Hey there, it’s Graham again from The Confident Man Project, and I’m down in the beautiful bush today with yet another confidence building tip for you. And today I want to talk about dropping defensiveness. Now, this came up to me a few years ago when I was reading a fantastic book by Malcolm Gladwell called Blink, which is all about the power of developing intuition. One of the things that Gladwell talks about in his book is the golden rule of theatrical improvisation which is the technique that comedy actors use on stage to improvise new material. And the golden rule is this: always accept what other people say about you as being the truth.
Now, I was a bit taken aback when I first read this and I thought, “Well, that’s an interesting little concept.” But the idea behind it really is about not being defensive. And when I first came across this idea, I started to notice in a lot of my conversations with people I was spending a lot of my time simply trying to justify myself, trying to make out that I was a nice guy, trying to make other people like me and really being very defensive instead of just going with the flow of the conversation.
So I started putting this into practice and really noticing in conversations times when I was getting defensive, and I just stopped doing that. I started accepting what other people were saying and just listening to what they had to say without taking it on board as necessarily me having to justify or me having to defend or me having to do all that kind of stuff.
Now, there’s a bit of a gray line here between being assertive on the one hand and being defensive on the other hand. I’m not saying not to be assertive. What I’m saying is simply to notice how often in conversations you are defending yourself and trying to project this nice guy image to other people. And just stop doing that and you’ll find that your conversations become a lot less stilted and flow a lot more easily.
Now, this is particularly relevant when you’re flirting with a woman. I used to be completely hopeless at flirting. I’m still learning, but one of the breakthroughs for me was when I realized that any time a woman started flirting with me, hit me with a bit of a teasing comment, I would start going into defensive mode and try to justify myself rather than just going with the flow and being fun and playful.
While you’re out and about in your conversations with other people, just have a notice for the times when you’re being defensive and start just going with the flow instead and seeing where that leads you.