This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "No More Mr. Nice Guy" by Robert Glover. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.
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Are you looking for exercises from No More Mr. Nice Guy? Do you often feel insecure and underconfident in your romantic life and career?
In his classic self-help book, Robert Glover shares his step-by-step plan to go from an insecure “nice guy” to a confident “integrated male.” Completing the following exercises from No More Mr. Nice Guy will help you put Glover’s powerful lessons into practice.
Keep reading for the most helpful exercises from No More Mr. Nice Guy.
No More Mr. Nice Guy Exercises
The following exercises from No More Mr. Nice Guy encourage you to reflect on your childhood and current behavior so that you can change the way you think. This will ultimately help you to become more confident, secure, and happy:
Connect Your Past and Present
Reflect on your childhood to understand the development of your paradigms (or self-limiting beliefs) and coping mechanisms.
- Describe a time in your childhood when you felt neglected or ashamed of yourself (either during a general period or specific incident). What messages about the “right” way to feel or behave may have reinforced your feelings of neglect or shame?
- What coping mechanisms did you use to ward off these negative feelings? (For example, did you act out for attention? Become a perfectionist? Hide your failures from others?)
- Do you notice any remnants of these coping mechanisms in your life today?
- Think about a “safe person” (someone you trust) you would be comfortable sharing this experience with. What kind of feedback or support would you seek from them? (For example, do you just need someone to listen? Be your mirror? Provide affirmations?)
Discover Your Attachments
To stop people-pleasing, you must first identify your approval-seeking habits.
- Think about the attachments you use in everyday life to gain external approval. List some of them here. (Remember, this can be something you do to yourself or highlight about yourself—from having a clean car to appearing to be the perfect father.)
- Out of the attachments you wrote down, which would you stop doing if you weren’t concerned about what others think? Why?
- In general, how might you live differently if the judgment of others was no concern? What would you start doing in this case? List what comes to mind.
- Look at the list of behaviors or actions you’d like to start—pick one. What’s stopping you from doing this?
Remember You’re Perfectly Imperfect
Sometimes we need a reminder that we’re loved despite our flaws and mistakes.
- Think of a situation in which you tried to hide a personal flaw or mistake. What concealment strategies (lying, rationalizing, distracting, and so on) did you use?
- Consider the effectiveness of your strategies. Did your tactics successfully erase this flaw or mistake?
- Were you still loved and supported by those around you after this incident? How might you have approached the situation differently if you knew you had their support no matter what?
Find Your Safe People
Before committing to change, you need strong foundational support.
- Think about the “safe people” (those you wholeheartedly trust) in your life. Which of those people would make the best advocates in your self-improvement journey? Write down the top three who come to mind.
- Consider what you hope to gain from the process of becoming an “Ideal Man.” How can your safe people support you through this process?
- Now think about approaching one of your safe people. What method of communication will you use (a phone call, face-to-face, a public or private setting)? What personal issues do you want to discuss with this person, and how will you ask for their support?
Voice Your Needs
We have to voice our needs if we want them to be met. Swap your covert contracts for direct communication.
- Think of a covert contract that exists between you and your significant other. As per this unspoken agreement, what do you give? And what do you expect in return?
- How do you feel when this contract fails and your needs remain unmet? How do you respond (insults, passive-aggressive behavior, tantrums)?
- What could you say to your significant other to clearly and directly communicate this need? Do you think this would be a more effective route to satisfying your needs? Why or why not?
Set Your Boundaries
Practice setting your limits.
- Think of a time you said “yes” to something when you wanted to say “no” (other than something you have to do for work, childcare, and so on). What feelings or fears led you to respond this way?
- Now imagine you had said “no.” How do you think the situation would have played out? Why?
- What boundaries could you set next time? Write down how you would communicate your limits.
Define Your Masculinity
Before you can reclaim your masculinity, define it for yourself.
- What are positive masculine traits in your opinion? What makes a “healthy male” in your eyes?
- Think about other men in your life (relatives, community members, fictional characters). Who do you know that embodies any or all of these characteristics? How could they serve as your role model?
- Pick one potential role model. What questions might you ask him? (Gear your questions toward masculinity and being a self-accepting man—if Captain America is your role model, don’t ask him what it was like to wake up decades into the future.)
Take a Different Approach
- How can you change old habits and tap into your full potential?
- Write down one goal you have for your career or life’s passion.
- What are the self-sabotaging behaviors keeping you from pursuing or attaining this goal?
- Consider how you might “do something different” to reach this goal—how will you change your approach?
Rules to Live By
- How can you start living like an Ideal Man today?
- Pick one of the strategies for the Ideal Man throughout the book that resonated with you.
- How could you apply this rule to your life? Which of Glover’s other strategies might help you implement it?
- What scares you about implementing this strategy? What excites you?
Use the above exercises from No More Mr. Nice Guy to understand yourself better and improve your confidence.
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Here's what you'll find in our full No More Mr. Nice Guy summary :
- Why being a "Nice Guy" isn't actually a good thing
- Why Nice Guys miss out on a life of self-acceptance, empowerment, and satisfaction
- How to know if you are a Nice Guy and how to become an "Ideal Man" instead