How To Find Love Summary
● Love can be set as a goal and can be trained for. It’s not something you have to wait for or change your body, lifestyle, or financial status to earn.
● Build your confidence to talk to people and set healthy boundaries by counting your wins.
● Clearly define the kind of relationship you want to be in and review your goal daily, using cards or notes to keep it front of mind.
● Visualize the kind of relationship you want and the person you share it with. Focus on the things you’ll do and feel together rather than physical attributes.
● Uncover the negative language you use to talk to yourself and begin to change it.
Whenever someone sets a goal or resolution, the underlying reason is always for love. Want to make more money? You think that greater wealth and power will make you more lovable. Need to drop 20 pounds? You think that by looking better or being healthier you’ll win someone over (or keep him/her interested). Finally going to quit smoking? If you live longer you increase your chances of finding love, or of having more time to enjoy the love you’ve found.
Given that the pursuit, preservation, and full pleasure of romantic love is at the root of virtually every ambition we have, it seems ridiculous that love itself is rarely defined as the goal.
Look at our culture and you can see why. Due to a steady diet of Disney movies, pop songs, and other fantasy, most of us grow up believing that love is something you simply find by chance and, as with death and taxes, will eventually come to you. Sure, you’ll put in your time searching, suffering many betrayals, humiliations, and heartbreaks along the way, but—we’re told—as long as you stay the course, you’ll eventually find your special someone.
Thankfully, there’s a quicker, smoother way to get love into your life—the love you really want, and not one you’ll merely settle for. And it offers a much higher probability of lasting success.
Just as Onnit has unconventional views on training, we have an unconventional stance on matters of the heart as well. We believe that love can be targeted as a goal by itself, just as weight loss and business success can be, and that the mind and heart can be programmed to achieve and receive it. Love, therefore, isn’t something you find, but something you train for, just like a flat stomach or a bigger deadlift.
Start following the four-part plan we lay out here from Brian Grasso, Ph.D., a life coach and founder of the Mindset Performance Institute, and you can be well on your way to having the love of your life by St. Valentine’s Day.
Part 1 – Count Your Wins
People who regularly crave love but are never successful in it don’t love themselves—period. “Their seeking of love is almost desperation,” says Grasso. “When we don’t think particularly highly of ourselves, we start seeking validation from outside sources. That’s called object-referral. We’re looking for objects outside of ourselves to make us happy,” usually in the form of material things (fancy cars), or superficial ones (the prettiest girl we can find). This never works.
Another problem associated with a lack of self-love is a simple inability to socialize with people in a natural, healthy way. “People who are looking for love and don’t have it are typically more meek,” says Grasso. “They don’t stand up for themselves. They don’t set boundaries. They either overreact to a person or underreact when they socialize. You have to get to where you’re not walked all over but you don’t overreact either. If you have healthy boundaries for yourself, you end up carrying them into your relationship,” giving any love prospect you find a better chance to flourish.
Of course, it’s obvious that if you go around avoiding talking to people your chances of meeting and having a meaningful interaction with the love of your life will be slim. But the solution isn’t as simple as just making the effort to be extra outgoing or communicative. To shy people, that’s not an easy habit to adopt.
“The first thing I help people do is understand that the greater your self-concept, the more you’ll attract things and people that see and feel your own sense of self,” says Grasso. In other words, the more value you recognize in yourself, the more others will recognize in you too.
So how do you start loving yourself? (And we don’t mean with your right hand.)
“Start a journal and count your wins. Every day, go over the last day of your life and write in bullet points all the things you did well—particularly the things that you feel brought you closer to finding a healthy, loving relationship, no matter how insignificant or indirect they may seem.”
Any time you’re especially extroverted and social when you normally wouldn’t be is a “win.” These moments could be as simple as smiling and thanking the barista who makes your morning coffee, or as daunting as confronting your boss.
“We all live in these shells where we go from place to place and we don’t connect with people,” says Grasso. “But counting your wins enough times will elevate your confidence in your ability to relate to people,” and with time will lead to your feeling comfortable asking beautiful women out, holding your own in arguments, and appreciating when someone appreciates you.
“Just talking to the barista—regardless of whether you’re interested in dating her—is a great start. ‘My name is Brian, you make my coffee every day and I just wanted to say thank you and it’s nice being around you. You have great energy.’ That’s a big win for somebody who doesn’t have love.”
Counting your wins serves a second purpose as well: “The brain remembers negativity much more easily than positivity. When bad things happen, we remember them, but when good things happen we tend to glance over them. We can override that and get a healthier perspective on who we really are by enumerating our wins, which puts them top of mind.”
Part 2 – Review Your Direction
There’s a stunning paradox in how strongly people will profess to want something and yet so easily lose their way in pursuing it. How many times have you heard a friend swear to lose weight, only to catch him/her drinking booze or eating fast food days (eh, hours) later?
“One of the problems with goals or resolutions is people get excited about creating and writing them down,” says Grasso, “and then they close their journal and go on with their day. In the absence of having a daily reminder of what our objective is, we go back to our patterns of life.”
If gaining love in your life is really a priority for you—and, as we established in the beginning, it is at the root of everything we really want—start acting like it.
Write your goal down: “I will be in a happy, loving, equal relationship,” or something similar. Go on to spell out what kind of relationship you want—what you expect of that person and what you intend to give. “What you write should be emotive,” says Grasso. “When there’s emotion attached, you connect with it on a visceral level, and that’s when massive change starts to happen.”
For example, don’t use general descriptions like, “I want someone who likes music.” Make it clear to yourself that what would make you happiest is to have someone to go to a Metallica show with who throws the sign of the horns up after every heavy jam.
Now reflect on what you’ve written for a few moments every day. Write it down on Post-it notes or index cards and affix them to surfaces all over your home. See it and read it when you go to the refrigerator, the bathroom mirror, your desk, the closet door. Reach out and touch them.
“I use index cards with my goals on them and I carry them with me everywhere,” says Grasso. “It becomes tactile. Just touching them brings it back to your mind and interrupts your patterns.”
Part 3 – Imagine Your Outcome
Virtually everyone whose success has become legendary has practiced visualization. Arnold Schwarzenegger imagined his biceps growing as big as mountains when he was training to win bodybuilding titles; Muhammad Ali pictured his name on marquees before he even turned pro.
“At the beginning or end of every day, close your eyes and pretend you’re watching a movie of the person you want to be with,” says Grasso. “You can paint them as specific or ambiguous as you want—it’s not the person that’s important, it’s the imagery you use and the feeling it gives you.” Do this for at least 10 minutes.
Think more about the emotive response you have to this person than his/her actual physical attributes. “Yes, you want to imagine what it all looks like, but it’s the emotional connection that makes for a happy relationship,” says Grasso. “The nuanced details of what the person looks like will take care of themselves when you have the right person.”
For example, if you want someone who shares your love of skiing, picture yourself on a ski slope with that person. Imagine the two of you sipping hot chocolate together and making runs down black-diamond slopes. Feel the excitement of it all. If you want the man or woman in your life to have a fit, athletic body, realize that this desire has already been taken care of with your skiing fantasy. If someone can keep up with you on black-diamond slopes, he/she will most certainly have to be in shape.
“It’s not namby-pamby, pseudo-psychological mumbo jumbo,” says Grasso. “It works because it’s cold-hearted neuroscience.”
The unconscious mind is the puppeteer of all our emotions, thoughts, and actions. But for all the power it has, it isn’t shrewd enough to distinguish what’s real from what you imagine. “Whatever you feed the unconscious on a regular basis it will assume to be true, and it will start identifying you as having that, being that. My wife, Carrie, is made for me—that wasn’t coincidental.”
The more real you make your vision seem, the more real it will actually start to become. Without even realizing it, you’ll start to behave in ways that makes it come true for you. You’re not conjuring anything up by magic—you’re creating it for yourself with work you put in one day at a time. Your thoughts, perspectives, an emotions will change the actions you take and the habits you form.
Going back to the skiing example, regularly visualizing yourself on the slopes with the love of your life is going to gradually motivate you to take more ski trips. Maybe you’ll take ski lessons and hit it off with your instructor or someone at the resort. You’ll spend time with other skiers and become so immersed in that world that your chances of ultimately NOT meeting someone who shares your passion and melts your heart are zero.
It’s going to happen!
“I used to be a classic introvert, very shy,” says Grasso. “I didn’t change my introverted nature, but for years I imagined myself in a confident posture, being able to step onstage and deliver amazing information. Over time, my unconscious accepted that I was a great speaker and now I speak to large audiences all over the world with no hesitation.”
If you have trouble getting started in your visualization, ask yourself these questions: How do you feel when you’re with this person? What do they give you that nobody else does? What secrets can you comfortably share with him/her? Where do you vacation together? What does your life together look like? What would a perfect day with this person consist of?
“Remind yourself that you deserve to be loved. You deserve to be comfortable in your own skin. You deserve to be respected. You deserve to have free will and not be told what to do. And the person you’re with deserves that too.”
Part 4 – Learn Your Language
Most ancient philosophies acknowledge that nothing that happens is inherently good or bad—there’s only what we perceive it to be. And perceptions of the same singular event or action can be extremely varied.
“You and I can experience the exact same thing at the exact same time and walk away with completely different interpretations,” says Grasso.
He gives this example: Three men walk into three different Starbucks cafes. The barista behind the counter smiles at each of them. Man #1 perceives the smile as a flirtation. Man #2 thinks she’s making fun of him, and the third man just thinks she’s friendly. Maybe one of those interpretations is correct—or maybe none are—but each man’s perception is based on the biases of his past experiences.
The man who thinks the girl is flirting suddenly becomes excited. His confidence increases and, if he’s attracted to her, he may respond by asking for her number. Man #2 feels embarrassed and insulted, triggering emotions of insecurity and fear—maybe bad memories of high school when he was a target. As a result, his course of action may be to leave without even getting his coffee. Man #3 thinks she’s a nice girl. He may leave a tip in her jar and walk out feeling grateful for the town he lives in.
“Now carry those thoughts on for the rest of the day,” says Grasso. “Man #1 goes to work and tells everyone he thinks he’s going to score. His internal language is all about how epic he is and how excited he is for a potential date.” As a result, he’s automatically closer to hitting it off with the barista—or ANY girl he comes in contact with—because of his positive attitude.
Man#2, on the other hand, walks out of Starbucks feeling like a loser. He’ll spend the rest of the day being angry and feeling resentful toward women. He may think that he’ll “never” get a date or be happy. And Man #3 is just grateful to be alive—and will probably recommend Starbucks to his friends.
The ultimate determiner of how you interpret and respond to what happens to you on a minute-by-minute basis is the language you hear in your head. “You have to journal to find out what that is,” says Grasso.
Sit quietly and think about your love goal and write down what thoughts come to mind. You’ll hear yourself saying, “You’re not good enough to be with the kind of person you want; this won’t work; you’re not smart, attractive, confident,” etc. “Once you become aware of it,” says Grasso, “listen for it all the time and stop it. When those thoughts pop up, call bullshit on them.”
When you hear yourself trash talking, use the same index cards or notes described in the Review Your Direction step to interrupt your negative thinking and remind yourself of what you want to stoke your motivation. Read back the “wins” you recorded in Part 1 to boost your confidence.
“If you talk shit to yourself all day long, it doesn’t matter how you set goals—you’re never going to achieve them. But if you can identify that your language is bad, you can correct it. Many of us talk to ourselves in a way we would never let anyone else talk to us. We can’t let that continue.”
Whether the barista was interested in Man #1 or was just smiling as part of her job, if his internal dialogue is positive, he’s going to set himself up for a greater chance of success with her and women in general. While condemning himself, or her, has the effect of warding off potential partners.
You have to realize that past mistakes and problems are confined to the past. There’s absolutely no reason you have to face them again—you have the power to avoid them if you choose. Just because girls rebuffed you in high school doesn’t mean they’ll continue to for the rest of your life, so you can’t let perceptions based on the “old you” shape the “new you”. Whether or not Man #2 was the brunt of the barista’s joke is irrelevant—if he allows himself to think he was based on nothing more than a smile, he ruins the moment, the opportunity, and potentially even the rest of his day.
But take note of this: using positive self-talk doesn’t mean chanting mantras like “I’m the greatest catch in the world.” The solution isn’t to brainwash yourself with sugarcoated affirmations that you don’t really believe—“it’s to release from the nonsense perceptions you have of yourself that shouldn’t control you.”
The goal, then, isn’t to convince yourself that you can do anything, but to very correctly realize that there’s no good reason that you CAN’T, and therefore anything is possible.
Visit Grasso and learn more about his coaching at brianandcarrie.live. (Incidentally, he’s married to the love of his—his business partner and fellow coach, Carrie Campbell—whom he met by using the methods described here.)