The Shortcoming in the Self-Improvement Strategy

The Shortcoming in the Self-Improvement Strategy

Ely Harman did an excellent video worth checking out, criticizing the self-improvement strategy for romantic success:

How do you deal with a Pareto distribution where 80% of the women are going after 20% of the guys? And are therefore not able to secure commitment from them, and therefore, are screwing around and not settling down themselves? How do you deal with a situation like that through self-improvement? Through self-improvement you can get yourself into the 20% of the guys by improving relative to other guys, but that situation is not fundamentally going to be altered by any amount of self-improvement even if all guys are doing it, even if all guys are improving themselves, and going to the gym, and getting better looking and getting fitter and working on their careers and getting more money and doing everything else that makes them more attractive and successful and healthy and everything, right? If all guys are doing that, some guys are still going to be more attractive than others, and 80% of the women are still going to be going after the top 20% of the guys. That’s how that works.

Obviously, this is not to say “don’t improve yourself.” It’s important at both an individual and societal level for people to strive towards their best and highest selves. But the idea which people like Joe Rogan and Dr. Peterson sometimes champion, that individual action is the sole and sufficient means of revivifying your society, simply doesn’t hold up to scrutiny, logically or empirically (study 1, study 2).

This Post Has One Comment

  1. I suspect that the more introverted someone is the more likely self improvement techniques can help them step up any hierarchy. Very social individuals will naturally gravitate towards institutions and various corporate and governmental ladders so their self improvement needs will be more political and language based than say a carpenter’s needs. I think we can agree that general improvement is a good thing and that few people ever decide to get off the coach and do anything significant and risky. Those that do will either fail and never be heard from again or become successful and start a vlog from the front seat of the car.

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