The REAL reasons that so few men are well-dressed (part 2): #1 Psychological Barriers

REAL reason #1 Psychological Barriers

In the last post, we looked at the REAL reasons that so few men are well-dressed. These are:

#1 Psychological Barriers

#2 No Clear Goal

#3 No Game Plan

In this post, we will look at REAL reason: #1 Psychological Barriers. We will identify the most common barriers with a focus on those that severely limit the way we want to live our lives. At their worst, our psychological barriers can cause us to live life timidly, safely, and fearfully. As Nietszche put it, “content to live hidden in forests like shy deer!”. Not a life to aspire to. Without the right mindset, a natural mindset, it’s impossible to succeed in becoming well-dressed.

To differing extents, we all have psychological barriers. It’s that little voice that innocently asks us whether we really think we can achieve something. Sometimes, it’s not even a little voice, but a just a hunch, a feeling. Most of the time, our barriers are so ingrained that we’re not even aware they’re there. These are the most dangerous because they control our actions and inactions without us even knowing it.

You might think that you don’t have them or that they’re so minimal that they can be ignored. Not so. Our barriers exist and exert an influence on us larger than we can believe. Here is a simple way to realise that we are ridden with barriers but painfully unaware of their existence.

Think about a time when you thought about someone you know well, a family member or friend, and wondered why they chose a course of action that left you stumped. How could they choose that option? Why didn’t they take the better choice? It might be why they didn’t go for that promotion when they were so clearly well qualified to get it. Or why they buy the cheapest option on anything only to have it break soon after. Why they always buy clothes that are clearly too big for them. Why they moved to a small town instead of the big city. Why they go to the same restaurants all the time. Why they don’t go and talk to the girl that’s caught their eye. All limiting beliefs and psychological barriers that shrink our boundaries and cause us to lead smaller, less fulfilling and fearful lives.

Barriers are all around us and in more guises than we can imagine. We can see other people’s barriers clearly. We shake our heads about them. We talk about this to other people that know this person and we both shake our heads.

The fact to draw from this thought experiment is this. The person with the barrier (amongst several) is almost certainly unaware that they have this barrier. In the same way that we see other people’s barriers that they don’t, other people must be seeing our own barriers that we can’t can’t see. No-one tells you that you have these barriers. We’re all too polite and don’t want to get drawn into an awkward conservation where things are said and which we can’t take back. We are being severely limited by our own psychological barriers.

Why we have barriers is beyond the scope of this article. One thing to think about for now is that we are not born with psychological barriers. Little kids are not fearful or timid. They try new things. They laugh or cry things off. They forget negative things quickly and they don’t really care what other people think. They are at their most alpha.

Wouldn’t it be great to get rid of our limiting barriers for good? Imagine how amazing it would feel to just be able to go out and live the life you want to lead with clarity and purpose?

Now that we have established that we all have limiting psychological barriers, in the rest of this article, we will look at identifying the most common barriers as they relate to becoming well-dressed.

When it comes to not just improving their dress sense but getting to the ‘well-dressed, dapper’ level, many men talk themselves out of the game before even beginning.

Many will think “maybe sometime in the future, not right now, I’ve got so much on”.

Some might think, “that’s nice, for those that can afford it.”

Or “I could never wear that.”

“Will I stand out like a sore thumb?”

These are uncomfortable things to say out loud or even admit. But what it does say is ‘I’m comfortable here where I am. To improve my dress sense means being uncomfortable for undefined amounts of time, and I don’t like the sound of it’.

As outlined in the previous article, these words or excuses above are surface level rationalisations for something that’s going on deeper below the waterline. The rationalisations give you an ‘out’, an ‘acceptable’ reason not to do something. In this case, not to improve the way you dress.

What are the reasons we talk ourselves out of taking the next steps up in our lives. We think nothing of starting at the bottom of the housing ladder in a starter home and move steadily up the ladder to bigger and better houses. We think nothing of trading in our first car for a better, more powerful machine and so on. Why do we we stop at dressly safely and averagely? Why don’t we want to improve our appearance and stand out for all the right reasons?

I think the answer boils down to two emotions. Fear and a sense of unworthiness.

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.

A sense of unworthiness because secretly deep down, we wonder whether we’re good enough. In all aspects. No matter how well we’re doing, there’s often a tiny, little voice that makes us think ‘are we really good enough?’. Are we a fraud trying to be something that we’re not? We might hear this when we go for an interview for a better job. When we go on a date with an attractive woman. When we dream about climbing Everest or swimming the Channel. When we choose a BMW instead of a Maserati, even though we really want the Maserati. “That’s all for other people”, we say to ourselves. Notice what’s implied in that sentence. That we think that other people have more right to do these things because, deep down, we think they’re better than us. Either because they are or because we perceive them to be. We feel that we are not good enough. Ouch.

Many people are not even aware that they hold these beliefs. See what we’ve done here? We’ve unpicked the statements or excuses above and looked deeper at what’s really going on.

The two underlying REAL limiting beliefs and psychological barriers are:

1) Fear. We are afraid.

2) A sense of unworthiness. We feel that we are not good enough.

The first time I realised these truths, it blew my head off. These are emasculating beliefs. What man would want to admit he has these?

What is the cost of, not just holding these beliefs, but actually internalising and letting these beliefs permeate your life and actions? You begin to play things safe. Your boundaries and comfort zone shrink. You live a fraction of the life that you want to or dream of leading.

The most mindblowing thing is the realisation that these two barriers are utterly irrational and ridiculous. It’s like going through life with your hands handcuffed behind your back and then realising that those handcuffs were completely illusory. They don’t exist. They are figments of your own mind and making. Like Neo in the Matrix or Plato in The Cave. Shadows and illusions of reality.

That’s the great news. They are illusions. Strong and powerful illusions but illusions nonetheless.

More great news. In the next post, we will discuss how we can eliminate these for good and get on the path to confidence, boldness and dapperness.

See you next time.

Be Dapper