Posted in On confidence

The Quest for Confidence – Part 6


Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

It’s been a while since I’ve read anything of this book. In truth it has slipped my mind but I picked it up again this week and at the right time too. This next chapter is called The Success Trap and it is sort of apt for me right now. As regular readers will know, I gave up a shitty job in the spring to try my hand at freelance work. I’m doing ok with it, probably as well as can be expected.

Sometimes though I take to brooding on my successes in life – or lack thereof. I’m probably never going to get rich doing what I’m doing and sometimes I have my self-doubts about whether I can make a success of it at all. Do I have the drive? The talent? The acumen? Though I am not money-oriented, I am goal-oriented. I want to feel fulfilled and valued in my working life and by the small circle of carefully chosen friends around.

And dating is hitting a bit of a nerve. My ex wife delightfully told me the other day that she has felt a connection with someone and is about to have a third date with him – things are going very well (she has been online dating for just a few months). And my best friend met his now girlfriend after just a couple of months on OKCupid. I am genuinely happy for both of them in equal measure so naturally I’m wondering what I am doing wrong. Why after nearly 18 months at this have I not progressed beyond a second date? What have they done right that I haven’t? Why do they leave the area? Why do they get back with their exes? Why do they turn flaky? Make excuses? Hold back? Put up barriers? And that feeling rears its ugly head again…

Maybe it’s me?

Because despite that I have had dates with 17 people and despite that I potentially have the choice between two lovely, gorgeous women in Mirror Image and Indiechick, I start to wonder again why it all feels so beyond me… something distant that I will never find.

I know I shouldn’t treat a potential new relationship as a goal, a duck to be broken but with my past experiences I can’t help but see it like that. It feels that there is an invisible brick wall around me. It is something that needs to be broken through. At first just the touching of fingers through a gap until finally the person on the other side chooses to tear it down rather than walk away.

I guess I have been stuck in The Success Trap over this…

The Success Trap

By judging our lives through achievements we are opening ourselves up to three problems:

  • No guarantee of success – or they might be a long way off
  • Even if they are achieved they will not give you lasting happiness (you will achieve only brief moments of joy
  • If you judge your success by achievement of these goals, you are putting yourself under enormous pressure to continue to achieve the next goal

Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value – Albert Einstein

This is the theme of the chapter – living not by achievement of our goals, but by values that we hold dear. A perfectly illustrates point is Martin Luther King. He himself did not achieve the equal rights he sought, but by living by his standards did he become respected, emulated and ultimately others achieved those equal rights. Similarly, who is more successful? A CEO who never has time for his children or a woman who devotes her time to caring for the children she fosters?

Hold that thought.



I go by the name of Frank Speaking. My blog "In the Mind of Men" (former name Chin Up, Chest High) started out as a chronicle of my mental health recovery. Now it is a forum where I discuss issues related to male mental health.

3 thoughts on “The Quest for Confidence – Part 6

  1. First, don’t compare yourself to other people! Everyone has different goals- and values. So you can’t be expected to be on the same timeline.
    Second, I wouldn’t say your ‘struggle’ (the quotations marks are sarcastic, you are going through a process, a journey) to find someone is about anything external. Maybe it’s internal. Maybe you aren’t as ready as you think you are, or as you want to be. Or maybe your confidence is still off in this area? All these women flaking is a pattern. I have found that whenever I am not really emotionally available, I end up with a guy who also isn’t, but who shows it in a different way. (which is most of my relationships, lol) And it’s not on purpose!

    1. First, don’t compare yourself to other people!

      I know. That’s one of the first lessons from the self-esteem book and courses I have done. I haven’t done it in a long time. Like an alcoholic, I guess I can expect and be prepared for an occasional lapse.

      Maybe you aren’t as ready as you think you are,

      Perhaps. But I’m pretty sure I am. I’ve been happy and relaxed on all of my dates and haven’t let the lack of contact from dates bother me. I’ve also been very dismissive of those who were clearly not for me. The down that I felt a couple of days ago was purely about the lack of pay-off I think. And you’re right about this being a journey and not a destination, I need to remind myself about that sometimes.

      I have found that whenever I am not really emotionally available,

      I’ve commented before that both Indiechick (because of two divorces) and Mirror Image (because she’s had one short-term boyfriend in her life) have shells around them. I’m not convinced that either are emotionally available… perhaps I am feeding off of that. After a month of almost wall-to-wall dates, I’m down to these two and it is just unfortunate that they both have shells around them.

      I’m going to take another break I think, not because I feel fatigued, but because I have a busy couple of months coming up and most of my weekends are taken up between now and New Year. If I see anybody, it’ll be limited to those I’ve already met. And Mirror Image and I have *finally* set a date and place to meet up.

      Thanks again Moksie 🙂

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