Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Life = Game

There is a part in Neil Strauss' life changing book where he writes about his realization that the "techniques" he learned to seduce women work in everyday life as well:

"After eighteen months in the seduction community, not only had my dating life improved exponentially, so had my professional life."



Well, it is not a coincidence that so much of the PUA terminology lends from marketing and sales theory (such as "building rapport", "closing the deal") - sex happens on a market place as any other where the rules of supply and demand, advertisement efforts, and even fraud and deception come to full fruition.

And in a sense this is true for social interactions in general.

Hence, by learning how to woo women a man will learn to woo people in general.

And he will get very good at it, because women are the toughest case. There is to much at stake for her genes to lose it all to a biologically unfit partner. Accordingly, female brains got hardwired during evolution to see right through the scams and shams.

I've recently picked up a book that was mentioned somewhere on roissy's blog. It is called "Winning through intimidation" by Robert Ringer.

The book is not an intellectually pleasing read, actually. The "philosophical" horizon of Ringer seems to start and end at Ayn Rand. What's worse - she also seems to have inspired (more like: heavily influenced) his prose. Yet, there is something very appealing to his down-to-earthness and simple, clear language when he touches on the subjects of successful living and of social dynamics.

Ringer, having been a successful salesman all his life - realized that what works in business works in life in general (and vice versa, of course, as stated above):

"Almost any situation in life can be classified as a "sales" situation."

And from what it sounds like he had been a hard working man for most of his life. He was eager to succeed. He thought hard work and the right kind of (positive) mental attitude are the key to the golden palace.

Most men think this way.

Our instinct makes us strive for ever increasing social status and the symbols that come with it - after all this is what primate males get selected for. On top of that, society has massive interested in men slaving away in the vain hope for (poon-filled) Elysium. Especially so, if you do not insist on taking credit for what you have accomplished.

Thus, you will earn approval and friendly shoulder padding from your environment for being such a great role model of an ever modest workaholic. This makes men feel good. Unless they realize that they are mistaking social approval (and ever higher positions) with an increase in the actual social pecking order (as expressed in interpersonal dominance).

Ringer writes about an epiphany he had one day. He wasn't happy about the way his input-output equation seemed titled to the left (again, keep in mind that this is not just about business). He observed the "winners", and realized that it is less about hard work and constant smiling than being prepared to do the right thing at the crucial points in time - the few times that opportunity is knocking. He adjusted his strategy accordingly, and he became a happy man.

Note that this not mean that you can stop working hard. It would be nice if we would live in a universe where mere thought can produce whatever we want. But we clearly don't. There is no such thing as getting something for nothing. And there never will be. Yet, hard work alone is the smallest factor in the equation that constitutes success.

And as for the power of "positive mental attitude" - he righfully notices that you "will get nowhere unless you have the ammunition to back it up." Forget standing in front of the mirror telling yourself that you are the shit as a means to become more confident (with women or otherwise). True confidence comes from "being prepared, by understanding the realities of what it takes to succeed, and by being good at the necessary techniques."

Ringer emphasizes the "understanding the realities" part more than anything else. The reason is, as Master Dogen put it, that rational agents should win.

The correct "positive mental attitude" is the complete opposite of wishful thinking.

And this includes a realistic expectation about failure.

Even if you are perfectly prepared in terms of skill, the harsh reality of life is that there is no such things as a guarenteed outcome. There is always a chance of failure. More so, in most scenarios, there is a high chance of consecutive failure - even if you do everything right. There are just too many factors outside of your control. Ringer's solution is simple:

"Acknowledge the reality that most deals simply don't close."

In other words - "assume a negative result".

Does that mean that a defeatistic attitude is what will get you ahead?

No, of course not.

As with the hard work, you cannot assume that anything comes from nothing. You need to be prepared for success. Yet, assuming that short term failure is part of long term success can help sustain a "winner" attitude despite life's frequent lashes.

Real champs know. This directly applies to many aspects of life outside of business deals.

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