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Why Feeling like Shit Can Be a Good Thing

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Who you think is sitting behind the computer screen, writing this article? Some suave ladies’ man who strolls into nightclubs and rounds up women like a pimped out cattle herder? Some jet setting playboy whose weekend low point is accidently spilling a splash of martini on a designer suit? Someone who prances through life with a perpetual smile that’s as bright and wide as his astonishingly good fortune?

Why it's good

The truth is, sometimes I do feel that way. I feel the highs I’ve reached in my life are the sort of stuff that makes for perfect fodder in the introductory paragraph of a self-aggrandizing article on the internet. Yet, that truth also has a very dark, very ominous shadow…

Indeed, the other half of that truth is that, because I’ve achieved some awesome stuff in my life, I’ve also felt some nasty lows. Just as the highs I’ve experienced are probably higher than the average person’s idea of success, the lows I’ve experienced are likely lower than the average person’s anti-depressants were designed for.

If you aim for the moon, you might land in a crater. That’s a fortune you won’t get with your Chinese food but you will get with a TSB writer who’s made a career out of “keeping it real.”

Most guys who read this site aren’t your “average” internet browser. The average dudes are off on Reddit laughing at the latest meme or ESPN celebrating someone else’s accomplishments. The guys who come to TSB are guys looking to rise above “average.” After all, this site is built on the credo of “lifestyle design.”

And only two factors are stopping you from that goal: hard work and accepting the REALITY of lifestyle design. That reality is this: wanting to rise above means willing to fall below. As they say: if you can’t handle the heat, get out of the kitchen.

And that, right there, is your million-dollar nugget of life-changing wisdom. And 99% of you won’t take it. Instead, you’ll continue to whine about how hard it is, how hard work is somehow different (and harder) for you, or how you don’t want to feel like “that guy.” But guess what: sometimes “that guy” has to be you.

Sorry for all you rose-colored-glasses-wearing self-help optimists, but self-development is a messy process. It isn’t as cheery as reading some advice and suddenly becoming successful. It often involves regression, pain, humiliation, and (most of all) lows.

The obvious “dating advice implications” of this is rejection. Yes, if you want to improve your dating life then you have to approach women, which automatically means you’re going to be dealing with rejection. Love it or hate it, rejection is just part of the game.

I don’t think that’s a revelation to anyone reading. You might have even accepted the idea, and thrown yourself face first into the beauty of uncertainty. But rejection is only a superficial encounter with the low of lows. If you want the sort of success that makes for great self-aggrandizement, then you’re going to have to go even lower. Much lower.

When you reach the higher highs of the game, you’re also going to plummet to new lows. One moment, you’re sleeping next to a goddess, the next moment you’re dealing with a situation that would break a lesser man (I purposely used an ambiguous word like “situation” because your hell is different from my hell, so substitute a situation-appropriate episode you find horrifically terrible.)

And when you hit that low, I’m not saying it’s going to feel somehow rewarding, but I am saying it should feel right. No one (and I repeat NO ONE) skates through life ultra successful without hitting the skids a few times. But if you can pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and return to your pursuit of the highlife, then you know you’re doing it right.

That’s what lows mean. That’s why feeling like shit is a good thing. It’s not good in the moment. And it’s not something you ever want to bring upon yourself. But when shit knocks at your door, remember this: you’re doing it right. It means that you’re pushing yourself beyond average, and so you’re opening yourself up to BOTH above average AND below average experiences.

Accept it.

About Rob J.

Rob J. is a writer and dating instructor in New York City. Themes that resonate in both his teaching and writing are masculinity, genuineness, rational self-interest, and general awesomeness.

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2 Comments

  1. K

    November 16, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    wow, this was one of the best TSB articles I’ve read

  2. naso

    November 16, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    this is a very powerful article, thanks a lot

  3. Dan

    November 17, 2012 at 10:21 am

    Great article. I’m so sick of hearing that everythings supposed to be perfect all the time. I’ve always felt anyone with that attitude was full of shit. Its good to know theres guys who have the success I want still hit bumps in the road and it gives me more motivation to pick myself up from one I’ve been experiencing lately. I never believed staying positive means ignoring potential problems, and pretending youre happy all the time. To solve problems you first need to acknowledge their existence.

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