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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.170 – When You Think You Can’t Compete With The Other Guy

When You think You Can’t Compete With The Other Guy

  • There’s a reason why you shouldn’t take advice from pick-up artists, David Tian Ph.D. explains why.

  • What you are doing may be game or pick-up, David Tian Ph.D. identifies what you might have been doing.

  • In this Man Up episode, David Tian Ph.D. shares what you need to do if you really want to be happy.

David Tian: Boom! Stop. I’m David Tian, PhD. And in this video I answer the question: When you think you can’t compete with the other guy. Welcome to Man Up Episode 170.

Masculinity for the Intelligent Man. I’m David Tian, PhD., and this is Man Up!

Welcome to Man Up Episode 170. Quick note on this, we’ve been taking a little while to release this particular episode because when it was being shot, the camera girl was almost fainting. It was that hot. The result is some of the camera work is pretty shaky. You can see parts when she’s really almost fainting, falling down. The camera starts to point at my hands and random things. We tried to stabilize it. We tried to edit the video but it wasn’t very easy to do. Instead, we’ve just kept it intact. This is just a quick note to tell you why the camera work is so erratic. At one point in the video, I even grabbed the camera from her because she was about to fall. That’s just a little caveat on what’s about to appear. Thanks so much for watching the video. Enjoy what’s coming up. Man up!

Hey I’m David Tian, PhD. and for over the past 10 years, I have been helping hundreds of thousands of people in over 87 countries attain success, happiness, and fulfillment in life and love, and my fucking calves are burning. This sun is really strong. It is wet season. Humid season. Super humid here in Bali. I’m in the sun. The sun is setting, which is partly what we’re trying to get but we got to rush to the airport so you don’t really get to see the sunset, but there’s a very beautiful chapel behind me.

I’m answering a question from the private Man Up Facebook group. This one comes from Isaiah, and we’ll be sweating through this whole fucking episode.

Isaiah. He’s got two questions. His first one is: “Hey guys, I need an advice. I just met this amazing girl. I just got out of a relationship. I thought it was all over because I feel like I fucked up my life, then semi-suicidal since September until now.”

“Last night, I went out to celebrate a friend’s birthday at a club and I met this girl. At first, I didn’t know how to approach her. A lot of guys were trying to talk to her. I could tell she was kind of getting irritated and I heard she said she needs to drink more to another guy while being harassed. So that’s when I kind of stepped in and asked her if she wanted to go get a drink with me. I learned that from one of his videos.” I think he’s referring to one of my videos.

“I can’t believe it worked.”

Of course it worked.

“Even though it wasn’t executed the way he thought, I kind of read the situation and just winged it. So we started talking and I just found out she’s from Hong Kong, and I’m Chinese too so I shocked her when I started to speak with her in a different language, and we kind of started to click. And then she told me she just got out of a relationship.”

See you know, dudes, like when you’re writing to me, please do not write in a fucking run-on sentence and a super ass fucking long paragraph. You realize how stupid it sounds when I’m reading it. If you want me to actually answer, if you want people to answer, paragraph spaces, you know, use some grammar, nice punctuation is good, some flow you know. Some run-on sentences here, but I’m going to keep reading this thing.

“And we kind of started to click, then she told me she just got out of a relationship, I tried to get her number, but she just gave me her social media, she also gave me a ride home, cause I got an Uber, so my question is: if I really like this girl, what should I do to not screw it up, because I feel like she’s in a delicate situation, she just got out of a relationship, and I don’t want to seem pushy or desperate, but I really want to get to know her, like should I start talking to her already or wait a few days? I need advice, lol.”

Alright so, 20 comments on that but then he came back. So Isaiah, I appreciate your question. I want to affirm you on the question. I like that your next post, you actually had paragraph spacing, so thank you so much for that.

“Hey guys! It’s me again. I don’t know if there’s already a video on this, but I recently kind of started to see this girl,” I’m not going to say the commas, but there’s commas throughout. This is basically one sentence I’m going to read. “But I recently kind of started to see this girl, not date. Well, it’s the very, very beginning and we’re kind of seeing each other, like, hanging out to get to know each other. And I’ve been snooping around her social media because she told me she recently got out of a relationship.”

“I didn’t ask why ’cause I don’t want to pry.” It sounds like a rhyme, man. “Nor make her start thinking of him but apparently, it might have been just last month on the 27th.”

This is so creepy, man. You should not be doing that stalking.

“But how do you compete with someone?”

So now we get to the question that I actually want to answer here. His previous question, nah, but this is a question worth answering. “But how do you compete with someone who is actually decent-looking? He looks as fit as me.”

So, for context, Isaiah’s profile pic is him topless on the beach and he looks pretty fit. So, you know you’re into fitness, Isaiah, and now you feel insecure because you say the other guy is decent-looking. He looks as fit as you and maybe even better in some cases.

“And he has money, because I see pictures of this guy full-on spoiling this girl. I don’t know if she’s the materialistic type, but I can tell she’s pretty well-off and that she’s experienced the finer things in life. I feel like I know how to make her laugh and smile and I feel like I can connect with her well because we both can speak Chinese and English.”

That’s like the whole fucking country of Singapore, man. Okay but I get it, you guys are in the States and that’s like a big deal. “She’s willing to go out on me on more dates?” Kind of, I guess.

“I don’t want to be a rebound and waste my damn money, but she seems really nice and I do like her.”

“Waste my damn money.” I think that phrase that is like a figurative thing. You’re not actually spending a lot of money on her. I don’t know. “I just feel like I’m less than what she had and I thought I was the shit when it came down to looks, and I was pretty confident because most guys nowadays are not as fit as I, but I guess I’m comparing myself to his looks and wallow at something I’m lacking in. Any real advice would be appreciated. I don’t need to be told anything stupid. Okay, thanks everyone!”

Alright. Great. So let’s get to the chase, man. So here’s the thing. There are some comments in there from some good guys, guys who have been posting comments before that were pretty solid. And normally, I would just let it stand if these guys comment and respond to him. I’m usually pretty cool with that, I probably don’t need to step in. But I’m starting to see some dangerous trends here, so I want to really make sure that this is very clear for the guys in the Man Up group.

And here’s the problem, he says: “Here is one of the issues.” Let me just cut to the comments, the advice other guys have given you which actually sounds good but is dangerous, so here it is. I’m going to pick one of them, one of the comments, one of the pieces of advice you got which was this… Okay, I can’t read it all. The sun is killing me on this.

So basically, the advice is something like this: “Dude, yeah he’s more fit than you, he’s got more money than you. But hey, check this out: I know this guy who’s ugly, and fat, and bald, and he’s got no money, but he gets mad pussy.”

It’s like one of those video sales letters, that you click on some ad in Huffington Post and it takes you to some video sales letter that auto plays and that you can’t like stop or pause. And it’s like a, “Hey, in this video, I will show you how this hunchback, one-eyed, smelly, doesn’t speak the language of the girl, can get 30 girls in 2 seconds. If you continue to watch this video, you will find the secret.”

Some shit like that, right? And this is sort of the idea, like, “Hey it doesn’t matter that you can’t compete on these other things. If you have…” Oh, and this is the part that I really wanted to comment on or quote, “If you have charm…”

Okay, yeah. And here’s a great example. So the guy who responded to you, he says, “I have this close friend. He’s short, bald, chubby, and financially challenged.” Hey that’s awesome, man. That’s like the beginning of a video sales letter. “However, he’s got to be the most charming, cool, confident, charismatic, son-of-a-bitch alive. Needless to say, he gets multiple lingerie model types all the time, and no, he does not adhere to PUA bullshit.”

So here’s the thing. That in itself is PUA bullshit. The thing is this: I don’t want to pick on this guy because I want him to continue commenting because he’s usually got good comments, but here’s the deal: A lot of guys who say they’re not into PUA, they are fucking PUA. Here’s the thing about the pickup thing. It became cool about five years ago for pick-up artists to say, “We’re not pick-up artists.” And I was one of the first guys who did that but I really wasn’t, and then all these other guys picked up on the marketing and they started to say no to that.

That’s why I’ve been using the word ‘game’ because they use the word ‘game’ instead of PUA or pick-up. Because this is game. This is game straight up. Why is it game? Because look, I’ll give you some layers.

The first layer is: The average guy who competes on the bigger, better deal. Like competes on money, looks, and whatever fuck else you think is important to women, right? So you think, “I’m going to get girls because I got a better body.” Right? That’s Isaiah. “I got a better body, therefore I deserve her” or “I got more money therefore I deserve her” and all that shit.

And they try to get that, the self-development pickup, right? So the problem with that is if you get a girl, if she likes you because you’ve got a better body and you’ve got more money, fuck that shit. What happens when the guy who’s got more money, got a better body than you shows up? She’s going to fucking dump your ass. Or she won’t be attracted to you or go through the motions because she doesn’t fucking care about you. She doesn’t care about you as a human being. She cares about your fucking resume so fuck that shit.

Bigger, better deal is always going to beat your fucking ass. I don’t give a fuck how rich or how you are, how good looking you are, how anything else you are. You will lose. You will fucking lose. If it’s superficial fuck all, you’re going to lose. It’s called the bigger, better deal and you’re going to be vulnerable to that, and no matter how much money you make, and no matter how fit you are, fuck you. That girl who’s with you? It’s the same as a gold-digger.

And the thing is, if you’re just trying to pick up chicks, like you just want to get laid, I get it. That’s a separate thing. You’re basically saving money on a prostitute, right? So you’re asking me, “Hey David, how can I save money on a prostitute? I want to just bang this girl.” That’s a different thing. You want to bang her. Have a great body and shit like that, yeah, that works.

But you want to be in a relationship. Your ending was, “I want to date this girl.” So you want to be in a relationship. Never take relationship advice from game guys, from game coaches, from PUA or pickup coaches or guys who think that the superficial shit matters. That’s level 1.

Now, the advice from that guy’s comment I quoted is a step up above that and it was two things: good feelings and… where is it now? He said charming, cool, confident, charismatic, son-of-a-bitch alive. So, it’s more like I’m charming, and I’m confident, and I’m charismatic.

So here’s the other issue. What he is really getting at is: Girls are attracted to men who give them good feelings. And that’s a tact I took way, way back in 2010 when I first recorded The Desire System. I said, look, because this emotional activation system was the mechanism, was the main technique in that course. And I said the most important thing, you don’t want to be competing on stuff like her having to think, “Who’s got more money?” and picking the guy who’s got more money. That’s not attraction. That’s gold-digging.

That’s prefrontal cortex. That’s not the attraction part of the brain, right? So instead, you want to go for feelings. So if you make her feel good, she’s going to go with you. And then if she’s unethical, she’ll string you along a rich dude and suck him of all his money, but then have fun with the pool boy who’s hot and fun. That’s the good feeling.

Here’s the other problem though: it’s the same problem. There’s a bigger, better deal on feelings. So, wait, you want a girl who’s only with you or who’s mostly with you because you give her good feelings? Well, fuck that bitch because she won’t be there for you. What happens when you stop giving her good feelings because you’re going through a hard time in your life? What happens when you’re just being you? When you’re not trying to give?

She’s only there to get. She’s only there to fucking get. Well, fuck that bitch, and fuck all you guys who want to get a girl just because “I want to earn it. I want to go and earn it. I want to get the body.” Here’s the third problem:

Three different layers right? The first layer is bigger, better deal. Superficial, materialistic shit, right? Body, looks, money and all that stuff. Second level is just good feelings, but then you’ve got to be there, you’ve got to be on all the time, you’ve got to be humorous, you’ve got to give her good feelings and all this shit, right? You can’t really relax and just experience life, right? You’ve got to make sure you’re giving her good feelings or she’s not going to be interested anymore. She’s not going to be attracted anymore. Right? That’s the second level.

Those are the guys who are like “Hey, I’ve got it figured out.” No, dudes, the guys who are still saying that shit, “Give her good feelings. Attract her. If you attract her, she is yours.” You’re still a fucking pickup artist but you don’t want to admit it. So I’m not going to use that word. You’re fucking game. You guys are gamers. Well, fuck you gamers. Get the fuck out of this group.

If you want to stay and you want to learn, that’s okay but if you’re going to give out fucking advice… The thing is though, those guys who were giving out the advice in the comments? They’re good guys. They usually give good advice, so I want to encourage them to continue to post so that was my conflict here. I’m like, “Should I really call out the truth here?” But I’m going to call out the truth. Just so you know. It’s incomplete advice because it’s a transactional thing. You’re still in the fucking world of bullshit, man. No one gives a fuck. No one gives a fuck about you.

Here’s the third thing. You don’t think you’re enough yet. So you think you’re enough only if you get the body and the money, and the girls will come. Well, fuck those bitches. They’re no better than a prostitute. You basically earn that shit through getting a body, and money, and bullshit that doesn’t fucking matter. And then the second level, a little bit kudos to you. I was there in 2010. This was advice I gave in 2010, 7 years ago. I said, “Hey, give her good feelings and you will attract them”, right?

But that’s for pickup, man. You want a relationship with a girl who’s there for feelings? What happens when the giggling stops? What happens when the fun times stop? What happens when shit happens and life is hard? She’s not going to be there for you no more, because why? You’re not giving her good feelings. What happens when you get into a fucking car accident? You’re in the fucking hospital. No good feelings there. What, you got to be joking around again? No, she’s going to walk away, man, because some other guy is going to give her better feelings.

If that’s all it fucking is, it’s still super-fucking-ficial, so fuck that shit.

Here’s the third level, I’ve pointed out two levels. So the bigger, better deal of money, looks, all that shit, right? Second: good feelings, pickup game. Okay, you guys don’t like the word “pickup.” You won’t admit it. You’re game. You’re gaming. Well, fuck you gamers. Just to make it clear, I want to really make it clear because I have been saying this for fucking half a decade but no one’s fucking listening. You’ll think, “Oh David, oh yeah, you’re not doing pickup.” I’m really not fucking doing pickup. Second level, right? No fucking game. Fuck the game.

Third level, where you think you need to go and earn it. Fuck this shit. If a girl wanted to go and get a hotter guy, or get a funnier guy, or get a richer guy, fuck them. Go. That’s a person I don’t want. It’s the same with friends who’s in my life as a guy friend, who’s there because, what? I give them something? Because I give them money? I give them fitness advice? I give them shit? Well fuck that guy, right?

Here’s the thing. You have to get people in your life. If you want to be happy, have self-esteem. Bring people into your life who are there for you, who are there because they love you, because they want to be with you as a person. Not because you bring something to the table, not using you, not using you for your money because they’re attracted to your body or because you give them good feelings. Fuck that, right?

This is the same criteria, right? So look, if you want to get into a relationship with somebody and she doesn’t like you for you, then that’s the question. Are you being you? Because here’s the thing with Isaiah: He’s going through therapy. We can tell through his post that he has deep insecurities, the kind of deep insecurities that are not addressed simply by some talking. You can’t just talk yourself out of insecurity. You have to experience emotionally. That takes time, or you have to reach those points emotionally. That takes time.

So you know, keep continuing to do your therapy but you’re going to have to go through these more cathartic experiences that transform you, for you to realize that just who you are is enough. Here’s the thing. It’s the same thing like this. If a guy believes that he’s better off because he’s got a better body, he’s got more money, or that he can give people better feelings?

Okay, so I’ve now encapsulated the first two levels. You can give girls good feelings. You have a hotter body. You’re better looking. What’s the other thing, money, right? So imagine a Down syndrome kid. Is he not deserving of love? Imagine a guy who maybe you know is just down and out, you’re not deserving of love? Imagine you as a little baby, you haven’t done fuck all yet. You’re just a helpless little baby, popped out of your mom’s womb. Are you not deserving of love?

You don’t have a great body. You’re not good looking. Even if you were not cute, you’re like an ugly baby. Alright? You’re still an ugly baby. Is an ugly baby less deserving of love than a good looking baby? I know you will say no because you need to stay politically correct because you have a conscience, but look, your logic says yes. Your logic says you’re a fucking Hitler.

And here’s the thing: most of the world, especially in America, they’re fucking Hitlers because they believe in this stupid ass, fuck all meritocracy that you’re a better person if you’ve got a better body, you’ve got more money, you can game girls. Fuck that. You’re not a better person because you can game girls. You’re not a better person because you’ve got a better body. I’m not a better person because I’ve got a six pack and that guy doesn’t. If he’s a fat fuck, he’s a fat guy, he’s not less deserving of love. He’s not less deserving of connection.

So this is the thing, man. This is a huge difference. A fucking huge difference between what I do and what the game and what the pickup artist bullshit out there. The thing is, guys don’t understand that. I don’t fucking understand. How much more do I have to fucking exaggerate it for you to fucking realize? Don’t put me in the fucking same category. If you want to join this group, then get the fuck out. If you’re just giving me any game shit, get the fuck out. Is that clear now?

Fucking share this shit because I’m not in the same fucking category. Yeah like 2010, when you were in diapers, right? 2010, I was teaching that stuff already. I had grown, progressed, matured. The thing is this, Isaiah: You will always have this problem of insecurity, whether you get her through some tricks or techniques or some shit. Unless you deal with your fundamental insecurity, you won’t be able to enjoy that relationship. So there we go. I’m exhausted. Just put it all out there, fucking hot and shit too.

So, join the private Facebook group. Look at the comments. Just see Isaiah’s original post. I’ll see you inside the Facebook group. Also, let me know what you think. Let me know if it’s clear, the differences between what I’m covering in my lessons and in my material. I really need to put out a book so that it’s very clear, systematic, step-by-step of the differences.

But I think I’ve been making it pretty clear over the different episodes. So please tell me if it’s clear or if it’s not clear and join the private Facebook group.

I’ll see you inside.

Until then, David Tian signing out. Man Up!