Jay Valens on October 24th, 2008

We’ve been giving you a lot of tactics and examples and I want to step back a bit and give you some advice on a more general level. Some of this comes from Ray, and some of it comes from me, and we both can’t emphasize enough how important this is, not just for your “game” but also your overall life.

Recently my building lost power and the power was still out when I woke up in the morning. I went down to the building manager’s office to check if they knew when it would be back on. There was some circuit outage at a nearby cross street and the LA DPW was working on it and told her that they’d be done by 10am. By 11am the power still wasn’t back on so I called the DPW myself and they told me the same thing. As you probably might know, I mostly work from home and it’s hard to get any work done without any power, so when I headed out mid-day I decided to drive around the block to see if the crew was still working. To my surprise, I didn’t see any crews still working and I called the DPW again, and was told that they were “still working” on the issue.

Now, most people at this point would just shrug their shoulders and presume that things will get taken care of based on that information. Not me. I told their phone responder that I didn’t see any crews working any more and he gave me a few reasons why that might not be. That, too, might be where most people stop. Not me. I told him that he might have incorrect information and to check it out further. He put me on hold to speak to a field liaison and when he got back to me it turned out that the crew reported that they were done and had left the site already. They just saw 1 or 2 signs that indicated to them they were “done”, packed their equipment up, and left, without checking the buildings in the immediate area to verify that power was actually restored.

So, he took steps to get the crew back out there to actually finish the job.

The point is, had I not persisted, I would have been without power for possibly another whole day. When I went by the building manager’s office on my way back home, I found that she would not have persisted as much as I did because the initial response the DPW gave her on the phone was as far as she went. I also was able to discern, given the communications I had with the DPW, that I was the only person in the 212 unit building to persist in this way. 212 people would have gone without power for another day, at least. Because they got a response, shrugged their shoulders, and remained at the mercy of others because they gave up when presented with 2 options: accept the circumstance or persist.

Persistence is an extremely important trait to build into yourself. Ray has the following philosophy instilled into him years ago that he follows to this day. It’s by Calvin Coolidge:

Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

This isn’t just a nickel’s worth of advice you forget about later. It is the underlying principle of all of this. Memorize it. If you ever find yourself hesitating, speak it to yourself in your thoughts and use it as encouragement it to move you forward, no matter what.

There were so many times that, had I given up when presented with hesitation or residence, I would have lost an opportunity.

If you hesitate, then you are not giving yourself an opportunity to succeed. You can’t succeed if you don’t fail. Success is not the absence of failure, it’s the willingness to accept failure and push on anyway.

If a girl initially brushes you off, it is not a bad thing. It’s only a bad thing if you allow such a response to deter you. I know you guys love examples, especially actual pickup examples, so here is one of many from my personal experience:

One day I was walking though a mall and saw this girl from a distance that really appealed to me. I lost track of where she’d walked to and thought I wouldn’t see her again. but later on I saw her from a distance again, walking into a bookstore. I didn’t hesitate and went in after her, except from a different entrance so I could approach her while facing her rather than from behind (it’s something we teach, but that’s another topic for another day).

Anyway, when I opened her, she initially responded OK but seemed slightly put off. Hey, it happens, girls are used to being “hit on” or “complimented” but not necessarily in unexpected ways in everyday environments by men they don’t know. She actually began to WALK AWAY. She basically brushed me off to continue doing nothing except peruse books.

Let me stop here for a moment and ask you to think about what you would have done. You open a girl, not in a weird way but totally normally, she acknowledges your existence AT BEST, and then starts walking away. How many of you would strike that up to some cookie-cutter philosophy like “it’s a numbers game”, give up on her, and move on? How many of you might even think you’re empowering yourself by thinking “Her loss… NEXT!” Hey, by all means… GIVE UP. But… why?

Do you know what I did? I just walked right back up to her and continued talking to her as she was walking as if she didn’t walk away but we were merely on a stroll together. The fact she walked away did not phase me. Instead, I walked back up and kept talking to her as if it was the most natural thing to do. I didn’t even acknowledge it. I just kept talking and then paused and told her I was going to get lunch and she should join me. I knew she might resist that and when she said “no”, I said “OK then let’s just have a coffee, there’s a cafe right in here.” There was. Most big bookstores have them now, inside. I simply presumed that she said “no” not because she meant “no” but because that was moving forward too quickly. I said “let’s go” and started walking towards the cafe as if she said “ok” to coffee. I didn’t look back. If she didn’t follow, it would be fine, but she did, because my reaction to her personal hesitation was to lead things, but without pressing her.

When we got our coffees, I lead her to somewhere outside the cafe and we talked for about 20 minutes. I got her phone number, and told her I might have to meet a friend shortly. We separated, but I knew she would hover in the bookstore for a bit, so a few minutes later I walked back up to her and told her that my friend TXT’d me (SMS for you Europeans) that he wouldn’t make it and suggested “Let’s go window shopping”. She smiled and said yes.

We walked around talking and flirting for about an hour and soon after enjoyed a lunch together … near my place.

So, the point of all this, the power outage story, Ray’s favorite quote, and my pickup story, is that at any given time we can all decide to either give up or persist. In my pickup story, I could have hesitated in approaching her. Or I could have given up when she walked away. Or when she said “no” to lunch. Instead, I persisted. I got what I wanted, not because I was talented or smart, but because I didn’t give up.

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