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Inner Game: The Gap, The Resistance and The Champion

Inner Game: The Gap, The Resistance and The Champion

BY Staff

Inner Game: The Gap, The Resistance and The Champion

Just go talk to her dude. Even one-armed women need lovin’ too.”
So spoke my friend, moments before my first ever cold approach.
Despite her missing limb, I was nervous as hell. Total lack of confidence, heart thumping in my throat… it felt like my brain was going to melt down.
I steeled myself, and prepared to say hello.
It took years for me to become comfortable in these moments. I had pretty bad social anxiety, and it was a long, slow process to overcome it.
How did I become more confident with women in these situations, and how can you shortcut the process and develop that genuine, rockstar confidence?

For me, it all started with Yoga.
My friend Tom – an awesome guy who is an absolute nut about health and body movement – convinced me to sign up for a six-month Bikram membership during one particularly cold Michigan winter.
Every Friday, we’d join 15 or so others in a small room, heated to about 110 Fahrenheit, and push our way through an hour and a half of contortions.
Getting into the poses is only half the battle. The real struggle comes when you’re trying to hold a pose, then go deeper into it… and deeper… and it’s hot as hell… and your breathing is constricted… and there’s this moment when your brain says “ahhhhhh I can’t take it any longer!”
This moment is what I call The Gap.
And you absolutely must become a master of it.
Six months of Bikram taught me to push my body much, much harder. There were some close-to-blackout moments when I hit my limits, but they were a lot further than I thought.
When spring rolled around, I was running further than I’d even gone. And my weight training workouts got better too. In that “failure” moment, I could push through and get one or two more reps pounded out. Painful, but as we already know, growth happens when you get to your edge, and push just a little harder… a little farther.
The challenge is to become a master of these “edge” moments… these Gaps. Unfortunately, the deck is stacked against you.
When you’re stressed in an edge moment – when you’re in The Gap – your primative “reptile brain” takes over, survival mode kicks in, and your higher levels of thinking are compromised. No doubt you’ve felt it before. Some examples of Gaps include…
– the “I’ve GOT to take a break” moment during a run
– the “I can’t get this weight up again” moment during training
– the “I’m gonna leap off this?” moment during bungee jumping
– the “I’m afraid to approach her” moment at the bar
– the “should I go for the kiss” moment on the date
… and so on. It depends on where your edge is. Some guys will read this and think “well duh, going for the kiss is easy,” while others will be silently nodding their heads, remembering the tension of their last date, and their failure to make a move.
It’s frustrating, because you’re in control before the Gap. And you’re in control afterwards. But for as long or short as the Gap might be, conscious activity can slow down or even grind to a halt, depending on how stressful it is.
Visualize it this way:

{In Control} –> [THE GAP] –> {In Control}

When you’re super stressed and the reptile brain takes over, it feels like this:

{In Control} –> [*&*!@&$#@*&+] –> {In Control}

You literally have no idea what’s going on. Things get kind of fuzzy, you do and say stuff on autopilot, and oftentimes, failure happens. Even though there’s no existential threat, your reptile brain is running “threat avoidance” mode or “conserve life energy” mode because that’s what it evolved to do.
If you shine a little light on these Gap moments, chances are you’d notice that your brain is firing off all sorts of thoughts that are meant to protect you. It could be a straight up negative thought i.e. “no WAY I can do this,” or, more perniciously, it could be running an avoidance pattern i.e. “I’m just gonna get one more drink before I approach her.”
It’s like there’s this little part of you that takes over and hijacks your otherwise-rational self.
Well, guess what? The science is there to support that metaphor.
You see, midlevel social functions (“is this person cool?”) happen in your midbrain, and your rational thinking happens in your neocortex. They’re both more recent, on an evolutionary scale, than your reptile brain.
But during those Gap moments, when you’re far out at your at your physical or emotional edge, your higher level functions shut down to conserve energy, and the reptile brain takes over to ensure your survival.
Seth Godin calls this voice “the resistance.”
A lot of guys will say “I’m ok once I’m talking to women, but it’s striking up a conversation that’s tough for me.”
Now you know why: having a normal conversation isn’t scary… it’s that edge moment, during the approach – when rejection is a strong possibility – that things go dark, fear takes over, the resistance begins telling you why you can’t do it, and all charm is compromised.
Even when the girl is missing an appendage.
It’s the same reason that guys are ok talking to girls they don’t much care about, but freak out when it’s someone they’re really attracted to.
Nick goes into great detail on this in Fearless – six simple things that tell a woman whether your resistance has taken over and is running your threat avoidance pattern (aka feeling fear) or whether your Champion is running the show, and that you’re cool and in control (aka confident). Makes all the difference in the world in how she responds to you.
We don’t go into all of this science in the marketing of the program. You know the drill with the ridiculous sales letters… big outlandish promises, big excitement, lots of testimonials – annoying as they can be, that stuff works better than rational explanation because – surprise surprise – it targets the core emotional desires of the reptile brain.
This science is also the foundation of our fantastically-reviewed bootcamps.  Rather than overloading our clients with tips, tricks, techniques and just filling up his head with knowledge, we drill in to the make-or-break moments and focus on overcoming the resistance, so it becomes a permanent mindset shift, rather than a temporary social bump.
But at present time, Fearless is sold out, and coaching is not something that everyone can afford, so let’s consider three quick things that you can do right now that’s going to help you across all of your performance-based activities.
1.) Mind the Gap: Start paying attention to the moments when fear and stress start to overwhelm you.  At the gym, at work, with women… everywhere.
2.) Get to know the Resistance: Listen for the flood of messages that the resistance is using to inhibit you. Don’t hate on ’em – it’s your brain doing it’s job – but become acutely mindful of how and why they’re happening.
3.) Develop your Champion: Every winner, in every walk of life, has harnessed his or her willpower to overcome the resistance. I call this the Champion. It’s where your “inner game” happens.
Here’s the thing – willpower is an exhaustible resource. And it’s like a muscle: the more that you practice using it, the stronger it becomes. This is how and why confidence happens when you’re at your edge. The stronger that your Champion becomes in one part of your life, the stronger it is in all parts of your life.
The best part of all? As your Champion grows stronger, it begins to overpower the resistance. In those Gap moments, things slow down, and the Champion begins to parse out that flood of negative messages and take ’em down one by one. It’s like that scene in The Matrix when Neo holds his hand up and stops all of the bullets.
You take control again, and things that once scared you or held you back become more comfortable. They may still cause nervousness – pro dating coaches still get approach anxiety when they see a pretty girl, and pro basketball players still get nervous before big games – but the Champion inside says “hey man… I got this.”
That’s when your higher-level brain starts working again, and failure turns into mastery.  You develop new automatic thought patterns – those of a confident winner – and begin to have much more consistent success.

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