Sink Or Swim

Over coffee, two men asked my opinion on their upcoming travel plans. They wanted to make the most of the limited time they had left.

“We’re keeping our options open,” one said. “If a city is not good, we’ll leave and go somewhere else.”

This statement was both sensible and rational. Staying flexible in your search for the prize is something you won’t find intelligent men disagreeing with. That said, I don’t do it. I put myself in inflexible situations. I give myself no way out. If the environment doesn’t easily provide what I want, I buckle down, increase my effort, and find my prize nonetheless.

Every city you go to has at least one big negative that is obvious within the first three days. It could be the level of talent, the logistics, the cost, the difficulty of meeting women, the crime, or the scammers. If you adopt a flexible strategy, this negative will serve as a logical rationalization to leave instead of persisting. Your brain, the lazy saboteur, rather execute the option than to either defeat the problem or work around it. The option, it turns out, is what promotes giving up and therefore, weakness.

The brain selects the path of least resistance. It has a built-in mechanism to conserve labor when it’s that very labor that is required to meet your goals. Therefore you must not give yourself a choice. You must be dropped off in the ocean, far from the shore, with no choice but to swim back or die. If there is a helper boat nearby, and you know of its presence, you would find a way to call for assistance even if it’s physically possible for you to make it to the shore on your own.

As I was telling the two men my thoughts on sinking or swimming, I realized my own hypocrisy. My goal at the time was to learn Russian, but I was running game in English. I was dating a girl who spoke it fluently, with grammar that may have been better than my own. The boat was beside me as I swam. I knew I would never drown, but only the threat of drowning will push you beyond your limits. At that moment, while sipping my second espresso, I decided to only speak to girls in Russian. English was no longer allowed. My Russian was not yet ready for the challenge, but I no longer wanted a boat beside me. It made me weak.

When it comes to making a decision, logic is often recommended, but the brain is the source of this logic, and therefore it is biased to prevent you from embarking on a task that may result in failure after much labor is expended. It’s thinking like a corporation that only wants to meet three-month quarterly goals, regardless of the harm that type of strategy results in the long-term success of the company. Your life is long, and the difficult tasks you attempt today will yield benefits that stay with you for life. Logic in your decision-making provides you with an easy out. Therefore you must introduce a component of illogic into your goal. This can be found in the phrase “no matter what.”

I will learn Russian, no matter what.

I will stay in the next city I go to for two weeks, no matter what.

I will write this book, no matter what.

I will talk to ten girls today, no matter what.

When you add “no matter what,” how you approach the task will now be entirely different than before. Your brain, frustrated that you won’t back down, now becomes your ally. It thinks, “Well, I guess he’s serious about this goal, despite my attempt to put him on an easier path. I will now help him succeed so that we can get this tough endeavor over with.” Your brain doesn’t want to sink, and the only way to get it to swim is to let it know that it has no other choice.

Read Next: It’s Better To Have Guts Than Brains


  1. Romeo September 2, 2013 at 9:17 am

    Great article Roosh – I’ve added “No matter what” to my motivational quotes stored on the diary app of the mobile phone.

  2. nguyenimproved September 2, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    Great tips. This is what I read your blog for. Strangely for a pickup blog it’s pretty inspirational in other/ all aspects of life. It’s good you’re getting back to regular programming. Call me an insecure asian but to me “game” is about overcoming a value differential. Therefore I don’t see the “game” component of fistos’s post as a european guy (+ve value differential) sexing a lot of low class asians who are poorer than he is. I as a lower value asian male (arguably the lowest component on the sexual marketplace) picking up good looking white female would be a demonstration of “Game(n)” – defined as a tool that overcomes obstacles relating to a negative disparity in income/ status/race or looks.

  3. nguyenimproved September 2, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    anyways this is still the only “game” blog worth reading as you’ve transcended the genre to a degree. as you said there’s only so much ways to teach the basic core elements. the rest of us are here cos you’re a great writer/ thinker and that’s not necessarily limited to the “picking up chicks” field even if that’s the original reason we found you.

  4. Phil September 2, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    Roosh: I still say you’ve got a great book of nothing but life philosophy in you.

  5. Quintus Curtius September 2, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    This is a very wise observation. The innate desire we have to make things easier on ourselves can often act to limit progress. Burning one’s bridges sometimes is a sensible option.
    Everyone knows the story of how Hernan Cortes, upon arriving at the coast of Mexico, ordered his ships to be destroyed so that his men would have no choice but to march on Tenochtitlan.
    I also recently read how commanders in the Vietnam War would often airlift patrols into hostile territory and drop them in there, so that they would have no choice but to fight their way out.
    The nature of systems is to make things easier on ourselves. Someone once told me about “Le Chatelier’s Principle”: when a system is subjected to stress, it will respond in ways to minimize the effect of the stress.
    Throw yourself into the arena. Get outside your comfort zone. Don’t listen to that slimy little voice in your head that tells you to take it easy…

  6. Kieran September 2, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    This post inspired me. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Joe Dick September 2, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    I was pretty impressed by these thoughts. Indeed, there’s too much talk about getting started and taking action. But what about ‘keeping doing it while the odds seemed not to be stacked for you?’.

    It’s funny to read that post, because lately I have been trying to learn about persistence and resilience. Action is for those who haven’t been taking any, but the reality is, taking action is the start, not the end. You’ll have to fight with discouragement and defeat. THIS is what I am trying to learn about. It’s easy to do stuff when you get even a LITTLE success, but what when you get none? It’s 20 times harder. To motivate yourself is easy enough, but to stay motivated is fucking hard.

  8. irrational T September 2, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    Why do we pay for rooshs books?

    Because he’s an inspiration.

  9. Phil September 2, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    This post is also why 99% of guys who would love to “be their own boss” cannot execute on it.

    Say you’ve got a job. It pays the bills. But you hate it for whatever reason. You daydream of being your own boss. Working from home. Running a moneymaking website from your pad in the Philippines, Costa Rica, whatever.

    Based on Roosh’s post, to maximize your chances of actually SUCCEEDING at starting your own business, you would quit your job so you have no income coming in. In other words, you’d be burning the boats. Hopefully this would give you the focus to execute on your new business idea. In other words, if you don’t get your new business off the ground, say hello to sleeping in your car.

    But how many guys take such steps? 99% of guys would LIKE to generate income independently (as Roosh does) keep their old jobs to keep that paycheck coming, but in their evenings and weekends, their brains are too fried from work to put in the FOCUS to building the new business that would enable their escape.

    Sometimes I’m tempted to fly to Thailand, rent an apartment, and basically lock myself inside living on rice and beans until I am making money online.

  10. Phil September 2, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    ** Meant to say:

    “99% of the guys who would LIKE to generate income independently….”

  11. Jj September 2, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    What about an intelligent strategy to succeed after the approach?

    I have no problem walking up but I lose it and my mind runs so fast after an intial approach that the conversation dies.

  12. Mark September 2, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    Just read A Dead Bat in Paraguay… all I have to say is that you are authentic (I know that word is abused, but I mean it).

    As to this post, you are right. A little bit of flexibility is good, but it can easily lead to withy washiness.

  13. Tampa September 2, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    Every man should read this post before they put up a profile up on an online dating website.

    That’s what online dating is…. “a logical rationalization to leave instead of persisting” and meeting hot women in the flesh.

  14. J. Theory September 3, 2013 at 5:48 am

    I will pick pay Danish girls no matter what.



  15. Stevo September 3, 2013 at 5:52 am

    Good to see you’re back from the brink of apathy.

  16. Captain Gh September 3, 2013 at 6:19 am

    @3 nguyenimproved ( this will be a bit long, but you need some medicine like Patrice O’neal would say): You need to be careful with the rationalisations that you’re doing. I can tell you this as a black guy in one of the worse feminist city: Toronto.

    Pick up is all about you and you only. It’s about the best result that YOU can generate. What you did is tricky and common with really smart people that try PU. You talked about Fisto in that way to lower his value so that you’re own would be instantly raised. Don’t do it. It will lead you to you’re demise and on PUAHATE.COM too.

    Fisto is indeed a tall, handsome white guy picking up Thai women with his looks AND with his skills. His look were good given, but he still did the work to get out of the Matrix and lead his own life as a North American man.

    And as a handsome white guy, feminist HATE AND LOVE HIM AT THE SAME TIME. Those white guy that are in the game deserve some major kudos because they are the one that ARE EXPECTED TO MARY THESE NORTH AMERICAN WHALE. As a black men I ain’t expected to do shit ( and that’s another debate though).

    As a Thai man (I believe) you deserve it too. Fisto is the Michael Jordan of game. YOu and I won’t ever be like Mike, but we can still be a Scotty Pipen of Kobe Bryan!! Better than posting like a madmen of PUAHATE don’t you think?

  17. JJ September 3, 2013 at 7:05 am

    Why are SEA women a prize to be had?

    I’ve seen black women who look better. A lot of white women are ass backwards ignorant red necks- what is a more boring class of human being than that?

    There’s no love here for Latin or Eastern Europeans?

    Aren’t many Asian women passive in bed? Latina definitely aren’t.

    I’m with Roosh- Eastern European Non American is the way to go. The truth is most of America is boring ass like Ohio or The Deep South. I bet Roosh feels the same
    As everywhere you travel leaves a mark on you. I prefer the Westmcoast the Midwest and South are a joke and the weather and economics of the Arlantic sea board suck.

  18. nguyenimproved September 3, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    @17 captain gh. i hear where you’re coming from. i admire the guy’s energy and verve but to me what he’s doing has nothing to do with “game”. in the natural order of things a young fit handsome white upper class guy with enough disposable income to travel for months is EXPECTED to get a lower class 3rd world girl. It has nothing to do with ‘game’. i’m very beta and have bedded these same girls (obviously not as many but i would bet better-looking) doing nothing that would constitute ‘game’. if he could demonstrate sexing UP a level then the component needed for that could be defined as game.
    anyway each to their own i’m probably sore cos i’m asian and these are still my countrywomen. (well not the slutty thais but the viets)

    @18 jj SEA women on the whole aren’t that great. intellectually and physically they don’t compare to ee women. the exception would be vietnamese. thais are sluts and braindead. cambos are ultra-poor, nice but passive. japs and koreans have faces that look like pancakes with slits for eyes. i can see why roosh wouldn’t go for asian women. most in the media aren’t great and ee women have personality, put up with a lot of shit and have a depth to them.
    and i’m not talking about their vaginas.

  19. JJ September 3, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    It’s funny you put it that way bcuz I’m Latin and I think many Latinas are crazy, clu by, needy, and have some shit aesthetics. I hate the frizzy curly Latin hair (think To y Montana’s sister in “Scarface”).
    What about Indonesiannwomen? They look Rey exotic like Tera Patrick smooth exotic faces.

    I wod say that Asain women have a sexy feminine grace a out them that’s like 6th sense unexplainable. And Latinas have a firert passion about them and succulent hips that help.

    I think it’s really basic psychology for
    Me- I just like something different looking than myself.

  20. James September 3, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    Well I am studying Game and here is the course program I have devised. First I will do Man Transformation by David DeAngelo. Then Davids Advanced Dating,followed by RSD Foundations. Then its on to 11 Essentials by Love Systems.Daygame Blueprint will cover day game.Direct Dating Seminar(with David X and Roger Alan Currie) next to round out my education. I will also include Mark Cunninghams Ecology For Men,Beginning The Work & Beyond Seduction. I will study Sex God Method,Jason Julius’ Orgasm Blueprint,some Nina Hartley sex dvds,Trisatn Tarantino,and the Wecomed Method and of course the entire course of David Shade. Then i will be ready to make love! I better hurry,tho,as I am 58 years old. Any advice?

  21. James September 3, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    Fisto? Wasnt he the gay Marx Brother?

  22. A September 3, 2013 at 10:11 pm

    Damn, that was inspirational. Tight game strategy.

  23. Alexander September 8, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    Wondering, Are you ever going to Belarus?