I have a love/hate relationship with failure. That is, for the first few years of my journey, failure loved me and I absolutely hated it. It often felt like a dark cloud that would follow me around all the time. But despite all of my disadvantages in dating (5’4″, asian, introvert, lacking social skills, etc), I eventually acquired one thing that helped me overcome all of that — I had a friend who taught me that my biggest weakness wasn’t anything I could see, touch, or observe. It was that I was so afraid of failure with women that I never took the chances necessary for growth, for improvement, and ultimately, for success.
I had spent my whole life overcompensating for imaginary failures with women. I was an honor student, a high school varsity wrestler, a United States Marine Sergeant, and even a homeowner with a 6-figure income at age 23. All because it seemed easier than facing my fears of women. I did everything in my power to avoid it until it got so bad — so lonely — that I found the community.
But still, that fear haunted me.
I remember being in Vegas with that friend and being terrified to approach. Absolutely terrified. I’m not sure if I opened a single set the entire weekend. Women EVERYWHERE and I couldn’t even eek out a simple hello. I couldn’t push past that fear of what might happen if I took a chance. My friend later pulled me aside and told me that failure wasn’t when a set didn’t go well. It was when I gave up and stopped trying. It was when I gave in to the fear and let it win. As Winston Churchill so eloquently put it:
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
I took what he said to heart and started to make changes. I remember that weekend so vividly even though it was years ago because that’s when things began to happen. It was my wakeup call. It was my call to action. And to this day, that guy is one of my best friends. I recently got in touch with him and asked him if he would share with you that lesson that changed so much for me, to which he graciously accepted.
Some of you know who this man is. Some of you have seen him in action. To this day he remains not only a great friend but one of the most talented individuals I’ve ever met. And if it wasn’t for his wise advice that summer night in Las Vegas, I wouldn’t be here right now and you wouldn’t be reading this.
I bought a video game yesterday called Red Dead Redemption. Even being over a year old, the game is still beautiful. The voice acting is unmatched, and the world is so vast. The game just sucks you in and makes you actually believe that you’re part of the dying wild west around 1911. My favorite level is one of the last, when you finally decide to go capture your old friend Dutch up in the mountains. I could answer any question about RDR because I’ve memorized the instruction manual, read every online review, and even purchased two in-depth player’s guides. The game itself sits atop my coffee table, still in its original packaging. My friends and I have thought about opening it, but what happens if we get shot? What happens if our horse dies? What happens if I finally play that level with Dutch and I can’t capture him? No, instead we sit across the room from the game and talk about it. Sometimes I need to remind Chris not to make eye contact with RDR so it doesn’t think we’re all weird for staring. I mean, honestly though, if RDR really wanted us to play it, it would give us a sign or something. It would smile at us or maybe even unwrap itself and jump into my Ps3. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t like forcing things. If we’re supposed to play it, we will. If it happens, it happens. If not, I’m sure one of the many other games I’ve bought still in their packaging will give us a sign.
I’ve been blessed enough to meet some of the community’s gurus and see them in action over the years. They’re amazing, but not for the reasons you might think. In fact, though many of them have extremely different styles, looks, and perspectives on how pick-up should actually be performed, I realized that there’s only really a single glaring difference between any pick-up Guru and the guy who’s never had a real girlfriend.
Fear of failure.
Gurus fail at picking a girl up ALL THE TIME. If they tell you otherwise, they’re either lying to themselves or they’re not approaching enough females anymore. No, all gurus fail often, but it doesn’t matter to them. To them, failure doesn’t mean too much. It’s an opportunity to learn something. It’s a girl having a shitty day. It’s a practical joke from God. Whatever it is, they do not take it personally. They move on, by which I mean in a few seconds, and they try again and again until they get a hit. This is the most powerful thing I’ve learned. Everyone who’s good with girls, from the tattooed mentalist, to the natural leader, to the middle-aged NLP master, to the intelligent looking Clark Kent-type– they all do not mind failure very much. And why should they? It hurts less than a bee sting when it actually happens. I mean think about it, no one’s ever died or had their leg broken by rejection.
But, oh, man –Rejection. God, what a powerful word. There’s so much meaning inside that 10 letter word, isn’t there? But if you could teach yourself to see rejection in a different light with a little cognitive restructuring, your game could improve tremendously…in only a few minutes.
What if we looked at everything enjoyable the way we look at approaching people we don’t know? We would never start a new book, never go see a new movie, and never bake a delicious cake. I know it seems like a ridiculous way to look at things, but it really isn’t. The truth of the matter is approaching girls you don’t know has the same risks as playing a game of Galaga. If your ship explodes while playing Galaga, your friend makes some quip about how you suck at life, and you walk away from the machine to do something else. If you get booed away from a set, your friend makes some quip about how you suck at life, and you walk away from the set to do something else.
IT’S THE EXACT SAME THING!
The only difference is that we have this shitty innate thing called approach anxiety, and the only way past that is to mentally restructure how you view social interactions. The key is to do this vividly. Now here’s the bad news — I can’t teach you exactly how to do this, because for it to be powerful enough to work, it must be totally of your own creation. All I can do is describe what mine is, which embarrassingly many of you will find childish and stupid. It works for me because it’s a vivid and powerful thought process that gets me out of my own head. What I chose to do was build upon the video game imagery from above. So here it is. Welcome to Philos’s mind as he enters a bar.
I close my eyes and imagine I can see my own brain. Soaring above my brain like a bird, I notice all the little electrical messages being sent each way across its surface before suddenly ascending high above one of my cerebrum’s wrinkles and then whipping back around, diving straight towards it. It’s obvious that I’m going to crash into the brain and die, but at the last moment the wrinkle opens and welcomes me inside. Picking up speed, the blue light from all the passing electrical messages make it seem as though I’m diving for the center of some alien, neon blue planet. Eventually I can see the center, miles in front of us. It’s an even brighter light that’s almost blinding. Once there, I realize it’s a only single story building with one door. I enter the door only to discover that it’s empty, save one single pedestal in its center with what looks like a light switch on top. The switch is guarded by plastic cover, which I lift with my left hand.
Holding my breath, I flip the switch with my right hand. Immediately I’m looking through my eyes again and seeing the bar, but I can’t hear anyone talking just yet. Instead, all I can hear are the sounds of an entire arcade/casino powering up for the day. I can hear the “Finish Hims” and the coins falling from the games. Then I notice that I’m no longer looking through my eyes. Instead it’s like I’m viewing my entire body from behind (like a third person shooter). I see a “high score bar” placed at the top right of my field of view and another bar showing that I have three lives at the top left. “Well that won’t do,” I imagine, so I take my controller and push up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, start. Now the number of lives I have instantly changes to 99.
“Much better,” I think.
“Hey look, she’s cute.” And I walk toward my first set.
Is this childish? yes. Is this retarded? yes. Does it work for some reason really, really, fucking well? Yes. You can use the video game paradigm if that works for you, but create your own visualization. Even though mine only takes about two seconds to play in my head, it’s full of tons more details than I typed here, and that’s the key. Create details that you can sense with all of your senses, not just sight or sound. You must, however, for reasons I don’t have time to get into, visualize the flipping of the switch deep within your mind. You may find it does something amazing. It turns down the volume of your fear. Imagine being able to approach ten times as many sets simply because you learned a stupid little visualization technique. So powerful. I wish more guys knew it.
“Fear cuts deeper than swords.”