Back when I used to help Mystery run workshops, we had a division of labor. He did most of the teaching, I did most of the organizing, and he made most of the decisions. Our program was three nights in the field: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and two days of seminar. At one point Mystery decided that students could no longer take seminar and workshop during the same weekend. They would have to come one weekend for the seminar, and then the following for the workshop. This was great for local students, but a huge hassle for anyone traveling.
No amount of convincing would change Mystery's mind on this. I tried, of course, explaining that the reason we had fewer and fewer students was because no one wanted to fly out two weekends in a row. He wouldn't budge. Mystery is stubborn.
At the time this was frustrating, and even mind boggling-- how could someone so smart make such a bad decision and not listen to reason?
There's another side to being stubborn, though. When he was around twenty one, Mystery was a virgin who was bad with girls. Many young men have been in this position, and most of them never really solved their problem. But mystery was stubborn. He spent his last couple dollars every day taking a bus downtown so that he could go to nightclubs and observe the dynamics between men and women. He took notes, he pondered, he came up with theories, and he tested them.
I remember how hard it was for me to walk that path, and I had it all handed to me, courtesy of Mystery. I can't fathom how hard it must have been to be the one blazing the trail, pushing through rejection after rejection, not even knowing if it was possible to get better. Now it's sort of taken as a given that you can get better with women, at least in my circles, but back when he started, common sense told you that you had to make due with the cards you were dealt.
Think of how stubborn you would have to be to get through something like that. Whether you think pickup is a good thing or a bad thing, you have to admire that tenacity.
The difference between tenacity and stubbornness is slight. You could argue that if it turns out well, it's tenacity, and if it turns out poorly, it's stubbornness. Just a difference in connotation.
I'm a stubborn person, too. In particular, I'm really bad at taking advice. Some part of my brain always thinks I'm right, even if someone much smarter is giving me advice in their field. I don't try to remove my stubbornness, though, because I recognize that it's the same thing as tenacity. Instead I try to manage it, to add a filter to that "I'm right" impulse, making myself be a little more self critical. Sometimes I think I'm right but I make myself take the advice anyway.
Even with this effort, I intend to remain somewhat stubborn. I will miss out on good advice, but I'll also stick it through when others may not have. It's a trade off I'm willing to take.
Didn't like this post? Let's try again-- I have another one up at Zen Habits. When this blog is posted, Leo, eight other friends and I will be asleep at a tea farm in Japan!
Reminder-- we're doing a Japan Meetup in just a few days. Details here.
Photo was taken about 5 minutes after I emerged from the subways on my first trip to Japan eight years ago.
Brings to mind that old quote: "I don't want to be too open-minded. The good stuff in there may fall out." Not quite the same as stubbornness, but coming from the same place.
Hi, I'm visiting from ZenHabits.... I really appreciated this article. One of my parents is stubborn to a fault. While that parent has succeeded at some really amazing things, that parent has also been stubborn to a fault and done some things that leave people scratching their heads. I thought your comment was insightful on how we define somebody as either stubborn or tenacious depends upon the result.
Now it's sort of taken as a given that you can get better with women, at least in my circles, but back when he started, common sense told you that you had to make due with the cards you were dealt.
I used to be a big pick-up believer but now I'm on the fence. If Game exists it should be able to be validated by scientific studies. It shouldn't just be hearsay and people claiming things on the Internet.
Everything I've seen in real life indicates to me that pick-up artists vastly exaggerate their success. And what success they have comes down to playing the number's game and rolling the dice, not any of the techniques.
The PUA school that I have the most faith in ATM would be RSD. Their method seems to come down to massive number's game and they are relatively upfront about this. But, their claim that "looks don't matter" seems ridiculously false, and makes me doubt their honesty.
Then again, I am not ego-attached to my belief and I would love for it to be wrong since it would make the world a bit cooler if pick-up actually worked the way Mystery claims it works.
I live in Sweden, which could impact my opinion. Girls here might be much more looks-conscious, for instance.
Looks matter, but they are not a deal breaker in most circumstances may be a better way to think about it. Looking like Brad Pitt certainly makes your life easier with a lot of girls - but perhaps with most of those girls, you'd be able to develop strong attraction over time anyway even without the looks. In other words, looks can help, but just because you don't have looks doesn't mean you'll never get certain types of girls.
Also as WiH mentions, looks probably matter increasingly less as a relationship deepens and two people get to know each other better.
I agree and this reminded me of another small distinction I forgot to mention. Looks don't matter as much externally as they do internally. I guess this is just a twisted way of saying it's not our looks that make us fail but it is our belief in our looks that makes us fail. There are people who aren't the best looking who do well and that's because they've unified their internal frame to a high level of congruence. They believe in themselves. When I look back a lot of my inability to break the casual-->sexual barrier was my insecurity in my looks and body image. Sure I may not be morbidly obese but as long as I believe I am lacking I will project that feeling externally and women will pickup on it. No amount of outside personality cover can mask projections of the auric type - the level where people can detect in congruence and insecurity.
I guess this may just be another supporting argument for inner game. I place a high value on looks because a lot of my insecurity stems from my own lack of physical bodily development. As Pook mentioned in one of his other articles "How do you expect other people to like your body if you yourself don't like it?" Funny is I've been fighting body image issues since the 3rd grade (maybe an epic 1.5-2+ decades or so) and it is only now I'm doing something about it because it was the great pretender - that thing under the rug - that unknowable terror that could not be substantiated until I really did some deep diving. My mind always tricked me into thinking my issues were with my personality or were simply a product of bad execution etc... They actually ran much deeper - I was not happy with myself and the poison ran so deep and for so long I could not even perceive of it anymore. As Pook says "the chains are too weak to feel until they become too strong to break."
I tackled the looks question for a while and I have come to the conclusion that looks do matter. I think they matter much more in the pre-gaming phase though (showing up on her radar and making her consider you dating material) and matter less as you get "in". The all important first impression is paramount if you are looking to get into the art and if you don't pre-qualify by her standards you won't even get to play (no matter how good you may be).
Game has no scientific basis because it is purely experiential at this point and from my experience looks matter because looks are what breaks the barrier between casual --> sexual. Without breaking this barrier you could have top notch game and subsequently place yourself firmly in friend/family zone. I wrote this rambling article about it a while back and I don't think you'd want to suffer thru that but I like to think of women as 2 separate aspects - one casual and one sexual. "Game" will help create rapport with the casual but "looks" is the spearhead that breaks that barrier to let you talk to her sexual aspect. If you are ashamed of your body image they will pick up on it. You need to be proud of your body to create the "Sexual Game" that will win you her affections rather than another close friend.
"Sexual Game" is subtle and not many have delved into that aspect which I think is a shame. I think it should be stressed more than "Game" as a lot of the real success comes from that.
If you look at all the supposedly successful pickup artists how many of them have non sexual bodies? I dare say none (from what I've seen). Once I see an overweight fatty face'd guy scoring left and right from sexual attraction alone (not from their money or connections) I'll take all of that back.
Edit: I'd like to see a converse proof now. I want to see the top pickup artists in the field gain 100 lbs. each (fatty weight not muscle) and then replicate their success rates before they gained all that weight.
I think there are easier experiments to be made, although I do like your thinking.
I'd probably take the 30 top pick-up artists - the guys making a living and staking their reps telling guys that Game works - and have a 10 woman panel rate each one on looks. Then, drop each one in 5 random venues on different nights and rate their success according to some pre-defined metric (and it should lean toward actually getting some action, not just phone numbers).
My guess is that the determining factors would be looks, number of approaches, and culture of the venue (ie Vilnius, Lithuania would be more open and less looks-sensitive than Washington DC, USA). In some cultures, like Eastern Europe, money and status might be more important than looks.
Again, I'd like to reiterate to everyone that I am not saying this to be a dick or a troll. If you view my history on Sebastian Marshall you'll see that I generally try to contribute in a fair way. And, I would like for the PUA hypothesis to be true since it would make life more interesting.
Btw, everyone should read this: http://krauserpua.com/2012/11/30/game-theory-has-its-own-life-cycle/
The latest iteration of PUAs seem to be "Galt gamers" who don't really believe in Game, but rather that one should relocate to a locale with less feminism, less socio-economically liberated women, more emphasis on traditional gender roles, etc.
I trust this advice: http://www.goodlookingloser.com/2013/04/07/looks-matter-more-to-women/
Real good article there as well. They make an interesting premise in that women also have 2 distinct needs - for sex and for relationships. I have always grouped those two things into one and thought a successful relationship results from making her sexually attracted to you first. If sex isn't the seed for relationships then that does explain quite a number of relationships where the man is a quite a number of ranks away from the woman in terms of looks (which is the ammo of the 'looks don't matter' crowd). They describe it real well stating how looks are part of the 'total package' when women are out for relationships. All makes sense now.
Overall though I still think looks are important since even accounting for the vanity aspect good looks are usually the result of good health (which is vastly important in life as it is the foundation for our existences). We can't accomplish anything if we're sick, diseased, and generally having a miserable time throughout. Going back to the vanity aspect it also helps if you are 'the total package' as that may make up deficiencies in other areas and/or push you over the threshold to become a prospect. The game is tilted in women's favor these days - if you are below average in any one aspect other men will trounce you left and right on it.
Really interesting read on that link between environment and the evolution of game. We always seem to forget that what is considered 'game' is relative to time and location. Barely a century ago overweight women were seen as high value in the USA - a total about face to the obsession with thinness in our society now. I have never traveled to Europe so I can't say anything about that but I definitely believe the way things work are different over there. From skimming some of Roosh's old writings he makes the claim that what is considered 'beta game' here is 'alpha game' over in some areas in Europe.
Another good thing about that article were the comments that point out the relation between societies and what attracts women. Roissy and Roosh have become socio-psychologists in a sense and with that their assessment of the US is a bit doom and gloom but it may be worth noting just for general knowledge. Opinions will differ and people will disagree but what's important in the long run is that we actually recognize these forces at work now and strive to account for them in deciding what actions we should take as a society.
This is a continuation of the story, How I Became a Famous Pickup Artist Part 1. If you haven't read that already, you should do so before reading this article.
Papa was notorious for being in contact with everyone in the pickup scene. I couldn't blame him, either - he was the business side of "Real Social Dynamics", a company that taught seminars and workshops to aspiring players. Not surprisingly, he was the only person at the seminar that I knew.
In order to extract every last precious second out of my experience, I had gotten on the earliest flight to Chicago that I could book. I called Papa when I arrived at the hotel at 10am. I could hardly make out his voice. He'd been out in the clubs until very late and was still sleeping.
I made it! Yeah!!! Week 1.5!
It's been a whirlwind of fun, learning and stubbornness this week! No two days are ever the same and just when you think you've found a grove, it's doesn't quite work the next day...Tantrum child from day 1 has been great all week. Now I have tantrum child #2, only his tantrums aren't really tantrums, they are really just a stubborn removal of his participation based on a 9 year old's perception of fairness. I had no idea I had such stubborn children and have been pondering where all this came from.....and then, I thought back to a letter I wrote to my principal at the age of 9..................................................
4th grade elementary school. A food fight ensued in the cafeteria. Mashed potatoes, mini-franks, peas...it was everywhere. I probably participated at some juncture :). And, for some reason unknown to me, I was brought in to the principal's office to tattle on who started it.
Why me? I told them I didn't know ( but I did ). They must have know I was lying because I got detention! I was furious at the injustice! That night I wrote a long letter to the principal and deposited it into his inbox the next day. I stated in my letter that "I wasn't a rat and it wasn't fair to ask me to tattle on my classmates." It was a letter that got my mother called into his office!! I think she thought it was actually pretty funny. I was after all, the last of 6 children and by far the easiest yet. Right, mom?
So, remembering this and other defiant stubborn moments of my own childhood helped to put child #2's actions into perspective for me. He unfortunately missed out on a lot of fun, but I am happy to see him stand up for himself and stick to his guns when he feels he should. It's a primary reason for our decision to home school.