The Secret

Today I’m going to tell you a secret; it’s called The Secret.

Successful people don’t want you to know The Secret, but I’m going to share it with you. Once you know The Secret, you’ll have everything you ever wanted in life – money, love, success, fulfillment – in the palm of your hand.

Are you interested in a life of wealth and love and abundance? If so, here’s my offer: for just $2,400, I’ll give you access to the Thumotic Life Transformation Program, which consists of four Webinars, an ebook, and a one-hour Skype coaching session. You’ll also gain access to the exclusive TLTP Membership Site For Winners. This is such a valuable opportunity, I can’t believe I’m giving it away for such a low price.

Here’s the best part: Once you complete the course, you’ll be authorized to market your coaching services as an official Certified Thumotic Life Coach. This is a business opportunity that will generate millions of dollars in passive income for the rest of your life, as you certify new CTLCs and empower them to change lives with the TLTP.

This is an amazing opportunity. It’s the chance of a lifetime. I’m just a generous fool for making it available at this low price. Are you ready to sign up? Just enter your credit card information below and we’ll get started:

Name____________________ # ________________ Exp Date ___________

This is a real pitch that people actually fall for. I know, because I watched it happen.

Debbie the Success Coach, in a $100 pantsuit and JC Penney jewelry, is delivering a presentation on The Secret To Unlimited Wealth to a rapt audience of a hundred or so. Debbie is here to share her story and some teaser content from her program, but this is just an introduction. True Enlightenment requires access to Debbie’s Webinar series and ebook.

So who is Debbie? Let’s rewind a bit.

The year is twenty-twelve. Recently divorced and unemployed, Debbie had no money and was on the verge of bankruptcy. She was sick. Her credit was shot. Her dog died. She kept trying new business ideas and failing, as if held back by some invisible force. Then one day Debbie finally decided she’s ready for success, and so spent $7,000 on a coaching program with her new mentor, also a Success Coach. Debbie has no idea how she’s going to pay for it, but she maxes out her credit card and has faith that everything will work out. Lo and behold, Debbie believed in herself enough, and she’s now the proud and wealthy owner of her very own Success Coaching business.

Debbie knows what it’s like to feel lost and afraid, but she encourages us to keep our spirits up:

“Often it’s darkest right before the dawn. When I signed up for the program, I didn’t have money to pay rent . But I believed in myself. I believed in my own success.”

Debbie half-laments, half-brags that she’s drifting away from her family and friends, as a necessary step in her adoption of a Success Mindset. Her loved ones are nice people, Debbie assures us, but they’re caught in the negativity and self-limiting beliefs of mainstream society.

At one point Debbie literally pulls out a few $100 bills, spreads them into a fan, and brings them to her face while making kissy-kissy sounds: “Part of a Success Mindset is admitting to yourself that you love money.” The rest of the audience seems to lean forward, hungrily eyeing the three-figure sum.

Debbie’s Webinars feature, as far as I can tell, a whole lot more of Debbie talking about Success. The Webinar is much better than the fifteen-minute appetizer she’s delivering tonight, she explains. It doesn’t matter if you’re broke, jobless, in debt – this program is the way out.

Debbie’s performance is theatrical to the point of absurdity, but there’s not a trace of irony in the building. She closes with an emotional crescendo:

“I know some of you here today are on the verge of incredible success. I can feel it. You just need to purge the doubt, believe in yourself, and adopt a Success Mindset. If that’s hard to do, just remember where I was. I had no money. I had no plan. The people in my life didn’t believe in me, and tried to hold me back. I could have given up, but I didn’t, and how here I am.”

Confederates start walking down the aisles, distributing pens and sign-up forms on high-stock paper. Debbie continues, overcoming unvoiced objections:

“You need to believe in yourself, and believe in your inevitable success. There will always be friends and family who aren’t ready for a higher form of consciousness. I know it hurts, but if you want success, if you want wealth, you can’t let them influence you.”

Debbie scans the room, confirming that everyone has a pen in hand. She smiles and presses on: “Now, let’s all do an exercise in Success Visualization. Even if you’re not going to sign up for this course right now, I want you to write your name and payment information on the sheet and imagine participating in this course, The Secret To Unlimited Wealth. Even if you don’t have the money right now, don’t worry, this simple visualization exercise can still have an amazing effect.” In the end, I count at least seven people hand in their forms.

Debbie is the closing act. We also heard pitches from an herbal supplement pyramid scheme; an obese woman with a self-published book on visualization, manifesting, affirmations, and learning how to love yourself; an unemployed single mom who wrote a book about self-acceptance and finding happiness despite whatever trials of poverty and bastardy you may face. We closed with a guided meditation session led by a local spiritual wellness coach. She also has a Webinar.

As Debbie wraps up, the seated audience disperses for hor d’oeuvres and mingling. Vendor booths (from which vantage point your correspondent has been observing this show unfold, hoping that you, the reader, will have given me enough credit to wonder what circumstances led me here) line the outer perimeter.

In the booth next to mine is a shameless and well-known herbal supplement pyramid scheme staffed by a pair of sharply-dressed middle-aged men. A third man approaches the booth and is invited to sit down. The mark is a middle-aged African wearing a cheap black suit, brown loafers, aggressively non-matching shirt and tie, and a fedora, worn indoors, that looks like it came with a toy gun and Sherrif’s badge in the Wal-Mart toy aisle. He’s leaning forward, nodding obsequiously, taking notes. The effect is as cartoonish as it sounds.

The two sharks deliver a well-polished pitch, handing off to each other with the easy timing of television news anchors. They use the word ‘opportunity’ a lot. The mark explains in broken English that he’ll be the best supplement and vitamin-shake salesman the sharks ever saw, and he’s so grateful for the chance to join their team. They shake hands, a credit card comes out, and paperwork is signed.

In case you’re not familiar with pyramid schemes, here’s what happens next: either a) the hapless fool will waste money he can’t afford on an expensive lesson in how to protect yourself in a low-trust society (likely) or b) he’ll be a quick learner, and make a career out of selling dreams to people who trust him. If the latter, he will not only learn but internalize the positive-thinking, feel-good, ‘opportunity’-laden tropes of the Success Cult, partly because it’s in his sales script, but also because he genuinely believes it. Why wouldn’t he? It worked for him.

For the visual learners, here’s an example of how these businesses operate. Watch this video and look into the owner’s eyes. Do you believe that he believes himself? The best liars always do.

This is the sad world of America’s most promising high-growth industry: the formation, management, and liquidation of quasi-religious movements designed to transfer wealth, status, and social capital from the naïve to the cynical. Debbie’s event was my first close-up look at the Success Cult sub-culture, an insulated world of gullible and unsuccessful losers, buying and selling each others’ books, webinars and live conferences.

The actual products aren’t important. Diet supplements, money-making schemes, and exploitation of wannabe-entrepreneurs are the most common. What matters is the common dream they sell: happiness, financial security and a flat stomach. Humans aren’t complicated.

The most successful of these schemes appeal to more than the victims’ greed. They must, because greed is rational. A truly effective get-rich-quick scheme has to provide a quasi-spiritual cognitive framework which allows member to rationalize their indoctrination as something greater than commercial interest. That’s how you create a truly powerful money-making movement. That’s how you create a cult.

A Memetic Exegesis Of Cults

Are you a member of a cult? Of course that’s a silly question. If you knew, you’d recognize it and leave.

Cults are designed to minimize the ability of followers to experience such epiphanical moments of clarity. Consider how specific tenets of a cult-like memeplex can wall off avenues of likely exit. For example: friends and family are a common vector of doubt, thus the frequent exhortations to be cautious of their negativity as memetic vaccination. Debbie’s Success Cult warns members to resist the pernicious influence of low-consciousness friends and family who might try to lead them astray.

Another example: the general lionization of Positive Thinking as a broad-spectrum antibiotic against any loss of faith. If you doubt Debbie for any reason, you’re merely trapped in a self-limiting belief, which you must learn to overcome, no matter how many Webinars it takes.

Yet another: you must demonstrate your faith in yourself, by making hefty investments in your self-development (i.e, purchasing expensive motivational conferences and ebooks) or else you don’t have a Success Mindset, you don’t truly believe that you’re destined for wealth, and you will remain poor indefinitely.

The cruelest epi-meme, anchored so effectively by Debbie’s story of debt and redemption, is that It’s Always Darkest Right Before The Dawn, and you really should max out your personal line of credit at 20% APR for all of this.

As I’m watching the carnage unfold, I try to take comfort in the knowledge that I don’t belong here. I’m not one of these people; I just signed up for a booth at something billed as an entrepreneurs networking event, to sell some legitimate business services (N.B., which reasonably-priced services none of these entrepreneurs can seem to afford, Success and Abundance Mindsets notwithstanding). But as much psychic distance as I put between myself and the audience, I’m still deeply ashamed to be here. It’s more than just an empathic cringe of compassion. A man is defined by the company he keeps, and I’m spending this afternoon with some of the most intellectually and spiritually desolate human beings in the history of our species.


You can learn a lot about people by watching how others communicate with them. Debbie’s carefully-crafted presentation implicitly tells us everything we need to know about how she perceives her audience. For example, here are a few assumptions implicit in various aspects of Debbie’s sales pitch:

  1. The audience is impressed and enticed by the physical presence of the few hundred dollars cash Debbie uses as a prop.
  2. They are impressed by Debbie’s bragging about recently purchasing a house (of unspecified size, location, or value) as if entering the propertied class is proof of uncommon riches, rather than a token available to your typical Burger King assistant manager with good credit.
  3. They are not savvy enough to experience any cognitive dissonance between Debbie’s claimed ability to manifest unlimited wealth, and her middle-class lifestyle, Powered By Wix™ website footer, and sartorial misfortune.

On the surface, Debbie is all about Positive Thinking and The Success Mindset. She approaches her audience like a good friend and caring mentor, excited to help guide them through whatever temporary darkness they’re trapped in. Debbie loves each and every person in the room, and she knows deep down they’re all special people with unlimited potential. But her presentation accidentally reveals her true estimation of them, which is that they’re a bunch of complete fucking losers.


Only an idiot, or a smart person in a temporarily idiotic state of mind, would ever sign up for a cult like this. Cult leaders know this, and they tailor their communication accordingly.

Have you ever received an email regarding a trapped Nigerian prince, hot sexy single ladies from your neighbourhood, or an exciting new pill that will add six inches to your dick? These well-known scams are often riddled with obvious and deliberate spelling and grammar mistakes. They are literally incredible, because they are designed to appeal to the credulous.

It would be trivial for the spammers to hire someone on Fiverr and make their emails ring true. So why are they written in a way that makes intelligent people recognize them as bogus? The answer is that professional spammers want to drive away everyone but the dullest and most credible of mooks. Midwits might pry for more information, talk to saner friends, and come to their senses before pulling out a credit card. By sending out an initial email that’s as stupid as possible, spammers ensure they only invest time in patsies foolish enough to make it through to the end of the sales funnel.

Another example of marketing aimed at the lowest common denominator is the sort of ad generally found on populist conservative news websites (Warren Buffet Predicts Economic Collapse; Five Signs Cancer Is Growing In Your Body; GNC Approves All-Natural Testosterone Booster; etc) which are clearly targeted at clueless and senile older folks. If curiousity compels you to click on ads like this, you’ll find yourself in a funnel of emotionally-charged squeeze pages designed to separate lonely, demential retirees from their fixed incomes. The products themselves (usually over-priced ebooks rehashing the most generic of investing, dietary, and cancer-prevention advice) barely matter. The real art is in the elaborate and ruthlessly optimized content funnel leading up to the paid product.

Condescension As Design Aesthetic

The commonality in all of these examples, and perhaps in all communication whose goal is to manipulate rather than elevate and inform, is condescension. Cult leaders and marketers with no respect for their clients all adopt the same tone of talking down to their audience. Commercially-motivated condescension is the most meaningful of insults, because it cannot be motivated by a desire to hurt or score rhetorical points. It can only be genuine.

This is what really irks me about listening to Debbie and her ilk. It’s not her crappy product or grating personality. It’s her condescension to the audience, of which I’m a member, and the implicit insult to my intelligence. She’s addressing me like I’m half-retarded, and by standing here and listening with a blank face – whether out of politeness, lack of courage, or because I also want to make some money off these people and I’m willing to play along if that’s what it takes – I’m complicit.

Here’s an exercise for the reader: Are you confident in your ability to recognize when you’re being condescended to? Can you think of any other communities or subcultures that have adopted the marketing tactics and communication style of the Success Cult?  You’re probably sharp enough to see through Debbie, but what if you’re a sucker for some less-obvious charlatanry?

Have you figured any of this out yet, or am I going to have to sell it to you in an ebook?


Thesis: The Red Pill blogosphere has been taken over by shallow internet marketers who are, at best, indifferent to any of its sociopolitical foundations.

Some think this is a good thing, that the Red Pill is outgrowing its vestigial association with alt-right politics, and is now free to reach its true potential as an apolitical community of autistic bodybuilders endlessly discussing the relative merits of Being Motivated Vs. Not Being Motivated, communicating exclusively in list format, and selling each other ebooks. These blogs are written by smart, cynical men with an internet marketing background, who recognize the Red Pill community as a massive potential cash cow.

Here’s one example: How To Beast

The author is a smart guy. If you’re interested in copywriting and content marketing, his site is a well-executed case study. But the goal of his site is not wisdom or artistic worth, it’s the prompting of an emotional high that leads to clicks and purchases. It’s Buzzfeed for men who lift weights and talk to girls, written and designed for the meaty middle of the bell curve.

There’s nothing wrong with creating for the masses, but doing so is ultimately incongruous with any pretense of the Red Pill being a community of men aspiring to greatness. How To Beast is a great site for men who lack the depth and focus to acquire knowledge unless it’s gift-wrapped and spoon-fed, but it has no place in a community of men seeking to elevate themselves.

Here’s another: Freedom and Fulfillment

Freedom and Fulfillment gives his readers more credit than most. I hesitated to call him out here, because his blog is smart, he covers a lot of topics that I’m interested in as well, he is honest and forthright about his affiliate relationships, and I think he might really be interested in writing a blog that helps people.

But (of course there’s a but) he’s also trying to sell you a $1,000 membership site about building a drop-shipping business. He might claim the product is worth every penny. He might even believe it. He might tell himself a little story before he goes to bed every night about how he’s not actually selling his soul every time he cashes in a new affiliate commission. But his sales page tells me everything I need to know about his character, and how much he respects his readers:

Throughout university I had always been interested in making money online. I had experimented with different things but it had never really gone anywhere.

After I graduated I was set on generating an online income for myself, but didn’t know how to go about it. The problem wasn’t that I wasn’t willing to work hard—it was that I didn’t really know where to put the effort in.

I wished that there was some sort of structured opportunity to make money online that I could just “put the work into”.

I then heard a podcast featuring a guy who was living in Thailand and living off his eCommerce business. He had learned about eCommerce through an online course called Dropship Lifestyle. I visited the DSL website later that day, and I had a feeling that this was the opportunity I had been looking for.

In truth, I had more than just a feeling. It might sound crazy but I actually knew for certain that this was my path to online income. I was 100% sure that this was my “ticket” to making money online.

I wanted to register right away, but was hesitant because it was a big purchase for me at the time. I was a broke student and the only money I had was left over from student loans. I decided that I would sleep on it and decide the next day.

The next day, I remember I was walking back to my apartment after playing soccer with some friends and actually thinking to myself: You have to do it.

This was a big moment in my life (having just graduated university) but I somehow knew that this was the right step to take. Not only was I fully convinced that I needed to register for the course, but more importantly I was certain that I needed to work on it as hard as possible to become successful with it.

(Do you immediately recognize this sort of language as a blatant attempt to win your trust, relate to you, and sell you something you may or may not need? If not, chop your credit card in half and stay off the internet for a while.)

Freedom and Fulfillment is an instructive example because, unlike the other two, he does a very good impression of a decent guy. It’s the Law Of Sewage: A drop of wine in a barrel of sewage makes sewage; a drop of sewage in a barrel of wine also makes sewage. F+F ultimately shows how one small decision to cash in on gullible readers can poison the well of trust.

Lastly: see this Return Of Kings Sponsored Post, in which the owner of an online fitness empire reveals that he’s just a regular fella, Red Pill devotee, student of the crimson arts, long-time-listener-first-time-caller, who just happens to have a $100 upfront / $60 per month membership site teaching gullible high school outcasts the secret to six-pack abs:

You might know me from YouTube as the #1 most subscribed fitness trainer. Or you might have even watched a video on my sixpackshortcuts channel.

But here’s what you probably DIDN’T know…

I’ve been a daily reader of Return Of Kings since 2012. Before that, I used to be your average frustrated blue pill chump. I was actually on track to get married and to have kids with the crazy girl I used to date…lol.

But (thankfully) in 2012 we broke up, and that led me to finally question everything I’d been taught about women, masculinity, and the world. That led to me discovering ROK and finally taking the red pill.

I’ve personally learned a ton from ROK, and I think it’s safe to say I’ll probably save over a million dollars over my lifetime from learning not to spend ridiculous amounts of money on WOMEN. So I contacted Roosh to see if I could use my expertise to help fellow ROK readers…

I recommend you check out the sales page and video for the fitness program which Mike Chang, philanthropist, has been given the opportunity to promote on Return of Kings.

Am I worked up in a moral lather over Chang’s cynical exploitation of gullible young men? Not really. My point is that any self-respecting man should feel embarrassed to associate with this kind of sales pitch, or anything that even faintly resembles it. It’s low-consciousness, it insults your intelligence, and if you don’t recognize the insult, it’s because you deserve it.

And this problem isn’t limited to entryist new blogs. Even among Red Pill writers with a nobler raison d’etre than selling ebooks and get-rich-quick schemes, there’s been a shift toward shallow, simple, monetizable, lowest-common-denominator pablum. The Manosphere has become a commercial rather than artistic enterprises, and many of our blogs became stylistically indistinguishable from get-rich-quick scheme hucksters and hundred-dollar six-pack abs products. Thumotic was one of the worst examples, hence the guilt and self-loathing fueling this sprawling five-thousand word post.


Condescension manifests in more than just text; just as Debbie sub-communicates her disrespect for the audience via a sales pitch that a twelve-year old would roll her eyes at, a blogger’s design aesthetic says a lot about the type of reader they’re speaking to. Consider a few examples of stylistic decisions, and the beliefs they imply:

  • Aggressive and omnipresent email opt-ins -> “You’re too stupid and unfocused to remember to come back to my site, so I desperately need to get your email address, lest you click away and get lost in the attention-sapping vortex of Buzzfeed and Tumblr. ”
  • Prominently-displayed ads to affiliate links and the authors’ own books -> “I want your money. Also, you’re a child, so I have to dangle something shiny in front of you to get your attention.”
  • Elaborate long-form squeeze pages with emotionally-charged language -> “I want your money. Also, you are foolish and impulsive, so I must sell to your fears and insecurities rather than earn your trust and make a logical case for the value of my product.”
  • Short articles broken up with excessive paragraph breaks, sub-headings, and bullet-point lists -> “You are functionally illiterate. I must hold your hand and walk you through my thoughts, or you’ll leave my site to read something with animated gif images.”

Jennifer-Lawrence-ok-thumbs-upIn the special case of bloggers who write about internet marketing, there’s a level of irony that softens the blow. An internet marketing blog (such as Copyblogger) must conform to its own stated best practices, and serve as an example of the techniques it advocates. The result is a layer of wink-nudge irony that acknowledges the readers’ savviness and insusceptibility to the hard sell, while still making the hard sell. “I know this sales funnel is condescending, and I know you know it, but we’re talking about the finer points of building condescending sales funnels, so let’s just play along.” It’s similar to how movies like Pacific Rim can be appreciated as effusive character-driven robot opera by the hoi polloi, or irony-laden self-parody by self-identified sophisticates.

Anyways. These stylistic decisions all show the author’s disdain for you, the reader. They also show the author’s disdain for himself, and his estimation of his ability to hold your attention in long-form prose. I don’t think this is necessarily a conscious decision writers make; the mediocre always outnumber the exceptional, so writing more accessibly (i.e, stupidly) tends to move the needle in terms of pageviews and conversions. Writing for the average is easier, more profitable, and (because the average are more prone to obnoxious hero-worship) more ego-boosting for bloggers. It’s no wonder many take this path.

“But it works!”

This, the appeal to efficacy, is the ceterum censeo of internet marketers: squeeze pages increase conversion rates; pop-up forms increase newsletter sign-ups; short, simple posts with lots of sub-headings increase time on page. It’s all true.

But maybe there are better goals out there than views and affiliate commissions. Maybe the best practices of an industry built on shallow exploitation of transient dimwits aren’t always applicable to a social and political movement composed (ideally) of the most intelligent, literate, introspective, politically conscious men of our generation. Maybe we’re playing a different game, with different rules.

How to save yourself from a cult

Here’s a quote I truly believe has the power to change your life:

Let the youthful soul look back with the question: what have you truly loved up to now, what has elevated your soul, what has mastered it and at the same time delighted it? Place these venerated objects before you in a row, and perhaps they will yield for you, through their nature and their sequence, a law, the fundamental law of your true self. Compare these objects, see how one complements, expands, surpasses, transfigures another, how they form a stepladder upon which you have climbed up to yourself as you are now; for your true nature lies, not hidden deep within you, but immeasurably high above you, or at least above that which you normally take to be yourself.

Nietzsche, Schopenhauer As Educator

I wrote this post because I realized that at some point, Thumotic stopped being something that elevated me. None of the people I consider heroes would be impressed with what this blog has become: generic ‘life-hack’ advice; affiliate links plastered across every page; emotion-priming sales copy designed to elicit purchases from naive teenagers, who came here looking for a masculine role model, and left with an ebook I made a 75% commission on.

This blog – and the Red Pill community as a whole – is at it’s best when it aspires to novelty, depth, and artistic grandeur. It recedes into mediocrity when it tries to compete with internet marketing scumbags for the cud-chewing masses. We exist because young Western men need a smarter, better alternative to a mainstream culture that’s trying to destroy them. That’s one hell of a mission, and it’s time we became worthy of it.

What Do SEOs And Pick-Up Artists Have In Common?

What do SEOs and Pick-Up Artists have in common? More than you might think. Both exist primarily on the internet; both make a living by exploiting the flaws of sub-optimal search tools; and both are on the verge of being made irrelevant by social and technological advances in the world of search.

This article explores the future of SEO and Pick-Up Artists, and the only strategy both groups can adopt to have a chance at long-term success. If you’re interested in one but not the other, stick around – I promise you’ll learn something.

Let’s get started.

A Brief History of SEO

Years ago, search engine optimizers tweaked web pages to take advantage of flaws in Google’s algorithms. SEO wasn’t about creating great content, it was about finding loopholes.

Here’s an example. Google’s early search engine assumed pages which contained the keyword ‘sex’ multiple times, were more likely to be relevant to users searching for ‘sex’.

Sounds reasonable, right? But SEOs responded by writing content like:

“Sex! Are you interested in sex? Sex is the sexiest sex that sex can be. Don’t miss out on sex!”

Inbound links with the word sex in the anchor text were also crucial, which incentivized the creation of huge blog networks existing solely to boost search engine results for pages the owners actually cared about. The early proto-Google was too dumb to recognize it as bullshit.

But as Google evolved, many of these tactics started to get hammered by major updates to their algorithm. Keyword stuffing, duplicate content, link spam, and other SEO tactics started to harm webmasters who used them.

So why did Google crush the old school SEOs? Well, Google’s mission is to solve the Problem Of Search. Google wants everyone who uses their search engine to get exactly what they want. Keyword frequency and inbound anchor text are crude, imperfect correlates of page quality. Today, Google looks at a much wider variety of reliable signals:

  • Social shares and comments
  • Time on page and other measures of user engagement
  • Tone, grammar, spelling, and readability
  • Likelihood of the user making a purchase or other transaction

Most importantly, Google hires people to browse and rate thousands of pages. Those ratings are fed into machine-learning algorithms which develop an intuitive sense of which pages are high-quality, and which are garbage. The end goal is a perfect correlation between page quality and search engine results.

Google hasn’t made old-school SEO tacticians obsolete. Not yet. But there has been a seismic shift in the world of SEO away from cheap tricks and toward the creation of high-quality content. This trend will continue. We are approaching a world in which the only way to get a high search engine ranking is to earn it with valuable content.

My opinion (shared by any decent SEO) is that unless you’re after some very competitive key words, the best SEO strategy is to focus on keyword research, authentic inbound links, and most of all, creating high-quality, evergreen, user-friendly content. Google is on a mission to help users get the content they want. Make sure you’re on the right side of things when they inevitably succeed.

Game Versus Lifestyle

SEO is a lot like picking up women. Men are web pages. Women are users. In the Seduction/Manosphere community, there are two schools of thought on how to earn “traffic”.

The Pick-Up Artist School believes the main determinant of your success with women is the quality of your social skills, i.e. Game. Thus, the pick-up artist spends the majority of his time studying routines, rehearsing stories, and practicing approaches at the club. He argues that your physical fitness, style, career, social circle, and other aspects of your lifestyle are of secondary importance. Their creed is Game Uber Alles.

Proponents of Lifestyle Game believe the opposite: If you look good, have money, an interesting social circle and a cool lifestyle, pick-up tactics are less important. More importantly, if you have neither game nor a cool lifestyle, you should focus on lifestyle first.

Pick-up artists are like old-school SEOs. Neither pick-up artists nor SEOs are concerned with building actual quality. Instead they study its characteristics, and practice imitating it. They learn by rote the signals of quality that users rely on, and reproduce a contrived version of them.

Lifestyle Game is like creating high-quality content. Lifestyle Game means becoming a man women want, rather than learning how to act like one.

As you can probably guess, I’m an advocate of Lifestyle Game. It’s a better path to a fulfilling life, and it’s a better long-term investment in yourself and your future. The advantage of actually becoming a high-value man, as opposed to learning how to play one on stage, is that your success with women will be robust. Your core of value and feelings of self-worth will stay with you across cultures, ups and downs in your life, and throughout long-term relationships. The depth and satisfaction you experience in relationships will be far greater. You will be able to relax and enjoy your life, rather than feel like you’re in a constant struggle to avoid being found out as a fraud.

But that’s not all. Just like Google is chipping away at the effectiveness of SEO, new technologies and social conventions are starting to make traditional cold-approach seduction obsolete. In the near future, traditional cold-approach pick-up won’t be an option. Lifestyle Game will be your only option.

Search And Matchmaking In The Sexual Marketplace

Matchmaking is the problem of search applied to sexual relationships. Men and women are like web pages and users. Women have an imperfect idea of what they want, and an imperfect set of criteria they use to narrow their search. Until recently, this was a random, inefficient process. The average person dated someone they met through their social circle or woke up next to after a drunken night out.

The inefficiency of social search is particularly acute in a post-western society where the traditional fabric of community no longer exists. Young people no longer have Church youth groups and meddlesome parents matchmaking their sons and daughters. Even if they did, lifelong marriage is no longer expected or even common in a person’s twenties. The result is a chaotic Wild West reminiscent of the pre-indexed internet; either you blindly stumble across the best URL, a friend refers you, or you’re out of luck. Even with the increasing popularity of social matchmaking companies like Tinder, Plenty Of Fish and OKCupid, most social connections are still formed via the inefficient pinball machine of real-world interaction.

The Future Of Search

Just as Google is bringing order to text-based search, new technologies and social norms are bringing efficiency to the search and matchmaking process in the mating market.

First we’ll consider the technology. In 2015, every savvy single young person in the western world has a few dating apps on their home screen. Cold approaching is as irrelevant as landline phones and Why would anyone go to the trouble of talking to a woman on the street when they could just fire up Tinder?

Older men and pick-up purists will recoil at this, but it’s how the majority of Americans born after 1990 think. The ubiquity of mobile dating has made cold approaching unnecessary, and thus odd. Girls are growing more comfortable with online dating, and less receptive to cold approaches.

Part of the reason is our gradual decline into a culture of mindless iPhone zombies, but the larger reason is that online dating offers women a greater opportunity to refine their mate selection algorithm. The modern woman can instantly narrow her search down to (for example) men between 24 and 28, who are over six feet, who make $100,000 a year, who are white, who like dogs, and who have professional degrees. Of course they prefer this to the crap shoot of meeting men in clubs or on the street.

The next generation of social matchmaking companies will do an even better job of improving on the inefficient search algorithms of the meatspace dating market, by facilitating the natural desire of high-status people to self-segregate. Hinge relies on introductions based on mutual friends; The League limits membership to individuals with high-status jobs and education credentials. New apps will come out that will make the sorting and matching process even more efficient. Social matchmaking will do to the sexual marketplace what Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird did to SEO.

Simultaneously, America is developing a stronger social stigma against cold approaching. We’re already in the midst of a social and legal backlash against cold approaching, under the guise of the vaguely-defined epidemic of street harassment.

But precisely what sort of behaviour constitutes street harassment? No doubt the standard applied will be the same that we use for workplace harassment. The actions of the accused will be irrelevant; if she felt harassed, she was harassed:

Is this fair? Of course not. Welcome to real life. Good-looking and high-status people have a hundred advantages over the hoi polloi. Pretty girls cut lines. Attractive people earn more. Cute babies are better-cared for. Handsome men can get away with being more forward than average guys. That’s just how the world works.

The idea that low-status men should be allowed to approach high-status women in public places and try to seduce them is a historical anomaly. Veteran pick-up artists will defend the cold approach, because cold approaching is their greatest strength. From their perspective, if cold approaching and “the numbers game” have made public spaces less inviting to attractive young women, so be it.

But cold approaching is the internet marketing equivalent of spam: it’s effective on a mass scale, but imposes a cost on the uninterested recipients, whose inboxes and lives are clogged with unwanted solicitations. When low-value men swarm nightclubs and malls to practice their game on every pretty woman in sight, they inconvenience a hundred for every genuine connection they make.

This isn’t me trying to shame you. I’m just explaining where we’re headed, and advising you to prepare for a world in which spam approaching women in public places is no longer an option. Mobile dating and face-controlled social circles are the future. The only way to succeed in this future is to actually become a man that women want to pursue.

An unattractive and low-status man might ask: “So how the hell am I supposed to meet women? I never get matched on Tinder, and I don’t have access to high-status circles where it’s socially appropriate to meet quality women. What the hell am I supposed to do? Don’t I deserve love?”

The harsh answer is that you don’t deserve anything. There is nothing you can do, except become a better version of yourself.

Next Steps

Whether you are a single man or an SEO professional, my advice is the same: Prioritize the user experience. Create genuine quality. Search is only getting better, so become something worth searching for.

What does that mean? Well, as a man who desires attractive women, it means doing everything we talk about here at Thumotic:

  1. Get healthy and lift weights. This is always step number one and you can’t skip it. Build a body that sends a message to the world about what sort of man you are.
  2. Build a career and get your finances in order.
  3. Earn good friends and an exciting social life.
  4. Read great books. Become a Renaissance Man.
  5. Find your purpose in life and pursue it with inspiring passion.

As you’re doing this, feel free to read a book or two about pick-up tactics. But the vast majority of your focus, especially in your early twenties, should be on developing a lifestyle that will build you into a high-value man. The alternative – allowing your lifestyle to atrophy while you devote your formative years to the social equivalent of keyword stuffing and link spamming – is a path to disaster and regret.

Are You Using “Monk Mode” To Avoid Discomfort?

Here’s a simple test to determine whether Monk Mode is helping or harming your life: Was the choice to enter Monk Mode easy, or painful? If it’s painful, you’re on the right track. If it’s easy, you’re probably making excuses to avoid working on your flaws.

What Is Monk Mode?

Monk Mode is a euphemism for an extended period of isolation and asceticism, undertaken with the goal of rapid and transformative self-improvement. A man in Monk Mode has a simple and productive daily routine dedicated to getting healthy, making money, and reading challenging books.

As you can tell from those links, the Thumotic ethos is very much in line with these goals.

But here’s the problem with Monk Mode: it gives introverted men a virtuous-sounding rationale for their self-imposed isolation. If you’re an introvert with social anxiety, Monk Mode is more than easy – it’s comforting. It’s an opportunity to continue doing exactly what you’ve always done (i.e, stay at home) while pretending to make progress. You’re writing your personal Hero’s Journey Narrative, but skipping the part where you actually subject yourself to trials and ordeals.

Even more importantly: social isolation will deprive you of the most important asset a man can have for a successful and good life: a worthy tribe.

The Importance Of Building Your Tribe

Most actual monks don’t live in solitude. They live alongside other monks with similar goals and habits. Purging your life of distractions and frivolity is virtuous, but not all social relations fall under the category of ‘distraction.’ If you associate friendship with wasted time, you simply need to do a better job of building and managing friendships.

Better men than us have wrestled with the question Monk Mode, and how to strike a balance between an active social life and isolated self-reliance:

Ancient philosophy – especially after Aristotle – largely focused on how to achieve self-sufficiency on the one hand, and peace of mind on the other; it thus became fundamentally therapeutic, in nature and goal. Though ancient philosophers are generally known for their praise of friendship, there is an evident tension involved in these positions: the possession of friends seems almost unhelpful, nearly inimical, to self-sufficiency and peace of mind. As fulfilling as friendships generally are, they often lead to mutual dependency and a loss of the tranquility thought to accompany solitude.

So how do we resolve this tension? Only a fool would suggest that all friendships are worthwhile, or that none are, so our challenge is learning to recognize and pursue virtuous friendship, while avoiding the rest. So how do we tell good friends from bad?

In the Nicomachean Ethics (get it on Amazon, or free online), Aristotle describes three categories of friendship:

  1. Friendships driven by pleasure
  2. Friendships driven by usefulness
  3. Friendships driven by recognition of goodness in the other

Examples of pleasure-based friendship activities could be: children playing together; teenagers getting high and playing video games; college students getting drunk and going to the same parties over and over again; work colleagues complaining about their boss; a man and a woman casually sleeping together regularly.

Aristotle describes utility-based relationships as shallow and short-lived: business associates, work colleagues, other short-term friendships of commercial necessity.

The highest level of friendship, according to Aristotle, are those based on the mutual admiration, and recognition of virtue or ‘goodness’ in the other. Such friendships are rare, difficult to form, and among the greatest gifts available to us in life:

Perfect friendship is the friendship of men who are good, and alike in virtue; for these wish well alike to each other qua good, and they are good themselves. Now those who wish well to their friends for their sake are most truly friends; for they do this by reason of own nature and not incidentally; therefore their friendship lasts as long as they are good–and goodness is an enduring thing.

And each is good without qualification and to his friend, for the good are both good without qualification and useful to each other. So too they are pleasant; for the good are pleasant both without qualification and to each other, since to each his own activities and others like them are pleasurable, and the actions of the good are the same or like.

And such a friendship is as might be expected permanent, since there meet in it all the qualities that friends should have. For all friendship is for the sake of good or of pleasure–good or pleasure either in the abstract or such as will be enjoyed by him who has the friendly feeling–and is based on a certain resemblance; and to a friendship of good men all the qualities we have named belong in virtue of the nature of the friends themselves; for in the case of this kind of friendship the other qualities also are alike in both friends, and that which is good without qualification is also without qualification pleasant, and these are the most lovable qualities. Love and friendship therefore are found most and in their best form between such men.

But it is natural that such friendships should be infrequent; for such men are rare. Further, such friendship requires time and familiarity; as the proverb says, men cannot know each other till they have ‘eaten salt together'; nor can they admit each other to friendship or be friends till each has been found lovable and been trusted by each. Those who quickly show the marks of friendship to each other wish to be friends, but are not friends unless they both are lovable and know the fact; for a wish for friendship may arise quickly, but friendship does not.

There are no hard rules to separating the wheat from the chaff in your social circle. As I reflect on my twenties and the paths taken by the people I’ve known, my gut has been right almost every time. The strong got stronger; the weak remained weak. Consider your friends and acquaintances: who elevates you? Who makes you a better version of yourself? Whose goals and outlook align with yours?

Who Can Actually Benefit From Monk Mode?

The best candidates for Monk Mode are the naturally social and gregarious, for whom social exploration comes easily. If you’re caught up in a fun social routine of partying, meeting girls, and hanging out with friends, giving up part of your social life to focus on self-improvement will require sacrifice. You’ll be turning down invitations to events you want to attend and avoiding people you truly like. It will be painful, and pain implies growth.

How To Build A Network Of Virtuous Friends

Socializing can be productive and uplifting, but only if you consciously work to build a social life that elevates you. Here are a few suggestions for building a virtuous social circle:

  • Schedule a weekly one-on-one breakfast with a like-minded friend to review your goals and actions for the week
  • Get a training partner
  • Start playing a team sport
  • Reach out to someone you admire and invite them for coffee

These activities won’t eat into your time. You’ll maintain your social skills, and nurture friendships that will grow and stay with you throughout your life. You’ll me more likely to succeed at whatever you’re trying to accomplish, since you’ll have smart people around to give you reality checks and keep you accountable.

The Bottom Line

The right path is neither the Charybdis of self-exile nor the Scylla of complete surrender to mindless extroversion. Don’t use Monk Mode as an excuse to avoid building your tribe and fixing your social skills. On the other hand, don’t use this post as an excuse to get drunk every weekend with the same stagnant people.

Instead, find a balance. Moderate the time you devote to social interaction; be selective about how and with whom you spend that time; most importantly, focus on being a good friend, so that you can earn the respect and loyalty of other high-quality people. This is the path to a masculine and virtuous approach to friendship and life.


Nicomachean Ethics

The Hero’s Journey

Way Of Men

Nietzschean Wisdom For Digital Entrepreneurs

Most people associate Fredrick Nietzsche with his philosophical writings, but did you know he was also an early pioneer in the field of digital entrepreneurship?

I guarantee – and hear me without irony – you will get more benefit from Nietzsche’s teachings, than from any other information product that purports to teach you the secret to making money online. So without further ado, here are Nietszche’s nine pieces of advice for the 21st-century man choosing digital entrepreneurship over the relative comforts of a nine-to-five office job:

1) Understand that you are taking the harder of two roads, and there is no turning back:

Few are made for independence – it is a privilege of the strong. And he who attempts it, having the completest right to it but without being compelled to, thereby proves that he is probably not only strong but also daring to the point of recklessness. He ventures into a labyrinth, he multiplies by a thousand the dangers which life as such already brings with it, not the smallest of which is that no one can behold how and where he goes astray, is cut off from others, and is torn to pieces limb from limb by some cave-minotaur of conscience. If such a one is destroyed, it takes place so far from understanding of men that they neither feel it nor sympathize – and he can no longer go back! He can no longer go back even to the pity of men!

2) If you never take the leap, you will live with regret:

There is no drearier and more repulsive creature in nature than the man who has evaded his own personal destiny, his eyes squinting left and right, behind him, everywhere. We are accountable to ourselves for this existence of ours; and this is why we want to be the real helmsmen of our lives and keep them from resembling the mindless result of chance. … All this is not yourself, the young soul says to itself. Nobody can build you the bridge over which you must cross the river of life, nobody but you alone. True, there are countless paths and bridges and demigods that would like to carry you across the river, but only at the price of yourself; you would pledge yourself and lose it. In this world there is one unique path which no one but you may walk. Where does it lead? Do not ask; take it.

3) Choose the right niche:

Let the youthful soul look back on life with the question: what have you truly loved up to now, what has elevated your soul, what has mastered it and at the same time delighted it? Place these venerated objects before you in a row, and perhaps they will yield for you, through their nature and their sequence, a law, the fundamental law of your true self. Compare these objects, see how one complements, expands, surpasses, transfigures another, how they form a stepladder upon which you have climbed up to yourself as you are now; for your true nature lies, not hidden deep within you, but immeasurably high above you, or at least above that which you normally take to be yourself.

4) Persevere in the face of adversity:

The most fulfilling human projects appeared inseparable from a degree of torment, the sources of our greatest joys lying awkwardly close to those of our greatest pain. Why? Because no one is able to produce a great work of art without experience, nor achieve a worldly position immediately, nor be a great lover at the first attempt; and in the interval between initial failure and subsequent success, in the gap between who we wish one day to be and who we are at present, must come pain, anxiety, envy and humiliation. We suffer because we cannot spontaneously master the ingredients of fulfillment.

5) Have a clear vision of your end game:

He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.

6) Run towards challenge and adversity:

To those human beings who are of any concern to me I wish suffering, desolation, sickness, ill-treatment, indignities — I wish that they should not remain unfamiliar with profound self-contempt, the torture of self-mistrust, the wretchedness of the vanquished: I have no pity for them, because I wish them the only thing that can prove today whether one is worth anything or not — that one endures.

7) Cut yourself off from any people who aren’t helpful to your mission:

We were friends and have become estranged. But this was right, and we do not want to conceal and obscure it from ourselves as if we had reason to feel ashamed. We are two ships each of which has its goal and course; our paths may cross and we may celebrate a feast together, as we did—and then the good ships rested so quietly in one harbor and one sunshine that it may have looked as if they had reached their goal and as if they had one goal. But then the almighty force of our tasks drove us apart again into different seas and sunny zones, and perhaps we shall never see one another again,—perhaps we shall meet again but fail to recognize each other: our exposure to different seas and suns has changed us! That we have to become estranged is the law above us: by the same token we should also become more venerable for each other! And thus the memory of our former friendship should become more sacred! There is probably a tremendous but invisible stellar orbit in which our very different ways and goals may be included as small parts of this path,—let us rise up to this thought! But our life is too short and our power of vision too small for us to be more than friends in the sense of this sublime possibility.— Let us then believe in our star friendship even if we should be compelled to be earth enemies.

8) Hurting people’s feelings is an essential consequence of single-minded devotion:

Who will attain anything great if he does not possess the strength and the will to inflict great suffering? Being able to suffer is the least thing: weak women and even slaves often attain mastery in that. But not to perish of inner distress and uncertainty when one inflicts great suffering and hears the cry of this suffering—that is great, that belongs to greatness.

9) Limit your information inputs to what you can act on:

Moreover I hate everything that merely instructs me without increasing or directly quickening my activity.” These words of Goethe, like a sincere ceterum censeo, may well stand at the head of my thoughts on the worth and the worthlessness of history. I will show in them why instruction that does not “quicken,” knowledge that slackens the rein of activity, why in fact history, in Goethe’s phrase, must be seriously “hated,” as a costly and superfluous luxury of the understanding: for we are still in want of the necessaries of life, and the superfluous is an enemy to the necessary. We do need history, but quite differently from the jaded idlers in the garden of knowledge, however grandly they may look down on our rude and unpicturesque requirements. In other words, we need it for life and action, not as a convenient way to avoid life and action, or to excuse a selfish life and a cowardly or base action. We would serve history only so far as it serves life; but to value its study beyond a certain point mutilates and degrades life: and this is a fact that certain marked symptoms of our time make it as necessary as it may be painful to bring to the test of experience.

Nietzsche died a virgin, and so makes an unlikely hero for the Red Pill blogosphere. But the majority of what we believe and teach can be found in his writings.

If you’re new to Nietzsche, the best place to start is with Beyond Good and Evil. Grab a paperback for seven bucks on Amazon, or read it free at Gutenberg. Alternatively, you could skip the Nietzschean oeuvre, and spend a few hundred bucks on ‘make money online’ ebooks and webinars instead. No doubt this is what the majority of people will do; Nietzsche would be disappointed to have it any other way.

Building A Better Blogosphere

Chris from Good-Looking Loser has a post that’s required reading for Red Pill bloggers: Why Your Blog Sucks. In brief: The Red Pill community is beset by copycats and clones of two popular blogs: Danger and Play, and Bold and Determined.

On a superficial level, the result is a slew of ‘inspirational’ blogs with the same WordPress theme, layout, tone, and style – short punchy sentences, plain-spoken language, and liberal use of subheadings and paragraph breaks. But the similarities go beyond morphology. The clones re-package the same Red Pill cliches while offering no new perspective, experience, or original research.

As The Huffington Post might say: Here’s Why That’s A Problem.

Design Matters

Low-concept design hasn’t been catastrophic for Roissy, Delicious Tacos, Vox Day, Steve Sailer, Last Psychiatrist, Slate Star Codex, Mencius Moldbug, and a hundred more. If you write good content, your audience will find you. Similarly, no amount of design can make up for boring and unoriginal writing. If you want your blog to succeed, spend 99 hours writing for every hour you spend making your site look pretty.

That being said, design still matters. Good web design is like a nice suit – it tells the world you expect to be taken seriously, and treated with respect. Bad design is like a ratty pair of jeans and plain white t-shirt. If you come to a black tie party rocking WordPress 2012 or the Blogger default template, you’re going to raise some eyebrows.

The design of your site also communicates your goals and priorities. If three-quarters of your front page is cluttered with opt-ins, affiliate links, and calls for donations, I’m going to assume you’re in it for the money. If you use click-bait-y headlines, I’m going to assume you value page views over truth.

There’s nothing wrong with making money and marketing yourself. But if you’re taking your design cues from outside the Red Pill blogosphere, remember this: We’re not playing the same game as everyone else.

Buzzfeed is trying to maximize and monetize clicks from easily-distracted cretins. Sleazy affiliate marketers are trying to scam gullible idiots. The vast majority of internet culture is a pointless, unproductive circlejerk with zero trust and no end goal beyond the liberation of money from fools. And it’s getting worse.

The Red Pill (or Manosphere, or Neoreaction) must transcend this bullshit. We are targeting the best and brightest, and we have to earn their trust. The rest of the internet is focused on building short-term relationships with midwits, and we need to be differentiated from that. Ultimately, our goal is to create a new counter-culture; a generation of strong and resilient young men, a new aristocracy capable of opposing and replacing our current ruling caste of suicidal and/or parasitic elites.

This project will require a community that exists at a higher level of consciousness than the rest of the internet. The rest of the world can degenerate into snark, memes, gifs, and lists, but we’re better than that. We’re building build a City On A Hill.

So with that frame of mind, let’s review some best practices for the Red Pill community:

1) Don’t Be Danger and Determined

I think a lot of young guys get caught in the trap of imitating DP/BD because their writing styles are more accessible. Mike and Victor write in a clear, concise, straightforward style, but the simplicity is deceptive.

Simple writing can be the product of a simple mind, or it can come from relentlessly stripping away unnecessary verbiage until all that remains is the core message. Inexperienced writers see the tip of the iceberg, but they don’t see the knowledge underneath it. They think they can do a comparable or better job of writing DP/BD because their writing style looks easier than it is.

I don’t think it’s a bad thing that young guys are building Danger and Determined clones. Most writers go through a phase of copying their literary heroes, as a step along the path of developing their own voice and style. Building an unoriginal site (of course: unoriginal =/= outright theft) won’t earn these kids money, fame, or respect. But it’s good practice, as long as you recognize that you have to grow into your own voice eventually.

2) Don’t Be Buzzfeed

Don’t write click bait. Make the reader rise to our level. Let someone else appeal to the lowest common denominator.

Moving GIF images have no place in writing aimed at adult men. Static images should be used sparingly. Headlines should be tantalizing and descriptive, but never bullshit your reader.

As an example of what not to do, consider the following links to Return of Kings articles written by the same author:

Why Supplements Are A Waste of Money

Five Men’s Health Supplements that Actually Work

The content of both posts is more or less the same, but the author chose to write an inflammatory (and false) headline rather than something tame-but-accurate such as: “Why Many Supplements Are A Waste Of Money.”

Bold titles are often more immediately click-able, but in the long run they erode trust and authority. Good titles communicate the value of the content, but don’t disrespect the reader with lies and false promises.

3) Don’t Be An Internet Marketer

(Or at least, be a better internet marketer.)

Many new Red Pill blogs are incorporating internet marketing best practices – opt-in forms, CTAs, social icons – and covering their front page with them.

This is great if you’re selling herbal weight loss pills to housewives or financial advice to alzheimic seniors, but it’s not how smart and focused adult men communicate with each other. If you design a site that caters to morons with ADHD, you will build an audience of morons with ADHD.

4) Don’t Be A Part Of ‘Internet Culture’

Different cultures and communities develop their own linguistic dialects. If you spend any amount of time in online communities, you’ll pick up on their slang, social norms, and verbal tics.

The Red Pill subculture has developed an extensive new vocabulary, but the foundation of our language is proper English. We write and speak in complete sentences, use proper grammar, and look down on cute-sy internet slang.

In particular, if you post to the r/TheRedPill subreddit, remember this: you are not a part of Reddit. You are a hostile outpost in a foreign land. You are hated by everyone around you, and you will be banned from their site as soon as an excuse can be contrived. Rise above their mannerisms and lame inside jokes; build your own culture and make it superior.

5) Sing in your own voice

Whether you’re the author of a major Red Pill blog, or just a casual commenter on r/TheRedPill or the Roosh V Forum: Tell us your story. Don’t pretend to be someone else. Don’t write for money, don’t write for attention, and don’t write for your ego. Write because the only alternative is the crushing loneliness of knowing that everyone outside of this community would call you insane if you were honest with them about what you believe.

If you’re just now realizing that your blog is unoriginal, don’t stress about it. Throughout my five years in the Red Pill blogosphere, I’ve produced low-rent imitations of at least a dozen authors: Roissy, Danger and Play, Bold and Determined, James Altucher, Roosh, Jack Goes Forth, Tim Ferriss, Matt Forney. Matching specific posts to their source of inspiration is left as an exercise for the reader.

What’s the solution? It’s simple, but not easy: be self-aware enough to recognize what you’re doing, and make a commitment to be better. Take a step back. Re-design your site. Delete your post draft about Five Mistakes In the Gym blah blah. Write something meaningful, something that scares you. Sing in your own voice.

What’s Next?

The world has enough click bait and workout advice. But what do we need more of?

Well, doing exactly what I suggest isn’t exactly ‘singing in your own voice.’ But if you’re just now coming to the harsh realization that your blog is a derivative piece of shit, here are my thoughts on some fertile areas for new Red Pill Blogs:

  • There’s always more room for honest, self-aware, interesting writing about your own experiences. If you’re under the age of twenty-five, you shouldn’t be writing an “advice” blog. You should be writing a journal. Stop pretending to be Danger and Determined, and start pretending to be 30 Days To X.
  • I’d also like to see more good writing that explores specific topics in-depth. Pill Scout is a good example of this. Rogue Health and Fitness is another health/fitness blog that does a hell of a lot more than regurgitate the same bullet points.
  • Online dating is a vastly under-explored area. If you think you can bring the same level of rigorous mastery to online/mobile dating, as Krauser has to Day Game, the world will beat a path to your mailing list.
  • What would H.L. Mencken make of The Red Pill? Nietzsche? Marcus Aurelius? Buddha? Jesus? I would definitely read a blog that maps the ideological common ground of great historical thinkers and the modern Red Pill.
  • And what about the great minds of the less-distant past? Much of the effort spent writing new content would be better allocated to organizing and cataloging the great works of previous authors like Roissy and Solomon II. Yes, their work is available. But it can be more than available. It can be organized, searchable, easy to browse with an attractive UI.

All of this work is more important – and has more long-term financial value – then yet another motivational click-bait Red Pill blog.

Mea Culpa

The Red Pill blogosphere has been trending in this direction for a while, and I don’t consider Thumotic an exception – as you may have inferred from my cleaner, more content-focused redesign.

Good-Looking Loser deserves a lot of credit for his post. He’s also writing one of the best damned Red Pill blogs out there, and since I wrote this immediately after reflecting on my respect for his writing, you might hear me aping his style *just a little bit* in this post.

(By putting ‘asides’ in brackets with paragraph breaks, for example. Although my font colour palette still has a long way to go.)

This may sound like a negative post, but the existence of unoriginal copycats is actually a very positive sign. ‘Problems’ like this are unavoidable in a rapidly-growing movement and subculture like ours. Smart, ambitious young men are trying to leap headfirst into The Red Pill, even if they’re not always doing the best job of it. These are natural and healthy growing pains.

More importantly: amidst the clone wars, there are dozens of new authors producing high-quality writing in the Red Pill and Reactionary space, while the big guys are upping their game and ushering in a new era of audio and video Red Pill content.

Questions For You:

Want to stay on top of it all? Check out The Red Pill Review for a collection of Red Pill blogs and links, updated in real time.

What do you want to see more of from the Red Pill blogosphere? What do you think is the best way to make this community larger and more powerful?

Finally: Who’s your favourite new Red Pill author? Share a few links to their best stuff in the comments below, and I’ll add them to the Red Pill Review. Self-promotion is highly encouraged.

Create Your Own Monomyth

Every compelling mythic story follows the same narrative structure, and features the same recurring characters. The elements of this universal story are etched into our subconscious, and understanding it will allow you to use the power of narrative to take greater control over your life.

This universal story is called The Hero’s Journey, or Monomyth. it is outlined in Joseph Campbell’s classic work of comparative mythology, The Hero With A Thousand Faces.

According to Campbell, the key elements of the Hero’s Journey are as follows:

Hero Journey

  1. THE ORDINARY WORLD.  The hero, uneasy, uncomfortable or unaware, is introduced sympathetically so the audience can identify with the situation or dilemma.  The hero is shown against a background of environment, heredity, and personal history.  Some kind of polarity in the hero’s life is pulling in different directions and causing stress.
  2. THE CALL TO ADVENTURE.  Something shakes up the situation, either from external pressures or from something rising up from deep within, so the hero must face the beginnings of change.
  3. REFUSAL OF THE CALL.  The hero feels the fear of the unknown and tries to turn away from the adventure, however briefly.  Alternately, another character may express the uncertainty and danger ahead.
  4. MEETING WITH THE MENTOR.  The hero comes across a seasoned traveler of the worlds who gives him or her training, equipment, or advice that will help on the journey.  Or the hero reaches within to a source of courage and wisdom.
  5. CROSSING THE THRESHOLD.  At the end of Act One, the hero commits to leaving the Ordinary World and entering a new region or condition with unfamiliar rules and values.
  6. TESTS, ALLIES AND ENEMIES.  The hero is tested and sorts out allegiances in the Special World.
  7. APPROACH.  The hero and newfound allies prepare for the major challenge in the Special world.
  8. THE ORDEAL.  Near the middle of the story, the hero enters a central space in the Special World and confronts death or faces his or her greatest fear.  Out of the moment of death comes a new life.
  9. THE REWARD.  The hero takes possession of the treasure won by facing death.  There may be celebration, but there is also danger of losing the treasure again.
  10. THE ROAD BACK.  About three-fourths of the way through the story, the hero is driven to complete the adventure, leaving the Special World to be sure the treasure is brought home.  Often a chase scene signals the urgency and danger of the mission.
  11. THE RESURRECTION.  At the climax, the hero is severely tested once more on the threshold of home.  He or she is purified by a last sacrifice, another moment of death and rebirth, but on a higher and more complete level.  By the hero’s action, the polarities that were in conflict at the beginning are finally resolved.
  12. RETURN WITH THE ELIXIR.  The hero returns home or continues the journey, bearing some element of the treasure that has the power to transform the world as the hero has been transformed.

(From The Writer’s Journey)

Once you read The Hero With A Thousand Faces, you’ll start seeing the Monomyth everywhere, from the stories of Buddha, Gilgamesh, Perseus, Moses, and Jesus, to contemporary literature, film and TV. Some notable contemporary examples are The Matrix, Fight Club, Star Trek, The Lion King, Harry Potter, Groundhog Day, Lord Of The Rings, and most superhero origins movies.

Since we’re all about the The Red Pill here at Thumotic, let’s use The Matrix as an illustrative example:

1. Ordinary World


2. Call To Adventure


3. Refusal Of The Call


4. Meeting The Mentor


5. Crossing The Threshold

first threshhold

6. Tests, Allies, Enemies

allies tests

7. Approach To The Inmost Cave


8. Ordeal


9. Reward (Seizing The Sword)


10. The Flight Home

road back

11. Resurrection


12. Return With The Elixir


Campbell also discusses common story elements (Meeting With The Goddess, Atonement With The Father, Woman As Temptress) and the various Hero archetypes (Warrior, Lover, Emperor, Redeemer, Saint), and other character types that present themselves in mythic stories. He proposes the Freudian explanation that The Monomyth exists deep in our collective unconscious, and the Hero’s Journey is the story of the human race. A Christian might believe that the appeal of the Monomyth is a result our innate familiarity with the story of the Resurrection, and consider Jesus Christ to be the origin of the Monomyth rather than a mere example.

Wherever you land on that, let’s just agree that the Hero’s Journey is the most powerful and narratively compelling story structure humanity has ever developed.

The Importance Of Storytelling

Humans understand the world through stories. We only take action when it makes sense in the context of the story.

Sales, marketing, political campaigns, and corporate communications are all driven by storytelling; everyone whose vocation involves eliciting emotion and behaviour must become either a storyteller or a job-seeker. Also, any job-seeker who is not a storyteller, will remain a job-seeker.

Attracting women also requires storytelling skills, and not just the superficial ability to convey anecdotes.

Most smart people already understand the importance of interpersonal storytelling. But have you ever considered the role of storytelling in motivating your own behaviour? If you’re trying to motivate yourself to get healthy, work harder, be more organized, be kinder to your loved ones, or whatever your goals are – what story are you using to explain your growth and self-development?

The Story Of Your Journey

It’s January. You’ve recently set some goals for 2015. Maybe you want to build muscle and get lean, start making more money, and be more successful with women. But if you want to be effective, you need a story to tell yourself. You need a story in which you are a Worthy Hero.

Imagine that I’m watching a reality TV show about your life. The premise of the show is that you’ve set a few realistic but challenging goals for the next month.

Now, if you spend the next thirty days screwing around, I’m not going to care if you succeed or not. In fact, I’ll be uncomfortable if you do succeed.

But if you spend a month waking up at 6:00 AM, pumping iron, working twelve-hour days, pushing your social comfort zone, taking on new projects, and treating people well, I’ll feel that you deserve to win. I’ll be happy and satisfied when you succeed, and I’ll feel cheated if you lose despite your hard work.

Now, obviously, I’m not actually watching the story of your life unfold. But you are. So ask yourself: Do you deserve to succeed? Are you putting in the work? Are you the hero or the villain in your own life story?

The Benefits of Heroism

Life is easier when everyone is expecting you to win. If you’re working hard, your peers will be cheering for your success. They’ll be expecting it.

More importantly, you’ll be expecting it too. The reality of life is that no one is paying that much attention to you. But it is essential to earn the support of the most important audience member – yourself – in your own life story. You need to look in the mirror in the morning and see a worthy hero. You need to reflect on every day, and see the actions of a hero.

The Danger Of False Narratives

Stories can empower you, or they can enslave you. A good story will lead to good actions and results. A bad story will have the opposite effect.

If you’re genuinely trying to do the right thing and aren’t getting the results you want, maybe you’re being held back by a false narrative:

  • The Nice Guy Gets the Girl In The End
  • The Loyal Employee Gets The Corner Office
  • The Guy Who Eats Healthy Grains And Avoid Saturated Fats Gets Fit

Even Social Justice Warriors are heroes in their own eyes. Before you start your journey as a virtuous hero, make sure you’ve defined virtue correctly.

The Call To Adventure

Are you reading this from the comfort and safety of your ordinary world? Consider this post your personal call to adventure, and start looking at the world as your personal Hero’s Journey.

First, you have to Cross The Threshold. Do something momentous to signify a break from your current life.

You’ll feel an urge to Refuse The Call. Push through the resistance.

In the coming days, you’ll have to find Mentors, Friends, and Allies who will help you. You will cut off Enemies who are holding you back.

You will pass through Trials and Ordeals.

You will do all of this in pursuit of The Elixir, whatever that means to you.

Throughout the course of your journey, you will change and grow as a man; this is your death and resurrection.

The Elixir you return with will not be the same as you thought, or you will experience it differently than you anticipated. But it won’t matter, because you will be the Master of Two Worlds.

Crossing The Threshold

I hope you enjoyed reading this post, but I really hope you use it as a tool to start moving your life in a more productive, more conscious direction. I want you to start seeing yourself as a Hero. When you’re stuck in a rut, sometimes the solution is to just find a new way of looking at things.

Check out Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With A Thousand Faces. It’s a fun read, and a much more in-depth analysis of the Monomyth than I’ve provided here.

Make sure you’re not poisoning your mind with unhelpful stories by switching off mainstream media and reading The Red Pill Review instead.

Need help crossing the threshold? Complete the Thumotic 30-Day Challenge and start lifting weights to kick-start your life.

If you find this post useful, share it with your friends and tell us about your personal Hero’s Journey in the comments.

How To Cure Depression

You’re laying in bed.

You know what you have to do today, but you don’t have the courage to do it.

You have to go to the bank. You have to pay your hydro bill. You have to buy a Christmas present for your mentally retarded cousin. You can knock it all out in an afternoon. But the first step is getting out of bed, and you’re not ready for that yet.

It’s noon and you’re still exhausted. You’ve been staying up late because you’re afraid of mornings. You’re incapable of the most basic tasks. You’re stressed because you’re falling behind. You’re angry at yourself for being weak, then you’re angry at yourself for being angry at yourself.

Weeks go by. Clients get angry. Leads go cold. You cancel plans with friends. Opportunities pass you by. You open Word documents and write about how you’re going to get back on track. You start a dozen new tasks every day, and finish none of them. You start planning out new projects so you can avoid working on what you actually need to do.

You’re smart enough to know that to fix yourself, you need to change your mindset, so you start reading books and blogs that usually get you fired up, like Danger and Play, James Altucher, and Bold and Determined. Somehow it seems hollow, like these guys just don’t understand how hard it is to mail a cheque and buy a stuffed animal.

You put on a mask and hide the ennui from people close to you, out of shame, but also because you want to be a leader. You want to be a source of strength to others. You don’t want to bring them down.

Sometimes you forget to eat for a day. Sometimes you eat too much. You waste time on Reddit and Twitter. You jerk off. You watch entire seasons of garbage TV shows.

It’s December, so you go to a dozen parties. You have fun. You think: maybe things are turning around. Then you realize that all the times you’ve felt good over the past month have involved binge drinking and drugs, and that scares you.

You thought you had purged all the fragility from your psyche. Turns out you were wrong. You recognize that you’re going through a rough patch, but you’re still in denial. You start writing a blog post. As you write, you realize that you’re in much worse shape than you thought. You look back at your behaviour over the past two months, and you understand what you need to do.

You need to ask for help

You talk to your father, your sister, and your best friend. You tell them there is nothing to worry about, but you want them to know you’re going through a rough time, and you need their help to maintain good habits and a positive attitude. You tell them that you’re scared. You don’t know what you’re doing with your life. You’re having a hard time bouncing back from failure.

After talking to people you love, you feel better. You realize that you’ve been burning a lot of your energy pretending to be happy. You stop pretending.

You’re still afraid. You’re afraid of failure, and not living up to your potential. You’re afraid of being alone. You’re afraid that you don’t know what to do in your career and life. But at least these are real problems, with real solutions.

You get back to basics

Slowly, you work your way back into the light. The world starts to come back into focus. You’re not out of the woods yet. But you’re on a path.

You go on a three-day juice fast. You shock your system back into good healthy habits. You immediately feel lighter, clearer, and happier.

You start waking up early. You hit the gym every morning, heavy and hard. You look better, stand taller, and feel invigorated by the blood flow and testosterone boost.

You stop wasting time. You block garbage websites, stop watching TV, and limit your personal email and social media to one hour per day.

You clean your apartment and make it a happier environment. You buy more plants. Keep your curtains open. Start making your bed in the morning. You realize there is someone toxic you need to cut out of your life, and do what needs to be done.

You make a plan to get your life back on track. You were in denial. You accept that your twenties were a series of false starts that didn’t work out the way you’d hoped. You accept the fact that you’re almost thirty, and you’re not even close to where you had wanted to be. You forgive yourself.

You realize that maybe, for some stupid and reckless reason, you wanted to be in this situation. You wanted to fail. You wanted the opportunity to build yourself back up from nothing, so you took too many risks.

You make a checklist of good habits and stick it on your bedroom wall:

  • Wake up at 6:30 AM
  • Tidy apartment and make bed
  • Gym and/or yoga session
  • Dress sharp
  • Sit down and start work at 9:00 AM
  • Juice for lunch
  • Finish work at 5:00 PM
  • Do something every evening that is fun, social, and enriches your life.
  • Write in your journal
  • Meditate for ten minutes
  • Plan out the following day
  • Go to bed at 11:00 PM

Every day, you check off each item and congratulate yourself on these small victories. You’re not perfect. But you’re getting better.

You start to regain control over your world. You return calls. You pay your bills and get your finances in order. You stop spending time with people who bring you down. You set goals and make a plan for 2015.

You block off all the negative, distracting, soul-poisoning influences in your life. You spend your down time with Danger and Play Fitness Podcasts, Elliot Hulse, inspiring movies, and quality documentaries.

You do little things that have always brought you joy. You read great books. Play with your dog. Spend time with friends. Listen to happy music.

You still don’t feel good. But at least your actions are good:

  • You’re not bouncing out of bed, eager to start the day. But you are getting out of bed.
  • You’re not strutting into the gym like a beast, excited to crush some personal records. But you are in the gym.
  • You’re not working at full capacity, building your business, finding new clients, and doing great work. But you are moving forward on projects and meeting deadlines.
  • You’re not happy. But you are doing things that you know will make you happy, if you have the will to keep doing them.

You write this post over the course of several weeks. You’re tempted to wait until you’re back to 100% before posting it, so you can give it a nice happy ending. But that would be cheating.

What Is Depression?

Let’s not get too dramatic.

What I’m going through is pretty mild. Almost every man reading this will have a similar low point, probably more than once.

Some people suffer from random, crippling, severe depression that results from maladaptive neurochemical imbalances. Some people suffer from severe PTSD. This is ‘real’ Depression.

But most cases of depression are related to external factors. Depression is an adaptive response that encourages us to slow down and re-orient our lives.

I didn’t just go to sleep one night and wake up sad; the last two months of 2014 were genuinely hard on me. I lost a lot of money. I let my health suffer. I worked long, hard, stressful hours. I was betrayed by someone close. I’m scared of getting older. Whatever the cause, I ended the year feeling pessimistic, lethargic, and alone.

How To Cure Depression

Some people will react negatively to any suggestion that they can control their mental health.

Their theory is that Depression:

  • is a disease over which you have no control
  • strikes innocent people randomly, and
  • there is nothing you can do to prevent or manage it.

I think this perspective is harmful. It allows people to make up stories to absolve them of responsibility. They take the easy way out.

Yes, depression and anxiety are random – to an extent. But they are treatable. Rather than give up and accept mental illness as part of your identity, why not try to build a new identity based on the strength and force of will necessary to overcome it? I think the first step to overcoming depression – or anything else – is to start viewing it as within your locus of control.

This is the approach that has worked for me. I haven’t discovered a ‘cure’ for depression. I think that’s an unrealistic goal. All I can say is that I’ve stopped being self-destructive. I’m not brimming with joy every minute of the day, but I am waking up at dawn and doing what I need to do.

You can’t always control how you feel, but you can control how you behave. I haven’t completely cured myself of depression. But I have successfully cured myself of behaving like a depressed person.

Here are the habits that helped me get back on track. Try them for yourself, and see if they work for you:

1) Free writing

Open up a journal and just start writing. Write about what you think is causing you stress. Write about how you’re going to solve those problems. Once you’re done, keep writing whatever comes into your mind. Don’t stop and think. Eventually you’ll get to your real issues. Do this every day, for at least one full page. In a week, you’ll realize that you’ve been lying to yourself. About what? I don’t know. And neither do you. So start writing.

2) Good habits

You might feel silly using a checklist to make sure you eat breakfast and make your bed every day, but when you’re not capable of winning the big victories, you need to shoot for the little ones:

  • Wake up early
  • Exercise
  • Eat healthy
  • Work
  • Relax

Don’t get too ambitious and try to create a daily routine of sixteen straight hours of life-enriching productivity. If you were capable of that, you wouldn’t be reading this article. Start with modest goals and add more as you make progress.

The most important item on this list is waking up early. If you’re out of bed and lifting weights at 6:00 AM every day, you can’t be screwing up your life too badly. There is also evidence that a sleep fast can cure depression. If you commit to waking up early, you will almost certainly subject yourself to a few sleep fasts as your body adjusts to the new schedule.

3) Tell the truth

Most of my fear was tied up in hiding, so I made a rule: No more lying. No more false confidence.

Lying takes energy. When you stop lying, you have more energy to work on yourself.

Lying also makes it easier to lie to yourself. Before I started being honest, I had two separate stories. One was for the rest of the world (“I’m great! Never better!”) and the other was my own private internal monologue (“Boo-hoo, poor me, blah blah”).

Both of these stories were lies. I was lying to the rest of the world about feeling great, and it was emotionally exhausting trying to pretend that I was.

More importantly though, things aren’t nearly as bad as my inner monologue made them out to be. True, life isn’t going exactly according to plan. But I’m still an incredibly fortunate person by any reasonable standard.

Once I committed to honesty, I was planning to admit to friends and family that my life was in shambles. But when I tried to tell people, I couldn’t figure out how to explain it.

Gradually I realized: If I can’t explain it, maybe it isn’t true. Maybe things really aren’t that bad. I’ve had a few rough months, and I have to work hard to get back on track. But ultimately things are going to be OK.

4) Exercise

Regular exercise will make everything better. It’s a cliche for a reason. Building lean muscle will make you more energetic, more confident, and happier.

Lifting weights will also naturally increase your testosterone, which will improve your mood.

5) Juice

Placebo? Coincidence? Maybe. But for me at least, the major inflection point in my mood and optimism was a three-day juice fast.

There is plenty of evidence supporting the health benefits of intermittent fasting, and consuming lots of vegetables.

There’s evidence that a diet made of of fruits, vegetables and protein can prevent depression. Also see: Diet and Depression.

A juice fast also created a memorable psychological boundary between two shitty months, and the future. It created a narratively compelling scene break in the story of my life. Why does this matter? The human brain understands the world through stories and narrative. If you want to change your circumstances, you have to give yourself a narratively compelling reason to do so..

To summarize: lift weights, eat healthy, be honest, wake up early, and keep a journal. These are good habits whether you are depressed or not, and they have been clinically proven to treat depression. You don’t have to cure yourself entirely. Just start acting like someone who has.

Will This Work For You?

I don’t know.

I’m good so far. But this is all new to me, and my story is still being written.

All I can say is this: The habits and thought processes in this post have helped me. If you’re depressed, and your current plan is to wait (and medicate) until you feel better, maybe it’s time to try a new plan:

  1. Wake up at dawn
  2. Lift heavy weights
  3. Drink fresh juice
  4. Keep a journal
  5. Be honest with yourself and others

That’s it. Try it for a week and let us know how it goes. You can start your new habit of honesty by writing about your situation in the comments below.

Further Reading

Here are some links I came across when I started doing my research on curing depression:

Hyperbole And A Half: Adventures In Depression. It’s a much more severe experience than I can personally relate to, but I still found it beautiful and poignant.

Fit Juice: Does Juicing Cure Depression?

Rogue Health and Fitness: Breaking The Depression Feedback Loop

Bold and Determined: Cure Depression The Old-Fashioned Way

Good luck.

I’m Already Kicking Your Ass (Happy New Year)

It’s eleven in the morning on New Year’s Day.

The average people are dragging themselves out of bed and shaking off their hangovers .

Many of them are making promises to themselves; this year they’re going to quit bad habits, get lean, wake up early, earn more money, and be better to their friends and family. They’ve made New Year’s resolutions, because they believe in the symbolic, ritualistic power of a fresh calendar year.

But last night, these average people wanted nothing to do with good habits. They kicked off the year by indulging in all their worst vices. They’ve already taken their first step on the path of stagnation and decline.

“This is my year,” they’re saying. “I’m becoming a better man…”

“I’ll just get started on January second.”


I had big plans for New Year’s Eve.

I was going to rage all night, and spend the first day of 2015 in a fog. Then I was going to wake up on January 2nd and probably, maybe, potentially become a better version of myself.

But instead I’m here:

This is the day I’m choosing.

Unless you’ve done something similar, I’m already kicking your ass in 2015. I’m miles ahead of you, and not just because I’ve had one productive day.

The Power Of Symbolism

Humans are not computer programs. There is a spiritual component to getting motivated that transcends SMART goals and Excel tracking sheets. Becoming a better version of yourself requires more than desire.

If you want to change, you need a story to tell.

You need be a hero with a compelling narrative and a plausible character arc. You need iconic moments that create memorable hook points.

The same principles of persuasion apply, whether you’re trying to motivate others or yourself. Stories always stick.

January 1st is an arbitrary day, but I’m choosing to infuse it with meaning. Missing out on the New Year parties and waking up before dawn is a memorable, threshold-crossing, symbolic renunciation of frivolity and idleness. It’s an experience that will stick with me throughout 2015, reminding me that I’ve chosen a path of discipline and commitment.

What Symbolic Action Can You Take?

If you’re reading this and thinking, “Damn, I missed my chance… but that sounds like a great idea to try in 2016!” you’re taking the wrong message.

Yes, it’s too late for you to start 2015 with a perfect day. But January 2nd is still a great day to do something significant, and give yourself a powerful start to the year. What can you do to make your mind see today as a turning point in your life?

Do you want to get in shape?

Go to the gym and commit to having the hardest workout of your life. Load a squat rack with something you can do comfortably for 20 reps, then do sets to failure with one minute of rest until you can’t do a single rep. If you truly give it 100%, I guarantee this is the hardest, most grueling workout you will ever do.

Do you want to make more money?

Call in sick tomorrow and see how much you can earn in a day of work.

Spend a day figuring out how to make money on Fiverr, even if you think you’re “above” freelancing online. Start training yourself to think like an entrepreneur.

Is there a big project that you’re set on accomplishing in 2015?

Stay up all night and work on it for 24 straight hours.

Pulling all-nighters on a regular basis isn’t a good idea, but do it once to give yourself a memorable experience. Take a picture of your haggard self at the 24th hour and put it near your desk. Today is the day you become obsessed to the point of madness.

How You Can Catch Up

If you’ve had a slow start to 2015, you’re probably feeling like an asshole right now. But you shouldn’t. It’s natural and healthy to want to let loose and celebrate the end of a great year.

In my case, I didn’t have a great year. I lost a lot of money, took a painful vacation from the game, and spent the past two months mired in unproductive depression and anxiety, getting absolutely nothing done.

It was a good year overall. The spring and summer of twenty-fourteen brought me unprecedented enjoyment and personal growth. But the tail end sucked a whole bag of dicks, and I have no one to blame but myself.

The result is that I had no desire to celebrate New Year’s Eve. I haven’t earned it. My ascetic New Year’s brought me infinitely more happiness than a night of contrived revelry.

What Comes Next

To my readers who found new heights of success in 2014 – congratulations, friend. Your challenge is to stay hungry.

To those who did not, now is a good time to do some reflection and re-orientation. Did you celebrate last night? Why? How did you feel this morning?

Did you wake up today feeling guilt and shame? It’s probably because you celebrated without having anything worth celebrating. You were going through the motions of happiness, when you should be focused on re-building your life. I know because I’ve been there.

If that sounds familiar, try taking a next month off from drugs, booze, late nights, and Tinder. Join Thumotic as we put our heads down and decide right now that we’re going to earn a debaucherous, dangerous, self-destructive New Year’s Eve exactly 365 days from now.

2015 is The Year Of No More Fucking Around, and I invite you along for the ride.

Be Grateful For This Post

Have you ever had a bad workout? I had a bad workout.

I felt sluggish, tired, and mentally weak. I made excuses and cut it short, heading to the locker room with fifteen sets waiting to be checked off in my training log.

I met Dale in the steam room. Dale admits that he didn’t have a great workout either. He tells me his daily goal is swim for one hour. Today he almost quit at the thirty-minute mark, but barely managed to push himself through.

I realize that I’ve seen Dale many times before, shuffling around in the children’s pool, half-walking and half-swimming from end to end, so slowly it barely looks like he’s moving. I had always assumed that beneath his swim cap and goggles, the kiddie-pool shuffler was a in his eighties or beyond. I remember thinking: I hope I’m still as active as he is, when I’m that age.

But Dale is thirty-eight years old. It’s a miracle he’s alive, let alone walking and swimming. His arms and thighs are thinner than my wrists. He has Muscular Dystrophy, and he might have another ten years if he’s lucky.


Sex used to be a joke to me.

I would tell friends that I’m in a stable long-term relationship with a girl named Tinder:

“We see each other once or twice a week, she’s not needy or high-maintenance, and somehow after more than a year, it still always feels fresh and exciting when we see each other.”

I was even planning to take a random from Tinder out for a nice dinner and buy her a fake diamond bracelet for “our” one-year anniversary.

But then the unthinkable happened. Spend enough time at the table, and you’re eventually going to lose.

There are a lot of men have never known the two greatest pleasures in life: the vulnerable, powerless joy of true love; and the vain, prideful thrill of polygynous abundance. There are also men who have always been successful with women, and have never known scarcity. Whenever a man tells you that women shouldn’t be the most important thing in life, I guarantee that they have known one or the other – scarcity or abundance – but not both.

Let me tell you the worst thing about celibacy. It’s not the physical desire. That’s kid stuff. The real pain of celibacy comes from loneliness. Regular human touch is a powerful and necessary component of good mental health, but you only notice how important it is when it’s gone.

When you’re meeting women and having sex regularly, you’re getting all the skin-to-skin contact that you need. As a result, touch has no power over you. A handshake is just a greeting.

When you’re not, you become grateful for every instance of human contact. The casual social rituals of hugs and high fives become your only connection to humanity outside of yourself.


I’m twenty-nine.

That’s not old. But it’s also not young.

Have I made the best use of my time? Certainly not. I’ve spent years walking down paths that lead nowhere, only to retrace my steps.

I’ll spare you any false modesty. I’m proud of where I’m at today. Even my most catastrophic failures were calculated risks that I would do over. Yes, I made some mistakes in my twenties, but most were necessary consequences of an ambitious and risk-taking approach to life.

But sometimes I think about what I could have done differently. I lament the time that’s passed, and the narrowing of opportunities that comes with the passage of time. I feel envy towards talented young men, like the 19-year old author of Thirty Days To X, and I’m jealous of the extra decade they have to live, experience, and grow.

The Insanity Of Ingratitude

We all take things for granted.

I am an incredibly fortunate person. Can you imagine how many sick and dying people would kill to have my healthy body? Or how many lonely middle-aged men, who have never even kissed a girl, would trade their problems for mine? Or how many forty, fifty, or sixty year old men would give up everything to be twenty-nine again?

And yet – as the first half of this post clearly demonstrates – I am fully capable of throwing myself a pathetic little pity-party. Everyone is tempted by weakness at times.

Maybe you feel that you have a right to feel sorry for yourself. Maybe you feel that you are always the victim of bad luck and bad circumstances. Maybe you really are. But I bet you can come up with a long list of people who would love to trade places with you.

“Are you just going to stand there and feel sorry for yourself?”

This was the favourite taunt of an old rugby coach, whenever someone looked like they were about to quit.

In his view, the worst thing you could ever do was feel sorry for yourself. He saw self-pity as unproductive and self-handicapping. He was right.

Self-pity is disempowering. When you feel self-pity, you surrender to your environment. You admit your inability to rise above your circumstances, you ask for charity and mercy from the universe. You abase yourself to fate, and make yourself a slave.

Self-pity is the opposite of gratitude. It is an easy escape from any challenge that presents itself, because it absolves you from any responsibility for your condition. Choosing to feel oppressed by circumstances is the favourite refuge of the mentally and spiritually weak, which is why self-pity is the default emotional state of Social Justice Warriors.

Gratitude is power

Cultivating gratitude will cure you of any negative mindset. If you’re depressed, angry, envious, embarrassed, disappointed, indignant, despairing, or insecure – gratitude will dominate that negativity. It’s emotional penicillin.

If you’re struggling to get motivated and improve your life, gratitude will help you.

Are you going to justify skipping workouts and eating junk, while thinking about people with degenerative diseases struggling to live until middle age? No. You’re going to work your ass off to become the strongest, healthiest, most lean and muscular version of yourself possible.

Are you going to feel despair at your job prospects, while thinking about the billions of people in poor countries who would love to switch places with you? No. You’re going to leverage your strengths and build a real career.

Are you going to be satisfied with mediocre social skills and relationships, and make excuses for why you’re not doing as well as you’d like with women? Or are you going to push yourself to the next level and start having the relationships you want?

How To Cultivate Gratitude

Gratitude is a mental state that leads to positive actions, but it also works the other way – positive actions will help you develop a sense of gratitude.

Be honest: Are you a negative person? Do you complain often? Are you depressed? Quick to anger? Cruel? Fearful?

If so, you probably suffer from a lack of gratitude. There are many paths to developing a sense of gratitude , but here are a few habits that work for me:

Keep A Journal

I write a journal. Each entry focuses on two things: what I’m currently feeling, and what I’m grateful for. It’s a calming ritual and it forces me to take five minutes a day to be aware and grateful for what I have and where I’m at.

Physical Reminders

Are you homeless? Are you going hungry? No?

Stick a five-dollar bill to your fridge door to remind yourself to be grateful for the money and financial security that you have. Even if you work at Starbucks, you still have more opportunity than the vast majority of people in the world. You still own a magical device, i.e. the computer or phone you’re reading this article on, which connects you to every piece of art, music, film, literature, and education resources in existence.

Catch Yourself

Decide right now that you’re going to catch yourself feeling negative emotions in your day-to-day life, and respond to those negative emotions by consciously pushing your inner monologue towards gratitude.

Start right now

Email someone in your life and thank them for something nice they did for you. I guarantee that it will make your day better. Tell us in the comments what you did and how it went.

What Is A Social Justice Warrior?

Many readers have seen the acronym SJW (Social Justice Warrior) and have a partial understanding of what the phrase means. The goal of this post is to provide a complete definition, historical context, and some guidelines for how you should treat feral SJWs in the wild.

Executive Summary: Social Justice Warriors are the emotionally damaged and intellectually mediocre outcasts of American society. Roosh has a very good overview here: What is a Social Justice Warrior?

“Social justice warriors believe in an extreme left-wing ideology that combines feminism, progressivism, and political correctness into a totalitarian system that attempts to censor speech and promote fringe lifestyles while actively discriminating against men, particularly white men. They are the internet activist arm of Western progressivism that acts as a vigilante group to ensure compliance and homogeny of far left thought.”

What drives them?

Social Justice Warriors are naturally weak people who crave a sense of power in their lives.

Everyone wants to feel powerful and accomplished; healthy people fill this need by creating, giving, and offering value. Social Justice Warriors are not capable of doing this, so they try to tear the rest of the world down to their level.

Lacking the ability to create, Social Justice Warriors seek to destroy. On the surface, they justify their actions in a garbled parroting of left-wing ideology, but raw envy is the emotional animus that gets them out of bed in the morning.

Where did they come from?

Social Justice Warriors were created by the democratization of Radical Academia.

Much can be said against the 1960s/70s Marxist radicals – they were an unprincipled, self-absorbed, and misinformed bunch of crooks who destroyed a great nation – but at least they had competence going for them. They were intelligent and effective in their pursuit of ignoble ends.

This is exactly what you would expect from a bunch of Harvard and Yale over-achievers. The Radical Left started out in elite institutions, and was thus made up of elite people. But since then, their ideas have seeped downstream into our second- and third-tier institutions, with embarrassing results.

The post-war activist generation – i.e. Barack Obama, who worked for Bill Ayres, and Hilary Clinton, who helped defend the Black Panthers at Yale – went on to form the liberal and moderate political elite of the country.

Whatever their crimes, this generation of intelligent and socially adroit radical activists is at least able to eloquently present their flawed worldview. In stark contrast, the current generation of unemployed community-college-educated mediocrities can only rant and rave incoherently on Tumblr.

How do you defeat them?

To defeat them, you must understand them. To understand them, you must sympathize with them, and even love them.

You have to recognize that Social Justice Warriors are not intrinsically bad people:

  • It’s not their fault that they are intellectually average, and were taught by a broken education system to reach beyond their grasp
  • Many of their emotional problems stem from a lifetime of rejection, ostracization, and feelings of inadequacy
  • As broken, evil, and destructive as their actions are, they receive positive reinforcement from authority figures for their behaviour

In a healthy society, emotionally unstable people with unexceptional talents would be guided into humble careers and a stabilizing social network. If they had that support, the vast majority of modern-day SJWs would be living productive, happy lives.

Instead, they have been raised to see themselves as a cognitive and moral elite. Their ideology of oppression and privilege leaves them with no moral obligation to society. Post-modern academia has taught them to eschew logic, evidence, and honest discourse. They are monsters, but they did not become monsters all by themselves.

From both a practical and rhetorical perspective, your love is a more effective weapon against them than hatred. Your anger will only fuel their passions, while rhetorically elevating them to your level. If you can empathize enough to offer them your honest and effusive pity, you will demoralize them completely.

How can you avoid them?

As a young man in the 21st century, you should make every effort to avoid Social Justice Warriors in your personal life.

Why? Because they are worse than evil – they are losers. The defining characteristic of the Social Justice Warrior is not a political orientation, it is unhappiness. If you let them in to your life, their negativity will sap your life force and leave you less joyful and productive than you otherwise could be. To be a winner, you must surround yourself with winners.

For your own safety, happiness, and peace of mind, you should make every effort to avoid Social Justice Warriors in your personal and professional life. The most effective way to do this is to create a lifestyle that is antithetical to their values. Build yourself into a living monument to strength and achievement.

Lift Weights, – a healthy body communicates strength and self-respect.

Read great books – SJWs wade in the intellectual shallows of third-rate academia and clickbait journalism. Swim out into deeper waters and leave them behind.

And most importantly of all, you can make a conscious effort to be generous, positive, and joyful in your daily life. Not only will this mindset make you a happier and more pleasant person to be around, it will also repel the negative, angry, damaged sorts of people who are drawn to the Social Justice Warrior ethos.

How To Naturally Increase Your Testosterone

This post is a comprehensive guide for young men who want to naturally increase their testosterone.

There is nothing new or ground-breaking about this post. My goal is to make it as easy as possible for you to take action and start becoming a better version of yourself.

Why Should You Want To Increase Your Testosterone?

Do you suffer from any of the following?

  • Low Energy
  • Low Sex Drive
  • Difficulty building muscle mass
  • Difficulty losing fat
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

These are all symptoms of low testosterone.

Every man – especially men in their twenties – should feel consistently vigorous, energetic, and virile. If you don’t, this is a problem that you can solve. If you want to have more energy, lose fat, increase muscle, become more socially dominant, and be a more masculine man, increasing your testosterone will help you achieve your goals.

The proven benefits of higher testosterone include:

  • Higher energy level
  • Stronger mental focus
  • More physical strength and power
  • More natural social dominance
  • Higher sex drive and better sexual performance
  • Better mood and less anxiety

There is an epidemic of low testosterone in young men – average levels have dropped 20% in the past 20 years – and it is going unrecognized, untreated, and unreported.  Many doctors will label you ‘normal and healthy’ even if you have the hormone profile of an average 80-year old man.

There are many possible explanations for this epidemic. Some of the most plausible are environmental contaminants; regular binge drinking; the spirit-sucking cultural war on men; and a completely broken food and agriculture industry which produces low-quality meat and pushes a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet.

We could spend a lot of time going through the possible causes of the problem, but this post will focus on just one question: What is the solution?

Testosterone Replacement Therapy

This post will not address Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT).

The most effective way to increase your testosterone levels is through TRT. Lifestyle changes (i.e. the information in this post) will give you an edge, but actual TRT will be far more powerful.

If hormone therapy is something you’re considering, don’t learn about it from me. Read everything in the Danger and Play on Testosterone Replacement Therapy category and then speak to an open-minded doctor.

I have never used TRT. I’m still in my twenties, my testosterone levels are naturally high (~950 ng/dL).  If I suffered from any of the symptoms of low testosterone, or if my natural levels were below 700, I would probably make a different decision.

How To Naturally Increase Your Testosterone

There are a variety of lifestyle interventions that will increase your testosterone levels and make you a more masculine man. Even if you generally feel healthy and virile, these recommendations will make you a stronger, better version of yourself.

None of this is rocket science, and you probably won’t be surprised by any of my advice. Taking action and implementing each one of these suggestions will take about one hour per day, and cost less than $100/month.

So without further ado, here are the five most important steps you can take to increase your testosterone and become a better version of yourself:

1) Lift Heavy Weights

Lift heavy weights, build muscle, and lose fat. This is the single most important action you can take to start improving your life.

If you want to build a great physique as quickly and efficiently as possible, the best resource you can get is Victor Pride’s Body Of A Spartan Program. Don’t be fooled by the sales-y language, Victor has been helping men and publishing great training advice for years, and this book is a great value:

Body Of A SpartanBody Of A Spartan is a complete guide to introductory weight training for natural bodybuilders. It is over one hundred pages of specific instructions and high-quality pictures for the most important barbell exercises that every man should make a part of his routine. It also includes several introductory programs and dietary guidelines. It has everything you need to get started, and get started the right way.

2) Eat Meat, Eggs and Butter

You’ve probably been given a lot of bad advice about diet and nutrition. If you want proof, just look at anyone who follows the standard advice of eating a lot of grains and avoiding saturated fat.

To increase your testosterone and maintain comprehensive good health, you should eat a meat-heavy diet with lots of saturated fat, while avoiding sugar and grains. If you want to learn more about the Paleo/Ancestral Health movement (and you should) I highly recommend you read The Paleo Manifesto, by John Durant, one of the most interesting and prolific contemporary evolutionary biologists. He also likes to make fun of social justice warriors on Twitter, so you can feel good about spending money on his book.

3) Sleep A Lot And Avoid Alcohol

Go to bed early and sleep in a pitch-black room. Melatonin is a useful supplement that promotes deeper sleep.

Alcohol is poison. Worse, it is poison that makes your body produce estrogen. Moderate alcohol consumption won’t have much of an effect (6.8% decrease in testosterone for men who had three drinks/day for three weeks, and you’re probably not going out every night – Sierksma et al, 2004) but binge drinking will definitely sabotage your efforts to increase your testosterone.

4) Take The Right Supplements

Several over-the-counter supplements will naturally boost your testosterone, especially if you’re taking them as part of a healthy and testosterone-friendly lifestyle.

Protein, Creatine and BCAAs will support your heavy weight training and allow you to put on muscle and lose fat, which will promote healthy testosterone levels.

Vitamin D and Zinc increase testosterone in men who have deficiencies. If you have dark skin and live in a northern climate, it’s more likely you are deficient in Vitamin D.

Fish Oil is an important supplement for overall health, and it has been shown to lower Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin (SHBG) and increase Lutenizing Hormone (LH), which will likely increase your testosterone.

These supplements will not have a dramatic effect on your testosterone levels (and don’t ever fall for anyone trying to sell you a ‘natural’ testosterone enhancer that promised to transform your life) but they will definitely give you an edge.

5) Reduce Stress

Meditation, daily mindfulness practice, keeping a journal, and staying organized will reduce your cortisol levels and promote testosterone production.

Taking Action

If you want to commit to a heavy and hardcore weightlifting routine, the best resource to help you get started is Victor Pride’s Body Of A Spartan. It’s simple, easy to understand, and it tells you exactly what you need to know.

You can use Amazon to get the best price on the supplements that will help you naturally increase your testosterone: Protein, Creatine, BCAAs, Vitamin D, Zinc and Fish Oil.

(Full disclosure, these are affiliate links so I’ll make a few bucks off the sale.)

If you’re looking for a comprehensive plan for masculine self-development, The Thumotic Lifestyle Guide is a collection of all the information you need to embrace the Red Pill, and start becoming the best possible version of yourself.

Further Reading

Nothing in this post is new or ground-breaking. If you want to learn more about testosterone and male health, I recommend the following sources:

Danger and Play

Bold and Determined

Art of Manliness

Rogue Health and Fitness

Pill Scout

Questions and Comments

Post any questions and share your own experiences with natural testosterone enhancement in the comments below.

How To Get Motivated

What’s the biggest obstacle holding you back from becoming the best possible version of yourself?

It’s definitely not a lack of information. Everything you need to know to introduce discipline, pride, and good habits to your life is in the Thumotic Lifestyle Guide.

It’s not a lack of support. If Your Friends Are Holding You Back, cut them off and move on. Problem solved.

And it’s probably not a lack of natural ability. Many highly accomplished men have achieved greatness in spite of crippling health problems and mediocre intelligence.

Your problem is a lack of motivation

All you need is the strength to take action, and you can start solving all of your problems immediately.

For example, if you want to Get Lean and Muscular, here’s everything you need to know:

“Lift heavy weights for one hour at 6:00 AM every weekday. Focus on heavy barbell movements: squats, deadlifts, bench press, rows, overhead press. Do each set to complete failure and move quickly between exercises so you break a heavy sweat. Eat lots of meat, eggs, butter, and vegetables. Go to bed early and avoid alcohol.”

If you actually follow these instructions, I promise that you will make immediate progress and develop a good physique within a year or two. You’ll look great, you’ll have more energy and vitality, and you’ll live a longer, healthier life.

But it’s not that easy. If it was, the average American man wouldn’t look like this:


You can learn a lot more about training, nutrition, and supplementation than the one hundred words I’ve written above. But this hundred-word program will get you 80% of the way to the finish line. A little bit of information plus a lot of action will always beat a lot of information and no action.

Lack of motivation is not a new problem

Better men than us have fought the urge to hit the snooze alarm:

“At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: ‘I have to go to work — as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I’m going to do what I was born for — the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?’

— But it’s nicer in here …

So you were born to feel ‘nice’? Instead of doing things and experiencing them? Don’t you see the plants, the birds, the ants and spiders and bees going about their individual tasks, putting the world in order, as best they can? And you’re not willing to do your job as a human being? Why aren’t you running to do what your nature demands?

— But we have to sleep sometime …

Agreed. But nature set a limit on that — as it did on eating and drinking. And you’re over the limit. You’ve had more than enough of that. But not of working. There you’re still below your quota.

You don’t love yourself enough. Or you’d love your nature too, and what it demands of you. People who love what they do wear themselves down doing it, they even forget to wash or eat. Do you have less respect for your own nature than the engraver does for engraving, the dancer for the dance, the miser for money or the social climber for status? When they’re really possessed by what they do, they’d rather stop eating and sleeping than give up practicing their arts.

Is helping others less valuable to you? Not worth your effort?”

- Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

And we’re not the first generation to wonder if we’re doing all we can, to make use of our given abilities:

“For the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.

And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.

Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.

And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.

But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.

After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.

And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.

His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.

His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:

And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.

His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:

Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.

Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.

For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.

And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

- Matthew 25:14-30

The best possible version of yourself does not come naturally. You can learn as much as you want, you’re still going to have to fight the inner demons of sloth and weakness.

What if you want to feel motivated, but can’t?

What if you agree with everything I’ve written in this post, but know deep down that no matter what you promise yourself today, tomorrow will find you sliding back into your old self-destructive habits? I know that this describes a lot of people, so let’s look at some proven strategies for increasing your motivation and becoming more successful at life.

How To Get Motivated

Making the best use of your life and talents requires a constant internal battle between diligence and sloth. This is the moral and spiritual component to motivation, and it will always be the most important.

But you are also a skin-wrapped sack of chemicals. You respond to stimuli in predictable ways, and you obey the laws of cause and effect. You are a moist robot, and we’re going to re-program that robot, using five interventions that have been scientifically proven to increase your motivation and drive.

1) Increase your testosterone

If you habitually feel lazy, sluggish and unmotivated, there’s a good chance you are suffering from low testosterone.

There is an epidemic of low testosterone in the modern world, which is why Testosterone Replacement Therapy For Young Men is becoming more and more common.

There also strategies you can use to naturally increase your testosterone. Here’s a quick summary:

  • Wake up at dawn and lift heavy weights
  • Eat steak and eggs
  • Supplement with Zinc and Vitamin D
  • Sleep a lot and avoid alcohol
  • Reduce stress, meditate, and keep a journal

Higher testosterone levels will have a powerful effect on your motivation, as well as your confidence, happiness, social dominance, and athletic ability. If you’re still young, it’s very likely that you can achieve higher testosterone levels with a better lifestyle.

2) Create rituals

The easiest decisions are the ones you don’t have to make.

I make the exact same fresh vegetable juice every day for lunch. I never think about it and I never have to “psych myself up” to make it. I just do it. It’s part of my 30-minute mid-day ritual, which includes other good habits like meditating, tidying my apartment, and drinking a green tea.

I also have a morning ritual (lemon water, three minutes of calisthenics, protein smoothie) and a bedtime ritual (brush and floss, review my calendar and goals for the next day). Rituals make my life simpler and more organized, while ingraining good habits into my regular schedule.

I know this is all incredibly basic stuff, but it makes a difference. According to the theory of Ego Depletion, you have a finite reservoir of willpower which you use up every time you make a decision that requires willpower. Putting these decisions on auto-pilot leaves you more energy for other tasks.

3) Nootropic Drugs

Forget what you learned from after-school specials – drugs aren’t always bad. There are a variety of drugs that can make you sharper, more focused, more alert, and more motivated. They’re called Nootropics.

The best Nootropic to start with is to start taking 100-200mg of Theanine with your morning coffee. Caffeine + Theanine is a powerful combination that is 100% safe, legal, and effective. If you want to try something a bit punchier, I also recommend talking to your doctor about Modafinil. You can learn more in my guide to Entry-Level Nootropics.

4) Find your purpose

To perform at a high level, you need to have a clear visualization of the outcome you’re working towards. Unless you have a clear idea of why you’re doing the work, it will be hard to motivate yourself to do it. If you want to get in shape, or make more money, or meet more girls, ask yourself: why do you want these things? Until you can answer that, staying motivated will be an uphill battle.

5) Get better friends

You are the average of the five people you spend most of your time with.

If your friends suck, get better friends. Surround yourself with smart and ambitious people who share your goals. Man is a social animal, and your brain will always have a “tribe” whose approval you seek. If your real-life tribe rewards you for being lazy and stagnant, that’s what you’ll do. The solution is to immerse yourself in a new social circle with better values.

If you don’t have any high-quality friends, spend your time and mental energy with online mentors who will drive you to be a better version of yourself, such as Danger and Play, Bold and Determined, Good-Looking Loser, and Elliot Hulse. There is no excuse for surrounding yourself with mediocre people in the 21st century.

You can also read the autobiographies of great men like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Benjamin Franklin, Mark Cuban, and Felix Dennis.

Your Next Action

Enough talk. Let’s do an exercise together.

I want you to identify an area in your life that you’re not happy with.

Next, I want you to think of one thing you can do today to make a little bit more progress than you did yesterday. Once you complete this action, come back to this post and tell us what you did in the comments.

How Danger And Play Saved My Life

I had suffered the greatest defeat of my adult life.

Vaguely: I was put in charge of a talented team that was responsible for making a very important sale.

The odds were stacked against us. The client had an established relationship with another supplier, and a lot of internal stakeholders were heavily invested in that relationship. But we had a chance. Or at least I thought we did, and I convinced some smart people.

When I learned that we failed, I was crushed. I had put everything into this project. This wasn’t just a professional setback, it was a repudiation of my entire being.

I could have crumbled, but one thing kept me afloat.

I had my foundation.

The week after I got the news, I was in the gym every morning at dawn.

Weightlifting has been a consistent habit in my life since I was sixteen, ever since I learned the rudiments of strength training from Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Encyclopedia Of Modern Bodybuilding.

But resistance training is about more than just strength, health, and vanity.

Exercise can be a spiritual and meditative experience. No matter what happens, weightlifting is a centre to which I can always return to. The weights are always there, and they are always fair.

That’s why my first piece of advice to anyone going through a rough spot – myself included – is to hit the gym. No matter what’s going on in your life, if you’re lifting heavy weights every morning at dawn, you can’t be screwing up too badly.

Spartan Socrates

Workouts at dawn were the first habit I imposed on myself in the fallout of my defeat. The second was juice.

Suspend your disbelief; juicing is powerful. The human body requires a much higher volume of vegetables than our diets currently provide, and fresh juice is the antidote to this deficiency. Every day for lunch, I make a simple carrot, beet, celery, apple, and ginger juice that elevates my mood and gives me a calm, stable energy throughout the afternoon.

I didn’t turn to alcohol

I was an alcoholic throughout my late teens and early twenties.

It’s easy to develop unhealthy drinking habits, since our society actively encourages a destructive binge-drinking culture as an essential part of college and post-college life. If Danger and Play hadn’t steered me away from alcoholism, there’s a good chance I’d be doing something as self-destructive and cliched as seeking solace in the bottom of a bottle.

I’m not living on the street.

This recent failure dealt a harsh blow to my psyche, my career – and also my bank account.

If I had followed the standard yuppie lifestyle blueprint, I would be bankrupt right now.

Instead, I’ve always been content to live a frugal lifestyle. This gave me the freedom to do things like spend a year traveling the world, quit a stable job to run my own company, and most recently, invest in a shot at an ambitious goal with a potentially high payoff.

I recognize that failure is opportunity.

The most important mindset that I’ve adopted in life is the recognition that failure is opportunity.

Failure is not desirable. But whenever we fail, the best way to prepare for the future is to focus on the new opportunities that failure creates.This approach to failure is the most conducive to success, happiness and good mental health.

Even when an outcome is overwhelmingly negative, the best practical response is to focus on the new opportunities. Regret accomplishes nothing. Focus on the positive, and you will force yourself to seek out the good from the wreckage of defeat, and open your eyes to the new opportunities that are available.

I’ve never been happier.

That sounds crazy, but it’s true.

There is nothing that compares to the manic passion of war (or at least, a metaphorical white-collar approximation of war).

But once the dust settles you learn what you’re made of.

I learned that I’m resilient to failure. I learned that I don’t need money and professional accolades to be content with who I am. I learned that regardless of my external success or failure, I am happy.

I can rebuild.

The majority of young men in the western world today have no mentors. Many have no fathers. They are adrift in a harsh and unforgiving world, with no one to give them actionable advice that could actually help them turn their lives around.

I’m fortunate that I have a great network of people around me. I have family, friends, and real-life mentors who have taught me so much in life, and still have more to offer.

But when I consider all of the teachers in my life, I can confidently say that Michael Cernovich, the author of Danger and Play, has had the the strongest positive influence on me in my adult life. If I hadn’t had him to help guide me through my late twenties, my best-case outcome would have been a mediocre and unexamined life of quiet desperation.

On a practical level, my weekly routine is replete with tangible applications of habits I learned from Mike:

Most importantly, reading Danger and Play has given me a deeper personal reservoir of strength, willpower, and mental resilience. This is not something that I learned from any particular blog post or podcast; it’s just part of a mindset vibrates from every aspect of Danger and Play.

This strength is what has made it possible for me to take risks, eschew comfort, pursue big goals, and bounce back when things didn’t work out.

Who Are Your Mentors?

Readers: who are your mentors? Who are your heroes? If you don’t have an immediate answer, you are probably stagnant in your life. You are afraid of change, or you are too proud to admit that you have anything to learn.

I’ve written this post partly because I believe in the importance of expressing gratitude (yet another habit I picked up from Danger and Play), but also because you might need a kick in the ass to actually knuckle down and start building a new lifestyle. Stop reading, and start doing. This stuff works.

If you’re looking for a new direction and aren’t satisfied with the current state of your life, spend a week going through the Danger and Play Archives. Read every word, listen to every podcast, and have the humility and willpower to actually start living your life accordingly. Michael Cernovich saved my life. Maybe he’ll save yours, too.

What Really Happened To Tucker Max?

Tucker Max has a new site, The Mating Grounds, which is simultaneously ripping off and attacking The Red Pill/Manosphere.

Here is proof that The Mating Grounds is ripping of Danger and Play.

Here is proof that The Mating Grounds is lying about Roosh.

It’s not all stolen content. The Mating Grounds also published a flagship series of posts about women and dating, the content of which suggests Tucker Max and co-author Geoffrey Miller have never read and understood a single post in the entire Red Pill ouevre.

So truly, I have no idea what’s going on behind the scenes at The Mating Grounds. Max and Miller appear to be deriving “inspiration” from The Red Pill, while still not actually grokking any of our wisdom. Is this all a confused attempt to stir up a false controversy? Has Tucker Max actually drank the Kool-Aid, and started to believe his own trite dismissals of the seduction community?

Only one thing is certain: The Mating Grounds is pathetic, and it’s doomed to fail.

So why am I writing about it? Why not just ignore Tucker Max? It is tempting to simply turn away from the dying gasps of Tucker Max’s career. But I’m not, because there are lessons to be learned from the rise and fall of Tucker Max.

The Good

Tucker Max was a hero of mine. I discovered his writing at the age of eighteen, and idolized his literary persona for the next five years. His descent into mediocrity has been painful for me to watch.

Most would say that Tucker Max was nothing more than a brief flash-in-the-pan, a pony whose only trick was vulgar frat boy humour. But the reality is that Tucker Max’s stories were more than just entertainment: They articulated a new male identity that was unapologetically masculine and intellectual.

Tucker Max was the founder of the 21st-century internet-driven masculine renaissance – a movement that we now call The Manosphere, or The Red Pill. His writing and his forum created the first synthesis of traditional masculinity, the seduction community, and opposition to political correctness.

He also founded a community of writers that helped each other develop their craft. Many young male writers today – men such as Ryan Holiday, Aurini, myself, Philalawyer, Ben Corman, and others – were helped and inspired by Tucker Max in their early days.

Tucker Max taught nerds how to be men, but he also taught men how to be nerds. When I discovered Tucker Max at the age of eighteen, I had carved out an identity that consisted of sports, drinking to excess, and chasing girls. I had given up a childhood obsession with reading great books, because I had decided that I was a cool guy – and cool guys don’t read. Tucker Max showed me that a strong masculine identity is compatible with a thirst for knowledge. For that lesson, I will always be grateful.

Max also disrupted the publishing industry with an incredibly prescient understanding of the weaknesses of the status quo in the face of internet-driven decentralization. He foresaw the weaknesses of the mainstream publishing industry, and the coming age of direct relationships between producers and consumers of art.

The original Tucker Max forum was similar to the Roosh V Forum, and I don’t make that comparison lightly. There was a weekly book club that taught me how to actually read and think about great books and authors like Fight Club, Sperm Wars, 48 Laws Of Power, and The Autobiography of Malcolm X. I discovered the seduction community through the old forum’s discussion of Neil Strauss’s The Game. There was even a community for young writers to submit their own essays and short stories for criticism.

In the glory days of Tucker Max’s career, he was the leader of a smart, loyal, and purpose-driven masculine renaissance movement.

The Bad

In 2007, Max’s nascent publishing empire collapsed. He left his friends and partners hanging out to dry, and stopped paying the salaries of his writers. He released an independent film that lost millions of dollars and earned terrible reviews. The combination of these two failures was too much for his psyche to handle; he took his forum offline, shut down all channels of communication between himself and his readers, and went AWOL for several years.

Upon his return in 2013, his first move was to apologize for his earlier work, and beg forgiveness:

“I was a ridiculous narcissist in my twenties. It’s not even that I didn’t care about other people. It’s way beyond that. I just didn’t even understand that other people even existed or mattered. I do not believe I was a true NPD [narcissistic personality disorder] in the clinical sense. But, dude, I was close.“I ended up hurting a lot of people and not even realizing it. Because of that narcissism, I didn’t connect well to other people. I used a lot of people a lot of times, in ways I didn’t understand.

Then he started The Mating Grounds and came out guns blazing against The Manosphere/Red Pill community:

We believe that most “Pick-up Artists” are sociopathic, bullshit scammers. The PUA scene is not transformational, it’s transactional. Its not about getting to know women, it’s about getting over on them. We believe Mating Grounds is the answer to the PUA strategy for all those men who have nothing meaningful to show for their efforts.”

Fair criticisms can be made of the Red Pill and Seduction communities, but a man would have to be blind (or dishonest) to claim that they are wholly without value.

And here’s some simple logic: Max and Miller claim that “most” of the pick-up scene is garbage, which implies that some pick-up artists are not garbage. So, why doesn’t The Mating Grounds identify which parts of the seduction community are bad, and which are good? Why not separate the wheat from the chaff?

The answer is simple: Linking to other sources of dating advice would be counter to Tucker Max and Geoffrey Miller’s business strategy of cashing in on the good will and brand equity they’ve earned with their previous good work. Tucker Max is respected and admired by many, for his early success in articulating a new masculinity to a generation of American men. Geoffrey Miller is respected and admired for his work as a theorist and popularizer of evolutionary psychology and its applications to human mating behaviour.

But today, Max and Miller are unwilling to use the podiums they’ve earned in their better years to do anything more than re-hash the standard politically correct pablum. They are afraid of the backlash that would come if they strayed too far off the reserve of acceptable, politically correct thought. They have no new ideas to contribute, and they know it. Rather than be open, honest, and transparent, they are cynically monetizing their captive audience of men who haven’t yet realized that Max and Miller have very little to offer.

Their cowardice comes through in the quality of their writing, and in their inability to create new content. They are a perfect case study of what Stephen Pressfield in The War Of Art. calls ‘Resistance’. Pressfield defines Resistance as the negative force which stifles our creativity and prevent us from making great art. Resistance is fueled by fear, timidity, shame, and inauthenticity.

With this concept in mind, let’s take a step back and look at the history of The Mating Grounds.

Four years ago, in the final chapter of Hilarity Ensues, Tucker Max announced that he was retiring from Fratire and working on an advice book for young men.

In early 2012, he announced that his personal blog,

“From here, this blog will go onto other issues and I will write about a ton of other things, but I’m going to keep coming back to this again and again:How does someone who has a little bit of talent and a lot of motivation succeed in life?It’s the question I faced and answered in my life, I think it’s the question that a lot of other people want answered, and I have some perspective on that issue that can help other people.”

About a year ago, Max and Miller launched The Mating Grounds with promises of big things to come.

So far, they’ve published a pretty good literature review of health and supplementation advice for men (you can get it here, but Mangan’s is better); a mediocre series of posts about how to succeed with women (read the first one here and judge the quality for yourself), and now they’ve released a series of podcasts. Outside of a few high-quality guests however, there’s very little substance.

So, Tucker Max has been working on The Mating Grounds for five years, and he has hardly done anything.

These are the actions of a man whose spirit has been crushed.

As the Manosphere v. Mating Grounds debate heats up, Tucker is going to have a harder and harder time getting out of bed in the morning. He is going to sit through energy-sucking meetings with some regretful intern whose job is to sift through social media mockery and blog posts like this one. Every time he sits down in front of a keyboard or microphone, whatever remains of his soul will scream at him: Fraud! Phony! Charlatan!

He will look in the mirror and recognize a man with too much fear in his heart to produce authentic art.

The Ugly

The tragic irony is that all this would be painfully obvious to Tucker Max in his prime. Max and Miller still had the talent and to build something truly great. They’re only failing because they’re afraid to try.

(The second greatest tragedy is that Tucker Max went from banging Miss America contenders, to this.)

FireShot Screen Capture #023 - 'Photo by realtuckermax' - instagram_com_p_gPIMY3F9sl

So what really happened to Tucker Max? What happened to his courage? His insight? His willingness to be hated for speaking the truth?

Here are a few theories:

1) Alcohol Rotted His Brain

Tucker Max was superlatively intelligent in his twenties. But what happens to a human brain when you spend a decade getting blackout drunk three or more nights per week? Did alcohol dial Tucker Max down from “voice of a generation” to “still a pretty good writer, but…” ?

We’ll never know for sure. But, it’s worth asking the question of whether or not alcohol is hurting you.

2) Low Testosterone

Tucker Max destroyed his body’s ability to produce testosterone naturally with an X-ray. Did he never fully recover? In his testosterone e-book, he explicitly disavows Testosterone Replacement Therapy. I had just dismissed this as a lie, but if Tucker Max is actually relying on almonds and Vitamin D to restore his testosterone levels, maybe his lack of artistic courage is a result of low T.

3) He Got Tired Of The Rebel Identity

It’s no secret – not even to himself – that Tucker Max is a clinical narcissist. During his five-year hiatus from public life, he seems to have discarded his hard-partying artist/rebel identity, and adopted a new mask of new-age conciliator, a bridge between the new masculinists and mainstream feminism.

This seems like a pretty obviously stupid identity to me, but who knows what went on in those therapy sessions?

4) Regression Towards The Mean

Maybe Tucker Max wasn’t so exceptional after all. Maybe he was in the right place at the right time, did something great, and couldn’t handle the pressure and expectations of having to follow that up with something comparable.

What Are We Going To Do?


The Manosphere is a tribe.

Tucker Max and Geoffrey Miller have no honour. They are some combination of dishonest and deluded. Maybe they actually do believe their own bullshit about how they are building a completely new resource for young men, or maybe they are pure cynics trying to make a final buck off their following. I don’t know and I don’t care. They have attacked the Manosphere in general. They have attacked (and possibly defamed) Roosh V specifically.

Conflict is inevitable; so is our victory. The Mating Grounds is the opposite of the Red Pill blogosphere. We are anti-fragile. The spotlight is our friend. Conflict is our lifeblood, and direct comparisons will always come out in our favour. Max and Miller are trying to squeeze out a few bucks and another year or two of relevance, before their naive audience realizes what the rest of us already have: They are out of juice. They have nothing more to say. Their muses are crushed under the cognitive dissonance between The Red Pill reality they know to be true, and the pretty lies they cling to in an attempt to stay palatable to the mainstream.

The Mating Grounds is afraid to link to us. We are not afraid to link to them.

They are afraid to allow comments on their site, because they have to control the message. This is a consequence of their dishonesty and disingenuity. Do you disagree with my take on Tucker Max? Tell me so in the comments. Tell us all on the Roosh V Forum, on Danger and Play, or elsewhere in the Red Pill blogosphere. Write clearly and respectfully, and you will be engaged and argued with – not swept under the rug.

The Mating Grounds will collapse on its own. But we can hasten the process by calling attention to its failings. Doing this will help persuade casual readers that we are more worthy of their attention and loyalty, and it will help us dominate search engine results for Tucker Max and The Mating Grounds. More importantly, by calling attention to Tucker Max’s dishonesty and inauthenticity, we will crush his soul. We will make him dread waking up in the morning and facing the blank page.

It won’t take long. He knows that he has created little of value in almost a decade.

His more talented friends are deserting him.

He knows that whatever following he has is a mile wide and an inch deep, compared to the tribal loyalty and brotherhood of his competitors.

He knows that this fans will evaporate the minute they find us.

He knows that he is a broken man: unworthy of the movement he helped create; unworthy of the friends he earned in a previous life; unworthy of whatever temporary respect his name still commands; unworthy even of this blog post, which is as close as the world will ever see to an official biography of his life and works.

Tucker Max knows all of this. And if he didn’t before, he does now.

Your Friends Are Holding You Back

Here’s a story that you’ve probably heard before.

Our generic protagonist is Timmy, a typical beta male, living a fearful and unsatisfying life.

Timmy doesn’t lift weights and get muscular, because he doesn’t want to be ‘gym bro’. He doesn’t hustle to make more money, because he already has a nine-to-five job. He doesn’t approach girls, because he is terrified of being rejected. He doesn’t read great books for men, because he spends hours a day destroying his mind with clickbait.

But then one day, Timmy discovers The Red Pill. He realizes that he has a long, hard path ahead of him. He goes through a painful transition phase of anger, depression, and self-hatred. But Tim is a man now, and he is ready to face his journey.

Tim starts living a Red Pill lifestyle. (If he is a real champ, he will pick up The Thumotic Lifestyle Guide.) Soon, he has started making some radically positive changes. He feels better than he ever has in his life.

There’s just one problem: Tim’s friends are putting up resistance.

How your friends are creating resistance

Tim met every single one of his old friends back when he was Timmy The Timid. Most of them are losers – otherwise, what would they be doing hanging around with a dork like him?

Losers come in all shapes and sizes, but there is one foolproof test that you can use to identify them: Start improving yourself. The losers will be the ones who hate you for it.

Are your friends losers? If you’ve taken the Red Pill and started making positive changes in your life, here are some hard questions you need to ask about your social circle:

  • Do your friends give you a hard time for pursuing your goals? Even in a joking way?
  • Do your friends share any of your self-improvement goals? Do they have any comparable goals of their own?
  • Do you have a gut feeling that your friends resent your attempts to be successful?

The last is the most important. Human social interactions are subtle. Most of what we communicate is sub-verbal. Your friends might be pulling you down, even while their words are full of encouragement.

This is a very subtle form of negativity, but it can cripple your efforts to improve your life. If your friends are losers, you will be surrounded by constant negative social reinforcement whenever you take positive actions, and positive reinforcement whenever you take negative actions. Spending time with people who want you to fail, will make you – subconsciously – want to fail.

And even if your friends aren’t secretly hoping for you to remain a loser: If they don’t want to do anything but smoke weed and play video games, what will you talk to them about? How are they going to help you build a great lifestyle? You only have so many hours in a day; choose to spend them with people who inspire you.

Start building a tribe

Humans are tribal creatures. We crave acceptance.

Sometimes, you have to resist social pressure and be your own man. In the long term however, you cannot resist the psychological drive for esteem in your community. Instead, you must work to be a part of a community worth trying to impress. To succeed in life, you must surround yourself with others who share your desire to become a better man. You must form a tribe that shares your values.

Don’t resist the awesome power of social conformity – use it. Spend your time with great men who inspire and motivate you.

You don’t have to expect perfection from everyone. I have close friends who are incredibly supportive in most aspects of my life, but still occasionally provide resistance to specific goals, such as my choice to stop hurting myself with alcohol. But, I have no friends who are not generally on board with my mission to become a better version of myself.

You need the same support network in your life. You need a tribe of like-minded men. You need to attract winners into your life, and build a gang of like-minded men.

But how do you do that?

The answer is simple, but not easy.

If you want great friends, you have to become a great man

It’s one thing to start reading Red Pill blogs, it’s much harder to actually become a man who consistently puts that knowledge into action.

There are no shortcuts. You must develop the habits that make you a man, and then practice them consistently for years. Until you have done this, you will not attract high-value people into your life, because you will not deserve to have high-value people in your life.

So what do I do until then?

Have you started to recognize that some of your friends are having a negative influence? If so, here are five pieces of advice that will help you build a social circle more conducive to success:

1) Don’t call a press conference

You’ve taken a hard look in the mirror and decided that you have some work to do. You’ve recognized that your current social circle is a factor that’s holding you back. You decided that you’re going to move up in the world – with or without them.

This is all for the best.

But, you don’t have to make a big, dramatic announcement and “break up” with your negative friends. You don’t have to be rude. You don’t have to unfriend them on Facebook, or talk shit behind their backs, or write about them in your Burn Book. Act, don’t talk. Be polite, but be busy.

2) Make a gradual transition

You don’t have to cut yourself off from your old friends completely, especially if you don’t yet have any non-toxic relationships to replace them with. Man is a social animal. Talking about video games (or whatever) with nice losers is better than a life of solitary confinement.

You shouldn’t quit your job to look for a job. Instead, use your current job to pay the bills and allow you to look for a new job without the taint of desperation. Take the same approach to social growth.

3) Give your friends the opportunity to join you

Meeting people who share your goals is great, but nothing beats an old friend when you have to bury a dead hooker at four o’clock in the morning. If you can hold onto some of your old crew, and bring them along on your journey, your life will be richer for it. Some of them might surprise you.

Even if they aren’t immediately ready to join you on your journey, keep them on your radar. Become a city on a hill that they can turn to, if they ever decide that they want more out of life. It might not happen tomorrow, or this year. But it could happen.

Or maybe it won’t. But at least you’ll be able to move forward knowing that you did everything you could.

4) Be ruthless about cutting negativity out of your life

All of the above applies to genuine friends who simply don’t share your goals and lifestyle. Losers aren’t bad people; they just don’t want more out of life, or they want different things than you. Keep these people in your orbit, even if you don’t see them more than once a month.

But when it comes to ‘friends’ who are actively hostile to the new, better version of yourself – cut them out fast.

5) Invest in a virtual social circle

If you find yourself lonely as a result of your new direction in life, start thinking of the men behind your favourite blogs as your surrogate social circle.

Does that sound crazy to you? I don’t think it’s crazy.

I’ve been following The Red Pill and The Manosphere for over five years. I was just a kid this movement got started. Throughout my twenties, I’ve reaped incredible benefits from virtual mentors in this community.

If you feel isolated by your new commitment to a purposeful life free of pretty lies and political correctness, start considering men like Heartiste, Victor Pride, Danger and Play, Krauser, Roosh, and Good-Looking Loser as virtual mentors – older brothers built out of ones and zeroes. Start spending a few hours a week in the virtual company of like-minded men such as Dagonet, Delicious Tacos, Matt Forney, Man Ex Machina, Kid Strangelove, Aurini, and a dozen other talented young male writers who will reassure you of your sanity, and make you feel a bit less alone as a sane man in an insane world.

Your new social circle isn’t even limited to men who are currently living. If you spend enough time reading Great Books For Men, you’ll quickly notice that the greatest minds that have ever lived  share many of your views. The Red Pill will make you an oddity in 21st-century America, but sane and sensible in any previous century. Whose opinion do you think should matter more? Shakespeare, or some three hundred pound felinophile with three Master’s degrees, churning out Gawker articles for free so she can ‘build her portfolio’?

You can also write about your experiences and challenges in forums such as r/TheRedPill and the Roosh V Forum, and connect with like-minded men. Better yet, reach out to men in your community via those forums, and meet up with them in real life. Start a Red Pill blog of your own, and keep an eye on The Red Pill Review for regular updates from new writers in the community.

Forming a tribe of like-minded men in “real life” must remain your priority. But while you’re in the process of cutting off your negative friends, you can build a virtual social circle and use it as a reference point while you start your journey.


Have you had to end relationships because of your desire for a better life? How did it go?