The dating world can sometimes seem pretty scary.
In our minds, the stakes get built up. Each interaction becomes “life or death” for our egos. What if she’s not interested? What if she says no? What if she laughs at me? What if I never date anyone again?!!
But when we step back from it, it’s never as serious as it seems. As scary as it is to put ourselves out there at the time, that’s not the real risk. When we get a little perspective, we see that the real “disaster” is when we DON’T put ourselves out there—and live to regret the missed opportunity.
In his blog Giving Shy Guys Game, Justin Stenstrom reminds us of the quote by hockey legend Wayne Gretzky: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” As Justin notes, this is a great reminder when navigating the dating scene.
So often, guys go out with the intention of talking to women, but end up never taking a shot. They wait to find the perfect situation, they “strategize” with their wingmen, they try to find a moment when the stars are perfectly aligned. And then they do NOTHING—making excuses that the bar was too dark, or the girl seemed too involved with her friends and would probably say no, et cetera, et cetera…
In reality, they’re just scared of failure.
You can’t ever be certain she’s going to say yes. And you can try your best to engineer a perfect situation. But ultimately, you can be certain she’s NOT going to say yes if you never ask.
Talk to any successful person, and they’ll tell you it’s important to cultivate the habit of taking ACTION. Sometimes “ready, fire, aim” is actually the best approach. This is true in the dating world and beyond. When we spend too much time building something up in our mind, we let fear get the best of us. We start to lose perspective, and we end up sabotaging our chances of success.
Sometimes we just have to take the shot.
With dating, and so many other things in life, it’s often just a numbers game. The more you try, the greater your odds of success—it’s simple math. That also means you’ve got to miss some shots in order to finally get the goal. And the more we realize it, the less we think that each failure is a reflection of whether we’re “good enough.” It’s just the nature of the game.
When I’ve had friends complain about “not having any luck with the ladies,” I ask them how many times they’ve been shot down in the last 6 months. It’s amazing how quiet they get. Because they realize they haven’t been getting rejected at all. They’ve just been giving up before even trying.
When you step back, you realize that the stakes aren’t as high as you think. And the less you worry and the more you act, the better your chances of success. What’s the worst that can happen if you ask a woman out? Maybe she says no. But I firmly believe that even if she says no, she respects you more for trying than when you were just sitting across the bar gawking at her over your Rum & Coke.
Once you work up the courage to take action, you ask yourself why you didn’t do it sooner. Whether it’s a yes or a no, you’ve squashed that fear. Because you took action. You took the shot.
Sometimes you find that the stars were more aligned than you thought—and that you should have taken the shot long ago.
In his podcast, writer Jeff Goins talked about how he had a crush on a girl in high school. He built it up in his mind, he dreamt about it, he’d practice in front of his mirror—but without ever getting the nerve to ask her out. And then one day, he just said (I’m paraphrasing) “the hell with it, I’m doing it” and marched over to her, not knowing what he was going to say. He threw out any pretense of trying to create the perfect situation and took the shot. To this day, he’s even sure if what came out of his mouth was English. But to his surprise, she immediately said, “I’d love to.” And then after she started walking away, she turned around and said, “It’s about time.”
What do you want to do that you’re putting off? More importantly, what exactly are you waiting for?
Take the shot.