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November 8, 2015

An Alternative to #ZeroFucks: The SO WHAT Mindset

On the flight back from Europe a couple weeks ago, I read a book for men on how to pick up women.

Yes, I realize that’s strange and I am (obviously) not a man, and certainly not interested in picking up anyone, but what got me interested was the psychology of Pick-up Artistry (or a Pick-up Artist or PUA for short). At its core, it’s about human interactions and more specifically, facing down a lot of fears around those interactions. It was fascinating.

The stories themselves I could have taken or left, but the one thing I found so useful, and what I want to share with you today is what I have come to call a SO WHAT mindset or operating system.

This is hugely applicable for those of us who want to create something bigger, like starting a blog or online business, want to cultivate a new relationship, take a solo trip, learn a new skill or just get out of our comfort zone in any number of ways.

It’s applicable because when you operate with a SO WHAT mentality, it empowers you to face your biggest fears head on. You take action in spite of your fears, and as a result, you build your confidence and self-efficacy.

For example, in a recent Periscope, I asked the ladies on the call what their #1 fear was when it comes to taking that next step into something bigger, making that change they dream about.

Here were the answers:

  • Fear of failure
  • Afraid to talk to people
  • Scared what people will think
  • I don’t want people to judge me
  • Not having enough money
  • Working hard on something and then failing
  • Not enough time to dedicate to it
  • Fear of change
  • Fear of rejection
  • Scared to be vulnerable
  • Worried I’m not good enough
  • Knowing what exactly to do
  • Scared to get called out
  • Scared I’ll look like an idiot
  • Fear of success
  • Scared to lose friends and family in the process
  • Not sure what people will think
  • I don’t want to deal with haters and trolls

Okay, so now here’s what happened in the book: a group of nerdy guys were terrified to approach women. They were scared of being rejected. They were scared to look like a loser, be judged, be alienated or thought not good enough.

Sound familiar?? ;)

So many of our fears around anything have very little to do with the actual tasks (the “what-to-do’s” — we know those!), but instead have to do with HOW OTHER PEOPLE SEE US or the fallout with others. It’s not about fear of doing per se, but fear of the responses.

We are scared of what other people’s responses mean about us:

  • If we’re rejected, we make it mean we suck.
  • If we’re judged, we make it mean it’s because we’re not good enough.
  • If someone doesn’t want us or our services, we make it mean we might as well give up because we’re a failure.

Can you see how these conclusions we draw are completely our choice?

These huge jumps from outward response to inward self-criticism and defeat are completely subjective. We’re letting our insecurities dictate our self-perception.

And that’s bullshit. It’s not true. It’s a total lie.

Your self-perception can be whatever you want it to be. Outside influence doesn’t have to be considered. Thus, SO WHAT:

  • Someone doesn’t understand you or what you’re doing. SO WHAT. It’s not for them to understand.
  • Your friends and family don’t support you and think you’re making a huge mistake. SO WHAT. They don’t have to live your life, you do.
  • You try something new and make some mistakes. SO WHAT. Look at all you’ve learned and how much better you’ll be because of it.

Unlike how #zerofucks sometimes feels angry or even a self-righteous response to being done wrong, the SO WHAT mindset isn’t about expecting other people to be different or to “show them.” The SO WHAT Mindset isn’t cold or callous. It isn’t about not caring about people. Of course we care about and love people. It’s instead about not giving credence to other people’s assessment of you or what you are doing, considering it has nothing to do with them.

Just because you love someone and value their opinion doesn’t mean you have to take what they say as fact, or even consider it. I love my mom but she has no clue about online business. So while I can see her worries and fears for me, and even appreciate them as someone who only has my best interests at heart, I can’t afford to consider them. They’d keep me anxious and second-guessing myself if I did.

So forget everyone else. What about your say?

The SO WHAT Attitude is a tool to help us take more action.

It did exactly that in the book I read. The men adopted the attitude that if they were rejected by a woman, or a hundred women, it was fine. They literally had nothing to lose. In fact, they had more to gain by being rejected more, because they accrued invaluable experience, learned from their mistakes and built their confidence as a result of the sheer number of times they put themselves out there.

The guys got clinical and objective. They didn’t take rejection personally. This allowed them to be more open to taking consistent action and going after what they really wanted.

By getting objective and by releasing attachment to what it all means about us and our potential, we can do more too. We can take more steps. We can go further. We can get over our biggest fears and mindset obstacles.

So when faced with something you’re terrified to do, mentally go to the worst thing you can think of happening. And then ask yourself, SO WHAT:

  • Would you be okay? (Yes, even though it might be messy or painful.)
  • Would you be able to make another move? (Yes, nothing is ever irreversible.)
  • Would you be more experienced and have more wisdom? (Yes, and that’s priceless.)

Hopefully this article helps you take that next step. And if it doesn’t, then SO WHAT because it’s certainly helped me better formulate my own personal #GSD mantra, ha! ;)

Do you. Because the alternative is never following your dreams, never taking those out-of-the-box steps, and ultimately always wondering “what if.” No thank you.

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