10.30.2006posted by Donovan at 2:14 PM
I started and sold a software company and was in and out of University of Michigan as a history major before meeting Wayne and starting Charisma Arts. This is my real job, but I do consulting for other startups on the side.
How did you get introduced to this community, and was there an experience that made you want to improve this area, and when was that?
I am a relationship guy but was going through what was then a six-month period of single-hood. Around that six-month point, I spent $400 on three dates with a girl. I liked her a lot more than she liked me and when she told me that it just wasn't happening for her, I felt very frustrated. I think this is a common thing that brings guys into the community.
I was feeling very isolated - waking up alone, eating dinner alone, etc. One of the best things about this life, for me, is when you can share experiences with other people. It made me so sad to have dates, but still find myself dining at restaurants alone more often than not. Most of my college friends had left town and I didn't have a social network anymore.
An employee at my company was clued in to what was going on, and introduced me to some DavidD and Ross Jeffries stuff. I thought some of it was offensive but there was also a lot of valuable information in there. This particular employee was big into Juggler and was the guy who actually compiled the archives that we now sell on our website. This was maybe a year after I was introduced to the community.
Was there a main turning point after you discovered the communities techniques in which you finally felt you had reached a certain degree of mastery?
I was always ok with women, but I was coming off as arrogant to cover up some insecurities. There was no technique I learned that helped me past this. In fact, reading the DavidD stuff hurt me more than it helped. Not to knock him - he's like a handbrake when your car is about to hit a telephone pole - but it wasn't until I began to hang out with Wayne (Juggler) that I began to identify my real issues and attack those.
My big breakthrough came when I realized that I could be myself - appreciative, complementary, friendly - but do it from a position of strength, not supplication. The false strength that techniques and a lot of the community wisdom teaches left me single for about a year and a half after discovering it. It was a big step backwards and my friends were like "who have you become?" Girls were offended more often than they were charmed.
After a period of time, I began to just go out with the mentality that I'd try to enjoy and appreciate the people I was talking to. I don't remember when exactly this happened but it has made me such a happier person.
Have you had any mentors, and what specifics have they taught you?
Wayne is awesome - he is insightful and has been a great friend to me. Johnny taught me how to have fun in my interactions without being outcome-dependent. In fact, all of our instructors continue to inspire me. Dan was a former client of ours, at a bootcamp I taught. Now he is an instructor and I'm learning so much from him. It is weird how this happens but it is true that a social/reference group of uplifting people is greater than the sum of its parts. My friend Steve was also a big help for me - but he's not a "community" guy.
On that note, I think it is important that your reference group reflect your values, and not your interests. A lot of guys get involved in lairs or find wingmen who are interested in just going out and meeting girls. I hung out with people like this from time to time. But I've found that I'm happiest and certainly at my best when I'm with people who see and value the world as I do. It doesn't matter if we don't like the same music or share the same tastes in clothing. My benchmark is: does this person make me be a better person?
What was your hardest sticking point to overcome, and how did you?
The arrogant insecurity. I'd often talk about my car, or my job or whatever. Even though I knew it was hurting me, it was like I clung to those things. That blocked everything else - approaching, SOI'ing, everything... because I was so afraid of being judged, I was being very judgmental, and consequently, the only people I'd want to talk to would be people with whom I'd have a desired outcome in mind. It was insincere and socially ineffective.
Getting past this required a big shift in how I thought about people in the world. It happened by hanging out with guys like Wayne and Johnny. I read a lot and books like "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenence," and "The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying" were big helps for me too. Finally, I pushed myself to do everything in a way that was opposite of certain instincts - kind of like George in that one Seinfeld episode - and I'd notice things clicking for me. This has been a spiritual journey as much as anything else.
In all the sets you've done, which approach has made you the proudest?
As for "trophies" - there was a playmate with whom I had a great interaction. She text'd me from Hef's 80th to the effect of "I just danced with Donald Trump but I can't stop thinking of you." But you know, I wasn't trying to "seduce" her when we spoke. I was just interested in talking with her, and lo and behold, we got along very well.
More imporantly, my current girlfriend is unbelievable - definitely one of the best human beings I've ever met. We met when we were both in relationships and when those ended, things just evolved as they do. By virtue of who she is and what is important to her, she challenges me to be a better person every day. I'm not so much "proud" of this. I'm just happy.
You practice what's known as "natural game", for those not familiar, what is the core of natural game, and how can someone bring that out?
"Natural Game" is basically a polemical term that stands in contrast to indirect game. I don't know that there is a definition of "natural game" that exists without the definitions the community has of indirect game or some of the other methods being taught.
What we teach is how to have conversations you want to have without reliance on other people's material. Anytime you introduce material, dishonesty, or things you don't really care about into a conversation, you are erecting barriers between who you really are and who she really is. They're going to come down at some point. Why deal with them at all?
So if you want to label what we teach as natural game... I suppose it is being able to be yourself from a position of strength. Yes, there is a model to each interaction, but when you get good, the model vanishes and each interaction is just sublime enjoyment.
Do you have any additional products coming out?
Yes. There will be a DVD sooner or later, some audio stuff, and a style guide. To me, style is a huge, huge thing. There is no such thing as the perfect opener, but the closest you can come is being well-dressed. I am opened all the time for my clothing, but you wouldn't call it peacocking in the feather-boa/platform boots/black fingernails sense.
Your current girlfriend seems like a great girl. I've had a chance to exchange a few emails with her. I'm impressed. Can you relate how you met, and some specific things you contribute to starting a relationship with her?
I'm so glad I have your approval Donovan ;)
This is a tough question to answer. Here's one thought. My last girlfriend and I got along on a level of shared interests. We enjoyed talking about and sometimes doing the same things and going to the same places. It was fun for companionship and for awhile, we had a great relationship. But we both realized, and her before me, that we weren't a good long-term fit. We didn't want the same things from life, want to raise our kids the same way, etc. As an aside, she's actually dating another community guy now who tried to schlep his way into one of our workshops under false pretense of being a reporter. I hope that works out.
Lauren and I quickly realized that even though our interests aren't identical, the core things that make us who we are line up very well. I've never enjoyed just looking into someone's eyes as much as this girl - it makes me feel connected to the world and more. That's not something you can fake. When two people come together like that, it just has a way of happening.
In terms of things that led to us dating... she tells me that I have a way of making people feel special. I could tell from the moment I met her that she was someone special, and I suspect that there was a lot of genuine interest on my part. It was easy to have honest conversations with her - we talked about things like sex, religion, and even taking a poop very easily before we started dating.
It comes down to this though - I find a lot of people interesting and I think that comes across with everyone I talk to. I happen to find Lauren more interesting and inspiring on almost every level than most people. I like to hear what she has to think but more importantly, I like to be around her because of who she is. I wish every guy could be so fortunate.
Some argue that most "natural" conversations are routine-based anyway, because of social conditioning, humans being habitual anyway etc, we speak with stories that have had good responses, and highlight things about ourselves that have previously been appreciated in set. What is the difference between routine based methods like that, and your natural methods?
There are two spoken parts to every interaction - what you say and what she says. Below that is the subtext - why you're saying what you're saying and how you're feeling about it. Of course we tell the same stories from time to time. But if I had to articulate a difference between "natural" and "canned" storytelling, I'd say that when I tell someone something - anything - it is meant to connect me with them and to get them to open up more to me. To share more of the "what she says" part. So I won't tell a story just to "demonstrate value" or entertain if it has no place in the conversation flow or what the other person is saying.
I'm not the best or smoothest storyteller. I use the words "like" and "uhhh" far too much. But I'm good at highlighting why I feel a certain way about something and I'm decent at setting up a segway for someone else to take over - ending with an open-ended question for example. This is stuff that we work on in the bootcamps.
If a new client is having a difficult time developing a masculine "identity". What do you suggest they do?
I think we are these organic entities with history, potential, and values that inform us in the present moment. A person's identity is going to be a function of these three things.
Your history is behind you and the best you can do is to frame it in the context of how you have learned from it. I had a pretty bad childhood socially, but a great family and a lot of things to learn from, and I'm thankful that I went through what I did.
Your potential is the possibility to fulfill your purpose. A lot of people have direction but no purpose. The former is where you're heading, the latter is why you're heading there. When those two things line up, and only then, are you able to say that you are excited about your potential. If you're not on that path, you need to do some thinking.
Finally, a strong set of values is core to a strong identity. One of the things that stuck out to me from Wayne's archives is that most people's values are castles built on sand - unexamined and untested. To try to elicit a woman's values and match those is weak. I think it is important to develop informed opinions on everything from human sexuality to job happiness to religion and spirituality. For example, I won't sleep with a person anymore unless I am in love with them. Without getting into why, I will say that that is a big part of my "relationship identity" and it is something that is with me whether I'm with someone or not.
Do you have any ideas for overcoming shyness or low self-esteem?
Low self esteem should be dealt with by trying to become more assertive about your identity - see above.
Shyness is tough too. The best thing I can say is that if you are not outcome-dependent in your interactions with people you can approach them much more easily. Some people are just shy and they shouldn't be ashamed of that. Chad, who is one of our instructors, is pretty shy, but he makes it work for him. Its something we deal with regularly in bootcamps, but I can't do justice to the issue in a few lines here.
What do you think is the most important skill of attraction? What do you recommend to master it?
A big smile and a reason for having it. The most attractive guys I know are happy people and they bring that with them to every person they meet. Lauren's little brother is going to be a lady-killer. He is the happiest guy I know and I can't think about him without smiling. Johnny and Kory are the same way. Who doesn't want to be around a person like that?
It then becomes a matter of indiciating intimate interest (what we call the SOI) and letting things progress from there. It is funny; once guys get past approach anxiety, they often have huge SOI anxiety. This is second most important after being a fun, happy person.
Have you found any specific conversational topics to be more interesting to women, and how do you present those topics?
Women love talking about relationships and interpersonal dynamics. They like talking about sex, but only in the abstract at first. They like talking about the things that make them happy and sad. Most importantly, they like talking about how they feel about things.
CA teaches how to "headline" things. We had a client who wrote software for the FAA and wasn't enthused about it. Now when a woman asks what he does, he tells her that he makes it so that her plane doesn't crash into the radio tower when it is taking off. It generates a laugh and prompts more questions. We helped him identify what about his job was rewarding, and that's something he can now share with people in a much more interesting way.
I don't recommend talking about computer games with women or with most people in general. I just bought an Xbox 360 and no one in my life wants to hear about it (they'll change their mind when they see the next Splinter Cell, though).
How can you differentiate yourself from other attractive guys when you're trying to get that "popular" woman of the group?
Dress well and uniquely. More importantly, disqualify yourself to the group. As an "amog technique", disqualification has no peer. Some guy asks what kind of car you drive - you could say "I have an M3" or you could say "a car that uses way too much gas. have you seen how expensive that shit is these days? I'll tell you what I would like - a car that is powered by hydrogen." When you answer the former, you're qualifying yourself to him. When you say the latter, you're not only implying that his question is irrelevent to you, but you're reframing it as a question that everyone can relate to. Popular women are used to guys qualifying themselves to them. Do otherwise and you will win every time.
What's your personal technique for cold approaching at a party/public when the girl is alone, etc?
I hate to be vague but there is no personal technique, per se. It depends on the situation. I'll sometimes try to find what Wayne calls a floppsy (more on that in his eBook). But there is no one opener.
Half the time it's "Hi, I'm Christian. What's your name?" Dan wrote an awesome, awesome blog on our site about the first few minutes and how to get into the conversation.
What do most guys do wrong with flirting?
They push but they don't pull. Bad: "I don't know about you - that southern accent is a little much for me." Good: "I don't know about you. I don't normally like southern accents. But yours suits you well - in fact, its kind of sexy." Our instructor Matt did this second one almost verbatim at a New York bootcamp a few weekends ago. He pushed her away, but pulled her back in.
Guys have trouble coming up with interesting conversation that is attractive, engaging and unique from a woman's perspective. What advice can you offer?
Read Wayne's books and take our bootcamp. That is what we teach and are known for.
The biggest thing is to relate on an emotional level. Talking about "things" is boring.
What are some ways to generate a fun, interesting, successful and encouraging social circle around you?
My friend Andre has more female friends than anyone I know. It is because he is really, really fun. He gets everyone to stay out later than they should, drink more than is safe or reasonable, and dance on tables when they are starting to get bored. Being the funnest guy of the group has its benefits. But that is not 95% of the world. If you have the fundamentals down (a strong identity and being a good conversationalist), you need nothing more than to start meeting people and hanging out with the ones you like. In most major cities, there are great social events. Join an art nonprofit in New York or a the WAKA kickball league in DC or find a way to get invited to Chad's parties in LA. If you're from a smaller town, it should be easy to get to know people - they'll go to the same places on the same nights.
With all this stuff, its like tennis, business or cooking - learn the trade before you learn the tricks of the trade. There is no substitute for being a fundamentally strong person.
Thanks for the chance to interview - you have asked some great questions here.
Other Seduction Masters Interviews:
- Introducing the Seduction Masters Interviews
- Doctor Paul
- Stephen Nash (Playboy)
- Neil Strauss
posted by Donovan at 2:14 PM Dating Advice for Men