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The Secret of Using Social Pressure to Build Confidence

The Secret of Using Social Pressure to Build Confidence

Joe Rogan, riffing on social pressure, in a conversation between him and Jamie Foxx.

You also get humbled a lot, as a comedian. You gotta get those jokes, you’re performing in front of a live audience, it’s all live, it’s gotta work. – Actors don’t get a lot of that, that’s one of the reasons why they’re kind of shaky. – They don’t get a lot of that testing it live in front of people, the humility that comes with that.

Jamie Foxx says that he was lucky to get into stand up before going into acting

Rogan said that social pressure teaches humility. I think a better word would be confidence. After you’ve stood on the stage long enough you become accustomed to speaking your mind and being the center of attention. That confidence bleeds into all areas of life.

I’ve never done stand up but in the last eighteen months I’ve gone out and talked to several thousand women. Anything can happen, from getting laid to getting told to fuck off. The negative experiences are invaluable because they accustom you to strong social pressure. Normal interactions feel easy compared to hitting on attractive women at the bar.

Another benefit, you become immune to stinging comments. For example, you do something wrong on the subway and a displeased New Yorker cusses at you. If you’re unaccustomed to social pressure this offhand comment can affect your entire day. For a person who regularly puts themself on the line, a random comment is quickly forgotten.

Finally, social pressure helps you live in the moment. Because you’re regularly in uncomfortable situations, you learn that most fear is irrational. Gone is that vague current of social anxiety that plagues people.

Incorporating Social Pressure Into Your Lifestyle

The bar is a good place to experience social pressure. You can do it anywhere and it’s free

The only thing I have personal experience with is hitting on the girls. I recommend starting here because it’s free, you don’t need to know a damn thing and you can start tonight. Go out to your local bar, walk up to the first girl you see and ask her how her night is going. However, I speculate that almost any socially challenging situation will have the same effect. Improv, comedy, singing, public speaking, etc.

You’re going to have to do it a lot though. Talking to ten girls isn’t going to do anything, one improv class isn’t going to erase your fear. Facing social pressure needs to be a regular part of your life, just like you (hopefully) go to the gym multiple times a week. If you’re ready to embrace the process and make shit happen, here’s what I recommend,

  1. Doing it at least three times a week, preferably five. It’s better to do it for 20 minutes, 5 times a week, than 4 hours one day a week.
  2. Find a friend to do it with. You can hold each other accountable.
  3. Read about other people who have transformed their lives through the skill you’re embracing. The virgin who learned how to date models or the shy guy who went on to become a famous comedian. These stories are inspiring and put a human face on activities.

How Social Pressure Shapes Your Personality

A cool guy is one who,

  • Is confident in social situations and is capable of being the center of attention without becoming self-conscious.
  • Isn’t afraid to speak his mind.
  • Is happy and brings a good vibe that people are attracted to.
  • Etc.

Social pressure teaches you to become all of these things. Regardless of how you practice it, you’re going to be forced into situations where people stare at you. At times you’ll have to speak your mind, regardless of the reaction. You’ll also be more present, as I mentioned above, because anxiety dissipates and you trust yourself to handle situations. All of these factors transform an average guy into a cooler one. To end this article I’ll quote Psycho-Cybernetics, a classic book in the self-development sphere.

The reason some people are self-conscious and awkward in social situations is simply that they are too consciously concerned, too anxious, to do the right thing. They are painfully conscious of every move they make. Every action is “thought-out.” Every word spoke is calculated for its effect. We speak of such persons as “inhibited”, and rightly so. — If these people could “let go,” stop trying, not care, and give no thought to the matter of their behavior, they could act creatively, spontaneously, and “be themselves.”

To be cool you cannot make “calculations” in social situations, you must express yourself naturally and freely. To do that that, you must become comfortable. How to become comfortable? Get a regular dose of social pressure. Can you think of any ways to do this that I haven’t listed above?