My first and last post on inner game

by GK on August 3, 2010 · 8 comments

Now that I’ve felt the ghosts of kings and queens at Westminster Abbey, pondered life’s mysteries at Stonehenge and gazed down from the gorgeous cliffs of the Irish coast, I can get back to writing about what is truly meaningful: hot chicks and stuff.

I want to address a topic that arose during my vacation, in the comments section of my previous post about nice guys. The industry term is “inner game,” and it was said that I should write more about it. I appreciated your ideas of what inner game means to you and how you’ve applied it. I welcome any such discussion.

Now, I want to offer my opinion on teaching inner game: I find it pointless and boring.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the importance of inner-game concepts, and you’ll find them sprinkled throughout my blog, such as here, here, here and in my podcast with Rob. I don’t know how many times I’ve rambled about how techniques are overrated and knowing yourself is more important, but it’s a lot.

I’m sure I could come up with some “Inner-Game Mastery” DVD program and sell it to the insecure masses, but I’d feel awful guilty about that. Because here’s the thing: you can talk about confidence all you want, but you can’t really teach it. Real inner strength is obtained by setting goals and gradually meeting them, not from daily affirmations.

Before I became an instructor, I was inspired by a quote from Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to climb Mount Everest: “It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” It’s a great quote, and I’ve used it often.

But here’s the thing: would we be talking about Sir Edmund today if he hadn’t actually conquered the mountain? For that matter, was he just sitting around in his apartment conquering himself while leaving the mountain to some other guy? I think not.

Everything I did as an in-field instructor, and what I try to impart to you here, is based not on feeling things, but on doing things. There’s too much inertia and analysis among shy guys as it is. So many of the questions guys have for me can be answered, or at least made easier for me to answer, if they just leave their self-analytic cocoon and get out into the world.

I understand the lure and comfort of wanting to discuss topics such as confidence — I was briefly one of those guys who was content to stand in a circle of other guys and talk about game. None of us would actually walk over and talk to a girl, but it felt safe and OK because hey, we were developing inner game!

Without getting graphic, there’s something else that guys have been known to do with each other in a circle. I think both activities are equally productive. And it can lead to what I call Stuart Smalley Syndrome, where the people who claim to know inner game the most are the ones who have the least of it.

My time with my students was brief, and I didn’t want to waste it with theory or pep talks. I wanted to help them become more confident by becoming more competent. That meant taking risks and talking to people, and learning through trial and error. It was no surprise to me that by doing that, their confidence and sense of self would improve in just a couple of days.

Some of you may disagree with me on this, and I’m fine with that. I welcome your thoughts about it, and I’ll help guys in any way I can. But my calling was, and always will be, helping guys learn how to get the girl and make more friends by having a plan and going for it. I’ll leave the inner-game stuff for the therapists. Because you’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and doggone it, people like you.


1 andy August 3, 2010 at 3:42 pm

you have an interesting point of view

i appreciate it

2 Erich aka Commando August 3, 2010 at 7:00 pm

In a way, this is one of the reasons, why I was glad the CA forum was closed. As a pick up geek, I was always waiting for that one new forum post, that was going to help me crack the ultimate dating code. In reality, I was just stalling going out and approaching new women. Still stalling.

3 GK August 3, 2010 at 9:53 pm

Exactly … while I think the forum had its place and I wish it were still around, I personally avoided it as much as possible. Too much talk, not enough action.

4 Sal August 4, 2010 at 9:11 am

I too noticed that the number of girls I approached and had dates with went way up after the forum closed down. By throwing out an invite by saying “I’m not sure about your relationship situation but I’d love to grab a drink with you some time,” I got dates with some pretty hot & classy girls. Trust me, I was pretty nervous when I asked these girls out, so my “inner game” was definitely lacking …yet the ladies didn’t seem to mind and many more girls accepted my invite than I thought would. There was no need for any fancy tricks from the forum, just simple ideas like going to places I enjoy and shut-up-and-lead was all I needed to get a date.

5 GK August 4, 2010 at 4:05 pm

Stop it, Sal! You’re actually making this stuff look as easy as it really is! Who will ever come to me for help after reading stories like that?

6 David August 4, 2010 at 11:21 pm

I wish there was something I could add to this conversation, but I think you summarized it best like Nike, “Just do it”. Great post.


7 Sal August 5, 2010 at 6:25 pm

Ha! Well your simple phone coaching advice on how to integrate my interests with meeting girls certainly did help!

The reason I picked you for coaching isn’t because you give pep talks. It’s because I want to a solid game plan. Like where/how to meet girls who are most likely to be a good fit for me, and how to work through the logistics of getting dates planned.

My inner game with asking girls out is a little weak – I know I’m going to be nervous when I ask these girls out. I’m pretty inexperienced so I’m expecting it. Many still say no. One girl literally ran back to her friends when I asked. So I do have good reason to be a little nervous! But some girls seem to be just fine with the nervousness, so who cares? With another girl I asked out she asked me
to repeat myself when I asked her out because I was stammering so much. She then ended up being very insistent that we meet up on a weekend night and not a weeknight.

So while nervousness (eg, weak inner game) is fine, in my limited experience so far what girls are definitely are not fine with is a guy who doesn’t have a clue about what to do on a date…and I’ve learned the hard way that no amount of inner game will help you if you haven’t gotten your date logistics down!

8 Dirk August 10, 2010 at 4:14 pm

Sal, I wouldn’t say your inner game is weak because you’re nervous. While it may be the standard to define inner game as lack of nervousness or confidence, I find comparing it to courage much more handy and accurate.

And you sir, are very courageous in conquering your weakness. You’ve got more inner game than some instructors who use fancy tricks to close. You just close.

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