“Circumstances-what are circumstances? I make circumstances”
― Napoleon Bonaparte
When I stayed in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, I was friends with a cool Italian guy. He was from Southern Italy, but you didn’t need me to tell you that: he looked and acted like a typical Southern Italian guy: short, olive skin, curly black hair, and lots of street smarts. He was an awesome guy to hang out with mainly because he was always in a contagiously good mood. He loved striking up conversations with everyone, especially with beautiful young women. Waitresses, bartenders, hostesses, and random girls walking on the street were always his favorite targets. Unfortunately, as stipulated by the law of averages, most of the approaches resulted in a rejection. After yet another beautiful Brazilian girl smiled and declined, my Brazilian friends and I began calling him the ‘King of Rejections.’
Every joke, especially when referring to a good friend, is usually half joke and half respect. True, he was a bit goofy and wasn’t exactly a smooth seducer, but he made it up in having guts. He acted on his desires and went for the things he wanted. Why? Because he was living firmly in the present. For him, there was no tomorrow — if he saw a cute girl he’d talk to her that very moment. If he had a business idea, he’d get a website up immediately. That last part is important because I noticed that most guys are completely the opposite: they’re living in some distant idealistic future filled with mythical happiness yet mysteriously free of pain and rejection.
There are two types of men out there. First, they are men who do stuff in the present — as in last month, last week, yesterday, today, and this very moment. They go out. They approach. They get rejected. They start businesses. They learn. They fail. They learn more. They try again. They make some money. They read books. They write books. They travel. They move to other countries. They learn languages. They push and pull. They view the world as their personal playground, to constantly learn and improve. In other words, they live their life.
Then they’re men who aren’t living at all. Well, at least not living their present lives. Their current lives are on hold, in some semi-permanent state of flux, like clothes flailing on a drying rope, as though they’re waiting for something to come to them. That’s okay because in their future lives they will miraculously get everything they want: gorgeous women, lots of success and never-ending happiness. They believe there are shortcuts and secrets to having a good life. They refuse to slug it out and see, learn and touch things for themselves. One of their most favorite activities is to live vicariously through others, as observed by their constant inquiries as to what it’s like in exotic foreign countries like Spain, Ukraine, Brazil, Colombia or Romania.
They’re not do-ers. They’re not men of action. They’ve buried themselves deep into some fantasy la la land consisting of a rosy future that’s never too far away. Well, you know what? All of that is nothing more than elaborate rationalizations so artistically constructed in order not to face the bleak present day reality. Because these rationalizations are so elaborate, the men are actually believing that they’re real. The truth is if you’re not a man of action today, then I highly doubt you will suddenly become a man of action tomorrow, even should anything substantial change, like waking up in Copenhagen, Bangkok or Cape Town. Men who do get shit done don’t speak in the language of excuses or rationalizations.
When I was in Brazil, I met and went out with guys from many different nationalities. Some guys absolutely killed it in the bars, clubs, and even on the streets, while other guys languished behind looking lost and wondering what to do. For a long time I wondered why that was. How can anyone be so clueless when surrounded by the world’s sexiest and beautiful women, women who are very approachable as well? I soon found out.
I met a young Spanish guy at my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training on his second day in Brazil. His first few week was hectic; he was trying to rent an apartment, get a cell phone, and learn a bit of Portuguese. Then, once the dust settled, he looked at me and said, “Okay, now I need to get laid!” That same night he went out and took a lucky girl home.
I realized right away that this guy wouldn’t have a single problem in the samba clubs of Rio de Janeiro because everything about him demonstrated nothing less than a go-getter attitude. Everything about him screamed, “I get shit done!” This is a man who lives in the present, always finding a way to grab what he wants. I don’t think I’ve once heard him utter a single lame excuse or a rationalization.
The proof is in pudding: he bought a one-way plane ticket, got a sweet pad, and swiftly settled into his new life in Brazil. While he wasn’t exactly cleaning up in Madrid (according to him, Spanish girls aren’t the easiest), he was still always playing the hand he was dealt; he was still going out and making the best of the situation in his home country.
The ability to get shit done is not something you suddenly “discover” at some point in time in the future. Drive and ambition must always come from within, chiefly because you want something bad enough. Changing your environment is a crucial thing that every man must do, but it will always be the men of action who will benefit the most. If you’re not confident right now; if you can’t make eye contact with the cute barista in Starbucks; if you can’t strike up an innocent conversation with a girl next to you in a coffee shop; if you can’t go out alone; if you can’t start asking for money by selling something online, then why would things suddenly change in Serbia, Argentina or Malta? Because the girls are brunettes or blondes or taller or shorter or of different skin color? Because they’re “less distractions”? Because you’re a unique snowflake? Because you say so? In fact, I can argue that everything will be more difficult because you’ll be a permanent outsider, not speaking the language and not knowing the culture.
I’ve been in New York for the past several months, and even though I absolutely detest the culture (or lack of it), which I believe is corrosive to the human soul and spirit, I haven’t put my life on hold. While I categorically refuse to destroy my liver in the male-dominated bars, I still force myself to day game at coffee shops or in the libraries. I toss my bait into the sea and wait for the fish to bite. The signature of a great man is the ability to always play the hand he’s dealt.
Another one of my good friends is a guy I met in an Ipanema hostel in Rio de Janeiro on my very first night there. A fellow road junkie, he also quit his job and decided to backpack across South America. Over the next several months he became one of my most trusted wingmen. So, when I finally met him again last weekend in a Brooklyn bar, I expected lots of catching up and reminiscing. We sit down and the waitress comes over to get our orders. Never a man to miss an opportunity, he makes a flirty comment about her big blue eyes. She smiles. Twenty minutes later he strikes a conversation with another girl at the bar.
“Man, I came here to reminisce about our times in Brazil, but my friend is already hitting on some chick,” I remember thinking to myself.
Sure, he loves Brazil or Colombia more, but just because he’s not there now doesn’t mean he should be in a paralyzed state. He’s going out, rolling with the punches, bravely approaching women whose pussies he wants bad enough to demolish. Note what he doesn’t do: he doesn’t sit around and wait for things to come to him. He may love Colombia more than US, he may love Brazilian women more than American women, but just because he’s not in paradise doesn’t mean he needs to lock himself in his room and wait for the pain to pass. Just like Napoleon, he creates his own circumstances.
Remember my Italian friend? I joked that he’s the “King of Rejection,” yet he’s also that guy who will approach and have sex with the girl you dream of kissing while you sit there brainstorming the “perfect” opener. He’s the type of guy who will be running a multimillion dollar business while you endlessly jerk off to money-making blogs, looking for someone to “mentor” you. He’s the type of guy who already learned five languages and lived in ten countries, while you’re still wondering when — or if — to buy that one-way ticket to Latin America. He’s the type of guy who is always living his life to the absolute fullest while you’re wondering if you already hit your peak or not. You see a pattern? No? Here it is: he’s a do-er, not a dreamer. A king of rejection is still a king after all.
My own life has similar parallels. Before Brazil I was living in the most anti-masculine place on the planet: San Francisco, California. I hated it with all my heart, body and soul, but that still didn’t preclude me from trawling the streets and looking for yesterday’s fish. I put up with a lot of bullshit from mediocre women in their late 30s wearing colorful tube socks who somehow always felt that I was beneath them. I wan’t getting laid like a rockstar, but I was getting fed. So when I landed in Rio, I went on a rampage spree and duly pillaged half the city. God bless Brazil for making me regain faith in the human spirit, but I didn’t exactly arrive a hermit who never touched a woman before. I simply transplanted myself to a more conducive environment where gorgeous women love to be fucked by masculine men with big balls.
Being a man of action allows you to appreciate the new environment much more than if you’ve never earned your dues. It’s like starting a new business in a different market with five other past businesses under your belt (business and game are two sides of the same coin). I cannot tell you how much fun it was to street game in Bulgaria and Romania when I already had experience gaming Brazilian women on the sands of Rio’s beaches or complimenting a gorgeous Colombian girl on her beautiful dark brown eyes on a TransMilenio bus in Bogotá. I wasn’t simply learning from scratch, I was already comparing my mental notes from what I learned in my previous countries — that’s when game becomes fun and addictive, not when you’re nervous about approaching your first girl.
I no longer keep in touch with the Italian guy. I have no idea what he’s up to these days. But one thing’s for sure: he’s living his life to the absolute fullest without waiting for someone else to hand it to him on a silver platter.
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James Maverick used to work in a cubicle as a code monkey in Silicon Valley. Then, in 2007, he quit his job and a one-way ticket to Brazil. Ever since, he continued to travel, visiting over 85 countries and living in more than a dozen of them. He loved his location-independent lifestyle and has no plans to live in America.