The Best Dating Advice I Ever Received

Recently on Quora, I shared an answer to an interesting question: What is the best dating advice you have ever been given? My answer has already received almost 300,000 views, and has generated some great conversations (and some controversy), so I decided to share it with my readers here on Improve My Life This Year.

The Best Dating Advice I Ever Received

My best friend scribbled it on a napkin in my college bar 8 years ago.

S = L + (RV x MV)

That’s the best dating advice I ever received. The basic idea is your success in dating is one part luck and another part your perceived value.

Perceived value is a function of how much actual value you generate and how well you market that value.

So for the mathematically inclined,

Success = Luck + (real value x the marketing you do), or simply

S = L + (RV x MV)

That’s pretty much it. Punch in the numbers and that’s how your dating experiences will go.

Want more luck? Take more shots (not tequila shots, though who knows, that might work too). No, the shots we are talking about are attempts. If something has a 1 in a 100 chance of occurring, then statistically, you are about 50 shots away from getting it. Ask people out. Get rejected. Ask more out. Don’t hide your intentions. If you like someone, own it and show it. All other variables held constant, you chances of dating success go up, up, up as long you get out of your own head and just talk to the girl.

Want more real value? Then find ways to become more valuable as a person. Learn how to be witty. To make great conversation. Learn where the coolest restaurants are in town. Learn a musical instrument. Get physically fit. Groom well. Develop your own style. Be honest. These things and hundreds of others as well are avenues to build your value.

Want to market your value? Don’t hide your light under the proverbial bushel. If you have a funny joke, tell it! If you know a great restaurant, invite your friends. If you play guitar, play it outside the school cafeteria on a Tuesday afternoon just because you feel like it. If you are good at presentations, volunteer to make the big sales pitch at work. Whatever it is – don’t be afraid to show off the value that you’ve worked hard to build.

That’s about it. If you follow S = L + (RV x MV), you’ll achieve dating success! Everyone has a weakest variable – find yours and work on it!

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And for guys who are really serious about improving your dating skills, check out The Dating Playbook for Men by Andrew Ferebee. His 7-step system will simply and clearly help you become an attractive, valuable man. Enjoy!

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3 Killer Ways to Improve Your Writing

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The pen is mightier than the sword. Are you well-armed?

If you want to improve your life this year, a key area to target is your communication skills. We’ll cover conversational skills in a different post, but let’s focus on writing today.

Fair or not, people judge your writing skills A LOT! Your resume. Your school assignment. Your dating profile. Your social media posts. These have the power to shape your life. If your writing skills aren’t at the level you’d like, then please, follow my 3 steps and you will be a better writer today!

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#1 Avoid Crutches:

So, crutches are those things you add to your writing, thinking they add value, even though they don’t. What do I mean? Let’s look at some examples more closely.

Adverbs – Take a look at these sentences. He shouted loudly. She walked nervously. He ate quickly. He spoke proudly. All these sentences contain adverbs and all these sentences could be made stronger. You see, writers often lean on adverbs because they have chosen weak verbs. Look at the verbs in those sentences. Shouted. Walked. Ate. Spoke. All of these are rather generic and weak. That’s why the adverbs were added to give a little more color to the sentences. But better yet would be to swap out the original verb/adverb pairs for a single powerful verb. Look at how we can upgrade these sentences. He roared. She tip-toed. He gulped. He gloated. There is almost always an amazing verb that will improve the sentence. Find it. Use it. Instant improvement.

Adjectives – Take a look at these sentences. The beautiful girl sang a lovely song. The small house was in the green forest.The hungry wolf wanted to eat the pig. See the adjectives? Beautiful. Lovely. Small. Green. Hungry. Notice that they are common and overused adjectives that don’t really add much value to the sentence? Their only role is to take your eye off the fact that the nouns are even more common and overused. Girl. Song. House. Forest. Wolf. Pig. So here’s what to do. If possible, combine the adjective and noun into a new noun which carries the meaning of both. “Beautiful girl” can be an “angel”. “Small house” can be “a cottage”. If such a word does not exist, (for example there is no specific word which means “hungry wolf”) at least choose a more specific adjective, and consider substituting some imagery in place of the standard noun. Let’s see how this looks. “The beautiful girl sang a lovely song” becomes “The angel sang a stirring aria.” Better yet, “sang” is an overused verb, so let’s change the sentence to “The angel lifted her voice in a stirring aria.” Amazing improvement. “The small house was in the green forest” becomes “The welcoming cottage was nestled in a peaceful green sea of trees.” “The hungry wolf wanted to eat the pig” becomes “The rapacious monster longed to devour the unsuspecting farm animal.” If you want your words to come alive, swap out the common for the uncommon and you’ll get instant improvements.

Cliches – I struggle so much with this. A cliche is any phrase that has been used again and again to the point of losing all freshness and originality. As much as I try not to, I tend to overuse cliches frequently.

“At the end of the day”

“All’s well that ends well”

“Bring your A-game”

Here’s a huge list if you’d like to see more. http://examples.yourdictionary.com/examples-of-cliches.html

Like I said, I’m bad at it; I use cliches far too often. When you catch those, cut them out and come up with a fresh way to say it. Now that you are aware of it, you’ll notice them in your writing. Ruthlessly remove and replace for an instant boost to your writing.

#2 Get a Decent Thesaurus:

Seriously. Get a physical copy, place it on your desk and become friends with it. Refer to it often. A good thesaurus contains far more than just synonyms. I personally love Roget’s Thesaurus of Words for Writers. It contains over 2,300 emotive, evocative, descriptive synonyms, antonyms, and related terms every writer should know.

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As you refer to a thesaurus over time, your vocabulary and writing skills naturally strengthen.

Avoid Grammar and Spelling Mistakes:

OK, if you follow steps 1 and 2, you’ll be crafting incredibly descriptive sentences now, but you still don’t want a perfectly good email or journal entry to be marred by basic errors. How can you avoid making grammar and spelling mistakes, especially when you are in a hurry? I use Grammarly.

Grammarly is a cloud-­based application. As of now, it checks for over 250 types of common grammatical errors, corrects contextual spelling mistakes (which means it’ll notice that you used “too” when you probably meant “to”), enhances vocabulary usage, and provides citation suggestions as you type (a fantastic aid for college students). My favorite feature is that it runs in real-time as you type, so you see a variety of suggestions which don’t obstruct your view or distract you as you work. If you want to correct an error, you simply click once on the suggested improvement and your text is instantly fixed. There are browser extensions available as well, so wherever you are typing (emails, Facebook, blog comments, etc.) you are protected from errors. They have both a free service and a premium one. I started with the free service for some time; later I upgraded to premium and I love it even more. Seriously try the free version for yourself and I’m pretty sure you’ll wonder how you lived and worked without it for so long. Millions of people worldwide including myself rely on Grammarly and it can be the key tool that makes you a better writer.

So there you have it! Avoid crutches like boring adverbs and adjectives. Get a thesaurus and use it as you write to build your vocabulary. And use Grammarly to catch all the tiny errors that you miss but the judging eyes of someone else won’t. I truly believe that as you write better, your career, your relationships, and your reputation will improve.

Go for it, and if you have additional tips, feel free to share them in the comment section below!

Jamie

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Confidence Tips: Advice from Snails, Books, and Benedict Cumberbatch on How to Be More Confident

I’ve had many people ask me, “How can I be more confident?” And if I am honest, I have asked it before as well. I think this question really has two parts. How can I look more confident? How can I feel more confident? We want both, right? We all want to feel confident in our skin while simultaneously looking confident to those who see us. Building confidence is a life-long mission, but there are a few quick hacks we can employ to give us a nice, easy boost of confidence.

So here are confidence-boosting ideas, thanks to the wisdom of Benedict Cumberbatch, snails, and books.

1) Become Your Favorite Actor/Actress.

Here’s what I do when I face a situation that demands me to take on a role that is challenging for me. I pretend I am an actor playing that role. It’s easy, fun, and incredibly effective. Just choose the actor that best fits the role you need to play. Need to seem cool and suave? Pretend you are Sean Connery’s James Bond. Need to be intellectual and perhaps a bit cold, channel Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes. By pretending you are simply acting a role, a significant portion of your social anxiety will melt away. Even if someone reacts negatively to you, they haven’t really reacted negatively to you; they have only disapproved of or Sherlock or James, not you. After a while, you will stop even thinking of your character and just naturally begin to feel at ease acting as they do.

Now it isn’t as a big a deal for me, but when I was younger I was very self-conscious. As in very conscious of myself during any social encounter and very worried that I would screw up, misspeak, or otherwise make a mistake that would out me as not smart enough, cool enough, whatever. Basically, that internal negative dialogue would play in my mind – something that many shy or introverted people can relate to.

Anyway, I’d read, “Just be confident”, or “Speak this way”, or “Do this.” But it all felt painfully fake and not me. Again the internal dialogue would shout, “Jamie, you are trying to sound cool and confident here, but everyone sees through it; they all know you are fake!”

So I spun my own insecurities around by embracing the thing I feared. I will be fake. I’ll play act the roles I’ve seen my favorite actors do. Obviously I didn’t overact; that would look ridiculous and have the opposite effect that I intended. I’d just steal phrases, body language, and their general demeanor. The funny thing is, by adopting that role, I didn’t feel nearly as self-conscious as before. It was kinda like wearing a mask – a mask that you felt safe and unnoticed behind, freeing me to act more like I truly wanted to.

Now this may sound like the path to becoming a fake person, but I argue it is the exact opposite. I actually wanted to be like those actors. I wasn’t being fake; instead I was actually learning how to express myself in the way I had always wanted to but had been too afraid to try before. So in that sense, when you meet me, I am now closer to who I want to be than I ever was before. In other words, I am now more Jamie Moyer than I have ever been.

At the end result of this, when you learn how to slip into this role or that, you become more confident in yourself. Because you become more comfortable in whatever social situation you face. Some people learn this easily and naturally. But for someone who faces social anxiety, this can be a powerful tool to liberate you from your fears and set you free.

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2) Slow Down Everything.

Walk slower, talk slower, react slower. Do everything a bit slower. You get two benefits from this. First, you’ll find that by slowing down, you’ll have more time to think through want you want to say or do. That leads you to speaking and moving more deliberately, which makes you look more confident. Think of a CEO, President, or other powerful, confident person. Do they run? They they jerkily move their arms around. Race to get all the words out of their mouth? Or do they walk, talk, and move deliberately? When it comes to being confident, be inspired by the snail, and take it slower.
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3) Watch Your Body Language.

Your body language leaks out a lot of info about you. If you are nervous your body language will betray you. The cool thing is body language not only shows how you are feeling, it also can influence how you are feeling. Choose some confident body language and you’ll feel yourself becoming more confident. If you need to improve your body language skills, absolutely get this book! Amy Cuddy’s Presence is the definitive book on gaining confidence through understanding your body language and yourself. You’ll learn how many mistakes you have been making in your body language and how to correct them easily. More than that, you’ll learn how to think in ways that free you to become a bolder, stronger self.

These 3 ideas together are powerful. They get your body, mind, and timing all synced up and ready to be at your best.

Good luck!

Jamie

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