Scott Adams (the creator of Dilbert) advances a clever idea: instead of focusing on becoming top 1% in any given area (requires thousands of hours and years of dedication), focus on becoming the top 25% in two or three skills. For Scott he is top 25% in drawing and humor. Combine that with a business background and he’s got a very unique skill set which has earned him millions.
In my case, I’m working to become top 25% in writing, pickup, and web-design. I write every day, I go out a lot, and I regularly build websites from the ground up for shits and giggles. Stir that up in a cauldron, throw in some salt and bullshit, and you’ve got the makings of nontraditional, totally fucking awesome lifestyle.
What about you? What two or three skills are you working towards becoming top 25% in? How can you leverage those advantages to create an awesome life?
Quitting When Something Isn’t Working
Believe it or not there is a time to quit. Various people will say different things, but I like to think of it like this..
You should quit when repeated effort is showing very little (to no) progress and / or you don’t have massive passion to overcome the obstacles.
When I was 19 I decided that I wanted to become a DJ. I had my stepmom buy me Fruity Loops for Christmas and I worked with that fucking program daily for a year. I made dozens (hundreds?) of songs, of which exactly 1 turned out OK (by my definition). Further, even though I made music every day I never felt like I was making meaningful progress. After a year I searched Google for “How much money can a DJ make?” and I knew it was time to quit. Not enough passion to overcome the obstacles.
I’ve always liked poker and when I was 21 I decided to get into it. I played online every day for six months. I read the books, I took notes, I watched the YouTube videos. At the end of 180 days I was worse than when I started. Without any massive passion (I cared more about how much “easy” money I could make, versus mastering the game) I knew it was time to quit. So I got drunk, played recklessly and lost my last $50. I haven’t played a hand since.
I’m not encouraging you to quit pickup if you find it difficult (if everybody did that nobody would ever get good). However, you should realize that getting good requires passion. If your sole priority is getting laid (versus growing as an individual) then you will most likely find it harder to stick it out during those times when everything is going to shit and no girl in a 100 mile radius wants to sleep with you.
More to point, there’s more than one way to skin a chicken. Maybe you go out 5 nights a week for 3 months and realize that yeah, this shit is real. It works, but I just don’t have that massive drive to become awesome at it. Instead, you spend your extra free time learning to play the guitar, join a band, gain notoriety in your city and end up getting laid more than most pickup guys anyways.
What are You Willing to Sacrifice?
Getting good at pickup (or any skill for that matter) requires sacrificing other things. For instance, in pickup you’ll be going out and approaching women during the night. That means you won’t have time to hang out with your buddies, are you willing to lose those relationships? Friends and coworkers who find out what you’re doing may think you’re weird and disown you. Do you care? What if your family finds out? Even if your job has flexible hours you’ll be losing sleep. And so on.
If you’re not willing to make sacrifices to learn pickup then you’re not ready to get good. As Tyler Durden said:
“It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.”
Obviously you won’t lose everything, but after a year of doing pickup your life may be radically fucking different. In many ways it will be better, but in some ways it may be worse (loss of relationships, possible weird relationships with family members who don’t understand what you’re doing, less time for other hobbies, work, studies, etc). Is that a trade-off you’re willing to make?
Commit to pickup or get the fuck out. You will not get good at this going out twice a week and doing an approach here or there. Or going hard for three weeks then quitting for two months then going out every night for a week then not going out for five weeks. Fuck that, don’t even bother. Getting good requires consistently going out (and approaching!!!) 3 to 7 nights a week for several years in a row. No bullshit, no excuses.
If you’re not ready to commit to that then you’re wasting your own time. You would be better off learning to play the drums, spending time at work earning more money, or whatever else. That’s why I would strongly advise you to do this..
- Ask yourself the hard question: are you ready to commit to going out multiple times every single week for the next couple of years? Are you willing to make the sacrifices that that entails?
- Do you have a plan to maintain this for the long term? E.g. are you going to be able to balance work and pickup, do you have a way to meet wingmen who you can consistently go out with?
- Do you have the passion to stick with it even when everything seems grim and girls don’t seem to like you at all?
Be honest with yourself, and recognize also that right now may not be the best time for pickup. I learned about this stuff when I was 18 but I wasn’t ready to embrace it then. From 18 till my 24th birthday I was more focused on playing beer pong in college, writing, learning a second language and traveling the world. Then I came to NYC at 24, started hitting it five to seven nights a week and that’s continuing to this day. I’ve given up many things to live a lifestyle that’s dominated by pickup, and I’m loving (almost) every second of it 🙂
I hope that you’ve gained something from this article. If you’ve found it interesting I have a few more resources to recommend. This brilliant article by Taylor Pearson and Warren Buffet’s 5 & 25 Rule. Finally, if you’re as interested in the process of learning and doing it efficiently, I highly recommend Josh Waitzkin’s The Art of Learning.