The human body is physically capable of far greater feats than it typically allows us to perform. Women who can’t deadlift 135lbs in a gym, have lifted thousand-pound cars off their children in life-threatening situations.
The ability to access the best of our abilities is called willpower. A lack of willpower is the most common reason why self-improvement efforts fail. Getting in shape, making more money, approaching more women, reading difficult books – none of these habits come naturally or easily. Your higher-self must bully your pain-avoiding id into taking the difficult first step.
Willpower is a muscle
When you use willpower to resist temptation, it will be harder to resist a subsequent temptation. Your willpower muscle is tired. However, if you exercise your willpower on a regular basis it will grow strong, just like any other muscle.
I have a friend who went through some very rigorous training for an elite branch of the armed forces. After spending weeks in the bush eating bugs, freezing, barely sleeping, hiking all day, and forcing himself to be alert every second when every cell in his body screamed for rest, do you think he ever has a problem waking up to get to work on time?
Using a less extreme example, I spent my youth and early twenties training year-round on competitive rugby, football and hockey teams. After running up hills until you vomit, doing push-ups in the mud in full gear for hours, and getting the crap kicked out of you on the field every week, little things like walking up to a girl and saying hello don’t seem as scary.
Willpower is the great equalizer
I was never a great natural athlete. I’m not quick, I drop passes, and I’m not even particularly strong for my size. But, I was often able to play at a level much higher than I should have, because of my willpower muscle. I was the guy who started weight training at fifteen, knew the playbook inside out, and gave 100% in every practice. As a result I started ahead of guys who probably had enough natural ability to go pro, if they had combined their talent with a great work ethic.
This is how life usually is. Willpower often determines who succeeds and who doesn’t. Contrary to naïve blank slatism, natural ability is a real thing. 10,000 hours of practice is not all that stands between a typical Kalahari bushman and a theoretical physics sinecure at MIT.
But, the vast majority of men with the natural ability to do great things will not put in the effort. This leaves the playing field wide open to men with moderate levels of natural ability, and above-average willpower.
Krauser has been taking flak from the internet tough guys for his 2.7% conversion ratio. Which is bullshit. 2.7% is a fine conversion rate. For a man hitting on top-tier women, 2.7% is about 2.8% higher than 95% of men could achieve.
As LaidNYC writes:
“2.7% is a great fuck rate for daygame, especially for an average looking guy approaching girls obviously more physically attractive than himself, and up to 20 years younger. In some cases, the girls he’s approaching are knockouts. Can you imagine Krauser’s conversion rate on women his own age? Dear god.
And remember these are sober hot girls, approached flat cold on the street with the intent of sex. A big ask.
More telling is the 250 phone numbers he got. Approaching a hot girl on street cold and getting a number 25% of the time is huge feat. Anyone who daygames can attest to that.
It’s only a “numbers game” if you have skill. Losers will always get zero pussy no matter how many girls they talk to.”
But even if your conversion rate is higher than 2.7% – who cares?
Some men have a seemingly magical natural ability to attract women. Other men have either low standards or low self-esteem, and so shoot for girls well below their league.
The best natural seducer I’ve ever known hardly ever approaches girls. His conversion ratio is probably higher than 100%, i.e. he has banged eleven girls for every ten he has approached. He has a natural animal magnetism that I can’t completely understand, let alone explain. He’s killing it, but imagine how far he could go with a bit of effort.
When I first got into pickup, my ratio was considerably higher than 2.7% because I wasn’t afraid to settle for sixes and sevens, and I was afraid to approach nines and tens. My “stats” were good because I was imposing limitations on which girls were “in my league.” Men with good conversion ratios aren’t better seducers. They just aim low, put in less effort, and only take the sure thing.
I would bet that the guys slagging Krauser for his ratio are either a) complete frauds who never approach, or b) guys like my former self who fear rejection from top-tier women, and so choose to swim in ponds small enough that they don’t threaten their egos.
Rejection ratio means nothing. Would you be willing to accept 37.037037 rejections in exchange for a night with her?
Time for a thought experiment. Let’s pretend that Krauser’s actual conversion ratio is not 2.7%, but 0.27%. Let’s also pretend that he pursues any girl who is OK-looking (5/10) or above.
If this were true, Krauser’s conversion ratio would indicate that there is something fundamentally unattractive about him. Something must be seriously wrong with a man who has studied and practiced game for years, who opens average looking girls, and closes just one quarter of one percent of them. Such a man is either ugly, or very socially awkward.
I have met Krauser as a matter of fact and he is neither of these things, which is why he closes 2.7% of top-tier girls rather than 0.27% of warpigs. But I can think of two men off the top of my head who were probably still closing <1% of their prospects after several years and thousands of approaches: The two men who built modern pick-up culture, Mystery and Tyler Durden.
You may have already seen this short video of Mystery sending an awkward winky face Snapchat to some girl he’d met. You’ve probably also seen Tyler Durden speak in various RSD videos. If you haven’t, you should watch Tyler Durden’s Blueprint Decoded DVD series, available at a torrent site near you.
It’s clear to me that Mystery and Tyler – who have spent at least as much time in the field than anyone else on the planet – still come across as fundamentally weird. Mystery’s winky face is painful to watch. Tyler starts off the Blueprint by excusing the fact that he is 20lbs overweight by telling the audience that he is doing a ‘bulk.’ I don’t even think he’s joking.
Mystery and Tyler Durden are, at their absolute core, weird guys. They are socially awkward. I have watched some recent RSD videos in which Tyler comes across as much more naturally confident and centred, but it took him a decade and tens of thousands of hours of practice to get there. Mystery apparently still hasn’t figured it out.
Our gut reaction is to mock men like Mystery and Tyler, even though they have both slept with countless beautiful women. They have accomplished something we all desperately want, but we want to call them losers because they had to work really hard for it. When their old socially awkward selves shine through, we want to think: “Hah! Look at you! Sure you are good with women today – but look how far you came! Dork!”
When you learn to look for it, you start to see this attitude everywhere. We mock effort. We look down on people who dare to actually give a shit. We downplay our work ethic, to make our accomplishments appear effortless. We mock anyone who reveals high effort, because doing so implies: I am more naturally talented than you. It is a classic Argumentum Ad Amog.
Why do we do this? Consider an equation:
Effort (E) * Ability (A) = Results (R)
The rest of the world can usually observe (R). If you know a man’s E and R, you can solve for A.
A man can maximize his perceived (A) by minimizing his perceived (E).
A man can minimize his perceived (E) by mocking the (R) of any man who dares to reveal his own (E) and (R).
“Dude, you only slept with 2.7% of the girls you approached after years of practice and thousands of sets? That’s pretty pathetic.”
Translation: “I am an alpha male with higher-than-average natural ability with women. I am, at my core, a better seducer and a better man than you. Perhaps I haven’t put in the same effort as you, but surely if I did, my results would be superior.”
I once posted on this blog that my lift total was just over 1,000lbs. Someone submitted the post to Reddit and a bunch of commenters had a laugh at that number. I know it’s not jaw-droppingly impressive, but it’s enough that I’m lifting heavier than 90% of the men in the gym on any given day. And the gym is a sample of men who lift heavier than 90% of the men who are not in the gym. So who were these internet tough guys who reacted as if I’d written that I lost a wrestling match to a three-legged kitten?
A friend of mine from a year behind me in school once said to me:
“[Frost], I am a much better athlete than you. I won the [athletic award which I had won the year prior] without ever going to the gym! Imagine how much better I’d have been if I had trained like you!”
But I readily admit that my friend has more natural athletic ability than me. He is the King of Unfulfilled Potential. So what’ does he win? As it turned out, his prize was getting cut from week two of training camp because he couldn’t handle the regimen, while I went on to start in my first year of college.
Lack Of Willpower Preserves Your Ego
Models of willpower are usually based on time preference. Can you hold back from eating one marshmallow today, in exchange for two marshmallows tomorrow?
But there’s another angle. Poor effort is a means of preserving your ego.
Our egos are very sensitive about our natural ability. Ego doesn’t care about results, as long as we leave open the possibility that our natural ability is high:
- “Imagine how great I would be at this sport if I actually practiced!”
- “I got bombed the night before the exam and still got a B!”
- “It’s easy and profitable to write basic self-improvement advice with lots of Amazon links, I’m going to stop trying to write important and meaningful posts that people truly care about!”
The first step to building a strong will is to get rid of the unhelpful belief that effort is a bad thing. To do this, you must get over the fear of discovering the limits of your finite potential.
Modern society teaches us that everyone is capable of everything. We know in our gut that this is a lie, but we still build up our egos around this mythical unlimited potential. In our adult lives, this paralyzes us. It causes us to limit our effort, so that our natural ability always remains an unknown property.
The reality is this: You were born, and you will die.
No one cares about you.
You will probably never do anything lasting or important.
But, you are here and you don’t have anything else to do – so you might as well find out what you’re capable of.
The Willpower Workout Program
Every man’s life should include a regimen of intense strength training and/or martial arts. Exercise will give you more energy, clear your head, and make you look good, but most importantly it will train you to exercise your willpower in all other aspects of your life. As for martial arts, how much can you really know about yourself if you’ve never been in a fight?
In my experience, the best willpower exercise in the gym is to load up a squat rack with whatever you consider to be a warm-up weight and do sets of 20+. There is no limit to how many reps you can do once you’re over 20. If you did 28, you could have done 29. If you did 35, you probably could have done 40. So load up that squat rack, and go explore your absolute limits. If you do it right, you may vomit, or cry, or shit yourself, or collapse, or have to take a day off work. But you’ll be a better man for it.
Another way to build up your willpower is to take cold showers or ice baths. Cold water immersion has multiple health benefits, especially when alternated with a sauna, but it is also a good willpower exercise. Cold showers suck. You will want to get out as soon as possible. Resist the urge, stay with the pain, and emerge tougher than you were.
Anything that sucks, that you have to continuously choose to do in the moment, is good willpower practice. Don’t do something stupid like pour lye on your hand, as there are plenty of painful habits that actually improve your life. But make sure to get out there and do things that you don’t want to do.
There are three elements to willpower.
The first is getting rid of limiting beliefs (i.e, effort is bad).
The second is practice. Lift heavy weights, approach girls out of your league, risk being socially awkward. Do things that suck and build your willpower muscle.
The third is habit. You can design your life in such a way to to limit the necessity of willpower in your daily routine.
For example, when my alarm goes off, I count down from ten while lying in bed. It doesn’t take much willpower to start the countdown, and once I reach zero, I know that I have to get up. It sounds silly but this little trick makes waking up in the morning much easier and more consistent. As I write this, I realize that this hack could easily be applied to overcoming approach anxiety as well.
Lying to yourself can also be useful. My diet is gluten-free, despite never having had any issues with gluten digestion. Are there really magical health benefits to avoiding gluten entirely? Maybe. But there are magical health benefits to eliminating beer and all processed carbohydrates. Gluten is like Jesus. Real or not, believing the mythos will make you a better man.
Tracking and measurement are also essential, as I wrote in my post on How To Set Goals. If you get distracted by the internet too much, don’t worry about limiting your number of Twitter/Reddit/Facebook ‘checks’ per day. Instead, just start tracking and writing down each time you break off for a 30-second dopamine distraction hit. What gets measured, gets managed.
I have read many books on productivity systems and workflow, but none has ever topped the classic Getting Things Done by David Allen. If you struggle with your focus and work habits, this book will change your life.