A barrier in Porter’s model represents either hindrance from engaging in willful and informed action towards an objective or a defense from encroachment on your objective once the wheels are in motion. A barrier to entry for instance represents both a defense for existing market participants, but also a hindrance for potential new market entrants.
During my last appearance on the Mark Baxter Podcast, along with Rollo Tomassi , Mark referenced an article of Rollo’s entitled “Buffers” that deals with the many buffers that men utilize in order to reduce the risk of rejection. Thus they are inherently rationalizations of behavior used to avoid taking risks.
Barriers serve a similar function within the male psyche, and most sentences involving them tend to be related to “enough yet“. When I first started reading the manosphere back in the early 2000s, it was quite obvious that there was a deeper set of behaviors below the surface. The scripts themselves were fine, but as game went on, the idea that “it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it” started to take hold. This coincided with the idea of “natural game”, which sought to take game from following scripts in a flow-chart to being the default state of behavior.
I’ve covered various aspects of the blue pill and red pill perspectives, various alpha behaviors and so on previously, however I’ve scarcely addressed the barriers to the underlying state required in order to manifest such behaviors. This is a simple case of cause and effect, when one engages in “fake it until you make it” one is acting out the effect without the prerequisite cause.
To exemplify the concept, if one never feels fear, one can never be brave, because bravery means acting in spite of fear. Thus, a prerequisite state to bravery is fear. The “Enough Yet” problem comes when a man procrastinates or fails to do something because of his own inner game hangups. This is not purely a red pill/game related problem, it could be the guy who wants to start his own business but doesn’t think he’s competent “enough yet”, the guy who wants to gain some muscle but doesn’t think he’s ready “enough yet” to get into the gym.
These emotions forms the barrier to entry for his venture, and there are only two possible solutions to this problem:
A) Do it now, do your best and accept the consequences, the chips will fall as they may.
B) Do not do it and spend more time in preparation until he feels ready.
The people who select option A generally tend to come out better than those who select option B, because those who only want that little extra piece of preparation never quite get that final piece. I’ve helped many a person with their thesis, their research proposals, business cases and such over the years, and those who fall into category B, never get truly good results. The depressing aspect of that is that they are often the most competent people. This could be viewed as the Dunning-Kruger effect in practice, as people who are highly competent will often be the most competent at finding flaws in their own work and as they become more competent as they prepare, they find new perspectives and information, which causes them to postpone action. However, when you combine this with a tendency towards perfectionism, wanting to be in control of every eventuality and every variable, it creates an unwinnable scenario.
There are only two possible outcomes, number one is that they fail and use this as evidence to prove that they should have spent more time preparing, number two is that they succeed and obsess over what they could have done better.
Immovable Barriers and The Walls of Jericho
The barriers a man faces usually comes in one out of two types, those that cannot be destroyed and those that can. The former type are things that a man simply has to learn how to deal with, such as which set of genetics he was born with, height, ethnicity, attachment points for biceps, there is nothing that can be done to change them, they can only be framed in better ways. Ronald Regan had a masterful reframe during a debate with Walter Mondale, where Reagan’s advanced age at the time had become a major topic, which Reagan reframed in a second with the following statement:
“I want you to know that also I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.“
While such barriers can be utilized as excuses for coming up short, they cannot be changed, so focusing on them as the cardinal reason for why you are not attaining the success at a given endeavor is really a way to avoid committing yourself to overcoming the limitations that you face. Men enter the sexual market place from a variety of starting positions, some start with major head start, some with major handicaps and one must merely accept this.
The latter type of barrier exists on a scale from those that require little work and effort to fix, to the exact opposite. Some of them are erected by the world around the man, some by himself. I recently mentioned the outcome of being raised in a household that leads down the road of hypo-masculinity and such externally created psychological barriers can a lot of time to overcome. An example of the second type can be as simple as just spending a few hours in the gym every week, getting a new haircut or shopping for new clothes, it may also be as complex as finding and fixing deeply rooted beliefs within yourself.
The trouble often begins when men confuse the two types, and view a movable barrier as an immovable object. By doing so they are in embryo outsourcing their responsibility to tear them down, and the result of subsequent actions they take, as they never viewed themselves as having the power to change them. Thus, they remain in their inert state, boxed in by imaginary walls preventing them to take control of their life. There are a multitude of defense mechanisms a man can utilize to accomplish this, however I find that in most men it takes a form very similar to nihilism, the rejection of meaning. This consists of:
A) The effort will not be worth the result.
B) There is a risk that the results will not manifest
C) Present life is comfortable.
D) The requirement for long-term investment.
The form of A often comes from the fact that the effort is a large deviation away from present effort. In my own case, I was already putting out the effort, and once I began to focus on self-improvement it was a case of redirecting effort from some activities to other activities. However this re-direction of effort meant taking time away from activities within my comfort zone to activities outside of my comfort zone, as it will do for many men.
The form of B represents the undermining of motivation, there are always risks related to every endeavor, that the outcome may not manifest, that the outcome is different from what is desired or that the outcome is less than what is expected. For instance, a lot of men who are new to the red pill start to control their diet and exercise more in order to become more attractive to women, and a man may rationalize that if he is not guaranteed this effect, there is no point in making the effort.
Eating a solid diet and working out has positive effects outside of trying to get laid. You live longer, your years spent on this Earth will be more comfortable as you will be in better shape, there are more experiences you can have because you are in the physical condition to enjoy them, and many others.
The form of C is merely the fact that most of us tend to create for ourselves comfortable patterns. We do those things that come easy for us, we avoid those that are hard. This is the pleasure-pain principle on an individual level. The further away from the comfortable patterns a new pattern is, the more pain we will suffer as we work to change ourselves. When I switched from entry level reading materials to academic texts, it was uncomfortable to a degree, because I had to expand my vocabulary, learn new sentence structures, and ways of constructing a written work. However, as I was very much comfortable with reading the pain was fairly minimal. When I cut sugar from my diet for the first time about a decade ago, the first 3 months were quite painful, not only because I was addicted to sugar, but also because cutting sugar makes things less convenient, thus the result was reduced short-term comfort.
Finally D, is represented by the fact that many men have years or even decades invested in their patterns. I know several red pill mentors who prefer working with young men for this exact reason, they are less invested in their present frame. An 18 year old will at best have a 4 – 5 year investment in the blue pill framework, whereas someone who is over 30 may have an investment of 15 – 20 years, and a man over 40 will often have invested in his patterns for 20 – 30 years. There is a requirement here to accept the sunk cost of past investment and move on, on top of re-training the old patterns and internal messages.
The combination of these four aspects, kills motivation, robs the process of it’s meaning, focuses exclusively on short-term goals and neglects the positive side-effects of changing the ingrained patterns. Thus, they turn easily destroyed barriers into immovable ones.
Summary and Conclusions
My reasoning behind the title of this post is that most of the barriers men erect for themselves are like the walls of Jericho, they have stood the test of time, have dissuaded many an attacker, but if enough effort, consistent effort and directed effort is applied to them, a man can watch them crumble and enjoy the view out into a world which he did not think existed. Men build prisons of convenience, habit and comfort, and then grow to resent their jailer, yet are lost without him. The high level of investment in the present situation combined with the preference for pleasure over pain serves as a strong barrier between men and life-changing behaviors, this is in part why adopting the red pill often requires traumatic behavior as a trigger for the change in men, and why many of them find change to be too great of a challenge for them. We are all guilty of doing more of those things we enjoy and less of those we do not, hence why so many trainers have started advocating that if you really hate a lift, then that is the lift you should be doing.
It has long been stated that you should seek to minimize contact with those who are poor influences in your life, and who have the habit of dragging you down to their level. These people often also serve as enablers of the barriers you have erected for yourself in your mind. Be it the friends who insist that you come to parties when you have given up alcohol, the people who dissuade your new active lifestyle or various other types. Think of these people as the guardsmen manning the wall, attempting to chase away any attack by an onslaught of arrows and flaming oil.
These variables represent the devil on your shoulder encouraging you to return to a painless, comforting existence, and only your own determination to move in the positive direction is capable of silencing him. Ultimately, any endeavor that requires facing risk, fears and other barriers will begin with a simple question, are the benefits going to be large enough to justify the pain you must go through to attain it?