Over the first half of 2018 it has been made apparent to me that there are two ways to practice Daygame: high energy (HE) and low energy (lE) (blog posts inspiring this one: here and here). Both have different aims, structure, levels of enjoyment, and even physiological experience. So as the British heatwave rumbles on and I find it too hot to expose my pale skin to the streets of London, let’s discuss the two, and my observations from the past six months.
High energy Daygame is what you’re exposed to as a beginner/intermediate; that’s not to say I’m “advanced”, it’s just an observation of how Daygame is sold. It’s also no worse than its opposite, low energy form, and isn’t “high energy” in the way that Nightgame is (I thought I’d need to throw those disclaimers in there to get a more precise point across); it’s easier to consider these terms in levels of energy expenditure. HE Daygame means doing four or five sets an hour, being willing to open girls at the lower end of your quality threshold, and higher levels of adrenaline. We’re all familiar with it because that’s how we got our apprenticeship. Because of this familiarity, this post will focus on LE Daygame mostly.
LE Daygame, or Zen Daygame if you want to stylise it (Krauser’s post called it “Fat Buddha Daygame” but the name doesn’t matter), is characterised by doing much fewer sets; this is where the difference stems from. Rather than four or five sets an hour, it’s more like one or two. From this difference, all the other differences stem, whether it’s as a direct result, or on a meta level, where you change your approach before you’ve even started your session.
I also want to state that it’s no worse than HE Daygame from a moralistic viewpoint. It’s not “lazy Daygame”, because in my perception the word “lazy” is a pejorative and a moral judgement (which probably stems from my high conscientiousness). That being said, I understand how for a newbie they actually need to look down on a LE Daygame approach because their current problem is approach anxiety. They need to lever their physiological response (segue!) to overcome it.
As I alluded to in that expert segue, the physiological experience is completely different. Here’s the story of a common HE session, and if you scroll to the end there’s a quick description of each hormone:
- Anxiety increases; your body anticipates an upcoming gamble (sets) where your serotonin will either rise or fall (i.e. you’re testing your place on the dominance hierarchy).
- You open your first set as quickly as possible because your anxiety will simply rise until that moment; better to get it done as soon as possible to get the bad feeling to go away. The first set is completed with the aid of your forebrain brute forcing your hindbrain (pre-approach calibration aside, where a promising set excites your dopamine response).
- Your dopamine fires only a little bit for that first set. It is released because you’ve found the gamble you were looking for, but the payoff and risk appears low (the physiological representation of “first one’s the worse one”).
- The social pain of “doing something weird” causes an endorphin release, which explains the enormous flood of relief after doing your first set, and encourages “just getting it out of the way.”
- From there the dopamine release increases because dopamine release is in proportion to the expected payoff. You’re getting into some momentum and so each set seems “more likely”. It also explains why you move so positively when you see a set which set’s off your spidey sense.
- All the while, as you’re rattling off sets, your adrenal glands are working away, getting you ready for the upcoming fight, flight or freeze moment. Eventually you wear them out and you can’t do any more sets: time to go home.
Another disclaimer: I’ve never had formal training or education in physiology, only the knowledge gained from my personal research. So feel free to disregard the above, but on the other hand, it’s highly likely that I know more about this than you do. It’s your decision.
Let’s start with the similarities between HE and LE Daygame. Firstly, serotonin will always be there, because you’re still testing your SMV in each set. The good feeling you get from number closing an eight is the same either way, as is the bad feeling from an insta-blowout. That means there will still be anxiety (because of the gamble).
On an interesting side note, this can explain why it’s good to always feel a little bit of approach anxiety; it means that all of your internal mechanisms are still working well. You might be such a celebrity with such high SMV that it’s not a gamble at all. Then again, if Dicaprio was walking down Oxford Street telling girls that they looked French and didn’t feel any kind of risk to his social standing, then something’s wrong there. The other alternative is where your serotonin is so low (rock bottom) that it’s not much of a gamble at all. You either lose and confirm your world view of “you suck”, or you win and your ego places itself somewhere higher in society than it thought. Tying this back, considering the unlikely event that you’re a celebrity, and also that you have some SMV, feeling approach anxiety is good.
Now let’s get back to the matter at hand. The physiological response of LE Daygame begins when you first set foot on the street. You know that it might take up to 30 minutes before you do your first set but you’re only “allowed” to do that for two reasons: Inner Game work (i.e. being assured of your SMV) means that a set seems like less of a hierarchical gamble; you’ve built the neuron pathways which describe Daygame as a set of events which begins in anxiety and ends in dopamine and serotonin releases. The latter point explains why you “just want to do a set”: if you don’t, you violate your body’s expectations and your cortisol (stress) increases.
So you’re walking around, with a small feeling of anxiety but nothing big. In fact, your anxiety starts to decrease as you walk as your body recognises the aforementioned neuron pathways. Also, endorphins are being released in response to the exercise you’re doing. Combined, you walk off your anxiety. The endorphin release is another difference between HE and LE Daygame, because when you’re in the HE state you literally walk faster. This year I’ve winged with people who walk at the HE pace and I end up asking them to slow down a little. You can’t walk fast and practice LE Daygame at the same time, but more on that later.
The lower endorphin release and lower adrenaline release (from doing less sets) then affects your dopamine response. In the HE version, you’re opening the three types of sets (unicorn, spidey sense and DNA tug) plus “whatever floats your boat”. My suspicion is that the expectation of payoff from a single set asymptotes to the mean i.e. when you do more sets your results are more predictable; this is the law of large numbers. However, when you’re doing less sets, the expected payoff from a single set might be the same, but the volatility is higher, and as we know, dopamine response is related to the risk and reward inherent in the gamble.
For a contrived example, consider the following:
- Your long term average is one number in five sets. If you do 10 sets then you can reasonably expect to get two numbers. If you didn’t get a number in your first five approaches, you still have five more to get those two numbers and assume that “all is well”.
- Now imagine that you go out and only do one set. You can’t take 20% of a phone number and so your happiness (contrived example remember) rests on that one shot on goal.
Higher risk inherent in each gamble (each set) means a higher dopamine release from LE Daygame. When you see that set, your entire body surges with energy and commonly you’re moving towards her before you’ve thought about it.
A question to address before moving on: but wouldn’t pre-approach calibration (which you have more of in LE Daygame) lower the risk of a set because you’re more assured of the outcome? Yes, but I think that the dopamine hit from “finding what you seek” (a good set) and the inherent, statistical risk of doing less sets outweighs the reduction in risk which is introduced by pre-approach calibration. So all in all, the dopamine hit is larger from LE Daygame.
Lastly, there’s the adrenaline response, which only fires when you’re going into set. LE Daygame is, by definition, less energy intensive, but it makes you feel the adrenaline a lot more. It seems to appear in two ways. When I find a good set, my adrenaline soars and I feel like I’m on fire, where everything is going perfectly. My body has chosen “fight” and it’s proven to be the right choice. Alternatively I’ll open a set and it turns out she’s a No girl, at which point my body feels like it’s screaming. My body chose “fight” but was wrong, and so flips its response to “flight”. Then when the set is over, for good or ill, I can literally feel the adrenaline draining away. My heart rate slows and I slip back into the relaxed state.
Now that was a very long and nerdy explanation of something which I stylised as Zen Daygame now wasn’t it? But it’s important. I think. Very important. When you can label your responses in these ways you can choose to disconnect or connect with them. It makes you more present and allows you to return to that relaxed state. Being able to disconnect from the bad feelings, and identify them as something not part of “yourself”, you can start to level out your emotional mood. Being in “good vibe” becomes less of a lottery because you’re either in your neutral, Zen state, or you’re in the happy state. Bad feelings will of course come along but since you can categorise them, you can also cut them down to size. The act of mentally boxing them seems to reduce their impact. The flip side, then, is to ignore the good feelings and allow them to run riot.
Flipping Between the Two
You can’t flip between the two, I’ve found. You leave the house and have to assess how you’re feeling and then pick accordingly. For me, if I’m solo, then 99% of the time I’ll opt for LE Daygame because there aren’t enough girls who I want to approach to do the number of sets required for HE Daygame.
You can’t go for the middle of the road either. As with most things, going for the middle of the road only gives you the worst of both worlds rather than the best. If I go down the middle, I don’t get the endorphin and adrenaline momentum from maxing out my sets, and I don’t get the relaxed manner from the LE style. I also don’t snipe girls as I would in LE Daygame either. It concludes in a negative serotonin spiral, aka pussy repellant.
You can’t flip halfway through, either, I’ve found. If you start slow and then go fast, you feel as if things are slipping out of your grasp, and you can’t slow down again. Your whole body feels like it’s being rocked around and disrupted from its relaxed state. If you start fast and then go slow then your adrenals keep burning and you get tired, without any sets to show for it.
For me, I need to be with a wing to do HE Daygame as he’ll encourage me to go into sets. There’s also an interesting sense of wing-shame that can happen if you pass up on an IOI even from a girl who’s at the lower end of your attraction threshold. In that case, if you were on your own, your self-talk might run along the lines of “yeh she’s alright, and I caught her looking at me, but there’s nothing else about her which is saying approach me.” Having the wing opens up that fourth category of sets: the ones who merely float your boat. Note this might be a particularly London-esque observation; in other locations or in number-farm scenarios I might be up for HE Daygame more often.
Length of Time
Another observation I’ve had is that LE sessions tend to actually be shorter in length, even though the energy output is lower. With LE Daygame, you’ll probably only go out for a couple of hours. It feels more like fishing: you’re going out to see what’s there and working with that. Because the energy expenditure is lower you have to make a mental promise to go home after a couple of hours. Otherwise, you could stay out for hours on end, walking around, experiencing the pleasurable sensation of searching for sets. I’ll normally set myself a two hour time limit, but if I get a strong number close in the second hour I’m always tempted to end the session there.
Alternatively, with HE Daygame, which feels more like hunting, you make an internal promise to just keep on trucking until you burn out. You can make that promise because you know that your adrenals will go eventually. You get the same desire to stay out forever, as you do with its counterpart, but you feel like an empty shell. Your eyes gloss over and you feel like a husk.
The distinction between fishing and hunting seems like a good starting place to explain why LE Daygame can be called Zen Daygame. Yes, the fact that it is low energy gives it a more meditative feel, but the thing that really makes it “Zen”, in my eyes, is the acceptance required. Going out and “fishing”, implies that you’re waiting to see what shows, and if it doesn’t, then that’s fine. It makes your Inner Game take centre stage because you haven’t got the momentum of sets that HE provides. You have to be comfortable walking around with lots of time between sets. You’re still scanning for good sets but you’re also just enjoying the sensation of walking around, and the wind on your skin. You see a doggo and go over and say “hey buddy”. You see a coffee shop and think how am I feeling? Do I want a break? Then when you do find a set, you literally plonk yourself down in front of her and test whether your SMV meets her own attraction thresholds, and you have to accept her reaction as well. Each set becomes its own self-contained assessment, rather than a stepping stone to greater things.
How does this affect your results? It’s ambiguous. Acceptance is, in and of itself, attractive, but you don’t take advantage of short term momentum. You’ll do less sets, and will focus on the girls who are receptive to you, so your stats might improve. Then again, someone consistently practicing HE Daygame, as I did last year, will pick up extra lays up along the way because of the increased workload. You’ll run sets on girls who are on your threshold and will think “well I’ve got her number, I might as well text her, etc.” Then the lay with that girl might give you good vibe for an upcoming date with a more attractive girl.
In terms of a long term strategy, HE Daygame seems appropriate for a) when you’re in the mood, or b) when you want to build reference experiences and push the quality ceiling. There’s something a bit static about Zen Daygame in that you accept who you are and then present yourself. Of course, that’s not the best strategy if you haven’t reached your potential SMV. HE is much more dynamic, it implies chaos because you’re apportioning some for some of your results to intra-session momentum, which you can’t control. That little extra momentum might be the thing you need to open your eyes to what you could be achieving.
What about happiness? For me, right now, I’m practicing LE Daygame in nearly all of my sessions. Forcing myself into sets doesn’t sit right with me, so I’m happy to be fishing away for now.
The heat is a big factor too; it’s too tiring to be doing HE Daygame at the moment. Ironically the seasons have dictated a circular route to the type of Daygame I’ve been practicing. At the start of the year I had to do LE because there were only a few sets, then when Spring came there were more sets but I was still in the old mindset of “jump of any set you can find”. I unwittingly went more HE. But now it’s become too hot and it’s too tiring to go HE so I’m back to LE. Let’s see what I say at the end of the year.
P.S. the ironic thing is that I wrote a post last year where I said, in my hubris, that I always do 8-10 sets. How times change.
- Serotonin: released by feelings of social superiority
- Endorphins: the euphoric feeling released to counter pain
- Dopamine: released by finding what you seek and the anticipation of finds/gambles
- Cortisol: stress
- Oxytocin: not discussed here but the social bonding/pair bonding hormone
13 thoughts on “High Energy and Low Energy Daygame”
Interesting post. I’ve be in LE mode for a long time (years) and my emotions are quite stable. Because the weather is so good I’m actually feeling internal pressure to go HE because the weather could turn at any moment and I’ll regret it when it’s cold and rainy.
Hey Thomas. Was wondering how far you have gotten on getting your daygame memoir published ?
Would be great to add another book to the tiny list of legit pick up memoirs.
Thanks. I’m 80% of the way through the second draft. Then it’s off to the editor. Behind schedule but will still be incredibly proud once it’s released.
Is it going to be published for kindle as well ?
Interesting article – I like your style of writing and the way you present the theory.
As a beginner, many times I go out solo and I feel LE mode, but I end up doing less than 5 sets and I always feel bad at the end of the day. As I’ve reached 200 sets recently and I don’t have to rely on a wing anymore, I thought I don’t weasel much. But yesterday I did my first set with a hot 17yo and afterwards I’d be really picky and I approached only 1 more girl (compared two last weekend when I did 21 sets – and I was in HE mode).
If the streets give you sets – maybe it’s better to actually force yourself to do HE daygame as a beginner? As you said, it’s how you’re exposed to daygame at this stage, but a beginner might feel LE and waste time instead of getting enough practice.
PS: I listened to your interview on Tom’s podcast. Great stories and stats. I look forward to reading your memoir too!
Although imo at 200 sets you should still go out and aim for 10 sets a session to calm everything down and get to a point where you enjoy yourself.
Only approaching off of IOIs is not game Thomas, its just finding yes girls
I’ve found the exact same dynamic about HE / LE and wings… I recently found a couple of guys I can go out with. Their presence awakens the HE behaviours in me. Which is cool, since I tend to go far into the LE-end of the spectrum when I go out alone.
Anyway, I wanted to thank you for a helpful article. The descriptions of hormonal processes, gamles, payoffs etc. resonate and make it a lot easier to think about this stuff rationally.
You’re welcome Markus. I’m glad you enjoyed it 👍
To use an analogy, wings increase your “fitness”; you have consistent energy because a) they keep your state up, and b), you have someone to prove yourself to. If you want to go HE solo then you have to build your fitness and work your way up. So what I’ve done recently is have a goal of 6-10 sets and then over time move the minimum number up.
Very good article.
I found out that, if I am able to open at least 3-4 sets in the first 20 minutes, the more initial AA I have the better are the chances of hitting peak state at the end of the session (which doesn’t necessarily mean better results ofc). Seems like the AA at the start gives me sort of an adrenal response strength test for that day. I am a low intermediate so I’m not talking about the crippling, can’t-open-with-a-gun-to-my-head AA that a rooky feels sometimes.
Since I roll mostly solo I am more of a LED type guy but sometimes high energy sessions are just magic, one of the most terapeutic experiences I have ever tried.
Thanks 👍 unfortunately the euphoric high energy sessions become fewer and far between because of habituation.
I agree with the initial set of quick opens if you’re trying to go higher energy. You’re right about the adrenaline thing. I think it’s like how your liver can handle a unit (10ml) of alcohol an hour otherwise you get drunk. Doing multiple sets in a short span of time makes you “drunk”.