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For over a decade, David Tian, Ph.D. — a uniquely qualified therapist, life coach, and former university professor — has coached tens of thousands of people from over 87 countries to achieve happiness and success in their relationships, dating, psychology, and lifestyle.

Dr. Tian has been featured in international media, as well as co-hosting a radio show on national radio and a weekly dating advice column in a national newspaper in Singapore.

The show, “Man Up: Masculinity for the Intelligent Man” (, is David’s way of helping as many people as possible enjoy empowering and fulfilling lives, while contributing to the global understanding of masculinity in modern times. In the show, he takes your questions posed in the Man Up private Facebook group ( and answers based on his experience coaching tens of thousands of students around the world for over a decade.

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“The Man Up Show” Ep.03 – Is Working On Yourself Better Than Doing Cold Approaches?

Is Cold Approaching Worth It?

  • David Tian Ph.D. says that working on yourself is necessary to becoming an attractive man because it kills your neediness.

  • When you’re fulfilled in your own life, David Tian Ph.D. explains that this will make it easier for you to interact with women and to attract women.

  • David Tian Ph.D. tells men to learn to talk to everyone so when it comes to talking to an attractive female it won’t seem like that big of a deal anymore.

In this episode, we talk about whether working on yourself is better than doing cold approaches.

[Intro music]

Masculinity for the Intelligent Man. I am David Tian, Ph.D., and this is: Man Up!

[Fade music]

Welcome to Man Up, episode 3. Today we got a question from Daryl and it says, “My friends keep saying that they’ve transcended cold approaching and are instead working on themselves to become better men. And they say they don’t need to do cold approaches anymore. What do you think of this?” All right, great question, Daryl. It’s a little bit tough to answer because working on themselves means a lot of different things to different people.

It could mean – well some of the more common things it could mean is that they are trying to make more money. So in places like Singapore or finance driven places like Hong Kong or New York, working on yourself, for a man, often means moving up in his career or starting a company, just trying to make money. They think that the reason why they don’t have enough women or they can’t be more attractive is because they don’t have enough money. And this is a very pernicious myth out there. I’ll tell you right away that that is false.

What money can actually do is make things a little bit more difficult because it won’t be clear whether women like you for your money or for you. When you get more money, it’s one of those things where you should – if just to test people – you should hide how much money you have.

So the guys who are insecure about how much money they have are the ones who are showing it off a lot. The other thing about this is – again the value systems, we talked about that in episode 1 – but also this issue of working on yourself can also include good things. You can make a lot of money but are you going to be happier, are you going to be more fulfilled? That’s another way to think about working on yourself.

Some guys mean that they’re going to the gym and they’re getting back in shape. Some guys mean they take up more hobbies; they’ve been doing things that they’ve been putting off for a long time. They travel more, they take more time for themselves in the sense of they have been meaning to go and travel and haven’t done that – and that’s time for themselves.

Maybe they treat themselves better like they go get a massage, they take more time to watch a movie or they read that book that – they haven’t read books in years so they take this time to read a book. They’re vastly different things, right? And the result in the end could be that vastly different.

It also is important why you’re doing those things. Are you doing it just to attract women? And if you are then maybe that’s okay just to get you started, but if you keep hanging on to that at the forefront of your mind, your actual motivation for doing it, then it’s still going to make you needy.

You’re still going to have that neediness in you. So the one reason why working on yourself is necessary to becoming an attractive man is because it kills your neediness. Because what it should be doing is making you fulfilled in yourself so that you don’t need the validation or approval of women for you to feel worthy of for you to feel loved. You find that already within yourself, within your own life.

When you’re fulfilled in your own life, it makes it so much easier to interact with women and to attract women, so much easier. It’s always something you should be doing anyway. You should always be treating yourself well and taking time for yourself and so on.

But should you stop doing cold approaches? Let’s talk about this. The way I see it, right, is whatever it is that you’re working on for yourself – and I’m going to bracket the making more money thing – all of the other things that make you feel better and make you healthier and make you more fulfilled and happier and enjoying life more, all those things are a really good foundation.

They’re a necessary foundation for being attractive. So if you’re not attractive or you’re not leading an attractive lifestyle or you have an unattractive personality – just going out and doing cold approaches will just end up making you bitter. So you’ve seen this already, if you’re watching this on YouTube, you’ve probably have come across all those news reports of bitter men doing cold approaches and lashing out at women when the women don’t respond well. And that’s the result.

Guys who are not emotionally healthy are going out there and now getting rejected and getting even more negative feedback and getting more bitter.

So if you’re enjoying life then cold approaching is easy. And if you’re going to places in the world that you enjoy – for instance, I know a lot of nice guys – and there are a lot of pseudo nice guys, fake nice guys – but there are also a lot of well meaning guys. A lot of well-meaning guys who want to be a good person.

But then they find out from the internet, like PUAs (pickup artist) or whatever, that they need to go to clubs to cold approach, that they need to stalk women on the streets in order to get love. They’ve got to do that- go to hit the streets or hit the clubs – to get you know, to get women. So they start doing cold approaches there and what happens is because their lifestyle and their values don’t match that venue, they’re not going to do well.

If they want to do well there, they have to change their lifestyle and values.

Often, especially for the night life, that can be a bad thing. So a guy who had a really good routine, a guy who loved his kids or an older guy, starts going to night clubs and then stays out every night ‘til 4 a.m., walking up to 19 year old girls – or 21 year old girls in America – and getting rejected over and over and over.

A guy who is otherwise an upstanding beta male – like a guy who is a really great doctor, maybe he worked with Doctors Without Borders, like some of my clients. When maybe he’s a non-profit lawyer and during the day he’s got a lot of meaning in his life, does a lot of great things. Maybe taking even businessmen, just because you have a lot of money it doesn’t give you game, doesn’t give you the ability to get into flow with a woman or to even understand her psychology.

So take a guy like that and you put them in a more juvenile setting like a College bar and what happens? He’s going to have to give up his values and lose himself there in order to win that game. Otherwise he’s going to have to reject his values or otherwise he’s going to have to change himself and that’s a real shame. You shouldn’t have to do that. In fact, he doesn’t have to do that.

If instead, he’s just living his life and going to places – let’s say he likes to read books in a café and goes to the café – and talks to people there then it’ll be so much easier because it’s congruent with his values and his lifestyle. If that is where you’re doing your cold approaches – by the way, cold approaches is simply starting conversations with strangers and in this context starting conversations with attractive female strangers – then yeah, you should be able to do that.

That’s something that every adult male should be able to do. First of all, be able to start conversations with strangers, “Hi, excuse me I have a question for you.” Just stuff like that like, “That’s an interesting pair of shoes, where did you get those?” – Just being able to start a conversation, that’s just something that mature adults should be able to do. And if it’s a conversation with an attractive female, it will go badly if he’s needy. And how do you know if he’s needy? Well, if he needs her validation or approval for her to like him.

How does he get rid of that neediness? There’s a whole process that we cover in Limitless, that I cover in my live events, that I cover in almost all my programs because that’s the most important first step – to address your neediness. The first step of addressing your neediness is starting in your day-to-day life, leading a lifestyle that you really enjoy and are passionate about and that you find meaning in.

If that’s the case then working on yourself is always a good thing; you should always be doing it. Should that mean that I go to the gym and don’t talk to anyone there, I go traveling by myself, I read books that I’ve been meaning to read by myself, I take MMA classes with only dudes, does that mean that’s going to make me really good with women? No, it won’t make you good with women! It will make you jacked, happy but it won’t make you good with women right way. You won’t get any experience interacting with them.

So if that’s what working on yourself means, do that alongside of – also in the places that you naturally go to while you’re leading the life you like – talking to people, just talk to everyone. Because if you get used to just talking to everyone – whether they’re guys or girls, old men, old ladies, kids, whatever – if you just talk to everyone, then when it comes to talking to an attractive female it won’t seem like that big of a deal anymore.

Because it’s just another person and it’s easier to just roll right into that with a momentum. If instead you don’t talk to anybody except women that you’re attracted to, that’s going to be a lot more nerve-wracking of an experience for you. So make it easy on yourself, make the learning curve a lot faster. Don’t do it the way I did, struggling, struggling for three, four years just doing cold approaches and giving up my own set of values.

Lead the life that you want, your ideal life and along the way optimize and look for opportunities. Maximize those opportunities to talk to attractive female strangers and just being more social in general.

All right, so make sure that you join the Facebook group, click on the link. There ask your questions, make comments. I want to hear from you, I want to know what you think; I want to be able to help you. All right and I will see you in the next episode.