We saw in the last post that the first REAL reason that so few men are well-dressed is because of psychological barriers they have that they are most likely completely unaware of. We might say one thing, rationalise why we don’t do it, but in reality, there are much deeper issues going on beneath the surface.
To recap, these barriers are:
1) Fear. We are afraid. We instinctively don’t want to stand apart and stand out.
2) A sense of unworthiness. We feel that we are not good enough.
These are limiting beliefs that restrict how we live life. Instead of living freely, these cause us to live safely and amongst the crowd. The crowd where nothing remarkable happens. That is the cost of having these beliefs and psychological barriers.
We all want to live the best lives we can lead. We want to be the best versions of ourselves. We want to live bold and purposeful lives. It’s therefore in our deepest interests to rid ourselves of these barriers and start living.
In this post, we will deal with the first barrier, 1) Fear, and how we can destroy it for good.
As we have previously seen:
“Fear because we instinctively don’t want to stand apart and stand out. We fear that dressly sharply will mean that we stand out from the vast majority of people. We don’t want to stand out. We don’t want to be unnecessarily one of the few. We don’t want to be a target. A target for mockery and ridicule. We don’t want people to say, “Who does he think he is?” We would rather stay in the crowd. A crowd where people aren’t too different and don’t stand out in any way. Not too cultured, not too adventurous, and not too bold. We are afraid.”
We can rid ourselves of Fear in two ways. Firstly, by seeing truly how irrational worrying about what other people think, either real or perceived, is. Secondly, by desensitising ourselves to our fear step-by-step and in a methodical way. We need to be systematic. We need to take direct action and face our fears head on and destroy them.
Let’s look at the first way. It’s easy to say in your head, “yes of course it’s irrational worrying about what other people think. And I’ll try not to worry so much in the future. It’s silly I know.” We’ve heard this voice before and we know we’ve said this in some way to ourselves previously. Maybe not about dressing better but some other arena where we’re afraid about what others think of us.
What do we think will happen to this man above who wants to use willpower and thought alone to become less fearful and instead more fearless? It might stick for a few days or even weeks. But there’s a strong chance that he will revert back to old habits and ingrained thought patterns.
We need to look deep, deep down and really internalise how irrational our fears about this issue are. Fear only stops us when we think that the consequences of an action are worse than the benefits of pushing through it. So in this case, we fear other people’s reactions to our attempts at being well-dressed as being worse than the benefits of being well-dressed. Clearly, this is absurb.
Let’s unpick this and go deeper to see just how absurd this is. Let’s look at a range of scenarios regarding other people’s reactions:
1) 99.999% of people don’t even know us. Think about that for a moment. We don’t know that many people. Most people know around 500 people. When you walk down the street, the chances are that you’ll know literally no-one there. What then does it matter if people are judging us? It doesn’t. Stop worrying about this.
2) No one will say anything to you about your dress sense. Seriously. No one. When was the last time you actually went up to someone you didn’t know and say to them that their dress sense offended you? That’s right. You never have. Unless you’ve got serious social problems. Even when someone’s outfit is just plain ridiculous, you have probably never said this to their face. The most you would have done was smile to yourself or inwardly shake your head.
3) Even of the people you do know (that 500), NO ONE of this group is going to say anything nasty or mean to you. These people might be family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances and as we saw above, the vast majority of these peeople will say nothing at all about your efforts to dress better. In fact, the only things they might say are positive things.
“You look smart”
“You look great. Have you lost weight?”
“I like your suit/jacket/shoes. Where did you get them from?”
4) Even if people did say something, so what? Seriously. So what? Firstly, they are making a comment about your dress sense not your deepest character. So again, so what? Ignore this comment and put it down to their own insecurities. Secondly, it’s coming from the 0.01% of people who would say actually something like this to you. The world is not filled with people who will always build you up and say nice things to you. There are lots of those people but there will always be some haters and trolls. Look at any YouTube video of anyone doing, creating or teaching anything. There’s always nasty comments somewhere down the thread. Ignore these guys. If you let them get into your head, people you don’t even know, then you’re inviting them in. Just see this for what it is and simply shrug your shoulders. So what?
5) Here’s the secret sauce. I do what I want. Say it to yourself. I do what I want. Say it again. This time, out loud. Say it again. Shout it this time. Feels good, doesn’t it? Feels much better than worrying about what people might say or be thinking. ‘So what? I do what I want’. Say it everyday.
This leads onto the second strategy for destroying your fears. Increasing your tolerance for social discomfort. To complement the mental exercises above, we come to the practical. If we’re worried about how we’re seen in public and about what others might be thinking about us, then we need to massively raise our tolerance for what makes us feel publically uncomfortable.
To start, we need to calibrate where our tolerance levels are currently. Look at your wardrobe right now and take a mental snapshot. Done it? Good. Nothing in here is outside of your comfort zone when it comes to clothes. The key to destroying your fears are outside of your current collection of clothes. Buy things that you have wanted to buy but didn’t because you didn’t have the guts to wear and then wear them. For the advanced, buy something that really makes you feel uncomfortable and wear that.
To get you started, here are some exercises. The key is to wear these anywhere you go for one week. Just one week. Easy. Shopping, work, restaurants, pubs, sports events, networking events etc. anywhere and everywhere. It starts hard but the gradual expansion of your comfort barriers plus the realisation that no one is judging you or giving you any negativity will destroy your fears and boost your confidence hugely. If you feel internal resistance to these exercises, you definitely have the fear and you need to do this.
A) Wear a proper hat. I’m serious. Not a sports cap. A real hat. Like a fedora or a trilby or a panama. Most men don’t wear hats like these anymore. In the old days, every gentleman wore a hat. They’re not that expensive. You’ll be able to pick one up for less than £100. Make sure you try these out before you buy it to ensure the right fit. This will definitely feel uncomfortable particularly the first time you wear it. But you have an excuse if you need it. We told you to wear it. Try this for a week. By the end, you’ll feel the benefits.
A navy hat from English Hatters Lock & Co.
B) Wear bright trousers. There is a small section of British men that wear red trousers as a matter of course. Most men on the other hand don’t. Buy a pair of bright red trousers. They’re easily available. Resist your inner fears. After a few days, you’ll love wearing them.
Berwich Italian Red Trousers
C) Wear t-shirts a size smaller than you’d normally wear. (Unless you wear close-fitting t-shirts already. In which case, skip this one.) Most men buy clothes that are a little too big. A smaller size will make you feel like it’s too tight. Resist the urge to cover this up. Wear it with confidence. Or at least pretend to.
A fitted t-shirt
D) Wear sunglasses indoors in public. A great exercise for this particular fear. Everyone has a pair of sunglasses, so no excuses for this one. If you don’t normally wear sunglasses indoors, then you’ll feel awkward as soon as you step into a shopping mall, restaurant or pub wearing them. Resist the urge to take them off. Peservere. We’re destroying your fears remember. You have to fight them. Keep them on at the checkout and when talking to people. They’re just sunglasses. Who cares? Wear them everywhere. After a few days, you won’t feel awkward and you’ll have pushed out of your comfort zone.
Gorgeous Persol Sunglasses
Try all these exercises and commit to them. Stick with it. Trust us. You’ll feel much more fearless about clothes and your appearance.
Next: How to destroy any sense of unworthiness. Psychological barrier #2.