The Game, by Neil Strauss sparked an underground cultural revolution. Since it’s release, millions of men have turned to the internet to learn “game” so that they could get the kind of Rockstar sex life that Neil Strauss talked about in his best-selling novel.

The YouTube channels of numerous self-described dating coaches and pickup artists have reached an unprecedented level of popularity, with Simple Pickup reaching well over two million subscribers, and numerous others exceeding a hundred thousand subscribers. What began as a small, cult-like group of nerdy men has become a nearly mainstream phenomenon.

Back in 2005, game was a collection of tactics -loosely based on evolutionary psychology- that men used to attract women and sleep with them in as short a time as possible. Understandably, men who learned about game either loved it or hated it: some guys loved the idea of having a step-by-step method for sexual success, others considered the whole idea mechanical and sleazy.

Because the popular Mystery Method style of game was so divisive, different styles of game have gained popularity in recent years, and today, the most commonly taught style of game is what is usually referred to as “natural game”.

Natural game is best defined as a method of attracting women without using specific canned lines or tactics, instead it is a strategy focused on learning the general principles and mindsets that make a man attractive.

Whereas the Mystery Method taught men how to demonstrate value with storytelling and how to lower a girl’s perceived value using “negs”, natural game teaches men how to develop “freedom from outcome,” while simultaneously being “clear in your intentions.” Today, there are numerous different styles of natural game with different teachers emphasizing different aspects of seduction. Some focus on the importance of developing a social circle to get better access to beautiful women, others focus on the values that an attractive man lives by- like having strong boundaries.

Among this new wave of men teaching a natural style of game, there is one essential aspect of game that is not emphasized nearly enough, and it causes a very easily missed, but systematic problem within the pickup (or seduction, or dating coach) industry as a whole.

Game is a specific skillset that is learned through interactions with living, breathing women. This might sound so obvious that it doesn’t need to be stated, but unfortunately, it absolutely does. There are thousands of videos and articles that can teach you the nuances of attracting women, you can learn everything from how to “be at the cause, not the effect” and how to “attract women with vulnerability,” but there is very little information out there about the process of learning game itself.

The harsh truth about the pickup community is that the vast majority of its members are not going out and approaching women regularly. For some context, in my city we have an inner circle group of people who want to learn game. There are over 200 members in that group, in the last 6 months, less than 15 of those members have left their houses to actually meet women in person. Of the 15 that have gone out, only about 10 go out semi-regularly, that is, more than once a month. Of the 10 that go out once a month, only 6 go out on a weekly basis. Of those 6, only 2 go out more than three times a week and approach women.

Let’s be generous and assume 100 of the members of the group are now in a long-term relationship or have left the city, that would mean that only 6% of the group goes out relatively frequently, and only 2% goes out 3 times a week or more.

We’ll go more into why later, but only the guys who have gone out three times a week or more have gotten any results from game that are worth writing home about. This shouldn’t be a huge surprise, the more time you invest into this, the more you’ll get out of it- just like any skill.

This pattern repeated itself in every city I’ve lived in, only a few guys went out regularly and actually approached women.

Pickup coaches focus on techniques to create attraction and how to build a social circle, but there is an overabundance of this kind of information; there are literally thousands of hours of videos explaining how to be more effective at attracting women, while the equally important meta-game is almost entirely ignored.

 

What is The Meta-Game?

 

The meta-game is the game outside of game, the meta-game isn’t about what you say or do while interacting with a woman, it’s about the process of learning success with women itself.

Meta-game is just as important- if not more so- as any other aspect of the game. The fact that it isn’t taught (at least not effectively) is the underlying reason that the pickup community is so unsuccessful at getting men the results they want. The act of watching pickup coaches’ videos doesn’t usually lead to men taking a substantial amount of action (in the real world), it just leads them to watching more videos to learn more about game.

The culture of the “PUA” community has become one of arm-chair theorizing. Want proof? I just pulled up a popular pickup forum, and here’s a few of the titles of posts on the front page:

“I think ‘game’ might not be real…”

“Pickup is stupid as shit if your looks are in the bottom 25-30%”

“Girls are SHALLOW, even more shallow than guys”

 

Here’s some titles from the popular seduction subreddit:

“How does one practice (pickup) without danger of being accused of ‘sexual harassment’ and treated like a predator?”

“Do I really need to get fit?”

“How can I get talking to a girl with a higher SMV than me?”

“Starting to hate myself because women think I’m creepy.”

 

Now, not only are the forums full of complaining, but that complaining is largely unsubstantiated with evidence accrued through real-life experience. You might think the above posters came to their conclusions from approaching many women and getting consistently negative responses, but you’d be wrong, they came to these conclusions do to arbitrary anecdotes. For example, the guy who wrote the post, “Starting to hate myself because women think I’m creepy.” Literally said that people walk faster when he’s near them at the grocery store because he creeps them out, and came to the conclusion that this means women loathe him.

So, the pickup community as a whole is pretty toxic, and the instructors focus on techniques that are only helpful if you are already taking a lot of action consistently (i.e. approaching women). No wonder such a small percentage of guys who learn pickup get the sexual relationships they joined the community to get. The deck is stacked against people who learn about pickup because the community isn’t focused on the underlying fundamental to success in this area: knowing how to learn game (and in some cases, learning that success with women is something that can be learned in the first place).

 

How To Learn Meta-Game

It’s a dating article, therefore images of attractive women need to be everywhere.

We’re left with an important question, how do you go about learning the meta-game? There’s two fundamentals to doing so:

1. Taking massive action, and

2. Learning from what happens when you take action

To accomplish this, you can take on challenge-based programs like The Rules of The Game, or The Trial: Transform Your Dating Life In Eight Weeks (are the best books for this), or for a video course, I recommend Todd V’s Winner Game (which has a set of challenges for how to start learning game in the field and goes into how to learn game in depth).

The core of learning the meta-game comes down to learning about your own blind-spots through action taking and self-reflection. Skype coaching can be extremely useful for this (if you find a good coach*) because your coach will challenge your excuses and self-defeating beliefs while also providing you with accountability to take more action.

If you can’t afford coaching, the best way to go about this is to go out, approach women, and write good field reports that force you to learn from what happened when you were out.

Remember that yes, the content that dating coaches teach is helpful, but only if you’re on the path towards success with women in the first place- if you’re not going out regularly, or you find yourself repeatedly making the same mistakes, it’s more important that you learn how to learn game then it is for you to learn the kind of stuff that most pickup videos teach (like how to use push-pull).

*I recommend the following Skype coaches:

Todd Vandahey: To inquire about Skype coaching, email him at: email todd@toddvdating.com

Austen Summers: Go to https://www.austensummers.com/skype

I also recommend myself, but I wanted to provide other options since I don’t expect you to trust such obvious self-promotion.

(If you know a coach that you think is particularly good and should be mentioned on this list, PM their website and I’ll take a look.)

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