Marcus Neo | MarcusNeo.Com | MarcusNeo.Com

All Posts by Marcus Neo

About the Author

Marcus Neo is an entrepreneur, dating and relationship. He enjoys business, psychology and is a fan of whiskey and cats, although not at the same time.

Aug 16

How to Change Your Peer Group and Construct Your Ideal Life

By Marcus Neo | Dating and Relationships

One of the biggest things that people do not talk about is peer group, community and support. For someone that values constant improvement in all aspects of my life from business, fitness and relationships… it can get quite isolating to the outside world.

I was having a midnight movie just a couple of days ago with an old friend I knew 7-8 years a go. Back then I was an army enlistee and we would go out, hang out late and break some rules like walk into places we should not be walking into.

Friendship and Personal Growth

Since then, I have changed from a counter cultural individual to a pretty much well adjusted individual. I no longer spend too much time hanging out late. I don’t smoke as much as I did before (just a little if there’s whiskey involved). I am well travelled, read a gazillion books from philosophy to literature, created revenue in my business as a dating coach and multiple industries… the list goes on.

I was looking forward to hang out, discuss our lives and goals looking forward. However, we ended up breaking the rules as much as we did 7-8 years ago. If you asked the 20-year-old me, I’ll gleefully took pride in my actions, however, this time, I instantly felt a disconnect. I instantly knew that we’re on different ‘wavelengths’. He was still trying to break the rules as much as he did 7-8 years ago. Trying to ‘get by’ or ‘cheat’ society.

Everyone that I know of that is obsessed with growth has almost always said that is a somewhat lonely journey.

When I was hitting the clubs weekly 6-7 years ago as a mentee to a dating coach in Singapore at that point of time, all my friends thought I was being weird.

When I started treated my business seriously, started having a lot more personal boundaries after leaving my last formal job, my around me reacted negatively.

Birds of the Same Feather Flock Together

 Interestingly, it was the people who were more successful than I was that wasn’t just more empathetic, but also more encouraging to the process.

When I hit my first $10,000 net profit in my business in a month, it was my business coach at that point of time that was doing $20,000 a month that reached out to me and said: ‘good job’ Marcus. He and I continued hanging out and today we’re friends.

It’s interesting how our relationships with the outside world evolves as we grow.

7 years ago, I was an arrogant, rebellious and angry NSF. My friends who around me were also arrogant, rebellious and angry.

I started on my self development journey and met a couple of friends that were also attempting to improve their dating lives with women. Some of them are still friends with me today.

When I took a couple of gap years to dip my toes in business. There wasn’t a single friend in University that could resonate with what I was attempting to do. Their values were different. Nothing against them, it was just different values.

I am 27 years of age as I write this blog post. The majority of my friends are in the corporate world. Unfortunately, that was my peer group. I always half jokingly say that I am the weirdest JC kid. The majority of entrepreneurs I meet didn’t take the JC route.

I’ve been to multiple parts of the world, created revenue in multiple industries, had a dating life that an average man can dream of, and of course some of these values aren’t exactly adopted by the average person out there, much less my peers.

How to Build Your Ideal Lifestyle?

Even though I am pretty damned good at doing things by myself, and I haven’t had a business partner for years. However, it can be quite isolating at times.

These days, I find myself asking myself, who are the people I’ll like to hang out with at this point of my life?

Here are some ideas:

  • Young and driven entrepreneurs
  • Young and driven professionals
  • People that dress well and carry themselves well.

How can I connect with people from such demographics? Where do these people spend their time hanging out? They aren’t certainly hanging out at heartland malls at 12am on a Sunday night (which was what I was doing with a long time friend of mine).

They are probably attending business events, doing Yoga classes, doing martial arts classes or partying at the hottest parties on the weekend. They aren’t 19 year old pick up artists trying to get a free entry into clubs.

So as I teach my clients: draft out the characteristics of the people you’ll like to connect with, find out where they spend their time, invest my time in these demographics, and then connect with them.

Connecting with someone can be as easy as listen to their stories. Successful people often have untold stories that’ll like to share. You can learn a lot from sitting for 1 hour over coffee with someone. Or even so, just connect as a human being. This is how you ‘be of value’ in a social sense.

If your current peer group isn’t ‘resonating’ with you, then you have to be proactive about making steps to connect with new people. Admittedly, I have been pretty lazy in this area. ‘Tiny success’ can get into your head. I started thinking I was ‘too good’ for others after making some headway into my business and my own dating life.

Valu-ing Community and Support

Quality relationships contribute a lot to our happiness and emotional health. I can’t stress this enough. Take this from someone that enjoys working alone and is quite a lone wolf in how he works.

This is why I value community and support. This is why I also created an in person monthly support meet up group for all my clients not only for them, but also myself. The majority of my clients become my friends after awhile (if they continually show up for the meet up sessions).

Since I teach social skills, I should really take my own advice sometimes. Community and like minded peers are PRICELESS. It’s no wonder that a huge part of my clientele are skewed towards people who also entrepreneurial, looking to better their dating and relationship lives.

Question is, how are you going to construct your ideal life? Who are the people you’ll like to spend time with, what are they characteristics and where do they spend their time? How are you going to connect with them?

Aug 09

The Pick Up Artists Community (and Singaporean Community)

By Marcus Neo | Singapore Guides

I flirted with pick up artist techniques when I chanced upon the book ‘The Game Neil Strauss’ off the local bookstore when I was 19 years old. I had just broke up with my ex girlfriend I was reeling in depression and self-victimization.

It was as if I picked up the bible. I was hooked on the idea that you could do something about your chances with girls. I was hooked on the idea that as long as you did certain things, you could get a girl in bed. It’s like a formula to sex. I would then go on to spend all the free time I had in the military reading up all the dating advice material after another.

I remembered that I “negged” a girl and she laughed, it was exhilarating at first. Girls are actually finally finding me funny now! If a girl is laughing meant she was interested in you right? Well, she stopped texting me on the phone in a few days later. Months passed, I still wasn’t getting kisses or sex or anything of that sort, however, I just felt more empowered socially.

I eventually got desperate and emptied half my savings as a 19 years old and hired a dating coach that promised a “Singaporean method” to pick up, and finally get the girl.

The Truth about Pick Up Artist Techniques

Eventually, after a lot more trial and error, I got my first taste of success. I started dating more girls and slept with some of them, my notch count was getting higher. I prided myself knowing these little secrets that nobody knew.

I didn’t really go around telling my friends what I was on to either, cause I tried and some of them will just laugh it off. Eventually, after repeated success with girls after a couple of months it was “proof” that these pick up artist techniques and theories worked.

Okay, after years of doing this all over the world, I’m going to let you in on a couple of secrets. There’s a lot of marketing and fluff in the dating advice industry, let me break it down for you.

 

Pick up artist techniques and lines can be helpful, but only as a structure and framework

Pick up artist techniques such as lines and routines can be used as a crutch initially to get you started, however, you’ll eventually need to learn how to connect emotionally with others, and pursue women from a standpoint of sexual assertiveness.

The Pick Up Artist Techniques That Do Not Work

There’s nothing inherently wrong and bad about learning how and talk to an attractive stranger. However, it’s another whole different issue when you’re identifying yourself as a pick up artist.

The Idea of a ‘Pick Up Artist’ Self

Firstly, the idea that you have to adopt a seperate identity (a pick up artist) in order to be cool, be liked or get girls to like you is in itself, telling yourself that you as a human being, you’re not worthy of affection, attention from the opposite sex.

Of course, I’m not unrealistic and saying that there is nothing to done and only to be. I’m referring to a more identity level and self-image thing. Pick up artists tend to fall into the pure “pick up artist” self and isolate themselves from the world around them. The interactions that I had that turned out great over the years with me were often myself being a relaxed state and feeling not like a need to remember some line or technique.

Where are you coming from when you want to get good with women? Are you coming from a place of inferiority or a place or security?

The fact that you need to ‘demonstrate higher value’ or ‘neg her’ just means you see yourself as someone who is inferior to her. Someone with true confidence doesn’t need to go about demonstrating higher value or actively look for derogatory insults to bring her ‘value’ down. Here’s another catch-22: if you need to constantly demonstrate yourself as someone superior, then subtley demonstrates you’re inferior. Your actions and intentions will bleed through.

Pick Up Artist Techniques

  • ‘You Need to Isolate Her’

I always hear pick up guys saying: ‘You got to isolate and distract their friends whilst being in the nightclub.’

I don’t agree with this. Firstly, on a technical level, your intentions will bleed through and the girls your approaching is going to get defensive. Secondly, if you’re in Asian culture, she’s going to get worried about her friends (and her friends are going get worried about her) when she gets separated from her.

  • ‘You Can’t Go Direct. Expressing yourself directly only Works if You’re Tall and Good Looking.’

That’s utter rubbish. You can express yourself directly regardless of looks or height. In fact, you might even come off as more polarizing if you’re not exactly that good looking or tall, and you’re willing to be completely authentic and honest with her.

I also get some feedback that I’m considered ‘good looking’, hence it might be my good looks that helps me with my ‘game’.

Just to give you some insight, my first year in ‘game’ was spent dolling myself up with nice looking clothes, hitting the gym, and ‘looking good’. I still didn’t get laid.

In fact, I’d argue that good looks may even work against you. Girls may call you out for being a player and she’s going to project all sort of stereotypes onto you.

  • ‘It’s a Numbers Game’

It’s not uncommon to see people from the pick up artist community swearing by the game, going out 6-7 times a week, dedicating a huge portion of their life to this area of their life. I’m partly guilty of this, well, imagine the women and the respect from the guys. Which young male in his 20s doesn’t desire that?

It was a metric of success that I measured myself by for years. If I wasn’t off making new friends, I was off chasing some girl. Or either that, I should be travelling to some new country to explore the world, in the name of ‘self development’.

When I was hanging some of the guys from the pick up artist community, it’s not long before you hear them discuss their sex lives in a quantified manner. “I’ve slept with 13 girls so far, how about you?”.

You could had slept with 13 fat girls that you weren’t even interested in, and I choose to be with a plain Jane girlfriend who loves me, have mindblowing sex with and don’t drive me crazy. Who would have been the better man? Who would have had the better ‘Game’?

You’re only as good as the quality of girl you date, not the number of girls you date.

The Objectification of Your Emotional Life

Secondly, as much as learning social skills has helped me in various aspects of my life. Your emotional life is not one to be studied or to researched like a mathematical equation where quality, meaning and significance of social interactions are traded for objectified metrics such as hook close ratios and all of that un-needed metrics.

In the short run, these behaviours might actually seem to be working, but in the long run, you’ll find out that you’re the same low self-esteem person that relied on those lines and theories to get you anywhere in your social life.

Entering the pick up artist community, I went through the whole mystery method thing. It always about said: X + Y = Z. You may have had some success in the short run.

However, it it works not because of those lines or behaviours. But rather, those lines or behaviours allowed you to hit on a girl openly for the first time in your life.

If you’ve always relied on lines and theories to get you anywhere in your social life, you’re not going to be happy in the long run. Relationships, friendships, and romance aren’t built upon lines or half-baked theories. You’re still reinforcing the fact that you are not enough as you are. You’re still putting on a character in your social interactions instead of engaging your true self. They are borne out of a genuine emotional connection with another individual.

You can read a brilliant article done up by The Rawness. He talks about psychological terms such as codependency, narcissism, self loathing issues, childhood dynamics with parents and how all of them intertwine with the pick up artist persona.

Here’s an insightful quote from the article:

“Or you decide to learn as many manipulation techniques as humanly possible by reading a ton of strategy books like those of Machiavelli, Sun Tzu and Robert Greene. What this all boils down to is one thing: fear of rejection and trying to protect one’s ego by mastering the outcome in your head beforehand.”

Letter to the Singapore Pick Up Artist Community

Over the years I had the fortune of meeting some of the people from the Singapore pick up artist community. The common theme I come across them are teens and people in their early twenties trying to get into clubs for FREE to hit on women. They over use the term ‘game’ and don’t really have any other thing going on in other aspects of their life.

Some of them come in the form of herd mentality where the relationships amongst each other are toxic. This is why I try to distant myself from the community as much as possible. Note, I’m not saying that picking up or approaching a girl isn’t part of the entire dating and relationship process. I’m just saying there’s a sofit minority in Singapore that I don’t resonate with.

The Pick Up Artist Community 

  • Safe, Secure and Non Manipulative Relationships

You’re never going to really improve your life circumstances if you don’t have safe relationships in your life you can rely upon. When you mix a bunch of pick up artists (who suck at relationships that’s why they are in it) who sees you as an object, a ‘wing’ to go out with and not a real fucking human being, you’re highly likely going to end up in toxic friendships.

I can’t stress this enough, but you’re going to end up like the person you hang around with the most. His or her beliefs and worldviews are going to have a huge influence on you. This is heavily researched in psychology.

Look no one wants to hang out with a loser, it’s a selfish world.

However, do you want to constantly be around some ‘pick up artist’ who not only sees women as objects, but also sees all of his relationships (including you) as something that can be manipulated. Or do you want to be around with friends that doesn’t fuck with your emotions?

I know there are idiots who prefer the former, cause deep down, they don’t relationships as something that can be safe and supportive. They see relationships as something to be earned, bargained or traded.

  • Your Real Issues

Looking back, I passed up tons of dating opportunities because deep down I still felt I wasn’t good enough. I was still not going for girls that I’m genuinely attracted to, and second guessing my interactions with girls that I was actually attracted to who were giving me obvious signs.

I realized I couldn’t be physically intimate with a girl, without thinking of a technique to touch her.

I figured because pursuing a girl I am genuinely sexually or emotionally attracted to, rubs against my emotional maps of rejection and abandonment. It’s not a sure win anymore, as opposed to going for girls that I’m less invested in and wouldn’t sting from being rejected.

These are the real issues: social acceptance, abandonment and your emotional maps. These are the real issues that guys getting into this dating advice thing should confronting and look into in the long run. These the issues that they avoid, focusing their time and effort on lines, techniques and routines.

However, what the PUA community did right was to introduce the idea of self-reliance. Yes, it started out with tricks and lines and the ability to ‘manipulate’ girls. It was the wrong material, however, the fundamental idea that you could do change and influence your dating life was helpful.

There’s a reason why the pick up artist community is much smaller in Asian cultures compared to Westernized cultures. The ideas that come along pick up isn’t exactly traditional Asian values oriented. Asian culture is stereotyped to be more group-ish, cliquish/ introverted. Well, that’s true to a certain extent.

What inspired you to get into this in the first place? These questions are extremely difficult questions to ask. They often lead back to past traumatic experiences, childhood and upbringing. Some of them maybe emotional abuse, physical abuse, financial difficulties or strict religious upbringing. It took me years to confront some of these issues. It took me years to be self-aware that I had faulty coping mechanisms all the way up to my early adult life.

The majority of the people coming into this are looking for a quick fix. You may think, Marcus, that’s not me.

Aug 08

How to Text a Girl – The Definitive Guide

By Marcus Neo | Dating and Relationships

I remembered pouring through heaps of books, theories on how to text a girl, analysed text messages and even went as far as to get my friend to text a girl for me. Understanding how to text a girl was one of the biggest problems I had when I first started out.

I don’t enjoy texting as a means of communication. I often lament that I am much more confident in person than behind a mobile screen and tend to say something obnoxious over text. I also don’t enjoy texting as it’s time-consuming.

When you’re facing the screen, you can’t read expressions. You can’t figure out what she’s feeling, whether she’s shy, interested or bored. Or if my joke has come off the wrong way. This doesn’t help for someone who enjoys dark, sarcastic humour that can come off the wrong way.

However, in certain cultures such as the Singapore dating culture, texting is part and parcel of everyone’s social life. Through the years I accepted the fact that texting is a staple in modern dating life and that everybody does it.

How to Get Her Number/ Ask Her Out: The Art of the Soft Close

Getting her number shouldn’t be a big deal and should ONLY be done after you built a genuine connection. This is part of having standards, and being more optimal. I try to set up specific plans during the first interaction. This helps her to differentiate you from a stranger to a friend. The goal of getting a girl’s number is to re-initiate mutual contact, demonstrate that you’re not a creep whilst texting her and go for the meetup.

You need to also pay attention to the context you’re in when going for her number. Sometimes, asking a girl out for coffee in front of her friends works well in Western cultures, whereas, in Singapore, it’s going to put a lot of social pressure on the girl.

I recommend going for the soft close when asking for her number and asking her out through text.

‘Hey, are you adventurous’.
‘How do you feel about drinks or coffee with a cute a Singapore boy?’
‘What’s your schedule like?’
‘You seem like a nice/interesting person to talk to (insert your qualifier), let’s grab coffee sometime next week.’

The Psychology of Texting

If you’re constantly worried about her not texting, you back. You should ask yourself this: what would an attractive man have done?

He wouldn’t feel the need to be texting all the time. He’ll only text back when he has the time to. He’s living life on his own values. He is living life based on his own values, not on how the other person responds to him. He doesn’t worry so much about what the other person is going to think, or reply, or respond.

One of the core tenets of attracting women is to be self-invested. Being self-invested means valuing your time, having a life, working and filling your days with stuff that you care about and being too hung up if some cute lass isn’t texting you back.

It’s said that a character of a person defined when no one is looking. You shouldn’t be too hung up if a girl isn’t texting you back. If you have shit to do, you won’t be too hung up on her replies.

How to Start a Conversation and Flirt with Her on Text

Here’s a general rule of thumb: your texts should where the social interaction was left off.

If you’re rushing to work, approached her and only had a two minutes’ interaction, then you’re expected to text a little bit more before asking her out for coffee. If you’ve already built a great connection with her during the first time you met her, then it’s not expected for you to text a lot.

Questions to ask yourself: Is she attracted to you already? How well do you know each other? Which part of the interaction are you at? What are the underlying assumptions in your interaction?

  • Call Back Humour

You can stand out through your first text by referring to something funny you had during your initial interaction with her when you first met. It commonly referred to as the call back humour.

“Rachel the Chinese teacher! Don’t stay out too late, you have more Sun Tze philosophies to brainwash unwilling teenagers.’

  • How to Flirt and Tease

Check out my guide on flirting, you should be able to get creative with roleplays, push-pull and misinterpretations.

  • General Rule of Thumb 

In your text messages, you need to keep it playful, light-hearted in the beginning and see how things flow from there. You should not try to make plans too early on, avoid going into interview mode, such as asking logical questions. Only go for the meetups using the soft close if there’s she’s flirting with you to and fro on the phone.

One important philosophy when it comes to texting is to keep in mind that time is your ally. One mistake I often make is to go to the meet up too early. This might work in Westernized cultures. However, in some cultures, especially Asian ones, girls love to text and going for it is merely going to get you rejected.

You also need to calibrate in accordance to context, a lot of the material you find online can be quite ‘Westernized’ and you can come un-calibrated in an Asian setting.

To Text Her or Not to Text Her and How many Hours/ Days?

Is there a right way to text? What about the length of the text? The time of the text? How about the fucking number of blue ticks?

I’ve had tons of interactions that seemed to go well in real life but didn’t turn out into anything. It is something that is out of your control. Ever made out with a girl in the club and she ignores the exact next day? You start worrying and start thinking to yourself if she’s playing mind games. You then start playing mind games on your end… and she doesn’t reply once again… and you think she’s still playing mind games.

There’s no need the play mind games through text. I’m not a huge fan of waiting X number of hours/days to text You’re pursuing girls from your own values.

Texting a girl is a two-way dance. If you’re always pushing from one side and she’s replying plain, boring and dry responses, she’s just not interested. There should be some sort of reciprocation or qualification from the girl.

Closing Thoughts: Do The Heavy Lifting in a Real Life

In general, you should just ask her out as soon as possible. I usually ask a girl out after I get some sort of a to and fro interaction going. If she’s not willing to go out with me there and then, she’s probably not interested.  I much prefer to do the heavy lifting in person. You should be much stronger in a face to face interactions. However, being poor on the phone is something is going to hurt your results. For some reason, girls need to know that you’re a cool guy over text.

It’s noted that some demographic of girls do react positively to cutesy lines you come up with over text. It’s just something I don’t bother putting too much effort into. It usually also doesn’t work out well for me if I get too creative with it.

Then there’s the last question: if she agrees, do you still continue texting her over the phone, to keep yourself in the loop. Of course, you do, however, you don’t need to text as much since plans are set up. I also find that dates that actually go through are dates set up no longer than a week after she agrees.

I’m not a huge fan of building a connection over the phone. There are more important things in life than being her text buddy. There’s a rarity that a girl’s schedule is so packed that she can’t squeeze a date in. If she mentions a packed schedule, then I’m sorry, she just doesn’t like you enough to put you a priority in her life.

 

Jun 20

How to Deal with Rejection – and why It Is a Good Thing

By Marcus Neo | Attraction

No matter how much charisma you think you have, or how you alter your behavior, a good portion of people you meet isn’t going to be interested or available at that point of time. Dating is a numbers game to a certain extent.

There are a lot of dating advice out there that sells you a foolproof technique to get around dealing with rejection. Unfortunately, that is just marketing. The man who gets rejected the most often gets to most results as well. This doesn’t happen by chance. It saves you hours, days and years of time sink. Our job is to get to the point whether someone either is going to move forward with us or not, in the shortest time possible.

Incompatibility in Life Circumstances

If you’ve made a value of not going out with someone who doesn’t value your time, then the girls or people that reject you become immediately incompatible. If you’ve drawn the line of not hanging out with people who don’t value you as a person, then you’ll no longer need to play the chasing game.

The majority of times, you get rejected not because we did something creepy or obnoxious, but because of mere circumstances. There is a ton multitude of external circumstances that prevent someone from moving things forward romantically or sexually with you.

External factors can range from being already attached, the number of days you have left within the city, her cat dying, her friend’s opinions on how you look like the ex-boyfriend that cheated on her. Basically, factors that you can’t control. This is when are conversing with someone who looks at your longingly and deep into your eyes but holds back giving you her number. She probably has a boyfriend or a husband.

It is also a perfect example of the limitations of attraction and how most women or men at any given time won’t be available to you no matter what you do or say, or how attracted he or she is to you at that point in time. There’s nothing you can do when if you’re out with a virgin that has sworn off sex till marriage. It’s not about your ability to be charismatic anymore, it’s not about ‘persuasion’ anymore. No expert, line or ‘frame’ can help you, it’s a simple statistical incompatibility.

It’s only when you approach your dating life and actually INVITE rejection, you’ll be moulded to expose your values in the shortest period of time possible. You cut out the mind games, you expose your needs, desires and you establish clear boundaries. You stop wasting time and moves things forward efficiently.

Psychological Projection

Projection occurs when someone projects one’s own unconscious judgment onto others in everyday life.

This often comes in the form of character judgments. In dating and relationships, it can occur when you meet partners who for whatever reasons, are uncomfortable with their own sexuality, and they lash out at you for having attempting to move the interaction forward sexually.

These people may harbour trust issues or are completely uncomfortable with their own sexuality or the sexuality of the opposite sex. They may have a history of some sort of emotional, sexual abuse or had a string of disappointments or anger from the opposite sex.

Their belief systems on sexuality are negative and when confronted when with a sexually confident individual, they end up lashing out. They may accuse you of being demanding, sexist, overbearing, horny, untrustworthy and etc. They aren’t lashing out for a lack of attraction, but because they are attracted and that attraction scares them.

These accusations usually have little to no connection to reality, and a truly confident individual will simply ignore these accusations. The more forthright and authentic you make yourself, the more polarizing response you’ll invite from others.

Redefining Rejection and Success 

How do you define yourself as someone successful in your dating life? By having three romantic partners at a go? By committing to one partner? Who’s more successful? The guy who dates 10 strippers at one go or the guy who commits to a long term relationship with one girl who he really enjoys being with.

It’s easy to get sidetracked into the ego boost or validation. After all these years, I’m still amazed at how poorly I choose my romantic partners at times, after all, our minds are filled with unreliable biases.

Take the average guy improves this area of his life by learning social skillsets. Not before long, he understands that dating and romantic relationships can be generated through his own actions and it’s not something that’s left to fate or circumstances.

“Self-development” is working out for him.

Through his newfound social skills, he goes around pursuing women who he isn’t genuinely interested in but for the sake of bragging rights. Is it an improvement after all right? He went from zero dates to many dates that he’s shit bored of. Forget about the fact that he isn’t really enjoying himself on these dates.

Unfortunately, this, is a failure in itself, although he went from not dates to dates with girls that he feels “meh’ about. He’s still avoiding feeling vulnerable and at risk of being rejected by women that he’s genuinely interested in. The avoidance of this feeling is a failure it itself.

“It’s better to fail on a date with a girl you like, than to sleep with a girl you don’t enjoy being around with.”

 – Marcus Neo Kai Jie

You and I have both intrinsic and extrinsic motivators when it comes to our dating lives. External motivators such as physical beauty cannot be the only metrics of success. In the long run, internal values such as respect, trust and empathy make healthy and meaningful relationships. Even though I value physical beauty, it is not the only metric that I hold in my dating life.

This is why it’s important to define your own metrics of success in dating and relationships, not some arbitrary metric defined by society, self-development or pick up artist communities.

The Art of Presenting Your Ideal Self

There’s probably this one girl or guy at work or school that you’re obsessing or thinking about. You probably do not dare to ask him or her out… and it has been months. You start dreaming of a perfect scene… you and her walking down the wedding aisle and you so desire that ONE person as your boyfriend or girlfriend.

I, like you, and millions out there once spent the good part of my teenage life fantasizing over ONE partner. Taking months to speak to her, and then taking years to ask her out. The better way to tackle this is not to obsess over one partner but to constantly present your ideal self. It is to constantly focus on becoming the ideal version of yourself.

That’s where self-improvement comes in. When you focus on presenting the best version of yourself to the world, something that is immediately controllable, when the right person at the right time comes into your life, you’re more than prepared.

When you’re out on a date, instead of worrying if she likes you, sit back and evaluate if she has the values and traits you’re looking for. This way you relieve pressure on yourself. You actually enjoy your dates and don’t have have a need to impress him or her.

Jun 17

Why You Fail: Self Esteem as the Fundamental of all High Performance

By Marcus Neo | Dating and Relationships

I’ve been on both ends of human performance. I’ve been last in class and first in class, in multiple disciplines in my life, from academics, martial arts, business, relationships and pursuits. Through the years, I always wondered what are the key principles of high performance. Is it motivation, is it discipline or is it willpower?

Initially, I bought the idea of willpower, after all, with psychological studies that showed that the environment shapes behaviour, as opposed to willpower. I also looked into argument taking into account of childhood development: The Freudian approach.

I’ll argue that high performance boils down to multiple variables, from the environment and your childhood experiences. Dan Pena makes an argument in his content that self-esteem is the key fundamental of all high-performance behaviour.

Ultimately, your behaviour boils down to your self-esteem. How much you believe you’re worth, deep down. If you believe you’re worth it, you’ll have higher expectations of both of yourself, and others, you’ll have high boundaries, you do not take shit form anybody, including yourself.

I currently run a dating consulting business and manage advertising projects for a couple of companies and individuals. In this small sample size of pursuits, it’s hard not to notice some of the self-sabotaging behaviours and lack of accountability of individuals that come through my way.

Self-esteem is how you perceive yourself and how the world perceives you.

In an idealistic world, everyone is going to see the best virtues in you. However, that’s not to be, in fact, real-world often pans out in the opposite of our ideals.

I remembered 8 months ago in my formal employment where I borrowed a couple of books from the little office library and finished it overnight. My superior thought I was bullshitting him. That I couldn’t have possibly finished it in one-night right? Yet on the other hand, in one of my last projects for them, they demanded that I finished 2000 words sales page for them in a short period of time. I managed to produce it within a day.

Other than a couple of quips that they wouldn’t give in to my requests for a more flexible working arrangement, I knew deep down that they didn’t see me the way I perceived myself. Every day that I stayed there was a detriment to my self-esteem.

You could say this is true for all of friends and family.

Your self esteem is going to be compromised if you attempting to lose weight and the people around you don’t believe that you are capable of that.

In my entrepreneurial career, I quadrupled my price overnight, that’s because I believed that my product and service is worth that price. Yet, it sold. Of course. However, a higher price comes higher pressure, intensity and a willingness to make it work. It goes to show that a of our decisions and success in life is based on self-esteem.

The student who believes he’s smart is going to put in the work, whether he’s really actually smart or not. I found that to be true in my short stint in America. I traditionally wasn’t a good student in Singapore. However, for someone reason, I had the freedom to flex my identity in another culture. I ended up performing.

Your Parents Fucked You Up

Unlike 99% of personal development material that’ll try to play nice. I’ll give it straight. In fact, my thoughts are a lot influenced by Dan Pena and psychology itself.

Your parents fucked you up. It’s as simple as that.

It’s hard not to notice the parallels between self-esteem and your childhood experiences.

The issues also come often in two main spectrums: you either had it too tough or had it too easy. Hence, you lack true self esteem.

It’s also hard not to notice that most parents have high expectations for their children, yet, they didn’t and are unable to replicate similar expectations and behaviours in themselves in the past or present. To quote Dan, children don’t see what you tell them to do, they see what you do. This is the similar of leadership, your troops only follow you when you’re able and willing to execute upon similar tasks. If a sales manager isn’t able to make a sales call and only makes his employees do it, he’s not going to be a manager for long!

I truly believe that one of the best things an upwardly mobile individual can do is to leave home. To detach himself from his family and strike out on his own. It’s one of my priority within the next 12 months (assuming I do not fall into default behaviour).

Your ‘Friends’

First, your family is your detriment, second, it’s your friends. I’m not going to bore you on the cliche that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. However, it’s true.

It’s weird that the majority loosely define friendships as people that subtlely put you down, or let step over you. If you studied the philosophers from Plato to Socrates, friendship to them is defined as a constant open debate, growth and an introspect discussion into their lives.

There’s one occasion where I took part in a football match where there’s one bully that has gotten away with unruly behaviour in the group for years: physical and verbal. Yet, that group defined themselves as ‘friends’. It took an outsider (me) to set him straight. It took a couple of scuffles, but I do think there’s mutual respect after those!

Over the last couple of years, I have been increasingly tough on the people around me. My Mum says I’m too tough on people. Some of my friends say I am too tough on myself. However, let me tell you something about being tough: it works.

I have single-handedly travelled to multiple cultures all over the world solo, built profitable ventures and am armed with multiple real-life skillsets. I did it all as a one-man team. How did I do it? I was tough on myself.

People ultimately do not lack knowledge, they lack accountability and self-esteem. The majority of my friends are much more formally qualified than me. They have master degrees from finance to technology. I am currently a private Diploma graduate from a private University.

Yet, I have actual skin in the game through a real-life stock portfolio (unlike many financial ‘advisors’) and am able to be profitable in most business pursuits I get into (proven by my track record inexperience in the financial education industry, dating advice industry and music industry).

I have also approached hundreds of women in cultures all over the world. I’ve had a dating life that the average man can dream about. I’m not writing this to boast, I’m writing as a reminder myself and impress upon you that self-esteem leads to courage and eventually leads to an expanded life.

The Solution: Mentors

Your expectations and standards for yourself are going to largely fall to the quality of people around you. For a Singaporean, you spend most of your time with your family and close friends. Unless you have high-performance parents and friends, the majority of them are also going to be your detriment.

If your family and friends feel like a detriment, then drop them and go off by yourself. Eagles fly alone. To quote Dan Pena: ‘Buffet only has one friend: Charlie Munger. Gates only has one friend: Melinda.’

I did it by myself for the first 6 years, from 21 years of age. I spent my first year mostly by myself writing articles like this one attempting to figure digital marketing out whilst everyone was with University.

I also understood one major principle about most friendships. They come and go in accordance with the current 1) social setting and your 2) current self-image.

That’s why I am able to hit the gym by myself, fly to countries by myself, run the business by myself. I learned the business skillsets from web design, copywriting, paid to advertise, SEO all by myself. I learned from people who were more experienced than me, but not ‘friends’.

If you feel like you’re stagnating here’s why: 1) you probably lack standards for yourself 2) the people around probably lack standards and expectations in themselves and this bleeds through their social interactions with you.

The best person you can have around is a mentor, someone who is upwardly mobile. You either are lucky to have one or pay up for one. Through the years, I’ve procured mentors both online and offline, by PAYING THE FUCK UP for it. Ridiculously, I have met entrepreneurs who aren’t profitable AND REFUSING to pay for knowledge or guidance. Yet they proudly brand themselves as ‘CEO’ on their social media profiles.

Better Human Being

If you don’t respect yourself, you’ll never be able to respect others. These are the people that constantly show up late, say something, and do otherwise. I once told a friend that if he couldn’t respect a dollar from my pocket, I didn’t give a fuck, I told him I wouldn’t lend it to him. It’s non-negotiable I didn’t. He kicked up a fuss and today we aren’t on speaking terms. Today he’s broke, and I am in a much better financial position.

Self-esteem is the foundation of all success, and also for one to become a better human being. I truly believe that he or she first must respect him or herself, build fundamental self-esteem, that leads to integrity and then accountability.

Jun 12

How to Get Good at Dating Fast – Models of Learning

By Marcus Neo | Attraction

There are two different ways to learn: 1) I am going to learn how to code. I am going to learn to build a program. 2) The former, you start with a guidebook. The latter, you reverse engineer the process, and you learn to code on the go. The former is intellectualization, the latter, is skin in the game.

However, in modern life, you’re forced to start with the guidebook. You’re measured and judged by the guidebook. However, in the real world, you get real-world results through a guidebook (that may or may not be helpful).

To quote Elon Musk:

“Another principle is that it’s important to teach problem-solving or teach to the problem rather than the tools. Let’s say, we’re trying to teach people about how engines work. You could start by teaching all about screwdrivers and wrenches, having courses on screwdrivers and wrenches, and that’s a very difficult way to do it. A much better way would be like ‘here’s the engine, how are we going to take it apart? Well, we need a screwdriver, and a wrench, and so on.’ And then, a very important thing happens, which is that the relevance of the schools becomes apparent.”

The Bottom-Up Approach

I don’t buy the entire argument that learning can only be done from bottom up. However, bottom-up is one of, if not the best way to learn. Philosophy and psychology became a lot more interesting when I had skin in the game. I desired the outcome of being a thought leader in the dating advice industry. Reading David M Buss’s book on evolutionary psychology with academic graphs became a lot more bearable.

Fundamental probability and statistics came alive after I had to construct a model for my paid advertising campaigns (real hard cash). I also started tracking the financial performance of the company month to month, making use of financial ratios in my first year in accounting school: return on assets and return on investment to name a couple. Finance and accounting became alive overnight; not some paper you do just you’ll make an A for your paper.

The Value I Place on Research and Science

My views on have changed on researched advice. There are many coaches or authorities with stellar academic backgrounds and theoretical arguments. There is much advice dished out based on ‘science’.

However, I’ll argue a lot of them lack skin in the game. I define skin in the game as the bridge between advice based on research and real-world outcomes. I started out this blog documenting my personal growth and hoping to monetize a skillset I was passionate about.

For a period of time, I decided to remove my personality from the writing and bank on psychologically researched advice to do the talking. If it’s researched, it must work, right? I even signed up for a psychology degree in hopes of furthering my authority in this area.

However, the social sciences are arguably ‘soft’ and you have authorities like Nassim Taleb labelling disciplines such as Economics and Psychology total b.s.

Nonetheless, I don’t place too much emphasis on academic research, even though they can act as useful heuristics and guidelines.

Ultimately, my readers and clients have rarely commented on my ‘lack of research’. They always bought from me because I reasonated.