, and many other issues. It’s caused through approval-seeking.
The data shows that shame is correlated with depression and suicide, while guilt is inversely correlated. Therefore, you want to train yourself, your children, and others to use guilt rather than shame. Get them to shame stuff like, “I made a stupid decision” rather than “I am a stupid person.”
My Own Shame
Discovering these books and reflecting on my own experiences with shame have been a wake-up call. Since I was young, I would have flash-backs to experiences I had that would seep shame and embarrassment. Usually, this occurred when my mind was free, like in the shower or driving.
After listening to The Mating Grounds podcast, I realized this is fairly common. Rather than push away the thoughts like I used to, I was encouraged to come to terms with them.
This has helped me meet these memories and feelings head-on. I came to realize that some of that shame is illogical.
For example, I would think, “I can’t believe I barged into that conversation and mentioned how I went to visit the same city recently. I must have come off like I was bragging and full of myself.”
But when I assess the situation, I was placing way too much shame and assumption on myself for simply trying to be part of a conversation. I will take these lessons and try to be more compassionate with myself.
Loving-kindness meditation has been helpful.
This whole topic has helped me become more self-aware of how I treat myself. I have realized that I need more self-love and need to stop beating myself up at times for fear of offending people.
A few years ago, I discovered the world of online dating advice. At the time, I felt like I had discovered a super power. Until that point, I thought that your success with women was fixed and there was nothing you could do about it. Finding out there were techniques I could use immediately to improve was like discovering the holy grail.
Unfortunately, these tactics and “blueprints” were horrible. They were inaccurate and produced few results. Dating coaches and pick up artists claimed to have found the “science of attraction” but it was a pseudoscience at best. They really just shot at the dark and taught what worked. It was far from a rigorous scientific process.
Now, that has changed. In the last two decades, tons of new experiments have been done by actual scientists on attraction. There is a lot more data you can trust and the results can be counter-intuitive. This is the men’s dating guide I wish I received years ago. And it’s all here for you for free.
The lessons I learned and will share come from a book called Mate: Become the Man Women Want. The book is based on extensive research on into evolutionary biology and mating. A man who is really good with women (Tucker Max) partnered up with a Ph.D. to go through thousands of shocking studies.
Humans are lucky creatures because there are so many areas (behavioral, social, fitness, mental health, fashion, etc.) we can improve. Other animals are screwed with what they were born with (like how long their antlers are).
For a night of great entertainment, I recommend watching one of the events in the CrossFit Games. I like to watch this for the competition, motivation, ridiculousness , fun, and the fit women in sports bras.
Here’s a video of the “Individual Assault Banger” event, for example. They literally have to smash a 175 pound block with a big red hammer through their legs and across the field.
Other than random CrossFit videos, I like to spend my time improving my earning potential, happiness, relationships, health, and work towards my dream life — and that’s why I purchased Mark Manson’s membership program.
If you’re not familiar with Mark, he’s one of the top personal development bloggers, with a site that attracts millions of readers every month and a new New York Times #1 best-selling book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck, which has already sold over a million copies. He has a blunt style of telling you how to improve your life — and he backs it up with science and case studies of successful people.
I bought his paid membership, which features a few full-length courses, premium articles, and bonuses. Here’s my honest review of it…
“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” -Benjamin Franklin
One common, frustrating theme I have found when talking to people who have mediocre lives is that they’re all excuse-generating machines.
Every time I try to give reasons that their obstacles are solvable and tactics to do so, they come up with a mediocre excuse so that they can remain where they are. I recently had an especially frustrating case of this recently with an Indian man I met who had trouble making friends.
After hearing about my own struggles with this, he came up to me and told me he had similar problems but he was over a decade older than me.
He also had insecurities with his race because most of the people he met were white and he thought he couldn’t relate to them.
But as I dove into the issue, my eagerness to help quickly turned into frustration as I discovered he was immovable as a rock with his beliefs about the world…
2017 has been a year where I have dived deeper into the subtleties of personal development.
What the heck does that mean?
Well, only a small percent of the public ever get into self-development. Of those that do, most of them focus on fundamental, surface-level tactics. An example would be what you see in listicle-themed content on YouTube and blogs (Top 10 Tips to Boost Your Confidence, Get Over Your Anxiety, or Make Your First $1,000).
The problem with these tactics is that they only get you so far.
If life was simply about following these tips to achieve your goals, then everyone would be a fit, happy, world-traveling millionaire. But we’re not.
Clearly, there’s a missing piece to the puzzle. You can see this most deeply in the “How to Be A Millionaire” content online. There are hundreds of videos, books, courses, and articles on this topic. Yet tons of people have eagerly tried to follow the advice, only to be met with disappointing results.
“Solitude matters, and for some people, it’s the air they breathe” ― Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
There are just as many shy introverts as outgoing extroverts out there. So why does it seem like we’re being left out? Why does it feel like we’re not getting as far ahead? Why do we feel frustrated as if we should speak more or be more like the extroverts?
It’s clear that Western society honors the man who pushes his way to the front. But what about the rest of us? Even people who claim to be “extroverted introverts” can still feel like they weren’t dealt the best hand in life.
In this podcast episode, I’m going to share with you what I learned about succeeding as a shy introvert from:
reading all the top books on introversion including Quiet: The Power of Introversion and Introversion Power
going through scientific studies comparing introverts to extroverts
applying the tips I learned in the books and online in real life to see if it works (hint: it sometimes doesn’t)
sharing strategies I’ve come up with on my own when theories consistently didn’t work in the real world
You’ll also learn why so many Asian Americans are introverts (spoilers: it’s a mix of culture, upbringing, and who they grow up with).
Question of the day: What’s the #1 action step you learned from the podcast that you will apply to your own life immediately? Leave a comment and let me know.
A new fad has been sweeping through the personal development movement.
Journaling. But is it just a useless fad seen as the next “magic pill” to success or is it legit?
There are even popular journals you can buy include the Five-Minute Journal, Mastery Journal, Freedom Journal, Morning Pages, and Miracle Morning (though this is more of a routine) as made famous by Alex and Mimi Ikonn, John Lee Dumas, Tim Ferriss, and Hal Elrod.
But there’s a huge problem with the current state of daily journals out in the market.
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie is one of the only books that exist on how to make friends. And it’s wildly successful, selling millions of copies.
But after reading the book and the reviews, I realized there were critical components on how to make friends that were missing. People complained about the following in the book:
Short-term manipulative tactics are used that can destroy your long term success with making friends.
Some of the tips are focused on ways of getting people to like you for business and networking, which is different from making friends because you’re encouraged to be someone other than your true self.
The tips to smile more, be nice, and be interested fail to account for the female gender. When women do this, it can be misinterpreted as a sexual advance and encourage harassment.
Pretending to be interested in something you’re not and being too agreeable can cause you to end up with friends you don’t really want and you don’t actually connect with because you’re lying about your interests, overlooking their glaring faults, or befriending selfish people who drain your energy.
A lot of the advice is generic or repetitive and focused on common sense tactics to be a decent, average person.
I want to address these issues and give some advice on how to actually make friends without having to put on a fake persona or manipulate. My advice is based on what I have learned from my own experiments and/or asking people who seem to naturally good at making a lot of high quality friends.
I think most people are unaware of all the great benefits of creating an established network of healthy, supporting friends. Many are also unaware that social skills are an acquired skill that almost everyone can develop with practice.
This topic means a lot for me because I struggled immensely to make friends growing up. I even sat alone at the cafeteria often in school.
I believe you can make quality friends that have similar values and hobbies — who will support you — who you will be a lot of fun to hang around even if you’re starting from scratch. It won’t be easy but you can do it. And I’m going to teach you how to do it without having to manipulate, lie, or influence others.
I started going to drop-in dance classes to meet people and improve on the masculine traits I was lacking. I heard it was a good way to learn how to lead and be more assertive, which I lacked as a typical nice guy. But man, I learned so much more.
Fast forward a couple years, I have now done several classes of Salsa, Bachata, Tango, Ballroom, Cha Cha, Country Line Dancing, Swing, and Lindy Hop.
Here are some lessons I learned in being a man from these partner dances:
“Social intelligence was therefore always at a high premium. A sharp sense of empathy can make a huge difference, and with it in an ability to manipulate, to gain cooperation, and to deceive.” ― Edward O. Wilson, The Social Conquest of Earth
I’ve been a nerd for most of my life. I only cared about grades in school because I thought that was all that mattered.
But I was completely wrong.
As I grew older, poor social skills lead to bad results in other areas of my life. I had few friends. I barely talked in social gatherings. My dating life didn’t exist. Job interviews usually ended with no offer. Communicating with people I worked with wasn’t effective or natural. You get the point.
As I started trying to improve, I studied the world’s most successful, wealthy people. I realized that they were also very emotionally and socially intelligent too. I also found, through books like Outliers and Emotion Intelligence, that studies tracking thousands of people found that people with high IQs often still failed at life.
There were plenty of people who didn’t follow the standard correlation we assume between high IQ and life success. There were many more factors involved in success, once of which is social intelligence.
Imagine finding yourself in the only social event you will go to for the day, ready to talk to people. You’ve prepared yourself for the moment. You know you’re deathly shy and scared of talking to new people. But if you don’t take action in this one moment, you will regret it. There won’t be many more chances to make new friends or meet a hot date.
But despite your preparations, you freeze up when it’s time. You find yourself doing anything except talking to other people. Then, the event is over.
You are kicking yourself in your head and you dwell on the fact that you did nothing for the next hour … or even the entire week.
I’ve been there. I’ve had crippling shyness. It sucks. It still sucks. But you are not alone. There are hordes of perfectly kind, mentally healthy people who are just too shy to do meet others. To this day, I still run into people (even successful, attractive young women) who struggle with these issues and fail to reach their potential.
I’m going to show you a path you can take to overcome shyness and social anxiety and achieve the friendships and relationships you have always wanted. Sound too good to be true? I understand. With such a sweet deal, you have to do something in exchange. And that is to be patient and consistently work through the process. It will take time.