Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Learning: Rules of Thumb

The path to learning, as we all know, can have pitfalls, bursts of insight, and other changes in pace or barriers to enlightenment. When learning the structure, theories, and concepts of social dynamics, pickup, or whatever you want to call it, one of the biggest things to watch out for when you're first starting out is trying to learn everything all at once before getting out into the field and experiencing things for yourself. There are many reasons for this, but those don't really matter. What's important is to realize that doing so can actually harm your progression. Sadly it's pretty common to get information overload. My advice for those experiencing this or wish to avoid it is to work on things in smaller bites. For example, if you're trying to juggle all of the information you're being exposed to and master it as you go, it's not really an achievable goal. Instead, trying to stick with focusing on a couple of things until you've internalized those aspects and they start happening automatically for you. Then add some new bits to your repertoire and rinse & repeat. What happens now for me is that I'll be talking and I'll just notice things and when that happens I either react autonomously, or I'll have to think up something on the fly to respond appropriately instead of how I would have in the past.

There is a
Friedrich Nietzsche quote that comes to mind:
On the mountains of truth you can never climb in vain: either you will reach a point higher up today, or you will be training your powers so that you will be able to climb higher tomorrow.
In other words even if you don't get the girl you haven't failed, you just learned something new is all.

In the community there's an unwritten rule that says don't ever think of a lost set as failing. Instead, think of it as a learning opportunity. It's a pretty basic reframe of the situation so that you can look at it from a different perspective and learn something from the encounter. And when you reflect on the situation, don't focus on the negatives too much because mentally replaying the situation will train your mind to repeat what you did wrong. Instead, focus on what you did right, as well as what you'll do differently next time. That doesn't mean what you change will be any better of course, but you don't fall into the trap of repeating past mistakes. Bottom line: Focus on changing the bad and repeating the good.

On a related note, here is some rules of thumb by DMC87:

1) Choosing a method and sticking to it.

If you are anything like me I would read all the methods, all the forums and take on-board all the advice. The problem was it caused a never ending loop of information overload. I had a head full of advice often completely contradictory and I'd always be working on trying a new idea out everyweek when I was still having trouble opening and getting attraction completely.

2) Get a stack

Seriously you need a good stack that would complete the attraction stage, again this is regardless of method. Create an MM or GTG stack because it alleviates 90% of approach anxiety when you know what you're doing, all I have to do is say Yo, what's up! and I'm in. It also helps you sort out where mistakes are and contingencies. Even if you are natural have something like "Hi, my name is..."

3) Know how to handle contingencies and interrupts.

I roll with two naturals and an MM gamer and none of them can handle interrupts of shit tests well. They can lose the set because of this and it's very silly. The best resource for this I find to be GTG book because it is just all there and relevant.

4) Expand your comfort zone.

I started going out in-field in June 07, I spent the first 9 months opening and ejecting, and I needed to, my comfort zone was so small that it made me feel good just to talk to a woman back then. I also dramatically changed my look in that time. Realise that if you aren't pushing yourself you won't get results but if you push yourself a little even if it takes a full year, you will grow.

5) Have set days

You need to set days or times to go out when you are not allowed to stay home. These are sarge night, no excuses, no I feel tired or out of state. These are full on hardcore 90% of time in set nights and you don't take AFC friends who you'll end up talking to all night.

6) Self-correct and evaluate.

Never getting past attraction? Why? Read the appropriate resource, study it, seriously make notes on it. It's amazing what you will miss on a simple read through. Always work out why attraction died, or comfort failed. Sometimes there is nothing you can do, but make sure that it's not on your part. This is best done in FR's or when you get home. NOT THE NEXT DAY

7) Don't overbrowse resources

Once you've picked your resource don't read every technique or forum because you'll get sucked into other peoples thinking style and question what you are doing. Remember once you get your basic game down you can start adding in new pieces.

Cool Expect a period of failing before you get good.


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