The pesky thing about our ego is that it deceives us. Most of the time we can’t see our own ego even though it’s transparent to even mildly-calibrated outside observers. When someone points it out we tend to bristle. This is all very normal. It happens to me despite my efforts to be mindful. Within the daygame world we call it Avoidance Weasel.
The smart move is to process the feedback from reality and then introspect. You needn’t roll over and let others walk over you but if the world keeps telling you an unwelcome message then at some point you need to bunker down and listen to it. I call it percolation. Like coffee dripping through a filter I won’t back down or accept criticism in the moment but it will register and eventually will percolate through and be absorbed.
I sincerely want to be right. That’s not the same thing as winning the argument, or holding the frame.
To continue the metaphor, some people’s coffee filter is impermeable. It’s plastic. It’s designed to stop that criticism filtering through. Why is that? The same reason for most weirdness: low self-esteem. Some people don’t want to face up to their deep-rooted feelings of low self-worth. So reality must be rebuffed. This is where the ego becomes very devious.
When you get into Game you develop a vocabulary to parse these ideas. Whether you’ve watched The Blueprint Decoded, Deep Inner Game or Tony Robbins they all give you heuristic devices, jargon and mindsets to achieve long-term conscious control over your mind. I call it reflexivity, the gradual expansion of the realm under your influence. You must master yourself before you master the world. So we can introspect and begin to confront our ego. Perhaps we’re a Northern working class lad who drinks to excess and finds himself in pointless Friday night punch-ups. Some introspection tells us we feel low self-esteem from growing up excluded from The Good Life down South. That’s why we talk with such bravado about football and denigrate Londoners as “soft southerners”, “spivs” and “yuppies”. It’s just externalising and projecting our own low self-esteem – sour grapes.
So then what happens? The ego retreats briefly and, like HeWhoCannotBeNamed, returns in disguised form. Now perhaps we openly talk about how London is a good place full of high achievers…… Then someone tells us we are acting overly superior, that we are now swanning around saying how we’ve “made it” and enjoy looking down on our former comrades up North as being “small-minded” and “parochial”.
All that happened is our ego switched sides.
What was originally a self-important construct to valourise the identity of being a Northerner has morphed into a self-important construct to valourise the identity of being The Lad Who Done Good. The ego still achieves its two main goals:
- Build up grandiosity and
- Look down on the plebs
I use this example because it’s what happened to me. It’s very common. I’d suggest there’s a circular pattern going on:
Hide low self-esteem with grandiosity armour -> Reality breaks through grandiosity armour -> Develop new grandiosity armour
At no point does the original low self-esteem get addressed. The ego has outwitted conscious attempts to control it by a man who has both the inclination and guidance to try to control it. Self deceit is a powerful adversary. A common Intermediate Player ego trap is:
Original armour: Chode believes in Disney romance, pedestalises women and disparages anyone who would try self-improvement with a “just be yourself” dismissal
Reality: Can’t get laid. It knaws away. Probably a traumatic event (being dumped) forces them to confront the problem and they learn game.
New armour: Relentless approaching, routines, the PUA wizard-hat Super Player persona.
I think we’re all aware of that one so let’s float out some others.
- A guy grows up as an unathletic meek pushover, ignored by girls and excluded from the Cool Kids parties. After experimenting with alternative subcultures he discovers the gym. He can religiously monitor his diet, enjoy a Calvinist moral rush from the pain of training, and get jacked. He feels big and important and draws lots of looks, many approving. Perhaps he jacks up further on steroids, HGH and TRT to approach hulking proportions. He’s become a little boy in a gorilla suit.
- A guy is tired of being the soft kid at school. Always watching his mouth and backing down in case he gets into a fight he can’t win. Never able to express himself. So he watches the UFC and figures MMA will solve his problems. Ten years later he’s a BJJ black belt with decent hands. He’s also neck-deep in a new cult with religious training and new community norms to follow. His identity is all about being tough, unlike those “idiot” traditional martial artists or “lazy” cubicle jockeys. Watch The Ultimate Fighter for a glimpse of these types.
At no point do I suggest getting a great physique or learning to fight are a bad idea. Quite the contrary, both are noble pursuits that build value. The problem is leaving your inner game unaddressed. Your ego has just sent you on a wild goose chase and you’re still the same chode with the same low self-esteem. It’s just now you have a new hook upon which to hang your grandiosity. A new intellectual construct to blind you from your own idiocy. And everyone can still see right through you.
How to tell if you’re mired in a new ego trap rather than making real inner game progress?
- You feel the need to constantly tell everyone how good you are
- You feel the need to constantly push everyone else beneath you
- You still bristle at criticism and go off on rants
- You still need to be the centre of attention and act out when the spotlight moves onto someone else
- You are a One True Way-er in whatever beliefs are important to you
- You need to set up a caricatured straw man of The Other to then gleefully tear down to prove to yourself that you aren’t one of those idiots
I don’t exclude myself from consideration from this list. While my inner game is 100x stronger than it was I still have my share of grandiosity moments. The important thing is to recognise Ego Traps and avoid what you can. You cannot address your inner game by papering over the cracks. No matter how elaborately you construct a reality-weave, at some point reality will break through and that will hurt.
“Ego traps occur when you learn to recognize and try to combat one form of ego-driven superiority, only to have the ego reassert itself using sneaky, subtle disguised ways to take over your mind from new angles” – Ricky Raw
In the manosphere there’s alot of external referencing masquerading as internal referencing. There’s plenty of people telling you how high value they are while showing you the opposite. Ironically, they are often precisely the people calling out others for lack of transparency. Don’t fall for it. Look inwards and concentrate on getting your own house in order. You’re into Game to improve your happiness and your results, not to engage in pissing contests with self-aggrandising little boys with big mouths.
Men who have reached self-acceptance are chill, relaxed and non-reactive. They don’t need to tell you how they are better than everyone else.
December 28, 2013 at 12:20 am
Nice work Krauser that was one of the most coherent, self-aware inner-game articles written in a long time.
December 28, 2013 at 12:26 am
“Some people don’t want to face up to their deep-rooted feelings of low self worth”
I’d say this is true about game. Avoiding relationships with girls to chase more quick encounters with another says to me that guys don’t want to face rejection in a relationship sense. It’s easy for a girl to say no to a guy hitting on her and as a guy it gets easier to take that, but when you both get into each other deeper and show each other who you really are, then she dumps you or whatever, then you face up to the fact that you don’t have much worth because you can’t keep a girl around. [Good point. I think both types of rejection are important. For me I never had a girl dump me until I was 34 and my wife left me. So I’m very very comfortable with relationships and emotional intimacy because I was a serial monogamist my whole pre-game adult life. The rejection I feared was during the pre-fuck stage (i.e. pick-up). That’s why PUA material really helped me – I was already competent at the bit that happens after the sex but needed a ton of work to do the pre-sex bit right. I see similar mindsets in Nice Guy students especially if they are pushing 30 and have normal careers. There’s also the other side – guys who have never been comfortable with emotional intimacy and fear the rejection you note above. They will often have fairly high pre-game notch counts because their whole 20s have been drifting from hook-up to hook-up while avoiding intimacy. These guys often find the approach-date-lay part of Game fairly easy. They need lots of work on relationship management and the deeper sense of self-worth than the am-I-attractive-enough-for-girls-to-fuck-me worries of the Nice Guys. I think these drifter men tend to rhapsodise LTRs and emotional connection precisely because they are coming from a place of inadequacy in intimacy. When they talk dismissively about players being “empty” or “on a treadmill” they are just projecting their own history of how they felt and fear feeling if their current LTR breaks down. Becuase most noob in the game are easily impressed by notch counts they are less likely to see the latter guy as equally broken and in need of help as the former guy. It’s a funny old world. K.]
December 28, 2013 at 1:08 am
First things first, my first comment, so obligatory fanboy comment time: excellent blog and I’m looking forward to getting my hands on your new book.
Your first sentence sums it up for me. Sorting out inner game takes patience and effort. Like trying to grasp a slippery fish, its elusive. Ricky’s site is really good, he promotes the idea that there’s no quick fix; maybe there’s some other resources that are good but The Rawness is the best I’ve found. [I strongly recommend his site. It’s helped me alot. K.]
December 28, 2013 at 1:26 am
Thanks again for sharing your advice with us, Krauser. I took away a lot from that old “percolation” article you linked to; to be specific, where you said, “That’s the problem with killing your ego, you achieve nothing.” … That’s something serious to chew on there.
I wish I could fly to London for the meet and greet.[I’d disappoint you! K.] I can’t wait for the read.
December 28, 2013 at 3:30 am
Great post. My “external game” is reasonably solid. It’s the inner game now that needs to be addressed. Good to hear I’m not alone in this realization.
December 28, 2013 at 8:23 am
Seriously good post.
This inner game work is challenging(massive understatement) because for 25 years my ego hasn’t been confronted and all the traps you fall into you just go along with. Now that ive begun pushing back there’s a whole lot of resistance, my ego wont go down without a fight and will use any means necessary to keep me in check/control me. Its actually quite impressive how strong a hold it can have on an individual.
December 28, 2013 at 1:34 pm
My ego is the only thing driving me to approach. If I truly get rid of that than what’s the point of game? [See the post I linked near the beginning of the discussion. K.]
December 28, 2013 at 1:59 pm
Good points all around.
Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Matthew 7: 3-5
December 28, 2013 at 2:04 pm
Nice. This feels like I’ve just been soul-read a bit. Lifting, rolling, Economics; all good things but used by me at times to feel superior over others. Is it even possible to control/eliminate your ego or am I going to be forever suspicious of my own motives? [It’s all about self knowledge. You never beat your ego but you learn to channel it. K.]
December 28, 2013 at 4:36 pm
Thanks Nick, great post.
December 28, 2013 at 6:32 pm
While I still have a long way to go to be completely secure, I’ve come a long way from where I was just a few years ago. Once you begin rooting out your problems, it gets harder because you tend to find that the things you originally wanted in the beginning may not be what you really wanted further down the line.
You begin looking at things in a much healthier perspective and pursuing things simply because ‘you want to do it’ and not due to some external acceptance or to fill a hole you felt was missing.
Also the point MattC made in his comment was spot on. It’s far easier to deal with rejection up front than in a relationship where your vulnerabilities are likely to show. I think it’s all due to the beliefs we all pick up in the community about maintaining frame and being alpha, which doesn’t fit in very well with relationship dynamics and is what I suspect the main problem is.
Its the reason why I suspect many guys fall into the vicious cycle of acquiring notches and open relationships. It’s simply just another form of avoidance weasel.
December 28, 2013 at 9:00 pm
Nick, you’re like the big brother I wish I had growing up. Thanks for all the great information you put out there and being a personal inspiration. I’m determined to make 2014 the year I finally turn things around. Been lurking your site for a while and just wanted to say hello.
December 28, 2013 at 10:05 pm
Have you took any Magic Mushrooms lately Krauser? I’m thinking of ordering some Psilocybe Mexicana as they are the weakest and that would probably be best for my first time on them.
December 29, 2013 at 7:11 pm
Have fun on your first trip. Make sure to keep a bottle of coke around (or any other quick source of sugar) in case the trip is overwhelming – sugar will take the edge off. Also make sure you’re in a quiet, comfortable place with some friends where you won’t be disturbed by strangers. Other than that, enjoy the ride!
December 29, 2013 at 2:48 am
It seems you’re arguing that egos are bad insofar as they don’t reflect reality (instead just making us feel good).
But it might be argued that
(i) Some egos *do* reflect reality
(ii) Some egos — even if not actually reflective of what is true — are useful and hence on balance still good for us.
On top of this, it’s not clear to me what a life without an ego even looks like.
Shouldn’t a self-actualized man still have an ego (perhaps even an accurate one)? Furthermore, could even a fully *self-actualized man* achieve more and be greater with the help of a delusional self-concept?
December 29, 2013 at 8:06 am
Hey Krauser I haven’t read your site for a while and so I recently spent a few hours reading your last 6 months worth. Yours is the only PUA blog I read because I’m far beyond looking for game tips and I like your social commentary.
I would like it if you wrote some new articles on the “metagame” of game, or how game relates to civilisation. I’m curious if some of your ideas have changed, like when you wrote, roughly, that civilisation is the product of white beta males.
December 29, 2013 at 8:22 pm
The ego and its unwillingness to accept criticism or back down touches on one of the great fault lines between male and female relations. It’s sexual suicide to give an inch to a woman you want to fuck, but I find that I lose all respect for guys who try to behave like this with other men. Okay I ‘get it’ in terms of the corporate world, but guys who keep insisting they are right, when they are demonstrably wrong, will get found out in due course. It’s partly for these reasons that many sigma males will despise the corporate world, particularly when the female imperative seems to be encroaching in on it in ever decreasing circles.
A man’s world is pragmatic. One way to avoid reflexivity (Soros’s argument contains a critical distinction) is to take Popper’s advice over why collectivised knowledge works, or is even possible in science (simply observed and universal phenomena) but doesn’t in social science (neither). In other words, stick to simply constructed benchmarks and use them to validate yourself rather than listening to your ego.
“This month I want to do X approaches, shag Y girls”…”This year I want to get into a meaningful relationship with at least one high quality girl” etc etc. Subsuming the ego to achieving benchmarks like this strikes me as a good way to avoid ego traps. In the end everything else will be noise, and the only signal is whether you hit your easily defined and measurable objective or not.
December 29, 2013 at 8:35 pm
Some community members are now creating a strawman. “Krauser is still gaming girls beyond certain number of notches, therefore he is empty and unhappy. I got ripped through calorie counting and am in a LTR. Listen to me instead, I am happy and balanced man.” When I discussed his specific gym approach with this guy, I mentioned that perfection isn’t worth it and just eating real food and progressive overload is good enough. Well, apparently stylish clothes and 5 percent bodyfat is everything. Plus he is considering steroids. You don’t even need game other than basic social dynamics. Hm, steroids? Now tell me about balanced individual when even Dorian Yates discourages from steroid usage for anyone else than pro bodbuilders, even though he is very open on the topic. (London Real interview). Even though you specifically mentioned to be in agreement with stuff they accuse you of not seeing – too many notches and unhappiness, importance of what you do before the set – gym, fashion..they don’t register this. And this post came at just the right time. i don’t care about manosphere wars but it’s good for clarity of mind. [Criticism tells you more about the critic than the subject. Everyone has their inner game issues written all over them. K.]
December 29, 2013 at 11:01 pm
Love the jab at the Sleazy, absolutely perfectly on target.
December 29, 2013 at 11:09 pm
What does the picture of someone with sorted ‘self esteem’ look like? Is it a case someone sorting out a particular issue to be faced with another problem? Maybe 99.99% of the population go to their grave with low self esteem. [I think widespread low self-esteem is a modern Anglosphere problem caused by living unnatural lives and a completely broken culture with inverted polarity. I think men from non-Anglo countries have many problems but not this one. K.]
December 30, 2013 at 2:29 pm
I am reading adventure novels written before the 1930’s and I notice one thing: the protagonist has a sense of nobility, strength of character, virtuosity, but most important they have exceptional emotional control. For an example of a “nice guy omega” transforming into an “alpha” read Smoke Bellew by Jack London. The transformation happened in the cold northern tundra of Canada, fraught with peril and goals.
This is a good article because it shows how the ego can trick one, but it doesn’t describe HOW to achieve emotional control. I feel it is achieved in four ways: 1) achieving something great 2) surviving a near death experience 3) forcing yourself to be unreactive 4) Having a code by which you live. But maybe i’m wrong?
I have been trying to achieve control over my emotions (not really control — more like not resisting them, merely observing them) and what I have noticed by observation of my emotions was that I am always full of ‘wants’. I ‘want’ this, I ‘want’ that, and yet I pay no heed to the present moment. But I always find myself slipping into the way I previously was — like a fog of thought that covers the mind — a fog that I have begun to notice more often and have thus been trying to bring myself into the present….but its damn hard
I am curious though, the authors of old that wrote strong characters, deeply rooted in their masculinity, unperturbable like an oak tree in a storm, that had control over themselves and their actions, that live with no regard for the future, being fully content with the present moment — do these men truly win the hearts of women like the authors wrote? Or is it merely an ideal?
This is something I have never experienced, but that is an ideal in my mind. Maybe someone can shed some light on this? [Pre-game I read lots of Robert E Howard, Dashiel Hammett and Edgar Rice Burroughs. I was always struck by how well they connected with my masculinity compared to the limp “emotionally complex” heroes of modern fiction. It was a pre-red pill moment. K.]
December 30, 2013 at 5:23 pm
Krauser, I’d be interested to hear what your opinion of Eckhart Tolle’s ‘The Power of Now’ is? Along with medication, it helped me beat clinical depression and completely change my outlook on life; through observation, regulation and control of the ego.
December 31, 2013 at 2:35 am
@Merciful Boss….great post and insights.
I’m also struggling with this idea of “controlling emotions’ and finding that as is noted in this post “control” may be misguided. I’m more framing it around “Controlling my reactions” and becoming more aware of why I react a certain way and what triggers that “emotion” to react..
I’ve found as I become better at “controlling my emotions” using your strategies, it just meant that they would find other ways to emerge—like a big balloon where if you try to squeeze or tie up one part, the air flows to a different part putting further strain on that balloon.
I don’t have the answers but I think an awareness of WHY certain emotions are triggered and where in my past I started will help to at the very least control my reaction.
If someone does something that I find hurtful, offensive how do I process that? In the past it was to feel threatened and to over-react by lashing out.
Now I’m consciously processing it as: is this really important? Should I feel threatened? Is this about me? Etc etc
January 2, 2014 at 5:51 am
I’m not a pro, but from what I understand Eckhart Tolle says that the reason you find it like a balloon that you squeeze only to see it expand on another side, is that you are trying to ‘control’ (Resist) the emotion. Buddhist tradition dictates that you don’t ‘resist’ an emotion, but drink it in and let it consume you. Think of it like a camp fire: resistance is like simmering coals, they give off light/heat for a long time and are hard to put out. Letting an emotion consume you, opening yourself to it is like letting the flame burn bright and strong only to see it burn itself out very quickly.
I have not mastered remaining unperturbed in the face of pressure (I am easily rattled), but lately i’ve seen some success in doing what you are doing now and accepting that I feel annoyance/anger and remind myself that I should remain unperturbed.
December 30, 2013 at 6:11 pm
I’m really going to have to step in here as a practitioner of BJJ and tell you how dead wrong your generalizations are about the BJJ/MMA community are. I am guessing you are just making broad generalizations because of The Ultimate Fighter reality television show, but that’s just TV man. The writers and producers have to create drama and stupid bullshit in order to keep retard Americans who aren’t really MMA fans coming back to watch the show. The guys I train with and anyone who isn’t a McDojo student are some of the absolute coolest, laid back, non-tough guys I’ve ever met…and a majority of those guys are purple belt and below. The few black belts I’ve had the honor to train with are 10Xs cooler and laid back. BJJ was originally created as an answer for the small man against the big man. A system of using leverage and technique against your opponent instead of just smashing them with brute force. You can easily see how this will weed out the egotistical tough guy asshole when they are being choked unconscious by a guy who is 100 lbs lighter than them. [You’ve missed the point. These guys aren’t egotistical assholes, they are followers seeking a new cause to fight. I trained BJJ two years and know the gym culture well. I spent another 3 years in a kickboxing gym. About 20% of long-term guys are cultists wanting to fit in. K.]
December 30, 2013 at 7:26 pm
Hi there Krauser, I have been following this blog for some time now and I like the content.
Do you talk about your martial art training with girls? What are their responses?
In my experience, they don´t care much about it, I talk about Muay Thai enthusiastically but they just don´t share the interest.
December 31, 2013 at 12:04 am
I call it “Born Again syndrome” it’s just like the born again religious people who suddenly seem to think other who don’t agree are idiots.
At first it seems enthusiasm, but then… never ending rants. Until you start calling out their past and they get offended.
December 31, 2013 at 12:35 pm
Offtopic: Strength Training Myths in the Martial Arts. I think you discussed ability to fight vs. obsession with muscle mass on Twitter some time ago.
December 31, 2013 at 4:43 pm
This comment will be out of the topic but, K., will you write us one of the statistical report of the year as you do every year. Like how many approaches, how many numbers, f closes, the points that you have discover about game and yourself etc…
It is always good to read your year stats and see how it was gone.
Thanks.[Already drafted one. K.]
January 1, 2014 at 12:58 pm
January 19, 2014 at 2:30 pm
Anthony Flew..a slap in the face for all pedantic materialists..
July 13, 2014 at 4:41 am
Good points, Nick. But in some of your lay reports you mention parading a girl past your friends and receiving a “score” of her beauty. I take that to mean that such validation is important to you, or else why would it be worth mentioning. I think that a fully self-actualized man be indifferent to such a third-party judgment, and indeed, it suggests that I might just be unsuited to working with anyone in doing daygame, since my gut reaction is that they can shove their opinions up their arse.