When I first started dabbling into game, I remember reading an article which recollected a point where it all “clicked” for the writer, and he suddenly realized one night that he was good with girls. I looked forward to such a day, when things would finally click in such a way, and where I would once and for all be happy with my ability to pull the girls I wanted.

Turns out he was wrong. There is no such one big click.

Instead, as Mr. M once said, it turns out things work in a series of clicks… many of them. Recollecting and keeping conscious note of these clicks as they occur is important, not just for your ego, but for the physiological fact that the consistent release of dopamine (caused by this realization of progression), fuels your motivation to keep getting better.

Chip and Dan Heath call these “bright spots” or the “snowballing effect,” in their book, Switch. Call it whatever you want… the bottom line is that recognizing these clicks is important.

Here were some of mine, in loose chronological order – the stepping stones of my game development. Enjoy.

- Fixing smiling too much… way too much (“M” – October ’09)
- Fixing rolling my upper lip in a strange way while in set (“M” – November ’09)
- Fixing frequently nodding in an almost spastic way while in set (“M” – November ’09)
- Staying in set beyond the opener and having a “conversation” (“M” – November ’09)
- Learning how to grind on the dance floor (“M” – November ’09)
- Inner game: Being Asian pt. 1 (Mr. M – January ’10)
- Statements of sexual intent / sexual hoops (Mr. M – January ’10)
- Sexual vibe pt. 1 (Mr. M – January ’10)
- Dominance pt. 1 (Mr. M – January ’10)
- Direct opening (Mr. M – January ’10)
- Posture/stance (Mr. M – January ’10)
- Physically escalating (Mr. M / Micha / Keychain – January ’10)
- How to qualify… really qualify (Mani – February ’10)
- Mastery topics and conversation mapping (Soul – February ’10)
- Shit tests: Agree and heighten (Big Business – March ’10)
- 10 themes of disqualification (Big Business – March ’10)
- Statement based qualification pt. 1 (Big Business – March ’10)
- Basis of comfort (Future – March ’10)
- Locking in as a bonus, but not a necessity… (Calabrese – March ’10)
- Conversation dynamics: Normal, normal, spike (Braddock – March ’10)
- Getting rid of cheesy “seducer’s vibe” (Braddock – March ’10)
- Concept of being too “gamey” (Braddock – March ’10)
- Knowing what to say next!!! (Braddock – March ’10)
- Fidgeting (Braddock – April ’10)
- Golden mirror and destiny (Future – April ’10)
- Dominantly physically escalating (i.e. biting) (Braddock – April ’10)
- Statement based qualification pt. 2 (Mr. M – April ’10)
- Two sides of the qualification coin (Mr. M – April ’10)
- Finally getting a basis for text game pt. 1 (Braddock – April ’10)
- Getting a good basis for dates: logistical and emotional progression (Braddock – April ’10)
- Inner game: Physical attractiveness (Braddock – May ’10)
- Inner game: Being Asian pt. 2 (Braddock/Mr. M – June ’10)
- State control pt. 1 (May ’10)
- First successful takeaway (Braddock – June ’10)
- The Dip (Soul – June ’10)
- Actually running through a date cycle: Emotional and logistical (July ’10)
- Sexual vibe pt. 2 (Mr. M – July ’10)
- Inner game: Being Asian pt. 3 (Mr. M – July ’10)
- Dominance pt. 2 (Mr. M – July ’10)
- Not releasing social tension pt. 1 (Mr. M – July ’10)
- Mid-game hard qualifiers/hooks (September ’10)
- Inner game: Generating your own reality (Science of Happiness – September ’10)
- Warming up / State pt. 2 / Having fun (Fielden – September ’10)
- Voice tonality (Fielden – September ’10)
- Stages of game / Relying on navy seam team (Mr. M – October ’10)
- Inner game visualization (Vercetti – October ’10)
- Getting sticky with door people (Mr. M – October ’10)
- Identity: Smoke behind the fire, escaping corporate life (Mr. M – October ’10)
- Not relieving social tension pt. 2 (Mr. M – October ’10)
- Inner game: Being Asian pt. 4 (Soul / Mr. M – November ’10)
- Dominance pt. 3 (Mr. M – November ’10)
- Opening like a machine (Mr. M – November ’10)
- Being able to consciously turn off the social pressure while/after opening (November ’10)
- Living with passion/purpose (Mr. M / Power of Story – November ’10)
- Intermediate sticking points (Keychain – November ’10)
- Internal validation / Boundaries (Braddock / Mr. M / Sheriff – November ’10)
- Accusatory frame / Finally getting attraction really down (November ’10)
- Finally being able to successfully insert role-plays really well (November ’10)
- Instructor identity (Switch – November ’10)
- Opening like a machine pt. 2 (Switch – November ’10)
- Text game pt. 2 (December ’10)

There are a few takeaways from this:

1.) Mentorship is important. Moreover, you will naturally gravitate towards mentors who you can most identify as similar to you (upbringing, professional/academic/social background, etc…). Of all the leads I’ve hung with, I’ve probably seen Mr. M the least, yet, he was/is still responsible for a significant majority of most of my clicks.

2.) Textbook game has many moving parts. The downside of deciding to seriously learn textbook game is that you essentially relinquish your auto-pilot (the two are mutually exclusive). For some, auto-pilot is sufficient, and the initial dip brought on by game is not worth it. For others, auto-pilot is functioning horribly to begin with, so they can only gain from learning textbook game. And for others still, auto-pilot is decent, but not good enough – they want to pull like rockstars, so learning game makes sense. Realize this balance, and also understand that those who reach the highest levels of textbook game reach a level of skill that surpasses pretty much 99% of all natural auto-pilots.

3.) Celebrate the clicks. I’m stunned at how long that list above actually is. Moreover, it’s interesting to see how it all happened relatively consistently over the months. Celebrate these moments because they keep you motivated, and your progress relies on the dopamine release the realization of the clicks cause.

4.) Game takes time. I had some of the best support systems, and was pretty socially calibrated to begin with (in general, anyway), yet it still took me quite a while to reach a functioning level of textbook game. Given how much it is to learn, it does take time to get a good handle of. Remember, by deciding to learn game, you are making the conscious decision to jump into the blueprint of social interactions (i.e. going from driving an automatic car to controlling a 747 cockpit).

Read the follow-up to this article: Themes

Till next time.