Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Paradox of Game

I'm probably not alone in this, but there seems to be a paradoxical effect when a man discovers game- namely that he can improve his skills in attracting women. I'm mainly extrapolating my personal experiences with this post, but given the natural male biological imperative to reproduce with fertile females, and the dynamics on hand when it comes to navigating the sexual marketplace, I think this is more or less generally valid.

For most of our lives, we were probably indirectly told, and reinforced in our minds, that when it came to attracting women, you either had it or you didn't. The "naturals" would be the guys that tended to get the most desirable women, and the guys below them would generally have to make do with less. We would latch on to the first hot girl (and for the less fortunate, the first marginally attractive girl) that gave us the time of day, as equal or better prospects were highly unlikely. As automatic as an object thrown up in the air comes crashing back down to the ground, the girl was quickly repulsed by this behavior, and the guy was left feeling alone and depressed, forced to again wander around until he gets lucky. For most, this cycle repeats until the man ultimately settles, which is often then followed by a horrible divorce (and this is why it's imperative to discover and start learning game at an early age- the earlier the better, I lucked out in this regard).

However for an increasing amount, some dissatisfaction leads them to discovering game. Walls of illusion come crashing down, and the process of attracting women becomes demystified. The natural feeling upon a man's discovery of this is joy that his problems with the opposite sex can be fixed. However, after the inevitable consumption phase- where the newbie greedily laps up all the seduction advice that he can, a curious paradox arises, one which must be resolved if one is to advance to the next phase.

The "Paradox of Game" can be summed up as follows: the discovery that attracting women is in some degree a skill, and that a man's success with the opposite sex is a trait that can actively be improved, leads to increased anxiety.

Take for instance, that random hottie that a man sees wherever, say two months after discovering game. In the past, he'd fantasize about sweeping her off her feet and getting her in bed, but would never act on those desires, under the false belief that doing so would be totally awkward and inappropriate, and that she would never be interested in him anyway.

Once game is discovered however, he knows that those thoughts and fears are total bullshit. There's nothing stopping him from at least attempting to get with that girl but his own head. He knows what he needs to do. He has a general idea of how to at least get himself a decent shot. But this knowledge has a weird effect: it increases the pressure on him. He has higher expectations of himself and is less willing to accept or explain away failure, and it is this very attitude that can often lead to failure. It makes the already pre-existing approach anxiety worse as well. This is very dangerous and can be a major drain on a man's inner game.

So how is this paradox resolved? There's really no other way but to plough through it and accept that you will have your decent share of failures. This is easier said than done however, and different people will have different ways of getting through this. For me, the presence of a strong, firm, wingman is vital, to keep me in check. High-IQ people like me that have a natural inclination toward introversion and suffer from analysis paralysis really do often need a strong outside pressure to get them moving- not just with women, but in other areas of life as well. It's one of my biggest personal weaknesses. This brain programming can of course be re-written (and this is why a strictly adhered-to exercise regimen is also vital, as it imposes discipline), but nothing at first can be so helpful to someone like me as peer pressure.

The reader's experience of course may differ, but an experienced mentor or peer structure in the game can help to resolve this paradox quickly. It's imperative that this situation be resolved, or you will never advance forward, and worse, curse yourself for it, because the old pre-game excuses are no longer logically coherent.

Game is nothing without self-discipline and community. Both are vital for success in life. Game Pick-Up Self-Discipline Paradox Anxiety

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Musketeers of the Line

Engraving of an early musketeer, likely from the 16th century (given the helmet).

One of the things that's been coming to my mind recently in my quest to overcome my approach and other social anxieties is the image of the musketeer, standing in line, exposed to enemy fire, bearing his weapon against the enemy.

I will never experience combat, and I will thus never know how truly terrifying it must be to go into battle, but I think that it must have been particularly terrifying to these men, standing in line with early firearms and fighting in linear formations. Unlike other forms of combat, such as phalanx formations, the Roman legion, and modern rapid movement tactics, or even the contemporary pike blocks that musketeers as pictured above would have seen, musketeers were absolutely exposed. They could not rely on the men to their left and right to protect them in the moment of action, as could their fellow warriors in a phalanx or pike block. There was no ducking for cover on battlefields like Breitenfeld, Naseby, or Leuthen for the infantryman armed with a musket. He did not have armor that could protect him from the weapons of the enemy as the Roman legionaries did and modern soldiers do, and given the limited medical knowledge of the day, physicians were often incapable of dealing with any gunshot wound in a vital area, so he could not even call for a medic with hope that he may live.

The musketeer had no hope but to pray that they weren't hit in the broad exchange of fire that defined the battles of this period, and would not essentially disappear until World War II. Instances such as the Duke of Wellington ordering his men to take cover from enemy fire behind a ridge at Waterloo are generally rare. In the moment of action, the musketeer had only his weapon and hope that the chaos of the battlefield would not engulf him.

Despite this, he faced down his fears and planted his feet firmly in the ground, standing the onslaught of cannon, enemy muskets, and cavalry ready to trample or cut him into bits. He was trained to face down these fears and do his job, and he did it with success.

Take this image of these musketeers, standing, fighting, and dying in line, completely exposed to the enemy. Now think of whatever it is you're afraid of- going on a job interview, doing a presentation, approaching a woman- whatever it is. Now think of the musketeers from centuries past facing down enemy fire with no protection- standing in a line almost waiting to die, and yet fighting anyway.

Chances are, whatever it is you're afraid of is utterly ridiculous when compared to the sheer amount of terror these men (or anyone who's gone into combat- but particularly them) faced. Yet through training, they overcame their fears and achieved glory. Who does not remember the stubborn redcoats withstanding the French artillery at Waterloo? The same can happen with you or me. Through training and discipline we too, can overcome any fear and achieve the immortality we desire. The obstacles we face pale in comparison to those that the musketeers did.

And so when I am facing a challenge that gets my brain to freeze out, I will try and picture the musketeers, among other things, whose discipline and bravery are the epitome of what I believe men should aspire to be, and were the cornerstones in the glory that they were able to achieve. Your fear is nothing to them, and your glory awaits.

The 28th regiment at Quatre Bras, by Elizabeth Thompson
Musketeer Gundpowder Warfare Courage

Friday, October 18, 2013

Anita Sarkeesian and the Manosphere

So, you may have heard by now that ABC is doing what can only be described as a hit piece tonight on 20/20 on the Manosphere- the loose assortment of male-oriented websites, forums, and blogs, with the common connection being that they all deviate from mainstream politically correct dogma in at least some ways. This is honestly the best description I can have of the Manosphere, because it is quite a varied group.

While the introductory article for the show is a laughable hack job- a sumptuous offering on the altar of yellow journalism, one thing about it that made me smirk in particular was its claim that Anita Sarkeesian, the infamous owner of FeministFrequency, was attacked by the Manosphere for her critique of women in video games:
Anita Sarkeesian, a media critic and blogger, learned this the hard way after campaigning on Kickstarter to raise funds for a web series on the roles of women in video games. The attacks from the Manosphere were swift.
What's so utterly pathetic about this is that the so-called professional reporters working on this story obviously didn't take the time out of their day to research the two demographics at hand here- the Manosphere, and the Gaming community.

The two demographics do not overlap one iota. Perhaps a tiny percentage of the Manosphere are avid gamers, but that number is likely infinitesimally small. The Manosphere is fundamentally composed of men of all ages that seek to improve their personal, professional, and dating lives, as well as discuss fundamental issues and share knowledge, while critiquing politically correct orthodoxy.

Gamers are well...interested in video games.

Search any major "Manosphere" outlet and you will find that video games are not mentioned in any of them (or perhaps slightly mentioned, but buried under 10,000 posts not mentioning them). The heavy implication here is that the two demographics do not have a sizable cross-section. While no reliable poll data has been done on the subject, I suspect that if a scientific survey were to be done (based on questions of frequency of game-playing and purchases, knowledge of the gaming market, etc.), it would fully confirm my assertion.

It is therefore absurd to label the attacks on Sarkeesian as having originated from the Manosphere. Many in the Manosphere were indeed not even aware of her existence. The only implication from this data can be that Sarkeesian was attacked instead by people in the gaming community- which her presentations were targeted to.

These inconvenient facts will of course not stop the mainstream media from doing anything they can to demonize a movement that deviates from their politically correct confirmation bias.

I do however, take this all as a positive sign- that the mainstream orthodoxy can no longer simply handwave and ignore criticism, and that some fundamental revulsion of the current paradigm is bubbling in the undercurrents of society.

Do I have my disagreements with parts of the Manosphere? Of course. But this can only be called a panicked hack job- based on just Sarkeesian's presence alone, not to mention the other inaccuracies in the reporting. Anita Sarkeesian Feminist Frequency ABC Manosphere

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Why Use the Word "Rejection?"

A thought came to my mind this morning- why should anyone use the word "rejection" when a girl turns down your advances?

Sure, you've been turned down, and you're more than likely not ever going to have any kind of relationship with her, but have you really been rejected? The answer to this question is likely no. How could you be? It's not like the girl knows who you really are.

One of my first-ever non-social circle approaches came to mind when I pondered this question. I was 18 years old, about to start college, and I was at the orientation. A few hours in, I saw this incredibly attractive redhead with all the features a man could ask for in a woman- slim, excellent figure, and a beautiful face. Strangely enough I was relatively calm. I forget how exactly the conversation started. I believe the person that was leading the orientation group we were in and I started talking about where I was from- New York. She then jumped into the conversation saying how much she loved the city. I was fortunate. I had something going for me of interest to her, and I did not need to tell her myself. Then the unfortunate logistics of the situation presented themselves- we were separated because we were walking to the next portion of the orientation at the time, and we wound up in different rooms. What shitty luck.

When we met up again after that particular part was over, she seemed to be interested in continuing the conversation, at least for a bit. Here's where I fucked up. Instead of asking her open-ended questions about what she's done in the city and teasing her a little bit about being an outsider who didn't know nothing from anything, I rambled on about stupid bullshit like how they sold samurai swords in Chinatown (yes, this is something I actually said, and it's still embarrassing to this day).

Unsurprisingly after more than a few minutes, when we arrived at a building with a lot of people which offered her a convenient excuse, she ditched me fast.

I was rejected.

But was I really?

Hardly. The girl left not because I was somehow ugly or my personality was terrible or I so repulsed her that she needed to run. She went off because my game was terrible. It wasn't any fatal flaw inherent to my character. I just didn't present myself well.

I'm currently reading a book called Do it Yourself Advertising and Promotion by Fred E. Hahn, Tom Davis, Bob Killian, & Ken Magill to help me get a business idea off the ground. One of the key things in any advertisement they they highlight is the ARM acronym:

Attract attention
Retain interest
Motivate your prospects to take the action you want them to take

Game after all, could be said to be a form of advertising. So what happened with this approach?

I attracted her attention with her interest in New York City. She was clearly willing to talk to me. However, after the terrible logistics got in my way, I was unable to retain her interest, because my game was shit. She didn't reject me, she rejected my game. She rejected my advertising.

I'm sure this has been highlighted before. Nick Savoy in Magic Bullets talks about women rejecting his openers and not him. True. But it goes beyond that. There are very little things, at least in the initial stages of the courtship, which tend to be the hardest, that women can really reject you for.

Having the mindset of "failed advertising" instead of "rejection" is far more productive, and should therefore increase self-confidence. Did I even feel bad when this girl in question "rejected me?" Not one bit. I believe this is because, instinctively, I knew that it was no big deal because I wasn't really rejected. My personhood was totally intact.

This is a lesson for me to continually keep in mind as I work on overcoming my approach anxiety in certain settings. Being a fan of Ghost in the Shell like I am, I've come to view the brain more and more as a biological computer, and language is how it interacts with and decodes the encryption of the world. Using better language can make a big difference in the way you think and behave.

Will thinking in this way magically transform you? No. You still need to consistently practice making yourself a better person. But it may be able to make a small difference in your motivations to approach, and how you treat your interactions not just with women, but people in general. Approaching women rejection pick-up game

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Profile of an Alpha: Mariano Rivera

A living legend in the baseball world has retired. The moving ceremony that his grateful team put on for him was deserved in every sense of the word, for it was to bid farewell to the greatest player to ever play in his position. His brilliance on the pitching mound is something that will likely never be seen again. He not only dominated for 19 years, but also in the big spots in the postseason, where the pressure on an athlete is at its highest. Yet it was in these situations that he thrived the most. Throughout his run, he was not only a fierce competitor, but was also a sublime human being- one that everyone admired. I've said on this blog's "About" page that there are few contemporary famous men that I personally would want to emulate. Mariano Rivera is an exception.

Again, like most Alpha men (at least those that will be profiled on this blog), Rivera's current status of greatness- in his case as the best Closer in the history of baseball, seemed like a remote possibility when he was young. Mariano Rivera was born in Panama, a country with a 2012 GDP per capita of only $15,616. Rivera as you thus might expect, grew up in what seemed to be hopeless poverty. He was so poor that he could not afford a Baseball glove and had to use a milk carton as a glove.

One might think that Mariano Rivera, from when he was young, was determined to play baseball, not only because he had a passion for it, but also as a way to escape such desperate poverty, as professional sports have afforded the opportunity for many others. This isn't the case. It was not until he was nineteen that the prospect seemed to be a concrete one for him. Instead, he had for some years before he was discovered been following in his father's footsteps as a fisherman. When his boat capsized one day, he decided to choose a different career path- perhaps as a mechanic. It certainly wasn't a glamorous or high-status job, but it was an honest living. Then came 1990, the year that would change Mariano's life forever and set him on the path to greatness.

Spotted by one of the Yankees' scouts in the area, Herb Raybourn, who was impressed with his raw abilities as a pitcher, signed him to a $3,000 deal (in 1990 dollars). It would be perhaps the wisest and most cost-effective investment the Yankees had ever made.

Early Career:

Mariano Rivera performed impressively in his stint in the minors. And it was here that he met his enduring teammates- his fellow "Core Four" members, Derek Jeter, Andy Pettite, and Jorge Posada. It was the nucleus of a group that would go on to become one of the greatest and longest-lasting dynasties in the history of professional sports. As with Marlborough and Eugene, these high-status, great men complimented each other and became close friends throughout the years, allowing the accomplishment of far more than any of them could have done one on their own, despite their monumental individual talents.

This time period was also a cultural shock for Mariano. He'd never been away from his native Panama before, and had to learn another language. Being home sick, especially with limited communication options, can be a very hefty burden to carry, and many people fail to succeed in such adversity. However, this was the opportunity of a lifetime, and Mariano, being the winner that he is, didn't want to let it get away. He would eventually become fluent in English, enhancing his ability to communicate and build relationships. Mariano is also a proponent of people around baseball learning to speak multiple languages for this same reason. Many people, including myself, struggle with learning another language (I believe a large portion of the effort for Americans to become a multilingual people could be solved if schools would simply teach foreign languages at an earlier age, but that would be digressing). It is not essential, but it conveys significant advantages in a more globalized world, and should be pursued vigorously, especially when you are younger and have more time to study. This is a regret I continue to have (even though my circumstances for learning another language were never ideal- another digression).

Mariano Rivera got called up to the Major Leagues and made his debut as a starting pitcher on May 23rd, 1995. He would serve in an unfamiliar role- that of a starting pitcher. His results were not what he would have liked. He struggled in his first games, and the Yankees considered trading him multiple times. He and Derek Jeter were both sent down to the minors on the same day in 1995. The two young men cried, but there was resolution in their tears. Both were determined to make it back to the Majors and stay there. They would succeed in the next year- a comeback of epic proportions.

Making an Impact:

Mariano Rivera debuted as a full time relief pitcher as the 1996 season got underway. He acted as the setup man for then-Closer John Wetteland. With a blazing four-seam fastball that hitters often chased above the strike zone, Mariano thrived. He surrendered just one home run that year, with a 2.09 ERA. It was a common trope in 1996 that if the Yankees had the lead after six innings, the game was over. And indeed it was. The Yankees only lost three games if they were leading after six innings in 1996. Mariano finished third in the Cy Young voting that year, and won his first world championship. Then-manager of the Minnesota Twins, Tom Kelly, said of Mariano:

"He needs to pitch in a higher league, if there is one. Ban him from baseball. He should be illegal."

And he was just getting started.


A Blessing in Disguise:

After the 1996 season, John Wetteland became a free agent, and Mariano Rivera became the Yankees' Closer. It was that year that he discovered quite by accident what would become his most effective weapon- and possibly the greatest pitch that baseball has ever seen. The story is famous in baseball, but I'll tell it anyway. While playing catch with teammates, Marino's ball began to have cut action on it. He worked with pitching coach Mel Stottlemyer for a while to try to get rid of it, but found that he couldn't. Mariano then said that maybe it was just the way God wanted it to be. It was a prophetic statement.

Mariano Rivera's cutter has broken more bats than any other pitch in history. Famously, in the 1999 World Series between the Braves and Yankees, Ryan Klesko, batting against Rivera, broke his bat three times in the same at-bat. From 1997 onward, the cutter became Mariano's primary, and sometimes almost exclusive pitch. Throughout his career batters knew that the cutter was coming and still couldn't do anything about it. Of course the reason why the pitcher has the advantage over the hitter is first and foremost deception- the pitcher knows what pitch is coming and the hitter does not. Mariano's cutter was so good that it transcended this dynamic, rendering deception for the most part unnecessary.

Mariano was never a cutter pitcher before, but he embraced his new gift and used it to Hall of Fame success. It is a good example of the fact that the greatest gifts in life can occur unexpectedly. Don't be afraid to embrace them.

The Mindset:

Another thing that was crucial to Mariano's success and reputation was his mindset when he went on the mound, often in high-pressure situations at the biggest moments. No matter the pressure (and there was a lot of it), Mariano would not let anything break his reserve. He has said that if you overthink, your emotions will control your actions, and of course if that happens, you won't be at the top of your game. Are there any truer words than this?

Whether it be in sports, business, or socially, letting your emotions control your actions is a losing strategy in the long run. Had Mariano not controlled his emotions, his success in winning all those championships and achieving his immense prestige as a Closer would be seriously in doubt.

Mariano after game 7 of the 2003 ALCS, perhaps his best-ever performance

Dominance and Respect:

After 1997, Mariano established himself as the greatest closer in history, racking up 652 career saves with the lowest ERA after 1,000 innings pitched (2.21) and WHIP (1.00) in history. Despite such dominance, Mariano earned the respect of everyone in his profession throughout his years as an active player, and was well-regarded as a human being for his respect of the game, himself, and others.

I respect Mo more than anybody in the game. The guy goes out there, gets three outs and shakes Posada's hand. You appreciate someone who respects the game like he does, respects the people he plays with and against, and obviously his results speak for themselves. - Michael Young
The respect Mariano had earned throughout his career was evident in his final season. Many rivals that dreaded seeing him coming out of the bullpen were chomping at the bit to give him gifts and take photos with him. During his final All-Star Game, the league's biggest stars cleared the field for him to take in the glory alone, to a standing ovation from all the players, complete with "Enter Sandman" despite the fact that he was a visiting player. Mariano however, also gave back in his final year, meeting with obscure employees of teams and often giving them gifts in the process, to thank them for their contributions to the game. He also met with season ticket holders of the teams he visited and had conversations with them. The attitude displayed here is the reason why he received so much praise in his final year.

The broken bat chair, the Twins' unique gift

Mariano is a devout Christian, and so, with his religion as a guide, he probably realizes that man is a fleeting animal. He is not the center of the universe, and so should not act like it. This deference, respect, and professionalism that Mariano showed to his peers and to the world in general, earned him the admiration of all. It would be very easy for someone in such a position of dominance to act like an asshole- we've seen it too many times in the sports world and in other spheres. Mariano spurned such behavior, recognizing that strength comes from integrity. Not a bad word has ever been uttered about him.

His dominance on and off the field- of the competition without and the dark temptations that exist within all of us, are a rare combination, and may just earn Mariano the honor of being the first unanimous selection to the Baseball Hall of Fame when he is eligible in 2019. Only time will tell if this happens, but the legacy he's left to the game on and off the field serves as an inspiration to those that follow in his mighty footsteps.

Photo: slgckgc (wiki commons)
After the Game:

Now that he's retired, Mariano plans to be a full-time husband and father, and to give back to the community through his foundation, which benefits underprivileged children with an education and distributes the funds through local churches. He will build more churches for the benefit of local people, and is currently in the process of restoring one.

With Mariano's ability and attitude, I'm sure he'll be as great in his next phase in life as he was in the previous one.

Lessons from Mariano Rivera:

1. Languages are a key to the world. Some of your greatest friends- and potential lovers, may be out there waiting for you, but could you speak their language. They should be pursued vigorously, especially in youth.

2. What may seem to be the nadir of your fortunes could quite easily be the darkest time before the dawn of your glory. You must be persistent. All winners are.

3. Your greatest gifts may be ones that you underrate, or even do not wish for at first. Don't be afraid to use them.

4. Never, never, let your emotions control your actions- in any scenario and for whatever reason.

5. You aren't the center of the world. Don't act like it. No matter how great you become, don't become arrogant and slight those who haven't deserved your scorn. It not only enhances your own reputation, but you'll leave behind a better world in your wake. Mariano Rivera New York Yankees Retirement 2013 Closer Saves

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

My Take on Fat Shaming Week

This week, Return of Kings launched Fat Shaming Week. The associated #FatShamingWeek on the attention whoring sphere that is Twitter has gotten quite the response. As readers of this blog already know, I've earlier written an entry about the Fat Acceptance Movement, so I'm no fan of those that take pride in their being overweight.

I don't particularly like insulting people, and will never do so just for the sake of it. Calling people out brutally on their bullshit is a guilty pleasure of mine, but there's always a reason for my doing so. Many of the tweets and articles at ROK are purely insulting, and that's fine if that's their style. Laughing at people that get so easily offended is another pleasure of mine.

My participation in Fat Shaming Week though, is intended to be a mostly positive one (if that makes sense). I believe it should be best used to honestly and where necessary, brutally criticize the Fat Acceptance Movement, smash its terrible arguments and innate narcissism, and motivate people into a positive kind of fat acceptance as Scooby highlights below:

If we can make it clear that no, we don't accept the fact that they are fat, that we will not coddle them and give them what they arrogantly think we owe them, that they are not beautiful, and that we in truth, want to motivate them with the tough love that they need in order to incentivize them to lose weight, then Fat Shaming Week is a success. Bullying for its own sake is something that will happen, but something I won't be doing.

Too many lives and too much money is on the line to bend over backwards and accommodate clearly unhealthy people just so that their feelings aren't hurt. Endless toleration is a recipe for the destruction of any worthy society. The fat pride movement is an example of such.

Fat Shaming Week should be a firm 'NO,' not a fingerpointing game that the PC crowd plays too often. I believe that the guys in the know see it the same way. Fat Shaming Week Twitter Obesity