ask me anything

In a couple weeks, I’m going to introduce podcasts and some video blogs to the site. I’d like to kick things off by gathering as many questions as possible from readers. This will give me an idea of which topics everyone’s most interested in hearing, but also give me a lot of content to start off with.

The questions can be about anything: women, dating, living abroad, traveling, running my own business, writing, my own life, confidence, psychology, life struggles, languages, book recommendations, etc.

Post your questions or topics as comments to this post. You can post anonymously or with your real name, either is fine. I look forward to hearing what everyone has to say.

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147 Responses to Ask Me Anything

  1. Ivan says:

    I’d like to know how your parent’s divorce affected you, was that your most difficult/painful memory? Also, why Medellin? Is it your favorite South American destination, or part of your work contract?

  2. Boss says:

    How much of being a successful man is about just quitting whining and doing what you need to do? I feel that this approach is being overlooked a lot nowadays. Thanks bro.

  3. Koan says:

    Hello Marc

    I’ve been working on this pick up and personal development thing for 5 years now, and I am not terribly happy with where my life is at. I have more self knowledge, I make fewer bad choices, but I feel like the choices I have in front of me are not very appetizing. I’ve done pick up, NLP, EFT, and a short bout of talk therapy.

    1) I second the question about your journey and the major internal shifts that occurred.
    2) Tell us about discovering your passion. How did it happen?
    3) Can you tell us about creating an action bias?

    • Mark Manson says:

      What’s an action bias?

      • Patron of corona says:

        I think he means how can a person shift their personality from wanting to “know more” before acting, to taking action and seeing what results it leads to in the real world, rather than trying to figure it out first in our heads before we take action.

        A.k.a. moving from from an Epistemology of Idealism to Empiricism, without needing to use grueling willpower all the time to do that.

        • Koan says:

          Yup, that’s a great way to put it.

          I’ve had success with focused practice and action, specifically in pick up; I found the benefits temporary and the habits went away after a while.

          And so, I’m back to being a keyboard jockey.

  4. Citylights says:

    Hi Marc,
    I really love this podcast idea. So my wish is some topics about confidence, how to live a great life, how you can create a compass where you wanna go.

    The compass comparison really stucked in my mind after reading Salaams Thread here :

    http://postmasculine.com/forum/Thread-Moments-of-Softening

    Currently I am running from one choose to another. I have no straight way for my goals etc. But I want to.

    Thanks and good luck!

  5. jaiden says:

    More psychology related, but has implications for all relationships. How much of your personality is due to genetics, in your opinion, and what elements of our personality can we alter?

  6. tom says:

    I’m interested in your take on how/if self-improvement that is motivated by sex undermines efforts at self-improvement – particularly when your sex goals are accomplished.

  7. Timo82 says:

    How is sex different with different race/culture/ethnicities? It definitely varies from person to person, but still, can some culture or countries produce women who are, on average, better at sex or at relationship than other women from elsewhere?

  8. b says:

    A psychology question. you mentioned your psychotherapy before, do you think you were pursuing women that would trigger your unhealthy behavior in regards to commitment? or that things were naturally occurring and you were responding to them in an unhealthy way?

    My fiance just called off our wedding and ended our relationship, and i’m left wondering how much was Me letting my issues affect how i acted, and how much of it was hers. She was very emotionally avoidant and distant after the initial head over heels phase based, and I wasn’t, and she reacted to me, i reacted to her, until it built up to where she thought i was being insecure and emotional, and picking everything else over our relationship. I found out when she called it off she had been having a change of heart for awhile. Am i seeking out incompatible women, or did i just make a bad choice?

    • Mark Manson says:

      I think it’s a bit of both… I was pursuing women in a somewhat unhealthy way, so I ended up with some women who triggered more unhealthy behaviors in me, etc. These things usually come from both sides, not just ours or hers.

      Sucks to hear about your fiancé.

  9. James says:

    Scumbag OP. Does an AMA, doesn’t answer questions.

    • Zac says:

      You missed the part where he said he was going to do video and audio casts answering them.

      The post is only 3 paragraphs…

  10. kyle says:

    Does penis size matter? And if so, in what ways?

  11. Leo says:

    Could you explain HOW did you overcome your anxiety related to women? I think part of the answer is taking action even though you feel the fear, until desensitization takes over and you don’t feel so scared anymore. I don’t know why, but sometimes I feel very confident just to go back to my old not so confident kind of personality, it’s frustrating. I’d love to be confident all the time but I can’t do it, especially when I deal with girls that I’m really atracted to. I think I care too much about the outcome when I deal with them.
    -How do you CONTROL your mind? Often times I feel that my mind and its craziness controls me. Sometimes I apply relaxation techniques and they work, but again I don’t feel like that ALL THE TIME. Maybe I have to face my fears more often? I know this is a process but I’m not yet where I’d like to be: acting in the same way with all women, no matter how attracted I’m to them.
    -Mark are you confident all the time? Or these periods of self-doubt are normal?
    Thanks.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I enjoy reading the site, more as a jumping off point for thought and conversation than an end in itself. My biggest complaint is how entirely hetero-normative all of the content is. Have you ever questioned your sexuality? I’d just love to see homosexuality be addressed at all on the site, so my prompt is something like: homosexuality—thoughts?

    • Mark Manson says:

      I have questioned my sexuality in the past. I think anyone with a certain degree of honesty with themselves does at some point.

      Addressing non-heterosexual perspectives is absolutely something that has been in the back of my mind for a while, but I haven’t quite decided when or how I’d like to do it yet.

      • Buddy says:

        …… I thought I was the only one.

        My family used to tell me I was gay (just poking fun at me cause I was quiet) and that made me question myself. but of course I never did anything gay. Just made me think.

        I’m pretty sure I”m straight!

  13. Patron of corona says:

    I remember I read a comment about this, and I couldn’t find it.

    What’s the truly healthy perspective to have on evolutionary psychology. I mean, it is pretty depressing to think of us human beings as chimps who have no choice but to carry on their automatic chimp patterns while they rationalize it with some story.

    The article you wrote about the balance of ratio between “alpha traits” and “beta traits” was cool, but as you know, in writing, you only convey 20% of the information. A video will include a lot more learning thanks to learning, mirror neurons, and in general, a lot closer to the way we are wired to learn. Through face to face telling of stories.

  14. Ryan says:

    I lost 5 years of my life time, because of not taking school to serious.
    I’m 21 years old now and I just have an intermediate school leaving certificate.
    My dream would be to travel the world, I read the book ” The 4-Hour Workweek” and got inspiration, but I still don’t have any idea how to start my own business.
    I don’t know with which job I make enough money to travel a lot and later to settle down to family life.
    Would be nice, if you had an advice for me Mark, because you live the life I want to live.

  15. Patron of corona says:

    Ah, and a question that came up to me as I was meditating.

    How can we both follow the immutable rule of Calibrating, and at the same time aim to have at least 50% of our advances rejected?

    I mean, calibration, as I understand it, is actually flowing with the limits of the girl, and getting 50% of our moves rejected means we’re not at all being calibrated.

  16. Andrew says:

    Vulnerability.

    I’ve only recently come to begun to come to terms with being vulnerable, and striking the right balance between genuinely opening yourself up and neediness is still a bit of a challenge.

    I think I might answer my own question here and say that it’s likely a matter of “practice,” i.e., doing it more often and reflecting on the outcome.

  17. Dr Feelgood says:

    It would be great if you could put up some basic things about your business! Things like:

    How would you recommend someone who has no experience with IM to start off? Which skills should be learned first? Would you recommend to team up with somebody else (as everything is easier when you do it with a partner)? If yes, what should that partnership ideally look like? Would you go for a blog or for Adsense, etc. first? Which sources does a blog (or, ideally, your website) draw which percentage of income from? What are the main difficulties? How much work can one expect this to be in the beginning/ for keeping the whole thing running? Which skills/ characteristics are good to have for an endeavour like that? Which 10 tips would you give your old self just starting out with the website?

  18. anon INTJ says:

    I’d like to hear your thoughts about Love Addiction (the attraction between Love Addicts and Love Avoidants). Attachment style is not something that’s generally talked about in the online pick up world, yet it’s known among the researchers that Anxious women prefer being with Avoidant men.

    In my case, I just broke up with my narcissistic girlfriend of a year and a half. What’s crazy about it is how being with her was an eerie echo of my parents & childhood. That’s probably why the chemistry was so strong.

    One thing I realized from this is that my Love Avoidance stems from emotional incest; basically I was my mom’s surrogate spouse from ages 3-10. There was no violation of physical boundaries but emotionally there was none. Reading about this now makes me realize that it probably played a very large part in my issues with relationships and intimacy.

    Other self-interested areas I’d like to hear you touch on:

    * Myers-Briggs attraction
    * love compatibility (per this http://www.amazon.com/The-Love-Compatibility-Book-Personality/dp/1577312260/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1340990389&sr=1-1&keywords=love+compatibility)
    * the women we attract/are attracted to being a mirror to our inner selves
    * childhood shaping our present

  19. Arnold says:

    Ok here are the results of my brainstorm-session. Some things that might be interesting.
    * What is love?
    * How do you give love?
    * How do you “choose” who you love? Why would you love one person more than any other human being? (I’m not talking about being IN love)
    * Something on relationships:
    – how to prevent or solve conflict
    – how to deal with the common struggles in relationships (like different viewpoints on what a relationship means, or different priorities & ideas)
    * Something on how to deal with one’s ego
    * Something on self-esteem
    * Perhaps something on assertiveness?
    * And something on honesty?
    * Finally, perhaps you can talk about spirituality one time.

    • Tim says:

      There are some good questions in there, I think you missed out ‘What is the meaning of life?’ though 😛

      • Arnold says:

        Thanks.
        To the other question you posted, I think we already have the answers to that. dr. Dyer said: “the meaning of life is to get meaning for life.” & Mark already wrote the life-purpose report to help us with that :)

  20. LINDYHOPPER says:

    Mark, what is your Myers-Briggs type? Do you think that understanding your MB type and those of other people is helpful in dating?

  21. JD says:

    Hi Mark,

    I read your piece about your beginnings as a PUA over at The Good Men Project a few months ago. I’ve been following the Game and Seduction communities since 2009 and have experienced A LOT of improvement with women and some self-improvement in general. However, I still haven’t reached the level you describe yourself as reaching in “My Life as a Pickup Artist”. You hit PUA rock bottom and had nothing going for you but your PUA mastery. The thing is, I really, really want to know what it’s like to be at that level before I make a commitment to one or more life partners. Otherwise, if I were to commit it would be under circumstances where I didn’t have a lot of high quality women to choose from. It is extremely important to me that in my young life I be able to have sexual interactions that fit my needs; and that I avoid chasing beautiful women like I’ll never find another one who wants to have sex with me. I’m accustomed to experiencing great and natural success in almost every other part of my life; it’s time to move this one into the fast lane. How do I get to that level as quickly as possible so that I can experience it, decide for myself if it’s something I want, and move on with my life? Offer some quick tips; specifically, what material were you “devouring” and what material (of your own or others) worked for you regardless of merit? Sometimes it’s just about getting to experience fun and irresponsibility for a few months.

    I’m also very interested in more inner game stuff in general (great site, thank you for keeping up with it). A general inner game question I have struggled with frequently is the difference between two concepts: A) ignoring/resisting my deep desire to have the sexual companionship of women in my life consistently while I work to build a fantastic life around other things and B) filling my life with important things other than women, while hoping that sexual companionship with quality women will eventually happen and laying the road for it to be possible. Right now I’m at a point where I’d like to take a short break from my quality life and be a bit irresponsible while having lots of fun with women.

    Additionally, I’m always interested in advice on building stronger and bigger social circles. Also, could you expand on specific dating advice for queer people (women seeking women, men seeking men, and either seeking all)?

  22. einnocent says:

    Mark,

    What is your take on this article about internet marketing scams, which specifically mentions pick-up artistry as a niche?

    http://www.theverge.com/2012/5/10/2984893/scamworld-get-rich-quick-schemes-mutate-into-an-online-monster

    How do you differentiate your site from these scam sites? My own answer to this is that you deliver actual value, but I’m interested in what you have to say.

  23. Donsean says:

    Mark cool that you’re doing this for everyone! I’m currently going through your list of recommended sources at the end of “Models”, a lot have to do with communication and interpersonal relationships/relating to people which is great. There is one particular topic, which is “teasing” (banter,flirting) My question is in your days learning about this did it come naturally to you? If so what formula or advice can you give to be able to naturally improve it and not rely on pre-scripted lines? If it didn’t come naturally what specifically did you study and who in your group of friends in the same industry do you recommend modeling after who are really good with the art of teasing? Thanks bro.

  24. Brandon says:

    What was it like living with your girlfriend, breaking up, and then moving in with your mother?

  25. gabe says:

    What importance do friends play at different stages in our life?

  26. garfield says:

    How do you know which things you should be telling everyone and other things you’d like to keep for yourself without losing authenticity? (regarding vulnerability)

  27. CHRIS says:

    Hey Mark. This is my first ever comment / post on your website. I just wanted to start out by saying thank you for all the time and effort you put in trying to help others such as I who need it. I’ve read through most of site and look forward to finishing it and interacting with the forums (as well as picking up your books). I hope your project as a whole can continue to grow without becoming commonplace and watered down like many others have over time (due to eventually becoming too large or focused on making money, etc.)

    Here are some of the major questions that are barring me from advancing in life as well as a few others (mostly about psychology & life struggles):

    1) How does one correctly approach finding the right career pathway in life when there is not one obvious choice but the focus is waking up happy everyday instead of money?

    2) What in your experience is the best way to cure someone who constantly battles daily with perfectionism, over-analyzing, procrastination, indecision and ultimately anxiety (these all seem to intertwine and be related in my view)?

    3) How do you keep from getting overwhelmed from everything that is going on around you in your life and in the world in general?

    4) The self-help / self-improvement field is so insanely over saturated these days and often filled with fluff / sub par advice. It is easy to find oneself spending a lot of money with little return in product quality. Is there any material (books, audio, video, courses) other than your own that you would strongly recommend in this subject?

    5) I’ve had an epiphany as of late. I always try to plan everything out in life and set goals etc. etc. I think that I am starting to realize that maybe people should quit doing so much damn planning and just start diving into stuff with just a little planning. Is this a situation you’ve ever had to deal with in the past and if so how did you overcome it?

    I figure a few of those probably frequent others seeking advice from your site. Looking forward to your casts / video blog and thanks again for all the quality material!

    Chris

  28. JOHN says:

    My question is: how exactly do you go about building a social circle, from absolute scratch? I started to do personal development and have found other areas of my life improve massively (girls, career etc). However, I have always struggled with having a decent social circle. I live alone and have an online job, most of my hobbies are solitary (producing music, creative writing) and the few friends I have moved away after university. I now believe this is the main area of my life that’s lacking, and it’s something that you note as important in a person’s lifestyle. So how exactly do you go about it?

  29. Ablaze says:

    This is a cold approach question… I’m a relatively experienced guy when it comes to pickup. I had a lot of natural experience growing up and discovered all the “dating science” stuff as I guess we’re calling it now about 6 years ago. Just to give you a base of where I’m coming from.

    I’m having a hard time taking my game to the next level, though. I really want to start doing massive amounts of approaches. I want to be able to go anywhere, see a hot girl, and approach her. Sometimes when I approach one girl and get her number and have a great interaction with her, I can’t really approach after that because I feel inauthentic or something. Lucky for me, my connect rate is pretty good. I usually can do a small amount of approaches and get girls, but why do I feel like a creep show host when I try to take things to the next level?

    I feel like society thinks it’s ok to approach a hot girl or two a few times a week, but not 20 a day every day. This isn’t even about sex for me either… It’s about freedom. I want to feel like I’m walking through the world a free man, talking to girls wherever and whenever I want and being unencumbered.

    I don’t know if that’s enough info to understand my sticking point, but yeah, to sum it up, I want to start approaching a lot of girls but I feel creepy, I feel like if people knew what I was doing that they would think it was creepy, I fear people seeing me approaching a lot of girls. Like I said I’m ok with approaching a few girls here and there, but I feel locked in place and stuck in my ability to only approach a few girls at a time. When I first discovered the “dating science” field when I was about 23 I had no problem approaching tons of sets…. 10-20 or more a night, but for some reason I dialed it back and I can’t get the plane back off the ground. I’m 29 now.

  30. Maximus7 says:

    Unconditional happiness? What of it?

  31. Rick says:

    I am interested in your thoughts on willpower and how practicing this can help men in all aspects of their lives. I am mainly thinking of Roy Baumeister’s book “Willpower” (and “Is There Anything Good About Men?”, an excellent book). I thought that with your interest in psychology it would be a great discussion. Thanks and looking forward to the podcast!

  32. Arnold says:

    Hoh! I though of a new question!!

    I have the idea that, because of my strong urge to learn & to improve myself, it becomes more difficult for me to make friends & to fit in a group. For example, everybody takes the elevator but I take the stairs (16 floors). Everybody goes out drinking beers but I go home studying or training. I truly love to do these, but I have the idea that it decreases rapport between me & other people.
    Furthermore, other people & me are often on different ‘wavelengths’. I’m extremely driven, & love self-discipline & to motivate myself. While others are often slightly complaining & cutting corners. Personally I believe I don’t care about these differences, but I have the feeling that other people find me strange (based on their reactions) & I become a bit of an outsider/misfit.
    To summarize: it would be nice if you can talk a bit on how to fit in this world if you love radical self-improvement for men.

  33. Maximus7 says:

    Does constant entertainment media do to real life what porn does to sex?

  34. Maximus7 says:

    Have you considered making a countdown until the new book’s release? It would give me something to look forward to and build hype at the same time.

  35. Dawson says:

    Any advice for starting and creating a cool and successful blog?

  36. Maximus7 says:

    To the extant that you value being “masculine”, what does this signify for you, and why is this a value to you?

    I would say the book definitely accurately described the downfall of a consensus as to what it means to be a man, and in my view it arguably problematized masculinity as a normative signifier of anything and seem to heavily “existentialized” and “individualized” the entire ordeal. We can no longer rely on institutions, women, or even other men to tell us who we ought do, we discover/create our own lives, relate to ourselves and others honestly, and filter partners according to our values and needs. So a man is a “real man” to the extant he is authentic, free and non-needy but beyond that in terms of personal style, occupation, etc, who could be essentially anything.

  37. Maximus7 says:

    To the extant that you value being “masculine”, what does this signify for you, and why is this a value to you?

    I would say the book definitely accurately described the downfall of a consensus as to what it means to be a man, and in my view it arguably problematized masculinity as a normative signifier of anything and seem to heavily “existentialized” and “individualized” the entire ordeal. We can no longer rely on institutions, women, or even other men to tell us who we ought to be, we discover/create our own lives, relate to ourselves and others honestly, and filter partners according to our values and needs. So a man is a “real man” to the extant he is authentic, free and non-needy but beyond that in terms of personal style, occupation, etc, who could be essentially anything.

  38. The Postmasculine Life Guides says:

    […] week, and then a podcast and/or some video blogs by the end of the month. Thanks to everyone who submitted questions. I’ve aggregated a list of over 200 questions from it. Should give me plenty to work from in […]

  39. gabe says:

    What are the minimum requirements to satisfy the ego?

  40. Toni says:

    What do you think about LSD?

  41. doc says:

    1. I read through Models a couple of months back, and it was great at being a cut-off point (basically, one of the messages I got from the book was ‘just stop caring about little things so much because there’s a lot you can’t control’). I can’t help but second-guess that message though. In the eyes of a hypothetical complete “newbie”, they might think that ‘enough is enough’ without using a little introspection to find out that they are a total asshole or beg for laughs whatever. And I guess he’d click better with the total-asshole or other beg for laughs chicks. I think there’s 2 sides whenever you’re working on something, 1 side being the “okay, that’s enough, anything better is only gonna be different or worse” and “hmm, maybe I can be a better person” (I’m ignoring the hour long philosphical discussion of what being a better person means). An outsider might notice X’s needy behavior or something, but who’s to say that X isn’t just lying to himself by thinking what he’s doing is genuine? How will you ever know if low “success rates” will be because of the natural world or because you don’t even realize something that you are deeply communicating?

    2. Some of the articles on here are great. I really liked the “3 basic needs of relationship” thing (which you wrote about as status, comfort, and loyalty or something). That made me think “damn, this guy is really different and like the rest”. Other ‘coaches’ only write about surface stuff and not as deep, so it’s kind of understandable why they might not be in a long term relationship because it’s all focused on meeting new people. Basically, what I’m trying to get at, is if you are this aware of deeper relationship feelings, how have you not found a wife? I don’t mean that in a ‘dude hurry up’ sort of way, I’m just asking out of curiosity. You’ve written great stuff on compatibility and relationships, plus you’ve probably approached lots of women and dated a lot too, so how is it that there’s not 1 out of that # that you’ve settled with? I think somewhere on here I read you were in a 3 year long term relationship, what happened to that?

    3. This is kind of an example of question1 in some ways. Sometimes, after having a conversation with a girl, I’ll not do anything to follow up, either by not calling or not getting contact info (still something deep I need to work on…..), or I’ll just be having a good time without necessarily looking for a partner (at least to my knowledge, I’m pretty sure I’m not communicating that all the time), and then the next time I see them, it’s like I disappeared off the face of the earth. Not even a friendly hello or even a glance. Is this a common thing? Or is this something odd like some weird thing that’s being projected through either my initial conversation or through my lack of action? If I got any sort of gesture, I wouldn’t care. The thing that bothers me though is that it’s almost complete avoidance, as if I was a chair. It’s just like, damn it, even if I didn’t go after you, can we at least put a smile on for a fun moment we had?

  42. Julian says:

    Hey Mark,
    I’d be interested in some advice on building your own business, especially in relation to a certain great passion one has (like you talk about in one of the life guides).

    Cheers,
    Julian

  43. Joe Johnson says:

    What advice would you give to someone trying to start his own coaching business (not necessarily dating/relationship coaching)?

  44. ks says:

    Mark,

    I read Models & was very impressed with the way you have analyzed the pick up scene. I could not agree with you more. My friend and I live in Vegas and got in to the ‘scene’ a couple of years back. We had some luck and made a lot of progress IMO. But we just find it much easier paying for sex than actually getting it for free. I know this is bad for a lot of reasons but when we have a rough night where we don’t go anything beyond numbers, paying for sex seems so much more easier. Having said that, I have never walked away after a paid service feeling good about myself. I feel extremely remorseful. However, when in the heat of the moment it just feels right especially in a place like Vegas where there is an abundance of paid service. Part of the problem is my belief is I feel like I don’t deserve an attractive girl. Instead of picking up a girl who is average & spending hours ‘infield’ I can get a good looking girl by forking out money. I know this is wrong for me in the long run, but can you help me reframe my thoughts and actions?

  45. Guyintheback says:

    Not a question, but I would like to her you talk about asserting yourself, both around women and men, and in life in general.

    Drawing boundaries, how to approach/handle confrontations, how to handle the emotions that come with a fight with your girlfriend, etc etc

  46. Alvin tan says:

    How many girls have you banged?

  47. […] podcast this week. About a month ago, when I asked the readers what they’d like to hear me talk about, I got a LOT of dating-related questions from men. It […]

  48. gabe says:

    Are you still a fan of NLP. If so/not, Why?

  49. […] podcast this week. About a month ago, when I asked the readers what they’d like to hear me talk about, I got a LOT of dating-related questions from men. It […]

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