Nervous breakdowns are pretty unpleasant things to be in, but like most things in life they carry lots of benefits. I remember once when Colin was giving a talk to all the freaks of the London Seduction Society he said “This is a hard road and it’ll take at least two years to get good. The only people I know who got good quicker went through unbelievable mental pain.”
He’s right. There’s a fairly predictable path of pain in game because ultimately we are talking about a complete overhaul of your behaviours, beliefs and identity.
Cautious hope -> Optimism -> Hubris -> Vague Unease -> Crash -> Recovery
As ever I’m talking mostly about my own experience but I’ve seen this pattern among all the top guys on their way up. And seeing as few of them ever settle at a given plateau (we’re all strivers) then really this is a recurring cycle. When you take your first step in game you are unwittingly commiting yourself to a complete overhaul. You will eventually become the cool charismatic guy. Unfortunately there’s a major obstacle standing in your way:
Your ego is a fixing agent, as I’ve written about before. It’s the force that prevents you being tossed around like a leaf in a gale. It’s what gets your hackles up when someone’s trying to clown you and take what’s yours. Your ego is the force that says “I’m just fine like I am, thank you very much, and I’m not changing.”
Therein lies the rub for the aspiring player who wants to transform himself from Me v1.0 into Me v2.0. The ego will resist him every step of the way. Much of the “taking action” side of the player’s journey is about harnessing your forebrain’s reserves of mental discipline in order to achieve your forebrain’s goal of getting better with women. All of the negative emotions you feel (principally the approach anxiety and the avoidance weasels) are your hindbrain’s attempt to harness your reserves of emotion in order to thwart your forebrain and to instead achieve the hindbrain’s goal of staying exactly where you are.
So every aspiring player is being double-teamed by his ego and hindbrain. That’s where all the cognitive dissonance and badfeelz comes from. It’s tough. It’s also why most successful players have developed masterful emotional control and forebrain discipline.
Normal men might scoff when you say daygame is difficult. “Dude, all you’re doing is talking to women. It’s not like being in a WWI trench.” They don’t get that the conflict is fully internal and your brain is essentially in a state of perpetual Syria-like civil war. It’s about way more than knobbing some sloppy tarts – you are fighting for your destiny of what kind of person you wish to be. This is why every aspiring player has – and needs – periodic meltdowns. They occur when both sides of your brain have exhausted themselves fighting the daily war of attrition. There’s the last final battle and then like a cataclysmic shock both sides collapse. Both sides wave the white flag and you crash.
It’s awful when it happens. Sometimes it’s the death of hope. Other times it triggers hours of existential angst as you go through a long dark night of the soul. You have to remind yourself that your current emotion is not “you”, it’s just a phase. Your life is still exactly the same as it was two days ago, two weeks ago, two months ago.
Remind yourself this is a necessary creative destruction because your meltdown results in a rare opportunity: Your ego has died. It’ll respawn soon but for a precious few days the hindbrain is compliant. All those beliefs and reference experiences that you’ve tried to embed into your hindbrain so that you can feel (not merely intellectually recognise) the player mindset – the hindbrain absorbs them.
Every time I’ve had a meltdown, I’ve emerged stronger and closer to the man I wish to be. The calibre of my game always stepped up a level and I felt like my inner game house had been upgraded from hay to wood, then wood to brick and so on. Ultimately, your subconscious is looking out for your best interests. It lets you feel the optimism and hubris so you can go out and accumulate reference experiences, then it lets your hindbrain fight a weasel-based counterattack so you feel unease, and then it throws you both off a cliff and triggers the meltdown.
If you’re a normal guy who wants a normal life, nervous breakdowns are to be avoided. However, if you’re a normal guy who wants to become a player, you have to embrace them when they come. They are not a sign of failure – though they’ll definitely feel that way when they happen. Just remember you are not your emotions and this is the necessary bankruptcy in order to free up the capital to be redeployed into a more efficient enterprise. Your ability to embrace, ride out and then recover from meltdowns is a strong meta-level predictor of how good you’ll get at game.