It is the fate of nearly every newbie to become obsessed with micromanaging his image. You see it all the time in askTRP threads: "How do I become more alpha?" or "Help, I think I may be beta and my girlfriend is losing interest". You even see it in the success stories, when guys talk about "finally feeling like Chad".
Don't get me wrong, it's great to have a victory under your belt, and you should be proud of it. It means you're moving past your initial inhibitions and towards real potential. But you're not out of the woods yet - you're surrounded by pitfalls that you can't even see.
What you shouldn't do is become fixated on the image that you're projecting to others. Be AWARE of your image, but do not become obssessed with it - because it is almost entirely a figment of your imagination.
I will begin this discussion with an illustrative parable. Then we'll move to the core theory. After, we'll discuss common roadblocks that RP newbies encounter and how to overcome them.
The Parable of the Boy with Many Faces
There was once a boy of many interests and pursuits. He was a lonely boy, easily bored, and often driven to flights of passion and inspiration.
The problem was, his pursuits were often mutually exclusive. He could not pursue all of them openly without them hindering or precluding one another.
He was an angry boy in search of a scapegoat for his life's frustrations, so he took to fighting.
He was a rebellious boy who liked to shake people's securities, so he took to rule-breaking.
He was a bored boy, so he took to ditching school.
He was a curious boy, so he took to experimentation - with science, and drugs, and girls.
He was a responsible boy whose family depended on him, so he worked a small job and made what little money he could to help out.
He was an only son to a good-hearted single mother, so he did as he was told when he was at home and never gave his mother any reason to worry.
He led a life with many facets. He was never untrue to his nature. He maintained these many facets by keeping them separate from one another. He never allowed the people in his different circles to mix.
From the boy's perspective, he had many faces. But to any single friend or family member, he had only one face - the particular face that he chose to show them.
What It Means
Clever little parables are great and all, but what the fuck does it mean?
It means you're full of your own shit.
To put it simply, you don't have a personality. There's no such thing.
I know it feels like you do. You are the only person who has constant, unrestricted access to the goings-on of your own life, and your own mind. You personally experience every laugh, every fight, every party, every frustrating ordeal, every heartbreaking tragedy, every embarrassing failure that has ever occurred in your life.
And you also experience (internally) every private thought, every unexpressed desire, every snide remark you keep to yourself, and every bout of fear that has ever seized you and kept you still when you felt like you should have acted.
For the sake of simplicity, I will refer to this as your internal perception for the remainer of this article.
You have built your internal perception of your identity around that collective experience. But here's the catch: your internal perception is accessible only to you.
Your friends' and family's experience of you is far more limited. To them, your personality consists only of those things you have externalized in their presence.
So, "you're full of your own shit" is about right.
What does it mean for you?
"Personality" is an interpretation of your behaviour, filtered through the observer's emotional reaction to that behaviour. Each person's experience (and interpretation) of you might be different.
You potentially have as many "personalities" as there are people who know you - a different interpretation for each person.
To change your personality, all you have to do is change your behaviour.
The word "personality" is short-hand for "how I experience your company".
If you are making me laugh often, I think of you as a funny guy. If you always start complaining whenever we sit down to talk, I think of you as the depressing downer. If you're always hosting big awesome parties, I think of you as the outgoing guy with lots of social connections.
Incidentally, this is also why accusations that TRP promotes manipulation, insincerity, and disingenuousness are entirely baseless. Since no two people will necessarily have the same experience and opinion of you, does that suddenly invalidate both of their experiences? Whether those experiences were genuine or manufactured is a question unanswerable to the beholder. What they saw is what they got, and this is true for ALL interactions.
To think of all this in terms of another metaphor, imagine a hermit who lives by himself in a remote cave. No one knows he lives there, and he never makes contact with the outside world.
What is the hermit's personality?
The answer, of course, is moot. The concept of personality was developed as a social tool so that people could quickly describe one another. The concept has no meaning for a total recluse.
Internal Perception and Achieving Goals
Each man has limited power. He is but one man. Alone, he can only accomplish things that are within the scope of his abilities, his attention, and his time - all of which are finite.
But a man with many allies can potentially achieve the sum of all his allies' abilities, attentions, and time put together - provided he can inspire them to unify under his vision.
Alone you are weak. United with allies you are powerful. Nothing revolutionary here.
But this means that other people's perception of you is more important in achieving goals than your internal perception. You use other people's perceptions of you to inspire them to act for you, not your internal perception. Your internal perception is only accessible to you, and is therefore only useful in motivating you.
We realize, then, that internal perception is an unnecessary distraction.
At best, internal perception keeps you motivated and fighting for your goals. That's not strictly a bad thing, but you musn't depend upon your whimsical emotional state to achieve your goals. You should be accomplishing that with discipline.
At worst, internal perception hinders your progress by sowing self-doubt in your thoughts, paralyzing you, and turning you into a validation-seeking addict.
Common Pitfalls of the Internal Perception
One sticking problem with newcomers to TRP is their obsession over the Alpha-Versus-Beta "dynamic". They become obsessed with trying to micromanage their internal perception so that they can maximize alphaness.
This becomes an issue when their inward gaze is out of synch with external reality. They begin acting in ways that are incongruous with the situation, resulting in awkwardness and social ostracism - which they could have avoided simply by being more present and aware of their environment.
Alpha and beta are behaviours, and behaviours are TOOLS, not catch-all solutions.
When we talk about controlled, calculated behaviours, we are talking about strategies for altering your image in the minds of other people. But all this depends on you having an accurate read of your environment in the first place. If you don't know your environment, how can you predict the outcome of your applied strategies?
Solution: We say this time and again: The Red Pill is a tool box. To be successful, you must first identify the job at hand, and THEN select the tool appropriate for accomplishing it. Don't look foolish by bringing a waffle iron into the garage, or bringing an air ratchet to breakfast. Know the job, and know the right tool for it.
When a newbie is first learning TRP, he is still trying to make sense of how theory relates to reality. He watches carefully for signs and signals that he is doing right (or wrong) - and when he sees confirmation of the things he is learning, he feels a sense of satisfaction.
For many unfortunate newbies, they become trapped in this phase for a long time.
Witnessing The Red Pill in action can be enrapturing, and it can stop you from taking further action. You end up stuck in a cycle of baiting reactions and watching them unfold - all the while making no REAL progress in developing as a man or achieving your goals.
And sometimes, an attempt at baiting an anticipated reaction backfires. Things don't play out like you imagined they would, and you are denied your vindicating fix of confirmation. Your worldview is shaken, and you immediately begin trying to repair the crack, as if the foundation of your life were built on it.
This is another way that internal perception inhibits you. You are searching for a new identity to replace the old one you are discarding. But you need to constantly confirm it by testing it, to make sure you're not being deceived again. An understandable response, but it's a treadmill - you're moving your legs, and you're not going anywhere.
You must stop using "learning" as a rationalization for your confirmation addiction, and you need to work towards your goals. If you haven't even decided on a goal yet, then your confirmation addiction might be why.
Solution: Focus on action, and trust that Red Pill theory will be just as right tomorrow as it is today. You can be confident that you are not being deceived because this time it is YOUR goals you are working towards. Approach the application of TRP theory like a scientist, and return to the theories which work best for the type of goal you want to achieve.
The Left-Field Compliment
Has anyone ever complimented you, and the compliment confused you? Perhaps it felt undeserved? Or maybe it never occurred to you that someone might admire you for that reason?
If you have experienced this, then it is a perfect example of someone else's perception of you disagreeeing with your internal perception.
Now, have you ever complimented someone for something, and they had a lukewarm response to your admiration? If you've never experienced this, then let me tell you - it doesn't feel good. Here's why:
People are constantly projecting. When a person expresses admiration for you, what they're really saying is "I'd like to be more like you".
How shitty is it to then tell them that their aspirations are not significant? Pretty fucking shitty.
Solution: Understand that a compliment is a window into a person's perception of you. That's a valuable piece of information, and you should never punish them for giving you such a gift.
Learn to accept compliments with grace. A simple thank you is sufficient. Then take what they have taught you and use it to gauge your reputation in your community, and figure how it can get you closer to your goals.
Furthermore, spend more time on taking action. Maintain only enough awareness of other people's opinions to help you avert social disaster. Otherwise, barrel forward, and let your actions and achievements speak volumes about the kind of man you are.
Bringing It All Together
Personality is a figment of our individual imaginations, given life and substance by our collective interactions. Personality is real, and it is also a fiction. It's important that we understand that, whether truth or fiction, the creation of a personality is prompted by action, and only action.
Therefore, actions are what matter most, since actions are the only things which have effects and consequences.
You are a prisoner of your own mind. You will never be free of the temptation to default to your internal perception, especially when you're stressed and exhausted.
Just remember that your internal perception is as much a truth, and as much a lie, as anything else.
Whenever you are in doubt, always err on the side of taking action.
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