Do you remember the first time you tried something super hard, something you’d never done before but always wanted to, but stopped from the fear of failure? Remember that mixture of anxiety and adrenaline that coursed through your body when you finally pushed forward into the unknown and had a go? There’s nothing quite like that sensation where you’re out of your comfort zone, being constantly reminded by your brain that you should stop, yet you keep going anyway.
For me, this was discovering the magic of surfing in my teens. That journey of discovery was mixed with microscopic advancement and bucket loads of failure. It felt like years, but I wanted this so bad that the drive to improve never ended.
It was a similar feeling when I re-discovered Game, 3 years ago at 40.
For me, surfing optimizes everything there is about Game. When you learn to master surfing, you fail, you try again, you have some success, you fail some more, A LOT more, but you keep going because both the value and the rewards are in the journey. A journey that keeps giving you opportunities to feel the wonderment of achievement that relate only to YOUR effort and energy and no one else’s. There is truly beauty in the art of the journey.
For a lot of people, they see Game as a means to an end. An antidote to a problem where the solution feels like it will solve near on everything in their lives. If I can just land the right girl, if I can just get THAT girl I’ll be happy. I had that same narrow mindset when I first started again too.
What I slowly understood, was my frame here was all wrong because that girl is not the prize, you are. The truth which many fail to see when starting Game is to know that the end point never arrives, because to be truly good at the difficult things in life, will take time and discipline to master. At the end of this journey, you become the prize.
So at least for me, the effort and rewards in both Game and surfing were uncanny.
When I was first learning to surf around the age of 16 or 17, I found the whole frantic ‘paddle paddle paddle then stand up’ action has to be one of the hardest, most unnaturally awkward movements I had ever tried to do. Paddle out through the waves, try to get your board under them without being washed back in, only to turn around and try to time it well enough and catch one back into shore. Easy watching from the beach yeah?
Being pretty lean and tall, I didn’t have the physique lending itself to that sharp pop up action which shorter stockier guys took advantage of. So like relearning Game that bit later in life, it took a while to get any good at it.
Surfing’s hard and unforgiving because the conditions have to be just right and the ocean gives no fucks to the uninitiated. There is simply no hack which short circuits the learning required to get really good at it. Unlike skiing where the runs are groomed, the lift picks you up and drops you off, you choose a run suitable for your ability allowing you to cruise down, fall, get back up and keep going at your own pace.
Learning to surf is exponentially harder. You’re out there for hours, literally 98% of the time is spent paddling around trying to get in position and waiting for that one opportunity to get into the right spot and stand up for 10 seconds if you’re lucky.
In the face of what feels like impossible difficulty, you have to keep at it and give it time to allow the body to learn what it needs to do. If you didn’t start when you were 6 years old then the mind takes 100 times longer to learn the actions it’s fighting so hard against. Take the waves on the head, try again, learn, fail. It’s all part of the process.
Game is no different, in fact, the process is so linear similar. There is no amount of text book learning which will make you good at Game. Yes, you can read the free material on the internet and get a bunch of well scripted lines together, but this doesn’t make you great at it. If you want to get great with women then you need to put in the work. Like surfing, there literally is no substitute for doing the work, trying, failing and trying again.
By comparison, hitting the gym and building lean muscle takes time, but if you have some motivation and discipline it’s a fairly simple formula. It’s just takes consistency. The great thing about gym is that you can work it around your lifestyle as it’s not weather dependent. Kids in bed, sneak in a quick late night 40 minutes for chest and arms and you’re done. Not with surfing. This is a lifestyle in itself which requires a whole different type of commitment. Just like getting good at Game.
I remember the bleak wintry days where I was putting on a wet wetsuit, looking at the waves from the window of my car and saying to myself, “it’s freezing out there, you’re no good anyway and the waves are too big, you can’t catch anything decent so why are you bothering?”. The amount of negative self-talk was enormous and the quitting option was always tapping me on the shoulder.
But I’d go out anyway.
If I can get one or two waves then that will be okay yeah? I don’t need to get a big set wave, just a few of the inside runners to get a feel for it. I’ll stay out of peoples way and do this at my own pace. Just like when you’re learning Game and you first start to go out again, you find a place where you’re comfortable, the environment is familiar to you, and you open a few conversations ‘just to get a feel for it’.
I remember walking into bars by myself and thinking much the same thing. Why are you bothering, there are so many guys in here and the girls are all stunning. But I’d go and talk to people anyway. Not necessarily for any real purpose, other than just to talk and learn the dynamic of the interaction.
With consistency my body started to get stronger. Little by little, my shoulders started to adapt to the paddling and I could read the subtle patterns of the breaking waves and my timing was getting better stroking into a set. I was learning to thrive in a difficult environment and beginning to make it mine. It wasn’t long before I had a place in the lineup.
This is just like Game. Game is like a social muscle that is so difficult to train because your mind is telling you the conditions need to be just right. How many times have you said to yourself, ‘I just need one more drink, or worse yet, she doesn’t look my type’. This is like driving to the beach, putting on your wetsuit and waxing up only to sit on the sand without going in the water.
You need to paddle out and get a few waves on the head. You need the cold flush of water down the wetsuit to remind you of being alive.
The greatest thing about Game is that you have literally nothing to lose yet everything to gain. By comparison, you’re not going to paddle out in waves of consequence without getting a beating by the ocean. But the only beating you’ll get from talking to beautiful women is what your ego allows. But unlike surfing big waves where you’re almost guaranteed to eventually get clipped, the chances are actually in your favor when talking to women.
If you can start to believe in yourself enough to approach just about anyone, then the upside is limitless. This confidence, is Game at its core.
Once I had my mindset right, my frame became unwavering. Sure it took time to pass the barrage of shit tests which women would throw at me but the more I ‘copped on the head’ the better I became. In fact I slowly started to enjoy the process because every test, every approach became an opportunity to get better without any real cost.
The biggest lesson I had from learning modern Game is that you just need to do the work, but that work, comes only at a cost of the effort in building your frame. That frame is then valuable beyond measure in all parts of life. This is so much easier than learning to surf.
When you can detach any ego associated with an interaction or approach, you’ll immediately feel like you’re the one offering the value. When it clicked for me I understood that great Game was more about giving the energy and good times and not taking it. This flipped the switch and I understood what it meant to be the prize.
At my home beach the guys who got really good in the water would often throw everything into a single maneuver. Most of the time it would never stick. But what I began to notice is they didn’t care so much if they messed it up as for them it was all about the process of learning. No one learns to pop an air the first time they try it but you’ll never master it without the practice. I’d watch these guys try something huge over and over and maybe only come close to landing something once in a 3 hour surf. At the time it felt like a waste to me.
While these guys were throwing it all out there, the mindset I had was to be happy just catching any wave that came past, almost nursing it right into the shore, hoping I’d stay on without falling off, never really trying to push anything radical. I thought I was the one doing it right and not throwing away the wave trying something risky.
It was this same scarcity mindset which stopped me from making the most of the best waves and equally, the hottest women. That same underlying fear of losing the opportunity to be with someone I figured ‘scarce’, would stop me from being really bold and confident enough to escalate. My initial results with women mirrored this exact pattern.
But this is literally the worst way to frame it. There are an abundance of waves, there are an abundance of women out there, but there is only one of you. You are the price here. The only thing standing in your way is your ego protected mind.
My message here is really simple. Guys you need to do the work. There is no substitute for time in the water, for time to interact and build your social muscle. You need to see this as a journey which gives you the opportunity to learn and adapt, but one where the cost to entry can be left at the door. You have nothing left to lose but your own ego. There are no life and death situations where you’ll be held underwater for 2 waves and potentially drown. Social interactions are not Hawaiian waves. But unlike the North Shore of Oahu, you can feel like you’re out there if you just put yourself in the lineup and start talking to women.
The sheer exhilaration from gliding down the face of a wave is a feeling hard to match. To look up at the curl of the breaking wave way above your head, lean your body on outer rail of board and push with all of your effort on the back foot, sending plumes of offshore spray behind you. And in waves of consequence, it’s the knowledge that you’ve done the time to earn your spot in the water. You’re comfortable in this element because you’ve prepared yourself well enough to adjust against whatever comes your way. The ever changing nuance of the ocean will test you just like women.
But this is your Game and your time is now so get out there.