Confidence From Facing Your Fear – Welcome To The Brave Zone!

Outside of your comfort zone is where you grow, where you re-define your life, where we call the Brave Zone.

Looking back on my terrible dating life, the true reason of so many failures is that I was too careful to face my fear: I was too slowly going out of what I was comfortable with; I grew my confidence too late.

Reflecting on the TEDx journey, deep inside, I was facing my fear, the fear of not good enough, the fear of rejection.

I can give many more examples: job applications, traveling, public speaking, they all share the common element: you need to face your fear. The more you do it the quicker you will succeed.

It sounds a bit cliché, but this is the difference: some know that they should go out of the comfort zone; very few actually take actions. In the past half year I have been trying different challenges and together with a few friends, colleagues we started the group Brave Zone. My life was transformed. We positively impacted on each other and we are experiencing so much more that life can offer. Sounds too good to be true? Join us in one of the upcoming events! Below is just one example.

Cold therapy has been widely discussed and studied. It’s surprisingly simple and effective. But again, the majority of people will not get into it. It requires you face the fear. I take cold shower every morning now, and every time I still have the unease resistance: “why the hell am I doing this?” But every time I feel refreshed after. That’s exactly the daily challenge I need.

The ultimate solution to dating problems

No matter you are Asian or any other race, if there is just one advice I will give you to have a fulfilled dating life, this would be it: always confront your fear right now! You don’t need money, you don’t need Tinder, you don’t need pickup artists. You need to take actions to face your fear. The more often you do it the more confidence you will gain. And that will make you an extremely attractive person. Not to mention all the stories you will have to tell.

Thinking in defining moments

Still remember all the key moments with high impact on your life? Painful? Insightful? Or maybe feeling connected? It turns out that most of the defining moments share similar trails. They are unusual; they bring you to a deeper level of understanding; they build strong connections; and they are the Brave Zone moments. I find it easy to create or even engineer those key moments in your life if you follow the simple method: identify fears; create activities/tasks; gather a group to take the challenge; then enjoy!

Imagine after many years, you are reaching the last stage of your life. Plenty of time to reflect on what you’ve done. Would you remember that dinner filled with boring topics? Would you remember that colleague who keeps ignoring you? Would you remember that lazy day on the beach with nothing done? I would not. But I will remember my TEDx speeches, every one of them! I will remember the special birthday party, with so much joy. I will remember the moment I face my biggest fear. I hope a brave life is also a rich and happy life.


How To Become a TEDx Speaker?

People ask me: how could you get on TEDx stage so many times? I am not a famous person, have not written any book, no expert in any areas… well, the truth is, you don’t need to be any of those to become a TEDx speaker. The secret? Watch this video, you will get some ideas. It also takes you to my current initiative – the ultimate way to become more confident, more successful and more fulfilled – that’s for the next post.

Lessons from Seduction

I spent more than a year of my spare time on this speech. The biggest speaking project I’ve ever done. Now it’s finally online! I don’t want to discuss this topic at work or at home. So only some lucky friends got the treat 🙂

I believe TEDx is a great platform to discuss such topics – nothing is too shocking. Pickup Artist is a very controversial topic, I got some people immediately becoming defensive when I mentioned the words. But, hey, that’s why we need to know more about it. I try to project the positive side of the whole seduction community in this speech. And the learning is for everyone.

Behind the speech, it got some valuable lessons as well.

Why did it take such a long time? I could come up with a quality speech within a day, but this one cost me way too much time.

  1. It’s hard to find the right angle – I have 50 good lines that I want to mention. The more you get into a topic the less easy to keep it simple.
  2. People have very different opinions – TEDx organizers often don’t agree with me. Alright! They want the right message in their events! Reasonable, but not always healthy.
  3. The speech has to be personal and entertaining. The biggest lesson here. The speech “Why I love and hate pickup artists” was less entertaining, and I do see the difference in audience response. Today’s world entertaining goes a long way.


The last minute rejection was an eye-opener!

At the end of 2016, I was about to fly to a TEDx location to give the speech. Just 2.5 days before the event I got an email – you never want to experience this in your lives. My heart sank when I read: due to the reason that my speech does not fit the event they have to decline my application. What? I was accepted and all set. This is going to be a great experience, a success and how could they do this? Yes, they can. And no matter how disrespectful and disgusting it was, they did it.

Looking back, I can understand it was not a total surprise: one organizer had personal opinion on the topic and requested me add his words. No, thanks! I am the speaker. Well, it turned out that this individual was autistic. It was hard to connect to him, and probably hardly anyone could. So, a few sleepless nights, missing impact on the audience and a good story to reflect on.

I feel the journey of my research on romantic relationships is coming to a natural closure. Not that I don’t have more to say, but life moves on. And more exciting topics will come.

So, stay tuned!

1, 2, 3, and 4 TEDx Speeches

The coming Thursday I will present in a local TEDx event. It’s the long waited 2nd speech on pickup artists. As some know that more than a year ago this speech was already nearly completed for another event. But at the last minute the organizers changed mind. Tough experience but with perseverance life shines through. I am in the final stage of preparation.

The last speech: Why I Love and Hate Pickup Artists, was mainly on the overall picture of the seduction community and a bit of both positive and negative discussions. The coming speech is much more focusing on what we can learn from pickup. As I struggle to find the best angle to present a speech on pickup I ended up with 2 directions. I have a feeling that this one will make a better impact.

Wish me luck!

Humor, Comedy and Happiness

20 years ago, I was a hardcore student in Peking University, surrounded by the smartest from the whole country, and it was dead serious. If you don’t work your ass off you are eliminated and there is no happiness for the rest of your life. 10 years ago, I was doing my serious PhD research on catalysis, and I was sure that scientific presentation should have no joking elements – in another word, deadly serious and boring! Today, I seriously want to climb the career ladder and become a big ego VP. Yes, that’s why I am writing this blog. … Just kidding… But I did find a weapon to stand out from my peers: humor! I finally realize that humor is the key to a better life. I missed it in half of my life.

For those of you who are only interested in relationships: humor is perceived as a powerful personal trail to attract women. For those of you who passed dating stage: it is becoming an increasingly important element in the corporate world. And I am sure that’s the 5th wave of the business world. (What are the previous 4?) Anyhow, those with a sense of humor are regarded as confident and go up the career ladder faster. Everyone appreciates good humor except the guy who invited me to be the host of an event in my company last November. He told me: “No, we don’t want any humor. I want to keep it very professional and business-like.” Seriously? I was like, this is a good start to kill the event! And in the end he loved my jokes – humor won 🙂

The experience from taking part in the final of the Toastmasters European Humorous Speech Contest taught me a lot. People love my jokes and I got some fantastic feedback. Who cares if you win some Toastmasters contest? I want to tell you that as I did not win. Well, I am happy with my performance.

It’s been a long time struggle to really crack the humor in speeches. I finally got in there a bit. The guy born with a sense of humor is funny, the guy who practices and learns humor is funnier. Give it a try! You may not become a comedian but you can stand out in your small office.

If somehow it does not work, you should then try standup comedy! Yes, just start and you will love it. Public speaking is scary, so just skip it and go right into standup. How do you like my sales skill? I already convinced you to join me to change the world with humor.

The key to the success of comedians is the process how they prepare jokes. Here is a simplified version: brainstorm jokes any time –> always write them down –> rewrite them –> test in a Open Mic show –> keep the good, leave out the weak –> retest, refine –> collect the strongest for the big audience –> wait for money to come.

That’s the comedy refinery process. It’s not hard to adapt this process, but it is hard to keep on testing with real audience.

So much for today – oh, if you question my ability to do a comedy, check out my speech in Milan final!

A Long Waited Update

You may wonder, why have I disappeared for a while? New project? New friends? Something really bad happened? No! But I did fall in love again… with Toastmasters contest.

You see, every year, this crazy toaster club organizes competitions to find out who is the better speaker.

In the past few months I have been preparing for the humorous speech contest – well, not standup comedy, but close. And in a week time I will be going to the European level final. It’s been a mission since 7 years ago when I started my public speaking journey. I came to Toastmasters to become a better speaker. Yes, I have improved a lot. But I have also failed in most speech contests I’ve participated. I can give you a long list of how I failed: forget an entire paragraph, finished 1 sec over the time limit, beaten by my wife (who speaks better than me) …

My secret is to wait long enough till all the better speakers win and retire – finally, it’s my turn now.

You can see my speech in the video below. I made a lot of jokes about Dutch people. And they love it. I have long wanted to say something about my life here in the Netherlands. I love my second homeland and this speech is my way to say: thank you Holland! For all the good and bad, I feel more comfortable to live here than China or Germany.

So, wish me luck in the next contest!

What’s My Next Speech in TEDx?

If you have watched my last speech on pickup artists you may feel that I was a bit too critical on the seduction community. Yes, I feel it’s sad that some millions of men are attracted to join that community. But on the other hand, there is some real good knowledge in the community and I think even people who are not actively looking for relationships/sex should know. So, something positive about the pickup artists – that’s the idea for the next speech.


The first point – 10%

In a previous blog I mentioned this. When it comes to sex, pickup artists say that 10% of the men get 90% of the actions. But can the top pickup artists seduce any woman they want? Of course… not! They succeed only about 10% of the attempts. That’s the exact science in dating. I am sure you agree with me. Can you start your success ratio? Is that 10%? Well, the point is not how accurate this 10% is. The point is that this rule makes failure much more acceptable. Human is designed as a goal-seeking machine. If you knew you fail 9 and will get 1, it is much easier to focus your effort and be motivated. And how much more pleasant your dating experience would be? You can hardly fail 10 times in a roll. If you do – like I was rejected by various TEDx’ you should be proud. Merely maintaining your positive attitude is an achievement. Once I experimented the rejections by asking ridiculous questions like “can I have a staring competition with you?” And my success rate was more than 10%. The way to success is to fail as fast and as often as possible.

Without the extensive data collected from various pickup artists I would not have found this 10% rule. And there are more interesting stuff. I will explain other learning for this speech soon (as I am still preparing them). You have my words, I am continuing my TEDx journey!

The Journey Continues

TEDx on Pickup Artists Online!

It was courageous to talk about the seduction community in TEDx, some say. Yes, and I want to be that bad boy! We’ve seen all kinds of topics on TED, some are shocking, some are depressing, some are controversial. I have always wondered why there was no speech on pickup artists? (Well, some speeches mentioned it and listed seduction tips. But none focuses on the movement itself.)

It is not a point of life that I should spend time on researching pickup artists. Yes, I got a corporate job and am married with kids. It was a past chapter of my life. But I want more people, especially women to know about this semi-secret community.

Man, it was a tough topic to be squeezed into a 13-min speech. I changed versions so much that I ran out of friends to give feedback. They all got fed up with it. Some even got pissed off by what I wanted to say. And I had some really harsh rejections from some TEDx (story for another time.) You may even say that my first speech on Asian men Western women was more fun and engaging, but only I know the work I put into this speech.

I’d like to thank all my friends for their feedback and especially Toastmasters.

And I am graceful for the acceptance of TEDxStendenUniversity. I have never been to Leeuwarden- but what a journey to make this dream come true! Thanks all for the support!

The TEDx Journey

Exactly 2 years ago my TEDx journey made an unexpected turn. I applied to be a speaker at the TEDx in the company I work for. Well, I was not just a usual applicant. I knew the entire TEDx team, as I was a speaker coach for the prior 2 events. I had high confidence that I would make a step forward to be a speaker myself. On 30th May 2015, I was informed that I was NOT selected! Disappointing? No… I was EXTREMELY disappointed.

So, what do I go from there??

One door closes, others may open.

If I am a failure at my home ground, would I be another failure to go outside of my company? Put yourself into my shoes at that moment 2 years ago. What would you do?

  • I was unknown to the general public.
  • I had 2 young kids and a full time job. And my wife was not interested to take on more family burden.
  • I had all the advantages at my home TEDx event, and it was a rejection. I did not even know how to become a speaker in other events.

The odds are you will not do what I did 99% of the times. But I took that gamble. To put long story short, (before it becomes boring) you need 3 things on that journey:

  1. Focus – always have a clear goal, and eliminate good-to-have activities.
  2. Persistence – get used to rejections and failures.
  3. Believe in your ideas. This was the reason I took the risk. I heard that call in me to make my idea known to the world.

It was not easy. And I was lucky that some students took a chance on me to bring me to Erasmus University. Probably my topic is much more suitable and resonating to students than a bunch of managers in suits.

Simply the best decision, the best experience, the best outcome of my end 30s life.

After TEDx ErasmusU, I was another 2 times on TEDx stage with different topics. (The 3rd speech is coming up.) I just can not get enough. I’ve learnt so much and had so great memories. And I am still learning and enjoying.

Looking forward, I am as excited as ever to prepare my 4th speech. I am looking forward to meeting all the people around the world who get to know me through my speeches. And please, please share with me your thoughts to stimulate my ideas and ask me questions. I have an open arm even for those who did not like my ideas or style. (It’s eye-opening to see how people can get so mean and vicious.) At least, I have done one thing right – I made them care about my topic.

In my discussion about pickup, I mentioned higher goals. For me, TEDx is certainly one.

The Top Pickup Advice – Part III

After a long break with holiday, work and TEDx speech (more details to come) I am sure you cannot wait to read the final part of the pickup advice.

So… what are the ultimate pickup advice? When I started this whole research/ experiment I had the same question as many men around world. This last part of the pickup advice is my favorite. It’s not only about pickup but also how you can navigate your life. It’s beyond pickup.

  1. Never let her control you or have the upper hand.

Men are built to be masculine, and that’s attractive. Men’s inner desire is to have the upper hand – always. That’s masculine. For some reason, when you give the control to your date/ partner-to-be, they won’t find you as attractive as when you are in control. This is contradicting, as often women want to manipulate or control you. It’s attempting to give in. You may think: that’s love. But no, a real man will not. Many love tragedies start with when a man wants to give everything to her.

Pickup artists know this. And they say that you should intentionally create confusion sometimes to keep her guessing and thinking … of you. You always have the upper hand.

  1. Improve testosterone.

The science behind dating: the male hormone makes a man attractive. And you don’t need to go to hospital to get a special shot for that. Many things you do can help to generate testosterone naturally. For example, take more risks. The general rule is: if you are not sure (what to do in dating), always take the risk. What can go wrong than being badly rejected? Failure itself is stimulating for a man to be more competitive and you generate more testosterone. You become more man!

And competitions – in all kinds of forms: play a game, do sports, have a competitive job – can help to increase testosterone. Interesting to mention, the corporate competitive culture probably create more testosterone in women than what’s good for their feminism. Modern corporate world is very masculine oriented. That’s why I don’t believe we should force women to go to the top.

It turns out that the act of sex itself is stimulating to create more male hormone 🙂 This sounds like a good option for those who really have no access to sex, lol. But you need to get started somewhere with sex. Don’t be the old virgin… like me. I am not pushing you to find the easy girls, but don’t get stuck with the idea your first experience will be the best. Check out my early blog “why sex matters”.

  1. Super layback mentality: everything is fine; this is nothing.

Dating skills come with practice, just like all my discussions in part 1 of the PUA advice. All skills in life come with practice. And the right mentality to learn as fast as possible is to take every moment as a practice, don’t be too serious on any outcomes. We’re just learning!

Maybe you have heard about “growth mindset”. And I am talking exactly that mindset for dating. Don’t be hanging on the failure, no matter how emotional it is. I’ve had many hart-breaking stories. And I wish I had this mindset to begin with. Those were much more enjoyable only if I could remind myself: this is nothing! Just part of learning! In 10 years, I will only laugh about it or do not remember at all!!

  1. Get your life style right.

Some pickup artists spend so much time in pickup and there are not much other things they do and they truly enjoy. That’s an empty life. A life only about pickup is pathetic. There is so much out there other than sex that can make us fulfilled and happy.

The pickup world has changed from pickup lines/tricks focused to more and more life style focused. PUAs learnt from experience that focusing on changing your life and your own has sustained impact on dating success, often much more than the tricks and short-term gain.

I won’t go into details on how to build a great life style. Some life style aspects are passion, hobby, health, etc. Those should take a higher priority than pickup.

The essence of the above advice is to help you to gain true confidence and enjoy a more fulfilling life. Those who get the best out of pickup often don’t just focus purely on sex. Instead, they focus on higher goals, such as:

  • Find true confidence
  • Improve social skills
  • Understand women better
  • Self-realization

The majority of men who practice pickup will leave pickup eventually. Have you wondered what they do after? Pickup is just a period of life that nearly all men will grow out of. What do you gain from that experience? A great relationship, life style, or self-realization? They are all much more important than just sex.

Mark Manson

Mark Manson, author, blogger, ex-Pickup Artist, is an inspiration for me. A good example of someone found higher purpose than sex and left pickup.