When I was a lot younger I used to think that in order to master the game of picking up women I had to master technique. I thought I needed pick up lines, memorized material, and that I had to act "cool". While those 3 things helped a little bit, I actually picked up on more women when I had no agenda. In other words, when I simply wanted to go out with my group of friends and have a good time was the moments when I ended up having more success with the opposite sex. For the longest time I couldn't figure out why.
After years of approaching, talking to, and dating women experience has taught me that the single, most important thing in learning the game is your mindset. I know, I know, it's not sexy, it's not "cutting-edge" but it is the truth. What exactly do I mean by "mindset" anyway? Let me explain it using a sports analogy. If you were to ask any golf professional if technique was important to their golf game they would all agree that it is. But if you were to ask them if technique was more important than the ability to stay focused, disciplined, and have mental toughness, you'd find that they would say they are equally important. Some would even say that the right golf mindset is more important because without it you couldn't improve your technique.
The game (or picking up on women) is very much like most competitive sports. You've got to have both the right mindset and the right technique. But there's one crucial difference between competitive sports and the pick up game: when it comes to meeting women you have a near endless amount of chances to succeed. In other words, if you're watching basketball on television, those athletes have 4 quarters of time to score enough points to win. In the pick up game you don't have those kind of tight time constraints. You can go out and about in public and approach women. You can go to different night clubs and bars to meet and talk to women. You can even approach them on the street. Think of it as practice.
Too often a man will approach a woman, say something, she doesn't respond the way he wants her to, and then he walks away and allows negative thoughts to creep in. This keeps him from making another approach. If he doesn't use his will power and power of decision to control his own thoughts, it can soon lead to learned helplessness. This is not a good place to be in. I believe that many men settle for someone because they have learned that approaching women equals pain and discomfort. If you cannot get over these irrational emotional feelings, it will be very difficult to master the game of pick up.
The key to mastering the game is to have the right mindset and you do this by what is called Gradual Conditioning. If you're really shy like I used to be then start off by going out no less than 4 times during your first week and meeting women's gazes longer than you normally would. Then during your second week say "hi" or "hello" or "what's up?" to one woman a day that you do not know. Your third week you can double or triple that number. By your fourth week you should start making no less than one approach per day (5 or more is much, much better and you'll learn pick up much faster).
If the thought of approaching a girl you don't know scares the you-know-what out of you, then do what I did. Pretend that you're playing a video game. I'm not kidding, this really works. You see, going out and talking to women isn't reality. Think about it, she doesn't know who you are and you do not know who she is. You are only approaching her, in most situations, because she looks a certain way. She is going to respond to you based on how she feels at that moment, how you look like, and what you say and how you say it. So it's not reality. It's only a very small echo of it. So when I go out to meet new women, I don't take anything personally. It's all about having fun, learning, and trying to make women smile.
Here's what I used to. For every woman that I said "Hi" or "Hello" to, I gave myself one point. For every conversation that lasted longer than 3 minutes I gave myself 5 points. For every phone number or e-mail address that I got, I gave myself 10 points. If I kissed a girl in the same night then I gave myself another 10 points. So every night that I went out I couldn't stop approaching women until I reached 25 points. Within 2 months I had to raise it to 50 points because I had gotten much better at reading a woman's body language and had a better "feel" on what to say. So go out there and try and make her smile, you will be pleasantly surprised if you give it an honest try.