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The ONE THING Keeping You From What You Want

This is one of the most important articles I have ever written and probably ever will — and if you know my content, you know I don’t engage in that kind of hyperbole. I’m very serious about this, and if you understand and acknowledge what I’m about to show you, this will change your life. It changed mine.

The chart I’m about to describe is all of you — your whole human-machine, human-animal, everything you are. You have four pieces to who you are, and these four pieces are aligned in a very specific order. If you understand how these different quadrants interact, you’re going to understand why you don’t have the results in your life that you want. My guess is there are things in your life you don’t have yet, and I’m about to show you why.

The first quadrant is where you are static, meaning unchanging. These are things about you that you cannot change like your age, race, skin tone (which is different from race), height, biological sex (which is different from gender), and a few other things. These are things you can mitigate or work around, but cannot change. They provide advantages and disadvantages, depending on where you are. For example, if you’re 18 years old, that’s a disadvantage in many respects, likewise if you’re 75. I’m 48 years old, so I’m in a grey area. There are some good and bad things about being 48. If you’re 27 years old, you might have some physical advantages over me that I can’t control, but I might have some financial and/or confidence advantages that you don’t have.

The second quadrant is your abilities. These are the good things about you, your advantages. There are basically three aspects of this: your skills (things you’ve learned), your talents (things you’re naturally good at), and your interests (things you like).

The next quadrant is your motivation. If you want to change your current condition, motivation is how badly you want that on a scale from 1 to 10. If you have a low level of motivation, you are what we call “comfortable.”

“Comfortable” does not mean happy; it means you’re comfortable. “Eh, it’s fine.” No big deal.

If you have negative motivation, you are likely depressed, and you might need to see a therapist. The last quadrant is your emotions — all of your emotional makeup in both your conscious and subconscious mind dating back to when you were born. This is your Societal Programming, from your biological wiring, parents, experiences, culture, religion, and everything else. I talk about Societal Programming a lot in The Unchained Man.

If you have an area of your life where you don’t have the results you want, especially an area where you’ve struggled — the problem, and the most important area to focus on, is the Emotions quadrant. People, especially men, think the problem is in the Static quadrant when in fact, it’s really with emotions.

You want to visualize a river, a flow of water of some kind. The river starts in the Emotions quadrant and flows into Motivation. Emotions empower motivation. Then, the river flows into the Abilities quadrant, and your motivation moves you to improve or utilize your skills, talents, and interests. Lastly, the river flows into the Static quadrant to mitigate the things you cannot change.

Each quadrant comes with its own objective.

In terms of your static areas, your job is to mitigate. You can’t fix any of these things, but you can minimize the damage they do.

On abilities, your job is to increase these.

Likewise with motivation — increase it!

On emotions, you want to FIX them — because they’re fucked up! If you have something in your life you’ve wanted badly for a long time and you haven’t taken action on it — or you’ve taken action and you’ve failed — the problem isn’t in the Static, Abilities, or even Motivation quadrants. The problem is with emotions. Your emotions are screwed up.

Guys will try to assume the problem is with their static issues. I personally know several guys who are Asian who live in the United States and get laid a lot with super hot chicks, including white girls. I get emails from guys who say things like “Hey Caleb, I’m Asian, so I guess I have to move out of the United States to get laid, right? Because no white girl would ever fuck an Asian guy.” (Yeah, I’m serious.)

He thinks the problem is in the Static quadrant, but he’s wrong. It’s with emotions; his emotions are so fucked up they are changing the way in which he views the objective world.

I’ll give you the opposite scenario. I’ve got guys who actually write to me and say things like “Hey Caleb, I’m a white guy and I really want to fuck an Asian girl, so I guess I gotta pay a hooker, right? Because Asian girls don’t hook up with white guys.” (Again, I’m serious.)

Again, he thinks the problem is with his race in the Static quadrant. It’s not; it’s with his emotions.

Now, does that mean the problem he’s mentioned doesn’t exist? Does that mean it’s just as easy for a black or Asian guy to hook up with a white girl as it is for a white guy? No, it’s not just as easy, but that’s not the showstopper problem. The showstopper problem is in the emotions quadrant.

There are guys on the internet who are completely focused on things like SMV. Again, I personally know guys in the pick-up artist world who are not good-looking, do not have ripped muscles, and have no money who have sex with numerous hot girls. So the guys on the internet saying they need to buy a Lamborghini or get six-pack abs to get laid think the problem is with ability, motivation, or sometimes static issues. All wrong.

It all starts with emotions. There is a dam situated between the Emotions quadrant and the Motivation quadrant. And you might think that if you’re really motivated to do something, you’ll take action on it, but that’s not correct. You can be very motivated on something and still take no action because your emotions aren’t allowing the energy to go from emotions to motivation.

Other guys think success is all about skills and abilities. They want to start a business, but they think they “have no skills” or “don’t know anything.” Not only is this wrong, but it’s irrelevant. Do you think I had a lot of skills when I was 18 years old, living alone and barely able to pay my bills?

Motivation: Do you think I said, “I’m going to learn a bunch of skills and then get motivated?” Fuck no! That’s not how it works!

I grew up in an environment that was very financially strapped, and I fucking hated it. So I had the emotions that drove the motivation. I said, “I want to make a lot of money, and I want to do it fast. I want it now, in my twenties.”

The reason this worked for me is that I had enough emotional congruence to get me to the point where my emotions allowed me to take action on the motivation. Again, it starts with emotions, moves to motivation, then to abilities, and maybe ends up in static. The thing that is stopping you from taking the action to get the results you want in your life is not in the Static quadrant. For example, if you’re from India, the problem isn’t your race. The reason you’re having problems with women is because your parents and your culture fucked you up when you were a small child regarding women, dating, and sex. It’s not that you’re the wrong race; the problem is in the Emotional quadrant, not Static.

How did I go from being a divorced beta male dad in 2007 to a guru-level dating expert within two years? Did I do that because I was really good at dating women when I got divorced? I didn’t know shit about women or dating; I was a fucking embarrassment!

Is it because I was really good-looking? No. I’m not bad but I’m not good-looking. So it wasn’t the Static quadrant.

Was it because I was really motivated? Yes — however, what would have happened if I was motivated without the emotion supporting me? I knew monogamy and/or having sex with average-looking women was not going to make me happy long term. I had to figure out how to make non-monogamy work and how to date multiple hot women at the same time and have them stay with me even though they knew I was dating other women. So that was my motivation, and I had a lot of it, yes. But! Let’s say my emotions were not congruent with that motivation, that I was just as motivated, except that my emotions said well, my religion won’t allow it! I’d have a problem, wouldn’t I?

What if I was an angry, needy Alpha Male 1.0 who wanted to have sex with all these women, but only wanted them to have sex with me? And I’m going to make sure they do that by arguing and fighting with them and causing conflict, pain, and chaos for the rest of my life? (Sound familiar?) What if my emotions said that?

So it wasn’t just that I had the motivation. It’s that my emotions were congruent with the motivation so I had enough fuel to take action on the skill set.

One of the reasons I’ve had so much trouble losing body fat is not because I’m not motivated. I’m extremely motivated and on multiple levels. The problem is I have this little voice in the back of my mind that says “Hey, I have sex with super hot chicks every week, I make tons of money, I live a fantastic life, I’m not ugly, and I’m really healthy. Why bother losing weight?”

That voice is completely and objectively wrong, but it’s there regardless of my motivation. So if you have a problem in your life that you need to fix, you need to forget about static conditions, ability, and motivation, and focus on emotion. Dig into your head and figure out what is wrong with your emotions. Static issues are important factors, yes, but they’re not the showstopper. For every man who has an excuse (I’m too skinny, I’m too short, I’m not the right race, I don’t make a lot of money, etc, etc), I can show you a man who has those same problems and who already has what you want. How to dig into your emotions and fix them is a very big topic. I have a lot of information on that in The Unchained Man and my other content. Frankly, if you are totally obsessed with your static excuses, you may need to see a therapist. There’s a percentage of you who do because your emotions aren’t right. It won’t matter how motivated or skilled you are; you have to get your emotions right.

A lot of you reading are resisting this right now. You still think your skin tone, age, height, or other static issue is the problem. Wrong! You want to believe the problem is static because that gives you an out. It’s harder for you to say “Okay, the reason I think that is because there’s something wrong upstairs and I need to figure out how to resolve that.”

It may not be easy. I had to go through this in my early thirties. I had to re-evaluate my entire life. My abilities and motivation were okay but my emotions were all wrong. Once you figure this out it’s like opening the floodgates. You’ll have all this energy in the Motivation, Abilities, and Static quadrants. It’s awesome, but you have to take care of emotions first.

Stop focusing on the static things about yourself you can’t change. Figure out your emotions, and everything else gets much easier.


  1. Northern Alpha

    Your blog posts are now transcripts with a bit of bolding. This makes them paragraph-heavy and hard to read.

    Have you considered using more headings (H1, H2, H3), bullet points, and tightening up the text?

  2. Caleb Jones

    Your blog posts are now transcripts with a bit of bolding.

    Correct. I announced that many weeks ago here.

    This makes them paragraph-heavy and hard to read.

    The paragraphs are very short to make them easier to read, not harder to read.

    Have you considered using more headings (H1, H2, H3)

    Yes. Usually I do that but not this time.

    bullet points

    When appropriate, yes.

    and tightening up the text?

    The text is already tight.

  3. Miguel Guzmán

    Hi there Caleb,

    Congratulations on a great article !

    This is very similar to the personal development system I use to train my people. Though instead of quadrants, I lay out the elements in concentric circles (not much unlike the circles of influence and concern from Stephen Covey).

    Your inner state is defined by your thoughts and emotions (feeding each other back), then you have your focus, your intentions (which would be parallel to your “motivation” here), then your skills and finally the external circumstances which are either static or require a great deal of energy to change.

    So, to obtain real results in the real world, you need to work from the inside out, first aligning your thoughts and emotions, then setting your focus, determining your intentions, developing your skills, then navigating the circumstances to finally get the results.

    I always explain the analogy to physical training. You need to train from the inside out. If you try to deadlift 200kg without a strong abdominal core and the proper technique, you’re in for a big lower back injury.

    Likewise, if you set huge personal goals (“I’m gonna leave my job, be an entrepreneur and make gazillions”, “I want to have threesomes with supermodels every week”) but you haven’t aligned your thoughts, emotions, focus, intentions and skills with these goals, then you’re in for a world of hurt and disappointment.

    (BTW I’m finishing a book on exactly this. First edition is in spanish, but an english translation is on the roadmap. If you don’t mind I’ll send you a copy when it’s done)

  4. Caleb Jones

    Likewise, if you set huge personal goals (“I’m gonna leave my job, be an entrepreneur and make gazillions”, “I want to have threesomes with supermodels every week”) but you haven’t aligned your thoughts, emotions, focus, intentions and skills with these goals, then you’re in for a world of hurt and disappointment.


  5. Leon

    @Miguel Guzmán Great insight and really complemented the post. Thank you.

    What’s the name of your book on Amazon? I will set a reminder for your English version.