Mastering The Art Of Style
Marc Jacobs Goes from Nerd to Playboy
So how does one go from being a stockboy at a clothing boutique to a mega celebrity fashion designer?
For Marc Jacobs, it was all in the approach.
He went from being a fat and scrubby designer hiding in his drawing room to a handsome socialite; out and about with celebrities.
If you’re reading this blog, you probably want to build your best image, but how do you get there like Marc Jacobs?
Marc’s journey began when he decided that he needed a change, and kept working on himself everyday as he set up routines and rituals for success. Routines like hitting the gym hard daily with a trainer to keep him motivated and rituals like getting his hair styled by a top stylist weekly. Every once in awhile he went to add something new to his look – like piercings or tattoos.
When you make a decision to cultivate your style, or anything in life for that matter, you have to accept that it is an endless journey to mastery.
When I say “endless” I literally mean that it won’t end. Not till you die at least.
When we choose a path, we set up goals along the way, but instead of using these goals as motivation to stay on the path, it’s very easy for us to become captured by the glamorous glory waiting at each finish line.
The truth is that there is no finish line. Not for the people who truly want to continue growing.
Success is a journey, not a destination – Arthur Robert Ashe, Jr.
Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal” – Earl Nightingale
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you’re a success only if you achieve your ultimate goal. According to Earl’s definition, if you are on your way, you are already a success.
A man who loves to run will not stop running after winning a race.
He will celebrate his victory and party with his friends the night of his victory, but the next day he will get up and do what he does every morning – put on his clothes and his running shoes, and hit the streets again. Why? Because he loves to run. The victories are great, and they are acknowledged, but they are not the sole reason he runs. They just come with the territory.
The opposite example of success would be the guy who spends all his time chasing women trying to get laid, but never enjoys the time spent with them when he’s not getting laid. He spends all his energy running after a series of “climaxes” but never enjoys the journey of building his skills with women. Except during the short period of sex he lives frustrated and miserable, escaping through alcohol and other “highs” that he can get like watching sports games-waiting for his team to score so he can feel yet another climax. He’s not enjoying the game for the game itself.
He doesn’t fully understand the truth that he would actually be better with women if he wasn’t always scrambling for an outcome, and instead, was simply grateful for the moments he shared with them.
Outcomes are important, but they are merely points on the journey.
The truth is that the journey is all there is.
Marc Jacobs is also currently the creative director at Louis Vuitton.
Here is a Louis Vuitton video that beautifully illustrates what the “journey” is:
It’s a reminder that when you set out on a path to cultivate any part of yourself, every moment is precious. The only real “trick” or “secret” to success in anything is to stay on the path and be fascinated by it at every present moment. Staying on the path is all you have to do to be a master. To stay on it when it’s easy and when it’s hard- especially when you hit those damn plateaus.
The Secret To Winning
A winner never quits, a quitter never wins- Napoleon Hill
Whatever part of your style you want to work on, whether it’s your fashion, your eye contact, the way you walk, the way you talk, or your attitude and personality, it’s important to build a habit of working on them consistently.
Most people just want to get a part of their life “handled” and be done with it. They only want to put attention to building a skill for a short period and once they reach “mastery” stop caring because now they are masters. But if they stop they are no longer on the path of mastery.
The only “masters” are the ones who think of themselves as students forever.
We’ve all done it before. We stop working on a skill once we’ve reached a few of our main goals, and because we stop we start to revert back to our old ways.
Are there any parts of your life where you’ve stopped practicing something?
Maybe it’s an instrument you no longer play…maybe you stopped going out and meeting new people. Maybe you stopped playing a sport or exercising.
If you’ve ever stopped exercising, you know that once you get lazy it just starts to get worse. You start to gain that weight again or lose that muscle and so you lose motivation to keep it up because you’re already so far down the tube. Then you start to eat junk food again and sit on the coach watching TV all day. All that exercise you’ve done has now gone to waste.
Obviously a small skill like learning how to snap your fingers can be learned and then there is no need to continue practicing. But when it comes to bigger things in your life that you’ve set as a standard for yourself there should be no stopping.
Believing that we’re “good enough” is not enough. How can we ever know where we are in terms of our potential?
What’s going to set you apart from ALL the other guys at first glance is how long you’ve stayed on the path to building yourself
You are a castle, and the only way to build an impressive fortress of power is to continuously lay brick upon brick. Once you stop, you’ve chosen to pull the plug on progress. You choose to “settle.” If you’re happy with that, great. But if you want to be the best that you can be or considered a master, then you can never settle.
When you’re building yourself, there will be times when you run out of brick and mortar, when a wall crumbles, or when it seems like you can no longer build higher walls. These are the plateaus that you will face on the path.
The key here is to keep going, because it’s not about “finishing,” it’s about enjoying every stretch of the race. There will be points in the journey where you hit goals you’ve been working towards, but you enjoy it for the fleeting joys that they are and keep on moving. Your real enjoyment comes from the path itself.
A lot of guys who read these articles are looking to become better with women
With women it’s so easy to get into the mindset of chasing “goals” and outcomes. When we chase, it drains us of our energy instead of empowering us. We must love the game of getting better with women itself, instead of just sex or validation.
Here’s an example of a man who many people consider a “master.” Lance Armstrong. But the only reason he is a master is because he loves what he does and doesn’t do it for the wins. Winning is just a result of his passion. He is a master because he loves the “path” and chooses to stay on it while many others quit.
Staying On The Path
Here are tips for staying on the path, and using goals to empower rather than drain you of your energy.
1. Surround Yourself With The Right People
We’ve all heard this before. The fact is that one of the best ways to cultivate a skill is to surround yourself with people who are on the same journey as you. When it comes to your image – take a look around you, do your friends have the kind of attributes you’d like to surround yourself with?
I have heard once that you are the average of the friends around you. I really believe this to be true. Who we are around the most influences our thoughts and in turn affects our actions, which then brings the results we see in our lives. We absorb the values and views around us like a sponge. This is why it’s SO important to surround yourself with people you respect and look up to. These people can also be mentors through books, CDs, videos, and they don’t have to be alive today.
Example: If you want to sculpt your body at the gym, find a partner who is passionate about the same sort of change. Go together and measure yourself against each other’s goals. This accountability will keep the fire going.
I go to the gym with Theory and we don’t ever let each other get lazy. We make it so there is no chance in hell to back out. We put our weight goals on a board and track our progress, building a healthy competition that makes it fun. We also keep each other on track through what we eat and how frequently we eat.
When you surround yourself with people who can help you on your path, hopefully with the same vision as you, it’ll motivate you to do your best. You’ll then attract more people who share your vision, further compounding your growth.
2. Motivation Through Pictures
Create a picture board of the kind of image you are working towards. Get subscriptions to GQ and Men’s Health and cut out your favorite looks (whether style or body) and post them up. If you see anything you like online, print it out and post it up as well. This includes the type of women you like, someone you want to emulate, etc. Every time you look at these pictures daily, you’ll look at yourself and check whether or not you’re well on the path towards these goals, and if you’re not, the negative emotions can be used to make you act.
One of the pictures I have on my wall is a picture I ripped out of Men’s Health of a body I want. Every time I look at it, I check how I’m doing towards that goal. Sometimes it makes me immediately go and fix myself something to eat or drink a protein shake. I love it.
3. Use Negative Feedback As Fuel
Whenever we start to create change in our lives, and look to others for input, sometimes we get discouraging feedback instead of encouragement. This is natural because you are setting little bombs off in “the system,” that are causing big disruptions. The “system” is the “way things are.” Your family isn’t used to seeing you invest time and money in improving yourself so they’ll make jokes about you being insecure. Your friends won’t like you being becoming better than them, and making them feel inferior, so they’ll try to bring you down. Most of the time this is unintentional and happens naturally.
It’s important not to let the initial discouragement make you quit. Take it as a test to measure the strength of your character, and a chance to practice enjoying the journey itself instead of results.
Everyone laughed and made fun of Noah when he was building the Ark. They called him a crazy old man and a psychopath. Nobody was laughing when the Great Flood came.
You can use the negative feedback as fuel to do what people say you can’t.
4. Set Yourself Up To “Win”
Create a daily routine as well as a weekly routine. The only way that you’ll continue to grow in an area of your life is if you make sure you put in CONSISTENT practice. Only a set routine will enable you to keep consistent.
If you don’t think you can keep up a routine, find a partner as stated in number one to keep you accountable. If you can’t find anyone who wants to do it with you, tell as many people as you can what you are going to do. They can keep you accountable and check up on you. Another good way to get yourself to do something is to get a coach or a trainer, sign up for a class, or join a club that has weekly get-togethers.
5. Keep It Interesting
When you’re on those plateaus, it’s easy to lose motivation when things get too routine and boring. Spice it up a bit by throwing in some new twists. Change up your workout, change what you eat. Try a new way of shaving. Go shopping and try on new things that you thought you could never see yourself wearing – you may change your mind.
Hope this article is a big reminder to everyone, as it has been for me, that mastery is about loving the journey itself rather than just chasing climaxes. The only thing that lasts is the journey of discovering ourselves, and what we are made of.