Welcome to Day 1 of 30 Days of Dating Advice for Intellectual Badasses! We’re going to cover a lot of great dating topics to help you, the IB, take your dating life to the next level. The first few days will cover the single IB’s most fundamentally important tool: your mindset.

Today, I’ll talk about the most important aspect of mindset: your attitude about dating and the other sex. I have a saying:

Attitude determines your dating success before you ever go on a date.

Yes, all the other things I’ll discuss in the next 30 days are important for dating success; but attitude is the most important of all. In fact, the right attitude is the #1 predictor of dating success, and the foundation upon which to build dating skills. That’s why it’s weighted with a 2 in Equation 1, and why I devote entire chapters to this topic in Changing Your Game, my dating book for men, and It’s Not Him, It’s YOU, my dating book for women.

So does it mean to have the right attitude? I think it’s more helpful to start by discussing the wrong attitude. Here are comments I’ve heard, all of which demonstrate the wrong attitude:

Bad attitude about dating:

  • “Dating is stupid and awkward.”
  • “Online dating is lame/filled with losers/a waste of time.”

Bad attitude about the other sex:

  • “Men only want dumb bimbos/younger women/10s.”
  • “Women only want rich guys/assholes/hot guys.”
  • “Men are threatened by smart/powerful/successful women.”
  • “Beautiful women are spoiled/crazy/full of themselves.”

Bad attitude about yourself:

  • I’m short/bald/nerdy and women don’t like guys like that.”
  • I’m shy/overweight/over 40 and men don’t want women like that.”

Just reading these statements, can you feel the negativity descending upon you like a dark cloud of doom? I know I can. So you can imagine that if any of these beliefs reside in your psyche, they will cast a dark cloud over your dating life. Humans are very, very perceptive creatures; they can pick up on a bad attitude quite easily, even if you never say a word. They’ll just know to stay away from you.

The interesting thing about the above statements? They’re generally untrue. They don’t reflect reality; they reflect the reality a person has chosen to see. Even if some of your negative feelings about dating are true, and some of them may well be, dwelling on them, rather than working around them, is a big mistake.

In most cases, a bad attitude comes from bad experiences. Repeated rejection and lack of dating success, as well as a painful breakup or divorce, can sour anyone’s attitude. I get it. It’s okay to have negative feelings, okay to get fed up, okay to feel resentment… the important thing is WHAT YOU DO with those feelings. Do you let them consume you and pull you to the Dark Side, or do you take action?

The way to take action is to think like a problem solver. Fortunately, you’re an IB – figuring out complex problems is second nature to you! Whenever you encounter a problem – your AC breaks in July or you keep getting an error message when you run the code you spent 3 days writing – what do you do? You start brainstorming ways to solve or get around the problem. Well, dating is no different. If you encounter dating obstacles, you may react negatively, but then you starting looking for potential solutions.

For example: you’ve emailed 50 women online and gotten NO response. Yes, that’s a problem, and, yes, frustration is totally normal.

Wrong attitude: Dating online sucks/women suck/life sucks/I give up.

Right attitude: Something’s wrong that I’m getting no response and I’m going to try a few things to remedy it. I can email 50 more women. I can rethink who I’m emailing. I can revise my profile. I can check out other men’s profiles for ideas. I can hire a coach to revise my profile. I can change my email technique.

Here’s another example: you found out your boyfriend cheated on you. Yes, that’s a problem, and, yes, it’s normal to feel a whole variety of emotions.

Wrong attitude: Men suck/men can’t be monogamous/I’ll never trust a man again.

Right attitude: Something’s wrong that this guy betrayed me and I’m going to learn from this. I can recall all the good guys who didn’t cheat on me, or the guys who don’t cheat on my friends. I can learn the signs that a man’s a cheater. I can ask myself what role I played, if any. I can choose better quality men.

See how that works? Identify the problem, then put your energies toward solving it. That’s how you succeed.

Remember, dating is tough enough – don’t let a bad attitude kill your success from the get-go.