Ep. #26 Step by Step Elimination of Approach Anxiety with Eric Disco
- "Approach Anxiety" is the No.1 reason men don't get success with women (What 7 years of coaching men to meet women showed me) (1:30).
- How to know what you need to study first is - basic fundamentals or more specific techniques? (4:08).
- Is Approach Anxiety the same for all men? Do all men have it? Do they have it the same way and have to fix it the same way? (6:30).
- How do you know that Approach Anxiety is the problem you have to focus to get better results? The hidden barrier to success (9:00).
- Approach Anxiety is FEAR. Understand how similar it is to other fears in your life in areas such as business, social, career and health (10:15).
- Using daytime approaching with steady steps to kill your approach anxiety in all situations and the problems men face when they try to get over approach anxiety at night in bars and clubs (12:50).
- How using new situations and places for your practice field works much better than using places and situations you know (14:30).
- How to build comfort in specific situations and places so that approach anxiety gradually fades away and disappears (16:00).
- Take consistency extremely seriously - it is essential to making progress (17:00).
- Living in smaller towns where you meet the same people a lot and how it can affect you (19:00).
- A story from the field: A recent potentially 'embarrassing' moment Eric Disco experienced approaching women (21:00).
- Overcoming typical embarrassing mistakes made when approaching women and not letting it increase your anxiety levels (22:30).
- Can you use negative emotions like anger to get past your approach anxiety? (23:00).
- An example of Angel Donovan's approach to overcoming Approach Anxiety and Eric Disco explaining how this can be useful or hurtful to other men trying to overcome their fear and nervousness of approaching women (24:30).
- Avoiding the same thought process and getting stuck in a loop of constantly dragging yourself down (27:30).
- Tackling the negative feelings you get when you try to approach or really approach women so they get processed healthily and don't affect your future attempts to approach women(29:00).
- Summary of Eric Disco's approach to killing off approach anxiety (30:00).
- How a case study from neuroscience - the Chinese conversion of U.S. military into communist advocates - shows you the effective approach to beating your fears (33:00).
- A brief introduction into exposure therapy and using it to overcome any fear (not just approaching and talking to women) (37:00).
- Every improvement you make to yourself relates to the same rule of 'stress' and 'recovery'. Steady exposure. (39:00).
- You are drawn and attracted to short term rewards. But aiming for the long term rewards is what actually gets the results (41:00).
- Good marketing is motivational - Marketing has a role in helping people to get motivated to overcome their fears such as approach anxiety, and taking on the challenge of improving their life in general (42:00).
- She's Six Steps Away reviewed by Jackson Hunter was awarded the Dating Skills Editor's Choice award as best product to help you beat approach anxiety and get good at approaching women (43:00).
- Not only does everyone get Approach Anxiety? Is it a normal challenge that everyone has to deal with and Why you ACTUALLY need it to become successful with women (43:00).
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Full Text Transcript of the Interview
[Eric Disco]: I am wonderful. How are you doing, Angel?
[Angel Donovan]: I'm doing great. It's great to have someone on the show who's obviously been around a bit. So you've seen a few different angles, obviously different methods and stuff, so that's always good to see a bit more rounded experience.
[Eric Disco]: Yup.
[Angel Donovan]: So let's start with a question to you because obviously you've been in companies dealing with approach anxiety. You're pretty focused on just one subject, which is approach anxiety. Now, why is that? What is it that became so important to approach anxiety? Was it something that you focused on since you've been working since like 2005 or is it something you found to become more important and decided to focus on later? And why was that, if so?
[Eric Disco]: I read The Game in 2005, and that got me all fired up to go out and meet women. And they had a technique that finally seemed like, wow, this is something possible to do, when previously I thought it was impossible. But then, once I went out and tried to talk to women, I found that I could not do it on my own, and of course, what it was was approach anxiety. And I eventually got coaching and met a lot of other different guys who were trying to go out and meet women, and for almost everybody it seemed that the main thing keeping them from going out and doing this and getting better was approach anxiety, was that they had too much fear to do it. It wasn’t that they were going out and doing it wrong or they had the wrong coaches or they were in the wrong program. It was that they simply could not go out and practice. This is like trying to learn how to play basketball and not being able to get onto the field in the first place, get onto the court in the first place, right? So the more I looked around, the more I realized, “Hey, I'm not the only one dealing with this.”
But there was also nobody really talking about this on a deeper level. You had Mystery saying, “Hey, just go out and do a thousand approaches,” but how can you go out and do a thousand approaches when you can hardly do one approach? And so nobody really had answer for “how do I get past this fear?” And so in 2007, I registered ApproachAnxiety.com, and I made it my life’s mission to figure this thing out and that this would be my contribution to this community of guys that are trying to get better with women.
[Angel Donovan]: Great we like to see focus. It brings specialism and a lot of perspectives into it. So like you've talked about a few of the ways that people say, some of the guys instructing say you should get past approach anxiety, right? You gave examples of Mystery with a thousand approaches and stuff like that. Now, as I was saying, your approach is a bit different. Can you talk about first the problems, like talk about some of the methods that you saw that are out there, some of the ways people say get over approach anxiety, and what might be the problems? Why might those not be the solution for people getting over this?
[Eric Disco]: So the main way I've found that people are trying to get past approach anxiety is they're trying to do it all at once. They’ll sign up for, say, a weekend workshop. And I used to coach guys in weekend workshops when I worked for Pickup 101. Most of the guys coming in, their main thing was that they couldn't approach women, and they were like, “Hey, you know what, I need to take a workshop to get past this.” So they come in for this workshop and we've got one weekend to get them past years’ worth of programming that’s preventing them from going out and talking with women.
So this is kind of like if you didn't know how to snowboard or ski and I took you to the top of the hardest slope on the mountain and said, “Alright, let's go in,” and I pushed you down the mountain. Yeah, you'll make it to the bottom of the mountain but, guess what, you're not going to have fun doing it and you're going to hate skiing after that. You're going to hate snowboarding because you're just going to be falling, you're going to be hurting yourself, and pretty soon you're never going to want to go back on that mountain again.
And that's what I've found with these guys. I could get them to approach in one weekend, but did they continue to approach after that weekend? And sadly, most of the guys did not. So I decided there's got to be a better way to do this, there's got to be a better way to help guys get past this. And so I set up a long-term coaching program where I met with guys for two-hour sessions, six two-hour sessions spread out over about two months or so, and every week they would come back, and instead of doing the hardest thing possible, “Hey, there's the girl, I’ll go approach her,” I took the approach, walk up to the girl and talk to her, and I broke it down into the simplest manageable steps possible that guys could practice over and over again, the easiest things possible that would help them get past their fear.
[Angel Donovan]: So would you say that it's always the same issue for everyone, or to people who are studying this and trying this, like trying to approach women, do they come across different barriers to being able to do this, for instance, different things that they're saying to themselves in their head which are preventing them? Or what else would be preventing them? Can it be pretty simple, everyone has the same problem, or is it a little bit divergent with different people getting blocked by different things going on inside them?
[Eric Disco]: I think it tends to be fairly similar. Different guys are already better at certain things and they may not need as much help in one area. But when you walk up to a woman, there are certain things that you need to do, and if you don’t do those things, you can't approach her. And these are physical things, the first step being you have to get out of your apartment. If you're sitting in your apartment, if you're not going out, you're not going to be able to even get in vicinity of those women. So you need to get out consistently, and then the next step is you need to get in her physical vicinity. In other words, if you're standing on the other side of the room just pacing back and forth, looking at her, I don’t care how your opener is, you're not going to be able to say anything from her on the other side of the room. So you need to get physically next to her, right?
So these are physical steps that every person has to go through, and you may be good at getting out, you may be good at physically positioning yourself next to her, or you may even be good at saying, “Hey, how do I get to Starbucks?” You may be fine with that, but then you're not good at the next step, which is staying in longer.
So yeah, guys have different issues, like somebody maybe grew up with no friends and doesn’t know how to start a conversation, or somebody may have grown up with a lot of friends, some girl friends, and they're a little bit more comfortable in the interaction, but still, everybody’s going through the same steps when you walk up to a woman and talk to her.
[Angel Donovan]: Okay, I've got another question. Like guys listening to this right now, how do they know that this is the biggest problem they have to work on? Are there specific questions that they can give an answer to, yes or no, which will tell them that, “Oh, this is the thing I should be focusing most of my energy on right now?” Because I think a lot of guys like to think, you know, anxiety isn't a nice word, right? In this society, anxiety means you're going to think of people who maybe have psychiatric disorders or are overly sensitive and things like that. Whereas in the context we're talking about it, it's actually very normal and almost everyone gets it to som extent. So, moving away from that, like I'm thinking some guys might be saying to themselves, “Hey, I don’t have this issue. This isn't the thing I need to work on.” But sometimes it may be actually the number one thing that they need to get fixed to start getting better results and getting satisfaction out of this. So are there typical things that they should ask themselves which will tell them that this is the number one thing they should focus on?
[Eric Disco]: Yeah, well, firstly, agree with you a hundred percent that everybody experiences fear and anxiety. Whenever you try and do something new that you were unable to do before—start a business, write a book, snowboard down a mountain—you're going to experience some fear and some level of inhibition, some part of you that says, “Hey, don’t do this. This is too scary.” Just by definition, when you challenge yourself and do something new, you're going to experience that. What I'm talking about here more specifically is getting into a conversation with a woman, going from, hey, there's a woman that I'm attracted to, say, either in a bar or what I prefer to work with guys a little bit more during the day, is you're sitting on the subway train and you see an attractive woman, can you start a conversation with that woman? Can you get into a normal conversation with her?
And there are other steps after that beyond what I teach. So there’s getting sexual. There's banter. There's… I do teach a little bit of deep connection in here. There are all these other things that you can wodd on, but you can't work on any of that other stuff if you're not comfortable simply getting into conversations with women. And this is what I find with most guys, is they see all these amazingly cute women every day and they can't practice just starting a conversation with her. So they're wondering, “What can I say that's really clever?” or “What can I say that's mor sexual? What can I say that's going to make her want to date me?” Well, guess what, you can't practice any of that stuff if you can't start a conversation with that woman, if you can't start a conversation with multiple women when you're out during the day.
[Angel Donovan]: Right, right. Totally. So would you suggest that people… You're talking about day or night, right?
[Eric Disco]: Right.
[Angel Donovan]: And basically night would mean bars and clubs, typically. Would you suggest that they start out in daytime scenarios, like general scenarios like shops, cafes, walking on the street, or going to bars and clubs at night, which is predominantly where people try to meet each other in most of society? Where you would suggest they start?
[Eric Disco]: Particularly for guys who do have a lot of inhibition with this stuff, I do recommend the daytime. Even though it can seem a little tougher at first, the environment tends to be more calm. It's less of a crazy environment. And once you start to get into it, it gets a little bit easier, and it's easier to go out every day and, say, take a walk around a supermarket or a park and try and start one, single interaction with a woman.
Now, there are other guys too, particularly guys who live in more like lower-population areas that might have trouble finding women to meet during the day, like people who don’t live in a city, and for those guys I would recommend going to bars because there are more women there. One thing that they might want to do though is try happy hour bars, which are less… You know, when you go out at 11 p.m. on a Friday night, you've got loud, loud places, the bass pumping [mimics bass sound], you know, and you have to yell to try and interact with a girl, and it's crowded with people and lights, and that does not tend to be the best environment for a guy with a lot of anxiety to get past his anxiety.
[Angel Donovan]: Yup, I totally agree with you there. So, a couple of more kind of deeper questions on this note. So do you think it's a good idea for them to start doing it in situations where they are comfortable? So by that I mean activities that they're kind of routinely doing or places that they kind of routinely go to? And the second part of my question is, if that is the case, is it a good idea to go places basically where they know people or should they try and go to places where they don't know anyone so that they don’t feel like it's having any social repercussions?
[Eric Disco]: Yeah, that's a great question. I feel like there are two different things. There are activities that you're truly interested in. Say you're interested in art or you want to take a class in salsa dancing, that kind of stuff is so important to enrich your life and have an interesting life. But I recommend that guys go to more mundane places consistently to meet women and to do it with strangers. Like you said, because with strangers there is a little bit more tension. And it does tend to be a little more tough at the beginning, but if you try and do this in places where you already know people, there's a lot riding on that. Think about, you know, an extreme example would be approaching somebody at work, right?
[Angel Donovan]: Mm-hmm.
[Eric Disco]: You try talking to a girl and you mess that up, you're going to have to see that girl every day. Whereas if you talk to a stranger, and you will mess this up—trust me, you'll mess it up—you never have to see that stranger again. You can start with somebody new next time.
And I also recommend going to places consistently so you start to get a little bit more comfortable in those places, say, going to a supermarket one day, then the next days go to a park, then the next day you go back to that same supermarket, and the next day you go back to that same park. When you start going back to a place regularly, you start to feel comfortable there. You feel like almost like it's your living room. And this is the first step, which is to feel comfortable at the location.
If you go to, say, into like a makeup store for women, you could also do that too, but the first time you're in a makeup store, if you try and talk to a woman in there, guess what? You're not even comfortable in that place. You're going to feel awkward in the first place. So first go back a couple of things, get comfortable in that place, and then start working on the next step.
[Angel Donovan]: Right, so you're talking about a gradual process really of acclimatization.
[Eric Disco]: Absolutely. Absolutely. You know, there are guys out there who—and this is everybody. This is me, too, you know. At the beginning, it's like, “I want to get motivated. I want to do this. I want to push through this.” And that motivation is great, it's good, but you're not going to get far if, say, you're a runner and you've never run before and you're like, “You know what, I want to be a great runner. I'm going to go out today and run 14 miles.” Guess what? You're not going to run 14 miles on the first day. In fact, you're going to get home after running three-quarters of a mile and you're going to be like, “Oh man, I suck. I'm the worst. I could only do three-quarters of a mile.” It's way better to go out, do a little bit every day, build up that social muscle, get comfortable a little bit at a time. And this is why I say that consistency is more important than motivation. Get out and do a little bit every day.
[Angel Donovan]: I 100% agree with you. Frequency is everything in changing your behavior. Anything has to be every single day. It's just a little bit every single day. It's definitely one of the main things I've seen over the years.
I wanted just to go back to, you know, you were talking about a couple of situations and not being around people that you might know. So I'm aware of… Like I’ll give a couple of examples of where I'm coming from. When I first got into this, after about a year I ended up in London, which is a metropolis. It's full of people, different people, and you literally… It's nearly impossible to run into the same people, okay? If you're out in a day or something like that. So I found it pretty easy to approach people. And I'm not saying I'm typical either. I think I found it a bit easier than other people for reasons we can talk about later that might be interesting, might give you ideas if people have different ways of approaching.
Anyway, but then I moved a bit later to Hongkong. Hongkong is a very small place. Pretty much after three months I was seeing all the same people all over the place, and I knew a lot of people. I’d be running into people all the time. That's kind of how small it is. And that was a very, very different environment because there were mistakes that happened where like I approached the same girl and I didn't remember, and so it's a potentially very embarrassing situation, especially if you're kind of anxious to start with. Or people would start looking at me, you know, because they’ve seen me talking to girls before. And when people start looking at you, you feel kind of like, “Oh, they're kind of looking at me,” and it puts a bit more pressure on the situation and you're more likely to feel anxiety.
So, you know, for guys… I'm just interested in kind of your perspective on this. For guys who are like in smaller places, because a lot of guys live in smaller places, how should they deal with that? And I've heard of people going to extremes where they decide to move to a metropolis because they want to get this part of their life fixed. Have you got any ideas or suggestions around this thing? Do you think it's an issue, like if I live in a small town or something like that?
[Eric Disco]: Yes, I do have some ideas about that, and I do agree one option for guys is to move to a larger metropolis depending on how serious they are about getting past this, but let me tell you a little story.
[Angel Donovan]: Sure.
[Eric Disco]: A couple of weeks ago I was out at a happy hour bar with some of my friends and there were four girls sitting this kind of booth table in this lounge, this kind of upscale lounge, and I was walking by with my friends and I turned to them and I decided to talk to them, and I said one of my usual openers, which is, “Hey guys, do you know if there's a zoo in Central Park?” And the girls are kind of like, “Blah, blah, blah.” “Like a big one, a small one?” They said, “Yeah,” and I'm like, “Okay, because I have some friends coming into town and I'm thinking about bringing them there.” Like, “Yeah, it's great.”
And then I joke, “I'm in the mood for penguins. Ever get in the mood for penguins?” And this is sort of one of my typical openers. And just then this waitress came over and started asking, “Do you guys want drinks? Blah, blah, blah…” And I wasn’t that into these girls. Like they were cute, but we kind of wanted to go to some other places to meet some other women. There weren't that many women in the place. So me and my friends were like, “Alright, see you guys later. We're on our way out.”
And we went to some other places, and about an hour later we came back, and I saw these same girls sitting over there, and so I walked up to them and I said, “Hey guys, do you know if there's a zoo in Central Park?” They were like, “What?” They started laughing and they were like, “You asked us that before.” And then I kept I going. I said, “Is it like a big one, a little one?” And the girl’s like, “Sit down. I told you he wanted to come talk with us,” right? So I sat down and started talking to these girls.
I did that on purpose, and the point behind this is that if you do say something to somebody again, and this has happened to me before, even during the day I’ll repeat an opener to the same girl that I've talked to before, I just kind of laugh it off. And you can pretend you meant to do it, that you were just kind of messing with them, that you're having fun, but the main thing here is how you take it. If you're like, “Oh man, I screwed up,” and scurry away with your tail between your legs, it sometimes happens, right? No matter how good you are, that's going to happen sometimes. If you can kind of have fun with it and pretend you meant to do it or just pretend you're just enjoying it, then they're usually okay with it too.
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah, yeah. I totally agree. Of course, the hard bit is getting to there, I guess, and different people handle it differently. So I want to talk to you a little bit about internal dialogue, because I can relate to you how I kind of first got into this and internal dialogue, which I think meant that approach anxiety was something I felt, but it didn't really affect me as in a lot of people. So maybe I'm not typical.
So, basically, when I did my first approach, I felt pretty much kind of sick to the stomach about it. And then, after that, I felt angry with myself. I've always been a bit of a perfectionist, and I felt angry with myself for being so kind of dumb about it. That was dumb, you know. It's no big deal. And that anger, I would use later to get it right and I’d go straight back in and talk to someone else, and it wouldn’t be an issue.
And this is kind of like a theme of a reaction, which would happen everywhere I went, right? When I went into a new place which I wasn’t used to, new country, or people reacting to me in different ways or whatever the situation was, it didn't go well the first time. It often doesn’t. Then I would react this way and just kind of like use some kind of internal anger to get back out there and make the second one work or the third one work. Really gave me this energy.
So I felt it was internal dialogue that was important to my development. What have you seen about internal dialogue? Are there different ways guys react to situations that help them or don’t help them? Do you teach anything around this area?
[Eric Disco]: That's actually really interesting what you said, and I'm curious, what sort of things would you say to yourself? Like let's say you talk to somebody and it didn't work out, what kind of things would you say to yourself afterward?
[Angel Donovan]: It's just I've always been focused on success, and in a way I've been kind of arrogant about it, you know, at school and stuff I've done pretty well. And it's happened before like when I messed up—I’ll just give you an example. When I messed up when I was 18 with my exams because I spent all of the time with my first girlfriend and basically not doing any work, but still thinking I was going to do straight A’s and I didn't at all, I just felt like the biggest idiot in the world and I told myself I was, right? And that's basically… And I've had a huge regret that I carried around for years. I carry regret around for many years if I've done something wrong. So it makes it very painful to me when I make mistakes.
So I guess it comes from that. It's like something I'm going to remember. And often when I see something that's simple, so you know, walking up to someone and talking to them looks pretty simple and you don't think it should be a big issue, right? Once you've got that in your head, once I had that in my head, I’d be just like, “Come on, you're retarded,” you know? “What are you doing? What’s your problem?” I'd be saying these kind of things and I'd be just like, you know, “Just sort it out. That was awful.” So it's pretty straightforward the way I kind of attack myself.
[Eric Disco]: So my opinion about that is I think that sounds like it works for you. One thing I would be careful of with that for most guys is this, is what you do after the approach or after the failure or even after the success, the process that you go through internally after that is just as important as the process that you go through before you approach her. So let's say I'm trying to get myself to do this whatever step on that, it's really tough for me to ask somebody for directions but I'm going to do this, and I finally get to that step but it took a lot of internal wrangling to finally do that. Let's say I get a bad reaction from her and she's like, “Oh, get out of here, weirdo,” like, “Why don’t you go look on a map,” whatever, and they're usually not that… But the way I deal with that is just as important because what most guys do is there's this tendency to think about it a lot. It's called shame, and you start to replay that in your head, right?
[Angel Donovan]: Mm-hmm.
[Eric Disco]: It's a social emotion where you're condemning yourself. You feel like everyone else is condemning you, that you're an idiot or a loser, and you start to replay that in your head. You might think about it for a few minutes afterwards and feel really awful, then 10 minutes later you'll think about it again, then an hour later you'll think about it again, and what you're doing is your body is trying to process that. It's trying to process that negative thing, but it can't. It can't process it, and so you get stuck in this loop of constantly dragging yourself down, of making yourself feel terrible, and you keep reigniting that same terrible feeling. And what’s going to happen is next time you go and do the same thing, you're going to have even more fear and more anxiety because you didn't process it correctly last time.
So what you want to do is after the interaction—you can still feel weird even if it goes well—is really focus on, number one, understanding your feelings. Like when those feelings come up, just acknowledging them, “Wow, I feel this way,” listening to your thoughts, “Wow, I just called myself a loser, interesting,” and not letting that cycle of negative thoughts and feelings start to build up, and really notice what you're feeling, you can even use some positive affirmations to remind yourself that, “Hey, you know what? I'm a great person, I'm better than this, I'm going to learn how to do this,” those reminders can help you, but the most important thing is to be aware of those feelings. “What am I going through? What am I feeling?” You could even talk to friends about that to feel better about it. If you want, you could get a therapist, even talking about it. I still get… Once in a while I’ll get like a weird blowout and it makes me feel bad, but it's crucial that I process that in some way afterward instead of just letting it build up.
[Angel Donovan]: Great, great. That gives a pretty good overview of how guys should be tackling the way they think about this. So I've thrown a few things at you from my experiences, but what I'd really like to get from you is like, say, the most important things you think guys should be doing to get over their approach anxiety or your way of doing it. What is your way exactly of doing it, if you didn't describe it kind of succinctly?
[Eric Disco]: Sure. So there are a few primary things we want to understand which I think we touched on a little bit, which is understanding your thoughts, understanding your feelings, and realizing that just because you are feeling those feelings and thinking those thoughts doesn’t mean that there's something wrong with you. In fact, if you're going out and doing something like this, you are going to experience possibly even some more anxiety and emotions than you would've otherwise. Just sitting in your bedroom reading, you're not going to feel very many thoughts and emotions.
So the most important part here is taking physical action, okay? And there are certain steps that you want to take that's going to allow you to get comfortable starting conversations with women, and the first step is getting to places where, there might be women consistently, getting out of your house and getting to those places, getting comfortable in those places. And you're going to do that for a while first before you interact with anyone.
The next step is positioning yourself next to women when you see them. When you see an attractive woman, for most guys their first instinct is think about it. What do I do? What do I say? So they stand on the other side of the room and they sit down and they think. And this is really what we want to eliminate, is all that thinking.
So the next step is, whenever you see an attractive woman, you're going to to automatically put your feet in motion and get in her vicinity. You're going to do it casually. You're going to find a reason to get over there so it's not like you're standing there facing her all weird. Maybe if you're in a bookstore you're going to pick up a book next to her, or if you're in a supermarket you're going to pick up something off the shelf next to her, or if you're at a train station you're going to go over and look at a map. You're training your body—and this is one of the most important parts here that people forget about—you're training your body to take action every time you feel attraction. So instead of thinking every time you feel attraction, you're taking action. So you're not going to talk to her in this step yet. You're just going to practice that over and over again. And this is huge for a lot of guys.
So once you're comfortable taking action every time you see a girl, the next step is you're going to simply say something to her and walk away. So it may be, “Hey, have you tried this pasta?” pick up a can of pasta off the shelf, or, “Hey, do you know if this train goes to 14th street?” and you're not going to continue the interaction, okay? You're going to limit yourself purposefully. I don’t care if she's super-cool to you. I don’t care if she's super-mean to you. However she responds, you're going to say, “Oh okay, thank you,” and you're going to walk away. Now, what this does is it builds up an outcome independence. You do this over and over again, and after a while you're not as worried about her initial reaction.
The next step is to start to stay in longer. So I'm not going to go into each and every step, but there are a few more steps after that. The next step after you start to get comfortable staying in longer is to get personal with her.
[Angel Donovan]: Mm-hmm.
[Eric Disco]: Right? And that’s a big one for guys too, is going from just talking about this can of pasta to talking about her as a person, and a lot of guys get stuck at that step, right? So there are steps, there are different challenges and fears at every level that guys need to deal with, but they can work on each of those levels and get comfortable with each of them before moving on to the next one.
[Angel Donovan]: You know, I love your approach to this. It's something that is actually pretty clear but it's the way to tackle that's… because if you look into psychology and some of the great things they're doing in different cases or in extreme cases with people or difficulties, it's always a gradual approach. And one kind of extreme example springs to mind, and if it works in more extreme situations, of course, use this kind of situation to get positive results.
So way, way back like 50 years ago, some American soldiers were captured—and this is kind of like a case that's brought up in a lot of like neuroscience books and psychology books—I think by the Chinese or the Koreans, I can't actually remember who, and what they did is they wanted to convert them to communism. So it was probably the Chinese, come to think of it. And what they basically—I don't know if you've heard this story before?
[Eric Disco]: No, I don't think I have.
[Angel Donovan]: Okay, so these guys, obviously they’ve got completely the opposite way of thinking, and you think you'd never be able to convert them to loving communism and going back to US and basically starting to promote communism back home. But what they did is they took a very gradual process, and they would go in there the first day and they'd just say, “Can you just write me down something about communism? Just anything you want.” The next day they would be like, “Okay, so what things about communism aren't the worst things in the world, maybe they're bad, but they're not really, really bad?” And the next day they'd get like, “So what is it about communism that's okay? There must be some parts of it… Are there any bits of it you think they're just okay, anything about society, the way it works?” And they would gradually keep pushing it, pushing it towards good, right? Lifting and lifting bar, lifting the bar. And I'm not sure how long it took them, but basically they sent the soldiers back to the US and they were fully converted.
[Eric Disco]: [Laughs]
[Angel Donovan]: They were promoting communism and they had been completely brainwashed. So it's a very famous kind of case study of conditioning, right? So, obviously we're more interested in self-conditioning than in conditioning others, but I just think it shows what a gradual approach can do versus trying to push someone’s face, which, as you've said, some of these approaches that have been used to get over approach anxiety have been pretty much like push your face in it, and it tends to generate a rejection from us in ourselves. It's like, “Well, that's way too high and I’ll never be able to do that, and it's unsurmountable if it's taken at that level.”
[Eric Disco]: Absolutely, and I love that word that you used, conditioning, because this actually does come from grounded psychology, which is called exposure therapy, and it's sort of like what you talked about with this, which is, you know, if you've got a fear of heights, the first step is actually just to mentally think about, wow, you know, going to the top of a tall building and learn to understand and feel your feelings. The next step is to maybe stand at the bottom of the stairs. The next step is to walk up two stairs, and then walk up a whole flight, right?
And you're not doing it all in one day. You're doing a little bit every day, and in between each day your body is acclimating to it kind of like if you did a workout, right? When you do a workout, let's say you hit the gym and you benchpress, right? There are little micro-tears in your muscle, and then over the next day or two your body repairs itself and gets stronger. And that's kind of how exposure therapy works, is you do a little bit, and then your body digests that. Your body gets comfortable with it and says, kind of like the communism thing, “Oh, you know what? There is something good about communism. Okay.” And so the next time you're ready for a little bit more, and you're conditioning your body to accept that.
[Angel Donovan]: You know, that's great that you kind of brought a biological angle to this, just talking about weights, for example, because I've kind of really heavily gotten into that kind of stuff lately, and it's pretty much it the way everything in our body works, right? It's all about exposure and response to that in gradual steps. It's kind of like about stress stimulus and recovery, every adaptation we have, every sickness we recover from, every improvement that we make to ourselves whether it's physical or it's mental, which is kind of all the same thing. So it's the main mechanism in a way in biology and that sort of thing. So it's an inescapable rule, really.
[Eric Disco]: Yeah, and if I could jump in one moment, there's a tendency, especially because these feelings are so overwhelming, there's a tendency for guys to want to get this over with, to just do as much as they…
[Angel Donovan]: Mm-hmm.
[Eric Disco]: And that doesn’t work.
[Angel Donovan]: Right.
[Eric Disco]: The slower process is always better.
[Angel Donovan]: Right, totally. And you know, unfortunately, often a lot of the dating advice can promise to be a bit of… It's like a magic pill, right? It's going to solve all your problems, which isn't true, as you seem to know too, just isn't the case. It's going to take a little bit of work. Most of us are programmed to work on the short-term. We want a short-term fix. We want our caffeine in the morning to feel good and awake. We want some chocolate or some junk food to feel good for five seconds instead of eating something healthy. So we're often drawn to the short-term benefits rather than long-term benefit, which is junk food – feel good right now, healthy food – feel good for the rest of the year or in six months when I've got all the bad stuff out my system or whatever. So you know, as humans, I think we all know that we're very much influenced towards the short-term and focused on that rather than long-term, whereas often the long-term is the approach to get the best success, even though you're going to have to wait a few more months to actually get those results, so it seems so far, far away and harder.
[Eric Disco]: Yeah, and you know, as a guy who, you know, I recently released this product and I started doing marketing…
[Angel Donovan]: Mm-hmm.
[Eric Disco]: I'm sure you see this all the time, that unfortunately part of the marketing is guys like to read about this quick fix stuff, which is why I'm really glad there's a site out like what you guys do, because there's just so much crap out there to wade through and it's so good to see somebody actually reviewing this stuff and separating the wheat from the chaff, what works, what’s just marketing bullcrap.
[Angel Donovan]: Thanks, man. Appreciate the… We try to do our best. Oh, I will say like marketing is helpful to create a sense of urgency for some people, you know, to get started. Without getting started, you're not going to get anywhere. So although I don’t think it's good to promise magic bullets and all of that, you have to get people, how do you say, motivated, right? So good marketing in this area I think is motivational, and that's probably the best thing, and of course follow up with an excellent product, which solves the problem.
[Eric Disco]: Right.
[Angel Donovan]: Right. So it's a difficult line to walk, I think, which is what we see around us. But there's some very good stuff, and of course, some bad stuff, and it's a big market. And I'm glad to say we thought your stuff was really, really good, excellent. And we gave it the editor’s choice awards. So the people out there don't know that. Editor’s choice is basically we take one product which we think is the best for one specific problem which people have to get over, one specific issue. So, in this case, we've chosen Eric’s book, Six Steps Away.
[Eric Disco]: She's Six Steps Away, yeah.
[Angel Donovan]: She’s Six Steps Away, as the best product if you want to get over approach anxiety. And I know, you know, Jackson reviewed it, it wasn’t me, but he found that it is very practical and it's got the ebook, but it's also got some audio interviews and stuff. It works out really well like that. So for guys who are really interested in this, check out the review to learn more about that.
So I just want to come back to what we were talking about really, the question and to clarify it more – is anxiety normal?
[Eric Disco]: Yes.
[Angel Donovan]: Like everyone has it…
[Eric Disco]: I'm sorry, you just broke up. Could you repeat that again?
[Angel Donovan]: Is anxiety normal for everyone? And so everyone that's listening right now, you should be feeling it to some extent, right? And don’t feel like you're a subsection of guys. So, approach anxiety, should we think of it as something that's normal and that is a normal challenge that you have to learn to deal with, everyone has to learn to deal with?
[Eric Disco]: Yeah, absolutely. And not only is it normal, it's critical. You need it. You need that bit of excitement, that arousal, when you're doing something that interests you. If you know no longer feel that excitement when you're doing something, guess what? You're bored and you're not going to like it anymore. So you need some of that.
The problem is when it's overwhelming, is doing too much at once. Then your body gets locked up. You get too much tension. You get bad reactions from people. When you do a little bit, you can learn to enjoy that excitement, which is basically anxiety at smaller levels, and it tends to become part of you and it helps your interactions, it helps you to perform better.
[Angel Donovan]: Mm-hmm. Totally. I just wanted to bring up something. I'm guessing you probably read this way back. It's David Deida in one of his books. He says like as we go through life, we're not living unless we're living on our edge, out of our comfort zone, basically when we're feeling anxiety, right? And that we're not actually being a man unless we're living on that edge and we're feeling anxiety. So he takes it from kind of, you know, everyone has anxiety and feels normal to you're not being successful in life unless you're feeling anxious.
And I thought this was very true because what I've seen for people who are very successful and you look, you know, like for me, nothing or whoever. So I'm looking at the business world, for example. To take an example, you take Donald Trump or whoever, you see the… I feel one of the reasons that they get good is because they need higher levels of anxiety or higher levels of… I’d say it's that way. They need higher levels of discomfort around them, uncomfortable and high-pressure situations to feel anxiety, to feel like they're on the edge, which is why they keep upping the game, upping the game, right? Even when sometimes there's no one else around. So the very best people, they don’t need someone else to kind of show them that there's a high level to go to. They’ll create that higher level for themselves and get better because they stop feeling anxiety to a certain extent, because they’ve done in enough times and now they're like, “Oh, I actually feel like I need more anxiety to know that I'm being successful and I'm pushing the edge.” How do you feel about that?
[Eric Disco]: Yeah, that's great. And one thing to keep in mind with this is that these are slowly upping their excitement levels over the years so that they do need more and more and that they excel more and more, they're putting that anxiety and that excitement in the right direction, and I like something you said, is that that anxiety, those feelings, are an indicator that they are doing something right. In other words, “If I go out and I don’t feel any excitement, if I don’t feel something, I know that I'm probably not challenging myself enough and that there's some way I can challenge myself more. So I need some of that excitement when I go out and I talk to women.”
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah. Well, I love how you said anxiety is excitement, and I remember that that's one of the first things I thought about this whole thing and got me interested in it. Like when I first read about this from Maniac High in Japan in 2001, he's kind of the guy who got me into this when I read something online that I got into, and he had these field reports and stuff that he'd been doing, and I was like, “Wow, what an adventure. That was like fun,” right? And I was kind of bored, I guess. I wasn’t on my edge in my career. I'd gotten to a point where I was just doing okay, and there really wasn’t anything else to do at that point. So I kind of got a bit disinterested with that, and it was the perfect thing to start investing my time. It was like an adventure and excitement again. And you know, it's just another way of looking at anxiety. If you can have adventure, if you can excitement, it's actually anxiety to a certain extent.
[Eric Disco]: Yeah, that's great.
[Angel Donovan]: Well, man, this has gone a little bit longer, but I felt the conversation was really useful to the guys out there. So, you know, we went on for a bit. So I hope this has all been useful to you guys. Eric, did you have anything to say before we sign off here?
[Eric Disco]: No, I just wanted to let guys know about my website, which is ApproachAnxiety.com, and you can also find the book at ShesSixStepsAway.com.
[Angel Donovan]: Great, great. Yeah. And on the podcast page, there are links towards that and some profiles and more information on Eric Disco and what he's been up to, so you should be able to find all of that stuff pretty easy. Eric, I want to thank you a lot for coming on today. It's been a pleasure speaking to you.
[Eric Disco]: Cool. Thanks for having me on, Angel. I appreciate it.
[Angel Donovan]: Alright, man. Hope we get a chance to meet up sometime.
[Eric Disco]: Yeah, sounds good. Let me know when you're in New York. We'll meet up for a drink.
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DSR Podcast is a weekly podcast where Angel Donovan seeks out and interviews the best experts he can find from bestselling authors, to the most experienced people with extreme dating lifestyles. The interviews were created by Angel Donovan to help you improve yourself as men - by mastering dating, sex and relationships skills and get the dating life you aspire to.
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