I used to be terrible with women. Terrible. When I consider my 20s, I recall a litany of missed opportunities, crossed wires and utter fumbles I had no idea how to correct. This problem persisted for a long time. It's not like I had one bad year and then figured it out.
Past Performance is No Guarantee of Future Results
This is a warning that accompanies a lot of investment information. In this context it means "just because this investment did amazingly well for the past ten years does not mean it will continue that success." A common mistake of investors is to look an investment's past performance and say "hey, this fund did really well. I'm going to buy some shares so I can ride this wave." In fact, this is a terrible strategy, and the reason for the warning. No one really knows how well an investment will do tomorrow, over the next year, over the next ten years. You can make an educated guess, but there's a good chance you'll be wrong.
This works for dating too
Getting back to dating—as I said, I used to be terrible with women. As for many years, I believed my own story about my failures, thinking I just didn't "have it," was doomed to say the wrong thing, have terrible timing, or possess an utter inability to read body language and intention. But I'm not terrible anymore. Now this is where, as a reader, you might expect the boast: "I've got it figured out, dude, I'm so great with women, they're lining up just to talk to me! They're shouting their phone numbers out car windows!" If only. This would certainly makes a great story, as it fits our narrative bias so well. But my case is not so black and white.
I went from being pretty clueless about women, and lacking confidence, to being somewhat clued in about women, and having a decent level of confidence. And from a range of interviews (men and women), I learned that many others have a similar evolution. Past Performance is No Guarantee of Future Results works with a positive spin, too. You may be a top notch fumbler with women, and perhaps you have logged 5, 10 or 15 years with terrible fashion sense, poor posture, swallowing your voice, saying the wrong thing, ignoring signs a woman is interested in you. So you might think, like I did, that your future will look much like your past—disappointing. Don't believe your own story. Consider that it can and will change, if you're willing to do the work.
Hitting the reset button
This is a great metaphor for how you approach interactions with women. Let's say you approach someone in the grocery store, make an awkward joke about rotten apples, and forget to ask her name. The interaction peters out, and you go on, slightly embarrassed at your attempt. Hit the reset button. In 5 minutes, 50 minutes, or 5 hours, you're going to spot someone else and talk to her. Your past fumble is gone. You're starting fresh. She doesn't know you, doesn't know or care that you fumbled earlier today. But you can even use your past fumble to make fun of yourself: "You know, the last woman I talked to today, I forgot to ask her name. But I won't make that mistake with you, I'm totally awake now. So...what is your name?" This might be my approach, but use whatever is natural for you.
Every time to talk to someone new, you have the opportunity to start over. Take it!