I got a little bit carried away on the forum tonight in a thread on “inner game.” The more I learn and understand about psychology, the more I realize how horribly “inner game” has been short-changed in this industry and… well, I kind of got on a roll. I’ll post my two replies unedited below. If you’re interested in context you can find the original thread here.
I won’t get into it right now because I’d like to develop a very serious Inner Game-type program next year based on psychological research as well as theory… but I’ll make a couple points:
1. Anxiety is never reduced, only adapted. This is subtle and nitpicky, but I think a lot of us guys with massive anxiety are mislead by the “reduce your anxiety” angle. I know I was.
2. There is a “confidence threshold” where basically anyone below that threshold in confidence will actually be worse off and lose self-esteem when faced with certain degrees or frequencies of rejection.
3. One thing that I believe strongly that no other pick up company presents is that inner game isn’t an amorphous bunch of ideas, but an actual cause/effect chain of internal mechanisms.
Awareness -> Emotions -> Beliefs -> Perceptions -> Confidence -> Behavior -> Experience.
The glaring problem of all “inner game” material out there is that it doesn’t address or train people through this chain of mechanisms. For example, telling a guy like Pedals2Medals over and over that Indian men can be attractive and that it’s a shitty belief to believe otherwise is pointless until you train him to have the proper awareness to recognize how his emotional processes lead him to that belief. This is why therapy is great for guys like him, because therapy hammers on Awareness and Emotions. This is why eastern spirituality often crosses over into Self Help, because eastern spirituality hammers on Awareness, which then often (but not always) leads to beneficial changes down the line.
I think these things should all consciously be developed, in order.
I think the biggest problem with current “inner game” material and even most self help is that it’s not presented in a usable format. It’s stuff like The Blueprint where Tyler just rambles on and on about all of these things for 20 hours without ever putting them in order and explaining how they all affect one another or how they should be pursued.
Anyway… VERY excited to get more into this type of stuff…
EDIT: I said I wasn’t “going to get into it” and here I just wrote a page. Typical…
Re: Anxiety. The science shows that the physiological responses to anxiety never become much less in someone, even despite desensitization. What changes is the person’s sub-conscious and conscious interpretations of those changes.
So for instance, Michael Jordan was nervous as hell for every game-winning shot he took. Just as nervous as the biggest choke-artist in sports. Physiologically, their responses are identical. What was different about Jordan was that his mental machinery processed his anxiety extremely well. Others aren’t as lucky (or disciplined… or both). Learning to channel anxiety well happens by building confidence, which is a whole conundrum unto itself.
Someone who harnesses anxiety successfully will feel a surge of adrenaline and excitement. Someone who doesn’t will feel stifled, paralyzed and afraid (obviously).
Re: people not handling rejection. Excessive anxiety comes from trauma early in our lives. The earlier and more severe the trauma, the more stifling the anxiety. The idea with getting blown out a bunch and “getting used to” rejection is that you feel the pain and realize it isn’t that bad. Well, there are some people where it REALLY IS that bad. And therefore it leaves them worse off than when they started. These are extreme cases. Although, generally, the more anxiety one has, the worse they’ll be at handling rejection (predictably).
Unfortunately, these traumas “imprinted” themselves onto our psyche’s and removing them completely is more or less impossible. Or at least, no one has figured out how yet. Rather, the goal is to become aware of them, and process them effectively, and build better emotional habits on top of them.
What crazyhorse experienced is exactly correct and typical for someone who “re-wires” themselves to handle their anxiety effectively… I still feel my approach anxiety and my sexual anxiety when I’m in a club or in bed with a girl. It’s just that my experience and confidence allow me to behave differently now. Whereas my anxiety used to overwhelm me, now it’s subtle. It used to scream in my ear, now it’s like obnoxious background noise. Noticeable, but not interfering with what I want to do. I’ve built newer, positive habits on top of my old negative ones. But the old negative ones are still down there. If you really pay attention, you’ll feel this too.
In pick up, the analogy often used up until this point with anxiety has always been something like weightlifting. You get in the gym and work on it until you build up to it over time. 100 approaches destroys approach anxiety better than 50 approaches which is better than 10 approaches. The reality is that some guys largely “overcome” their AA within 10-20 approaches. And some guys still struggle with it after going out and approaching for years and years.
A better analogy is probably something like dyslexia. If you’ve got it, you’re hosed. It never goes away. All you can do is train your mind over time to work around it or build habits over it. That’s the best you can do.
So in a way, you could say that most of us are here because we’re emotionally-handicapped in some way. But then again, I’ve been saying that for years.