What Mexican Drug Cartels Can Teach You About Finding Love


Yes, you read that right… Mexican drug cartels. Thousands of years ago, Chinese doctors discovered how acupuncture works by studying the war wounds of soldiers struck by arrows. We often learn something awesome from the most unexpected places. Rather than bookmark another self-help website or listen to more advice from your friends and family, here’s some fresh advice on how to find love.

We all know drug-lords are famous for soul-deadening atrocities, not for romance. And let’s be clear, Mexican drug cartels are pretty much the opposite of love in every way. I’m not suggesting you emulate them or celebrate their lifestyle. But it doesn’t mean you can’t learn from them. Sometimes you can discover a diamond ring in the toilet.

Cocaine distribution and dating are surprisingly similar. Both activities require you to remain hopeful and motivated despite all the obstacles in your way. Both rely on the balance of big dreams and tough realism. And with both, a person must stay focused on the “big score” even as you hang out with desperate people who could ruin your life. Over time, you learn to sniff out liars and fakes. And you discover appearances are never what they seem. Just like cocaine distribution, dating requires spontaneity, a variety of social skills and the ability to make fast decisions. Without a doubt, both activities are high-risk/high reward ways to spend your time.

The question is: how can a Mexican drug cartel be so much better at finding customers than you are at finding love and a good relationship?

1. They never give up.

Billions of dollars are spent to stop Mexican drug cartels. If you’re single and looking, you know it’s not easy to find love. But it’s not like billions of dollars are spent to keep you single. In order to do business, cartels fight against a multi-national war. And it never stops them. They expect and overcome difficulty. Highly motivated, the cocaine cowboys either find a way or make a way. They always discover new avenues to move their product. When you feel like nothing’s working and you’re never going to find love, Mexican drug cartels will remind you the only thing that can stop you is death.

2. They find new routes & methods.

Mexican drug cartels operate in a shifting, ever-changing world. The route they used yesterday won’t work next week. How they smuggled the last shipment won’t work on the next shipment. Tomorrow always requires new approaches.

If you’re struggling to find love, you may notice you often go to the same places and hang out with the same people. It may be time you try some new shit. Go to new restaurants and coffeehouses. Go to dog parks you’ve never been. Find a new yoga class where you don’t know anyone. Learn about some new artists and go see their work at a gallery opening. Take a class. Join a club. Get your ass out there where new people can appreciate you. But do this stuff for you! Don’t do it just to meet new people. The point is to refresh you. Newness helps you see the world differently, it keeps you interested and shining with enthusiasm.

3. They respect curiosity.

Did you hear about the drug mule busted with 100 grams of cocaine hidden in a condom in her vagina? Look her up if you want a laugh, she’s the one who texted, “I’m smuggling cocaine and heroine in my coochie.” She’s a cautionary tale for people looking for love. Not because she had a coke-filled condom in her coochie and was dumb enough to text that to someone. And not because she proves the lesson a vagina doesn’t make a great hidey-hole, nor does it mask the scent of coke. Her big mistake was she underestimated the curiosity of a drug-sniffing dog. When you go out with someone never underestimate the power of curiosity.

If your friends or flat-mates hear you have a date they may tell you “have fun,” “be yourself“ and try to “be in the moment.” This isn’t bad advice. But if it confuses you… here’s the secret of how to be “in the moment?” One word… curiosity.

On your next date, don’t focus on you. Don’t talk a lot about you. Definitely don’t obsess about how you’re coming across. Instead, pay attention to your date. Find something about them that intrigues you. When you’re genuinely curious, the conversation will flow naturally. And if you still struggle to find something about them that interests you then… boom! They’re a waste of your time.

4. They prefer a shared culture.

Mexican drug cartels have to “get” each other. Misunderstandings mean people die. There’s no time for errors of translation. A Mexican drug-lord needs to be able to read the smallest changes in body language or tone of voice. It’s harder to do this when dealing with an unfamiliar culture. It’s why they prefer doing business with Colombians to dealing with Russians.

When dating, it’s best when you two “get” each other without a lot of extra words. However, don’t be small-minded about this. It doesn’t mean don’t date someone from a different race, culture or creed. Opposites attract and can make love exciting. So… yes, you can date a Jewish girl even if you’re uncircumcised. But it helps a ton if you both love ‘90s hip-hop. That way you speak the same language and you share a similar culture.

5. They live by their own rules.

Obviously, Mexican drug cartels don’t give a fuck about breaking the law. Yet, they have lots of their own “rules.” If ambitious Pancho betrays “El Jefe” everyone knows his car’s gonna get blown up. No one wants to take a ride from Pancho. Career criminals understand that to be successful in crime, they need a common set of rules.

Whenever you start a new relationship, you become “partners-in-crime.” Which means you must establish the rules of your new partnership. You can’t just assume you share the same rules or that your partner knows what your rules are. If you hate when he responds to your phone-call with a text message, you need to let him know, rather than assume he knows “that shit’s rude.” Maybe it just means he’s busy.

6. They know loyalty & respect are worth dying for.

In a Mexican drug cartel, every boss shares the same fear that his own people will betray him… or kill him. It’s a serious occupational hazard. If you don’t trust others because you’re afraid of getting hurt, just like the paranoid drug-lord, you’re safer when you learn to give and command respect. Others learn how to treat you based on how you treat yourself, and how you treat them.

Fear is terribly unsexy. And it dooms relationships. Love and loyalty require mutual respect. Offer your new partner respect for her time, for his friends, for her high-powered job, for his silly hobbies. Ignore your fears and respect their choices. The minute you stop respecting your partner, it’s time to leave. And if they don’t respect you, it’s time for them to go. Better to kill the relationship and start over.

7. They don’t need a partner… they pick a partner.

If you ask a Mexican drug cartel about a new partnership, the drug-lord will say they’re doing fine on their own. This should be your attitude about love. You don’t need someone in your life. You want someone in your life. Be very discerning. A romantic partner affects everything.

When new candidates join a Mexican drug cartel they get tested. You should do the same. And not like you live in a romantic comedy. Don’t test them to see how they are with puppies and kids and your friends/neighbors. Test them in deeper ways.

Travel together. See what your new boyfriend is like when he’s jet-lagged. If you get sick, ask your new girlfriend to pick something up at the store. Go camping and see how they handle the world without their usual comforts. Take her to an ethnic neighborhood and watch how she treats the waitress. On a first date, ask him to tell a joke or a funny story. Life is way too stressful to be with someone who doesn’t make you laugh. Don’t get a partner just to cure your boredom or as a status symbol.

8. They remain optimistic.

A cocaine cowboy never goes to a drug deal unarmed. It’s too risky to go without a gun. Yet they still go to the meeting because they remain optimistic that shit will turn out cool. I’m not saying bring a gun on a date. But you should move bravely into the unknown.

When five tons of coke gets seized at the border, a cartel chalks it up as a loss. They move on. Tomorrow is a new day. It’s important you remain optimistic even when it feels like you’ll always be alone and you think one day you’ll be discovered dead on your living room floor and ironically, it’ll be an attractive firefighter who finds you and he’ll be the first cute guy in your apartment in years.

If you were stood up, or had a terrible date and it’s clear she won’t be calling, or maybe no one responded to your new profile pic on the online dating site — don’t worry. Just keep moving. You never know what tomorrow holds in its hand. The key is to avoid bitterness.  Sour thoughts poison your attitude. And they ruin your future.

9. They create a “myth” about them.

The most powerful Mexican drug cartel leaders have swagger. They have nicknames like “El Chapo” and “El Chango.” Having a good myth increases your social power. It helps you linger in the minds of strangers. Others grow curious and remember you.

Since most folks ignore advertising, these days we trust word-of-mouth recommendations. This includes you. If people like to tell stories about you, perhaps someone-you-know has friends and workmates who keep hearing about you.  Maybe one of them will want to meet you.

The key to a “good myth” is… don’t hype yourself. Tell funny stories. If you’re genuine you’ll attract people who appreciate you the way you are. We all distrust a salesman. Selectively be self-revealing and tell stories about the funny shit that you do or that happens to you. Share your “myth.” And let others do your advertising.

10. They flirt with danger.

When chasing the “big score,” here’s one last lesson from Mexican drug cartels. Take bigger risks. Push your limits. Embrace the danger of embarrassment. When you overhear a guy talking and he sounds cool, ask out the cute stranger, even if you’re sure he’ll say “no.” If you have a crush on the girl you often see when you’re at your local laundry, next time ask her out. You have to take big risks to get big rewards.

See? You can learn cool shit from all sorts of surprising places. Good luck!

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