“Throughout human history, men always had a clear and concise path laid out before them. We’re one of the first generations that doesn’t. You can do or be anything you want in any capacity that you want. So create your own standard and then surpass it. Psychologically that’s where we derive our worth and our value. – Mark Manson
That’s the first thing I thought when I got a mail in my inbox from Mark Manson.
It seems that;
As long as you just kindly spam request interesting people long enough that eventually something will stick. So today I’m interviewing Mark Manson.
For the ones who live under a rock and don’t know Mark;
Mark is a dating-expert, writer, avid-traveler and all-round life-enthusiast. He’s the author of Models: Attract Women Through Honesty – The uncrowned king of dating-books in my honest opinion. – and he’s also a frequent blogger at MarkManson.net.
In models, Mark takes a rather refreshing approach to the whole “dating-game” and strips it down piece by piece to the bare essentials.
The biggest point in this book is the fact that he completely dismisses tactics, tricks, games and other junk that complicates so many peoples’ dating lives and makes it astoundingly simplistic.
- Pretending to be someone you’re not
- Playing silly games to “win her over”
- Defining a successful romantic life by the number of girls you’ve slept with.
- Having to hold things back or over-complicate your texts
Or as I coined it towards my friends (yes, I do have friends); It’s the pick-up guide for people who actually prefer to be normal. It’s the best book I’ve ever read on dating.
Color code: Me, question, Mark
1) I’m a big fan of Emersons’ quote in your book; “What you are shouts so loudly, I cannot hear what you say”. It addresses the biggest problem with pick-up to date; It focuses on techniques and quick fixes instead of the inside-out development into the man that is attractive instead of posing to be that man. For the people that haven’t read your book yet; What are the biggest points that separates your dating advice (Models) from the “standard” pick-up advice?
Models differs a lot from classic pick up advice. With Models, rejection is often seen as a good thing. Honesty, even if it leads to rejection, is also seen as a good thing. Vulnerability and LETTING GO of trying to control an interaction is advised rather than trying to control every last thing. An understanding of demographics, which women are right for you and wrong for you, finding your niche, and discovering the great aspects about yourself that will attract women in that niche. I could go on and on. Very different.
(Another addition I found, that really stood out was this; Don’t be afraid to show weakness. When you pretend you’re someone you’re not (yet) you’ll gather evidence that the “real” you is not good enough for attractive women and you’ll be forced to always wear that mask. Weakness is
good GREAT. It means the problem is identified & it can be fixed.)
2) I think your book started a small, silent revolution in the pick-up community and challenged a lot of beliefs that were popular. But let’s get back a little bit further; Why do you think there’s such a high demand for dating advice these days in the first place. Why is something that should be so easy (and natural) so challenging/frustrating for men these days?
I think dating is in kind of a state of upheaval with our generation. Part of this is due to how educated everyone has become and how long it takes to get a career started. Part of this is because women have more rights and opportunities and often want to take time to establish careers for themselves before they settle down. I think these are good social developments, but they have the unintended side effect of making dating more confusing and unclear than perhaps it was for our parents’ generation.
3) There’s people who say they can’t change any aspects of themselves and there’s people who naively believe they can “be whoever they want to be.” In one part of the book you said that you attract what you are. How much control do you believe people really have over what they are/who they become? Where do you draw the line?
Well, much of who we are is determined by our genetics. But much of it is determined by learned behavior. Where the line between the two is doesn’t really matter. The point is that we can all improve upon ourselves and therefore we should.
(I believe the largest part of who we become is defined by our environment. Not 100% but my guess would be 70 – 80%. Or like the behavioral psychologist John B. Watson said; )
“Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in and I’ll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select – doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief and, yes, even beggar-man and thief, regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations, and race of his ancestors.”
4) The person we become through self-development is often to (over)compensate for what we used to be. I started weightlifting 5 years ago because I always considered myself weak and nerdy and wanted to be more respected by women and men. I’ve grown a lot since then, but at some points I just doesn’t feel enough yet. Especially from really attractive women a rejection can still feel as an inadequacy from my part. Like you are worthless as a man in their eyes. Approval of women is in some way strongly connected to our sense of “being a man” still. How did you find a balance between self-acceptance and self-improvement in dating/life?
Well, rejection hurts, and there’s nothing wrong with hurting. One has to just understand that rejection is part of the process, not a loss of the process. Understand that being rejected by an attractive woman means that you are not right for THAT woman, but not necessarily all women anywhere or all women of X traits, etc.
5) Napoleon Hill and David Deida talked about “preserving your semen” and “ejaculating up the spine” to preserve your sexual energy. It supposedly allows you to be more motivated to work on “bigger, more creative pursuits” like building a business, creative work, … . What’s your take on sexual energy and ejaculatory control to stay motivated/energized to do great things? (nofap, noporn)
I really don’t know. Every time I’ve tried the no fap thing, I don’t notice much of a difference. I think everyone is different and for some people this sort of thing can make a big difference, for others, none at all. I’ve talked to guys who say it changed their life. But I’ve also talked to a lot who didn’t really feel any change.
6) There’s many different configuration you can take in relationships; lifelong monogamy, serial monogamy, polygamy, one night stands, self-service, … . What kind of relationship(s) do you have at this point and why?
I’m in a committed (and monogamous) relationship with my girlfriend of 3 and 1/2 years now. Why? It just feels right. She makes me happy.
7) I’ve read in “sex at dawn” by Christopher Ryan that humans are by nature polygamous. Yet, since agriculture everything changed and women became more of a “possession” for men and the sexual trade-off arose. On the one hand the man offered his status and resources whilst the women offered her fertility and fidelity. Therefore monogamy become the more accepted cultural norm. Do you believe lifelong monogamy is against human nature?
Emotionally, lifelong monogamy seems to be pretty standard for most people. Sexually, we can be attracted to many people throughout our lives, but our sexualities are also quite fluid so I think most people don’t mind giving up that sexual opportunities in order to maintain their emotional intimacy with their partner. Everyone is different though.
8) There’s a confusion of gender roles in our society, since the natural role of provider and protector of men has become (largely) obsolete. There’s a dichotomy rising. Instinctively, women want an aggressive, physical and dominant man in the bedroom (hence the success of 50 shades of grey) but intellectually they want equality. What’s your stance on feminism and this dichotomy?
I think as a society we’re still sorting this stuff out. But I don’t think there’s any going back. And for good reason. A lot of people don’t realize just how fucked up the classic gender roles actually are (alcoholism, domestic abuse, rape, suicide, etc., were all much higher before feminism than they are now). I think that sexually, men and women are still have some primal wiring for what they find attractive. But sex is a whole different arena than a relationship. I can be dominating and powerful in bed yet still treat my girlfriend as an equal everywhere. The two aren’t mutually exclusive.
9) I believe it’s a fact that the world is getting more competitive by the day and frankly the educational system is doing a pretty lousy job at preparing my generation for the future (at least from what I’ve seen so far). You’ve done pretty well for yourself as entrepreneur – What advice would you give to others – who are struggling – to create a future-proof job?
That’s a broad question and probably deserves an entire interview by itself. But I would say develop a skill of some sort. Anything that doesn’t require a high degree of skill is going to be either done by foreigners or robots pretty soon. So develop skills — writing, coding, design, architecture, etc.
10) To round this interview out. Let’s look at some of the cool plans you’re working on at the moment; Where do you see yourself going the next 5 years ? ( any news – dare I say scoop? – on the new book you’re writing? ;))
I’ve got a new book that I’m finishing up and talking to publishers about at the moment. I can’t share more about it at the moment but it will likely be out early next year. I’m looking forward to getting back to my blog and expanding the content as well as experimenting with some new forms of content. It feels like my writing has just been on auto-pilot for a few months now.
I hope you enjoyed reading this interview as much as I liked making it! Here’s how you can get in touch with Mark and learn more about his books/articles;
The last quote I want to leave you with – which really stood out to me – is this;
“You are what you attract”
If you consistently date, unconfident, manipulative & unstable people that says more about yourself than it does about your girl.
On the other hand – if you manage to build up yourself through self-improvement – you’ll get an actual satisfactory dating life.
(Have you read “Models”? If so, let me know what you think about the book!)
Anyway, that’s all I have to say for now. Thanks for reading this post! If you’re having any thought/comments you feel sharing with me – Feel free to leave them in the comment section below!
Take care & stay strong
Enjoyed your interview with Mark Munson, very insightful. You guys covered some good points. Thank you!!
Interesting interview. I would like to get some data about this claim: “how fucked up the classic gender roles actually are”
I was raised in ‘classic’ family. No alcoholism, abuse, rape or suicide. The same among my friends’ families. Was I just lucky, or the Mark’s claim is fucked up?
I suggest sending him a mail ;)
Hey Simon would really appreciate if you responded to my email that I sent you!
As stated by you:
“As long as you just kindly (spam) request interesting people long enough that eventually something will stick”
So sorry! I’ve been checking daily for your response!