A lot of people ask whether pick-up and dating success is just a numbers game, and over the years I’ve considered both sides of the argument myself, eventually leading to a realistic and well-measured conclusion that takes into account many complex variables. The question stems from how much it boils down to random chance, compared to how much you can actually affect what happens – how much can you can “improve” to eliminate the element of randomness and always succeed (therefore it will apparently never be a “numbers game” again).
When you use the term “numbers game”, it immediately sounds like one is referring to “getting lucky” – based on luck and probability. I believe this is partly true, and always will be, no matter who you are or what you’re doing. However, unlike gambling at a casino, we’re dealing with human beings with thoughts and feelings – some they’re consciously aware of, others which are subconscious and based on instinct. Therefore interactions are often more controllable than people realise – in terms of understanding of yourself and society, leading to constantly changing through experience to operate more effectively with people and women.
In other words, there’s a middle ground between “numbers game” (meeting enough available women to eventually find the ones you get along with and have an opportunity to progress things forward) and “ability-based game” (being a person of higher value and man-to-woman communication ability to make a situation work in your favour regardless of the circumstances). This means the more action you take, the more chance of suitable situations arising, but you also have to know how to handle things properly and not mess it up (due to the cause-and-effect of how you portray yourself and specific actions therein), depending on the leeway and forgiveness on the other end.
Let me put it another way – there’s only so much control you have, and there are always certain things you can’t control. Human interaction and relationship development is often much like the chaotic nature of life itself – you need to recognise and appreciate the good times in equal measure to the bad times, focusing on what’s within your control, and being able to recognise and let go of what’s outside your immediate sphere of influence. Even though it can often be difficult to see the bigger picture, in terms of progressing steadily without demanding instant success and validation.
Indeed, people often confuse what they can and can’t control, which leads to frustration, low self-esteem and forgetting the importance of learning through different character-building experiences – regardless of outcome. You can’t make things work every time, but you’re constantly working towards a greater chance of success in more situations, whatever that personally means to you. At the same time, you’re ideally becoming more abundant and getting better at screening – finding people you like/value in general, particularly finding women you’re into, regardless of different factors that might be inadvertently influencing your opinion.
It’s almost a complete 180 degree switch of perspective when you think along these firm yet fair lines – setting the parameters for what’s acceptable for you, understanding and relating to different kinds of people, and connecting on different levels, in terms of what you can offer them and what they can offer you. Which puts you into more of a “power frame”, almost a self-fulfilling delusional sense of control, rather than “hoping” it has to “work” and getting into a downward spiral if it doesn’t. From my experience, this mindset is good leverage for an upward spiral of acceptance (and ultimate self-belief that things will work out fine), as people can frequently tell when you’re not desperate or outcome-dependant.
Even for someone who’s been immersed in the scene for a long time, amassing plenty of good experiences, there’s still plenty of failure and setbacks involved, meaning it still feels like a “numbers game” sometimes. The biggest difference is, however, I have systematically become more aware and adept at handling different situations, recognising patterns, learning more about myself, and have a better chance of knowing/utilising the effective mindsets and courses of action. Even the worst situations can be turned around, to some degree, and the numbers skewed more in one’s favour – regardless of where you started, and what you want to achieve.
And when certain situations might have been perceived as “average” before, over time they are seen in a more optimistic, opportunistic and favourable light – in terms of maximising one’s potential. You give yourself significantly more margin for error when you become more confident, realistically humble about the nature of relationships, and internalise good dating skills that have proven to serve you well as possible at your current level – based on understandings and behaviours associated with a stronger identity. We all have advantages and disadvantages, some inherently and some learned and developed, but there’s generally no reason we can’t be content with our situations while also striving for something better.