Monday, November 10, 2014

Be Patient

Blogs that give dating and relationship advice can be hugely motivational. When you read them, you can feel like you've uncovered some huge secret, and that everything in your life is immediately going to change for the better. The e-mails I get from readers confirm this. I've had the same feeling myself many times in the process of reading about how to improve my workouts or to improve my success with women.

In spite of being a little naive, this feeling isn't a bad one. In fact, it is often a great one in the sense that it usually results in the kind of enthusiasm that propels you a long way towards success. But a few months later, when reality sets in, and you start to realize that what you read didn't completely revolutionize your results with men -  that that you are still single, or that you still haven't been asked out - it can be easy to lose steam.

Putting advice into practice is never as smooth and easy as experiencing the initial "wow" factor when receiving or reading it. That one post you read about personal boundaries might have completely changed the way you think about behaving towards the men you date, but following through under the sway of a man's attractiveness proved far more difficult than you expected. Another post affirmed your emotional intelligence and gave you all kinds of confidence in yourself, but the practical applications were difficult to find. And although you agree with that post that claimed you can control your looks to a very large extent, there just isn't enough time in the day to worry about everything you'd need to in order to look your best. Ideas are perfect; reality is anything but.

However, after you go through a few (maybe even several) of those initial "wow" moments, only to find yourself disappointed by your progress, you start to realize something: you really have changed. You really have improved. The progress is much rougher and more halting than you expected, and certainly far slower than you hoped. But when you look in the mirror a couple years after you started, you really do see a different person - one who has changed for the better.

Ideas work on the mind in subtle but powerful ways, such that their effects are often unrecognizable for a long time after their seeds are planted, or even after those seeds have taken root. The efforts you make might seem to have next to no impact at first, but they do slowly and inevitably accumulate. Eventually, if you work hard and thoughtfully, you will see real changes. They might not be what you dreamed of at first, but you wouldn't appreciate them if they'd come easily. And what you find is that, although the improvements are far smaller than you expected, they are also much more satisfying than you expected - you don't need to improve as much as you think you do to be happy.

Eventually you learn to temper your expectations so that they don't get out of control each time you digest a new idea or learn a new lesson. This also serves to rein in your disappointment when you find yourself feeling like you've made no progress since a few months ago, when you were sure that you finally figured out what was wrong. Experience teaches us that each new effort made and new truth learned is not some panacea that will change our world overnight, but rather a small (yet important) piece of a very large puzzle – one that we will continue to work on for a long time, perhaps for the rest of our lives. This recognition is a sign of maturity, and the first step toward real, concrete progress.

Related Posts
1. Self-Improvement Takes Time
2. Do You Really Want Dating to Be Easier?
3. You Are Responsible for Your Own Romantic Happiness


  1. Thanks for reminding me about this. Since I started reading your blog I've spent a lot of time on self improvements. I even dedicated my summer holiday on improving my looks and on dating. Now I actually did get a boyfriend from all my efforts (yay) But no winter is dark, cold and busy with work and seeing my boyfriend I don't go to the gym anymore. Thatøs really bad I know I should keeo up my look.

  2. Thanks for the reminder Andrew. And progress does happen, albeit slowly... Since beginning to read your blog about a year ago, I've lost 20 pounds (and dropped two jeans sizes), grown my hair out from chin length to mid back and learned how to style it. I was already pretty good with makeup and clothing, and the new improvements have made a giant difference. You really revolutionized my concept of how much leverage I have over my appearance, and I am forever grateful.

  3. Andrew, thank you! I read your blog religiously when I was single, and one of the hardest issues I faced was "how to stay positive" in the midst of a slew of terrible dates or no options. I wish this post had been around when I was single to provide this very helpful perspective! I am going to share this with my single friends.

  4. Just wanted to let you know how helpful, eye opening, and reassuring this blog has been for me ever since I discovered it a year and a half ago. I cannot tell you how much I've learned from your blog. Not only that, but what I've always sensed to be true, such as the feminine/masculine balance in relationships, has been explained so thoroughly yet so simply by you, Andrew. Again, I cannot tell you how much your blog, and others like it, have given me clarification so much about myself and the world around me. I am truly thankful to you and your writing.

  5. Can you do a post about how important it is for women to date multiple men at once, especially if they have been out of the dating scene for awhile? It helps balance things out and makes you less available and excited to be getting attention from one.

  6. This blog has been pretty useful, but the most useful resource was reading The New Rules book by Fein and Schneider. The results I had were amazing and almost instant. This website is a good foundation to have but everything really came together from reading the book. I had a boyfriend within a month of reading it! And he's a great boyfriend, would do anything for me, treats me like a princess. I really recommend it to all the ladies here.

    1. So what you're saying is that I did all the difficult groundwork, and then they came in and took the glory? ;)

    2. Haha! What I mean is many similar concepts are explained and broken down in your blog which I've been reading since your first post. I read the new rules this summer and because of its strict 'rules' format of basically telling you what to do, it forced me to put everything I'd learnt into action. Some of the rules seem over the top, but they forced me to naturally applied everything I've learnt here and in similar books by following them. No whys, just straight to the point!
      Like this blog, Fein and Schenider are very active on their facebook page, they have helped me out a lot with my bf.

  7. I'm usually a silent observer when reading your blog. I go through the post, learn something new, sift through the comments briefly for any additional gems of insight from your followers, never adding my own input... until now. I couldn't resist the urge to thank you for this post in particular. I've been following your blog since the end of my last relationship (about three years ago) and although I put a lot of work into self-improvement, I often get downhearted that I'm still single. However, I realize that over the past few years I've gone through the exact process of transformation you describe. In subtle but key ways, I've applied your advice and developed a much stronger filter and ability to recognize/emanate authenticity. As a result, yes, I've had fewer dates... but with men of much higher quality, who demonstrate genuine interest (because I know what to look for now). This is coming from a girl who used to initiate contact and accept excuses on the regular. I'm glad I found this blog when I was 18 and still quite young and inexperienced. Who knows what kind of shit I would've gotten myself into by now without this knowledge. Thanks again.

  8. Your foremost post so far !
    I've been following your blog, and read all the posts several times. By far, this is the most crucial thing for all people!
    Delayed gratification.
    Thank you, Andrew !

  9. Hi andrew please can u give me some advice. My boyfirend and i got into a silly argument and now has given me the silent treatment for 2weeks. I contacted him to try n ressolve things and he told me there was no point in talking. I have not contacted him since however i am not sure if this is his way of breaking up with me or wether he is just taking some time out. He has done this before however he has never refused to talk thing thru. Im slightly confused as he hasnt actually sed its over what so i do?

  10. Thanks Andrew, this is a really valuable post. Now that we live in a world where instant gratification is so easy, I have to remind myself that all good things (that pay off in the long run) take time. I think I came across Mark Manson's blog via yours, and he has a great article on breakthroughs really being the culmination of a constant, incremental series of small "breakthroughs." This post is a good reminder that dating is definitely one of those things that requires patience as each of us make our own mini "breakthroughs." Anyways, your blog has been immensely helpful for me. Thank you and best of luck with the book!


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