A chapter of my life, in the words of a massively bestselling author

January 30, 2022 by Joshua
in Nonjudgment, Relationships, Stories

Regular readers of my blog and listeners of my podcast know that before I started coaching executives and leading famous people and after decades of struggling with social and emotional skills, limiting my intimacy, especially with women, I dove headlong into learning attraction skills. I shared about it in depth in my Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll series on my podcast, where I was the guest, particularly the episode on sex.

For years, I kept that identity secret out of fear of people with loud voices and preconceived notions that society listened to more than people like me: a guy who had to go out of his way to learn social and emotional skills. Now I don’t promote it, but I don’t hide it either. With my coaching clients, male and female, sharing about it allows those interested in increasing intimacy dramatically increases our ability to advance.

Joshua Spodek watercolor

Clearing out an old hard drive, I found my old stash of books, videos, and literature I learned from. When I started in 2007-08, I devoured everything I could find, and kept accumulating more, so there was a lot. I found an old post I had read from 2010. When I reread it the other day, I was pleasantly surprised about how much it rang true that I thought about sharing it here. I also thought twice about post about it since the community then comprised a lot of geeky guys who, like many tight-knit communities struggling against an oppressive majority, developed a cliquey language. To outsiders it reads very geeky. To those with preconceived notions, it could sound misogynist. Maybe some guys were misogynist, but not ones that I knew or worked with.

The arc the post described resonated enough that I thought it valuable to share my development, despite the risk of misunderstanding. Then I looked up the author and it turned out to be Mark Manson, then under pseudonym, soon to become the massively bestselling author of three #1 New York Times bestselling books, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, Everything Is Fucked, and Love Is Not Enough. So I think he’s established enough that people can read his material, even when it was laden with lingo, that people can overcome any preconceived notions that guys in this world were struggling, devoid of help from society, wanting to improve ourselves.

I was in it over five years, becoming the #1 coach in the #1 market for the #1 guru, so the stuff at Stage 4 rang true, as did the earlier stages in their times. It doesn’t describe my development perfectly. Everyone is unique, but overall, many similarities, the high points as much as the insecurities and vulnerabilities.

Here’s his original post, with comments: Guide to Your PUA Development. At the bottom he promotes reposting, so here it is. The rest of this post after the horizontal separator is Mark.

About two and a half years ago, I wrote a post titled The Newbie Guide to PUA Development. It was designed to give newbies a blueprint to follow to help them improve and succeed as quickly as possible. It became widely popular, being stickied on various forums around the world and garnering tens of thousands of views and hundreds of replies.

This is a much-needed update and revision to that first document. Information and theory in the PUA industry has evolved quite a bit since early 2008. Not to mention my own understanding of people’s development.

There’s a lot of information out there to sift through and a lot of people telling you that THEIR way is the CORRECT way. The truth is, developing your skills with women is a personal journey, and everyone is going to gravitate towards their own style and interests. But there are some common sign posts that we all pass along the way which I hope to elucidate here.

This is my best attempt of organizing everything out there into a comprehensible “big picture” format to base your learning around. Focus is on what types of practice and action you should be taking, not just theory.

Finally, as I said in the last version of this document, the common denominator in everyone’s success with this stuff is the same as it is with any other skill-set: the effort you put in and your willingness to change your behavior. Nothing written below will mean anything to you if you’re not willing to humble yourself enough to learn or put in the necessary effort to achieve the results you want.

A few notes before we begin:

  1. The recommended time frames below are assuming regular activity and practice. They’re based on my observations of dozens, if not hundreds, of guys over the past five years. Obviously there are exceptions, but I find these time-frames to be the most common.
  2. Like many things, learning pick up is not completely linear. In fact, it’s probably impossible to lay out a perfect linear progression that everyone must follow, as everyone’s preferences, natural strengths/weaknesses, lifestyles, etc. differ very widely. Chances are your particular progression will bleed over between phases slightly. So don’t be alarmed if you see a little of yourself in one stage ahead and/or behind where you are. That’s probably normal.
  3. Recommended products are the ones I’ve found of highest quality and most applicable to that particular sticking point. All links are not affiliated.

Stage 1: Newbie

Experience: Varies widely. Commonalities usually includes being very passive and supplicant, failed relationships or complete lack of relationships in the past. Social skills range from decent to abysmal. Personal lifestyle ranges from very strong to very weak.
Purpose: To educate himself and try just enough to figure out what works for him and what doesn’t.
Average Timeframe: 0 – 6 Months

We all come from very different backgrounds. From 18-year-old high school students to 55-year-old retired professors. Divorcees and virgins. Engineers and artists. Every country, all walks of life, rich or poor. Some of us come wanting a new girlfriend/wife. Others want to fuck everything that will stop and let us. Either way, the idea that we all should be taught the same thing or that there’s a one-size-fits-all-formula is ridiculous.

As a newbie, you must take it upon yourself to educate yourself as much as possible and then experiment enough to understand what works well for you and what doesn’t. Everything out there is “right” in one way or another — in that it worked for the author. But that doesn’t mean it will necessarily work for you. So you must try it out and see how it feels. It’s also your responsibility to get your baseline lifestyle in order to even give yourself a chance to meet and attract new women.

  • Reach a Baseline Lifestyle – A baseline lifestyle is the very basic components of a lifestyle that you need to even be considered an option to any self-respecting woman. Baseline lifestyle requires health, profession and friends. This is basically what “having a life” is, and if you don’t have one, no amount of practice, theory or tricks will ever help you. You will have horribly inconsistent success and when you do manage to get laid, you will never keep a woman around. Ever. Health means you are at least healthy. You don’t have to be ripped or run a marathon. But be healthy. If you’re obese, you need to lose weight. If you’re skinny, you should join a gym. If you’re chronically ill or very sick, you need to get it under control first. Profession means that you have some sort of purpose with your life. It means you’re employed and if you don’t have a career, you at least have plans for one. I don’t care how good-looking and charming you are, no woman dates a broke deadbeat with no job. Or at least no woman we’d ever want to hook up with. Friends means you have friends. World of Warcraft Guild members don’t count. Facebook friends don’t count. IRC chat buddies don’t count. Friends. Real friends that you see in person, hang out with, go out with and do things with. If you don’t have friends, there’s nothing PUA can do for you. Take care of that first.
  • Learn and Understand All of the Fundamentals – Fundamental seduction and pick up knowledge is a must to even get started. There are more than enough available books out there covering the basics (recommendations below). Get your hands on them and try to understand everything in them.The most important topics to understand are the following: how attraction is built and the many ways to do it, basics of conversation and rapport, basics of texting/phone calls/follow up, dates, escalation and roughly the steps it’s done in, fashion and style, body language. If you feel like you’re weak at any specific topic, spend more time on it. All of the above topics are MANDATORY. Other pick up concepts that you should understand: the difference between day game, night game, and social circle game. The concept of social proof and social status. Canned game (routines) versus natural game. Direct versus indirect.
  • Learn to Approach – The first one will always be the hardest, so get it over with as soon as you can. A lot of guys wait a long time before they grow the balls to get out there and actually do it (it took me over three months to do my first approach). Right now, unless you’re working with a coach, most of your approaches will not go well. That’s fine and expected. Get used to the awkwardness. Learn that it’s not such a big deal.
  • Figure Out What Works for You and What Doesn’t – Everyone responds to different pick up and seduction material differently. I personally gravitated towards natural game and David DeAngelo’s material. I mostly went out at night. I have friends who gravitated towards canned routines and became very good. I know guys who did mostly day game and went direct. Chances are, you’re going to suck at almost everything right now, so figure out what FEELS MOST COMFORTABLE. Figure out what material and theory makes you say, “I could do this for the next few years and enjoy it.” Once you find that method, coach or specific school of thought, stick with it.
  • Seek Out Wingmen – Motivating yourself becomes 100 times easier if you can find like-minded guys in your area willing to go out with you. Wingmen are critical when you start out. Not only to help and learn from each other, but to push each other and keep each other motivated. Look into a local lair. If the lair sucks (many do), then post on some message boards or look around Facebook.

Recommended Products for Newbies:

  1. Practical Pickup by Entropy (http://www.practicalpickup.com)
  2. Double Your Dating by David DeAngelo (http://www.doubleyourdating.com)
  3. Magic Bullets by Savoy (http://www.lovesystems.com)
  4. The Game by Neil Strauss (Check Amazon)

Stage 2: Intermediate

Experience: Able to open and hook many sets. Can consistently get phone numbers when going out. Has a solid understanding of basic pick up theory. Has been going out for a few months. Has probably gotten laid a few times, although it’s very inconsistent and feels “lucky.” Most importantly, understands what works for him and is able to focus on that.
Purpose: To improve their results from inconsistent to consistent.
Average Timeframe: 6 Months – 2 Years

Guys in the intermediate stage can often be deceiving and to an untrained eye often appear better than they actually are. They can open and hook many sets, often in a very charming and exciting manner, and to most civilians and newbies this looks very impressive. Unfortunately, they don’t get laid often and when they do, it’s usually because the girl is very easy and/or she puts in most of the effort escalating. A lot of intermediate guys start believing they’re better than they are as well, and often begin coaching. Which is fine, as long as they’re coaching newbies.

Intermediate guy’s worst enemy is lack of persistence. His lack of persistence comes from the fact that he’s still somewhat sexually inexperienced and he hasn’t developed much emotional resilience to the unforgiving ups and downs of chasing women. Intermediate guys often complain of their state. They also often eject too often congratulating themselves that they got a girl attracted to them or a make-out, yet not having the balls or persistence to take things sexual.

Intermediate guys have the fundamentals under their belt and have a good understanding of what works with their personality and purpose. Now it’s just a matter of honing that into results on a consistent basis.

  • Developing Emotional Resilience – Or what is referred to in psychology as an “internal locus of evaluation.” This was also commonly referred to in the community as “state control” a few years ago. But basically the idea is that responses you receive from women vary widely, from amazingly awesome (”OMG, she loves me!”) to abysmal (”OMG, she told me to fuck off and die!”). Early on, most guys let their emotions become determined by these responses and therefore they become mood-based pick up artists. When they feel great, they do great. When they feel like crap, they do poorly.There’s no short answer for this outside of experience, and a very particular type of experience. Guys must learn to detach the reactions they get from women from their ego and their self-esteem. A common favorite among coaches is to create “blow out” games or other fun approaching games designed to turn bad responses into something fun and interesting for wingmen to laugh about. A lot of bootcamps revolve around this as well as “inner game” based coaching. Unfortunately though, the only long-term cure for this is sexual experience and many positive reference experiences. How long it will take a guy to develop this will depend on two things: his pre-community experiences with women (including his mother), and his determination and will-power. A lack in either department will create one of those moody and drama-queen PUA’s that probably all of us have been out with at one point or another.
  • Master Sexual Escalation – It’s actually pretty surprising how many guys get stuck at this. Again, because it’s so easy to be perceived as “good” without actually getting laid and because it’s so easy to receive validation from women (more on that later) without getting laid, many complacent guys never put in the effort to succumb to the vast amount of awkward moments mastering that sexual escalation demands. But if you put a gun to my head and said, “what’s the one thing I can learn that will get me the laid the most the fastest,” it’d be sexual escalation. If you went out and just escalated like a pervert on every girl you met, you’d get slapped a lot, you’d get rejected a lot, but you’d get laid a lot as well. It wouldn’t be pretty, but hey, if that’s what you’re looking for, there you go. Sexual escalation is a complicated topic because of the sexual anxiety that most guys possess to varying degrees. The process of mastering this is often more complicated than simply “touch X, then touch Y, then say Z,” although once mastered, that’s what it looks like. It’s also important to understand the basics of same night lays, primarily the importance of logistics.
  • Understand Basic Inner Game – It was a fad for a couple years recently that “inner game is the only game.” Unfortunately, I think this has proved to be both untrue and and impractical approach to improving with women. The simple truth is that I’ve personally met too many complete headcases and nut-jobs who were amazing with women for it to be true.But it still holds that inner game is very important to understand and that by the time a guy has reached the Intermediate Stage, a lot of his pesky outer sticking points actually have a deep-seated internal cause. Basic concepts to understand are the ideas of emotional state, seeking validation, being non-reactive, positive thinking, self esteem and various other topics. Honestly, the vast majority of information in the PUA community on inner game has simply been ripped off from Tony Robbins, Eckhart Tolle and other self help gurus, so you may even be better off going straight to the source.
  • Become Great in Bed – Towards the end of the intermediate stage, you should be getting laid with some sort of regularity. And once you start getting laid regularly, the rush of simply getting laid recedes enough to need to become a good lover in bed. Hell, don’t be a good lover, be a phenomenal one. The benefits of a great sex life and sexual confidence bleed over to all of your interactions big-time. Knowing you can make a girl cum in three different places will remove a lot of your anxiety when it comes time to make a move. Also, not to mention that once you learn how to be every girls best lover, they’ll NEVER stop coming back to you (no pun intended). Easiest way to keep high quality girls is to give them orgasms. It’s that simple.

Recommended products for Intermediate guys:

  1. Date Hotter Girls by Rob Judge and Zack Bauer (http://www.datehottergirls.com)
  2. The Complete Game System by 60 Years of Challenge (http://www.60yearsofchallenge.com)
  3. Flawless Natural by Real Social Dynamics (http://www.realsocialdynamics.com)
  4. Sex God Method by Dan Rose (http://www.sexgodmethod.com)
  5. No More Mr. Nice Guy by Robert Glover (Paper and Glue)

Stage 3: Advanced

Experience: Can get results with some consistency. Almost always has sexual options. Has had and maintained multiple casual relationships. Has 20-30 lays under his belt. Is versatile in that he can meet and seduce women in many situations (day and night) and in various ways (direct and indirect). Able to travel to a different city or country and fares a solid chance of picking up a woman there in a short amount of time.
Purpose: To come to terms with the emotional realities of their social and sex life.
Average Timeframe: 2 Years – 5 Years

Advanced guys are what we used to refer to as “mPUA’s” back in the day. They get laid. They usually get laid a lot. And when they talk about it, it’s immediately apparent that it’s true. They’ve gotten laid and dated girls in a wide enough variety of circumstances that they can formulate some pretty deep thinking about the topic and about their own success.

These days, guys either start coaching when they hit this stage—if they didn’t already start as an Intermediate (”ZOMG! He approaches so many girls!”)—or they slowly remove themselves from the community. For years and years, our metric for success was little more than lay count, and perhaps looks of the women involved. As such, advanced guys have been treated as the pinnacle of seduction until very recently.

Luckily, as more time goes on and more is understood and the more we all evolve, this mentality is falling by the wayside. Racking up a ton of lays (some guys up into multiple hundreds) is not only being seen more and more as a bit excessive, but some times as a compensation.

The easiest way to explain the plight of the advanced guy is to sum it up like this: self image and identity always lag behind how we actually are. Fat people who lose 80 pounds usually still perceive themselves as fat for years afterward. Well, guys who all the sudden rack up 35 lays and a few girlfriends over two years still feel themselves to be that nerdy loser who couldn’t get a kiss if his life depended on it. This causes some serious internal dissonance and often erupts in behavior that’s self-sabotaging, misogynistic, or painfully over-compensating.

Their emotional self or what’s sometimes referred to as “core confidence” hasn’t caught up to their outer results. And this actually causes a number of problems.

The biggest problem is that most guys who reach this stage (very few, maybe 1% of guys who join the community) do so because they’re driven by something deep down. Often it’s some sort of emotional issue, past trauma, or baggage from their life. Learning to get this good with women—and let’s be honest, learning how to go out and bang 100 women is not a reasonable use of one’s time by most of the world’s standards—it usually comes from some sort of emotional quirk.

Advanced guys are forced to face this quirk eventually. I can tell you from experience, the rush and the validation from banging more women eventually runs out. Eventually you hit a point where sleeping with number 87 makes you feel absolutely NO different than you felt after 86. They become interchangeable faces and ironically, might as well all be the same vagina for all you care. Once this happens, once the need for validation and affection runs its course, you’re faced to confront what’s actually driving you in your sexual deviance.

Most guys realize that they’ve been compensating for their lack of masculinity. Some realize that they have issues with mom. Some realize that they’ve been exacting emotional revenge for the bitch that cheated on them and dumped them. Some of these guys have some sort of neuroses or compulsive disorder. Some are actually sex addicts (seriously).

Either way, the next step is to confront this original impetus and resolve it. If you’re the domineering and compensating short guy, it’s time to chill out and realize that you don’t have to prove yourself anymore. If you have some strange obsession with female attention because of your family life, it’s time to let it go. If you have some neurosis that causes you to constantly seek validation from people, then you need to come to terms with that.

In my experience, this can’t really be forced. Some guys figure it out pretty quickly and confront it. Some guys need to sleep with 50 girls to get their fill before they start realizing that they need to chill out. Some guys need to go nuts for years and bang 200 or more and have dozens and dozens of relationships blow up in their face before they finally confront. It’s a different pace for everyone, and unfortunately, I’ve met a number of guys who seem perpetually stuck here indefinitely (they’re fucking amazing in-field though).

  • Relationship Management – Learning how to juggle multiple women, build a rotation and even flirt with bringing them together for threesomes. But most importantly, learning to open up and become intimate with a girlfriend. Here’s a dirty little secret nobody talks about: having a happy and healthy long-term relationship will teach you more about women and help your inner game more than 1,000 cold approaches and 50 lays. By its very nature, a long-term relationship forces you to open up and come to terms with yourself emotionally. Which brings me to really the only major goal for the advanced guy…
  • Master Your Emotions as a Man – Again, this is so much easier said than done. Most guys I run into are completely oblivious to their emotions, much less in control of them. Like I said, a long-term girlfriend, if you’ve never had one, will do wonders for this. Therapy can also help a lot if you have some deep-seated problems.Once you open up emotionally, the whole “game” takes on a completely different view. I fucking hate this cliche, but it really is like “Seeing the Matrix.” Words cease to matter. You only see intentions and emotions. You realize anything you say or do only matters as much as the emotion it creates within her and within yourself. Everything you say and do is designed to play with this emotional string that vibrates between you and her. You begin to have entire emotional conversations with women with depth and meaning without actually talking about anything substantive. You are able to read people and situations better than they can read themselves, and you begin to connect with women on a completely new level. A level so powerful that concepts such as LMR, cockblocks, value, and shit tests go out the window. But first one must develop a sensitivity, both to your own emotions and to other people’s. I think it’s much easier to rather than describe what mastering this looks like, what NOT mastering it looks like. If you DON’T master your emotions and the motivations that brought you to the community, this is what you can look forward to: a constant fixation on sex and women’s reactions to you, an addiction to validation from women (and men), a constant and nagging feeling of “not enough” that will persist and never go away, an unhealthy lifestyle that will grow old while your friends grow up, and an inability to ever maintain a relationship of any significant satisfaction. Your social life will be less about enjoyment and more about achievement. Friends and lovers turn into numbers and statistics. Every conversation you have will simply be a ladder rung to get to your next destination and victory… one that you will celebrate by yourself in your own mind. For this reason, accomplishing this goal usually involves leaving the community. The community simply validates and objectifies behavior that at its core is an emotional behavior. At it’s core, seduction is an emotional action, and to try to measure it only disassociates it from our emotional well-being.

Recommendations for Advanced guys:

  1. Way of the Superior Man by David Deida (Paper and Glue)
  2. Therapy
  3. A Girlfriend
  4. Leaving the Community

Stage 4: Integrated

Experience: Has more than his share of notches on his bedpost (probably at least 50-100). Has experienced the ecstasies of serious multi-year relationships, the excitement of one night stands, and appreciates them both. He’s integrated his love and pursuit of women with his emotional desires. He’s more or less impervious to rejection as he sees it as women screening themselves out of his life. He’s experienced a wide variety of women of all ages, backgrounds, cultures and personalities and is pretty clear on what he enjoys and likes.
Purpose: To organize his lifestyle as best possible to efficiently screen for the women who will make him happiest.
Average Timeframe: 5+ Years

Eventually you come to a point where the behavior you’ve spent so long studying and practicing is simply integrated into your being. You may still push yourself here and there, but women come through your life fairly naturally and you know how to capitalize on opportunities.

As an integrated man, you no longer have a pressing emotional need driving your seduction. An integrated man is cool with one night stands, but he’s not necessarily looking for them. He’s also cool with a long-term monogamous relationship, but he’s not necessarily looking for that either. He’s open to everything yet seeking nothing. His actions are based upon what he wants, not what the each woman he meets wants.

The clear cut sign that you’ve made it to this phase is that you regularly turn down women that you’re pretty confident you could sleep with if you wanted to. In fact, you probably turn down five to ten women for each one you end up with. The reasons can vary widely, anything from looks to personality, to a lack of emotional interest, to logistical issues. You’ve gone from trying to be chosen to the one doing the choosing. You no longer seek to meet women’s standards but seek women who meet your own. Whereas a newbie will walk into a bar and be grateful to have ANY girl in it, the integrated man will often walk into a bar, talk to the few he finds physically attractive and find he has no interest in any of them.

The crux of the matter is that you no longer receive validation from sex or women’s attention, therefore you’re free to exercise 100% command and control of your interactions and which women you allow into your life.

The problem for the Integrated Man is finding a woman who meets his ridiculously high (and hard-earned) standards. He’s done everything and slept with everyone. He knows what he likes and sets about to get it.

The name of the game changes from effort (as a newbie or intermediate) to effort versus reward. An integrated man isn’t willing to spend his valuable time chasing a woman who he’s fairly sure he won’t enjoy his time with that much.

Since effort/reward is the new name of the game, the goal has changed from persistence to efficiency. The integrated man invites rejection and experiences it regularly. Everything is a screening process, and everything he does and lives is designed for the qualities he’s looking for in women. He loves artsy girls? He schedules his life around concerts and gallery showings and immediately screens for women with his similar interests. If he’s looking for intelligent women, he’ll purposely speak very rationally and logically about in-depth topics to weed out the ditzes and party girls.

This is far easier said than done and is a constantly ongoing process. This isn’t to say that the integrated man has flawless game… he usually hasn’t mastered everything. But he’s experienced to the point where he knows his strengths and weaknesses and knows how to use what he’s got to get what he wants.

Another progression to look at is newbies usually focus on day game because of it’s ease and how casual it is. Intermediate guys and advanced guys usually focus on night game because it’s the most challenging, makes you improve the fastest and rewards you with sex the quickest and in exciting fashion.

Integrated men focus on lifestyle and social circle. They realize that the odds of meeting a woman who meets their criteria in a random bar is fairly low and that the effort required for even a one night stand with most women no longer seems worth the meager amount of excitement (and mediocre sex).

He realizes that the most significant relationships one can have—casual or not—are borne out of similar interests and social connections, and therefore he spends his time positioning his lifestyle in such a way that it automatically attracts the appropriate women into his life. Whether this is starting a band, learning photography, becoming a teacher, or whatever. They then use their strong pick up skills to convert these high quality women with a startling consistency. By this stage, integrated men have usually developed their lifestyle to a high enough point that it makes them incredibly attractive in their own right.

They also understand that the constant approach-a-thon of classic pick up is a hamster wheel—designed only to train your muscles, not to actually get you to a real destination. Fulfillment comes from emotional connections and shared experience, not accomplishments and notches birthed from hundreds of nights out at the club.

About the Author
Entropy has been a part of the PUA community since 2005 and coaching since 2007. You can learn more about him at http://www.entropypua.com/blog

If you got something out of this document, I encourage you to email it to others, post it to other forums (if not sticky it) so that others may gain from it as well. Please do not edit it. Thank you.

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