In most cultures, consistency is a highly-regarded quality. Those who don’t demonstrate it through their behaviours and interactions with others are often thought of as unreliable and even suspicious. And it is common for men to castigate women for displaying inconsistency, for example when they agree to go on dates and then flake, or fail to return phone calls and texts.
But we shouldn’t forget that women, having had access to magazine articles and advice from their friends since childhood, are masters at the dating game. While their behaviour may seem frustrating, in their apparent inconsistency they are simply forwarding their own agendas in the sexual marketplace, and there is something to be said for this. By learning to be a little less consistent, men can achieve better results in dating, business and even working out.
What is The Problem With Consistency?
At first glance, this idea seems entirely counterintuitive. Consistency—by which we generally mean having values and ways of doing things and sticking to them—seems like a fine masculine ideal. Surely there can be nothing wrong with staying true to a predetermined course of action?
In a meta sense, this is true. If it is your aim to become a great tennis player, then yes of course, you should practice every day and you should do everything in your power to ensure you attain that end goal. But it is at the micro level where unthinkingly maintaining habits that may not be beneficial can be harmful. In his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert B. Cialdini refers to a famous quote by the American essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson:
A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall.
The utterance is well known, but Cialdini points out that the word ‘foolish’ is the most important—and most overlooked—here. Consistency in terms of long-terms goals is important and valuable. What is less useful is a slavish dedication to unexamined habits or procedures that actually do little to further your ambitions.
Why Consistency Can Actually Be Damaging
In some cases, consistency can actually be damaging to your results with women. This is because if you are not constantly evaluating and tweaking what you do then you run the risk of ingraining bad habits rather than developing useful ones that actually get you telephone numbers, dates, and sex. This is true whether you are looking for a relationship with a girl or simply to play the field for a while to find out what it is you really want.
In London, where the daygame scene is very fertile, there is a well-known case of a guy who has done more than 3,000 cold approaches on the streets and in coffee bars, malls and so on. From all of these interactions he has achieved only a few phone numbers (several of them fake), no dates and not even a single kiss, much less sex or a girlfriend.
While it would be difficult to fault his consistency—after all, it takes a certain dogged determination to rack up that many approaches, particularly in the face of almost unanimous rejection—clearly it has proved singularly unhelpful in helping him to achieve his goal of achieving intimacy with a woman.
Of course, this is an extreme example. But let’s consider how an element of inconsistency can help with game.
The Manchester Club Girl
Many years ago, I worked in the cloakroom of a big nightclub in Manchester in the north of England. Each week a girl used to come in—we’ll call her Lisa—who I was hugely attracted to. Given that this was in my ‘chode’ days, before I’d learned about game concepts, I had very little in the toolbox to attract her with. I did, however, flirt with her as best as I could, and I even asked her out a few times, only to get shot down with the “I’m not interested in seeing anyone at the moment” excuse.
Because she visited every week, and I made my interest apparent each time, there was a deadly consistency to my actions that killed any hope of spark or attraction. I became ‘that guy at the club’ who fancied her, presumably along with many others. By politely rejecting me but remaining friendly, she had put me into the safe category of a neutered orbiter.
Or so she thought. Unintentionally, by injecting some inconsistency into our relationship, I was able to create attraction and finally get her into bed.
At risk of being fired from the cloakroom in a management shakeup, I sought work elsewhere, and became a barman in a very fashionable place just down the road.This meant that my weekly (and weak) attempts at seducing Lisa were cut off instantly. It also meant that I came into contact with a whole slew of other attractive girls.
Manchester is quite a small city, and it was perhaps inevitable that I would run into Lisa again. When she realised that I was working at the bar, she began visiting frequently, and hanging around to chat to me on my shift. Impressed by the other girls who were around me, and perhaps a little by my improved status as a barman, she made it clear that she was now interested and we began dating.
If You Do What You’ve Always Done, You’ll Get What You’ve Always Got
Now, I’m not denying that other factors were involved in my finally getting together with Lisa, not least social proof and jealousy. But it’s also undeniable that it was only when I broke the consistency of my strategy for getting her (weekly flirtation) and replaced it with a different—albeit unintended—strategy that I got the result I wanted.
Frequently guys will come to me and ask why they are not meeting the quality of women that they would like. In almost all cases it is because they have not been willing to change some aspect of their game or presentation that isn’t working for them—it may be their appearance, their approach, the way that they speak, or the way that they hold eye contact. Or it may simply be that they are approaching game—and life—in too regimented a manner, and are afraid to inject a little randomness into their modus operandi.
If you don’t feel you are getting what you want in any area of life, then don’t be afraid to try something entirely new. Add inconsistency and randomness into your daily life just for the hell of it, just to see what happens. If things don’t go entirely according to plan then so be it, just try something else instead. But whatever you do, don’t be someone who does things by rote, just because you feel safer that way and never worry what others might think. Truly great men take risks and experiment. As Emerson finished up by saying:
Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day. — ‘Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.’ — Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.