Habit 5: Play to Win*
When it comes to dating, most guys play not to lose: they focus their attention on what might go wrong instead of on what might go right. Because these men worry so much about the possibility that a woman might reject them, they never take the risks necessary to succeed with her in the first place.
Most men don’t realize that they’re losing the game because they’re not actually playing the game. They might befriend a woman, but they won’t do anything that takes that friendship to a sexual place (whether that be asking her on a date or leaning in for a kiss).
Men play not to lose because it seems safer than playing to win. But that’s actually an illusion. It’s true that every time you don’t approach a girl you’re attracted to you avoid the risk of rejection. But by not playing, you’re automatically losing.
It’s important to understand that even if you choose not to act, you’re still playing the game, you’re just losing by default. Unfortunately, we think we will regret the times when we take a risk with a girl and it goes badly.
But it’s quite the opposite, we regret when we don’t even try. I’ve been rejected countless times, and sure, it hurt sometimes, but not nearly as much as hurt when I didn’t even muster up the courage to take a risk.
Playing not to lose is losing. Playing to win doesn’t guarantee success, but a real rejection feels much better than a passive rejection.
Playing to win means that you are actively taking steps towards reaching your goals. It differs for each person, but generally it means that you’re interacting with women on a regular basis, and that you show sexual intent (meaning you don’t act like a platonic friend if that’s not what you’re looking for).
Habit 6: Embrace Discomfort
The human brain is wired to avoid discomfort at all costs. The notion of approaching women and taking social risks that could potentially lead to humiliation is something your brain is going to want to prevent you from doing.
Although the conscious part of your brain might think, “I should approach women to develop my social skills and get a better dating life,” the emotional part of your brain thinks, “FUCK THAT.”
Different parts of the human brain have their own unique motivations and goals. Sadly, logic usually takes a backseat to emotion in regard to decision making.
So, although you might logically want to learn game by taking massive action, emotionally, you’re going to experience a lot of resistance to this (unless you’re a sociopath).
It’s important to understand that this resistance is an illusion, that your emotions aren’t based on anything real, they’re just your brain’s attempt to get you to avoid risk-taking.
Have you ever noticed that the anxiety you experience before approaching a girl is much worse than the anxiety you experience after you start talking to her?
It’s your brain thinking that approaching a girl could have terrible consequences (like getting your head beat in by a nearby guy or getting ostracized from your social group), so your brain floods your body with negative emotions to get you to avoid taking that risk.
But it’s all an illusion based on our evolutionary heritage. Your brain evolved in an environment where talking to a stranger could get you killed (stranger danger was a lethal threat in caveman times).
Yet, that danger no longer exists. Today, the worst thing that’s going to happen when you talk to a stranger is an awkward moment- it’s totally inconsequential.
You can’t avoid these negative emotions- they’re going to come up when you put yourself at a risk of rejection. However, you can desensitize yourself to these negative emotions.
How? By acting in spite of them. Every time you approach a girl even though you experienced approach anxiety beforehand, you’ll come out of the experience unscathed, and your brain will start to realize that approaching a stranger might not be such a terrible risk.
The more you lean in to the negative emotions that you feel towards game by doing things like going out when you don’t want to, asking women on dates, etc. the less intense those negative emotions will become. And eventually, social risk will go from terrifying, to becoming thrilling.
But, getting to that point isn’t easy, it does require that you take action at points when you don’t feel like doing so.
The ability to embrace discomfort is essential for learning game. It’s very easy to avoid negative emotions (it’s our natural response). But, if you can will yourself to lean into that discomfort, your negative emotions will stop controlling you.
This is easier said than done, but the first step to doing so is understanding that 1. no, you can’t avoid your negative emotions, and 2. yes, you can take action no matter how much your emotions try to convince you otherwise.
Habit 7: Sharpen The Saw
Habit 7 is about living a balanced life. According to Stephen Covey, there are four key areas of your life:
-The physical (eating well, exercising, etc.).
-The Social (making meaningful connections with others).
-The Mental (learning now things, teaching).
-The Spiritual (meditation, greater purpose, etc.)
It’s important to consistently work on all these areas of your life, not just one or the other. Mastering one area of your life while neglecting another is like mastering shooting in basketball but being unable to pass the ball.
When it comes to game, some guys focus on getting laid and neglect every other area of their life. Of course, this is unhealthy.
First, getting laid can be fun, but it probably won’t feel like you’re making meaningful connections with other people if it’s just about sex. And second, if you’re having lots of sex but your health is declining, and you feel spiritually empty, it’s not going to bring you much happiness.
On the flip side of that coin, many guys tell themselves that they’ll wait to do game until they’ve mastered the other areas of their life. This, too, is unhealthy because having relationships with others is always an important part of your life- and if you put it off until you’ve got the perfect career or the perfect body, the road to the top is going to be lonely.
Don’t think that you can’t work on all these areas of your life simultaneously, it is absolutely possible if you take a balanced approach.
Personally, I make a point to exercise, interact with strangers, learn something new, and meditate every day. Your personal strategy for sharpening the saw may be completely different, but even if you live a busy life, you can find time to put just a little effort into each of these areas- and your increased well-being will be worth the effort.
Mastering game does have the potential to make your life more enjoyable, but not if it comes at the cost of your spiritual or physical health, and not if it’s only about sex, and not also about connecting with others in a meaningful way.
There you have it, the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Players. If you adopt these habits of thinking and acting, you will put yourself in the driver’s seat of your romantic life; you will be able to choose exactly what kind of women you want to have relationships with instead of settling for someone who is “good enough”.
*You might have noticed that the last three habits, are different from the 7 habits of highly effective people. This is because habit 5: Seek first to understand, then to be understood is definitely important for picking up women, but it overlaps with habit 4 (Think Win/Win), so there’s no need to go over it.
Habit 6: Synergize, isn’t particularly important when it comes to game- certainly not as important as embracing discomfort.
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