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What Trump’s recent cop-out can teach us about self-improvement

Something big happened a couple weeks ago. So big, we have to talk about it.

Something yuuuuge, you might say. (Okay, I said it)

Donald Trump declined to throw the opening pitch for the Nationals. This was particularly surprising because he played baseball in high school, and by all reports was really good at it, even getting scouted by the majors at one point.

Critics were quick to suggest that he skipped the game because he was busy taking bribes, spying for Russia, or just too out of shape to throw a pitch. But I know better. You see, Trump threw the first pitch at a Red Sox game back in 2006, and…..

So yeah, I think he’s just self-conscious about his derpy pitching face. I sure as hell would be.

Now it’s easy to laugh at him for looking like a chipmunk who just ate a Shock Tart. And I have, many times. But let’s look deeper, because there’s an uncomfortable truth lurking here: embarrassment stops us from doing a lot of things we’d like to do.

I’ve heard so many stories of people who don’t go to the gym because they feel awkward, or who quit their diet because their friends teased them about it. One guy was a hundred pounds overweight, but when he lost ten pounds, his family said they were “concerned” about his excessive weight loss.

And this shit stops us from doing so much. And most of us don’t even realize it.

The thing is, highly successful people frequently do things that seem weird to most people. Many people weigh all of their food on a little scale. Others wake up at 4:30 every morning.

One entrepreneur hired someone to slap him every time he checked Facebook when he was supposed to be working.

Others track various aspects of their life to an almost obsessive degree, as I did when I was fixing my low energy levels.

Successful people are okay with being a bit weird. They do what works best for them, not what lets them blend in the best.

If embarrassment is stopping you from doing something that you’d like to do, you have a few options. The first is to just avoid telling people. Don’t tell people about your new diet. Don’t tell people that you’re giving up TV for a month.

If they happen to find out because you eat with them, or have them over to your place, fine. But don’t invite comments from the peanut gallery by advertising it to everyone.

Your second line of defense is to use some kind of canned line to deflect their dumb opinions. Something like My doctor told me I have to give up sugar, or You may be right, but it’s worth trying for a month, or It’s a religious thing.

Use Facebook to strategically, invisibly strengthen and weaken your relationships with others. If someone keeps giving you a hard time, unfollow them on Facebook so you don’t see their updates, and put them on your work friends list so they don’t see most of yours. Quietly distance yourself from them. On the other hand, if someone is very supportive, make sure to follow them on Facebook and designate them as a close friend so you interact with each other more.

If embarrassment is a persistent problem for you, take more active steps to build an immunity to it. Back in college, I once wore a pimp hat for a week so I could get used to being weird and stop giving a fuck about everyone else’s opinion. (Sorry, I don’t have photos- they were all on Myspace. But I will confess that I recently started playing Dungeons & Dragons, and I’m rapidly becoming obsessed with it.)

In the short term, keep your self-improvement efforts to yourself. Only share them with people you know will help you. Endure the embarrassment if you have to.

In the long term, build up a tolerance for embarrassment. But more importantly, fill your life with people who will support your self-improvement, and ditch the people who hold you back under the guise of teasing and concern trolling.

Be weird, be okay with it, and fin friends who are okay with it.

Do what works for you. Even if you have to wear a pimp hat.


About me: I’m a fitness and self-improvement writer who finds life lessons in the oddest places. I’m also the author of The Habit Change Cheat Sheet, a huge fantasy geek, and an unapologetic bro.

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