Success Is Within Your Grasp

Around these parts we talk a lot about becoming a “higher male” – getting in good shape, getting your finances and career in order, living an interesting life and otherwise becoming the man you were meant to be.

That’s all well and good, but it’s important for men to understand that they don’t need to reach some exalted plane of excellence before they can start enjoying a better life, and in particular doing better with women.

If you’re a guy who wants to do better with girls, you definitely need to examine your life and see which structural factors might be holding you back and limiting your potential. At the same time, though, you need to realize that there are guys who are shorter, uglier, fatter, poorer and less interesting than you who are getting laid, and guys who are taller, thinner, richer and cooler who aren’t.

Why this phenomenon is the case has been the subject of much Manosphere writing – there are functional factors, the guy with poorer “measurables” has better game with women face-to-face, and there are logistical factors, the paper alpha isn’t meeting enough girls or is fishing in the wrong pond or just sucks at closing.

(This SMP inversion layer exists on the female side of the ledger too, and is often the subject of hilarious catty infighting – “I can’t believe he dumped me for her, I’m way prettier!” – or epic sour grapes – “he’s only dating her ’cause she’s a total slut.”)

Some men use the “sexy ugly” guys as demotivation: “chicks always dig jerks and pick the wrong guys so why should I even try to give them what they want if they can’t see that I’m the guy they should be with?” Instead they should see the commonality and overlap and think “if they can do this so can I, regular guys can do this without needing superlative esoteric skill.” Why not you? Why not now?

Just as it’s never too late to take steps to improve something about your life, it’s never too early to start drawing benefit from your efforts. If you are sharpening your health, getting your career on the upswing, saving your money, sharpening your mind and spending time with quality people, you should feel great about yourself. You should walk with a swagger and act like you are master of the realm. Don’t cop to a false humility – you are on your way up, so act like it.

One example from my personal life is whenever I get back on a workout program I have an instant lift in my persona. Just a couple of days straight in the gym and I can see myself in the mirror getting slimmer and more toned. The chemical and psychological boosts combine to give me an infectious outward confidence, I tell people excitedly that I’m back in the weight room and feel fantastic. I don’t have to reach my goals before my workout plan yields life improvements. I don’t need to be ripped and on the back end of a two-month volume binge before I’ll allow myself to feel good about my condition.

In short, as soon as you start taking control of your life, start approaching. See if anybody wants to be part of your positive momentum (many will).


If you read people who are peddling rhetoric about “inner game” (especially in contrast to the rudiments of meeting and dating women that comprise behavioral game) it’s hard not to hear the message that you need to “arrive” somehow before you can expect to succeed socially, like there’s some magical spiritual plane of peace where all the answers are revealed to your a priori.

Much inner-game discussion I’ve read actually sounds like an indirect form of “just be yourself” – don’t try to get better, don’t consider actionable behavioral changes, just try to “be confident” and do whatever comes into your head, minimize emotional disruption (which would indicate that you weren’t “authentic”) and don’t challenge yourself with situations that could push your personal growth. The thinking seems to be that strong “inner game” would make you supremely unbothered and, say, take away approach anxiety or Jedi-mind-trick the AMOGs into GTFO’ing.

One wonders what they would say if they were personal trainers – they’d probably tell you that exhaustion and soreness were the result of offending your “true physique” rather than a regular occurrence in the gym that portended improved condition and muscle growth.

I haven’t written much about “self improvement” in the abstract, and there’s a reason for it – the handful of men I’ve known personally who became addicted to self-improvement. These guys got on a trend that’s the opposite of what this post is about: they became perpetually insecure, constantly searching for a new “self-improvement” kick that would serve as a temporary pacifier to paper over whatever they didn’t like about themselves and would show other people they were fixing. Their exposure to these trends – whether they were paleo eating, crossfit, gluten-free, lifehacking – induced a carousel of unenjoyed and unremitted activity that accelerated them finding something else wrong with themselves and patching it the way that a fastidious maid finds every speck of dust across a house.

While most of my personal life is various projects of personal growth, I believe it’s got to come from a position of making yourself a more integrated man and not a sense of shameful inadequacy or thrill-seeking habit.


De Tocqueville said “the most dangerous time for a society is that when it begins to reform” – uncertainty can easily give way to anarchy, and the factions that have suffered under the old regime can’t be trusted to be magnanimous (something the French found out with equal parts joy and horron in the twilight of the 18th century).

By the same token, the most thrilling time in your life is when you begin the steps of becoming the man you can be. You are flush with initial success and the anticipation of further success. You’re a guy who’s going somewhere. You shouldn’t be bashful about it, let that energy infuse people around you. (There’s some science behind this too – as you move forward in your plans, dopamine burnout will set in and the things that made you feel good about yourself will no longer do so. So ride that positive vibe while you can before you have to switch things up to refresh.)

Those who won’t resonate with you have chosen the lot of pot-crabbing haters who idolize mediocrity.


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10 responses to “Success Is Within Your Grasp

  1. Great post, I think a lot of men struggle with giving themselves permission to be successful with women, myself included at times. By any reasonable measure I am in very good shape, and my physical appearance doesn’t noticeably change to the outside world if I haven’t been very active for a week, but still – like you – I feel less confident compared to if I’ve just come off a heavy week of training.

    There’s a school of PUA thought that runs: Nothing matters except game. Not your fitness, not your money, not your looks, etc. It’s all game.

    When men counter that by claiming they started to do better with women once they got big/rich, the Game Purists say, “it wasn’t the muscles/money, it was the confidence that those things unlocked in you.”

    Now obviously this is BS, all things equal girls like muscular rich guys, denying this is insane.

    But the Game Purists do have a point. Being in good shape, dressed well and financially comfortable makes a man feel much more confident. And for the most part, we’re better off building that value and deriving confidence from it.

    But I’ve also seen guys get caught in the self-improvement trap, i.e. “I can’t approach girls with my little 17.5′ arms, but once I get to 18′, watch out ladies!”

  2. Hey Badger,

    I have nothing profound to say (Frost added some good/interesting points there). Just wanted to let you know that I appreciated this post.

  3. Great post. Without question, one of your all-time best.

  4. Thanks for the positive reviews guys. Frost, when I see guys in the “lifestyle game” mindset, everything becomes self-reinforcing – their physique, attitude, intellectual interests, social groups, all feed back against each other to maintain the man’s overall frame.

    “But I’ve also seen guys get caught in the self-improvement trap, i.e. “I can’t approach girls with my little 17.5′ arms, but once I get to 18′, watch out ladies!””

    This is what you want to avoid – not only does it stop you from taking action earlier, it plays into a Nice Guy way of thinking where you start to believe you “deserve” a “reward” for reaching some arbitrary metric, and then you are set up to get resentful when you don’t reap what you think you should be reaping.

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  9. Hopewell

    Can you speak on finding ways to “catch a new wave” after dopamine burnout? Your pasts few posts have been great . Thanks.

  10. Hopewell,

    Thanks for the kind words. I don’t know if I’ve been on the dopamine burnout, but I’ve had my share of existential boredom periods which probably feel similar. I can only speak for what has worked for me. Most folks would probably say to try new things and get your mind “fun” on something else, but I have had success doing the opposite.

    In those periods, I focus on staying on top of all the “gotta do” kind of stuff that is not exciting – keeping my apartment tidy, covering all my tasks at work, staying in shape by working out frequently. I spend quiet time with friends and listen to them talk about their lives. I try to just get a lot of things done and try not to think about going the extra mile. Just get stuff checked off. I find after a couple weeks there I am usually aching for something to stimulate me and I automatically go find things. I can’t be sure but I’m guessing focusing on stuff that is relatively boring sort of preps my mind for something exciting again.

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