“When you decide to take full responsibility for everything in your life, you’ve made the leap from child to adult.” – Tucker Max
(click to tweet)
What happens when one of the world’s most infamous playboys, known everywhere for his rambunctious lifestyle and lack of boundaries, decides it’s time to settle down? When he starts to take a deeper look at his life, and some of the possible reasons behind his wild behavior, and if there might be more to life than sleeping around and getting hammered every night?
Tucker Max is a bestselling author and self-proclaimed “raging dick-head.” He’s become famous for his reckless and crazy lifestyle. This episode is a throwback to an interview I did with Tucker two years ago, when he was just starting to settle down, and to move into a calmer time of his life.
We talk about a lot of the reasons behind Tucker’s own time of reckless living, and some of the ways in which it can be ok, and some of the reasons it can be very harmful and destructive. In addition, there are a lot of really specific tidbits for people who want to meet more women, or people in general, to find better relationships. For example, if you want to meet more women, simply list out the things you’re interested in. Of those, throw out any that women in general are not interested in, and then find ways to connect and get involved with groups centering around those remaining things. You will not be able to help but meet women.
This one is a riot, but also full of useful information at the same time. Tucker has been through a lot, and developed valuable insight into the psychology of party culture, where it’s right and wrong, and how to understand how it should fit into your own life specifically. Enjoy!
Notes on the Show:
- When you have everything you want externally, and you’re still not happy, you need to start asking questions about what’s going on internally
- When you decide to take full responsibility for everything in your life, you’ve made the leap from child to adult
- When something is wrong with someone’s life, most people look externally for a reason, but it’s often either internal, or sometimes a combination of both. But, regardless of any external or internal problems, you are responsible for your own life
- Often (not always), when a guy is hooking up with a ton of women, he has unresolved issues in his life, and unresolved feelings toward important women in his life
- Other times, it’s an attachment issue
- Unconscious psychological defenses are often too strong for someone to be able to tell you what is wrong, and for you to be able to accept it
- If you want to meet a specific kind of woman, or person in general, you need to think carefully about where they are and what they do, what you like of those things, and then go to groups centered around those things
- The internet is full of productivity blogs, etc, but a lot of people who spend a lot of time reading those are using them as guilt reduction for not actually getting things done
- If you’re a man, you’re already a real man! There aren’t any specific things you need to do or not do to be a “real man,” because there are counterexamples for all of them
- Instead of “What is a real man?” the better question is “what kind of man do you want to be?”
“Most people who want change, want painless change. But it just doesn’t work like that.” – Tucker Max
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[expand title=”View Transcript”]
James Swanwick: Today we’re talking about something that many men in their mid-thirties or forties struggle with and that is the transition from the carefree wild and partying, those loose and carefree years of their twenties and maybe early thirties into a more calmer, more mature responsible self-reflective man, a man whose calm down a little bit and is a little bit wiser. Today we’re talking about going from party animal to responsible man. It’s not an easy transition for many of us especially if it times we went to hand on to that crazy wild life even if we got a girlfriend, a wife or children or responsible job or career.
Today we have an amazing guest. Who better to teach us on how make that transition than one of the world’s most famous former party animal who is currently moving into a more mature self-reflective period of his life. Today’s guest is the infamous New York Times bestselling author who wrote all about his drunken antics and sexual exploits. He is Tucker Max.
Tucker Max: Thanks James. Thanks for having me.
James Swanwick: Tucker your party man stories are legendary, so legendary that you sold more than three million copies of your book: ‘I hope they serve beer and hell, Assholes finish first and Hilarity Ensues’. Just quickly remind our listeners how it all started with the website back in 2002, the journey along the way to where you are today 10 years later.
Tucker Max: Well it actually started – my buddies and I were all best friends in law school. Once we graduated we all moved to different cities for work. And I kept doing all the crazy, drunken fun stuff I was doing in law school except they weren’t there with me. So instead of us talking about it the next day like in the library or something I would send them emails and I would just write out stories about all my goofy, ridiculous antics. They thought my stories were really funny and my emails were funny. They started forwarding them around to their friends and then you know how emails forwards were in the early thousands before Myspace and Facebook and they blew up. I ended up putting my stories those emails up on a website and then the website blew up and then the books came and then the movie and now here I am.
James Swanwick: It’s been an incredible journey. I mean you’ve made millions of dollars from writing about picking up chicks and getting drunk haven’t you?
Tucker Max: It’s nice. It’s a nice gig if you can get it.
James Swanwick: I’m going to read from your website just now. It says quote: ‘My name is Tucker Max and I’m an asshole. I get excessively drunk at inappropriate times, disregard social norms, indulge every whim, ignore the consequences of my actions, mock idiots and posers, sleep with more women that is safe or reasonable and just generally act like a raging dickhead.’ End quote – was that Tucker Max in your twenties? Was that really you Tucker?
Tucker Max: Oh yes. That was absolutely unequivocally who I was when I was 25, absolutely.
James Swanwick: Okay. So we can ultimately compare and contrast where you are now in your thirties in that transitional period. Can you just give us an example of a stead and not out on the town when you were at your most outrageous in your twenties? Just a paint a picture for us of early twenties and early thirties life for us.
Tucker Max: That was the worst man. A standard weekend night out you start maybe pre-gaming at five maybe sometimes earlier, beer at your place friends come over and whatever. Then maybe go hook up with some girl or someone you haven’t seen for a while. I don’t know something early. Then maybe hit your favorite bar like Happy Hour or favorite after work bar or whatever, then drink, act like an asshole, hit on girls, just have fun with your friends, break balls and stuff like that. You just keep rinse and repeat at every bar.
It’s not a standard that I would go to a certain place or do a certain thing. For me it was always about having fun. My standard nights were getting drunk, talking to girls, cracking jokes with my friends that kind of stuff, really basic all the same stuff everyone does in their twenties. I was just funnier and cooler than most but it was no different.
James Swanwick: All right so Tucker, which of the stories that you wrote about in your books do fans resonate with the most? What are the ones that they come up to you and go, “Hey man I loved this story. It was so outrageous”?
Tucker Max: I don’t know if there’s any one single story that resonates the most. There’s a couple that people talk about over and over again. There’s the one where – I went to Duke for law school and at Duke you have to camp out to get basketball tickets. It’s like all these nerds and stuff to camp out. My friends and I bought a blow horn and went out to where they were all camped out and just f**ked with them relentlessly all night long and I just wrote all the funny s**t we said and stuff. People thought that was really funny.
There’s a story where I took a breathalyzer out with me drinking out one night with a bunch of people that I didn’t like. I ended up just paying attention to the breathalyzer and getting super drunk and trying to get the highest score possible and all the stuff happened there.
I guess if there’s one iconic story it’s probably the one where I had anal sex with a girl and my friend was filming it from the closet and then she ended up shitting all over my d**k, obviously by accident. We all vomited all over the place. It was one of the most ridiculous, disgusting things that has ever happened to me or maybe the midget story. I hooked up with a midget one time so like a midget convention. I met a midget and hooked up with her and people thought that was pretty funny.
James Swanwick: Just tell us a little more about the midget story.
Tucker Max: Well my buddy lives in Milwaukee with his wife. He called me up one time. He always f**ks me about I always wanted to hook up with a midget because I thought it would be funny and he always f**ks me about that and makes fun of me. He text me one time he’s like “Dude there’s a midget convention in Milwaukee right now” and I’m like “Oh of course”. I’m riding a rainbow or I’m riding a unicorn. Oh thanks. He’s like “No dude I swear to God all my life”. I didn’t believe him. He calls me up and he’s like, “I swear on our friendship on everything that I hold dear. There is a midget convention in Milwaukee right now. They are all over the place. It looks like the Willy Wonker Chocolate Factory.” Of course I got on a plane immediately and flew directly to Memphis or to Milwaukee. I ended up hooking up with a midget.
James Swanwick: Not only did you hook up with a midget that you didn’t wrote about it so millions of people would know about it.
Tucker Max: Well of course. What’s the point of hooking up with a midget if I’m not going to tell people? You’re going to hook up with a midget and then just going to keep it to yourself. I’m not all that attracted to a midget. The point is just to brag about it, sharing stories with your friends. People will be like “Oh I hooked up with a model. I hooked up with a soccer player”. Who the f**k hooked up with a midget? Get out of here.
James Swanwick: So that was just one story of dozens of stories that you wrote about in your books. People loved it, men and women. It’s important to say women did lot of it. What was going on in your head during that time in your twenties? Were you looking to the future? Did you think to yourself “Oh one day I’ll grow up”? One day I’ll be an adult. One day I’ll be a little bit more or I’ll be a lot more responsible. Or were you just partying and said, “I don’t care. I’ll just do whatever”?
Tucker Max: It was very much I just did what I wanted to do at that time. I didn’t really worry about what I would be doing 10 years. I’ll worry about 10 years from now when it’s 10 years from now. In my twenties it was very much about doing the things that I enjoyed in my twenties. What I enjoyed in my twenties was having fun with my friends. That meant going out drinking. That meant picking up girls. That meant meeting new people. That meant just partying.
It wasn’t a thing where I thought I’m going to have my party period and the none day I’ll just turn that off and go into my responsible period. It doesn’t work like that, at least for me. For me it was more about, ‘This is what I enjoy doing right now so I’m going to do it right now and I don’t care about what other people think about it or if it’s the right thing or the wrong thing.” It’s what I like to do and so I’m going to do it. Then when I stop liking it then I’ll stop doing it.
James Swanwick: Okay. Let’s fast forward to today. In the last few pages of your last book Hilarity in Twos you wrote that you were retire from writing those types of drunken stories and those wild escapades. Why?
Tucker Max: Well because the reality is I didn’t have any more stories to write. I wrote three books. Well actually four if you count the free one that I gave away. But I wrote four books of my best stories from my twenties and I just didn’t have anymore. I didn’t have an infinite amount of stories. I had certain about of really good really funny stories that I thought other people would enjoy reading and they did like it and there was nothing left.
I’m 36 now and it’s like I don’t do the same things that I did 26 sort of like at 25 if you had told me the day would come where you don’t go out and get drunk five minutes a week and pick up as many girls as you can and sleep with all of them and act like just a crazy party animal. I’d be like, “No fucking way. That’s never going to change”. But then I got to 33, 34 and I was like, “Uh do I have to go out tonight? I’m not doing it. F**k it.”
It got to the point where I was just tired of that lifestyle, not that I regretted it or that I wish I hadn’t done it. It was great when I was doing it. I liked it when I was doing it. But slowly it crept up on me, instead of five nights I’d go four or three or some weeks I don’t even go out at al. then eventually not only do I not care about doing that stuff anymore, I don’t do the same things when I go out anymore. I’m a different person so I stopped having new stories. Once I finished writing all the stories I had then it was time to move on.
James Swanwick: Yes exactly. I mean a lot of men who are a similar age to you in their mid-thirties right now are probably going through that process. You said it was a process for you. It wasn’t like a lightbulb moment or was there? Was there like one incident or one thing where you said, “You know what I got to slow down”?
Tucker Max: There were definitely moments that I was like, “What the f**k is wrong with my life?” If you read my books you can see there are a couple stories where I talk about it in the story where I’m like, “What the f**k just happened?” The time that my friends and I rented an RV and we were in New York city driving an RV around New York City and we got into a drunken car chase in Harlem and the cop arrested us and there was almost a riot. Not only did we get out of it alive, I didn’t even get indicted. I got arrested and released four hours later and I walked out of the 32nd precinct in somewhere deep in Harlem and I’m like, “I don’t know how the f**k I just got out of that but if I keep pushing this like this I’m going to die”.
But here’s the thing I figured I was maybe 28 when that happened. But it’s not like I slowed down right away. It was just like that was maybe the peak night of my craziness. Then I went down a little bit which didn’t mean I didn’t go from the peak all the way down to the bottom. Let’s say three weeks later I had a crazy party night but it was maybe 80% of what that peak was. You just slowly go down not because of any reason for me, not because of any reason other than it just got boring and tedious and tiresome.
It doesn’t matter how much you like pizza. If you eat pizza everyday you’re going to be tired of it at some point. If I did nothing but eat pizza in my twenties and then eventually I’m like, “You know what I don’t want pizza anymore”.
James Swanwick: Okay from the point where you decided you don’t want pizza anymore – metaphorically speaking – What did you do? What proactive steps did you take to set about change? What was the first step? What did you do?
Tucker Max: For me the change story is a long and evolved one. It started unconsciously. There was no inciting event or one thing. There was maybe a collection of things where I was like, “All right I’m getting a little out of control. I should maybe calm down. It wasn’t like “I needed to stop partying.” It was just “is a little more sensible with your partying”. Then eventually I got to the point where I had really toned it down a lot and I was happy with that. It wasn’t the decision I made to stop. It was I just went with my gut. If I didn’t feel like doing it I didn’t if I did I did.
Here’s the funny thing, once I stopped partying. I stopped partying so much. I started focusing on other things in my life. I started focusing on my health. You can eat McDonalds and drink a case of beer every night when you’re 22 and you don’t have fat. That s**t’s fine. Your body can handle that right?
James Swanwick: Yes
Tucker Max: But at 32 if you do that you’re going to be a disgusting fat ass. It’s not pleasant to be a disgusting fat ass and it’s not healthy. You have to begin to start to think about, “Okay I used to eat a certain way and it was totally destructive but my body could handle it. Now my body can’t handle it so now I’m going to figure out a better way to eat.” You figure out a better way you get more interested in other things.
You get interested in relationships. You get interested in – I got a dog when I was 27 and I love my dog to death. I would never have been responsible enough at 23 for a dog. But at 28, 29, 30 I was responsible enough. I mean it’s a dog. I don’t want to act like its most significant relationship in my life but if you actually care about your dog and you learn about your dog that’s a relationship in your life and you’re for that creature responsible creature. You have to learn how to accommodate that in your life. Then as you start to make these changes you start to realize, “Okay I’m becoming a different person”.
It’s funny man. I had a lot of success professionally and a lot of success financially by the time I was 32. I was comfortable enough that I didn’t really have to work again as long as I wasn’t stupid. I couldn’t have a jet or a house in the Alps or something. You’ve been to my place and you know how I live. My life’s perfectly comfortable for me being single, having no kids.
I didn’t have to do any of that stuff. I didn’t have to write more books and I wasn’t partying anymore. The funny thing is I realized everything I ever wanted and it’s awesome but I’m not really as happy as I thought I would be like 23. If you told me at 23 that 32 you’re going to have a million of dollars. You’re going to be famous for all these books and you’re going to have a ton of girls and a ton of friends. At 23 I would be like “That’s the greatest life ever. How could I ever want anything more?” Then I got that I wasn’t really totally happy and at that point I had to stop and say all right “If I have everything that I want externally and I like it but everything isn’t quite right then I need to ask myself a serious question about what’s going on internally. I need to look inside and see maybe the problem isn’t something I can fix with money or with status or with power or with women. Maybe it’s something I need to address about my internal emotional self.” I think if there is an inciting moment where I went from man to boy I think that was it. And it wasn’t one moment. It was a transitionary period and after that – I think I was 36 when I started psychoanalysis at 34 or 35.
James Swanwick: Started psychoanalysis is that what you said, psychoanalysis?
Tucker Max: If you feel like you need emotional help – I’m not f**king crazy or some s**t. But if you have emotional issues that you haven’t dealt with – If you’re unhappy, if you have everything you want externally and you feel unhappy then changes are you have unresolved emotional issues internal and it can come from any number of sources and it doesn’t mean you’re crazy. It just means you have issues you need to address and you can’t really address that stuff on your own. I don’t want to say that. Buddhist thinks you can. Yoga people think you can and people who do meditation think you can and that stuff I think works to an extent.
I’ve always thought as really as effective as some of those things are I’ve always they dealt with symptoms and not really root causes. I might be wrong about that. That’s just my impression and I could be wrong. I wanted to actively consciously engage ‘What are my emotional issues? Where do they come from? How are they manifesting themselves in my life? And how do I fix them?’ To do that you need to go into active therapy. You can do normal psychology. You can do psychiatry. You can do psychoanalysis. It’s all talk therapy. There are different forms of talk therapy. It’s just talk therapy.
James Swanwick: Would you say then for a man who is going through that transition that you would encourage some kind of talk therapy even if that person doesn’t feel like or doesn’t think like they need it? Would you still encourage men in their thirties or forties or whatever age for that matter to actually go in and do this kind of talk therapy that you’re referring to?
Tucker Max: I would never encourage someone to get help who doesn’t feel like they need help. That doesn’t make sense. By no means is my path the same path as yours. There may be a lot of similarity between our past but they’re not the same past.
Here’s the issue man, if you do a lot of crazy things like I did twenties I wasn’t just a partier dude. I really pushed it to an extreme. And if you do that generally speaking that means you have some unresolved emotional pain you’re running from. Just because a guy drinks and have parties and have fun it doesn’t mean he’s running from anything. If you do it to a reasonable extent then it’s not a bad thing. It’s not even like what I did was bad. I just did so much of it. My behavior was so promiscuous and I don’t mean promiscuous necessarily sexually although it was. I just mean it was so outsized and so extreme. That’s not normal. That comes from somewhere. I didn’t understand that in my twenties. I didn’t recognize that in my twenties. I didn’t really understand that until I got to my thirties and I got successful and established and I had everything I thought I wanted and I realized I still wasn’t happy.
I guess the point is the real transition for me – the real leap from boy to man was when I decided to take full responsibility for everything in my life and I decided to really honestly look at everything that was going on and not see it the way I wanted it to be but see it the way it actually was, even the unpleasant things.
James Swanwick: When you say “take full responsibility for your life” just explain that? What do you mean because the guys here are listening? Again they’re in their twenties, thirties, maybe forties. Maybe they haven’t got to that realization yet. Maybe they haven’t got to that point where they do want to take responsibility, just explain what you mean and then how you went through the process of taking responsibility.
Tucker Max: Here’s the thing I’m sure if you’re listening to this if someone is listening to your podcast and stuff changes are they’re not totally happy with their life. There’s something they want to change. They think that you’re a dude who’s accomplished a lot and you maybe have a little bit of wisdom and knowledge that you can help them in their life. If you’re listening to this chances are you’re in a position where I was then, something’s wrong. You don’t know what it is. When most people are in that position – and I used to do the same thing so I’m not trying to say to other people because I used to be like this.
When most people are in a position where something’s wrong and they can’t figure it out they look externally for either a cause or blame. So they’re like “Oh well I’m not happy because of my stupid boss or my stupid wife or my girlfriend is this. I live in this shitty city or whatever”. They find some external reason that they’re happy. Here’s the thing, it might be the external reason. It might be the external reason is just a rationalization you’re using because you don’t want to face internal emotional issues you have or it might be a combination of both. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter where it’s coming from because the fact is you are responsible for your own life whether what happens to you is your fault or not. What is your fault is how you react with.
If you’re not reacting to is, if you’re not taking responsibility for your reactions to your life to what happens to you in your life then you are not fully engaged and really you’re just a boy. That’s what boys do – children I should say because girls are the same way. Children react to the world. Children blame their problems on others. Children expect having a sense of entitlement. They expect things will go their way. They pout when they don’t.
Adults understand that s**t goes wrong sometimes and understand that even things that aren’t their fault happen to them that affect them negatively and adults realize instead of lamenting, “Oh the world’s not fair” or “my boss is this” or “My girlfriends is this” adults say “Okay this is who my boss is. How do I deal with it? How do I change it? How do alter this situation so I can enjoy it and it can be positive in my life? That’s taking responsibility for your own life. I think to me that is the distinguishing difference between a boy and a man is, ‘Are you responsible? Do you engage your life in a way where ultimately it’s up to you no one else?’
James Swanwick: Okay you’re 36 now. When did you decide that you took full responsibility for your life? Was it a couple of years ago a few years ago when was it?
Tucker Max: It was a slow process. I really truly think that if I had to pick a day where I went from boy to man I think that was the day I started psychoanalysis. For me going to psychoanalysis was a very humbling experience, not humiliating. It was humbling because I had to admit to myself that I needed help and that I couldn’t do it alone. I had to go to someone else who had more experience and more wisdom and I had ask them for help and I had to trust them and I had to rely on them. For me that’s a very difficult thing for me to do.
Some people might not have that problem. Some people might have a different problem. For instance, if you’re a drug addict forever, if you’re a heroin addict or alcohol addict then the big turning point for you is the day you admit you’re an addict. A turning point can be any number of things for any number of reasons. It’s not like there is one thing. I think it’s the day that you recognize and admit that you have some issue in your life that you didn’t want to either admit or take responsibility for previously and you admit it and take responsibility for it and actively work to change it even though that’s painful. That I think as a generally speaking thing that’s the turning point. That’s where you make the real transition into manhood is responsibility.
James Swanwick: Okay. So part of that responsibility obviously is how man deal with women. You’ve slept with many women and in your own words you were very promiscuous both sexually and just in lifestyle wise. Are you capable of having a loving relationship? How are you sure if you think you are capable of that? What advice have you got for men who maybe were promiscuous in their twenties, who’ve slept around a lot, who’ve had that party lifestyle, who’ve enjoyed womanizing if you will who now want to have a relationship, that want to have a girlfriend, that want to be in a faithful relationship? What advice have you got for them?
Tucker Max: This is definitely an area where through and I have a lot of expertise. Here’s the thing. First off, so much relationship advice and psychological advice especially about this sort of thing has to be very gender specific. Men and women we’re similar in a lot of ways but very different in a lot of ways. In this sort of question the answers and the analysis are completely different for men and women. I think for a man especially in late teens or early twenties you can hook up with a ton of girls and it doesn’t necessarily mean anything bad. That can just be a guy being a guy. But for a lot of guys hooking up with a bunch of girls doesn’t mean that.
Some guys have a lot of latent anger and hostility towards women generally because they had cunts as moms or they have some negative childhood dealings with some women in their life. And so they have this unresolved anger towards women and there are different ways to take it out to resolve it. But one of the way guys – and of course this is unconscious. This is not really a conscious thing. Guys will hook up with a bunch of women and treat them shitty, that’s the way that they deal with it not that that’s a healthy way but I’m just saying that’s what guys do. Or hooking up with a bunch of women can mean that a guy has attachment issues like it’s very difficult for him to get close to women and so you deal with that by having lots of different women and there are many other ways that that can play out.
I think that was really my issue was on one hand I like women a lot and I liked being [inaudible 00:27:21 – 00:27:23] sex is amazing. But the sheered number of girls I did it with it – I think where engaged or whatever with I think is pretty indicative of me having – the way it played on me is that I had obvious trust and attachment issues, not attachment issues trust issues.
It’s not hard for me to be monogamous. It’s hard for me to be very close to a woman in a romantic relationship. It’s not an easy thing dude for me. That’s actually a lot of what I deal with in analysis is where do those trust issues come from? How do they play out in my life? And then I work through them. As a dude if you want to have healthy, committed, sustainable relationships with women and you can’t then I really do think that is definitely an indicator. You have some unresolved emotional issues either about trust or vulnerability or attachment or commitment something and you need to get help with that. It doesn’t mean you’re crazy. It doesn’t mean you’re broke. It doesn’t mean you’re f**ked up. It just means you need help.
Our brains are wired to fool us. Our brain is more powerful than our conscious mind. If you read anything about behavioral economics or prediction markets or decision making you understand that quite literally our brains are wired to make us think we understand things when we actually don’t. The only way you can work through these issues I think is with another intelligent objective person who is close to you and you trust and you have a relationship with who can help you in a very nonjudgmental, safe place and work through these emotions and see the truth be host with you.
James you know how it is man. You know how much easier it is to see everyone else’s problems than your own. I mean I can hang out with you or this girl or whoever like “Oh man they’re really cool in these ways. But these are the ways they’re f**ked up” and they just worked on it. They would be great and you would hang out with me and see the same thing in me but I can’t see it, not because I’m stupid but because you can’t see your own problems. Your brain doesn’t let you. You have to have to have somebody who is objective who can help you work through that stuff. So if you’re having those problems with relationships I really would recommend getting help.
James Swanwick: Just to say that some of our listeners here are listeners here are listening to you and they’re saying “you know what that all sounds great but I’m just not going to do it. I’m not going to go and get professional help.” If they decide not to get that help in terms of wanting to be in a relationship in a monogamous relationship what is the next alternative? What should they do if they’re not going to go and get that help?
Tucker Max: They should gear themselves up to just be unhappy.
James Swanwick: What if you said “Okay I’ve got listeners out there who are not in good shape but they want to look like guys on the cover of men’s fitness.” But they’re not going to go work out. They refuse to work out or do anything. So tell me how can they can in great shape without doing anything?
What the f**k do you want me to say mother f**ker? I’m not saying going to get professional therapy is the only way to get help. There are maybe other ways to do it. I’m not sure what they are. I think meditation works for a lot of people. I think Buddhism works for a lot of people. I’m not really sure ‘what are the ways’. It doesn’t really work your friends. If you just go “I can’t tell you what’s going on with my friends”. Okay what’s wrong with me? Tell me what’s wrong and I can fix it.
Good friends will tell you the truth to be totally raw and honest because everyone takes that hurtfully. If you came to me 40 years ago James and you said “All right Tucker I know you really well and we’re good friends but I’m going to tell you what you’re doing wrong to help you” and you’re emotionally closed off and you’re not vulnerable because your mother treated you like this if you gone down the list I would have got super defensive. I would have gotten mad at you and wouldn’t have been willing. I would have been very resistant to change even though everything you would have said would have been right.
Your psychological defenses and your unconscious defenses are too strong. First you have to be willing to change and then you have to work at that in a very slow deliberative process and a safe environment. I don’t know of any other way to get help other than getting help. I mean think about it man. It’s like here’s the thing. I don’t know if you listen to Taylor Swift music but all her songs are basically about her boyfriend’s teaching her like shit.
James Swanwick: Yes exactly, just ask John Meyer about that one huh?
Tucker Max: Here’s the thing. Taylor your next song needs to be ‘Maybe I’m the problem’. Or the next song should be ‘The only common thread in all my relationships is me’. If you keep having the same relationships and you keep having the same problems you need to ask yourself maybe it’s not everybody else. Maybe if you’ve dated 20 cunts in a row maybe you’re picking cunts. Maybe it’s not the girl’s fault – Okay of course you’re a cunt and you picked her to date her. So what you can’t be mad at her. I don’t get mad at my dog for sniffing other dog’s asses. That’s what dogs do. Don’t get mad at a cunt for being a cunt. You dated her. Most people who want to change they want painless change. It doesn’t work like that.
James Swanwick: Okay for all our male listeners out there of course Tucker is saying go out there and get professional help if you feel you need it but just generally speaking be a lot more self-reflective. Really try to look at yourself and see ‘where are the problem areas in my life’. Tucker what type of man are you trying to be? What are you moving towards? What process are you in at the moment in terms of being a man and trying to be the best man you can be, not the best human being but the best man?
Tucker Max: Well I’m not really sure what the difference is because I don’t know how to be a woman. Here’s the thing. One of the things I’ve learned in life – because I’ve had a lot of success and a lot of things and a lot of experiences – I’ve realized there are only two things that matter in life and in order, number one is the relationships you have with the people you love. That’s the most important thing in life. The second most important thing is the work you do that provides value to other people. Everything else is bulls**t, all your material possessions, all your wealth, all you status, all your power – not that that s**t is totally unimportant or irrelevant. I’m not some ecstatic monk who lives in hills. I’m a person too and I have a nice car and I like having good meals out, etc. But all that bulls**t doesn’t matter if you don’t have good people you love and who love you in your life and if you don’t do good work that provides value to yourself and to others.
For me what I’m trying to accomplish in my life now is I want a wife, an amazing wife who loves me and I love her and we connect and we’re partners in life. And I want kids with her, a family. I want a great network of people – of friendships that surround me. And I have great friends. I don’t really have – obviously I don’t even have a girlfriend. I don’t really have a great relationship.
It’s taken me a long time to realize. It’s not that I don’t meet great girls. I do. I’ve met some amazing woman in my life and I dated some amazing woman in my life. The fact that I’m 36 and I’m not dating any of them seriously, I’m not married to any of them probably means I have some issue with vulnerability and trust and the actual process of emotionally connecting on a deep, intimate level with a woman I love. And that’s not anything easy to admit to myself dude. That’s hard to admit and it’s hard to address and work on. But if I didn’t do that then I would just keep repeating the same patterns I used to which weren’t getting me any closer to what I wanted.
I have friend who have these amazing relationships with amazing women and that’s what I want and I don’t have. I had to ask myself, “What did they do differently than I do? What’s different about them?” This was not what I wanted at 25. At 25 I wanted to bang that hot girl at the bar and her friend and then also her other friend. A part of the problem was I met some amazing women at 24. I just was not ready for that. But now I am and so now it’s like I have to work on putting myself in that position even though being ready is not enough. You have to be capable of executing it.
James Swanwick: Well how do you execute them? Are there some little tips you found that worked to try and increase the percentage of meeting or increase the probability that you’re going to meet someone who you are going to be genuinely attracted to? I would imagine you’ve cut out the partying and all that kind of stuff. Are you mixing with a different social circle of friends to try and increase those changes of meeting the woman that you want to marry?
Tucker Max: Generally speaking, if you want to meet a certain type of person you need to go where those people are. I mean James you’re like a world class networker. I’ve met probably 10 people since I met you that we know in common that I didn’t know we come. You’re amazing at finding high quality, high status, and high achievement people. How do you do it? You go where those f**king people are and you yourself immerse yourself in them. That’s exactly how we- That’s the basic outline so that is the same as anything.
I want a woman who is a certain age rage who looks a certain way who acts a certain way who has a certain amount of makeup who’s into certain things and not like I have a checklist. I mean that broadly. I had to really think about who were those women. Generally speaking what things are they into? Where do they go? What do they do? Obviously we’re going to have a lot of those things in common because I want girls who are into a lot of – for the most part women who are into those things as I am. I had to think, “Okay here’s a great example. For the most part workout fitness wise I do a percentage in mix martial arts and I love and it’s great. That’s a great way to meet really cool dudes friends. I mean there’s not a lot of a woman doing that. I mean there are some women who do it and they’re cool as f**k but it’s maybe five women who role at my academy and like 70 guys. Of course two of them are hot and they’re both dating guys that are there so that’s just not a pool to do it.
I had to think, “Where are cool women that are into fitness? Where do they go?” I’m not going to the gym to pick up girls, that’s super lame. Then I realize I used to do something that all those women did, cross fit. No community of women that is hotter and more smart and more fun and more actively engaged in their life than cross fit women. I work out twice a week with weights but I do it on my own because I know what I’m doing. I do Olympic lifts and stuff on my own. I don’t need a coach. I don’t need a gym.
But I was like “I don’t need a gym or a coach but if I go to cross fit and I join that community I’m going to meet hundreds of women like that” because that’s one place where those type of women are and I’m attracted to those type of woman. So I just started going back to cross fit, even though I don’t need it for any specific thing it’s like I’m going to put myself in a position where the women I want to meet are. That’s just a typical example of my life. If you’re a gamer I don’t know, go to gamer s**t. I don’t know what the f**k that would be but go to it. When I was 25 I wanted to meet girls who partied and f**ked so what did I do? I went to bars and met girls who wanted that.
James Swanwick: Makes perfect sense, yes. What advice would you give to a guy then? Draw up a list of their hobbies and interests and then try to make sure that women are also interested in those same hobbies and interests and then start going to those places where those women hang out right?
Tucker Max: I mean yes seriously. Figure what it is you love doing. Let’s say there are 10 things. I’m sure four of those things no women do at all like fantasy football or something. But of the six things you love that a lot of women enjoy doing too I’m sure you can find two or three or four where social groups form and color less around them. Don’t do inauthentic s**t.
I can tell you a bunch of ways to pick up girls that are super lame. You can go join a knitting ground. Knitting is a super-hot thing for young girls in LA now. If you want to be a dude in a knitting group you can do it but how f**king lame is that.
James Swanwick: Yes exactly.
Tucker Max: But you can find tons of things that women like that are into the same things you are and you can just go meet them but you have to go do it. That’s part of being responsible. That’s engaging the world in a way you want as opposed to sitting back and hoping it comes to you and being a boy and feeling like it’s owed to you.
James Swanwick: Its taking actions. I want to ask you a question just slightly off this topic, the way that you’ve been able to write your books and be so productive in your career while seemingly having these nights of sex and partying. What can you teach our listeners about just getting s**t done? Did you just have to switch the party mode off for months at a time and just focus and write the books and punch them out?
Tucker Max: I write during the day and drink at night. I mean when I was living that lifestyle write during the day, hang out and have fun at night. I never understood this notion that you can’t. People ask you the question like college. “How did you have so much fun in college and law school and get good grades?” I’m like, “I don’t know why. The two things are mutually exclusive seriously”. This might be some world view difference that I don’t understand. I don’t understand why people think you have to pick one or the other one. I think it’s just a matter of mindset. Either you decide you’re going to get s**t done or you don’t.
James Swanwick: Okay that’s it there the mindset because a lot of people just say, “Yes you know what I’m going to get I’ll do that. I’ll do it tomorrow. I’ll do it next week. I’ll do it next year.” But seemingly with you, you just decided do it you made a decision and then you execute it.
Tucker Max: Yes. You can pick up – The internet is full of productivity blogs and Amazon’s full of books about how to get things done all this tips and tricks. Man I’m not going to say that s**t’s bulls**t but I feel like most people who read that stuff use that as guilt reduction. They don’t get s**t done so they read a blog about how to get s**t done. They feel like they’re getting s**t done but they’re not doing anything other than reading about getting s**t done. That s**t doesn’t help. Go get s**t done mother f**ker.
Listen, if you are so swamped that you need help organizing your day that’s a different question than ‘How do I get something done?’ It’s sort of goes back to the same metaphor. ‘How do I get muscle without lifting weights?’ No you go lift weights. I don’t understand. I picked up this bar bell and I’m not getting bigger. What did you do with it? You picked it up once and set it down mother f**ker that doesn’t work. Many people I think want results but they don’t want to put the work in to get the results. Well I don’t know what to tell them other than “Put in the f**king work. Stop trying to find a way to get the results without work”.
James Swanwick: It’s the same with everything. I mean we’re talking about work productivity here but it’s the same with woman what you were talking about. You want to find a woman you want to be in a relationship with you’ve got to get off your ass and actually go out and you got to meet them. You got to go places where they hang out. You want to exercise. You want to get stronger. You got to go to the gym. It all comes down to action. It’s very, very simple. Tucker I want to wrap this up nicely now. In summary what do you think it takes to be a man? What is a man? How can you and our listeners all be the best men that we can be?
Tucker Max: James I get this question a lot from people. It used to always annoy me. There was something about this question. I couldn’t figure out what I didn’t like. Then I just recently maybe figure out. I don’t like the assumption underlying the question because the assumption underlying the question when you say ‘How can I be a man?’ Well listen take your hand right now and put it between your legs. What’s between your legs?
James Swanwick: My balls
Tucker Max: And your d**k right?
James Swanwick: Yes
Tucker Max: You’re already a man aren’t you?
James Swanwick: absolutely
Tucker Max: So why are you asking me how to be a man? I mean I don’t mean like literally you but I mean why do people ask me? If you have a d**k and two balls you’re already a man. There’s nothing more annoying to me or more frustrating to me than someone’s like, “You’re only a real man if you do x”. I don’t care what x is: drink beer, f**k chicks, eat steak, drive a motor cycle, all of its bulls**t, whatever finishes the sentence ‘you’re only a real man if’ is bulls**t because I can always find a counter example. ‘You’re only a real man if you eat meat’ bulls**t. My old MMA coach is a vegan and he’s a tough mother f**ker. Tell him he’s not a man. ‘You’re only a man if you’re – whatever – drive a Harley’. I don’t drive a f**king Harley and you can’t tell me I’m not a man.
Whatever modifier you want to put on man I think is bulls**t. I think it’s a way of controlling people and a way of defining – It’s a way of emasculating men. It’s a way of making men feel like they’re not man because they don’t do something in their life. It’s a very 20th century consumerist notion. ‘You need more of this. You need this product. You need this thing to be a man.’ I think men are already men. The question isn’t ‘How do you be a man?’ The question is how ‘How do you be the man you want to be?’
James Swanwick: Exactly
Tucker Max: That to me means you need to figure out – You need to ask yourself the question ‘Who do I want to be? What kind of man do I want to be? Do I want to be a responsible man who has great relationships and who does cool s**t?’ Okay then there are a list of things you need to do. Do I want to be a drunken party animal? Okay there are other things you need to do and the question can change overtime. At 23 the answer for me was very different than it was at 33 and it’s probably going to be very different for me at 43.
The question isn’t ‘How do you be a man?’ The question is ‘What kind of man do you want to be?’ You need to ask yourself that question. Once you answer you then you need to say “Okay who are those men? What are they doing?” and then say alright “What are they doing that I’m not doing?” I’m going to start doing that. Then I’m going to figure out my own path. I’m going to start by imitating those men then I’m going to figure out my own path. Then by doing that you become I think the man you want to be.
James Swanwick: Well I tell you what Tucker of all the times that I’ve asked that question that response was certainly the best and the most fascinating. Listen I wanted to thank you so much for your time today. I really appreciate it as I’m sure all of our listeners do as well. But for more information of course you can go to TuckerMax.com. I’m sure if you’re in an airport at any time you’ll see one of his New York Times bestselling books staring back at you and in some of those airport lounges. Tucker, I thank you very much for your time sir. The future looks golden for us huh?
Tucker Max: Yes definitely. Thank you man I’ll come back any time for you James.
James Swanwick: All right Tucker I appreciate it mate. Thank you very much. Tucker Max.