The Paradox of Dating Tremendously Successful People

April 9, 2010          Comments (3)


I’ve long questioned the definition of success so there’s no need to do that again. However, for this post, let’s say that we define success as Steve Jobs type success. You know, the billionaire next door type – except he’s never there.

It seems to me that many people are attracted to power. Power exudes confidence. Or, does confidence get you power? (If that’s what you’re after)

I’m not talking about women being attracted to men in uniform or students being attracted to their teachers. I’m talking about women who are only interested in dating very powerful men.

But here’s the paradox: Sometimes what attracts us to a person is the very same thing that turns us off.

Perfect example: Jon’s Corzine’s ex-wife described him as being, “tainted by ambition.” She must’ve known he was a very ambitious guy from the get go. You don’t lead Goldman Sachs and then become the Governor of New Jersey and then head back to Wall Street (a rare move) without being insanely ambitious.

It seems to me, so many women want to date a “successful” guy so they can live a rather comfortable lifestyle. Sure, why not. If you’re going to pick the same guy with or without money, why not take the guy with dinero?

A woman might argue that they’re just attracted to the qualities and characteristics of a very successful man.

But many of these same women get turned off by the fact their man is out working 15 hours a day. So, which is it?

It’s impossible to achieve that kind of “success” and all that it might afford you without being extremely focused and single-minded. I think women need to know what they want up front.

I’ve questioned the point of being insanely ambitious and successful to the nth degree. I think many people believe this is the key to happiness. I think most people are just chasing wind.

To my last post, I believe it’s really hard to achieve remarkable success without organizing your life around doing what you love. And it’s really hard to “obtain” power without putting in the hours.

As the brilliant Michael Lewis states:

A job will never satisfy you all by itself, but it will afford you security and the chance to pursue an exciting and fulfilling life outside of your work. A calling is an activity you find so compelling that you wind up organizing your entire self around it — often to the detriment of your life outside of it.

Another problem! Many people are attracted to people with callings or a deep passion for what they do. Typically, most tremendously successful people are pursuing their calling.

But Lewis’s definition, which I think is right on the money – proves the very point I’m trying to make.


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Do people who get married younger take less risks?

April 21, 2009          Comments (8)

Life is ultimately about 3 actionable questions: Where you live, what you do with it and who you share it with.

If you’re lucky in love and you meet your ‘partner’ in life at a very early age (say high school – college) you may feel as though you’re done and ready to focus on what you want to do.

I think we’re all wired to tolerate a certain level of risk. But even more so, how we’re raised impacts this tremendously. If your parents are conservative, chances are you’ll be too. If your parents bet the farm – you probably would too.

Let’s say you meet an amazing person. She/he has everything you could ever want. And you’re really happy with them. You’re extremely content! But you’re in high school or college. Or maybe just a few years out of college when you meet them.

This person becomes all you ever know. But just because you’re extremely close and comfortable with one another does that mean this person is for you?

How could you be 1000% certain when it comes to your significant other especially when you meet at such a young age?

And to be clear, I’m not saying you aren’t happy. But what if you could be even happier? You’ll never know. Or will you?

The person who thinks the grass is always greener would probably make an insanely hard decision and want to test the waters.

The more conservative person would probably fight through their thoughts and doubts and make the best of it.

Clearly, they are both risky but one is riskier.

You’d think single people are able to take more risks than married people. I’m curious to know whether someone who holds out for marriage until say their late 20’s or 30’s is a much bigger risk taker than the person who gets married in their early to mid 20’s.

Would a married person make different business decisions than a single person? Could the person who waited until later in life to get married be a lot more patient?

Most corporate bios include if the person is married and has children. Is it because marriage is a sign of stability?

But maybe getting married early can be a sign of impatience and being highly risk adverse?

In places where marriage happens at a young age is economic development the slowest? According to this link it is.

Could it be that places with an early age of marriage have less entrepreneurs?

Could your soul mate from college or high school be impeding your growth professionally?

[Some interesting comments over at]

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The story we tell (and sell) ourselves on and how it affects you

March 31, 2009          Comments (3)

Did you ever realize that you tell yourself a story about yourself? We all do.

In fact, the story you tell yourself about yourself is simply your ego. We all have an ego. Some way bigger than others but we all have one. Your ego is essentially the way you perceive yourself. Or the story you tell yourself about yourself.

We all have an ongoing story that we tell ourselves. And it becomes very easy to connect random occurrences into a story that makes sense to us.

In other words, we’ll rationalize everything. This is good and bad. It’s good because if we didn’t have the miraculous ability to rationalize everything that goes on around us and what we do, we wouldn’t be able to function in this insanely chaotic world.

But it’s bad because if something we do doesn’t fit into our story we tend to ignore it.

For example, the person who thinks they are extremely honest and full of integrity. When they do something that lacks integrity they will somehow completely ignore it and rationalize it.

They will chalk it up to “something” other than being dishonest. It just doesn’t fit in with the story they want to tell themselves about themselves so it gets omitted from their story.

What about the story you tell yourself about other people? You ever wonder how a person doesn’t ‘see’ what everyone else sees. Are they blind? Are they stupid?

You know. The boyfriend/girlfriend that is constantly cheating but their girlfriend/boyfriend is in complete denial and doesn’t (want to!) believe it.

The boyfriend/girlfriend who thinks their other half can do no wrong.

We’ve all seen it. And it’s amazing (yet sometimes sad) to see it from the outside in. But it usually takes being on the outside to see it! Because of the story we tell ourselves.

Being self-aware certainly helps. However, we’re all only self-aware to an extent because of this phenomenon.

We all think (and want to think!) we’re a certain way (based on our story) and we all think the people in our lives are a certain way (based on the story we tell ourselves about that person).

Now when you start to pay attention to your actions – as opposed to your story – it starts to get interesting.

Because your story is the person you really want to be. Your actions, of course, are you! You can’t define anyone but by their actions.

Your friend can be the greatest friend in the world. Your boyfriend/girlfriend can be the greatest person in the world too.

That’s all fine and dandy. But to me being is very subjective.

He/she might be great. But unless he/she does great I won’t know that. And your boyfriend/girlfriend might be full of integrity but do they actually act with integrity and honesty?

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Do we marry our parents? And how you might be able to find the right significant other

March 23, 2009          Comments (1)

One of the questions I’m fascinated with is why people date certain people. And I’m pretty convinced that women look to date men like their father and guys look to date women like their mother, whether they realize it or not.

Take for example, the typical ‘poodle’ as I call it. Her father buys, and has bought, her everything she could ever want. She has no sense of want or desire. Because everything she has ever wanted was given to her. She typically, will go for the very wealthy guy who can give her the kind of life her father did.

What about the girl that just can’t get enough of the bad boy? Sadly, the girl’s father probably didn’t pay much attention to her. She’s now attracted to guys that don’t give her the time of day; the guy that treats her like crap.

Don’t confuse this with the, ‘I want it because I can’t have it’ conundrum. That’s just basic human psychology.

And if underneath all of the cat and mouse – the person you’re chasing isn’t at all like your father/mother you might just be wasting your time!

Now, of course whom you ‘think’ you should date and ‘want to’ date is very different than what we do date. The old, “I wish I liked her/him more!” or, “He/she’s perfect on paper but…”

In one of my past relationships, after having a few drinks I remember saying to the girl, “You remind me of my mom.” She laughed and said, “You remind me so much of my father!” Well that relationship didn’t last and it turned out she wasn’t very much like my mother at all. And I’m sure I wasn’t as much like her father as she had hoped.

We all know what we know. Obviously!

“All people cheat!” the guy exclaims. No, actually all people don’t cheat. He cheats! Therefore, he thinks all people cheat. That’s known as projection.

But I think being aware of this concept can help your love life too. Since we all know what we know, and we’re used to what we know; maybe you should just try to find a guy or girl who is like your father/mother!

The challenge, though, is when you have a dysfunctional relationship with your mother/father. If you’re a girl and your father isn’t a part of your life and never showed you much attention – you’re probably going to be attracted to guys like that.

That’s when it gets tricky. Because you know you should date ‘the nice guy’ but you seem to keep dating the same guys over and over.

If you don’t have a great relationship with your parents – why not seek in a man or a woman exactly what it is that you wished your father or mother was? I know this is a lot easier said than done. But if you can learn to look for the qualities in your s/o that you would like in your father/mother you might save yourself a lot of heartache down the line.

It gets interesting when you start to look at couples and see how close their significant other is to their own father/mother. I wonder if this could be a predictor of how successful a marriage will be?

Just for the record: This is just a theory. And may or may not work. Although I try to help my clients with many of the challenges they face in their lives, I’m not a relationship expert. I don’t play one on TV either.

[Some interesting comments over at!]

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Banter never, ever, gets old! (How to tell if you’re close with someone)

March 10, 2009          Comments (2)

When you can call someone out on their bullshit, and they laugh, you know you’re very close to them. If you can tease someone and they laugh you also know you’re very close to them.

Witty banter is amazing. I can’t get enough of it. I crave it. With girls and guys!

In fact, one of the jobs of your close friends (or brother in law) is to bust your chops! But it’s in a loving way.

For example, one of my buddies and I go back and forth. I’ll be cracking up as he’s making fun of me in person or via technology. We know each others quirks.

Most of his jokes are about my height. So he calls me a midget! (Hey, at 5’ 8” I wasn’t blessed with the genetics that would’ve helped to make the NBA. But I’m cool with it.)

[Side story, when I first met my favorite author after emailing back and forth for a while the first thing he said was, “Wow, I thought you’d be a lot taller!” As I was puzzled he said, “Take that as a compliment!”]

I can’t get enough of it as I’m hoping he goes on and on.

Then it’s my turn. I call him a fucking string bean! (He happens to be over 6 feet tall. But lucky for me he’s very narrow. He also has legs like a female runway model.)

While his jokes are usually about stepping on me and mine are about him fitting into unreasonably narrow spaces, even if we know what we’re going to say, it’s still funny!

If there’s no banter, there’s no relationship. If a person can’t laugh at themselves then I’ll never be close with them.

And if there’s no banter with a girl, it just won’t work out. I need a girl that can tease me back!

But you have to be able to laugh at yourself!

How about this email exchange between my friends from college as we’re trying to decide where to eat this past Friday:

One of my best friends says: I don’t know if I can do dinner but I was thinking we can pregame somewhere at like 9ish and then decide on a place to go so we’re not aimlessly walking around NYC like a bunch of Alpha Etas [that’s our pledge class]

I immediately write back: Well technically you know if you can do dinner. I don’t understand. What don’t you know? Either you can or you can’t?

[I await in anticipation. I love starting up some action…]

He writes: Well technically I can do whatever I want, whenever I want. Let me clarify, I kinda wanna go to the gym after work, order in Chinese, and then I’d like to meet up.

Just throwing out a recommendation. I think if we pregame somewhere, it’ll be easier to decide on one place we can go out. Rather than complaining let’s just pregame and go out tonight like normal people.

I write back: Yes. Technically you can do whatever you want, whenever you want. But no one cares about that. The question was can you or can’t you go to dinner. Usually normally people say yes or no. Not I don’t know.

‘I don’t know’ wouldn’t work to well on an RSVP…

He writes: You’re a shmuck [Which means he knows he’s wrong. He also always has to have the last word. Which I, of course, call him out on. We then speak and laugh about it.]

This is just an example of guys that love one another breaking chops. And I can’t get enough of it! It’s actually more fun when someone teases you.

Are you really close with the people you think you’re close with? See if you can engage in some banter with your clients. I’ve been very lucky to have some absolutely hilarious clients. And I’ll call them out on their bullshit. But it takes time to get to that point.

It takes being vulnerable!

[Update: A reader writes in, “Just be sure your clients are okay with banter because not everyone likes it.” Absolutely without question! This post is more so for friends and romantic relationships, etc. But if you can engage in some banter with your clients you know you’re extremely close! The best relationships whether work or social are a give and take. A push and pull.]

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The paradox of vulnerability in relationships

February 24, 2009          Comments (3)

People fascinate me. Relationships fascinate me more. One of the things I enjoy most about MyBodyTutor is I get to work with such a wide range of people. When I say I’ve helped all types, shapes and sorts of people I mean it.

Which is why a majority of the books I read are sociology, psychology or philosophy books. I can have the best game plan and tools in the world (diet, workout plans, etc.) but if I don’t understand why we (humans) do certain things then all that means nada.

In any real relationship with your friends and especially romantic, you need to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is a key to likability. No one likes dealing with a robot.

Not that you have to complain to be likable but you need to vulnerable somehow. As Penelope advises admit shortcomings, confess stuff (which also builds trust), and ask for advice to name a few.

I think this is true for both friendly and romantic relationships. If you can’t be vulnerable with your friends then they aren’t real friends. Or maybe you’re just scared they’ll judge you. Or maybe you have a hard time opening up and being vulnerable.

(Interestingly enough, it is my clients who are the most open that succeed the most especially those with deep rooted emotional eating issues.)

But if you never let people see the cracks in your surface they’ll never find a way in. And that means you’ll never be really close to anyone.

Did you ever hear the saying, “Never sleep with your hero because you’re only going to be let down?” I think there’s so much truth to this.

On one hand, when relationships first start they are very exciting and new. We are intrigued more and more by the person. We don’t know what to expect. We see them as this God or Goddess. Everything seems so special and it feels so good. Heck, every time we see the person we get to see them in different clothes.

You can call it an adventure. A challenge. You really like the person and you want them to like you back. They feel the same way but you don’t discuss it. Instead, you’re just inseparable. You choose to spend every waking moment together.

Until…the girl or guy says, “I really like you!” Or maybe she/he says, “I love you.”

And then…just like that…the adventure, the thrill, the pursuit, the chase…is over!

Vulnerability (it doesn’t get more vulnerable than telling someone how much you like or love them) ensues.

Maybe the guy starts farting. Maybe the girl starts complaining about things you find ridiculous.

Comfort follows and security takes over.

Now you’re going to the bathroom for 25 minutes at a clip reading your book. Hey, who cares? We’re comfortable with one another. You’re complaining about the dumbest things. You don’t pay much attention to what you’re wearing because you already ‘have’ him/her.

But comfort is the evil of all romantic relationships!

Comfort = security = boredom! (For many)

Did Chris Rock say it best? Married and bored or single and lonely?

In this great NY Magazine piece relationship researcher, Arthur Aron, has pointed out that new experiences, rather than repeated favorites, are the best way to keep romantic feelings alive in a marriage, based on a series of six studies of hundreds of couples.

But still…you know the person. Doing loads of unimportant tasks doesn’t make them important. Doing all sorts of cool things with the same person doesn’t make you know the person any less!

It’s the less that is more. It’s the less that is so sexy and so intriguing…

Or is it not?

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Why our parents are getting divorced and why you might too

August 14, 2008          Comments (3)

Back in the day, it was normal to get married at 22 years old. My parents did. And most likely so did yours.

You found someone you loved and you created a life together.

Fairly recently, it seems as though no one wants to be Mrs. or Mr. anyone anymore. Everyone wants to be their own person. I am absolutely all for that.

In fact, I think that is what is causing all of these divorces. Or the lack of that, I should say.

People whether young or old, are realizing they have no identity. They don’t know who they are. Look at Linda Hogan (ex-wife of Hulk Hogan), for example. She lived the quintessential American dream life.

Yet, she appeared miserable on so many episodes of the reality show ‘Hogan Knows Best’. Why? I think deep down she was tired of being Mrs. Hulk Hogan. She wanted to be her own person.

Life is all about expressing ourselves. The things we do are expressions of who we are and what we love and the impact we wish to make.

But when you don’t know who you are (how can you at 22 years old?), how can you become your own person?

I think the best relationships are comprised of two solid independent happy people. I say happy even though it’s a very over used word these days because the people who say, “I just wish I had a boyfriend/girlfriend” are not happy people. At least, not by themselves.

If they were truly happy they wouldn’t be complaining that they needed a boyfriend or a girlfriend.

The feeling of ‘love’ is an easy cover up to not figure out who you are and what you love doing whether you get paid for it or not.

Although, it’s beautiful to dream about being a mother and father and living in a big house and being the best wife or husband you can be…there’s more to life. That can’t be your entire life. Or else, your entire life relies on other people making you happy.

And I’m still getting lip about my marriage post. Let me make myself clear. I’m not against marriage. I dream of all the great things I believe marriage has to offer. I dream of it all. Trust me.

But I am against marriage at a young age. I am against going from relationship to relationship.

Until you know who you are and how to be truly happy by yourself; I don’t believe you can truly be happy with anyone else.

But as they say, to each his own.

[Join the conversation over at here]


Related posts:

The pursuit of happiness is flawed

Why people become alcoholics

What is your definition of success?

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My first engagement party and more on marriage

July 29, 2008          Comments (0)

Is this the start of Bar Mitzvah season all over again for us Gen Y-ers? Except the grown up version?

This past Saturday I went to my first engagement party. And again a warm congrats!

I don’t say that facetiously either. Clearly, they are both very happy or else they wouldn’t be going through with this. And the ultimate defense to anything is happiness. If someone says they are happy there’s nothing more you can (or should) say. (Not that I’m trying to stop him.)

I believe happiness is what life is all about. But it’s also relative. I also believe some people are willing to fight way more for their own happiness than others.

Let’s compare girls versus guys for a second. I was having a conversation the other day with a girl who I think is super smart and I respect tremendously. Here is what she said:

“Very often when dating and meeting guys, girls have this mindset that, “Oh I can work with this…” Whereas guys are more likely to think “The grass is greener on the other side” — there’s something better out there. Girls are more likely or willing to work things through, and take what they’ve got and ‘work with it’ as opposed to guys who just think ‘this isn’t good enough – there’s got to be something better’ and don’t try to make what they have work.”

I have my own theory of this that rings to that tone. I hardly ever see a physically attractive guy with a not-so physically attractive girl. Yet, I always see not-so physically attractive dudes with attractive women. What’s the deal?

Well, per my super smart friend, girls are willing to settle if most of the things on their ‘mental check list’ are checked off. They can forgo this and that.

Yet, guys, she says, “Will forgo their entire mental check list – if they even have one- if they meet an attractive girl.”

I disagree. As we all wise and mature, poodles become almost unbearable. At least for me. As they say ‘Beauty fades, dumb is forever!’

I asked her if she’ll ever be 100% sure she knows the person she’s with is for her. She said, “I don’t think so, how can you ever be 100% sure?”

Really? Then how the heck can you commit to being with someone for the rest of your life? (No wonder my marriage post has over 100 comments and counting…)

Going back to the original point. I find it amazing that people settle in the first place.

Why are girls more willing to settle than guys? Isn’t settling an act of desperation?

And could you possibly be a good boyfriend/girlfriend or husband/wife if you’re thinking “there’s something better out there”?

Clearly, something is missing if you’re thinking that, no?

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The difference between girls and guys on dating, for the most part

July 14, 2008          Comments (3)

Me: Relax. We’re still so young!

Her: No – you’re young. I’m not.

Me: What? You’re the same age as me!

Her: I’m 35. You’re 18.

Me: What?

Her: A girl at 25 is like 35. A boy at 25 is like 18…

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*The definition of a poodle (find out if you are one)

June 30, 2008          Comments (4)

Last week, in a post, I wrote “I’ve met plenty of poodles* that can hardly talk about anything besides their bags, nails and dog.”

So here is my definition of a poodle. I can’t take credit for this term though. My wonderful mother coined this.

A poodle is: A girl (or guy) that believes that looking good is all they need to do. That is their contribution to society.

A poodle could care less about what’s going on in the world, her job (if she has one), her goals (wait, what are those?), how she earns money (Daddy!), how she pays for things (Oh, you mean, like, my credit card bill that my parents pay?), or anything else besides things that involve helping her (or him) to look good.

Now, let me clarify, there is nothing wrong with looking as good as you can. I’m all for it. In fact, that’s what I help people do. That is my biz. I help people feel and look as good as they can. Because when you feel good, you do good. But the doing good part is the key here.

Also, for some reason, these poodles believe that they are God’s gift to the world. They truly believe that because they are good looking they are better than other people. Fascinating. You do realize that you’re mostly born with your looks. Either you got ‘em or you don’t.

Well, that’s not entirely true. Make-up (and sometimes surgery) does work wonders.

But no big deal, if you don’t have looks. After all, they are just looks. For the most part, you didn’t do anything for them. (Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to look as good as you can or you shouldn’t try to have the best body you can.)

It’s what’s behind those eyes that really matter. Most of these poodles (male and female) have been spoiled silly their entire lives. So they are used to getting whatever it is they want; without working for it.

Which breeds confidence. Getting what you want by working for it (or, not working for it) is one sure way to increase your confidence. After all, that feels incredible. No wonder business moguls, actors and politicians sleep around. They feel like they are on top of the world.

And of course, confidence, and being comfortable in your own skin is by far the sexiest thing in the world. (Precisely why Melania said she is so attracted to The Donald!)

There’s nothing wrong with being born with a silver spoon in your mouth. It’s not your fault. It’s to your advantage, really. The problem with never working for anything though is that you’ve never strived for anything.

And that my friend, is really boring. People always say, “I wish I was a trust fund baby or the people who are given everything will never have to worry about money anyway, so what’s the difference?”

That’s a pretty pathetic way of looking at it. That means all you care about is money? I don’t believe life is about money. Life is about doing what you love. Life is about the journey. Life is about the pursuit. If you have enough courage to find what you love doing (along with some brains) you’ll wind up making a lot of money.

The hugely important difference between poodles and the rest of us are 4 things that can never be bought, no matter how much money your parents give you, that make all the difference in the world:

Strength. Depth. Character. And perspective.

Instead of being a perfect poodle (which is really boring) try being more like a lovable and interesting George!

Related post by Christine Hassler with awesome comments: Cutting The Financial Cord

[Check out the conversation over at Brazen!]

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