The first rule to follow before beginning on any path, and particularly important in the path to attaining social mastery:
First Rule of Social Mastery
(1) Fear nothing
In modern society, we do not have threats that engender or require legitimate fear–the chemically driven fight or flight response that our ancestors depended on for survival. No, our fears are much more subtle, but also all-encompassing and constant. More or less, we fear others. And this fear, revealed as social anxiety and discomfort especially among young males, can be disarmed by remembering this appendage to the first rule of social mastery:
Do not fear what they say.
Do not fear what they do.
Do not fear what they think.
Without this to hold onto–without a grounding in fearlessness–social mastery becomes impossible. Our own emotions will act against us, preventing experimentation with different configurations of words, body language, voice tone and other social indicators. We must, necessarily, become free from our mechanisms.
It is important to remember, however, that just wanting to be fearless will not make it so. To conquer one’s fears, one must face them. If you are afraid of saying something you perceive would result in disapproval from the other party, do it anyways. Do it precisely because it makes you afraid. As you keep at it, these experiences will add up, and produce a growing fearlessness. You will find your social anxieties dissipating. The first step to social mastery, then, is finding what makes you afraid, and facing it head-on. Needless to say, this requires balls.