How To Be Confident
The internet is full of articles and videos that supposedly teach how to be confident. Most of this s@it is useless because confidence is an incredibly complex subject and takes sustained work to develop and maintain. There is no magic formula for confidence, and it can easily be lost. This article is my attempt, but don’t rely on it.
Confidence is a complex mixture of positive thoughts and emotions. Actions create emotions, emotions create thoughts, and emotions and thoughts together create action. The emotions-thoughts-actions axis can either be a virtuous cycle, each improving the others, or it can be a negative cycle, each making the next thing shittier. I seek here to explain how to create a virtuous cycle of confidence.
The first part of this article discusses confidence in general, and the second part discusses confidence in the context of getting laid.
I can summarize the main points of this essay as follows:
1) Confidence is faith that you will succeed at whatever you do. To have faith, you must see reality as governed by rationality and logic, and that all you need to do is use this rationality to achieve your goals. You must not see as reality as “out to get you.”
2) To become confident you must re-wire your brain’s reward pathways such that you feel excited when you see a new challenge, rather than anxious and despairing.
3) To re-wire your brain’s reward pathways you must continually undertake new challenges outside your comfort zone and succeed at them.
4) To power through challenges, you must feel joy.
5) To feel confident, you must not feel controlled by anybody, especially people your mind perceives as “alpha males.”
Confidence is faith
The word confidence comes from the Latin con (with) + fidens (faith) (literally “with faith”). In other words, confidence is faith you will succeed in whatever you try to do. Faith is a belief that something is true even if you don’t have “hard” information confirming its truth. If I knew for a fact that a girl liked me, and I approached her, that’s not confidence. If I approach a girl I already know likes me, I’m no more confident than a guy eating a doughnut because he knows it will taste good.
Obviously, it is easier to have confidence and faith when you have information to base it on. Everyone is confident the sun will rise tomorrow because it has risen every day of their life. But if you only base your confidence on things you are sure of you will live in a narrow comfort zone like most people do. Most people only feel “confident” if they already know they will succeed or if they’ve seen somebody else overcome that challenge. There are doctors who can do brain surgery but are deathly afraid to approach a woman in a bar. There are rock stars who can play a show in front of thousands of people but break a sweat trying to do their taxes.
But why have faith? Why should you believe you will succeed at getting rich, getting laid, and being happy if most people fail at those things and you’ve never succeeded at them?
Here’s why: Just having faith, by itself, makes you more likely to succeed. And the more faith you have, the more likely you are to succeed. If that sounds like the plot of that dumbass book “The Secret,” it is. It’s also the foundation of many religions and philosophies. But there is a rational reason why this is true that doesn’t depend on God or magic.
Faith helps you succeed because the main thing that stops you from achieving your goals is your own emotions. Most shit is a lot easier than you think it is. Getting hot girls to fuck you? Becoming a billionaire? Brain surgery? That stuff is hard, but how hard is it really? For almost anything you want to do, there is a stupid, fat, douchebag somewhere that is awesome at that thing. There are literally millions of people that are dumber and lazier than you that easily do the thing that you think is so hard. Most of the time, the challenge is in your own mind.
A famous entrepreneur once told me that you can learn almost any business in 4 months. Malcolm Gladwell says you can become “world class” in any field if you do it for 10,000 hours, which is only about 4 years of working a full time job – not really that long to become the best in the world. As far as anybody can tell, the world is governed by rational rules that predictably operate based on logic. To succeed at anything, all you need to do is learn these rules and use them to succeed. Viewed this way, the only challenge is our own emotions: we get bored, afraid, distracted, impatient, anxious, intimidated, depressed, overworked, stressed out, sleepy, obsessed with the wrong details, lazy, angry, frustrated, etc… I call these the “despairing emotions.”
You can take any task, break it up into a series of little parts, put one foot in front of the other, and eventually succeed. All you need to do is be rational, be prepared, and put the time and effort in. Everything in the world works like this – there is no “magic.” Even “luck” is very limited compared to what we make happen. Usually when we think something is “too hard” for us, our despair is hijacking our rational brain and making us think thoughts that we believe are “rational” but are really just justifications and expressions of our despair. When a heroin addict makes excuses to start doing heroin again, or when an entrepreneur decides to quit their business because it’s “too hard,” they think they are being influenced by rational thoughts, but really they are just being influenced by despair.
Faith and confidence overcome our weak emotions. We power through challenges because our “motivated” emotions outweigh our despair, or at the very least, our intellectual thoughts manage and control our despairing emotions so that they do not cripple us. Successful people feel excitement and pleasure at doing their work whereas unsuccessful people feel fear, anxiety, dread, boredom, etc… And humans are wired to seek good feelings, so when we feel depressed and anxious we quickly run to “fix” is our shitty feelings – drugs, alcohol, porn, and other distractions.
Every time you encounter a challenge, your brain subconsciously does a complex cost-benefit analysis. You calculate the chance of success and the good feelings that come with it, and weigh that against the chance of failure and the bad feelings that come from failure. If your brain feels like you are more likely to feel bad, your despairing emotions will cripple you and make you not want to do it. Of course, this is bullshit. Your brain usually has no idea what the actual chances of success and failure are, nor does it know how you will actually feel after you succeed or fail, so it’s complex calculation is based on feelings from the past.
Confidence requires rewiring your brain so that when it does the cost-benefit analysis, the “excited” emotions outweigh the despairing emotions. The easiest way to rewire your reward system is to succeed at things, so that, going forward, your brain feels like it will succeed again. But like I said, if you base your confidence on past successes you will never grow. True, ultimate, confidence is when you have faith that you will succeed at ANYTHING you try, even if you’ve never done it and it is something most people would think is insanely difficult.
I’m not selling magic. There are some things you will never accomplish, no matter how confident you are. You can’t build a perpetual motion machine because it is probably impossible under the rules of physics. Most of you will never fuck Kate Upton, no matter how much you think you can. There is nothing wrong with thinking that something is impossible, or not worth the effort, or not the right thing for you at that time, but you must make that determination based on a rational calculation rather than your feelings. Most of what we think is impossible is actually very doable, we have just been tricked by our despair.
Sometimes we just do not have enough information to make a rational calculation, and we must leap into the darkness. My dad had a theory that stupid people were often more successful than smart people, because smart people did intelligent cost-benefit calculations whenever they decided to take a life risk, whereas stupid people just jumped ahead and took the risk. When we leap into the darkness we must have faith that we will succeed. We also need faith that if we fail we will be fine and that failure helps us because it lightens the darkness and gives us guidance for the next try. We also need a plan to land on our feet if we fail.
The rest of this article is dedicated to trying to teach you how to rewire your brain to feel excited about new challenges rather than scared. You can try to grit your teeth and fight your emotions 24/7, but you should also work to transform your emotions.
Faith and reality
Your goal is to re-wire your reward system so that you feel excited tackling any new challenge, even if it is outside your comfort zone. You need faith because you have no way of knowing for sure that you will succeed at any new challenge and without faith you will be crippled with uncertainty, anxiety and existential despair.
Faith is tied to your view of reality. Philosophers and psychologists have long understood that people have a tendency to subconsciously feel like reality has intentions like a person. People will feel like the world is out to get them, a small group of elders control everything, life hates them, they have “bad luck,” or they have “demons”, etc… It’s obviously stupid to say “I think reality has thoughts and feelings and hates me,” but that’s how a lot of people subconsciously think. I call this the “anthromorphization fallacy.”
I believe this fallacy comes from our ape mind. Apes evolved to obey the alpha male, because it is better for the tribe to have one leader rather than everybody doing their own thing. To enforce this obedience, evolution produced anxiety, which we feel whenever we feel like we are disobeying or upsetting the alpha male. Anxiety and depression are designed to “keep us in line” and make us feel powerless, paralyzed and weak whenever we want to do something that might offend the alpha male.
Human are apes with rational brains that magnify and distort our ape feelings. We can subconsciously see the entire “world” as an alpha male, and feel a generalized anxiety about everything. This is why some people are negative about everything, scared of simple tasks like driving, randomly freak out at small things, and just generally have dark thoughts.
Religion tries to fight the anthromorphization fallacy by pretending like “reality” is governed by God, which is essentially an alpha male that controls everything in reality and will be “nice” to you if you do some easy, meaningless rituals. I believe in God and I think it helps my anxiety. If you don’t want to believe in God, that’s fine, but at the very least you have to stop yourself from thinking that reality has a mind and it wants you to fail. At most, you can rationally say that, aside from ascertainable laws (the law of gravity, E=mc2, etc…), reality is basically random and chaotic and is neutral towards you. And if you are currently alive and breathing, you have to admit that reality has been at least somewhat good to you.
Once you accept that reality is not your enemy, and may even be your friend, you can have faith that you will succeed at anything. Your despairing emotions will try to trick you into thinking you will fail, but they are irrational, often caused by the fear of some mental alpha male that may not even exist. How would your weak, human brain know anything about the nature of reality anyway? Many people, including myself, have realized the falsity of our despairing emotions after using psychedelic drugs, which chemically turn off our despairing emotions and make us feel like the universe loves us.
I’m not saying that you can simply turn off your despairing emotions by simply believing that reality is your friend. You can’t turn off any emotion that is rooted in your biology, any more than you can turn off your sex drive. But the first step in controlling a demon is realizing that it’s there and that’s it a demon. If you practice mindfulness, you will catch yourself being lied to by your despairing emotions and you will realize your thoughts are irrational.
I don’t want to overstate my case here. A subconscious cosmic alpha male is not the only source of despair. A lot of things can create anxiety and depression, and science has not even completely figured out those emotions. Anxiety can be caused by chemical balances, living in a dirty house, post-traumatic stress, bad life experiences, etc... But I believe that fear of alpha males, real and imagined, is a big source of despair for many people.
Real alpha males
People have a subconscious fear of the cosmic alpha male that controls the world partly because actual alpha males bullied them, made them feel inferior, and induced subconscious “beta” emotions. These guys include your father, your teachers, your coach, your pastor, the cool kids at your high school, the President of the United States, the Federal Reserve bank, the media, society, Brad Pitt, and famous celebrities whose art and persona is designed to make regular guys feel inferior. These are just regular guys trying to make it through life just like you, but their ego, selfishness, stupidity, negligence, and bad judgment has scarred your self-esteem.
These guys aren’t necessarily alpha males, but they felt like it to you, at least when they affected you. Their combined efforts have congealed in your brain to give you a fear of alpha males and reality in general. Women may have also made you feel emasculated, not because they wanted to emasculate you but because they were “testing” you to see if you were worthy of their delicious pussy.
All men fear some alpha male. The head of the Crips gang in Los Angeles is the “alpha male” of the thug/gangster world, but he subconsciously sees a nerdy banker as the alpha male because the nerdy banker makes much more money and lives a better life than him, and the Crip leader is too scared to go to school and try to compete with the nerdy banker. The nerdy banker, in turn, sees another group of men as alpha to him, etc…
A key to becoming confident is releasing yourself from the control that both real and imagined alpha males have over you. To do this, you must not give a single fuck what anybody thinks about you. Your actions should be governed by truth and a rational analysis of what is best for you, not your need to feel validated and accepted. The moment you care what others think of you, you constrain your behavior to gain their approval and feel despair when they deny it. And when you constrain your behavior, you show to yourself, them and the world that you can be perturbed and thrown off of your mission. And if you can be thrown off of your mission, then you no longer have the ability to succeed at anything.
Many men link confidence to their tangible existence. A lot of guys say to me: “I’m not confident because I’m fat, or I don’t have enough money, or I’m awkward, etc…” That’s the wrong way to look at it. Your confidence should not be based on any tangible thing you have, but rather your inability to be controlled, because a man who cannot be controlled and can also obtain anything. If a woman said to you that she only feels confident when she’s wearing make-up, you wouldn’t think that that woman was confident: you would think that she is deeply insecure. A truly confident woman would be confident even if she was in a disfiguring accident that made her face look like ground beef.
True confidence is the intellectual belief and the emotional feeling that you are awesome just because you are you, and that you will succeed because you don’t care what anybody thinks, you can’t be controlled, and will not fall victim to despair. Confidence has its own intrinsic value: I feel confident because I know I am confident. I know I am confident because I don’t care what other people think, and therefore nobody can perturb me from my mission, and if nobody can perturb me from my mission, I am guaranteed to succeed.
Happiness is both a result and cause of confidence.
As I said earlier, humans are wired to seek good feelings, so if you are unhappy your brain will get distracted and chase sources of cheap happiness (TV, women, drugs, trashy internet, etc...). Your goal is to get your “happiness” from accomplishing your goals and defeating challenges, rather than cheap happiness. If you face every challenge with joy, you will be more motivated.
You may be a fundamentally unhappy person. Maybe you’re depressed, or anxious, or have had a hard life. But there must have been at least one time in your life when you felt joy. If you can induce that feeling in yourself when you are pursuing your goals, or at least fake it, you will do better. One of my favorite quotes is from a rabbi who said that “how can I feel joy when my house has burnt down? I feel sad for a little, and then when I start rebuilding it, I feel joy with every brick I lay.”
The upshot of this is that you should always be having fun. No matter how hard your life is, or what bad thing just happened to you, you need to have a social schedule where you are going out, doing things that make you feel good, fucking girls, hanging out with friends, etc... Obviously, you shouldn’t let your fun times take over your life or do anything self-destructive, but I disagree with the idea that success requires sustained misery. Being happy also requires eating well, getting enough sleep, and eliminating sources of negativity and distraction from your life. If you have a friend who consistently makes you feel like shit, or a woman who brings you more pain than happiness, cut them out. They are bad for you.
Happiness is a result of confidence because confident people are more successful, and your confidence proves to you that you can succeed at anything.
Getting rid of your fear of the alpha male also makes you happy because you no longer need to rely on anybody else for happiness. Human beings are actually very simple beings. All we need is a little bit of food, decent shelter, one vagina to put your dick in (you should reject the societal notion that you can’t be happy unless you fuck lots of girls), and love. All of our other fake desires are rooted in our need for the love of others. We mostly desire “luxury” things like nice cars, mansions or designer clothes because we think it will cause other people to love us and care about us. A truly confident man knows that he will be loved no matter what he has or who he is, because his value comes from being imperturbable and a model for others. And if people want to deny him love based on his material circumstances, then that’s their problem, not his.
I’m not saying that nice cars, mansions and nice clothes are bad things. I enjoy all those things. I’m also not saying that women don’t care about tangibles. Women definitely do care about how you look, how you dress, how much money you have, etc... There are some women that will just never fuck a short, bald poor guy no matter how much “game” he has. But your own confidence and self-esteem should not depend on your tangibles. You should live your most awesome life. If girls like you, great. If not, no problem.
Can you really not care what people think?
It’s impossible to truly not care what anybody thinks of you. Human beings are social animals, and we evolved to form emotional connections with other people and to care what they think of us. We need sex, affection and human contact. The only way to truly not care about the opinions of others is to either be a psychopath or a hermit that lives in the woods.
I’m not saying that you should cut off contact from all other humans. I’m saying you should engage in mutually beneficial relationships with people, where you exchange the things humans need to exchange (love, friendship, affection, fun times, etc…), WITHOUT LETTING THEM CONTROL YOU and without becoming submissive.
To prevent people from controlling you, or abusing your, or manipulating you, or taking advantage of you, you must have a strong set of boundaries. Boundaries are “rules” for yourself that you will not allow others to break. A confident man is confident his rules are morally correct and makes others bend to his moral guidelines, not vice versa. If you have faith in your principles and stand by them, you cannot be manipulated by women or by society into acting against your own interests, doing the wrong thing, or chasing stupid trophies like nice cars and shit.
I'm not here to push a certain type of morality on you, and I think many set of rules can be "correct" depending on your situatiion, the people you are dealing with, and your personal preferences. What's important is not having this or that set of rules, but generally having unbreakable principles. You should constantly reevaluate your rules and changing them if they are "wrong" and/or not conducive to the type of life you want to live. You should also be open to reasonable arguments by third parties that your rules may be wrong.
The good life
An important part of being confident is having a clear vision of what you consider to be the good life. Nobody can control you if you are happily pursuing the good life. This vision is a set of priorities and beliefs about the world that guide what you seek and care about. For example, if a hot girl tries to pressure me to do cocaine I say no because cocaine contradicts my vision of the good life because of its harmful effects.
This sounds like third grade health education, but it is amazing that many adults can be peer pressured simply because they don’t have their own vision of the good life. I know rich, successful adult men that have become cokeheads because the beautiful women they were pressured by hot girls to do it. It’s absolutely fucking incredible that a millionaire Silicon Valley CEO can be peer pressured by a bartender into doing cocaine but it happens all the fucking time. And because that guy had no vision of the good life, he is now addicted and does cocaine even when those girls are not around.
Your boundaries and your vision of the good life are connected. I set boundaries because I am pursuing a certain life, and if you get in the way, you are dismissed. For example, my vision of the good life involves waking up early to work out and work on my businesses. Many people (usually trashy girls not doing anything useful with their lives) don’t understand that vision and try to pressure me into staying out late. No matter how beautiful they are or how close I am to getting pussy, I say no and go home. No matter how hot she is and how much I think I can’t find anybody else like her that will respect my rules, I keep the faith.
Your vision of the good life should have a place for all of your pleasures and pursuits. I like fucking hot girls, but I also like getting enough sleep, eating well, going to fun concerts, being around positive people, succeeding at my business, talking about deep, intellectual things I am interested in, etc…
Understanding the good life also makes you feel better about your shortcomings. Women are part of the good life, but you don’t need to fuck the hottest girl and you definitely don’t need to “get” every girl you like. If you think that happiness requires you to be 6’0 or drive a Ferrari or bang X girls a year, you lose your confidence if you don’t have those things. If your vision of the good life is simpler, however, you can’t be shamed and guilted if you don’t have those things.
Why are women attracted to confidence?
First of all, everyone is attracted to confidence. Nobody wants to be around an insecure, sad, moping sack of shit. And nobody likes to be around somebody that is easily controlled. Humans are wired to reach for something higher than us, not somebody beneath us that doesn’t challenge us or help us grow. That said, women have a special desire for a confident man. Why?
Because women have babies and are physically weaker than men, women evolved to seek a strong, powerful man who can make a credible commitment to protect her and her baby until the baby reaches a certain age. A protector’s commitment is only credible if he cannot be thrown off of his mission, whatever that mission is. If a protector becomes emotional, dishonest, distracted, or submissive, he can no longer be trusted to protect. In other words, if a protector can be controlled by others or crippled by despair, his commitment is not credible and the woman is vulnerable.
It does not matter how confident you actually are, but whether you can display that confidence to a woman. Confidence is performative. A woman wants to see you confidently pursue a mission and not be perturbed and more importantly, not show despair. Women can subconsciously sense despair in a man. She wants to see you be a brick wall. Women also subconsciously know that the thing that is most likely to perturb a man is a woman, so she will purposely try to perturb you to see how you react. If you even flinch, she will question your emotional credibility. This is what we call a “shit test.”
A big problem is that men meet women in social situations where they are drinking and having fun, so women do not see men confidently pursue their mission. For most men, when they go out, women are their mission. But fixating on women subconsciously causes you to be controlled by women, reducing your attractiveness. This is why DJs and bartenders are more attractive to women – they are actually doing something rather than just drooling over them.
Your place in the tribe
On a subconscious level, women want a guy who does not appear to be controlled by the tribe. This is part of the reason women like “bad boys” – a “bad boy” tingles the same receptors that an alpha male tingles because the bad boy does not conform to anybody’s rules and does not “feel” like he is “controlled” by any other male. This is irrational, of course – most “bad boys” are losers and the opposite of an actual alpha male. But we are talking about emotions here, not rationality. The alpha male does what he wants, and he doesn’t rely on anybody else for anything, either physical or emotional. He is the only one that cannot be controlled. Sure, the alpha male does have the most tangible things (food and resources) but the alpha male isn’t thinking about that.
The true alpha male is not the biggest, loudest, meanest, toughest guy: it’s the guy who literally does not give a single fuck and cannot be controlled. It’s the guy who walks in a party with a ridiculous ugly neon green floppy hat. It’s the guy who tells an embarrassing story about himself that most people would be too afraid to tell. It’s the guy who does something that’s a little off, not because he’s weird or has problems, but because he just lives in his own reality. The alpha male is totally relaxed, calm, confident in what he’s doing, and is never, ever, perturbed by anything anybody does, especially women.
If you walk into a bar or nightclub, you see a bizarre scene. Otherwise confident, successful, manly men are selling their souls. They are begging beautiful women to buy them drinks, listening intently to their stupid stories and agreeing with their stupid opinions, begging for their attention, waiting for them as they talk to other men, etc… These men instantly lose credibility to women because they are begging to be accepted and are easily controlled. In other words, these men are experiencing the same emotional anguish that the women experience, which turns women off. Women want to escape their emotional anguish, not be with a guy that is also experiencing it.
How to act around women
Let’s do some logic. Women are attracted to confidence. Confidence is faith that you will succeed. Therefore, women are attracted to men who have faith they will succeed in fucking them. In other words, women want a guy to act like he already knows she will fuck him. Of course, you don’t actually know whether she will fuck you. But nevertheless, you must act as if you KNOW she will fuck you. You must bluff as if you know she will say yes. And even if you get rejected, you must move on to the next girl with the same confidence.
Now the question becomes: if you truly knew from the bottom of your heart you could fuck a girl, how would you act? You wouldn’t supplicate, or beg, or act needy, or even do anything really. If you KNEW you could fuck a girl, you would do nothing. Of course, you should talk to her and be nice so that you don’t make her feel bad, and you would engage with her to the extent that she says or does anything interesting or funny. But the moment she does something negative, shitty, or boring, you immediately lose interest because you don’t need to put up with her b@llshit.
Unlike a lot of other PUA blogs, I am not going to feed you a bunch of lines of what a confident guy “would” say. The fact is, confidence is an emotional state, and you either have it or you don’t. And girls can sense it because it is very hard to fake your emotions, especially if you are hanging out with a girl for a long time.
Releasing yourself from the mental slavery of the alpha male sounds great, but it is actually very dangerous. Most people in our society can only function if they are being guided by a superior: society, your dad, the government, your boss, etc... They need the anxiety induced by the alpha male to stay focused and not go off and get drunk and play video games. But if you want to be a truly confident, self-actualized man, you need to be able to motivate yourself when there is no alpha male swinging an axe over your head.
Not only must you be your own alpha male, but you must cultivate a positive humility, where you listen to men that are smarter and more powerful than you, not because of your irrational ape emotions, but because they are smarter than you and they are helping you improve. If you look at history, a lot of times when men get a ton of power they go crazy (see kings, dictators, rock stars, Mike Tyson, etc...) because they don’t have the anxiety of the alpha male controlling them but they also don’t have the humility to stay focused and keep their head on straight.