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Apr 23

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

By Marcus Neo | Dating and Relationships

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, that 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 consultant that can’t talk to women. You’ll rather have a business partner that has done 700 deals compared to a student with first-class honours 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, essays 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 aren’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.

Outperformance 

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 enrol 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 institution 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 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 travelling 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 through 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.

Dating SIngaporean Women -03
Jan 24

How to Date Singaporean Women – Does Money Matter?

By Marcus Neo | Dating and Relationships

It’s not uncommon to hear that Singaporean women are superficial or materialistic and are only willing to date men who are well off financially. So, are Singaporean girls really superficial and materialistic? Or are they mere projection of our insecurities?

The Singapore Cultural Narratives

How about looks, popularity, intelligence and social status? Do Singaporean women care about them? Fact is, they do. You and I do too, along with all other women and men all around the world when it comes to choosing our romantic partners. You often hear Singaporean men complaining about being insecure about dating up. They don’t feel secure dating Singaporean women who are smarter than them, more qualified than them or earn more than them.

Here’s my verdict: I think that the majority of Singaporean women are able to finance, feed themselves and aren’t exactly looking to date a multi millionaire. Of course, minus the gold diggers, which you should avoid at all cost.

However, it’s because of cultural expectations, namely, the narrative that you need to marry a rich husband in order to have a good life that causes a lot of problems. Some of my girl friends often tell me they expect to end up with a millionaire or a rich man. In actuality, their behavior speaks otherwise and they don’t end up dating a millionaire but an average Singaporean male. In my experience, the majority of Singaporean women (minus the gold diggers) are willing to adjust what they value in a partner if you have an attractive personality and are able to connect with them on a deeper level.

Dating Singaporean Women 03

The Gucci Swag

The Ugly Combination

If I was being honest with you, I was most successful in my dating life when I had no money in my first couple of years in University. It was only in my mid twenties when I measured myself on financial achievement and projected them onto my dating life.

Here are the metrics that I (and many others) measure themselves against:

  • Your type degree I was taking or if you are going to achieve a first class honors
  • The amount of money you are making
  • Your job

Ultimately, you get a mish mesh of both sexes projecting their insecurities onto each other because of these cultural narratives: a traditional culture that emphasizes material wealth as a metric of success.

Here is what you’re taught from day one as a Singaporean male growing up. You want to get a girlfriend? Work hard, earn a lot of money and get a respectable job. Our parents are always telling us to get a job, to get a degree so that you can get employedment. I grew up in a traditional Asian, Singaporean culture family where I was told that if I did not do well in school, get a respectable degree or a respectable job, I was considered a failure.

I had a friend who told me she would only consider dating guys from a local University. In Singapore culture, there’s a huge measurement of success based off how financially well off you are. Not to mention the exposure to cultural narratives that influence us everyday. In movies and the drama serials, they all tell us the same narrative: The people with money get the girl.

These beliefs are often the results of the Singaporean cultural narrative: where success is measured by grades, money and social status. Cultural narratives that have been told by our culture and society. Not only these beliefs and worldviews hurt us in life, but it also hurt us in our dating and relationship lives.

On one hand, you get an ugly mesh up of Singaporean men projecting their insecurities on wealth to Singaporean women who are… materialistic? On the other hand, you get nice guy behaviors from Singaporean men (parents/people/woman pleasing) that results in… Singaporean women being more spoilt who ‘expected to be treated like princesses’.

You see the pattern here? It’s happens both ways and no one sex is responsible for these problems. Until the Singaporean culture matures and learn how to define itself not through traditional metrics of success, this is going to be the status quo.

Singaporean Women Put on a Pedestal

It’s interesting to observe the language that us guys (I’m guilty of it as well) use when we find success in our dating life. I once heard someone proudly declare: ‘I just slept with this girl. She’s from X University in Singapore. She also studies medicine.’

There are many things wrong with that statement. You’re coming from the standpoint that you’re somewhat inferior to her by being proud of the fact that she studies medicine, hence, she’s a better partner. That’s female sexuality placed on a pedestal. So what if you’re not from a top University in Singapore? So what if you’re not studying medicine? So what if she’s studying medicine? Why should you, a human being who is trying his best in life, feel any bit inferior to just about anybody else?

How to Get Over These Cultural Narratives

So, these are the invisible scripts that influence your behavior. The bottom line is this: what can you do about it?

  • Realize attracting women is determined by behavior and not necessarily assets

This is why I say a lot of this dating advice thing is sorting out your own emotional realities in the first place. When you got your own personal values down, there’s no reason for you to express yourself honestly instead of relying on external metrics of success, degrees or social status in attempt to earn sex or affection with a woman. Someone who’s truly confident doesn’t measure themselves up that way. This is why pick up artist techniques are just a superficial strategy at best. It’s a band-aid that you slapped on when you were bleeding.

  • Invest in yourself: learn social skills

Look, I’m not saying you do not need to get your finances right. However, being sexually desirable is different from long term commitment desirable. You should always try to improve your financial life. However, you should not be reliant on it.

Personal plug: I created an entire course on social skills and personality change based on decades of psychological research and real life systems.

Look, ultimately, you can’t be a slob or a bum. Even though looks aren’t the ONLY determinant if a girl is willing to go out on a date with you.  Good looks help, but not having good looks don’t hurt either. You’ve probably seen countless not so physically attractive males with physically attractive women right?

Hell, it’s one of the factors like people in general look that. If you dress poorly and don’t shower, don’t expect to land any dates anytime soon. If you show up on a date dressed sloppily. It’s not Singaporean women being superficial, it’s YOU being a bum.

  • Develop long term personality and behavioral change

Ultimately, you still got to dig deep into your emotional maps and look at the root of your problems: why you’re so invested in being rich or successful? Why are YOU chasing degrees, cars, the next condominium and all of that just to get the… vagina.

I know of men that are well off financially but can’t land a date for nuts. I know guys that draw a handsome close 5 figure salary, drive a Mercedez Benz but can’t land a quality date to save his life.

There are cultural narratives at best. The misconstrued perception that you need lots of money, a 6 pac abs to attract women is flawed. You’ll also end up in a rabbit hole where you never feel enough. There were months I felt I was never ready to date someone until I achieved a certain body weight. This was despite being in relative alright body shape. The research also backs this up, if you display the behaviors of someone who potentially might become rich, famous, or successful, you’re equally attractive as someone who is already rich, famous or successful.

This was why I was successful in my dating life starting out as a broke, unsuccessful University student because I was so passionate about personal growth that it rubbed off the women I dated. It surely wasn’t because I had money, good looks or anything else, because I can assure I had none of those.

If you’re male and you’re not developing yourself, taking risks and complaining that Singaporean women are spoilt brats and materialistic, then you’re just giving yourself excuses. It can’t that ALL of the women in Singapore are materialistic and spoilt right?

Ultimately, you do not need more degrees, achievements or a million dollars in the bank. You need to take action.

Closing Thoughts on Dating Singaporean Women

I’m not saying Singaporean women aren’t completely at fault here. I’ve had instances where my girl friends say they wouldn’t date anyone from a private University, or that he has to be a millionaire or some naive metric. Some of them rarely bother to go to the gym or develop any personality. It’s also not surprising that the ones with these naive metrics that end of with someone much lower than their expectations.

Lastly, if you’re sacrificing your emotional life for some absurd metric, then good luck to you, you’re going run yourself into the ground.

Photo Credits: Joe Siegel

 

 

Jan 23

How to Get a Girlfriend in Singapore – a No B.S. Guide

By Marcus Neo | Dating and Relationships

How to get a girlfriend in Singapore? Or rather, how do you get your ideal girl as your girlfriend? One thing was clear when I started out: if I wanted to date the girls I desired, I had to do something about it, I had to become someone worth dating myself. That’s the simple and ugly truth. I read a ton of books, got a mentor and went out night after night, failed a lot and developed myself as a person.

How to Get a Girlfriend in Singapore

Firstly, recognise that dating and relationships are a skill set that can be learned. It’s not something that is left up to luck or fate. It’s also something consciously worked on day in and out. Social skills can be learned and personality can be developed. If you’re not good looking or rich, don’t worry, I’m not either. However, you should be playing a game that nobody else is playing, a game that you can actually win and one that is a lot more fulfilling in the long run.

If you worked on your social skillsets, develop an attractive personality, go to the gym, dress well, you’re going to be far more successful in the long run. It’ll put you in a position of power and choice in your dating life. Furthermore, social skills is a life skill that will ripple through other aspects of your life.

How to Get a Girlfriend in Singapore

In my experience, Singaporeans facing issues problems in their dating life that spend years single won’t make the effort to step out of their comfort zone. They’d complain all day but never put in any time or effort in this area of their life. They also end up with prostitutes, Thai discos, dating agencies or online dating applications. You have a choice here, you can visit Geylang, maybe Sammyboy forum, go to Thai Discos and blow $50 to ‘Tiao Hua’, meet a random somebody through a dating agency, matching making agency, swipe right and hope someone swipes you back on dating apps.

OR,

You can take control of your dating life in your hand through building social skillsets and it’ll that’ll also help in all other areas of your life.

When I started off, I’ll be honest with you, for a period of time, I obsessed on a single goal: to attract women. That single pursuit slowly morphed to entrepreneurship, personal growth through travel and leading a more varied life at large. I also developed an interest in subjects such as self-awareness, psychology and emotional fulfilment.

The Problem with Dating Agencies: Economics, Demand and Supply

Now, can dating agencies or matchmaking services work for you?  Personally, I think signing up for a dating agency is a form of courage as well. You’re still putting yourself out there on the dating market again. That takes courage. This can be helpful for the recently divorced or heartbroken. It takes a form of humility and courage to sign up for a matchmaking service. You’re essentially saying: look I’m willing to get help from someone else. If lady luck is also on your side, who knows? You might meet someone amazing.

However, let’s take a look at the economics of going through such platforms. Firstly, you’re limiting yourself to only a certain demographic. Look, I’m not here to be politically correct, you’re free to send me the hate mail. You’re meeting women who aren’t successful in their dating lives as well.  However, you’re highly unlikely to meet your ideal woman through these avenues. Not to mention that there’s absolutely zero excitement when you’re submitting a paper written by yourself to some stranger who presents it to another stranger. Romantic love doesn’t occur on a resume.

Ultimately, you’re still not solving the root of the problem.

If you don’t treat dating and relationships as a skillset, you’ll never know how to make new connections on the go and you’ll be dependent on the same group of friends you knew since you were 13 to hopefully introduce you to someone. You’ll never be in a position of power of your own circumstances.

To quote a cliche: If you give a man a fish for a day, he’ll eat for a day. If you teach a man how to fish, he’ll eat for a lifetime.

You are constantly relying on dating agencies, you won’t build the required knowledge and skillsets to be independent in increasing your dating opportunities, much less build lasting and passionate relationships. You’ll also be severely limiting your dating pool. This is how millions end up with someone they are not really excited about… and call it ‘reality’.

So what happens if your arranged date doesn’t go the way you want it to go? You’re going to go back to the dating agency to pay for more dates or ask for a refund? Even if she marries you right there and then on the spot, do you know how to keep the relationship ongoing and exciting? Do you know what entails a healthy, affectionate and respectful relationship? No, you don’t.

How to Approach Women in Singapore – Ultimate Guide

If you’re looking to better your dating life and assuming you already have a strong network in your social circle, you don’t really have to go out meeting women on your daily routine or the clubs. However, you’ll still require social skills and the ability to start a conversation, express an awesome personality, get her out on a date and leverage of your current demographics.

You can participate in University activities, use networking sites such as Eventbrite or Meet up, join interest groups or take part in after work drinks. There are many avenues. When I was in full-time University or working for a company, I barely bothered approaching girls. That’s because there were many social opportunities around me there was no need to go cold.

However, when I became an entrepreneur, the ability to meet girls on the go became extremely useful and important for me. You may also be stuck with friends who’ll don’t actively introduce you to other females, then you’ll need to master the get this shit down and actively be able to meet girls on to go.

How to Get a Girlfriend in Singapore

Are you going to talk to her?

The Cold Opportunities

How do you approach women in Singapore? Can it be done? Yes, the Singaporean culture is generally more closed off than Westernized cultures. From personal experience, Singaporean women are generally harder to approach if you’re a complete stranger. From personal experience, Singaporeans, both men and women, in general, aren’t equipped with social skills to continue a conversation with another stranger. Hence, you’re going to get awkward silences and shifty eyes if you do not know what you’re doing.

Singapore, after all, is an Asian value based society with people choosing to stick in highly knit social groups. However, it can be done.

Step 1Look Like a Friendly Stranger

First, should ONLY approach women that you’re genuinely attracted to, that’s because your intentions, authenticity and emotions will rub off in your interactions.

You’ll also need to dress well. The Singaporean culture is already a conservative one. You should ALWAYS try to make it as comfortable for her to talk to a stranger. Whilst most pick up artists obsess over fanciful lines or techniques when picking up girls, you should focus on making her feel comfortable.

This is non-negotiable.

You don’t have to go overboard and go walking around shopping malls in suits. However, you got to have a minimal sense of fashion. This means clean shirts, jeans and shoes that fit. You can go up lightly to a girl and say:

“I know is this kind of random, but I thought you’re really cute and I just had to say Hi.” 

Notice the extra social sentence: ‘I know this is kind of random’

  • Body Language

Note: don’t go up to her abruptly, don’t approach her from behind. If you’re a beginner, it’s best not to touch her at all. Just walk up beside her and plant yourself in front of her. This isn’t a hard or fast rule, as you get better you’ll be able to socially calibrate according to the social situation.

  • Should You Be Direct or Indirect?

I know of friends that are more comfortable with going the indirect route, by asking her random questions or talking about the weather. I’m quite impatient by nature and I like getting my message across, so going direct is more congruent to my personality. It also depends on different situations. Sometimes, I go indirect. It can be making an observation on the book she’s reading while at the library, or making a cold read: an observation about something or someone in the environment that you’re in.  

Step 2: Empathize with Her

When most people ask me how do I go about talking to beautiful strangers. I simply say it’s ’empathy’. They often give me confused look. Empathy? What’s that? How does it even work?

Basically, empathy is putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and imagining how he or she feels in that particular situation.

Imagine this, she’s going about her day, rushing off to meet her friends or some meeting, and you, an unknown stranger, rolls up to her, stops her, and tells her in her face that she’s cute.

You’ve just signalled that you invested in the prospect of dating her within a couple of minutes. That’s a lot for a girl who barely knows you. This is especially so if you’re doing it in a public setting, or when she has her friends/ her parents around. You have to be empathetic in such situations and put yourself in her shoes.

So, before you actually tell her the actual reason why you’re approaching her, you should say:

  • ‘I know this is really out of the blue’
  • ‘This can be quite upfront… however…’
  • ‘I know you’re feeling nervous…’

These are statements of empathy.

Secondly, you should also mirror her body language. If she looks shocked and slightly taken aback, you can take a tiny step back and give her more personal space. Here’s a tip: a light smile helps a lot. Such subtleties are different for everyone. Some guys have to be more aggressive, others got to be less aggressive. It’s also different for different girls you approach. Girls who are shyer are going to be a lot more taken aback from girls who get approached regularly.

When starting out, you’re going to be really worried about lines, techniques, your body language, tonality, eye contact and etc. That’s normal. However, as you progress. You’ll see approach a beautiful lady on the streets similar to being a big happy puppy talking to her. You’ll also find that getting rejected isn’t that bad after all. The majority of girls aren’t going to slap you in the face when you talk to them.

How to Get a Girlfriend in Singapore 05

The millions of possibilities

Step 3: Have a Solid Interaction and Lead in Conversation

One caveat to approaching women in a collectivistic culture in Singapore is that you’re going to have to lead in conversation 99% of the time, whether be it in a day time setting or in the club. That’s because the majority of Singaporeans aren’t equipped with social skills to deal with a conversation with a stranger.

I’ve lived here for most of my life. I’m pretty sure I can give a well informed insight into this. She’s going to be dumbfounded that you approached her and she’s going to freeze up.

This means being able to generate conversations out of mid air that doesn’t make you look like you’re an interviewing her and simultaneously encourage her to open up and talk about herself.

This can be accomplished by learning the skillset of cold reading. Cold reading is the art of generating statements out of cold air. Cold reading can also help you avoid looking like an interviewer. Over the years, I realized questions are inevitable in the Singaporean culture. Just making statements isn’t going to help. The general rule of thumb is to make a statement before asking her a question.

Cold reading isn’t just enough to form a deep conversation with a stranger, you’ll need to know how to:

  • Tease her and make the situation light hearted on the spot
  • Phrase your conversations in a dynamic way
  • Connect emotionally with her on the spot

“You look like you’re on the way to school. Nice shoes by the way. Let me guess, you must be a business student.”

She’s going to either correct you or agree with you at this point of time. It doesn’t matter. It gives you conversational material to work with.

“I study accounting, I don’t really enjoy it, but the practical side of me says that I got to do it, what about you, you’re passionate about business or you’re just following the path of a Singaporean girl?”

You should also attempt to tease her early on in the interaction to lighten your interaction up.

‘You’re probably going to lose money for your company. You totally don’t look like a business student.’

Note: do it with a smile of course.

This is an example of a direct approach, coupled with the cold reading skillset, sprinkled with a light compliment. Light compliments and teasing help ease the interaction.

Following up from her response, you can continue asking her questions or statements to relate to her. Free association and conversational improvisation skills are required to generate a continuous conversation. This requires practice. You can’t script or prepare humour, it’s practised by free association and improvisation. I find it useful to stick to general principles such as teasing her about her stereotype that she fits into.

I recommending practising and learning these conversational skillsets and make it a habit in your life. I do cover these skillsets in my courses and programs. However, for brevity’s sake, I’m not going to include all of this for this article.

How to Get a Number in a Non Cheesy Manner

There’s then the age-old question of how to get a girl’s number? I say this all the time, the words are superficial, it’s the intention underneath it that counts. If she says no, then it’s alright as well. Just wish her well and move on. Rejection is part of the game. Secondly, only ask for a woman’s number if you can tell she’s invested in the potential of meeting up with you again. Finally, you are going to get rejected a lot in this process. However, it’s doable, and rejection is actually a good thing.

You can ask her out for a date right there and then. Since you’ve already expressed interest upfront, it’s OKAY to ask her out for coffee. I always do that. You can make a simple statement:

“You’re nice to talk to, let’s grab coffee some day.” 

When she agrees, you can then ask for her number. There’s no perfect line to ask for her number. Just say:

‘Let’s keep in touch and let’s exchange contacts.’

Start Improving

Here’s my point, go out, develop social skills and put yourself out there. This shit can be learnt. Not only can it be learnt, but it’s also going to play a huge role in your success in other areas of your life.

Show me a job that doesn’t require you to communicate effectively to another human being? Here’s your answer: none. No matter what you do, even if you’re a low-level executive, you’ll need to communicate with your boss, your colleagues, clients, your suppliers, distributors and the list goes on. I built up my entire communication skillsets solely from learning how to talk to women.

Ultimately, to get a girlfriend or fix your dating woes it all about self improvement. It’s about holding yourself fully responsible for their dating life. There are tons of research that show that relationships contribute to a huge part of happiness in your life. Hence, putting in time and effort to understand how this dating and relationship thing work is a positive thing. It’s also the more fulfilling route of self development.

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