in Life Optimization

Your Girlfriend Should Make You A Better Person

Two people I follow with interest are Scott Britton and Ben Altman, who along with a few other entrepreneur friends just moved back from a year of living in a beachside apartment in Rio De Janeiro. When asked why, they responded: ‘Best beaches and hottest girls, of course!”

Now I can’t argue with their choice based off of that logic, but there’s one part of this equation that doesn’t make sense, in my perspective. Scott, Ben, and their kind are hustlers in the truest sense of the word – they’ve all evolved beyond ‘real’ jobs, turned their passions into income streams, and basically designed the heck out of their lifestyles. My sense is that they don’t live normal lives, they don’t spend time with normal people, and that they’ve mercilessly cut out the inefficient/ineffective parts of their lives in order to live the very best they can.

Now, Rio is great as a party destination, but how many hustlers of equal caliber are there? More importantly, how likely is it for these guys to find a woman who shares their conviction for self betterment and willingness to live extraordinarily? I’m having a hard enough time doing that back here in the States, whose citizens invented the concepts of lifestyle design and intentional living. The only places abroad I have ever encountered comparable life philosophies abroad were Berlin, Stockholm, and London. To live outside the 9-5 one must first live in a developed city that has 9-5 options to break out of.

I have nothing against Brazilian women (to the contrary!), but I doubt that they are very into the self development scene. Which doesn’t matter if Scott and the boys were looking for short term relationships, but it does matter if they are looking to spend serious amounts of time with such women.

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”  “If you’re the smartest person in the room, find a new room.” Countless effective people (Scott and co. included) have lectured on the importance of surrounding yourself with people better than you who can help you learn. The boys in Rio have doubtlessly done this through banding together to get their apartment, but all that time spent flirting with Brazilian women on the beach doesn’t help. It’s great fun, to be sure, but I can’t help but wonder how much wife material is on those beaches. Time spent with any woman solely due to her looks rather than her personality, is not going to make you a better person.

Few people would disagree with that on principle, yet I see so many men forgetting this. Even smart, efficient ones like Scott and Ben. It’s a waste of everyone’s time to spend it when a person simply because you enjoy their body but not their presence. She deserves someone who likes her for her, and you deserve someone who you like because she enriches your life.

And don’t tell me the sex makes it worthwhile. A pretty person without a compatible personality to your own is functionally no different than your hand. Your hand does nothing more than pleasure you – it cannot make conversation, it cannot introduce new things into your life, and it does not have an opinion you respect. It, like any vapid person, is neutral – neither good nor bad.

And why settle for that when your girlfriend can also be your best friend, your mentor, your trusted advisor? Because of a nice pair of tits? Come on. You’re going to be spending large chunks of your days with her regardless, so you might as well find a person worth spending time with. Life’s too short to spent time with someone uninteresting, no matter how easy on the eyes they are.

At best, the women I’ve been involved with have taught me things (Spanish, salsa moves), introduced me to new authors and friends (Sam Harris, and new people whose friendships have long outlasted the romance), and engaged me with thoughtful discussions that changed the way I think about the world. At worst, they offered a few minutes of pleasure and maybe about four times as many minutes of dull conversation. This is not unique to women – many men are equally boring. The difference is that few straight men would bother to spend time with another boring man, no matter how good looking. Yet somehow an obscure (and usually non-existent) promise of a half hour of carnal pleasure leads them on.

Everyone has two aspects – their physical and their mental. I contend that spending time with people who share mental similarities with yourself (ideally positive, constructive ones that feed off of each other) is perhaps the best pastime possible. We know this, when we selectively choose which friends and people we spend time with. And yet with women so many of us men forget this and let the physical aspect outweigh the mental one. This is a colossal opportunity loss, and is unfortunate for all parties involved. (It’d be the same for women spending time with a pretty boy, though I have not come across this as often.)

This rationale is not enough to stop me being jealous of the boys’ Rio location, nor is it enough to stop me ogling the pretty women downtown. But I have tried to cut out boring people from my life both male and female – by ignoring certain Tinder archetypes, and spurning the parties of those I regard as intellectually boring. If I’m going to devote any amount of my life to your presence, it’s not going to be due to a killer pair of legs alone. (this is a command to myself as well as a statement)

I’ve since spoken with Scott’s new Stateside roommate Justin Mares on this subject, and found his perspective viable, yet personally unappetizing. He responded that it was of no importance to him how ambitious or entrepreneurially minded his wife was – he would rather she be talented in the departments that he was lacking in, like compassion and empathy. That way his better half could help fill out him as a person, and he could do the same to her. He says “What do I care if she knows who Tim Ferriss is?! It’s more important that we complement each other as people.”

I can’t argue with that rationale, but it seems that Justin and I disagree on the specifics. For me, an ambitious woman would complement my own ambition, and we could share tactics and learnings each of us has encountered in our paths. While I may be lacking in empathy and other departments, building those attributes are not as important to me, beyond meeting the baseline required in order to be a quality person, friend, and husband. I guess it all comes down to dealbreakers – everyone has their own, and it matter to them but few others. Find your dealbreakers and stick by them – but I suggest one of them be “inability to talk about anything you regard as important”, for both friends and dates!

This ties in which another returning wonder I have, a variant on the ‘opposites attract’ schema: do ‘birds’ attract ‘rocks’ for mates? Birds being ambitious, Type A people and rocks being grounded, Type B people. I’ve noticed a lot of successful relationships have one of each, and could see why when you get two birds or rocks together it wouldn’t work. What do you think?

  • Thanks for the mention bro.

    It’s pretty funny. I met an amazing chick who matched all my criteria of Brazilian girl. We went away together and after 54 hours I wanted to just be by myself. It wasn’t that she wasn’t ambitious, it was that the language (convo was all in Portuguese) and cultural barriers made it hard to have a deep connection. I realized after this that I was fishing in a pond that didn’t have many fish and this was one of the reasons I moved back.

    I agree with you that ambition is important in a woman, but for me it doesn’t have to be about profession. A lot of people only associate that drive with career stuff. I want someone who is independent, cares about something, and makes me a better man…she could be a homemaker that is the best member of her community ever or a high power business women. There’s a bunch of other things I care about like a belief in God, but that’s outside the scope of this convo…

    Keep writing dude!

  • Ben

    Heyo! Just saw this. Have a couple thoughts 🙂

    “It’s a waste of everyone’s time to spend it with a person simply because you enjoy their body but not their presence.”

    Couldn’t agree more!

    The thing is, I’m not necessarily looking for a “hustler” when considering who to date.

    I much prefer someone who makes me laugh, who has great positive energy, and who I can count on. Someone who makes me feel good about myself when things are going great AND when things go south.

    Pair that with an open mind and interesting conversation and I’m a happy camper.

    Just because a woman is beautiful doesn’t mean she doesn’t also have a brain. I think that’s a negative stereotype perpetuated by jealousy. I’ve met plenty of boring, unintelligent people of all levels of ugliness & beauty, and the same can be said for fascinating amazing human beings.

    I guess my contention would be that Scott and I have been mischaracterized as “letting the physical aspect outweigh the mental one” when in fact we’re looking for someone who we mentally click with, emotionally connect to, AND are physically attracted to.

    To the extent I can make that search easier on myself by being somewhere with an overwhelming number of gorgeous women, the pool of women that fit the above is expanded.

    As someone who’s goal is to “live the very best I can” and not settle for anything less, I couldn’t really do it any other way 😉