Monthly Archives: April 2019

Emotions and Dating as a Skillset - a Philosophical Rant
Apr 28

Emotions and Dating as a Skillset – a Philosophical Rant

By Marcus Neo | Dating and Relationships , Journals

I get many different kinds of clients coming to me, attempting to better their dating life. Some have even taken programs from mainstream big names companies overseas. Some of them even attempt to give me dating advice during my free consult sessions. Some request for only a specific area of coaching. Some disregard theory. Some are committed and some are not.

Here’s my take on clients that eventually get results. They are humble enough to put in the work and learn all aspects of social dynamics. I recently had a client go out cold approaching almost every single day. He’s only a month old into the program, and he has gone out on two dates. That’s a good outcome, considering he’s completely new, and he’s tackling the completely cold market. I have clients that don’t come for classes or are inconsistent in making this a priority in their life. To get good at shit, you need to stretch yourself.

It’s no different for me either. I had to stretch myself to grow the business. I had to stretch myself in school to get the grades I desired.

The Value of Social Dynamics – Philosophical Rant

Teaching dating dynamics in Singapore is a weird thing. I think I’m one of the only guys that might have successfully normalized it. I’m not a pick-up artist. I don’t label myself like that. I’m just a guy that is able to talk to strangers if I found her attractive. That’s it. In fact, recently, I’m a lot more open in stating that I’m a dating consultant in Singapore in my personal life.

I get clients that perceive me as a pick-up artist. They are usually obsessed about mass approaching. I can usually figure out a couple of minutes through the phone. I guess the quantity problem is larger than I expected. That’s because they aren’t able (or willing) to use other aspects of their life to meet women. I can empathize with that.

Now, I’m not disregarding that approaching isn’t a skillet to get down, or that you should not be technical in how you approach dating as a skillset. There are certain concepts such as a frame that is extremely useful to understand where you are at in any interaction. However these days, I don’t put too much value on trying to objectify every single interaction. There’s a ton of value in getting other areas such as self-esteem, emotional issues sorted out. It also saddens me when clients aren’t taking exactly the holistic approach in getting figured this area of their life figured out.

Philosophical Rant

Getting good at dating as a skillset is getting good at your emotions. I recently adjusted to a more technical approach in my own dating life. However, I quickly found out it’s pretty exhausting if you’re always putting up a front or if you’re trying to say something in order to be smart or witty. This is where vulnerability comes it. There are no more smart or witty things to say, just emotions to express through actions. This requires you to be good at pushing through despite feeling the fear of rejection. Trust me, no amount of money, achievements or good looks is going to help you in this area.

This is why it’s difficult. This is why it’s also a life long process or getting good at emotions. This is why most people don’t do it.

To sum up this short rant, I am at a strange point in my life. I desire to be a 100% open with my profession and not have it perceived as a negative thing. I don’t do so because of the possibility of ridiculous expectations that come along with this industry. The guru business especially. I am not a guru. I am not a master. I hate to be called either. In fact, I’m the most anti-guru guy you might come across. I don’t identify or hate to perceived as a player or pick up artist. So don’t call me that. I’m just an average guy that rationally figured out how to get more choice and control in your dating life if you’re not in some extra privileged position.

I’m just human.


Apr 23

One to Write, Another to Do – Kantian Values Don’t Scale 

By Marcus Neo | Dating and Relationships , Journals

In the last 6 months, I explored different modes of living and learning by 1) leaving my 9–5 job, one which I felt extremely restricted in terms of mobility and creativity 2) by making academic pursuits in Singapore a priority and 3) growing my business a lot more aggressively that resulted in quite a good result.

Okay, disappointingly, I decided that I didn’t enjoy sitting in classrooms learning psychological theories. I didn’t enjoy one bit having to memorize and regurgitate theories for examinations, which makes up a huge percentage of the grading system. I learn a lot better by trial and error, by doing my own research, according to my needs at any one point. I learn the best by having skin in the game. Something that I’ll talk about later in this article.

Kantian Values Don’t Scale

I remembered reading a dating advice book, Models by Mark Manson at a tender age of 22–23. That book introduced me to a basic philosophy. Like it or not, dating and relationships are closely related to basic life philosophy. To name a couple: how you handle rejection and how you choose your life values, ethics and virtue.

Mark proposed the idea of vulnerability as a central theme in his book. He’s also an advocate of Kantian values and proposed that one should act towards everyone universally as a means and not an end.

I bought that philosophy for half a decade. On the dating side of things, it worked out alright, In fact, I accredit a lot of my motivation and success in my life by chancing across books such as The Game by Neil Strauss and Models by Mark Manson.

However, as I got deeper into the ‘self-improvement’ world, you can’t help to think that some of the philosophies that work nicely on paper or theory, don’t scale in real life.

For E.G. Mark argues that in relationships, the best way to change your relationships is to change yourself. That’s also loosely based on the ‘assortment theory’, a psychological researched theory that suggests that your behaviour determines other people’s behaviour. Yes, that sounds nice on paper. Yes, you should change yourself for a better outcome. However, no matter how much you ‘change yourself’, there are going to be assholes in the world. One should be more careful when interpreting such advice, for he may fall into a mode of constant self-blame or criticism.

There came a point in my life where I decided I didn’t need to be ‘a better person’, more virtuous or a ‘better version of myself’ to anyone. I simply decided that some people are just assholes and that the majority of human beings (including myself) are self-centred creatures.

No matter how virtuous or moral, you can’t be universally nice to everyone. No, let’s put it another way, you aren’t universally nice to everyone.

The former is a belief, the latter is an observance. Kantian values don’t scale

If psychological theories suggest one way, then why does one have adverse results in real life?

Enter Nassim Taleb — a Clearer Way to Do and Think

Enter Nassim Taleb and his work: Skin in The Game. Like all good books, I went through it a single setting. Like all good books, you can relate to them in real life, hence taking your full attention for the next couple of hours (or days).

Taleb argues that the majority of the social sciences from economics to psychology in general lack real-world application. He argued less than 40% of psychology studies are replicable. In simple terms: they don’t work, or may even work in reverse in the real world.

He also proposed the central idea of skin in the game. The idea that one should be connected to reality and take be made to take up a proportionate amount of risk for their actions and decisions.

Skin In The Game

In academia, there’s no difference. In the real world, there is.

You take this heuristic and apply it across all of the self-help, fitness, business, motivational advice industry. How many of them operate within the skin in the game?

For one, I never liked business students that used buzzwords such as ‘venture building’ or bankers attempting to sell me on financial jargon that I can explain better than them. I never liked employees that get paid regardless of performance. I never liked women that demanded everything to be served to them on the first date. I liked people that operate with skin in the game as I have attempted to operate (or get others to operate) in my life.

You start studying up on evolutionary psychology theories only when you’re interested in bettering your chance with the girl next door. You take statistics and probability a lot more seriously when you’re option trading with real cash. Concepts like statistical significance suddenly click when you run a digital advertising campaign and you have to make decisions based on data such as 100 uniques.

You don’t hire a fitness coach who is overweight. You don’t hire a dating coach that can’t hold a conversation. You’ll rather have a business partner that has done 700 deals compared to a student with first-class honors in a Harvard business degree.

Academia in Singapore

I found out really quickly that academic pursuit in Singapore is dry and mechanical, both academically and culturally. Everyone goes to class, nods their head, goes home and attempts to memorize for examinations. The students are more interested in scoring for assignments as compared to having an active discussion of the course material.

Not to mention that the examinations are structured in a way that promotes regurgitation as opposed to real-world application. Now, don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed reading the research in academic textbooks. However, I found myself refusing to memorize and regurgitate content for examinations. Content that can be Googled in a couple of minutes. I don’t disagree with Universities, however, the heavy emphasis on examinations in Singapore that are based on rote learning, essay assignments that promote style over substance makes my eyes bawl.

Now that I’m a lot older (hence, giving less of a fuck) I’m persuaded that the education system and education culture in Singapore isn’t equipped for real learning. It’s no surprise that a huge percentage of successful Singaporean entrepreneurs that I know of didn’t come from stellar academic backgrounds.

I didn’t learn my lesson. The academic system and culture in Singapore never worked out for me since I was a teenager. Perhaps ac-ing and b-ing my grades in a Summer program in Berkeley persuaded me otherwise, I naively thought that the Singaporean and US education system (and culture) are similar. I’m currently deciding if I should put the books to rest, go to Russia, get drunk with Russians, have skin in the game and finish up a pursuit I quit on a couple of years ago (solely for bragging rights).

Making Unconventional Choices
Apr 19

How to Outperform – How to Draw Smaller Circles

By Marcus Neo | Journals

I make quite a lot of unconventional choices in my life, from my dating and relationships life to my personal finance life. Hell, even in my academic life I’m quit accounting school because I didn’t care a bit about sheets and numbers at all. I’ll like to name a couple that popped out recently.

‘Marcus, you’re too strict with your money amongst friends’.

Hey bro, I’m not strict, I’m accountable. I don’t expect people to pay for my shit, and vice versa. I run a business and have invested a hell lot of money into my education, of course, I am going to be accountable with my cash. It’s also no surprise that everyone that has critiqued me on my personal finance habits has had some sort of financial problem down the road.

My family faced financial problems when I was growing up. If you don’t respect or value other people’s money, I don’t care, you’re out.

I also get comments from past acquaintances and people in my life on pursuits.

One female acquaintance told me that talking to strangers is weird. Oh really? Sure, I hope you live happily ever after in your extremely dwindled social group. I hope you’ll be able to pick the right fit for the rest of your life from a small sample size.

In my last job as a digital marketer in a financial education company, I got comments from a colleague that I’ll never be able to sell a business course if I wasn’t a millionaire.

‘Marcus, no one will buy from, are you a 7 figure entrepreneur?’

I left the company, hit my first 5 figures in revenue in 30 days, and I got an enquiry if I was doing any business mentoring. He hopped on and became my first business client.

This brings me to my next point, drawing smaller circles.

Smaller Circles

Look, I don’t only get negative comments, however, I do get positive comments from surprising people as well. One of them commented on how I was able to get things done and get results in an extremely period of time. I run the entire company myself, all my marketing material, videos and marketing campaigns are all done by myself. I am able to accomplish all these skill sets because I am comfortable being by myself.

I used to be the person that likes to go out with just about anyone because I enjoy people in general, and socializing is fun to me. However, as I’m more focused n my pursuits, I am drawing smaller circles. I tend to notice the bigger social circles lose their meaning after a while. You are loosely connected with just about everyone and there’s a dilution of real connection there. It’s no surprise that I enjoy 1:1 or small group hang outs the best. It’s also the best ways to learn from people, in a small group setting.


If you’re looking to better your dating life, this requires practising the skillsets of approaching, conversing and pushing your boundaries in your sexuality. It’s a skillset and skillsets require time for practice. If you’re constantly distracted by social obligations that don’t add any value in your life then it’s no surprise that you’re not going to get good quick.

Outperformance requires unconventional choices. If you like outperformance in multiple areas of your life, from your dating life to your financial life, to your fitness life, then be comfortable at making unconventional choices daily, find yourself a mentor and you’ll find yourself in a much better position.

Apr 19

Skin in The Game – a Wise Heuristic to Live Life

By Marcus Neo | Journals

One of the best reads in 2018 and one that you should pick up is ‘Skin in The Game’ by Nassim Taleb. In the personal development world, there are many charlatans, from dating coaches aren’t constantly out in the field, to personal development gurus, to self-declared wealth coaches that never made a cent in their life.

I once declared that most business degrees are pointless, at least the more academic one. In my previous degree curriculum, I was made to calculate alpha, beta and gamma (academic finance) and if you reverse engineer the process of investors (with a track record), these variables are barely used. I do think accounting is helpful, however, I wasn’t too competent at it and I left. I was pretty convinced that academics wasn’t my strong suit until I did an exchange program at UC Berkeley, that left me with 2 Bs and an A.

I was pretty happy with my results and I decided to enroll into a part-time psychology program in Singapore, to compliment my interests in personal growth backed with scientific validity. However, after a year in, I’m at crossroads once again. Culture and curriculum make a whole lot of different.

In Berkeley, the assignments were split up into multiple parts and it wasn’t to examinations focused. I also had one purpose and one purpose only, that was to get good grades. I didn’t have to worry about putting food on the table. Hence, I excelled in that particular environment.

Meritocracy and Mobility

This brings me back to my Junior College and Secondary school days. I wasn’t too interested in differential equations when I was worried about if I could put food on the table. I am going make a political statement in a dating advice blog, it’s my blog, who cares? If you’re worried about putting food on the table, your priority isn’t learning differentiation equations. My family faced bankruptcy in my teens, and I was more concerned about if whatever I learned in the curriculum was going to be applicable in the real world. Singapore (or any other meritocratic society) prides itself for being meritocratic. However, I’ll like to suggest otherwise. Great upbringing and family environment put you way ahead.

Life is unfair, meritocracy is an ideal.

I once published a commentary on Channel News Asia that Singaporeans aren’t capable of making emotionally independent decisions because of our influence from society and our parents. I am doubling down on this stance as I make further progress (and aim to) in my financial life. If you had a conditional relationship with your parents, then you’re probably forced to make decisions because if you don’t, they’ll either kick you out of the house, or they’ll withdraw financial support.

Let me relate this back to dating, if you’re looking to get good at this, you need to distance yourself with your parents. If you have a toxic relationship with them, then move out. I know, rent isn’t exactly cheap in Singapore, however, if you’re employed, you can make it work. If you don’t draw enough pay, then get a sales based job, and move out.

This is your relationship life you’re talking about, do whatever it takes to make you succeed. I emptied half my bank account as a 21-year-old to get mentorship, that’s how badly I wanted it.

Skin in The Game

However, in Singapore, it’s a different ball game.

I’m running a business with expenditure, month after month and it’s difficult to split my focus into academic excellence. I remembered that back in the day when my family had financial issues. I wasn’t least bit interested in books at all. I was only interested in philosophy, scientific inquiry when I started reading up on evolutionary theories on how to attract women. Nassim Taleb only got interested in statistics when he dived into wall street. He termed this skin in the game. He also attacks academic institutions profusely, calling them charlatans a multiple of times.

Couple of months ago, I got into a squabble with my younger brother. He was overtly proud of his local University business degree. I then simply told him, have you made your first dollar in business? He had nothing to add and deflected the question.

Okay, admittedly, I enrolled in psychology not because I was interested, but because of stylistic reasons. I desired the bragging rights. However, these days, I’m looking for substance over style, not to mention that the way in which the curriculum replied a lot on rote learning. I refused to memorize and regurgitate content that can be Googled in a couple of minutes.

Just in Time Information and Mobility

I found myself disinterested in my positive psychology module. Firstly, it had zero application to what I wanted to do in life.

They made it far worse by trying to get me to memorize the theories and also the names of the people that wrote those theories. It appears I didn’t learn my lesson from my Junior College days, I’m entirely not interested in rote learning. I can’t do it. It’s close to impossible and the Singaporean education system is hugely based around that. To make things worst, you’re forced to study virtues and then regurgitate that on an examination sheet. In Taleb’s words, don’t be a library rat, it’s far more important to lead a life of courage than to read it in a library textbook.

If you can’t tell by now, I’m convinced that the academic route, minimally in Singapore, isn’t right for me. I’m also used to researching psychology theories by either Googling or reading a book from the library if I’m looking to clarify a concept. One of my friends termed this ‘just in time information’.

The majority of people (including me) focuses on the wrong things at the wrong time. If you’re looking to start a business, learning to acquire your first customers is your first step, not signing up for a business degree. If you’re looking to better your dating life, learning to approach your first girl is going to be your first step and not worrying about the hundreds of other moving parts.

Okay, that’s a good rant. If you’ll excuse me, I have some decisions to make.


Apr 17

The Importance of Mentorship – The Dating Academy and Bangkok 2019

By Marcus Neo | Journals

I used to blog more informally and writing whatever’s on my mind on personal growth, dating and relationships. That’s how the blog and business started. I stopped because I rebranded to MarcusNeo.Com and I wanted to publish more formally. However, blogging and writing have always been a useful tool in my life hell, why don’t I publish just one informal article.

The Dating Academy and Being a Top Performer

Since leaving my last job in the last quarter of 2019, I started treating business a lot more seriously and acquired new customers, clients at the rate I never did before. The academy has grown exponentially and I’m happy with that.

However, I’m only a one-man outfit, I do have to stretch myself in terms of time, accounting for my academic pursuits in psychology.

Some times, mentoring and teaching also puts me in a position where I’m no longer growing myself but imparting. Hence, the skillset in this area of my life stagnates. However, I’m happy to report that I’m growing in the last couple of months. I’m able to be a lot more selfish with my time and I don’t allow myself to drop in standards with the people and relationships I invest my time on.

I’m also happy to report that a couple of my recent students have been getting results. The ones that show up consistently and are highly engaged. This is a term some personal development teachers coined as a top performer.

Ultimately, if you’re a top performer, you are going to get results on one shape or form.

I remembered my time as a mentee, I attended every single lesson and went out every single week to clubs with different mentees just to put my time in the ‘field’. It’s no surprise I got results far quicker than the majority.

Measurement Leads to Accomplishment

One new heuristic I adopted recently: whatever gets measured, gets accomplished. I was already doing a slight form of this through the years in certain areas of my life, by tracking personal appointments, scheduling out gym workouts, University classes, putting aside time for business pursuits ahead of time.

However, I experience one of my biggest business growth in years after adopting this heuristic seriously. If you put in the work, measure your results, you’re going to get success far faster than everybody else.

Measurement can come in the form of:

  • Tracking the number of calories
  • Tracking the number of new women you approach per day
  • Tracking the number of hours you spend in your business
  • Tracking the number of hours you spend on your academics

The list goes on.

Bangkok 2019

In April 2019, I also took 5 days off from Singapore to take a break in Thailand with friends. It wasn’t the best of experience as there are far too many working girls and transgenders in the party scene for my liking.

However, I learned quite a great deal about social psychology and dynamics not just from going to clubs in foreign, non-English speaking countries, but also traveling with a group of friends. I haven’t done group trips in a long time as I am cautious about going on trips with friends because issues tend to pop up logistically in big groups. This trip was no different, however, it reminds me that being clear and asserting boundaries in how you deal with money, logistics, and expectations is always the BEST way when it comes to handling relationships.

I don’t really see myself going back to Bangkok in the near future. I don’t really enjoy the messiness of the capital. Maybe that’ll change, maybe not.

Mentors, Moving Forward and my Own Personal Growth

I also recently bought into the idea of mentorship. In the last 6 months, I got a business coach that was 9 years younger than I was. He was 18 years of age and running a 5 figure a month business. That’s an amazing accomplishment at a young age and I gladly invested in his coaching program.

I got results pretty quickly and I then moved on to sign up for a monthly mentorship from one of the best client acquisition consultants in the world. The experience has been nothing but positive so far.

I have paid for many programs throughout my life, however, most of these course creators are hard to access personally. There’s a difference between mentorship and solely purchasing a program for its course material.

If you join a mentorship, you have access to him or her as a mentor and you get to email, message and ask questions in the community. Mentors not only can get you a result, but the community they built and they themselves can form as role models that’ll have ripple effects in your life. That’s something I hope to replicate in the dating academy here in Singapore, mentorship and community.

You are, after all the average of the five people you hang around with. If you’re looking to get a mentorship from me, you can schedule a call here, if not I appreciate your readership and I’m looking forward to growing the academy and community here in Singapore and potentially Asia.