It's funny how difficult pickup can be. Not even the part about attracting girls, but just pushing yourself to go out there and do it. On Monday I wasn't able to.
I had just spent the weekend at Real Social Dynamics' Hot Seat 2, which, frankly, is an amazing program. Tyler comes in with nine hours of hidden camera footage, and plays it for the audience while pausing to explain what's going on.
I learned a ton and was properly inspired, but Tyler's approach is definitely not the easy way out. Instead of rolling up to a girl with an indirect opener, you walk up, make eye contact, and say hi. This sounds easy, but in practice it's scary because you're putting your ego on the line every time, making it trivially easy to be rejected.
So on Monday I went out to the mall to try it. It was the first time I'd been out in the day (for pickup) in a solid month, since we'd been going out at night instead. I did one approach, and then kicked myself for the next hour and a half and did nothing. My brain was looking for, and found, every single reason not to do it. She's too attractive-- start off easier. She's not attractive enough-- you don't want it to go well. She's walking-- she wouldn't stop anyway. She's standing still-- it looks too obvious.
Pickup has forced me to fail in a way that, honestly, had become foreign to me. I'm used to failures being situations where I tried, but couldn't quite hack it, or maybe something happened that I didn't want to happen, but I brushed it off and kept moving. Pickup was putting me in situations so stressful that I was failing at a core level-- failing to get myself to do things that I didn't want to do, even though I knew they were best for me.
This was a wake up call. I sat in my RV that night and pondered how I could possibly achieve all that I want to achieve without mastering the skill of forcing myself to do things that I don't want to do. The truth is that, for the most part, my life is a collection of things that I DO want to do.
So I decided that for two weeks, as punishment for not meeting my goals for the day, I would not do anything fun. The only activities I'm allowed to do are: pickup, work, eat, play violin, meditate, and read after midnight. I'm also allowed to play one round of Words With Friends every morning because that's how I keep in touch with some of my family. I blocked pretty much every web site that I like from my computer.
Beyond that, I printed up a daily schedule for myself (the blurry white thing next to my monitor in the picture), which includes waking up with an alarm every morning and turning my computer off at midnight. As an additional point of leverage, I decided that if on any day I didn't approach at least five girls in a proper manner, I would have to pay $500.
I've been on the schedule for three days, and already it's paying off. The first day on the schedule I approached five girls, and the next day I approached eight. My brain has started to realize that this type of approach (which I'd never really done before now) isn't as bad as it thought it was.
Besides pickup, I've gotten a lot done. I've committed four times as much code to SETT as I had the previous week, and I still have three more days in the week. I learned a new song on the violin (nothing very impressive... I'm a complete beginner), have kept my RV immaculately clean, and have meditated and three days in a row for the first time ever.
The first day of this schedule was a little bit depressing, but once the results started to come in by the next day, I found that I actually liked the schedule. It's nice being on top of everything, having a clean RV, and using my time effectively.
I may ease up on the schedule when April first comes around, but I doubt I'll dump it entirely. Or, at least, I'll figure out some way to continue to restrict my access to fun. All of the time I would have spent browsing Reddit, or going out for dinner, or whatever I used to do is now being funneled towards really good projects. Other than when I'm on a programming tear and literally doing nothing but programming and sleeping, these past few days have been the least wasteful I can remember. There's a lot of power in being a ruthless prioritizer, dumping things you would like to do for things that you really should do.
I know some people are getting a bit sick of pickup stuff. Even though it's inspired by pickup, hopefully this post as seen as being more about managing time than hollering at girls. On April first I'll scale back pickup and will probably not be writing about it anymore.
Not even minimally sick of pickup stuff. Keep writing about it! You have incredible self-discipline, not just in pickup, but everything you do. Really admire that.
You know whats funny Tynan: You can live in that RV until your 40 years old while everyone is working their asses off. On your 40th birthday party you can go out with your superior pick up skills, and just knock up some rich girl. 9 months later you have a mansion, a BMW, half a pension, and health care from HER employer. Captain Power......
I apologize. My comment didn't come across like I wanted.
My point is that unless I missed it, you don't seem to have an end goal that is framed in terms of pick up, do you? In other words, your goal doesn't seem to be to find a girlfriend, to have sex with a certain number of women, or any other goals where you can say definitively that it was achieved. Your end goal appears to be "making myself extraverted and social again" (from "Letting Myself Quit"), which is definitely a worthy goal and will benefit your life greatly. It is something that I need to work on myself.
We can go about personal development in two ways. We can make personal development the goal, or we can set a specific, compelling end goal that drives us to develop and improve in order to accomplish it. The end goal would be something that we can visualize or imagine as being accomplished -- something that is awesome and inspiring and has a distinct end point. I'm just suggesting that this might provide some additional motivation to keep improving. Then when we accomplish the end goal, we can set another one to keep improving.
I liked this quote from Scott Young. It's a great article.
If a goal doesn't require at least a certain degree of obsession, it's not a hard goal.
Interesting because I was very productive for almost two months until this past week where I barely got anything done. I've been wondering what went wrong and how to resolve it. Initially reading, I thought this seems rather strict, and I'd only get more unproductive because my mood would bomb with the restrictions, but perhaps I need to revisit my own accountability system.
I'm also interested what got you into meditation now? I know you wrote about vipassana before and feeling like it wasn't necessary for you.
Peter Park I emailed you about your RV a couple months and no response......You still have it??
When did you send the email? I was constantly moving from November to February so who knows what was going on. I probably wouldn't even let my family rent the RV though let alone other people. I put a lot of money and time into it and still fixing it to perfection. I, both, don't trust other people to take care of it and also don't want the burden if something broke or went wrong that's not even their fault and have to deal with the aftermath.
Having said that, there's plenty of places you can rent a RV. I know that's what Austin did before he purchased his Rialta. Personally, if I had to do this all over, I would probably just buy a used van and convert it. A lot of stuff in RVs I don't need or ever use.
A couple months ago to your blog email. You were complaining about your RV all the time so I figured you wouldn't mind renting it out for a week....But then again, you probably been masterbating inside like a spider monkey....
It's amazing how much stuff you can do when you turn off the internet and get rid of all distractions! Normally It takes me about 6 months to write 1 article.
I've discovered "Free Writing" and wrote 3 articles in 30 minutes!
Keep writing about Pick Up!
All the best!
From my understanding this whole exercise in pickup is actually an exercise of self discipline in disguise. I'm facing the same struggle myself in that there are things in life which I have to accept and actions that I have to take to get to the next level but I just don't have the desire to do these things. Thus denial is born and over time you think you have a handle on the situation when it turns out in truth that the situation has a handle on you! This can be a very dangerous thing as it goes beyond the perceptions of the conscious mind given enough time and thought.
What the Book of Pook said about nice guys also applies here to the concept of denial: The chains are too weak for us to feel until they are too strong for us to break. Steve Pavlina wrote about self discipline a while back as well likening that to a WHIP (with something witty for each letter as in W = willpower etc...) What I hope to discover as Tynan writes more about his experiences is whether we can actually find a way to actually desire to do what we need to or.... if discipline will always be an uphill battle. I like to think if your thoughts are in harmony with the world then all effort becomes effortless and my inability to do what needs to be done is just a poison spurned from a limiting belief in my mind. It may turn out though that there is no such thing though and all of discipline is just struggle and pain.
I did something really scary and dangerous today. I let myself quit.
It's the second day of my Month-of-Pickup, an intensive course correction aimed towards making myself extraverted and social again.
Yesterday was the first day. My friend and I set a goal of doing eight approaches each. We did it just as the mall closed, running around frantically looking for girls to approach. I was scared going in, but left feeling good.
You can't control definitively whether you'll succeed or fail, but you do get to set the parameters. The way I live my life, I will either be an big success or a huge failure. There are a variety of potential paths ahead of me, and zero of them lead to comfortable success or minor failure. None of them lead to numb mediocrity.
How do you adjust these parameters? You set goals and accept risks. If you set goals low and don't accept many risks, you have no chance of huge success or huge failure. You'll end up somewhere in the middle. Maybe you'll end up a bit better off than you expected, or a bit down on your luck, but you'll be somewhere in the range of "fine". On the other hand, you can set extremely high goals, leave yourself no reasonable plan B, and take massive risks to get those goals. It's the only way you'll even reach them, but you may fall short and crash.
In my case, I've put all of my eggs in the SETT basket. I hope it becomes a huge success that makes me a lot of money, gives me some power to improve conversation on the internet, and all that. At this point I've invested two years of my life into it, with no plans of changing that allocation going forward. I've passed up many smaller opportunities that could have made me money. I do have some money saved up, but it's hard to count it as a backup plan when I know with certainty that if SETT failed I'd use it to start another company and go all in.
I work as smart as I can, I live frugally, and I plan for contingencies-- I'm not reckless, but when a calculated risk presents itself, I'm all over it.