Friday, 11 July 2008

How to get good at anything (including pick up)

So yesterday I was ill with some weird virus thingy that made me not want to move at all. So I didn’t. This seven day plan thing isn’t quite going to plan, but I’m keeping up the focus and will put in the effort one way or another and will do seven days, even if they’re not all at once.

Anyway instead I thought I’d write my much-threatened “How to get good at anything” article. First, a little history. Let me take you back to the heady summer of 1992.

As a kid at school, I was lucky enough to have what you could call a natural academic intelligence. All the subjects put before me I more or less got to grips with very easily. I wasn’t the top person in everything in school, but I was pretty good. I was in the top sets for everything. I remember I had some problems with English comprehension but that was about it. Until 1992. Up until that time, when I took my GCSEs, everything was more or less easy, academically speaking, and I got good grades.

After that however came A Levels, and the step up in effort and ability required took me outside of my natural abilities to the point where I actually had to do some work. This was a big shock at the time. Even a subject like Maths, that I always had a natural affinity for, was now mind-bendingly difficult and required a lot of effort and concentration. Even Art, another top skill of mine, took me outside of what I was used to. Which neatly brings me to my first example.

In Art, I always had a natural ability to draw things, make interesting designs, use colour well, that sort of thing. But then came oil paints. I’m sure most of you are familiar with painting using poster paints or water based paint from school. Well I found water based painting easy. But then came oil paints and although it’s still paint, the different texture, consistency, drying rate and even the practical aspects like using turpentine to clean the brush were foreign to me. The first picture I created using oils was flat, non-descriptive, bland, essentially a non-entity when it came to good art.

This was a blow, as something I’d taken for granted – my faith in my artistic ability – was now challenged. But art was my thing and I knew that I had to solve this. So what did I do?

Well unfortunately this happened too long ago for me to remember the precise steps that I took. But here’s roughly what happened. I looked at how other people used oil paints and copied parts of their technique. As I was also studying art history at the time, I saw how the greats like Turner, Constable, Matisse, Picasso, Cezanne, Van Gogh, Monet etc. all made sketches in oil paint to get a handle or feel for how the subject matter translated into the medium, so I started to do the same. And I practiced – even 15 minutes spent painting a small self-portrait taught me a lot about the skills and techniques that I needed to make the paintings come alive. So I became an awesome painter, focussed on oils for my A Levels and achieved an A. I also had one of my paintings chosen by the head of department to be kept by the school as an example to future generations of what good art is. That last fact is one of my happiest memories and an achievement that still makes me very, very proud to this day.

Well, that’s all great and dandy I hear you say, but what the fuck has that got to do with pick up? Good question, though I’m sure you may be ahead of me on this one (if not, stay tuned).

From my A Levels onward, there were many other skills that I had to gain after that, from learning to socialise with people from different backgrounds, to driving a car, to learning to play guitar and write great songs, to becoming great at job interviews, to keeping fit and healthy and developing the physique I’ve always wanted, to becoming a good new media project manager and having a successful career, I’ve learned how to get good at these things, and thus learned how to get good at anything.

Now that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Also, this information is nothing new. These ideas have been taught and repeated many times over, and I’m not the first to say them. You probably know all of these ideas already, it may be that some of them you haven’t explicitly expressed on a regular basis. But it’s worth reminding ourselves from time to time if you’re not getting the results you want, and need to find that extra special something to take you to the next level sometimes. I know I do.

So here goes:

  1. Practice. Sounds obvious but often the best medicine for us and the one we want to take the least is to practice. “Practice makes perfect. Perfect is a fault. In Fault lies change.” That’s a quote from the R.E.M. song I Believe. And change is what this is all about. Speaking of which…
  2. Change something. You may be doing the groundwork and putting in the effort, but not getting anywhere. So you need to change what you’re doing. What you should change often doesn’t matter – take an educated guess. Try a different approach. Think about the problem from a different perspective. If you’re still stuck then you can always:
  3. Do some research. In the internet age and indeed with many bookshops out there, you have a wealth of information out there. For pick up specifically there are loads of free resources. Do A Fucking Search. Read The Fucking Manual. There are millions of sites out there. And for the stuff you have to pay for, you can download some of it illegally anyway. Though of course I completely condone that sort of behaviour. Like, totally. You may find stuff confusing and contradictory at first, but everything has a grain of truth and you’ll start to see the bigger patterns eventually.
  4. Find people with the same problem. Easy to do for pick up – hit the forums, email people, take the initiative and arrange sarges. This helps you understand that you’re not the only person in the world who doesn’t have the skill set yet, and you can both learn as you both progress and mutually support each other. You can also help others, which gives you a nice warm fuzzy feeling inside. It’s like Napoleon Hill’s “Mastermind” concept but adjusted and repositioned for “Learning-minds” – if you get my drift.
  5. Find people better than you at the skill and learn from them. This is a bit harder to do (as most mPUAs charge for their services) but persistence will get you there. You’ll have friends who are naturals. You can pay for a bootcamp if you want but make sure you have some spare cash! Or you can delve into the community and make friends with them.
  6. Persistence. There’s a quote from somewhere that goes “90% of people give up just when they were on the cusp of achieving their goal.” I’ve no idea how they could have measured it, but it reflects a greater truth: If you give up, you’re guaranteed to fail. If you try, you may or may not get better, but ironically it’s the only way to get better.
  7. Patience, or Faith. Things don’t happen overnight for you. Your friends and acquaintances will think that you have when they see you in six months, but they haven’t been living your life. This ties in with the Buddhist concept of Acceptance. Don’t be upset if things don’t progress in sharp, upward, linear fashion. Almost nothing goes like that. You’ll have bad days, but they don’t matter. When you’re looking for something, you don’t know where it is, but you have faith that you will keep on trying until you find it. That faith is very important and useful in so many situations. Some call it self-belief.
  8. Goals. Make sure you are clear on what you are trying to achieve. So simple yet so often overlooked. What do you really want? What will that get you? Why is that important to you? How does that sit with you morals and ethics, and beliefs about reality? It’s important that you are doing things that are congruent with you, as otherwise you’ll subconsciously sabotage yourself. Also, imagining your goal completed and what your reality would be like then will help you focus on it, believe it’s possible and make it real.
  9. Obstacles. Often you’ll come across problems that you’ll find hard to solve. Often this will be accompanied with a lot of negative emotions – frustration, anger, depression, fear and so on. Don’t worry about this – it’s natural. Remain objective about the negative emotions, your mind isn’t used to going outside of its comfort zone, and that’s normal. Review points 1, 2, 3, 6, and 7 … and then get back to work, bitch!
  10. Have fun. Meeting girls is fun. Going out is fun. Gaining new skills is more than fun, it’s awesome. How could you ever not enjoy yourself?
So to relate this to my situation. I’ve decided to focus on gaming and getting good with women. I’ve successfully made friends with a bunch of wings and can regularly go out with them. I’ve looked into venues that are best for meeting women so that I can go out as much as possible (still working on this really). I’ve opened girls and groups. I have my goals down. So that’s what I have done. But recently it’s been the status quo. I need to develop.

What I haven’t done much of is staying in set for longer than a few minutes. I need to plough. I need to close. I need to get seductive. So how am I doing this?

I’m increasing the frequency that I go out. I will do some research on material so that I can have lots to say. I will do some research on how to be seductive. I will do some research on structure, that is missing currently. I will continue to research into having the correct attitude. I’m starting to get to meet some mPUAs so that will help me improve. There are probably other things that I have forgotten but you get the general idea.

So hopefully you can apply that to your own life. Have fun as well. Good luck. Please let me know if this helps.


Vince said...

Great post, I'll be keeping my eye on your blog from now on.

Karlos the Marmoset said...

Cheers man, I'm glad you like it!