The Law of Least Effort
I’ve been mentioning it for a while on here, but a friend pointed out to me recently that I have yet to actually flesh out something I’ve been referring to as the Law of Effort; henceforth referred to as the Law of Least Effort for reasons of clarity.
When I say the Law of Least Effort, what I’m referring to is a very simple, but very universal and little-understood, social rule common to all forms of socializing (not limited to courtship and seduction by any means, though certainly of substantial importance there as well, perhaps especially so). Basically, that the person who appears to put the least amount of effort out, while getting the largest amount of effort returned to him by others, comes across as the most socially powerful.
Note the italics around the word “appears” in that bolded section of the second paragraph. We aren’t necessarily talking about the person who is actually, literallytrying the least, but rather the person who is able to accomplish the most with the appearance of putting in the least amount of work.
Appearance. It’s all appearance. Or, half appearance, half results. The appearance part is how much effort you’re expending; the actual-results part is what you actually get from others.
Think back to the Hard Push. That’s the nickname I’ve given to the kind of persistence I talked about in Don’t Let Her Go. It’s basically talking a girl out of leaving (or, alternatively, into coming with you). If you were to watch me, or anyone who does this with any degree of expertise, persuade a woman who was about to leave to instead stay, it would look like very little effort was involved. All the guy persisting did was tell his girl four or five times not to go, give her another reason to stick around each time, in a very laidback, relaxed tone, and she stuck around.
Here’s the rub, though: as effortless as it sounds, now ask a guy who’s never done that before how hard he might find it to do. For most men, this is so outside their experience and worldview and seems so hard to them that it isn’t even something they’d consider trying.
But, the appearance is that the man who persisted in a relaxed manner andsucceeded achieved a great deal with very little expended effort. And because of that, he looks quite powerful: he achieved a lot while hardly lifting a finger. That’s the appearance.
Think of every single man you have ever considered cool. Some of them may have been tall guys; some of the may have been short guys; they may have been fat guys, skinny guys, old guys, young guys, white guys, black guys, Asian guys, and everything in between. A colossal variety of guys, all with different personalities, and probably with only one thing in common amongst the lot of them: every man you think of as “cool” subconsciously knows and obeys the Law of Least Effort. He does things that minimize the appearance of effort on his part, while maximizing his results.
I personally have been (unconsciously) aware of the Law of Least Effort since seventh grade. That was the age that I began learning the art of making the things I wanted come to me. I did things like developing a sense of humor with a wit that appealed to both the students and the teachers, that made teachers like me more and work with me better, and students like me more and try to socialize with me more often. I dressed in cool, different clothing that attracted attention passively, without me having to actively do anything. I found ways of positioning myself around school so that pretty girls and cool kids would come into proximity with me, and I made myself an attractive enough, interesting enough individual that the most popular girls in school asked me out on dates, and the coolest kids in school asked me to go to their parties. If that wasn’t some good, solid positive reinforcement for me back then on the power of the Law of Least Effort, I don’t know what else could have been.
The funny thing is, I was putting in a lot of work in those days. I was probably working harder at appearing effortless than anyone else was working at positioning themselves socially any other way. The reason it was such hard work, I see now in retrospect, is because I was learning an entirely new field: the art ofappearing effortless.
When I first began studying seduction, it really threw me off, because the way I went about it in my early days, and the way I went about it after discovering the pickup community, was very clearly a high-effort endeavor. It was no doubt obvious to women, despite my years of honing my abilities at appearing effortless, that I was trying to meet girls.
Take a look at most of what’s taught in the seduction community. Opinion openers? There is no woman in a nightclub who really believes a man just had to know who lies more – men or women? She knows a guy who’s walked up to her throwing an opinion opener at her is there to meet her, and is doing his song and dance to gradually win her over. Routines? They seem designed, in about 99 out of 100 cases, to impress and entertain.
Fortunately, I learned fairly early on under a few really smart guys whose focus on investment as one of the pillars of attraction set me back on the course ofmaximizing the investment of the women in my life while minimizing theappearance of my own investment. Again, the word “appearance” is key there – oftentimes, I was spending a greater deal of time and mental effort and concern on women than perhaps any other companion they’d had before ever had, but I always made an effort to make my effort appear effortless.
As you become increasingly familiar with investment and compliance, it pretty radically changes your worldview. You notice even small, subtle things – like how much of a woman’s body is turned toward you, or how much of her mental energy and focus she is putting into a conversation with you – and calculate how much she’s investing. You become hyper-aware of investment.
As you become aware of investment more and more, you become more skilled atgetting it. Because as you improve you can get investment faster and easier, you necessarily begin to get it seemingly more effortlessly, as well, and very naturally increase your default level of “cool” stemming from others’ perception of the balance of effort you’re putting out and effort you’re receiving back. A focus on investment, over time, makes you cool almost by default, because it indirectly teaches you the Law of Least Effort.
I typically like to give a lot of practical, real world tips and suggestions and examples on how to use a technique I’ve written about, but the Law of Least Effort is rather different than the kind of thing you can immediately go out and start doing. Instead, it’s something that should influence your thoughts and actions as you move through your interactions with others.
“How can I get what I want while appearing as effortless as possible?” you might ask yourself. This is a great place to start, and a good launching pad for exploring the power of the Law of Least Effort.
Some other good general tips:
Find ways to maximize the positive attention you receive passively. This includes most fundamentals, like posture, nonverbals, and hair- and dress-styling. The more positive attention you receive from people without having to actively do anything to get it, the better.
Find ways to maximize your level of visible comfort. You should always be the most comfortable person in the room. A good rule of thumb is, if you feelcomfortable, you look comfortable. The more comfortable you look, the more confident, strong, and effortless you appear.
Find ways to minimize your level of investment. One reason I got myself very good at connecting with women rapidly was because once women feel a connection, they tend to be incredibly talkative – and talking, for me at least, is work. It’s much easier to be the listener while someone else talks and talks – and if you’re comfortable as you listen, you appear to be expending far less effort, while the woman you’re speaking with does her best to impress and attract you.
Get good at giving orders and commands in a very relaxed, low-effort way. When giving people orders or commands, you want to give those orders or commands in a voice that is both dominant and demanding, but also relaxed and calm. The more effortlessly you appear to state your demands, the more likely you are to get compliance with those demands.
The Law of Least Effort is pervasive – you will find it everywhere, in just about everything. Learn it well, and begin applying it whenever you find yourself socializing. You’ll be thrilled when you see it in action – appearing effortless is a critical part of being successful in dating, relationships, and all manner of courtship and social interactions.
You’ll love it – I promise.
'Til next time.
If you enjoyed this post, check out the one on sprezzatura. The Law of Least Effort is fleshed out even further there, and a diagram showing the four categories of men is displayed, giving a very clear perspective on how the effort-expended-to-returns-received ratio works.
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