IF LIFE teaches us anything, it’s that at its core, life is a competition. A competition to survive and reproduce. And in the animal kingdom, that exists as the competition to secure mates.
And like it or not, humans are part of the competition.
It’s easy to forget that, when you cast aside politics, science, medicine, literature, art, sociology and philosophy, at our core, we are still animals. Our insecurities, relationships, dreams, fears, and ambitions might all be enormously complex, but our behavior, the very patterns of our existence, when looked at from outside, are incredibly simple, and incredibly indistinct from the lives of almost all other animals.
We seek food. We seek shelter. We seek a mate.
That is what we do, just as every other animal does. And in fact, so essential are these needs, that until they’re all met, it’s hard to think about anything else. Just imagine when you were last extremely hungry or being battered by the weather? What else did you think of other than a hot meal or roof over your head? Didn’t all those “human concerns” just seem to fade away? And, well, I doubt you’d have much interest in a site largely dedicated to dating and self-improvement if your sex life wasn’t a concern.
Before we’re humans, we’re just animals.
And like any other animals, we’re in direct competition with one another to mate and reproduce. And the fear that that is born from this competition, from this demand of our animal psyche, is one that affects our lives in fundamental ways that manipulate and control almost every decision we make.
THE THREE FEARS
If you’re living in the western world, then the fear and immediate threat of death is not really an issue. Supermarkets, housing and over the counter medicines have all but eliminated the issue of death from our existence. Nothing’s hunting us, nothing’s stealing our food and nothing’s destroying our homes. We simply sit at home, and in one way or another, try to solve the problem of how we are going to mate with another person.
I say mate because even though the vast majority of people (guys included) think of this as love and companionship, from an animal perspective, it’s still just finding a mate.
And when it comes it finding a mate, humans do this like any other animal. By using a dominance hierarchy. The more dominant an individual is, whether that be for beauty, achievement, or anything else, the more likely that individual is to mate. Now, I’m not saying for a second that this is the be all and end all of human mating – It is, thanks largely to women*, far more complex than this – but the reality of this dominance hierarchy is something that for the most part exists, and is something that our brain is definitely, definitely aware of.
With our survival taken care of, all we’re left with is the competition to secure a mate. And it is that competition that instills in us three very basic fears:
- Fear of yourself
- Fear of the same sex
- Fear of the opposite sex
We fear ourselves because we fear we might not be able to compete. We fear the same sex because we fear they might outcompete us. And we fear the opposite sex because they might reject us.
No matter if you’re a guy or a girl, at some point you’ve sat there and thought – “I’m not good enough”, “I’m not as attractive as her”. “I’m not as strong as him” or my personal favorite “she wouldn’t like me anyway”.
These are fears that we are exposed to day in and day out. But rather than identify these as animal fears, we typically label them as:
But this is missing the full picture. We fear failure because it means we’ll be lower down the hierarchy of mates. We fear inadequacy because it means we can’t and won’t ever be able to compete. We fear confrontation because it means we might end up being proven to be lower down the hierarchy than a potential rival. We fear rejection because, well, it means we’re shit out of luck with that mating prospect.
It is for this reason that we don’t attempt our dreams and procrastinate. It is for this reason that our self-esteem sucks. It is for this reason that we don’t assert our boundaries. It is for this reason that we don’t approach the girl we like.
It’s all connected.
Our fears are far less complex than we realize. They’re all orbiting around one central fear. A question that we’re asking ourselves every day:
“Can I compete?”
BEATING THE COMPETITION
If life is a competition, then we have two options. Compete and reap the rewards, or run away and suffer the consequences. I.e shame and self-loathing.
But the way in which we compete is a little more unique than the animals would have it. Far from chest beating and charging each other till our hooves fall off – engaging in the competition is less about defeating opponents than it is about facing your fears in order to free yourself.
Fear of failure, confrontation and rejection are all dealt with the same way; by consistent, gradual exposure. These are fears that are chipped away at over years, slowly and surely removing us from a prison of fear into a free variety of behavior. We learn to be comfortable with confrontation by slowly asserting our boundaries more often, and doing physical sports like boxing. We learn to be more comfortable with rejection by slowly approaching more and more, and letting ourselves say whatever we want, regardless of the potential outcome.
Fear of inadequacy is dealt with by proving your beliefs wrong. By challenging what you think about yourself and seeing if it actually lines up with reality. The more you expose yourself to the various successes that you are capable of, the more you are building your sense of self-worth on tangible, hard-won achievement. Instead of deciding your result before you try; try and keep trying and see what the result is. Eventually, you’ll win, and over time, you’ll win a lot.
But this is just about overcoming the fears that stem from the inherent conception of life. What about the competition itself? When I say compete, do I literally mean compete with other people?
Well, no, not really. In many ways, that’s an extremely toxic way to live. Not only does almost everyone start becoming a threat, but your entire worldview becomes centered around how others perceive you; specifically how members of the opposite sex perceive you. Your entire focus in life is about maintaining and increasing where they perceive you on your own perceived dominance ladder.
As you can imagine, that’s both wildly insecure and a complete fucking headache.
It also doesn’t really make sense, as there are numerous metrics upon which a person is judged. What are you gonna do, compete on all of them? Good luck with that.
It’s a stupid way to live, and it misses the true power that exists in accepting that life is a competition. If life is a competition, then its inherent demand is that you compete to the best of your ability, that is, that you consistently keep improving yourself. Rather than get lost in a constant race with others, you simply look at yourself and examine where you can do better. You ask yourself “where can I improve?” And then you start doing it. Rather than asking yourself whether you can compete, you assume you can, and ask yourself how you can compete better.
Because once you combine this question with the fears that you are slowly chipping away, competition with anyone else is something you’ll never have to worry about ever again.
*By this I mean, women care far more about how you make them feel than how dominant you are. Realising this is the difference between being a macho dick measurer, and someone who has Game.
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