Our weekend workshops are always a blast and the last one was no exception. The students did an amazing job. Some made out with girls, most got numbers a a few took girls home. They seemed like different guys on Sunday, a glint in their eye and a swagger that wasn’t there on Friday.
I love this job
Best moment for me was working with two students in particular who had a hard time getting out of their heads.
We all know the feeling. We call it being “out of state” or “in your head”. It feels like a separation between you and what’s happening around you. Almost like you’re watching it on TV. It doesn’t feel good when you’re in the middle of a party, bar or club, and it’s where game goes to die…
The opposite, being “in state” or “in the moment”, is the holy grail of game. Think back to your best nights. Chances are you were “in state”, just floating effortlessly, approaching and carrying out conversations without an agenda, and people reacted favorably to your vibe and instantly opened up.
State is a big reason why you can’t learn game just by reading ebooks and blogs. In fact, one reason why studying and not practicing will hurt your game.
With both students this weekend, the approach was simple. Throw them into approaches head first until they get out of their heads.
With both students, the effect was the same.
The first 1-2 approaches were crash-and-burns. They limped in, all the subcommunications were off, and the girls turned away before the guys were done saying hi. After very short feedback and encouragement, I kept making them approach. By approach 3 or 4, they were starting to relax, smile and speak louder. They started to approach before I even pointed out the groups of girls. Their body language was more confident, they were enjoying it now, having a good time. Lo and behold, women’s reactions started to shift, becoming more receptive. By approach 5 or 6, the guys were flowing. They were in state.
They were barely aware of their own transformation, but for an external observer they looked like different men altogether.
One of the guys started approaching women by himself and the next morning extolled the night’s experience and the fun he had. The other student moved a girl around the venue and nearly took her home… less than an hour after he was shrinking in a corner afraid to say a word to a stranger.
This effect is common and we’ve all felt it, but it’s easy to underestimate or forget unless you’re constantly reminded. Teaching is learning twice.
Why do we get in and out of “state”? Why does it have such a powerful effect on us?
Our brain has two main modes of function (this is a gross over-simplification, but for the purpose of this explanation it’s fine). When there is no external task to be performed (talking with someone, handling something, etc.), a specific set of brain areas, called the Default Network, is activated. The result is the recall of memories and planning of future events. Mulling over our past and future, basically. We’re essentially “in our heads”. This is the state known as day-dreaming, from which you quickly emerge if someone addresses you or you hear a loud noise. When an external stimulus arises, the Default Network switches off and the “task-performing” areas of the brain turn back on. It’s time to handle something coming from the environment and leave the processing of recalled facts or future plans (i.e. day-dreaming) for later. It’s time to live in the present.
That’s why the effect is gradual and cumulative. One approach, your state improves a little. 2, you’re almost there. 3 or 4, you flow. Stop interacting and you slowly creep back into your head. Stop for long enough and you’re cold again, and need to go through the whole warm-up process all over again.
The good news is, the more practice you have, the quicker you’ll be able to access your state. I can often get into pretty good state by doing 1 warm-up approach, whereas it used to take me half a dozen a couple years ago.
Warming up is crucial. When I warm up properly, my nights go much better then when I don’t.
By warm up, I mean 2-3 throw away approaches to get in a talkative, social mood. The outcome is never important, whether it’s approach #1 or #21, but the first 2-3 (or however many you need to warm up) are particularly meaningless.
It’s not just about the numbers, it’s mostly about the pace. If you go through one short interaction, sit around for an hour, then do another, you’re not warming up. A quick sequence of approaches with no major pauses is what it’s all about. Push yourself to do the first one, push yourself not to stop immediately thereafter (especially since the outcome of the first one tends to be less than ideal), and you’re on your way to a good night.
And warming up doesn’t go only for the beginning of the night, you can do it anytime. Warmed up, then stopped approaching and got cold again? No big deal, just warm up again. It’s that simple to switch on your state.