Why I love to fail

When I was a kid (10 years old) we used to go into the woods and knock down trees. We’d topple them into the ravines. The police would come and we’d have to run. I would never get involved too closely because I was scared of getting caught. So I’d stand by on the sidelines and safely watch. I never toppled a tree, so I was never considered one of the top lads.

When I was in my early teens a few mates started boxing. I’d go to the gym with them and I’d train and sometimes spar, but I was always worried about getting hurt, so I’d mostly stand by the side and just watch. I was never considered at that top table either.

When I was in my late teens I hung around with bona fide football hooligans, but I was always worried about being arrested and getting hurt, so I never put myself in a position where I ever got into any genuine action. So I was never considered anywhere close to being one of those lads.

You want to play in a band? Well if you want the real glory, you’re going to have to sing in front of crowds of people or play note perfect lead guitar. Both require you to hold centre stage for long periods and if you ever fuck up, everyone sees it. I played rhythm guitar and bass and after a while, I did backing vocals.

For whatever reason, I was always enough well liked; I was always the fun guy who was on the fringes of all the cool people. But if you want a real place with the boys, you have to put your balls on the line. You’ve got to get comfortable with risk. If you want to be one of the lads, you have to be willing to take the pain that comes with it.

If that pain is a smack on the nose in the gym then you have to be willing to bear it. You might lose some teeth or gain a few scars. If you want to be one of the boys, you have to have balls; you have to risk something, somewhere at some point in your life.

I know some very tough men back in Lancashire, jailbirds some of them, who wouldn’t do a street stop in front of their mates. They’d be terrified of the ridicule if it went wrong. They’d be terrified of the girl being offended.

This is what I tell people when they have AA. The discomfort and the grind of day-game is your chance to win a seat at the table and be considered one of the boys. Glory awaits. It’s the easiest safest way to rightfully claim your place as a man of risk and action. You can either get a smack in the nose in the gym, get a criminal record… or do a few opens. It’s your choice.

And you’ll fail too. Many times.

This morning a tweet got my attention. @daygamerules said:

Here’s why I think day-game drop-out rates are high. Guys can’t self analyze what they’re doing wrong and coaches mislead the public by not talking about how common flaking is.   

Well, not everyone and not all coaches. The idea of the 1/30 ratio has been passed around quite a bit now and that in itself is an open admission that 29 times out of 30 you’re going to fail. But failure is good because as we have said, if there were no failure, there’d be no risk and therefore no glory.

I’ve been coaching game now for well over ten years and plenty of lads who come to me tell me exactly how good their game is and exactly where and why they need coaching. My standard example in this circumstance is someone who says: ‘my game is great Jimmy, but my text game lets me down’.

Then I see them in set and I see there’s just not that much game going on really. There’s a street stop and there’s words being exchanged. Maybe even a comparison to an animal. On the whole it’s usually just a guy doing the following:

1 – Stops a girl and says something along the lines of ‘I like you’.

2 – Stacks with some game standard.

3 – The girl will ask where they’re from and they’ll almost always ask the girl to guess. This usually then goes on for ages as the girl gets increasingly stressed.

3 – The student will then ask ‘so what are you doing today, are you out shopping?’

4 – The girl gets bores, says she has to go so they student says I think you’re cool, let’s go for a coffee some other time.

He gets a number occasionally but they never want to meet him, so he assumes it’s his text game that’s letting him down.

So my starting point with any client is not to teach him any particular method. There exists a method. There exists a best practice, but I don’t necessarily want to go in all guns blazing with my aim being to teach ‘XYZ’ method, when I don’t even know what his issue is.

My next client could be perfectly competent with women. It’s quite possible my next client is a charming guy who needs only to stand up straight and smile a bit more? I don’t want to overcomplicate anything unnecessarily, so I first just want to see who he is and what might need improvement.

Depending on the format of the coaching package, I may find myself limited in what I can do with the time I have. I may have to just pick the biggest hole and fix it. There’s guys I have spent a day just getting them to talk more slowly and less high pitched. That’s all we did, because without fixing that hole, it wouldn’t matter how cocky-funny I made him or how much I showed him how to sexualise the set; it would be a waste of time while he was squeaking at them like Mickey Mouse.

If I am then questioned for my reasons, if I am asked why he needs to make any of my suggested improvements, then I have the method and the science to refer to, the rational framework supporting the theory that explains my advice and why certain things work and then over a decade of experience in game to draw on for examples.

The main reason I read origin story emails and lengthy dissections of where and why a potential client rates his game is because I am trying to get a feeling of his overall vibe and personality. Are they upbeat, are they light hearted, are they fearful, are they entitled, are they bitter?

That’s the only real reason I need their opinion. They think they’re updating me on where they are with their game, but neither they, nor I, are the ones who judge how good their game is.

I want to see them in 3 – 5 sets, left to their own devices, forgetting I am there, and I want to see what the girls think of them. I want to see them fall short. I want to see them fail. I want to see their in-set reasons for failure (superficial technical sticking points) and see their reaction to that failure (underlying inner game).

Only when I see this, is it time for me to get to work.

You see failure is a tool to be embraced. Often a client will say:

Oh Jimmy, this is the worst thing that could have happened! I’m having a terrible day! You’re not seeing me at my best. 

I don’t want to see you at your best. Why do I care about that? I need to see where you’re fucking up and making mistakes. What’s the benefit of me seeing you at your best?

Explaining how to embrace, enjoy and leverage wins and learning points from failures is my starting point with many clients. I tell them, you’d better make friends with failure, because your reward for years of failure and learning game is a meagre 1/30 success rate if you’re lucky.

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