For most people, the decision to give someone a second chance or not is made by the feelings they have when the moment presents itself. Feelings are very dangerous things, and, devoid of logic, can make a disaster of your life very quickly. Like everything else in the universe, the decision to give someone a second chance or not has an equation that it works off of. You’re about to learn second chance mathematics.
It’s 4:00 on a Saturday, and Rebecca calls Sam to cancel their first date, which was set for 5:30 tonight. As you will learn in a moment, the reason she gives is actually irrelevant. Because Rebecca is a solid 9 in the looks department and Sam hasn’t had a date in over two months, Sam tells her it’s OK. As Rebecca is hanging up the phone, Sam quickly blurts out, “I’ll call you later this week.”
Eli walks into his boss’s office 45 minutes late for his first day on the job. He’s a Yale graduate that the company can barely afford. As his new boss mentions the time, Eli responds with, “You’re right. Let’s get started.” Eli’s boss never brings up his tardiness again, and Eli continues to show up late every morning.
Steve is having a drink at his favorite sushi bar while waiting for Cindy to join him for dinner. Cindy is now 35 minutes late. Steve asks the girl he’s been talking to at the bar for the last 25 minutes if she would like to get a table with him. She says, “Yes.” Ten minutes later, his cell rings. It’s Cindy, and he doesn’t answer.
Ten interns show up for their first day at Acme Advertising. Two show up slightly early, five show up on time, and three are a few minutes late. The owner of the company greets them with a smile and says, “Hello, I see that two of you showed up early. The rest of you may leave. For those eight, your internship has ended.”
The vast majority of society will respond to those four stories with something resembling, “Well, you shouldn’t take advantage of people, but everyone deserves a second chance.” Meanwhile, a very small minority lives by, “No second chances, ever!” What’s really interesting is that this small minority is also the most successful, and the majority thinks the successful are bastards for not being more flexible. So who’s right?
This is where evolutionary psychology must enter the discussion. Evolutionary psychology states that the function of the brain evolved into being because behaviors that hurt chances of survival and/or replication tended to get weeded out after enough generations, while behaviors that increase chances of survival and/or replication tended to get passed on generation after generation. Here’s a simple story to illustrate the roots of this…
Let’s say that 10,000 years ago there was a small group of five families living together. One family was a group of fuckups. You can think of them in terms of today’s trailer trash/alcoholics, and their fittest male couldn’t hunt worth a damn. Three of the families can be thought of similar to today’s middle class, and more times than not, they would return from a hunt with food. But, just like in today’s world, there’s always someone who’s the best hunter in the village, and he’s part of the fifth family. Now all we have to do is look at the survival mechanism for each of the three groups to see how forgiving they are. Here’s how each group will respond to mistakes others make while hunting with them.
The fuckups will be the most lenient because on their own, they don’t have enough skill to feed themselves. They believe it’s wrong not to give others lots of second chances because if they didn’t believe this, and more importantly if others didn’t believe this, they wouldn’t eat.
The middle class believe something different. Because they succeed only most of the time, they get the most food by pooling resources with others. If they have a bad day and others share with them, they still eat. And tomorrow, they are more than willing to return the favor if they get a kill and the person who fed them yesterday winds up empty-handed. If, however, someone in the hunting group turns out to be a fuckup, they will only help out that person so many times before they realize that they will never see a return on their investment. At that point, they will cut off the fuckup.
The bad-ass hunter believes something completely different from either of the other two groups. He hunts alone because to him, even a middle-class hunter is a liability. He always kills enough, and involving anyone else in his hunt would only mean less food for him. In some cases, however, he may have such a surplus of food that he becomes giving. In this case, he’ll help others hunt but this will only happen when he is sure he’ll be well fed no matter what. Even doing favors for others has a place in evolutionary psychology because of the benefit of having others in debt to you.
Here’s the equation: If I know the value you believe you have and the value you believe the other person has, I can calculate how you’ll respond. We could be talking about money, friendships, or women, because it all uses the same equation.
- If you believe that it’s more likely that the other person will get his shit together then it is likely that you will find somebody better than him, you will give him a second chance.
- If you believe that the other person’s failure is a bigger coincidence than the coincidence it would take to find somebody better, you will give him a second chance.
- If you believe that it would take more effort to find someone better than it would to just put up with that person’s crap, you will give him a second chance.
- If you believe life without the other person would be more difficult than life is with him, you will give him a second chance.
You learned from my first book, Domination Basics: Secrets of the Alpha Male Book 1, that most people tend to undervalue themselves and overvalue others. That book also explained why people tend to do this. This is the linchpin to everything I’ve been explaining here. If you think you have low value and that others have high value, you’ll allow others to walk all over you.
Sure, in the long run, any intelligent, emotionally balanced person can look at a relationship of any kind and figure out whether both individuals are benefiting from it throughout its up and downs. You can evaluate your existing relationships yourself easily and quickly. What I want to open your eyes to is how you allow new relationships to form. The rule I live by is: If there’s no history, people get one chance and only one chance. There are over seven billion people on this planet. To find the awesome ones, you’ll have to quickly dismiss the ones that are less than awesome. Remember that this process isn’t about them; it’s about you. Believe that you deserve only awesome people in your life, and realize that there are literally millions of them out there. I may sound a little like the bad-ass hunter, but I’m not so different from you. I’ve just had more practice saying, “Goodbye, next!”
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