[Today is the forty-second in a series on daily and weekly beliefs that improve my life and may improve yours, in no particular order. See the introduction to the series and the value of flexibility in beliefs for background.]
People commonly believe that beautiful women have better lives than everybody else and that they have access to more valuable things. I came across that belief a lot when I used to go out dancing a lot. The evidence seemed overwhelming — they automatically get invited to the best parties, they get past the doorpeople, men buy them drinks if the club doesn’t already give them, and so on. In regular life, studies show attractive people get paid more, get promoted more, and so on.
Sounds great if you’re a beautiful woman, but what if you aren’t?
Before today’s belief shows you what you can get, let me first poke a few holes in the old belief.
Interlude: Beauty alone doesn’t make life rewarding. Everyone gets emotional reward the same way, and it requires effort.
First, I’m not so sure how much the free drinks and invitations improve their lives. Sure, they get the pleasure of luxury and maybe even some happiness, but getting something through something you were born with and didn’t put your own effort into deprives you of the chance to feel emotional reward for it.
I wrote recently about the difference between pleasure, happiness, and reward. Living a life without reward turns pleasure and happiness into distraction from the lack of meaning, value, importance, and purpose (MVIP) from lack of reward.
Second, most of the models, dancers, and other beautiful women I met worked hard for what they got too, and they felt reward from their efforts, so beauty doesn’t prevent you from feeling reward. Not contributing your own effort does. Nor does being beautiful mean that’s what got you what you got.
Anyway, today’s belief is not about beauty. It’s about how anyone can get what the mainstream believes beautiful women get.
A model to live like beautiful people do: Charisma gets you everything beauty could, and you can develop as much charisma as you want.
I noticed when I went out that my guy friends could get more people past doorpeople than beautiful women could. And those guys weren’t beautiful women.
So what got them in?
My friends weren’t rich. They didn’t come from special families.
They had charisma. They had social skills. I didn’t, but I found I could copy them and, with practice, get better. The most common searches to my site are to my social skills exercises so people know they can improve.
Two experiences that drove this belief home for me were
- When using the skills I learned from my charismatic friends helped get me into business school.
- One time when a bouncer told me to go inside and have fun, almost pushing me in, despite not being on any list nor knowing anyone and there being a long line. I had just been having fun with him and he decided the place would be better with me in it than not. I’m far from a beautiful woman myself.
When I use this belief
I use this belief when I think anyone anywhere has an easier time than me, or that anyone has life handed to them on a silver platter. I don’t begrudge anyone any so-called “privilege” that I don’t have because things like money you didn’t earn, connections your family got you, beauty you were born, or whatever with may get someone pleasure or even some happiness, but rich, complex emotional reward still requires your effort.
And that’s where MVIP comes from.
What this belief replaces
This belief replaces enviously wishing I was somebody else, powerlessly feeling like a victim of fate, with the ability to do something about it. It reinforces the importance of social skills and responsibility.
Where this belief leads
This belief leads to learning charisma and other social skills, which brings better relationships, better business, more fun, more ability to do complex things that require teams, and so on.
It also gets you into clubs.
People will call you beautiful too, appreciating that you helped them remember beauty isn’t purely visual.
Learn to make Meaningful Connections
with a simple, effective exercise from my book, Leadership Step by Step.
- Step by step instructions
- Video examples of me and Marshall Goldsmith
- An excerpt from my book