Science Explains Approach Anxiety: Uncertainty = Fear.

by Gareth Jones on December 13, 2010

Gareth Jones at the Attraction Master Class

With the panel at the Australian PUA Summit

Something interesting for you:

Recently, I was asked to speak at the Attraction Masterclass Tour in Sydney, Australia. I had a blast and got to meet some great people, as well as catch up with some old friends. At the end of the weekend, a panel was selected to be on stage to answer questions from the audience, I was lucky enough to be included in said panel. Many of these questions ranged from “What do I do if a girl is…?” to “What kind of shirt should I…?”, but a great question came up about what influenced us, as seducers, the most. I’m not sure of the wording of the question, exactly, but virtually everyone’s answer included a list of several books.

Interestingly enough, very few of the books were Pickup-related. Of course, there were a few staples like The Way of The Superior Man (a book you’ve heard me wax poetic about, already) but, surprisingly, most of these books were science or psychology-related. Books like Multi-Orgasmic Man and The Red Queen were constantly being referenced as huge influences on success. This made it pretty obvious to the attendant crowd that the really good PUAs aren’t reading PUA material, we’re reading about why PUA stuff WORKS and how it affects the other aspects of our lives! Think about that one.

Now that we’ve explained why I’m always posting links from websites like, let me show you something that, though intended to be directly (and a bit blurrily) related to economics, is incredibly helpful in explaining Approach Anxiety (AA, for you PUA nerds out there. Including me.) and can, hopefully, lead to a train of thought  that will extinguish the brunt of it. The article is on Wired and is titled, “The Uncertainty Effect”. Check it out here. This article explains quite a bit and uses many examples of scientific studies that you can refer to, but let me break it down simply here:

When there is something that we want to do of which the result is unknown (let’s say, approaching a woman we’ve never met), the chance that we are about to take is laced with uncertainty (hence why it’s called “taking a chance”). We can take a stab at predicting the outcome, but we really are never going to be 100% sure of what will happen. There are so many factors involved in a successful approach and, before we actually talk to her, we can’t do much about many of them.

Maybe this woman’s had a terrible day and just wants to get drunk. Maybe she’s already incredibly drunk. There are so many outside elements to consider that the odds of the AFC (Average Frustrated Chump) successfully approaching are very, very slim. This is why you are so amazed and impressed when your favorite PUA (read: me) walks up to a group of extremely attractive women and starts a conversation: It was very unlikely that it would happen.

Now, don’t get me wrong; When you have practiced skills that are field-tested to success, this GREATLY minimizes the risk of failure, but the point is that most of us are conditioned to respond to this situation as if the outcome is completely uncertain.

Let me continue with the point, and I’m going to quote directly from the aforementioned article because it is so profound. (Ironically, they are discussing players in an experimental game, not players in THE game.)

With less information to go on, the players exhibited substantially more activity in the amygdala, a brain area reliably associated with fear conditioning. In other words, we filled in the gaps of our knowledge with fear. And it’s this inexplicable fright – an irrational by-product of not knowing – that keeps us from focusing on the possibility of future rewards.

Wait. Did I just read that right? When we don’t know what’s going to happen, our brain just feeds us fear?? WTF BRAIN?

Just as I have titled this article, we’ve just learned that science explains approach anxiety by showing us that uncertainty produces fear! This is where it comes from! It’s all explained!

AA is a huge subject in the community and, rightly so, because it is the first step. It is also one of the most emotional steps of your journey, but now we know that these emotions are brought  to you not because you are going to fail with her or not because you’re not in her league, but simply because you don’t know what’s going to happen. We all feel that right before we speak to a girl and, as your journey takes you further on your path to relationships and hopefully marriage, you’ll discover that we all still feel that fear of uncertainty everywhere in life. It will never go away, so we have no choice but to embrace it now,  or be crushed by it forever.

Allow yourself the freedom to experience that fear and to accept that it has nothing to do with you. Feel it, accept it, and go and talk to that banging blonde bombshell anyway, because you never know; that girl might be the girl of your dreams.

Better than yesterday,


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: