The Real Game (or How I Realized that Pickup Techniques are Bullshit), Part II

by GK on February 2, 2013 · 9 comments

You wanted him, you’ve got him. My good friend Tre Tre shared his considerable knowledge a year ago in Part I about why pickup techniques are overrated. Like any good sequel, Part II took some time, and unlike “Matrix Reloaded,” this one delivers the goods.

I’ve coached students often about the importance of detaching themselves from the outcome, and Tre does a superb job of explaining why that’s so crucial. His recommended exercise is great advice for any guy who’s struggling.

Tre: In my previous post I broke down why all those pickup techniques that focus on the tactics of seducing a woman are a recipe for failure.  Today I’m going to talk about how to do it. It really isn’t much about women at all. The focus is right at the heart of the matter: you.

I’m going to borrow heavily from a great book called “The Inner Game of Tennis.”  In fact, click on this link and buy it now.  Seriously.

Gallwey is a tennis coach. Over the years he noticed that giving people technical instruction on the mechanics of their swing was not getting them anywhere.  In fact, it was making things worse. The players were given knowledge about their swing, and they would attempt to play the game thinking about what they’ve been told they need to do.

Instead of looking up and feeling the game, they were stuck in their heads, getting worse and more frustrated with every stroke. They were ignorant and terrible before, but with their “knowledge” they were still terrible and now hopeless and broken.

He breaks the human psyche down to two Selves, which he calls “Self 1” and “Self 2.” Self 2 is the natural-learning self.  That self learned how to talk. It learned how to walk. It learned how to punch your baby brother in the head with a roundhouse when he steps on your Lego castle you spent all morning building while watching Bugs Bunny.

Self 2 is pretty awesome. Your brain and your body connection are connected with broadband at that age because you haven’t learned how to be self-conscious yet.  You didn’t get a set of technical instructions on how to talk, you just started doing it.  Granted, you sounded like a bumbling fool in the beginning compared with an orator like Martin Luther King or Howard Stern, but no one around cared because you were learning.

Enter your inner critic, Self 1. At some point in your life, Self 1 is the voice that starts to tell you how to do things.  Some of this is conditioned; now that you can talk and communicate, you’re told how to act, think and do things. Self 1 just speaks to you when you’re in situations. He’s there to tell you how things should be done.

Guess what? Self 1 is a judgmental asshole. If one of your friends talked to you the way that Self 1 talks to you, he’d be left in the desert on a long drive out of town.

But we listen to Self 1. He helps to justify and reinforce our bad behaviors, blame others for our shortcomings and suppress the Self 2 that is natural, quiet and waiting to be awakened.

Go read “The Inner Game of Tennis” for more, but I’m going to quote from a chapter called “Inner Game Off the Court” and talk about how you can go out and interact in life with Self 2 leading the way:

“Perhaps the most indispensable tool for human beings in modern times is the ability to remain calm in the midst of rapid and unsettling changes. The people who will best survive the present age are the ones Kipling described as ‘those who can keep their heads while all about are losing theirs.’ Inner stability is achieved not by burying one’s head in the sand at the sight of danger, but by acquiring the ability to see the true nature of what is happening and to respond appropriately. Then Self 1’s reaction to the situation is not able to disrupt your inner balance or clarity.

Instability, in contrast, is a condition of being in which we are more easily thrown off balance when Self 1 gets upset by an event or circumstance.  Self 1 tends to distort its perception of the event, prompting us to take misguided actions, which in turn leads to circumstances that further undermine our inner balance–the basic Self 1 vicious cycle.

The cause of most stress can be summed up by the word attachment. Self 1 gets so dependent upon things, situations, people and concepts within its experience that when change occurs or seems about to occur, it feels threatened. Freedom from stress does not necessarily involve giving up anything, but rather being able to let go of anything, when necessary, and know that one will still be all right. It comes from being more independent–not necessarily more solitary, but more reliant on one’s own inner resources for stability.”

Right now, it is highly likely that if you are reading this, you probably have a voice inside of you that says you talk to women badly and that you need to be good. So, your Self 1 has told you a million ways in which you are bad: awkward, uncool, not good looking enough to get out there and talk to someone you’re attracted to. You have this Self 2 inside of you that is creative, learns, adapts and has the ability to connect with other people. That Self doesn’t think you do things badly and that you need to do good things now. That Self just naturally learns and experiences the moment.

Guess what?  Most women have a Self 1, too. That self gets to hide behind an awesome rack, $200 haircut, eyeliner and high heels. When two very judgmental Self 1s collide, they amplify the discomfort and the lady gets uncomfortable and pulls the ripcord.  You’re left with Self 1 laying on the “I told you so’s” with his hands on the sweat gland and heartbeat controls. He physically makes you feel bad for “being bad” at talking to chicks.


So, you have to learn to become calm. To become calm, you have to learn to quiet Self 1. You do that by (gulp) trusting in Self 2.  We ALL have Self 2, which wants to be liberated.  Self 2 “wants to enjoy, to learn, to understand, to appreciate, go for it, rest, be healthy, survive, be free to be what it is, express itself and make its unique contribution.

Self 2, more important, doesn’t need to be validated by anyone, let alone a woman you have a brief encounter with.

But Self 1 doesn’t give up easily. For the purposes of this blog entry, let’s just keep it simple, but there are volumes that can be written about why and the craftiness with which Self 1 tries to trick you into losing faith in yourself again.

Fight ClubHere’s an exercise to experience Self 2: This is similar to “Fight Club,” when Tyler Durden told his followers to get in a fight and lose.  You need to learn to detach from the outcome. When you detach, you’ll learn to trust yourself and then you will learn to be calm in the moment.

Your goal is to talk to 15 women, in a row, and you can’t get their phone number, kissed, blown, or peed on (if you are into that….I don’t judge).  If some lady gets so hot and heavy and you simply can’t control yourself and you get a phone number, you have to start over. Fifteen straight interactions with no end that results in you getting something positive from her other than a great interaction on your path to living as Self 2.

In the beginning, Self 1 is going to be SCREAMING IN YOUR EAR THAT YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG AND THAT YOU SHOULD GO BACK TO THE 4TH GRADE AND START OVER. With each subsequent, courageous reaction, you’ll learn to trust at little more.

Don’t worry about being charming, funny, sexy, seductive, “alpha,” how you’re standing, if you’re displaying dominant body language, etc.  Once the voice comes up, just acknowledge it and refuse to judge. Just hang in there and talk to your lady.  Experience being in the moment.  Be very careful: you might just go out and start enjoying yourself.


1 J February 5, 2013 at 10:19 am

Tre: Thanks for a great follow-up!

GK: Thanks so much for making it happen! But be careful! It might become a habit of mine to make requests here 😉

2 Ronnie @ Librachronicles February 5, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Trust the Tech. Sometimes I think some guys try TOO hard to say, “You don’t need Tech at all, just be yourself!”

However, the tech fucking works. I agree with the “get out of your own way” stuff, but I think it ONLY works when guys have taken the time to internalize the Tech. Then it becomes a balance. Maybe some guys who’ve been in it for a while forget that. They think they are the same person they were at day 1, not using the tech at all, and have just magically figured out how to get out of their own way, but… BUT I tend to doubt that’s the case.

I’m willing MORE to bet that after seeing and experiencing things working again and again those things just stuck – Conscious vs Unconscious Competence.

Take a total noob and tell him, “Get out of your own way.” It WONT WORK – he needs the tech to make that journey and experience to make it happen.

In my experience, if a guy wants to get really good, and I don’t mean just ok, but VERY good, that guys has to have a balance of great material and great inner game.

Push-Pull for example. That shit WORKS!
Preselection – WORKS!
Learning proper text game – WORKS!
Speed Seduction/nlp WORKS!
Framing/Reframing WORKS!
Qualifying/qualification WORKS!
Cold Reading WORKS!

If guys do these things wrong that doesn’t mean the Tech doesn’t work, it means the guy is doing them wrong and then blaming the tech.

If you read my LRs on my blog it’s EASY to see the tech works. That’s why I like to break things down.

In the long run, sure, maybe he can drop those things, but I will tell you right now that’s not what happens. More likely it becomes unconscious competence and the guy starts using these things without even paying attention to them.

Balance my friend, is the way to go. I am a BIG FAN and proponent of Inner Game but it’s just not enough.

3 GK February 5, 2013 at 7:06 pm

Hey Ronnie, thank you for the thoughtful comment. We appear to look at this from two different angles, because where you say trust the tech, I say trust yourself. Those techniques aren’t getting you those girls. YOU are.

I totally agree that “just be yourself” is not sufficient advice. Game DOES matter. But it matters in different ways to different people — just as Roger Federer’s swing is different from Novak Djokovic’s. And more often than not, even a virgin already has what it takes — he’s just afraid to take a chance with it. Filling his head with one-size-fits-all techniques just makes this process more difficult and takes him out of the moment.

I wish I had been taught FEWER techniques when I was learning this stuff. It actually made the process harder for me because I thought I had to get so many things right to get a girl. Where the seduction community failed guys was making them think they had to be smooth and perfect because it made for better lay reports. The truth is that seduction is messy, and if the woman wants us, it often doesn’t matter what we do or say as long as we do or say it with conviction.

As a coach, I did teach total noobs — guys who had filled their heads with PUA knowledge but were getting nowhere — and all I really taught them was the importance of leading. In the words of one guy, I dumbed it down. Lo and behold, those noobs were able to approach girls and close right in front of me.

While it’s true that I internalized what made me good and I DID have to learn some things, it was more about throwing out all the bad advice out there and just trusting myself.

4 Ronnie @Librachronicles February 6, 2013 at 10:06 pm

I am getting the girls. But I can promise you that I am getting girls on a higher level, more difficult, than a guy who just knows he can get girls inside.

See where you say trust you, and you THINK I’m saying trust the tech; what I’m really saying is TRUST BOTH. Trust yourself. Trust the tech. And balance. Trust that you’re a badass, and trust that you have the skills at your disposal to get what you want. Can you do it without the tools?

I mean, can a mechanic build without his tools? A locksmith? Can a computer programmer write programs without knowing the tools and skills to do it? Maybe. But I believe in Stacking the Deck. That’s what I teach my students. Stack the deck. Play the game on easy. Girls play the game on easy so guys should be able to as well.

So, yes. You can have a belief in yourself and it will get you pretty far. But you can believe in yourself and have some badass skills at your disposal and do some amazing shit, and pull some amazing women. And there’s a point, like I said, where you internalize it, and you don’t even think about using the tech anymore because it’s just a natural part of who you are. That’s when this game gets fun!


5 J February 9, 2013 at 3:54 pm

Here’s challenge for you GK: I think you once stated that if you ever wrote a book on pickup, you’d struggle to make it longer than 10 pages. Why not make it a 10 post series? GK’s 10 posts on all you need to know about meeting women. :)

6 GK February 10, 2013 at 11:46 am

J, that’s an awesome idea! I have actually wanted to post a quickie version of the logistics book Rob and I were working on, as logistics are much of what a guy needs to know. I’m making this a goal for 2013.

And thanks for the occasional nudge for a post. :) It gets hard to write here when I’m focused on my paying job (and the rest of my life), but when readers take an interest it does inspire me.

7 J February 10, 2013 at 2:17 pm

Happy to be an occasional inspiration! I’ll keep that up! And I’m sure i’m just one of many who’re looking forward to reading your future posts!

8 Anonymous February 10, 2013 at 11:02 pm


9 Tre February 10, 2013 at 11:51 pm


This is not a thesis, it is a blog post. I wish I could expand into the areas of how I’m not saying abandoning techniques are my point (however, I do disagree with the effectiveness of many of them). I do believe you mischaracterize my stance by saying that I don’t believe in any technique. My point is that most of PUA lingo and terminology is artificially elevating technique to a place that the means are confused with what is actually working. This isn’t a video game where you address the girl in the bar, hit A,B,B,A Up, Down, Up, Down, and the girl falls into your lap. Real life is far different and most of the PUA is obsessed with these types of tactics.

Read my first post on this:
Furthermore, let’s take warfare as an analogy. In war, strategy is the art of commanding the entire military operation. Tactics, on the other hand, is the skill of forming up the army for battle itself and dealing with the immediate needs of the battlefield. Most of the items you talked about, and those in the PUA community, are tactics, not strategy. The turn you to a tactician, not a strategist. Tacticians become so enmeshed in the conflicts they directly face, they think only of the battle they are currently facing.

To think strategically, is difficult and unnatural. It causes the individual to take a leap of courage out of the world of algorithms with answers and form to a place of no form.

In the combative arts, no one understood this better than Bruce Lee with his legendary “using no way as way, no limitation as limitation.” It is been deeply confused and misinterpreted over the years, but a true strategist, is one who is completely honest with themselves and without ego, it is easy to see that simplicity, and not complexity or flash is the key. But alas, simplicity is boring. To use no way as way, to have no limitation as limitation means that you must be free mentally and physically to express yourself however you must. This is not possible when the mind is bogged down with an endless clutter of mediocre and unscientific techniques.

The list of techniques that you talk about are entirely reactive. They are doctrine, and the doctrine becomes gospel and people mistake the tactics for what is really working and what isn’t. All this technique is heavy and keeps your feet stuck in concrete; strategists are light on their feet and can see far and wide.

Our common ground, which is far more important, is that you take a warrior’s outlook on life. I do too. Women are castle’s to which we lay siege. Seduction is a process of penetration beginning with the mind. Understanding that love and attraction are not whims of the heart, but simple psychology. I don’t doubt that you are likely very awesome at picking up women. I just think when it comes to teaching younger guys without any skills, you’re not seeing the forest for the trees.

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