How to Master Anything

While the focus on here is normally pointed squarely at getting girls, I wanted to broaden that today to a topic that's of significant importance not only to pickup and seduction, but to anything and everything you will ever lay your hands on, set your mind to, and go about doing.

That topic, in case you only glanced over the title, is how to master... anything.

how to master

In case you're not so familiar with my "credentials" (background), I've effectively mastered:

  • Sales
  • Music Production
  • Song Writing
  • Picking Up Women
  • Maintaining Relationships (completely different from pickup)
  • Posture / Movement / Personal Charisma
  • Motivational and Inspirational Speaking
  • Teaching (everything from software to seduction to high school students)
  • Copywriting
  • Writing in General

I'm also pretty good at making crazy shots from anywhere on the basketball court, and I'm about halfway through my growth curve as an entrepreneur, Internet marketer, and business growth expert.

On several occasions, I've had people ask me how it is you stay motivated to learning something long enough to reach a pinnacle in it. Usually I brush this off, because I don't like to be seen patting my own back too much. Even in my rap days, where bravado and showing off plays a big part of the art (rap has its origins in the West African folk tradition of "men of words" talking up their successes and desirability), I never liked venturing too far into singing my own praises.

It's far better for others to sing your praises for you than for you to do it yourself. People respect this more... and you look like less of an ass.

But for the sake of this post, let's shelve the false modesty, and talk about how to master things, how to set aside the laziness that nags at us all, and how to keep yourself focused on getting something down that few people ever will.

Not Everyone is Built for Mastery

Everybody's got problems they wish they didn't have.

I'm in the self-help industry, I know. My JOB is to listen to people's problems, and, ideally, help them to solve them.

Except most people don't WANT help.

Some time ago, I realized a distinction between the kinds of people who are out there. I started telling this to anyone who brought me a problem but seemed reluctant about taking my advice or even their own if I helped them tease out what they thought they should do. The distinction is this:

There are only two kinds of people, when it comes to problems. The people who FIX their problems, and the people who COMPLAIN about their problems.

That's it, just those two kinds of people.

The difference:

  • People who are "fixers" are eternally devoted to figuring out what their problems are, and solving them. They might not always tackle those problems from the right angle, and they might be guilty of deluding themselves about what those problems are at times, but you can get through to them with reason if you try hard enough. They usually are willing to set aside pride, admit that the failure is theirs, and go start learning how to fix it.

  • People who are "complainers" are eternally devoted to seeking emotional salves for their problems. There's a big difference between "solves" and "salves." Complainers feel bad, but they don't want to fix that feeling bad by fixing the problem. They just want someone to pat them on the back, tell them, "There, there, you're doing everything right, it's just things outside your control that made it this way," and then they'll feel better. But because the problems are never fixed, they need this forever. They spend a lifetime of people listening to their complaints, telling them it isn't their fault, and blaming the world for being an uncaring, unjust place.

Now, everybody complains. I complain. You won't see me do it on the site much, because you've got to be careful about how you present yourself in the written word as it's easily misinterpreted, especially when you've got guys coming here to learn what you're doing and absorb your characteristics. But everybody does it.

The difference between a fixer and a complainer is that a fixer then immediately says, "Okay, everything that's wrong in my life is my fault, what do I need to change to have a better life?" while a complainer NEVER says this, or says this but then doesn't take action to change anything, and simply goes on complaining forever.

I don't know how you end up as one person or the other. I don't know if it's possible for someone who's a complainer to become a fixer. I'm a big believer that you can change damn near anything about yourself that you decide to, but I have my doubts about whether it's possible for someone who doesn't really want to change to muster the energy to change into someone who wants to change.

There's an inherent "doesn't make a whole lotta sense" in there.

I've always been a fixer. I was a fixer when I was a little kid. I'm a fixer now. I went through a period of depression, and I eventually overcame that depression, because I was fixing the wrong stuff or I wasn't fixing things I needed to be, but even when I was deep in my funk I was constantly trying out different approaches to try and turn around my life.

If you're not sure if you're a complainer or a fixer, here's a quick quiz:

  1. List your 5 biggest problems. Are these your fault or not your fault?

  2. When something is not the way you want it (e.g., it sucks), should someone else fix that for you? Or should you fix it?

  3. Do you repeatedly vent about the same problems over and over? What are you doing about these problems?

  4. How often do you work on yourself, to better yourself, and improve your station in life?

If your answers were ,"my fault," "I should fix it," "not for too long; I'm doing this, this, and that," and, "all the time," congratulations, you're a fixer.

If your answers were, "look, it's NOT my fault," "he/she/other people should fix it, I'm doing everything right," "yes, but that's because these problems are awful! I'm waiting for the system to correct itself," and, "well, I'm already pretty good, so I don't need to work on myself too much," well... you know where you're at.

These two different mindsets - the fixer and the complainer - come from an essential philosophical difference among the holders of the two mindsets: I can't change the system, because the system doesn't know who I am and doesn't care, I can only change ME vs. the system should change to give me what I want because I'm important!

Fixers, at their core, are people who realize that all human systems are imperfect systems cobbled together by lots of imperfect people, and you cannot control these people. Yes, maybe you did everything the system told you, and according to what you see on TV that means you SHOULD be entitled to XYZ reward... but if you aren't getting it, YOUR MENTAL MODEL OF THE SYSTEM IS WRONG.

Throw it out, and go get a correct mental model. You don't learn how to master things when you're focused on moaning about how unfair life is.

There's another key difference that makes spotting a complainer easy: liberal use of the word "should."

  • "People SHOULD use their turn signals more."
  • "Men SHOULD pay for dates."
  • "Women SHOULDN'T sleep around so much."
  • "People SHOULD believe in God / evolution / the Christmas spirit / aliens / 2012."
  • "People SHOULD respect marriage more."
  • "The courts SHOULDN'T be so harsh to men in divorces."
  • "Men SHOULDN'T cheat so much in relationships."
  • "Women SHOULDN'T cheat so much in relationships."
  • "The airports SHOULDN'T have such ridiculous security procedures."
  • "People SHOULD say 'please' and 'thank you' more."

... and so on, and so forth.

Complainers "should," left and right. It bespeaks an inherent flaw in how they view the world:

They want other people to do what THEY want them to do!

They don't view it this way, of course. They view the world as having certain "right" ways of doing things, and believe that everyone else shares this intrinsic view of how the world "should" be.

So, other people not doing what they "should" be are an annoyance and a bother. These people are the cause of all the woes of the complainer.

How's it look to a fixer, though?

To a fixer, people are the way they are and they CANNOT be changed.

Meet a girl who likes sleeping around, but you really want a girl who's committed to you? Don't date the girl who likes sleeping around! She'll make you miserable, and you'll make her miserable. You won't change her. Find a girl who fits your criteria.

Same goes for the girls who meet guys who are not husband material in the slightest, and the girls try to shoehorn these guys into their marriage fantasies. You'll never meet a more bitter complainer than the girl with dreams of a perfect marriage dashed by her knave and often MIA husband.

To be a fixer, you must relinquish the star-crossed determination to change everyone and everything around you to do your bidding, and instead accept that every other human being on Earth and every human system you are not a president or a CEO of or have friends in important places in is outside of your control. He or she or it might do what you want... but he or she or it equally might do the exact opposite.

The only thing you truly control is YOU.

So instead of spending your time ranting about how you think the world ought to be, you spend your time perfecting your ability to get the things you want and work within the way the world already is.

The Fixer's Cross

As a fixer, you admit that you will never be good enough.

There are always going to be things you want that you cannot have, no matter how good you get at anything.

  • Become the best in the world at making deals, and there will always be that elusive better deal you aren't quite able to reach.

  • Become the best novelist in the world, and you will always think you could've done yourself just one better had you had a somewhat better grasp of the things you know now when you wrote your magnum opus.

  • Become a great leader of a business or a country or even a small club of people somewhere, and you will always know you could've done it a bit better or taken it to slightly higher heights.

But this does not speak to weakness in you. Rather, it speaks to the drive to master.

how to masterTo learn how to master anything, you must want to make things better, and you must believe that you, through personal refinement and betterment, are the key to that.

I may not be able to control another person, but I can control my ability to inspire specific emotions in her, to make her feel certain things, and to bring a level of value to her life that she can't realistically get anywhere other than me.

I may not be able to control whether someone wants what I have for sale, but I can put out the best products I possibly can, learn how to make ever-greater ones, and market the hell out of them to get them in front of as many people as possible and make it clear what my products can do for them.

I may not be able to control the government and social situations operating around me, but I can build up my financial resources, social capital, and ability to navigate tricky and high-pressure situations to learn how to come out on top whenever unexpected things happen or suddenly I find myself confronted with unforeseen or uncomfortable circumstances.

This is the cross the fixer must bear: the cross of learning how to master the various aspects of his life he needs to be able to exert the influence he'd like to influence to make things more likely to go his way.

Unlike complainers, you can't just do what you think you're supposed to do and hope the system will take care of you. It won't. The more trust you place in systems you did not build and do not control to deliver you what you want, the more you are going to be disappointed.

You must lift yourself up by the bootstraps, and fight on.

The Will to Master Anything: You Must Be Mad

If it was easy to become a master at something, we'd have a lot less reverence for the masters.

Where does someone get the desire to drag themselves through endless amounts of failure, heartache, and inertia to become truly great at something?

I've talked about this fairly in-depth with a number of other ambitious friends, and I think the first thing you've got to be is you've basically got to be a little bit crazy.

There's a fascinating personality disorder test available online here:

Personality Disorder Test

Now, I don't know how accurate this is, so don't go making any major life decisions off of what you find here, but it seems to be relatively accurate to me.

A bunch of my friends and I have all taken it. And you know what we found?

We're all crazy. All of us.

Every single one of us can tick off multiple boxes on the personality disorder list.

Now, it could be that crazy people like me just have other crazy friends. But I think there's something else at play here, too.

I only have as my close friends driven, ambitious, charismatic people who are highly self-improvement oriented and work constantly on upgrading themselves in all kinds of different areas in their lives.

And I just don't think you have the motivation to do this if you don't have issues.

Do you think there's ever been a president, or a premier, or an emperor, or a king who wasn't a little bit narcissistic?

Or a writer, or showman, or celebrity, or television personality who scored "low" on histrionic?

I doubt it.

I honestly don't think normal people ever get the desire to become masters of anything, because they're happy living normal lives.

The more I study the things psychology considers "disorders," the more I tend to think that these "disorders" are a fundamental discontent with the status quo. Either a lack of faith in it entirely (e.g., people who are paranoid) or a desire to ignore it (e.g., schizoid and schizotypal) or to bend it to one's will (e.g., borderlines and histrionics and narcissists).

Sometimes these can really become problematic. But sometimes they can be channeled into something more.

When it comes to normality, riddle me this... can you imagine a normal, ordinary person with no personality issues who's happy living an ordinary life with an ordinary job and an ordinary spouse and ordinary kids in an ordinary house in an ordinary town out there obsessively working on mastering something, day in and day out, one day after another after another?

Yeah, I can't either.

So, for me, if you want to know how to master something, I think the first thing you've got to be is a little (or a lot) crazy. As I said to one guy I know who scored "High," "Very High," or "Moderate" on every item on that list above, "It's either madness or greatness for you, my friend."

The Will to Master Anything: You Must Be Clear

The other part of the equation of the "drive" factor, I think, is a certain clarity on what exactly it is you're trying to master, and how you're going to go about it.

It's impossible to get excited about vague goals and objectives, but that's how a lot of people try to plan out their lives.

Let's say you're crazy enough to decide you want to learn how to master something like picking up women or getting good at running your own business or playing an instrument or being charismatic or speaking publically or throwing javelins or ANYTHING, really.

And let's say you start setting vague goals. "I'm just going to go get good at this!"

Not gonna happen.

You need specific goals, and they need to be motivating goals.

For me, when I started in sales, it was in the same store as and right next to the guy who was the #1 salesman in the district. He was a short, chubby Puerto Rican guy with a million-watt smile and an easy belly laugh who'd been selling for years, he was incredibly charismatic, and he repeatedly slept with women taller than him, whiter than him, and prettier than him, and he could sell anything to anyone.

My goal, as a socially-stunted 18 year old who had zero friends, who women said looked like he had "bad intentions," and who didn't know how to have a conversation with anyone, was to become a better salesman than that guy. I wanted to outsell the district's #1 salesman.

And eventually I did.

But before I reached to that point, I spent countless hours modeling myself after him, learning the ins and outs of the product, trying and testing and refining my selling approach, and figuring out how to do what that ace salesman seemed to do with so much natural ease.

It wasn't easy.

I struggled with wanting to quit, and there were various times I looked at my own abilities and said to myself, "I just don't think I can do this," or, "I'm just not making any progress."

And you know what the funny thing is? Every single thing I've gotten really good at went exactly the same way. They all mostly followed this pattern:

  1. Find a role model who's mastered something you want to master
  2. Make it up in your mind to become like and exceed that role model
  3. Study everything you can about the art, and that guy in particular
  4. Become religiously devoted to breaking down the mechanics and learning them
  5. Practice, practice, practice - deliberate practice targeted at weaknesses

Sometimes those models were people I knew personally; sometimes they were people I watched and analyzed and consumed volumes of information on from a distance (Tupac in songwriting and performing; Steve Jobs in business building). Occasionally I went without a role model if I had a really strong mental picture of where I was trying to get to (like with relationships; I have my own model there that I haven't seen anyone else do), but normally there was a clear model I aspired to emulate.

The next step is something upon which there's a fantastic book on it here:

Talent is Overrated, by Geoff Colvin, senior editor of Fortune Magazine.

The book's based on a Harvard Business Review paper from July 2007 called "The Making of an Expert," and both the book and the paper focus on something called "deliberate practice." (that's a Wikipedia link there) Malcolm Gladwell's exceptional book Outliers talks a lot about this subject too.

What's deliberate practice?

It is a focused, determined practice targeting your weaknesses and shortcomings in a given area, with the objective of turning those weaknesses into competencies and strengths.

There's the old Bruce Lee quote that comes into relevance here:

I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.

What Bruce Lee is talking about in this quote is the matter of deliberate practice: practicing something until you have achieve mastery.

He's also contrasting the man who practices deliberately with the man who practices without direction.

In Talent is Overrated, a fantastic example is cited of how auditors who've been doing their job for 40 years make more mistakes than auditors who've been doing their job for 3 or 4 years. The question is posed, if practice makes perfect, why do the people with 40 years on the job perform worse than the people with 4?

The answer, of course, is a lack of deliberate practice. Because they're not devotedly working on shoring up their weaknesses and upgrading their aptitudes - instead, they're rather repeating the same dull tasks again and again without engagement or passion or a dedication to perfecting a specific skill - they don't get any better, and in fact get bored and lose focus and perform worse.

This kind of unfocused, directionless practice is how most people approach skill-building (or their jobs). They just do a bunch of stuff with no mind to what the end result is or what specifically they're trying to accomplish.

So they don't improve.

how to master

If you practice 1,000 free throws in basketball over the course of 2 weeks, will you be better at free throws than a guy who's performed 1,000 free throws over the course of 30 years?

Of course. You're letting your brain analyze your movements and success rates in succession over a period of time where it's close enough that you have repeated data points the brain can analyze and make connections over. That guy who did the same number of free throws over 30 years is probably only marginally better now than he was 30 years ago, because there's too much time between each data point and too much variation (his strength, weight, stamina changing as he ages) to get clean data.

Your brain is a pattern-recognition engine that forms patterns and learns on autopilot, if you provide it with the right data in the right circumstances.

Most people say, "Okay, I'm going to learn chess," and then they proceed to try a whole bunch of different crazy things and their brains can't make sense of any of it and they get no better.

Then they throw up their hands and say, "Okay, I give up. Chess is too hard."

But if you want to learn chess - to really learn chess - you don't try a whole bunch of different crazy things all at once.

Instead, you practice learning different moves, over and over.

You practice doing the same opening move over and over again until you've got it down and know its nuances. You do the Ruy Lopez for 2 weeks or 3 weeks or a month until you've seen most of the usual ways it turns out. Then you open with the Sicilian Defense over and over again until your brain has it down pat and is able to know exactly how things are likely to go based on what your opponent does at each stage of the game.

That's how you learn. Not by doing haphazard, willy-nilly, "let's throw a lot of stuff at the wall and see what sticks" type approaches.

You learn by repeatedly, deliberately practicing the same things again and again until you've got them down pat, and then moving onto the next weakness in your game you need to shore up.

That's deliberate practice.

The reason why someone who's mastered something appears to do everything effortlessly and intuitively is because he's gone through it enough times and his brain has analyzed and put together enough patterns that he's able to tap that information intuitively and act accordingly.

To quote that Harvard Business Review paper:

Intuition can lead you down the garden path. The idea that you can improve your performance by relaxing and “just trusting your gut” is popular. While it may be true that intuition is valuable in routine or familiar situations, informed intuition is the result of deliberate practice. You cannot consistently improve your ability to make decisions (or your intuition) without considerable practice, reflection, and analysis.

You form a master's intuition through repeated exposure to similar experiences again and again and giving your brain the ability to build the mental models of those situations that allow you to have an intuition to tap, not by it already being preprogrammed in.

You must expose yourself to something, day in and day out, practicing deliberately. And to do that - one of the most important elements in figuring out how to master anything - you must have a clear idea of where your weaknesses are and what you need to get down.

You've got to know what you're getting wrong and where you want to start fixing it.

It's Not the Instance, It's the Skill

One of the things that happens as you transition from "beginner" to "intermediate" in mastering any new skill is a relinquishing of your emotional connection to the outcome of any one instance and a transference of that emotional connection to the skill itself.

Early on when you're trying to learn how to get good with women, for instance, you'll feel like getting one specific girl is a life-or-death matter. That's why I wrote "Can't Stop Thinking About Her? Here's Why You Need to Meet More Girls." To this day, a good chunk of the things we get here from guys via email, comments, and elsewhere comes down to, "There's this girl and I love her and I HAVE to get her, what do I do?"

When you're new to learning something, the specific instance feels all-important.

  • You meet a girl, and you get really upset if you don't get her
  • You play a game of chess or basketball, and you get really upset if you don't win
  • You're talking to a customer, and you get really upset if you don't make a sale
  • You're making a piece of art, and you get really upset if it doesn't turn out well

Stuff like that.

And I think that's unavoidable. When you're inexperienced in something - whatever it is - your brain is trapped in a scarcity mentality. Basically, whatever it is feels like a scarce resource, and therefore life or death.

But as you go through more and more of the same situation, and especially once you start seeing success and recognizing improvement in yourself (which sometimes can take a little while), your brain starts to relax. "Things aren't so bad," your brain starts to say. "We're figuring out how to master this; we'll get this down. Now let's work on our weak spots."

This is the point where the game "starts slowing down," as the players talk about in American football as they're going into their second year. This is where you've got the initial patterns down enough that your emotions get out of the way and you can start seeing the different elements of your own game and recognizing what you're doing right and where you need work.

The transition from beginner to intermediate is when you hit the point where the individual instance doesn't seem all that important anymore, and the most important thing is simply getting better at the skill.

Where you get upset as an intermediate is where you keep seeing the same mistake happening again and again. You keep losing girls at the point where you go to ask them home with you, for instance, or you keep misfiring in business when you run out of funds, or you keep getting checkmated in chess when you advance too quickly.

Those are the points you get upset at, so you go back and analyze and figure out what's going wrong and start making tweaks. You keep practicing, and even zero in on that specific area.

"I'm going to start asking every girl I can to come home with me within 20 minutes of meeting her," you say, "so I can get more data points and see what I'm doing wrong and force myself to get better."

Or, "I'm going to play things more conservatively and limit my spending, and see if I can do the same thing with less," you say.

Or, "I'm going to continue playing aggressively, but I'm going to make a mental note to keep an eye on my king and make sure he's covered."

And in so doing, you progress.

How to Master Anything

how to masterSo let's say you have the necessary components for mastery. You're certifiably insane, like all of my friends and I are, and you know, very clearly, exactly where you want to get to: you've got a clear goalpost in mind and you're ready and willing to bust your butt to get there.

How do you, you know, actually do it?

Well, here's how to master whatever you want; these are the steps I follow, and the ones that everyone I know who's mastered anything has followed too.

  1. Know you want the skill first. When I first set out to learn how to get better with women, it was because there was one girl I wanted, but I realized I was never going to get her until I got good with girls. So I set out to go practice. I didn't start getting better with women until I moved my focus off the one specific girl and onto the skill overall.

    I'd still meet girls once I was practicing that I wanted a lot, but the main focus was on developing the skill. It was the same for me in music, in sales, and everything else. I wanted to get good, and then I knew I could have as much success as I wanted.

  2. Start practicing, and practice a lot. Hands down the best way to learn anything is on the job. If you can get paid to do it, get paid to do it, because you'll have the added motivation of having to get good at it to keep collecting a paycheck. It was that way for me in sales, and it's that way for me in business now.

    If you can't get paid to do it, that's okay too, but you've got to be practicing religiously. What helped for me early on in pickup was scheduling it in; that way, even if I didn't want to go out, I knew that it was already on my schedule and I had to go out and go meet girls and work on game. For basketball, I'd make myself go out; same with music. Once you start getting better though, it becomes something of an obsession to work on that thing you're working on, and you don't need nearly as much prompting.

  3. Analyze, analyze, analyze. I amaze people these days with my ability to look at almost any situation or any thing and immediately deconstruct down to its component parts and tell them how it works and why. I get called brilliant, a genius, incredibly bright. But it's a skill I've only had since I started skill-building, and it was a sort of bonus side-effect of the analysis that went into learning how to master various different things.

    When you start building a skill, it's vital that you go back and analyze how things went. Why did that song not turn out so great? Why did that customer walk out without buying anything? Why did that girl not want to give you her phone number? Why did that deal not go through? You cannot blame other people or circumstances. If you do, you won't get better. You need to figure out where you were at fault, and how you could have played that hand differently. It's the only way you get better.

    I highly recommend keeping a journal or a record of events (or writing field reports and analyzing your mistakes in the report, if you're learning how to get girls), which forces you to think through what happened, remember it, and parse it for lessons. (We're launching a new forum on here soon, and I'd be thrilled to have you and would invite you to join up and do that here)

  4. Target your weak spots. Where are you consistently losing? What's holding you back? Figure those out, and then figure out something new you can try out or work on getting down to combat that. If you're finding people aren't very engaged by your writing, perhaps you could use more suspense and intrigue - start writing some cliffhangers into your stuff. Stephen King and Malcolm Gladwell are both masters at this, in very different ways - maybe you could study them. If you're finding women keep telling you they've got to go meet their friends, maybe you aren't getting them committed fast enough - start figuring out ways to ask for compliance and investment.

    As you go through and target these various areas for improvement, it helps greatly to set goals. Specific goals, especially. Whatever your weakness is, set a goal and then go hit it. If your hook shot isn't cutting it in basketball, set a goal that you're going to go out to practice and you're not coming back in until you hit 30 hook shots. And then once your hook shot is good, go practice it again tomorrow and hit 40 of them.

  5. Obsess over it. Obsessive-compulsive disorder is an increasingly common problem in the West, but there might be a good reason for that: some researchers think that the obsessive's perfectionist inclination helps in mastering skills and climbing to pinnacles in chosen fields. As a teenager, I had to fight off a compulsive need to have things exactly as I wanted them, and the obsessive thought cycles I locked myself into were the source of the depression that almost cost me my life and that I had to fight valiantly to overcome. But the upside of obsessive tendencies is this: once you lock onto mastering a skill, you don't let up until you've achieved perfection in each of the areas of that skill that you target.

    Now, I don't know how you mimic the obsessive's devotion without those inclinations, but I've seen a lot of friends without obsessive-compulsive tendencies who climbed to high heights in their skill areas regardless. But in pursuit of those heights, they nevertheless displayed near-obsessive tendencies. You must be thinking about your skill all the time; it must consume you. You need to make it your passion, and fully immerse yourself in it. Only when your mind comes to it again and again do you start devoting the mental cycles you need to really learn how to tear things down to their basics and do the heavy mental computing you need to be truly effective in your analyses.

  6. Start teaching it. Teaching is another way that you get your brain to devote a lot of time to parsing and analyzing your data points, but you need to actually have a lot of data points. In pickup, we call the guys who try to teach and espouse knowledge on things they don't have much experience on keyboard jockeys, because they're guys who act like they know they're stuff when they're really just passing off guesswork for expertise. Don't be that guy.

    The secret to being a great teacher is part being able to analyze others' mistakes, part being able to relate anecdotes, and part being able to perform. You need all three, and you don't get them without heavy field experience. But the more you go out, the more you can teach, and if you want to achieve excellence, teaching can act as impetus both to perform more (e.g., demonstrations) and to analyze more (of both your own successes and others' failures).

  7. Immerse yourself in a supportive environment. Tiger Woods, Michael Jackson, Mozart. What'd they all have in common? Well, for one, they started learning their trades between ages 2 and 3. And for another, they all came from incredibly supportive environments.

    I don't care who you are or what you're trying to learn, if everyone around you is against you and telling you you can't do it and nobody's supporting you, you will, at some point, throw your hands up and throw the towel in and give up the ghost. If you don't think the people around you right now will support whatever it is you're trying to master, don't tell them - it's better to have no support than anti-support - but do seek out a group of likeminded people you can talk to, share ideas with, and draw motivation from. You need this to truly reach anything approximating impressive heights.

  8. Seek out mentors. I stressed this recently with a guy whom I had mentored, when he'd been asking me about ways he could improve himself in various avenues, including his career. Finding good mentors is vitally important as you progress in anything.

    The challenge with finding a mentor, of course, is that you've got to provide some kind of value back to that mentor, and you've got to make it easy for him to mentor you - essentially, you've got to go play in his playground. If you think Donald Trump is going to mentor you in business because you shot him an email telling him what a big fan of his you are, you've got a lot to learn about attracting mentors.

    You'll find that mentors are most drawn to a capable, promising-seeming student who's eager to learn and quickly puts into practice the mentor's suggestions and reports back on his results. You've got to be free of ego; if you're competing with your mentor to show him you're superior to him, he'll lose interest in the relationship quick. Rather, you've got to be giving him the rewarding feeling of being able to nurture and help grow someone with tons of potential.

    And you've got to find ways to make it a natural relationship; I haven't seen too many scenarios where a guy's chased down someone he wanted as a mentor and successfully got him. The guys you want as mentors already have hundreds or thousands or millions of other people chasing after them to be mentors; you don't get them by jumping on the bandwagon. You find some way to bring yourself naturally into the mentor's circle, and provide so much value to him that he wants to take you under his wing.

I'm sure that seems like a lot, and it might be a tall order. But mastery, while uncommon, is not so rare that you can't find examples of others who've mastered whatever it is you want to master.

You can. There are examples everywhere. Mastery is something that's becoming more and more common as knowledge explodes all over the world and more and more people start unlocking the keys to the process of how to master whatever it is they want to master.

You might've read this article and thought to yourself, "I am WAY too happy just living a normal life to worry about all this mastery malarkey." In which case, I envy you, in a way. To not be burdened with demons driving you is, perhaps, a certain kind of freedom in its own right.

Or you might've read this article and thought to yourself, "Why should *I* have to change? It's all those other people who don't get it who are the problem!" If that's the case, I actually don't have any envy there, because that's a very frustrating and inevitably unfulfilling life path to end up on - the world and all its inhabitants are never going to stop doing things the way they do them and start doing them a totally different way simply to satisfy the desires of one disgruntled citizen.

But you might just have read this article and thought to yourself, "This is EXACTLY what I want to be doing with...!"

And if that's the case, well... that's why I wrote it.

Happy mastering.

Talk with you next time.

Chase Amante

Chase AmanteAbout the Author: Chase Amante

Chase woke up one day in 2004 tired of being alone. So, he set to work and read every book he could find, studied every teacher he could meet, and talked to every girl he could talk to to figure out dating. After four years, scads of lays, and many great girlfriends (plus plenty of failures along the way), he launched this website. He will teach you everything he knows about girls in one single program in his Mastery Package.


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Balla's picture

Nice article chase, but please explain this to me... I never played organized bball and I'm in my 20's. I'm just starting college again and want to make the team. My question is even if I work on my game everyday religiously how can I compete with people who trained like that for yrs that are on the team now? I will still work on my game but tell me your take on it. Thanks!

Chase Amante's picture

Hey Balla,

When I started playing basketball, I was also way behind everyone else. I knew I couldn't possibly catch up quickly in overall skills, so I decided to just get a foundational level of skill down in the basics (dribbling, passing, blocking, etc.) and focus most of my attention on excelling in an area most other people didn't. For me, it was making crazy shots.

So what would happen was, I'd play in a game and I'd mostly not be very good, because compared to everyone else I had a lot less experience. But at a few times during the game, I'd hit some outrageous shots, and everyone would be stunned and impressed and still talking to me about it after the game. I also got pretty good at defense and would not let people get by me on the court.

So that'd be my recommendation for if you want to make a team but you're already pretty far behind - focus on a few standout areas first, and get well-rounded later. If you're a horrible catcher and a horrible base stealer but you're amazing at hitting a certain kind of hit, you'll stand out, and that might give you a chance.

Uphill battle, but that's what makes it fun, right?


Johny Gordon's picture

Noted that complainer vs fixer point on a few relationship/PuA sites. However, I didn't have the words and concepts. Cheers, Chase!

Garrett's picture

Chase, we have a similar mentality. Your blogs are so captivating, inspiring, and motivating! I have a question, when setting goals, should you just set one and master that goal, or should you set a lot of goals and try to master them all over an extended period of time? I suppose selecting one goal to master is beneficial in the sense that you can devote a lot of your time and energy to that goal, then find another goal to master, but at the same time, if you select several goals to master, you can gradually build yourself up in each field/skill over time, although it may be a bit overwhelming for someone who is a fixer, and is trying to set some specific goals. Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated, thanks!

Chase Amante's picture

Howdy Garrett,

Definitely go for few goals over many. It can be exciting to sit down and write all the things you want to do or be down as goals, but it quickly gets overwhelming when you're trying to execute on those goals. And if you begin dividing your actual attention amongst a small cornucopia of goals, you'll soon find yourself struggling to make headway on any of them.

There's a solid article here on the performance hits you take when multitasking:

"Divided Attention"

The gist of it is, you actually lose performance overall when multitasking, and from my experience I'd tell you it's exactly the same for skill improvement. Actually, it's probably worse; rather than getting more data points in for skill improvement in a specific time span, you're spreading them out over a longer period of time as you work on first one thing, then another.

I realize there might be a lot of things you want to be good at, but you'll burn yourself out if you try to do them all at once. Instead, pick a foundational one - one that will help you as you learn others (e.g., learning how to sell makes you learn some of the basics of charisma, and makes you a better speaker and writer, too, so you'd learn sales first). Once you've reached the level of competency you wanted in that first skill, you then turn your attention to the next thing you want to learn.

One at a time seems slow, but when you've got a range of skills stacked up a few years down the road that other people marvel at and that make you a lot more effective at all the things you want to do and make your life easier in general, you'll be glad you went about it methodically, rather than scattershot as most folks try to do.


Parish's picture

i must say first off i am highly, highly impressed with this website overall...I'm sure you hear it all the time but the info here is truly UNLIKE any other on the web or elsewhere as far as i know of. recently in the last few months i've been improving my life through a book called "Law of Success" by Napoleon Hill and this website GirlsChase. this article in particular very nicely coincides with everything I've been reading except its more relatable due to it being written in this day and age. my only problem is as i am trying to improve i'm starting to notice that many people around me don't have that "crazy" aspect to them that makes them feel uncomfortable with complacency. i'm having a tough time finding more ambitious people (and mentors for that matter) any ideas on how to go about associating myself with more people as this?
Again thank you for your time and any consideration

Chase Amante's picture

Hi Parish,

Thanks. You know, there are lots of other great sites out there with solid advice on them too, if you know where to look - Steve Pavlina's site ( is one that springs quickly to mind. Paul Graham's ( essays on business and entrepreneurship are invaluable as well, although to be honest I spend a lot more time writing blogs than reading them. I'm certain there's lots of good stuff out there, though - too many talented people in the world with lots to say for there not to be.

The Law of Success is a fantastic book. I only read it (listened to it, actually) for the first time about 6 or 7 months ago, but I thought it was very good. Well, perhaps except for the part about the "ether," but that only served to make the rest of the book much better by contrast!

As for finding crazy, ambitious people, it's sort of like meeting the girl(s) of your dreams - it's part luck, part happenstance, part getting out there enough, and part you. You've got to be getting out regularly, and going the places that ambitious people go - social events, mixers, networking things can be decent ways of going about it. Meeting guys who study pickup can be a good way, although the better a guy is at pickup, typically speaking the more of a drama queen he can be... I've had falling outs with most of my friends from the pickup community at some point or other.

The problem with ambitious people (men AND women) is that they often have very concrete ideas about what they like, don't like, and want to do with their time and energy, and that usually clashes with the likes, dislikes, and wants of other ambitious, opinionated people. Most ambitious people you'll meet have a lot of quiet, softer people around them as friends, business partners, and romantic partners. If you learn to strike the right balance though, you can sometimes put together friendships and relationships with ambitious people (as an ambitious person yourself) that endure.

Another aspect of it of course is location. I met a LOT more ambitious people when I was living in Washington, D.C. than I did when I was living in San Diego. Ambitious people gravitate to places where their ambitions can thrive - usually that's a big metropolitan city. If you're not somewhere like that, and you're serious about your ambition and about meeting a lot of likeminded people, you'll probably end up pulling up roots sooner or later - or dialing back the ambition and going for a more relaxed pace of life, as people are wont to do in beach towns like you'll find in Southern California.


Franco's picture

Great article, Chase.

Everything you have mentioned here is something I have inherently come to realize on my own, so although it was less helpful for me, I felt it was a great summary I could e-mail to some of my friends that could really grasp the concepts and make good use of it. At the same time, maybe I could add a few people to your mailing list. ;)

A few things worth mentioning:

As I was reading this article, I immediately thought of how I considered myself to be a "perfectionist" at everything I (wanted to) do. The "Fixer" reminded me of my perfectionist mentality, and I was already beginning to think about how I wanted to write a comment about this at the end of the reading -- sure enough, you had mentioned the "perfectionist" later in the article! Beat me to the punch!

There are many parallels between the "Fixer" and the "Perfectionist," but there are a few distinct differences that I would like to point out (as I considered myself to be the latter but am now trying to balance myself with the former). One of the greatest pitfalls of the perfectionist is the fear of immediate failure. The perfectionist sees failure as something that is not an option. The danger of this mindset is that sometimes an individual will sometimes just completely avoid building a skill that he really wants to be good at because of the fear of the scrutiny that he may receive upon initially starting (and failing at it). The perfectionist wants perfection, and he wants it now. Before I found this website, I really wanted to become better with women. However, I knew I didn't have the data or knowledge to make a significant change that would see results in a short period of time, so I frequently decided to just "avoid it altogether."

While this is an obvious con of the Perfectionist mindset, there are some significant pros to having this method of thinking, IF you channel it correctly. The biggest pro of the Perfectionist is that he fears the idea of never being as equipped as he can possibly be (mentally or physically) for any situation. I'll use myself as an example.

The average reader will come to this website and read your article "Overcoming Approach Anxiety" and think, "Hey, that sounds like pretty helpful advice. Next time I go out, I'm going to employ these tactics/suggestions and see if it's the real deal." If he has some success, he may come back and then read 2 or 3 more articles. Then, with more success from there, he may read 4 or 5 on the next visit... and so forth.

The Perfectionist does not think like this. When the Perfectionist realizes he has struck gold, he will mine the shit out of it until he can extract as much information as possible before even beginning to work with it in real scenarios. Admittedly, I had probably read somewhere between 70-80% of the articles on this website before I had even approached the very first girl. I was well-equipped with the knowledge of pre-opening and even physical escalation long before I had even put myself in a situation to talk to a girl that I was interested in taking home.

I see this as an invaluable trait. But at some point, the Perfectionist needs to realize that there are tougher hills to climb -- hills that will cause you to lose your footing and fall backwards. Learning to pick up women is definitely one of these hills. This is where the Perfectionist needs the "Fixer" mindset to kick in and say, "Hey, you failed. But you were as prepared as you could possibly be, which means there was something that YOU did wrong. Find it and fix it."

The result? I am rapidly getting better with women in a short period of time. In a period of just over 3 months, I have performed full seductions on beautiful women in club environments and taken them back to my place. I still make plenty of mistakes, but I am dedicated, and I am focused... because I have seen success. (As a side note to any readers on this website: This stuff DOES work. Overcome your fears. Make yourself into the person you want to become. Dedicate yourself to it, and you will prosper.)

Anyway, I am rambling at this point, but I thought it would be helpful to get some input from the mindset of a Perfectionist. The human brain is a fun thing to discuss, isn't it? ;)


Chase Amante's picture

Ah Franco, I know that feeling well!

When I first started practicing game it was pretty jarring for me. There I was, Mr. Perfectionist, thinking so highly of myself... and then to go out and get shot down by some random woman in a bar who probably didn't have HALF my accomplishments... how COULD she???

There's nothing that teaches you humility quicker than learning to pick up women in a loud, smokey nightclub where no one gives a rat's ass how good your study skills are or how sharp your learning comprehension is.

But once you get over that initial hump of dealing with the emotional hit that the lack of perfection in your pickups (or any new skill you're trying to learn) engenders, the perfectionist mindset becomes a real asset, like you mention.

I just finished reading a book a friend recommended to me called To Be or Not to Be Intimidated?, by Robert Ringer. It's a completely re-written edition of his classic book Winning Through Intimidation, and it's crystal clear throughout the telling that he's the penultimate perfectionist: slow start, loads of mistakes that the guys faster out of the gate don't make, but once he's accumulated all the right lessons and gotten them all down, he's flying a lot farther than everybody else who was just "winging it."

Making the shift from preparation to participation is without a doubt the hardest thing for the perfectionist to do. But once he's doing it, and once he's past those initial starting roadblocks and hurdles, he often ends up being the toughest dog on the course.

It's good to hear you're making such steady progress, man... rest assured, so long as you keep that perfectionist mindset and keep feeding it with new data to process and analyze and perfect, you'll keep hitting new heights.


lux7's picture

Is it the same guy? :)

Franco's picture


This is indeed me. ;)

I discovered GirlsChase somewhere around April or May of 2012, and this post was made somewhere around the time that I finally started getting my first few lays from cold approach. It was a great "breakthrough" era for me!

- Franco

lux7's picture

Ahaha cool man, a little piece of history there :D.

Cheers :)

J.B's picture

Great article as always! You have a gift for the words, every concept so well explained that i only needed to read it once to comprehend and relate. Keep it up Chase and cant wait for the new forum, i want to be one of the first to sign up.

R!'s picture

I enjoyed this article - it served as something to further confirm some of my own beliefs.

Quick question about mastering emotional states - I'm struggling with the concept of being carefree. At first glance, it seems like a great emotional stance to have; if you don't care about anything, how can anything faze you? Seems bizarre. But I've come to the realization that it is impossible to be truly carefree. It's only human to care - if I don't care about anything, then I care about not caring, which is quite a paradox.

I suppose being carefree as an emotional state means that you care, but not too much. Caring about things is the only way to truly achieve, if I didn't care about becoming great in social situations or relationships I wouldn't be here. The mentality would probably be something along the lines of, I care about being great at seduction, but if I was to forever be horrible at it, I'd be okay. For another example, I care about my family, but if something horrible was to happen to them I would still be able to maintain my emotional state.

Seems kind of heartless to me. Not going to extremes is something that I know you preach, however sometimes I feel that extremity is all relative.

I'm about to ramble on here, so I'll get to the point. I'd love to see an article on being carefree, though there may already be one. I know that The Success Factor explains being carefree briefly, but that serves as more of a general guide. And, well, I am a man of specifics and details; it's the only way I know that I have truly mastered information. If you could point me to an article to read (which probably means re-read in my case!) on this topic or create one, that'd be awesome. I love the way you keep me learning.

Franco's picture


Everyone is human, so you are going to care and not care about things that occur in your life (and even the most rock-steady of men have varying emotional states). The difference between men who are "carefree" and those who are "intense" or "worry-warts" (for lack of a better term) is that the men who are truly 'carefree' know that the end result of caring too much or showing too much emotion (especially as it pertains to women) is usually negative, unwanted, and unattractive.

Women are attracted to the idea of a man being carefree because women, by nature, have an extreme amount of worries themselves. I believe Chase has an article where he lists the multiple worries of women and mentions about "walking a mile in their shoes," but I can't for the life of me remember which article it is. In any case, the idea of being carefree can be more easily grasped when you realize that the end result of being carefree is almost always much more positive than being intense or worried -- and this extends beyond women into almost all other aspects of life.

Just to be clear, by no means am I saying that you should never show care toward something you truly care about -- if you want to truly master something, you obviously must care about it. The important thing to note is that failures and other "worries" will plague you during the process... but it is the man who is "carefree" that will see these inevitable obstacles as a part of life and something that should learn to be dealt with rather than complained about or avoided.

For further comprehension, here are a couple of articles pertaining to why being a "worry-wart" will not lead to success with women:

Don't Complain to Women
Staying Unfazed

- Franco

Sam's picture

Dear Chase,

I have read almost all the posts of this blog and I appreciate the depth and quality of their content.

Last night I reached a new level in my skill in meeting women. I approached for the first time a double-digit number of women, I talked to 10 women. Until last night, for over a year I used to approach 3-4 women a time. Last night's results in combination with this post on mastery made me reflect on the results I have had so far with women. Before I express my thoughts and ask for your comment, let me give you last night's stats: 10 women approached. 1 married. 5 in relationship. 4 single of which 1 gave me her number.

You are right that once you get intermediate you see things from a panoramic point of you. However, while you stop paying attention to instances, you still take notice of patterns. Here is what I came up with: during this year of effort and practice I did not achieve absolute abundance. The women I desired the most were either not single or they evolved into flakey numbers. Let's assume that flakes are about my skill, but what about the non-single women? How do you fix this? Does it mean that I will always be attracted the most to unavailable women or is it just a matter of luck and meeting even more women?

Clearly, I have reached a plateau where I can get second-choice women with relative consistency, but not first-choice women, not the ones that made my heart lose beat.

What does the fixer do here?

Chase Amante's picture

Hey Sam,

Props on reaching that new plateau! There are few things better than attaining new heights in something you're hard at work on.

Your next step is going to be keeping your approaches up in the double-digits for a while. To start really getting a sense of where you stand with women, you need LOTS of data points, and 3 to 4 a night, unless you're going out 7 days a week, won't quite get you there.

Bear in mind that in small sample sizes (e.g., one night's worth of women), you're likely to see murky data. You might go out one night, meet 10 women, and all of them are single and they all love you. Then the next night, you go out and get a string of cold receptions, and half of them are in committed relationships already. Be very wary about drawing any conclusions off of small amounts of data like this.

So - now that you're at that new plateau, keep it up - keep doing larger numbers of approaches and getting more data points; keep trying out new things. Start identifying what's working with girls who like you and what's misfiring with the girls you like more.

As you zero in on these, you'll get more and more ideas about what you can change and refine to upgrade your skills.


DWP's picture

Fantastic article Chase, absolutely wonderful. I mean it.

I'm an avid reader of GirlsChase, and I must say, this article is probably one of the most important, if not the most important, fundamental concepts that nobody really talks or thinks about. Before, it was like something you could vaguely grasp at, and that you never really considered until one day, you realized "I've complained, but nothing's fixed itself. My concerns are just swept away by others' problems. What's going on here?"

If even just this one article would be read by everyone, it could most likely change the way most people think. But hey, it's up for grabs, and until the "complainers" decide to become "fixers" and deliberately look for solutions, this article will remain a place for those who are looking to further their ambitions!

Mark's picture

Hey Chase,
Thanks for another great article! I already had been doing some of those things without knowing, but it really helped to see everything you had to say on it.
I have a question. I have more or less mastered a few things in my life, but at the moment I am really trying to master being witty and the ability to be able to think up amazing comebacks on the fly. How would you suggest going about this. I am a fixer and somewhat crazy haha.

Chase Amante's picture

Hi Mark,

If you check out the post on how to be playful and skim down to the part titled "Timing: It's Everything," I talk about some of my early experiences learning a sense of humor there.

I don't know how other guys learned wit, but for me it was a lot of meticulous sifting through my experiences, coming up with witty stories, and telling those later, along with coming up with zingers in advance for things I repeatedly heard or situations I repeatedly found myself in. It becomes automatic after a while, but at least if you learn wit the way I did you'll be "storing up" comebacks for a while.

Learning the rules of improvisational humor is also important... some of the best humor I find is about taking things to slightly absurdist directions that people wouldn't normally think of, and deadpanning it.

Like, some girl tells you that she hates dogs, and you tell her that you heard on TV that people who hate dogs are terrible in bed. And when she gives you a look of feigned shock, you coolly follow up with, "Just sayin'" or you shrug and say, "Hey, I'm just the messenger."

A lot of humor is in the follow-up, too. Little things you say after the remark can mean a lot.


Mark's picture

Alright, thanks a ton. Did you have to practice a long time before it became second-nature? Because I can make up puns in any situation without thinking, but puns are pretty much universally accepted as the lamest form of humor or wit it seems. And if seen as funny at all, it would be classified as clown funny. I feel that a sense of humor or wit more similar to yours would be far more attractive to both Platonic and romantic ends. Do you think that it would be a big jump to switch from quick thinking involved in puns to other better forms of wit and humor?
Thanks, Mark

Chase Amante's picture

Hey Mark,

I remember really focusing on it in 8th grade, and being hilarious but still largely scripted in 9th grade. By 10th grade I think I was becoming more spontaneous, and by the time I was in 11th grade I'd stopped scripting stuff much at all and actually started tuning down the humor because it was too much and I was starting to have people comment that I should be a comedian because I was so hilarious, which wasn't what I wanted by that point... I wanted it to be natural, and something that people almost didn't notice.

Your learning curve might be different, especially if you already have a natural ear / mind for puns, which aren't easy to come up with on the fly without a sharp wit already developed.

One of the biggest mindset shifts in the style of humor I employ is defusing awkward or unhelpful situations. Like, you're in a group and some guy starts talking about his love of cheeses... who talks about that? So you cut the guy off at the pass before he can weird everyone out and cause the group to disperse with awkwardness, and make a remark like, "There's a French person in every group," or, "Somebody get this guy some crackers and a glass of wine before he kills somebody." Or, some girl starts talking about how much she hates waiting in line, and you defuse it before it goes into a bad thread where she's talking about stuff she hates and tying negative anchors to being in conversation with you. So you say, "You know what I hate? When I'm waiting in line, and then suddenly I realize I should be in the OTHER line and that I've just wasted 10 minutes in this totally useless line that there's no reason for me to be in."


Chase Amante's picture

I've heard this before on schizophrenia - it's interesting, yeah. Pretty sure this is true for most mental disorders / personality disorders... this quote from the article referenced is particularly insightful:

"Certain harmful mental disorders in humans, such as schizophrenia and manic–depression, are often seen as puzzles from an evolutionary perspective. The heritability of those mental disorders and their frequency in the population at various levels of severity suggests that they may have been evolved through selection, yet they often significantly decrease the survival prospects of those afflicted by them (Keller & Miller, 2006; Nesse & Williams, 1994)."

Anyway, neat to think about.


Anon's picture

"The more I study the things psychology considers "disorders," the more I tend to think that these "disorders" are a fundamental discontent with the status quo. Either a lack of faith in it entirely (e.g., people who are paranoid) or a desire to ignore it (e.g., schizoid and schizotypal) or to bend it to one's will (e.g., borderlines and histrionics and narcissists)."

This paragraph, mind if I use it as a quote in an essay that I have to write? It's pure genius, imo.

Chase Amante's picture

Well, of course, though you know you don't need to ask about using quotes! That's the law of copyright - so long as a quote's properly attributed, you're in the clear ;)


Jay's picture

Great article but it's half the story. The type of personal drive needed for this amount of change is often acquired through a brush with death, which you refer to glancingly because you can't recommend that part to people. But it is attached to the rise as night is to day. The process is allied to rising again, or rebirth. To keep it up, creative people know, you may have to recycle down, and including that in your essay would really sound insane. In general in life, you have to go down before you can go up. Down as in shadow. Seduction is still a dark art. Check out the other consequences of perfecting the game in The Game by Strauss, who draws a more complete picture.

Chase Amante's picture

Hey Jay,

Interesting to consider. I've had my own very close encounters with death, but haven't discussed with others I know who are driven to master things, and I haven't seen any research on people who attain mastery.

If this were a universal necessity, you'd expect it to be true for everyone. I can't say I've heard of Tiger Woods or Beethoven or Gary Kasparov (just very recently deceased) having had a brush with death that provided the fuel to the demons driving them, but you never know.

I think what you might be driving at is the more elemental motivator for why someone feels so compelled to need to master something. Having come back from near death is one thing that can compel one, I think, if one comes out of it thinking he needs to do something more with his life. There are plenty of others, though, too. Steve Jobs seems to have been driven at first by a need to make up for having been abandoned as an infant, and later to prove that he really was the best thing that could ever happen to Apple.

You're certainly right that creatives cycle up and down; depression's been linked fairly strongly with creativity (as have other traits like arrogance and independence... even international travel). People who run life on a straight line with few ups or downs are the ones Theodore Roosevelt referred to as the "cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat" in his "Citizen in a Republic" address. Part of this is natural predispositions, but part of it is the situations one puts oneself in - it's far easier to keep constant emotions when you keep your life the same, never changing anything, never attempting much of significance.

One final note on the "near death" point: I once had a former government profiler tell me I had an edge about me that only people who've come very close to death have. Hadn't heard that before, but as it was coming from a guy who'd gone to school for and had spent years of his life profiling everyone from corporate managers to convicted killers, I'd imagine he knew what he was talking about, and that "edge" may be a kind of dogged tenacity that it's hard to have when you're still afraid of what awaits you on the other side of life's mortal coil.


Ali Alshakhs's picture

Hi Chase, I'm new to this website, and this is one of the first articles I read. (What draw me to this website, of course, is that I'm very bad socially.) I gotta say, this article was AWESOME! You are very motivational, and I am very much inspired to move forward and become the kind of charismatic, social guy that I dream to be.
But I would like to say a little about my story here. I hope that that's OK with you.
Life is currently being very difficult for me. I am in a deep hole. And I am fighting a very tough fight on many fronts. Not that it is not my fault. I admit it, it is all my fault. And it is my responsibility to change what is wrong. I took the personality disorder test, and here are my results:
Paranoid: Moderate
Schizoid: High
Schizotypal: Moderate
Antisocial: Low
Borderline: Very High
Histrionic: High
Narcissistic: High
Avoidant: High
Dependent: High
Obsessive-Compulsive: High
So I'm pretty much crazy on every scale but three. I don't have many friends, almost none, even though I am not naturally anti social as it is clear from the test results. I am incredibly terrified of women. I guess there is no shame in admitting also that I am a virgin- even though I am already 28.
Adding to that, I am also jobless. (I live with my parents.) My social phobia has interfered with my ability to function normally in a job environment, so I dropped out of work two times now. The good news though is that I have passed my depression period, and I haven't been thinking of suicide for over a year now. And I am very motivated to work on my social skills because I know that once I become socially functional, everything will become normal and I would be able to work and succeed in my job as well.
So here is my situation. I have nothing. Nothing but great hope and a whole lot of ambition. What do I aspire to do? I wanna become a scientist. My greatest role model in life is Albert Einstein. I am really inspired by him and I want to even surpass him in knowledge and discovery. (I also like philosophy, and creative writing; like writing novels. And I like music, even though I have no background in it whatsoever. One of my dreams actually is learning how to play the piano and enjoy creating my own music. Not that I would do that for profit, not necessarily, but just for fun.)
Anyways, so that's pretty much it. That's my life.
I really like you're articles. They are very good. You are doing humanity a great service. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
And please feel free to leave me any comments here if you may. I would really appreciate it. And I would be grateful for any piece of advice.
Ali Alshakhs

scarygood536's picture

Reading the article, which is very motivational by the way, it seems to stress your ability to be analytical of your faults and failures. I agree you need to scrutinize this to progress your momentum forward towards mastery, but isn't analyzing what went right important too? I mean if something works shouldn't you analyze why it worked rather than keep doing it because it worked? Or is that just wasting time? Reading the article, I found myself to have similar qualities to a "go get'er" or "Fixer", but lacking a few qualities that gives me the drive to motivate me to do better. After this insightful article i am more self aware and willing to work on it. Starting NOW I will apply these traits to my life and every aspect of it.

Roark's picture

Hey Chase,

Wonderful article, as always.

This notion of successful and brilliant people being a bit crazy makes a ridiculous amount of sense. I've felt that such was the case for a while, but I've never really been able to put my finger on it. Since you mention chess a bit, the example of Bobby Fischer comes to mind (also died recently, like Kasparov). As you probably know, he was arguably one of the greatest chess players of all time, and he sort of became insane as he grew older. He actually fits all of the characteristics in this article perfectly, now that I think about it. At a very young age he was playing chess obsessively, and, when he first started out, he only really used one opening. Eventually, he was able to analyze any situation and make the best of it.
The connection between brilliant and crazy is an interesting one. It'd be cool to really figure out how these traits are related.

Anyways, thanks again, Chase. Incredible job.,


SlowHand's picture

The idea of mastering specific skills that act as sort of building blocks for your life has been revelatory for me over the past couple months, and I keep coming back to this article to reign myself in after going off track or getting really frustrated and down. So, first off, MANY THANKS! ;)

When starting out, I found myself acting on extremes. At first, I was pulled in by everything; I wanted to learn a language, play music, write lyrics and stories, learn how to meet women, start an organization, travel the world and on and on. After a while it became apparent that, like you said in your reply to 'setting goals', that if you stretch yourself out too far your motivation/desire to reach that goal will expire before you progress enough to gain any value from the skill. Also, since your data points are farther spread apart, you will actually learn slower per energy/time spent.

Currently, I am experimenting on a sort of intense focus period where literally all I do is think about/play bass. However, it has come at the cost of my other goals (since my abundance extreme, I have narrowed my ultimate objectives, for right now, down to 3), one of them being women. I worry that I am actually overdoing it, where the amount of new information is exceeding my ability to process it. So, I am looking for some advice on specifically how to balance your goals in terms of organizing them mentally and time/energy wise (spending a couple hours a day on each...or an entire day/week on each). Although I am progressing really quickly with bass, I don't feel as satisfied since I am constantly thinking about its cost on my other two objectives. When you were playing/writing music, did you also work on your skills in women? What mix have you found to be most productive?

Also, you know I'd love to hear you should attach a link ;P

Much Love! SH

lucifer7's picture

... Can you be my mentor?

(Stupid) jokes aside, I wanted to ask you something: you never were completely bad in social circumstances, right?

I ask because I'm amazed at thinking at the way you learned all you learned just through study and dedication, like "wit" for example, which is considered are one of those innate things that are hard to learn.

I ask because I'd be even more amazed to know you were really poor in social skills, also because most people with strong and burning passions are often considered the weirdy, socially unskilled people
(I think of the crazy math loving coders in many companies, the IT teams of Indians, or people with Asperger who excel in some domains.. )

Joshy_Vengeance777's picture

Hey Amante!
Gotta say, learning a lot from the articles thanks for writing them. Starting to work on my music and research.. gonna be doing some revolutionary things in the future! I was wondering if there was any more info and tips you can give on this.. you should make another article i'd definitely appreciate it. My brain is like a sponge i just like to soak up knowledge.. can't really help it lol. I'm grateful for the site though, already see you're doing great things! you and the team are doing an awesome job keep it up!

Nick Shaw's picture

Hi Chase,

Not only are you good at what you teach-that is pickup, it is evident that you are a brilliant writer as well. When I try to de-construct (carrying on from what deliberate practice is in breaking down a skill into its components) your writings, I notice that you

a) make a certain statement
b) explain why that statement is true, or why it works ie the reasoning behind it
c) Give a lot of examples or personal experiences backing the statement

And then you move on to the next proposition, followed by the same three points

It is also quite visible that the different propositions have a kind of flow in them. One proposition kind of follows another and nothing is abrupt or out of place. I have also noticed that you tend to go much deeper than what the title of the article implies. To illustrate, the title for this article is 'how to master anything'. Someone like me would write - the way to master something is to do this this and this and the reason for that is such and such. You have started the article with - there are two kinds of people fixers and complainers. And then built the article from there.

So my question to you is - what is the thought process that goes into writing an article. And could you deconstruct the process of writing an article for someone like me. Thirdly, how to develop ones skills in writing.

This is really important for me because once one understands the process of writing, one can extend it into other areas such as giving talks, presentations and so on. This is especially important for someone like me who is pursuing a Phd and aims to become a lecturer.

mikeh71's picture

I agree with you when you mention teaching as a way to master a skill.
I ask a friend of mine who played poker for years to teach me thinking he should ;-) be a good teacher due to experience, he wasn't after a few hours I learn how to play poker mostly due to taking notes and then played a few rounds with him. Later that night I told my friend If I had taught this game I could do it 15 minutes, He laughed, I should him, silence. I always had a knack for simplifying things. a good benchmark of knowledge of a skill is the ability to teach it by being brief, concise, and clear.

Aether's picture

Hi Chase. I'm 18 years old right now and just graduated high school a couple weeks ago. I wanted to ask you about the nature of your sales job (how you got it, was it in-store or were you given leads, did they give you a base salary separate from commission etc.). I'm really interested about going into sales because I think I can learn a lot of valuable skills from it. I've been looking around for an entry level sales position but so far, no luck. How did you stumble upon your first sales position. And what advice would you give to a novice like me? Thanks for your time :D

Anonymous's picture

Very nice article ! exactly what I was looking for.
It now seems clearer to me.

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