Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Art of Date Improvisation

I used to believe that planning dates was an important thing. Figuring out all the logistics in advance seemed like the best idea. However, over the past year or so, my mindset has completely changed. As someone who lives radically in the moment, I rarely make any plans at all more than a week in advance, I don't even start considering date ideas until at least the day before the date, and I never solidly plan any date anymore. Instead, I mentally sketch a general idea of what I might feel like doing and leave plenty of room for improvisation. The result of an improvisational approach to dates? Dates are a lot more fluid, a lot more enjoyable, and any obstacles or deviations completely fail to bother me. I welcome change and unexpected turns of event.

There are several crucial elements to improvisational dates. In many ways, improvisational dates are very similar to good jazz solos, but there are certainly a few differences.

Have an Array of Possibilities Beforehand
Improvisation isn't about coming with stuff completely out of thin air. Instead, it's about having a wide range of possible directions to go, and choosing them in the moment, in accordance with the present mood. As such, before the date begins it's vital to have a mental list of possibilities. This can be a list of various venues that you might feel like visiting, or this might be a list of various activities that can be done at a given location. Your array or choices can be as broad or as selective as desired. A simple improvisational date list might be as simple as Outdoor Activity (go for a walk, play frisbee, kick around a soccer ball, or play at a playground) followed by a Meal (grill steaks at home, grab a burger from In-N-Out, or pickup Chinese food) and then relax at home (listen to new CD, play video games, cuddle and watch a movie, or play cards). That simple improvisational framework offer 48 possible dates, consisting of only three different activities. The vastness of your array of possibilities is limited only by your imagination.

Establish Proper Expectations
This one is fairly obvious, but it's also an absolutely crucial one. Given that improvisational dates aren't always "tried and tested," it is important that both you and your date have no solidly set expectations for what will or will not happen. Disappointment and dates don't mix especially well and they often don't end well, either. As such, it is important for you not to count on certain things happening or working out perfectly, and it's important for your date not to have any misconceptions about what you might end up doing or where you might end up going. The simplest way to eliminate false expectations in your date's mind is simply not to tell her where you're going or what you're doing. Not only does this circumvent any misconceptions or problematic expectations, but it also serves to enhance your aura of mystery.

Be Confident and Decisive
Since improvisional dates often change on whim, it is critical that you remain perfectly confident and firmly decisive. Displaying these two leadership qualities well communicates the subtext that you can be trusted and that no obstacles deter or bother you. When you are confident and decisive enough, your date will never even know whether a given adventure was pre-planned or improvised. In her mind, it all flowed together so smoothly and seamlessly that it hardly seems like the result of improvisation. When things don't go as smoothly as planned, she has the opportunity to see that you can dynamically handle situations as they arise. Either way, you win.

Improvise Based on the Energy of the Date
Since the chief focus of the date isn't the venues visited and the activities done, it's important to keep the interpersonal vibe the central focus of the date. The best choices are made based on the level of energy and the present vibe of the date. If the two of you are starting to reach a lower-level of energy, it probably isn't a good idea to go for a three-mile run or begin an indepth discussion of quantum physics. Likewise, if the mood is starting to get more personal and connected, it probably isn't a good idea to do something that involves competition or puts too much physical or emotional space between you and your date. Instead, the way you improvise should capitalize on the flow of energy and serve to further direct it. Some of the best dates are ones that have contrasting levels of energy or vibes. This serves to engage both people's emotions more fully and creates a more visceral experience.

Most Importantly, Have Fun!
In the end, the whole point of improvisional dates is to have a good time doing some fun things with a person that you like. As such, it is important to only choose elements that will be mutually enjoyable. If one of the ideas you previously thought of doesn't seem like a fun choice, don't do it. If none of the options you have in mind seem fun, then throw them all out and choose something else. If something you're doing is even more fun than you expected, then do it for longer. If something you thought would be fun ends up being quite dull, don't waste any more time on it--change activities right away! There are few things more enjoyable in life than having an amazing time with someone you enjoy being around.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Text Game - Always Have An Agenda

Both Roissy and Aunt Haley have written blogs today on text game. The simple fact is, in today's world, texting is the primary means of interpersonal distance communication. Phone calls are rare and mostly unnecessary. E-mails are too cumbersome and inconvenient. Contrarily, texts are short, quick, and direct. As such, the art of text game is to capitalize on the positive qualities of texting while minimizing the losses associated with the limitations of the medium.

As someone who has been texting and IMing girls for years, I've directly experienced the impact of most of the pros and cons of texting. From my experiences, the most important rule of text game is: always have an agenda. The reason for this is that texting is a poor substitute for practically anything else. Given the extremely limited amount of information communicated, texting is a poor way to attempt any serious attraction or comfort building. It is also a very poor medium for conversations of any depth. Instead, it is best used mainly for the following things:

This one is self-explanatory. The purpose of your communication is to invite a girl to a specific event. There are two ways to handle this sort of text. Either you can send a full detail invitation which requires only a confirmation text, or you can send a minimal detail invitation that requires the girl to ask for additional details if she's interested.

Frame Communication
The purpose of a frame communication text is to convey some aspect of your personality to a girl. Teasing a girl, ignoring a direct question, referring to a girl in a certain manner, or reframing a question or statement are all examples of dominant attraction-building frame communications.

Connection Pings
The purpose of these texts is to establish a brief moment of connection and possibly to determine a girl's present emotional state towards you and/or life. These can be as direct as, "Hi how r u?" or more indirect in the form of a non-needy trial/feeler text.

Information Gathering
These texts are used when you wish to find out something. Often the entire exchange is merely a question and an answer. In other cases, this is used as a prelude to a date invitation. The key to a good information gathering text is brevity and clarity. Phrase the question in the simplest unmistakable form possible.

Information Transmission
Occasionally there is a change of plan or some intervening circumstance that will require you to inform a girl of something. In these cases, keep it simple and communicate no more than you need to. The point is simply to keep her informed.

Anything else besides those things is mere unnecessary fluff. Tight game requires one to completely eliminate needless fluff. Whenever you send a text, always know exactly what the purpose of the communication is. If there's any doubt about whether you should send a certain text, or why you're sending a certain text, just delete it. The main point of text game is to set up a date in order to spend some quality one-on-one time with a girl. All other aspects of text game are simply a means to that end. The best way to tighten up your text game? Stick to the basics, always have a specific agenda for every single message you send, and don't spend much time or energy texting. Texting should always serve to enhance your life--never to distract you from living it.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Adventures and the Masculine Soul

There is always a depth of the human soul that is never fully seen or fully experienced. Since the experience of life is a temporally-bound journey always in motion, the desires and pleasures of a man aren't static. They change. They vary. Yet, each various stage of life and pursuit reveals a part of the soul. The dynamic nature of existence makes it all but impossible to grasp the full depth of any person's soul, including one's own soul. Instead, any part of life or oneself is a small piece of puzzle, a mere fraction of the totality of being.

While often conquering challenges is what motivates and drives men, there is also a supreme pleasure to be found in embarking on adventures. Adventuring and exploration have been manly pursuits since the dawn of time. There has always been a natural curiosity within the heart of a man, leading him to wonder what lies beyond his present horizons. Masculinity flourishes in asking that question and setting forth to discover the answer. While the danger and challenge of an adventure may be a part of the appeal, there is something deeper and more profound that drives a man to expand his world. Some things are done simply for the sake of seeing what they lead to. The appeal of an adventure is that what is currently unknown will become known. A man desires to discover new things. There is a profound pleasure in the very process of discovery.

The process of discovery takes many various forms. Some men love to explore our planet and visit new geographical locations. Some men love to explore the inner workings of people and how they tick. Some men love to explore and study a certain area of life in depth, often involving exploration of the theoretical and intellectual sort. Some men love to do things that have never been done or attempted before. Regardless of what aspect of life or the world is being explored, the same core desire for adventure is what unifies all of these various quests for discovery. Masculinity thrives on the impulse to discover.

Recently, in my own life, I have found a strong desire to explore and engage in various adventures. I've been opening myself up to visiting places, doing new things, and connecting with different sorts of people than I usually would. What motivates me? The desire to discover. The curiosity that I feel towards what lies in a certain direction that I haven't been. In embarking on these various quests, I have found that there is a supreme joy in the process of discovery, almost regardless of the specifics of what is discovered. A couple of weeks ago I visited a city that I hadn't been to before, with the intent of running a little errand. The errand itself only took about 15 minutes, but I was so fascinated by the city that I found myself walking around for nearly two hours just seeing what was there. It was a rather novel and exciting experience. The city had its own unique vibe, mix of people, and array of interesting places and shops. The pleasure was in the discovery of a small, yet interesting, corner of the world that I had never experienced before.

Similarly, recently my brother and I decided to start a small business of our own. Right now we're in the process of working out the logistics and we won't actually be up and running until a couple of weeks from now. In the process of figuring out the best way to approach the business, I couldn't help but feel excited about the newness of it all. As I examined my feelings, I found that the main joy I felt wasn't because it seemed like a challenge to surmount or because it might result in additional cash flow. Indeed, this venture certainly won't immediately provide nearly enough money to enable me to leave either of my day jobs. Instead, the reason I feel so excited is because it is an adventure. What excites me is the mere fact that we're trying something new. I really don't know how it will go. But, I also am not especially concerned with the outcome. Whether this turns into something profitable and sustainable, or whether it fizzles and merely breaks even, either way the experience of starting this sort of a business will be something thoroughly new and wholly enjoyable.

Masculinity thrives in the presence of novelty and in the pursuit of the unknown. Men do not resist the urge to discover new things and broaden their world. Instead, they allow their inner desire for exploration to motivate them to go new places, meet new people and try new things. Through these experiences there is a natural broadening of the soul and a greater awareness of the depth of life and being that inescapably emerges as a man pursues that which curiosity draws him towards. Adventuring requires a level of confidence that a man can face challenges as they arise. It requires a boldness that does not fear something simply because it is unknown. It requires a willingness to risk one's time, well-being or material assets. Regular adventureing keeps life meaningful and exciting, keeps a man's heart engaged and passionate, and serves to remind others that our world is a compelling and endlessly interesting place. Nothing feels better than discovering something new and exciting!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

It's Easier To Make It Than To Fake It

The popular slogan, "Fake it until you make it," tries to convey the idea that simply by trying to do something and trying to have the right frame of mine, eventually a person will reach the point where it becomes easy and feels natural. According to such a mindset, copying external behaviors and mannierisms leads to genuine change of personality, given enough time. My own conception of making personal progress is a bit different, however. In the well-known quote from Star Wars, Yoda offers the sage advice, "Do or do not, there is no try." The mindset conveyed by Yoda in that quote is simply this:

Action is what defines you.

Regardless of what goes on in your mind, and what perspectives you think you have, the simple fact of the matter is that who are you is created, expressed and perceived on the basis of what you do. When you take an action, it directly impacts reality; how you perceive yourself, how others perceive you and what results you reap are directly tied into the actions you take. Actions come in many forms. Whether physically doing things, creating things, going places, speaking to others or even speaking to yourself, all these things impact reality.

When you adopt this mentality you realize that there is no such thing as "faking it." There are only actions that you have taken and actions that you haven't taken. Whenever you're confronted with a new situation, the right question to ask is, "How do I want to act, in this situation?" Whatever attitudes you choose to adopt and actions you choose to take are very real and can impact life profoundly. The only limitation at that point is the mental array of options that you offer yourself. The more various possible actions that you are aware of, the greater the flexibility of choice you have.

The secret to acting well is to have a wide mental array of options and a decent grasp of the possible outcomes of each action. Having an expanded palette of options and an ability to predict outcomes is the result of life experience. The more various things you've considered and tried in the past, the more possibilities you will have in the present. Similarly, in order to adopt a specific persona, it does not much matter what type of things you've done before or how you've thought about situations in the past. All you need to do to be able to adopt a new persona is to have a clear idea about how such a person would think about things, what such a person would say to people, how such a person would carry himself, and what sorts of things such a person would do.

Adopting a new persona, then, is as simple as understanding the mindset and external manifestation of such a persona and acting in accordance with that understanding. At you first you find yourself asking, "How would a confident person handle this situation?" or "What would a wealthy person do in this situation?" or "How would an empathetic person connect with this individual?" The more you act in accordance with your new persona, the sooner you find yourself simply asking, "How should I handle this situation?" or "Given that I have plenty of money, what do I want to do in this situation?" or "How can I best emotionally connect with this individual?"

Since actions define your essence, there is no such thing as faking it. The only difference is how much you have internalized a given persona. The more you are used to thinking about things a certain way and acting a certain way, the more you truly believe that you are a certain sort of person. The change in mentality and the change in actions occur simultaneously, and they are inseparable. Insofar as one acts differently, there is genuine change. Insofar as actions remain the same, it matters not how much one thinks that they think differently. The key to inner change is simply to know who you want to be and then to be that person. You are not bound by who you have been in the past or what you have done before. Be the person you want to be and act the way you want to act. There is no way to fake it.