Be honest: How many of you know an awesome person with a romantic life that could be summed up with these six words: the short end of the stick? Perhaps that friend might even be you. I’m not here to judge, but I am here to wake your butt up by letting you know that despising your experiences as a single person is not normal. When people say relationships take work, they are talking about the inevitable misalignments that occur when two (or more) people try to share one life. What they’re not talking about is all the unnecessary drama, unreturned texts and lackluster sex that result from picking up floor scraps because you don’t feel worthy of joining the dating feast. And believe me, despite the fact that we are statistically in a dating famine—or as Vanity Fair dubbed it, a Dating Apocalypse— there is a feast out there of explosive chemistry, conversations until dawn, fairy-tale firsts and finger-licking-good seconds.

In short, I wrote this book to teach each of you how to boldly play the game of desire, and win.

Thankfully, though, as long as you play, there really aren’t any losers. First of all, the goal here is not to trick or one-up potential mates, but instead to get the best out of everyone involved in each budding connection. Second, while it’s fun to walk into a room feeling like you own it, cool to know how to make people feel excited in your presence, and exciting to be the one deciding if you wanna call someone back, there’s also a ton of value in coming up short because that’s how you get better and find better matches. With this in mind, the choice to play isn’t a question of morality but one of personal endurance: How much longer can you stand to wait for luck to notice you and fix your broken, lonely heart?

Most people have no clue what they’re doing, no idea what they’re doing wrong and thus, absolutely no concept of how to change the direction of their romantic fate.

Yes, women have a ton of advice columns. And yes, we have libraries of self-help books that encourage us to be a bitch, a prude or a vixen; but in my experience of listening to singles, they don’t need any more arbitrary tips. They need a clear system to follow that’s inclusive, multifaceted and proven. Here’s are the 5 phases to dominate your dating life:

Phase One.

KNOW who you’ve become by identifying the core traits of your intimate self. This includes being fully aware of your strengths, weaknesses, blind spots and patterns. This knowledge also needs to be supplemented with advanced feedback from others who know them intimately—be they close friends or exes.

Phase Two.

CHANGE the habits and perceptions that are holding you back. This includes changing your appearance, your mind about your limits, faults, and even your traumas. Learn the art of seduction, anti-seduction and the habits that may be preventing you from making powerful connections where it matters most. You are who you’ve become, which means you can become whoever you consistently choose to be. If a component of your reality does not serve your vision of your highest self, it is no longer you.

Phase Three.

LEARN from a series of experts (don’t worry, I’ve done a lot of the work here for you!) to fine-tune your external and internal presentation. Become a master at approaching, attracting, flirting and influencing. Decide who you want to attract and learn how to find and entice them.

Phase Four.

PRACTICE what you’ve learned thus far in low-risk environments, including at work, among friends and on casual dates. In addition, test out new hypotheses so you can create your own unique toolbox for making connections at will. Flirting, seducing and influencing should not be reserved for “the one” but are skills that will transform all your relationships, including the one you have with yourself.

Phase Five.

BE the person you’ve always wanted to be. Enjoy the company of people who better you and bring you joy. Join the feast and empower others, through your exceptional transformation, to do the same. Finally, revisit the other four phases periodically because this work is never truly done. And once you get into the swing of things where it starts getting really fun, you’ll realize how great that news is! 

My new book, The Game of Desire, is a detailed account of how I tested this five-phase program on six down-on-love daters—and how you, dear reader, can implement these tools for yourself. Our journey is radical, raw, ridiculous, turbulent—and absolutely true. I hope in the upcoming pages you will vicariously learn through these women (whom you will come to know very well) how to overcome any fears, faults, limiting beliefs and insecurities that have been preventing you from discovering your own feast.

Excerpted from The Game of Desire: 5 Surprising Secrets to Dating with Dominance —and Getting What You Want. Copyright © 2019 by Shan Boodram. Published by Dey Street Books.