Archive for the ‘Stimulus Space Response’ Category

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By @anarchyroll

Personal development and self-help are prime examples of noble causes with righteous intentions, hijacked by hacks and exploited for profit by wannabe writers and book publishing pigs. The gap between the advice of personal development material and its audience taking action is where mindless, repetitive, reused content has been plugged in for profit, for decades rather than an evolution of the genre for the betterment of the populace.

Tony Robbins seems like he wants to help the little guy, then you look at what it costs to attend his seminars and cynicism sets in quicker than you can say to yourself, I can’t afford that! I own written and audio copies of Stephen Covey books, yet no one I have ever lent them to has ever been able to implement his advice. Seth Godin attributes much of his success to Zig Ziglar, but for every Seth there are thousands upon thousands of people who bought those books on tape and got NOTHING out of them beyond something to listen to on the car ride to work.

I have listened to dozens of personal development audio books and read paper and electronic copies of even more. The vast majority of the material is presented in equal parts dense and abstract manner with ZERO emphasis on tangible application.

Tangible application is what the personal development genre of podcasts has been founded on over the past few years. Tim Ferriss is the unquestioned leader of the how to turn knowledge into application movement. His books have sold millions, and he is the unquestioned, undisputed king of podcasts as of press time. It came as little surprise to me that Tim Ferriss helped mentor Ryan Holiday into the literary and personal development powerhouse he is quickly becoming.

I read both The Obstacle is the Way and Ego is the Enemy in record time for my standards. Both books have been revised, produced, and presented in a way that is a model for personal development books to follow going forward. Easily digestible, not overwhelming, not abstract, and ALL directed towards turning the knowledge into application for the average person.

Based in stoicism, the usual amounts of inspiration quotes and past stories are given. But what Holiday proves his worth at is bringing all his concepts from thousands of years ago, to hundreds, to the present day. From camels, to horseback, to Uber. From scribes, to letters, to the iPad.

So much personal development material is based upon the concept of thoughts and general information OR is merely a tool to get people to pay money for coaching and seminars. Those are why self-help and personal development is laughable to many and considered snake oil to many others.  Holiday’s material is about action. What to do, how to do it, when to do it, where to do it, why to do it. Examples of historic figures are used but Holiday repeatedly emphasizes the importance of the readers’ duty to define what IT means to them.

Guiding people through their personal internal and external limits is no easy work. In his books The Obstacle is the Way and Ego is the Enemy Ryan Holiday does an exceptional job at leading his readers to water on how to conquer both. Both books are easy, quick reads without sacrificing depth or breadth of credible, applicable information. I can’t recommend these enough and the earlier in life one is able to read these books the better. Knowledge like this will certainly help the populace more than algebra and frog dissection.

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by @anarchyroll

I have been journaling and setting goals for years. Usually journaling to help clear my mind and goal setting to focus it.

I usually don’t put much thought into the style and/or organization of my journaling and goal setting. I kept my goals in my head for the most part until a few years ago when I lost sight of who I was, where I was, and where I was going in life.

I was happy to discover that after writing my long-term goals and my goals for what would allow me to die a happy man; that I had never actually lost sight of the goals, I had just allowed myself to be shamed and discouraged by various people in my life into thinking my goals were unrealistic and non respectable.

Journaling helped me see that although I had a long way to go to achieve my goals, it didn’t matter what others thought of what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be. What mattered was my own piece of mind. Journaling helped me see that I had veered very far off course and had dug a very deep hole for myself. Goal setting helped me lay out a tangible and realistic plan and path out of the hole and back onto the right path.

My journaling process recently evolved for the sake of organization and archive accessibility which I’ll write about later. It was something I had thought about doing and had half heartedly done with various smart phone apps, notes, etc. But my goal setting process never really changed. I wrote out my long-term goals. Broke them down into smaller pieces to be achievable in the medium, short, and immediate terms. Occasionally, through meditation I would review them to make sure they were the things in life I wanted to pursue.

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Then within two weeks by two different people I was turned onto the concept of daily goal writing. First by my bereavement counselor Frank who proposed daily goal setting as well as using the S.M.A.R.T Goals model. Then about a week later, during my lunch break, I was listening to a podcast by Brendon Burchard that was almost completely dedicated to daily goal writing.

Physically writing out the goals is key, not just typing it out on laptop keyboard or digital keyboard on a smart phone.

At first I was just writing my base goals over and over, day after day. Then I started including some of my smaller day-to-day goals. Then I started using different wording to describe the goals. Then I started incorporating medium term goals. Then I incorporated stuff I wanted to buy followed by budgeting/saving plans. Then I started getting extra specific with how I wanted to achieve the goals and so on and so on.

As a writer this helps me a lot by getting me writing regardless of my mood or time constraints. But even people who aren’t writers, don’t like writing, and don’t care about writers or writing can and will benefit from daily goal writing. Why? Because daily writing will get you thinking about your goals and will keep the goals in the front of your mind because you are revisiting them every day by rewriting them everyday.

There’s something about physically writing something.

When you write the goal and see it written down it gives you perspective one where you are currently on your path to achieving the goal. This will get you both consciously and unconsciously thinking about the goal(s). More often than not the goal will be too generic and obscure so over time you’ll naturally;

  • Specify how you want to achieve the goal(s)
  • Put a more concrete time frame on achieving the goal(s)
  • Revisit why the goal is important to you (and if it still is)
  • Write and revise action steps to tangibly achieve the goal(s) step by step
  • Discover new goals you want to achieve
  • Realize if you are living your life in a way that lends itself to achieving your goal(s)

Daily goal writing dissolves the pie in the sky paradigm of goal setting. Putting the goal down on paper everyday rain or shine, changes the very nature of how you view and go about trying to achieve your goal(s).

This act has had subtle and noticeable changes in my life already.

  1. I’m finding it easier to focus and prioritize/schedule my time.
  2. I’m looking at how I spend my time when I’m not working my day job.
  3. I’m questioning my day job.
  4. I’m incorporating the goals into my meditation sessions by making sure to do success visualizations in addition to my usual meditation regiment.

Everyone is different and we all have different goals for different reasons. My goals are going to be different from the people reading this blog as they are different from my close friends and family. But like there are universal principles to live by, there are also actions that are universally considered helpful in life. Writing/journaling is one of them.

The most successful people in the history of the world have kept a journal of some sort which helped them achieve their goals of being successful and therefore remembered forever. One’s definition of success may not be to be remembered forever in books and tales, but anyone can benefit from using the lessons of the successful people who have come before us in doing the simple and easy things that build a successful life.

Daily journal writing is one, goal setting is another. The two make a natural combination. I hope combing the two helps you as much and more than it helps me.

 

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by @anarchyroll

My mother died recently. She suffered a lot towards the end. I supposed we should have seen the end coming. But denial is as strong as it is covert.

My mother went from doing well, to okay, to in the hospital a couple of times in a couple of weeks, to on her deathbed in hospice, all very quickly.

We were told we had weeks. She was dead within three days of being told that.

There were a lot of things that caught me off guard during that time. Being financially unable to fufill her burial wishes certainly comes to mind. Not being able to cry after her terminal diagnosis  because of all the nurses coming in and out of the room in the immediate aftermath. Not being prepared to stay overnight in the hospital, before she got moved to hospice.

I learned what it meant to feel fried. I felt fried. My emotional power chords all were short circuited and fried.

As they progressively gave my mother more and more morphine during what turned into the final days of her life, I was most unprepared by how little I could think of to say to her.

I cried as I apologized to her for not knowing what to say. A fever induced trip to the emergency room a few years ago has left me a cognitive shadow of the man I was and was becoming. I’m slower, duller, quieter, sadder, and less charasmatic, empathic, and bold than I was.

When my mother wanted nothing more from me but to talk, I could not access the part of my mind that facilitates basic communication skills. That sums up a good portion of the past four years of my life.

I cried and told her how scared I was that I would never be same again, as she lay there on her deathbed, she offered me nothing but love, understanding, compassion, and empathy. In that moment she cared more about the worry of her son, than the fact that she was dying.

That is a mother’s love.

She died two days later, two weeks less than what we were told. As the grieving process started, I was shocked to my core how…prepared I was.

I felt more normal than different. Why? Because I’ve been battling depression since I was 14 years old.

All the steps of grief I was experiencing in textbook fashion, overlapped into the overly familiar territory with living and battling depression for so many years. Disconnect, disinterest, melancholy, disbelief, disappointment on a recurring loop. To have a stretch of time without, an exception as opposed to the rule.

I was so taken aback that I was able to stop denial across the board in my life.

Depression, failure to launch, thinning hair, maturity, grit, responsibility, and discipline issues that I had read and thought about, but failed to take consistent action on.

The death of a loved one forces introspection. It makes mandatory the conversations with oneself that were prior pushed down the road. Death is the end of the road.

I was unprepared for my mother’s death. I was also unprepared to live my own life. Unwilling or unable to do the work, my life’s work, on a day in day out, week in week out, month in month out, year in year out basis. Unwilling or unable to face the ups and downs, highs and lows, sacrifices and successes of adult life after divorce and depression robbed me of half of my youth.

Is there where an affirmation and promise of future success goes?

One thing that depression and grief has taught me is that actions speak so loud, words can’t be heard.

I have dug quite the hole. There must be many private victories before the public victories are worth sharing.

As I move farther along through the grieving process, the similarities and differences between grief and depression manifest and become more obvious. One difference for me became obvious the moment I saw my mother’s dead body when I ran to her room in the hospice facility. It was a difference I whispered to her over and over again while weeping after my sister gave me a few minutes alone with her.

Depression created a thought loop and therefore a feeling of hopelessness. A constant inner monolgue that it was not worth it to try.

The grief I immediately felt upon seeing my dead mother inspired five words to repeat in my head, that I vocalized and whispered over and over with the last moments I had with my mother in the physical world…

I Will Never Give Up

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By @anarchyroll
11/9/15

I have been meditating for around six years now. The total time spent meditating is much lower than that number would make it seem. I like many caucasian Americans who start meditating, have had long gaps between meditation sessions.

This calendar year of 2015 has by far been my best year practicing meditation thanks to the Calm.com smartphone app. I recommend that app passionately to all novice and intermediate meditation practicioners.

This year, as of this writing, I have logged 44 hours and 44 minutes of meditation using the Calm app to guide my meditation practices. I most often use it when I wake up in the morning, during my lunch break at work, before I go out to a social establishment, and/or before I go to sleep.

On Halloween this year I worked until the early evening, went to a Party City and bought $25 of zombie make up, went home to eat, meditate, and go out for the night. Halloween has turned into an adult holiday in the last decade, it is one of the few days a year where it is better to be single. I was looking forward to going out to play.

I started a standard, guided mediation, with a slightly more than average emphasis on deep breathing. As the meditation was progressing, I quickly felt something quite different.

Adrenaline rushes, endorphin release, oxytocin spikes, are events most people are familiar with. It is why we watch scary movies, skydive, prefer rough sex, do drugs, eat junkfood, drink booze, exercise intensely, etc. That feeling that starts in the head and quickly rushes through the entire body giving us simultaneously the internal and external feelings of what we know deep down is what it REALLY feels like to be alive.

This feeling often comes in short, sporadic bursts. We chase after the feeling in our own individual ways. Those who let the chase interfere with or confuse it with their purpose in life are often designated as addicts.

Before I started what I thought would be a standard pre sarge meditation I took a round of mood support supplements. 5 HTP, Theanine, and Inositol each in capsule form. A combination I had taken dozens if not hundreds of times before in an attempt to balance my neurotransmitters and the moods, emotions, and thoughts tied to them.

I turned off the lights, opened the app, and within three minutes of a five minuted guided session, I was experiencing a full body endorphin and adrenaline rush that I was able to induce and control based upon my breath.

I thought it would end quickly, maybe as soon as the guided session’s gong tolled. But it didn’t, it kept going as if I had a bomb trigger in my hand and taking a deep breath was pressing the button. Attaching positive thoughts, affirmations, and memories to the breath made the rush exponentially more intense and orgasmic.

I kept thinking of how to describe this event. It was not an endorphin rush, it was a flood. It wasn’t stopping.

When I would ask myself through my inner monologue or out loud how I felt I could only come up with the words; euphoria, ecstacy, the term heaven on earth, and of course happiness and gratitude.

I did not experience halluciations, I never felt out of control.

I felt pure love, peace, and joy. As if my inner child came out to play after years of hiding under layers of depression, burnout, and fear.

Goosebumps covered my arms, legs, hands, feet, back and head.

I decided to not go out until the experience subsided. I figured, even if were to go out and get a tremendous alcohol induced buzz followed by great sex with a woman or women I met; I could only equal the feeling I was experiencing in those moments. Plus I figured, how much longer could this endorphin flood last? I could let it run it’s course, put on my zombie make up, head out, and still try to have as much adult fun as the law would allow.

Four hours later, I was exhausted from the euphoria. I’m sure anyone reading this who goes to summer music festivals can relate.

I did not want to experience to end but I was very tired, and if anything, was excited to see if the experience would carry over into my dreams. It didn’t, but the entire next day I would get mini rushes or spikes at the more common length of a few seconds to a minute or so.

What did I experience exactly? Did the supplements play a factor? Did I reach some level of meditation mastery? Did someone slip something into my afternoon protein shake? Was I asleep? Had I slept?

All I know is that I know nothing and that I am happy and grateful for the experience that happened through me as much or more than it happened to me.

A stone cold sober ecstacy trip is not an every day occurence…..yet. Gotta have goals to chase after all.

I was certainly touched deeply by the experience. Since that night my bad moods have been shorter, my good moods longer, my productivity is up, procrastination is down. My sleep has been better and just as important, I have been more aware while awake.

A turning point? A reference point? A tipping point?

Is there a point?

Yeah, meditation is awesome. It has saved my life. It has improved my life. Every time I practice it teaches me more about myself, life, and the universe.

Maybe I was being rewarded for my practice.

Maybe I was given a glimpse of things to come.

Or maybe the chemicals and neurotransmitters in my brain just coincidentally aligned and fired off a once in a lifetime mental fireworks show marathon.

It passed, as everything does.

And I am happy and grateful.

Namaste

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By @anarchyroll
10/26/15

Freedom, an innate human desire.

Wars are fought both internally and externally for it.

People die for freedom

Others die to be free

Some people have chains on their wrists and on their ankles

Some have chains in their minds and hearts

But whether trying to exercise demons or remove shackles of tyranny

It is only organization and structure through which freedom is accomplished

To find freedom any other way is fleeting at best

And most quickly faded

Uniting with others to create strength externally

Forcing forward focus internally

There is no other way

To say there is is to lie

Unless your only definition of freedom

Is to be alone when you die

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10/21/2014

The paradigm of physical exercise is false. There is no such thing as just exercising the body. The mind, heart, and spirit are always worked out and remolded just like biceps and abdominals.

When the Centers for Disease Control is listing the mental benefits of physical fitness, then there is more to the topic than just a series of rah-rah, feel good statements and slogans.

In America, where there is an obesity epidemic, any excuse to exercise is a good excuse. Pushing the limits of one’s physical fitness is hard, very hard, if it wasn’t then more people would do it. It should come as no surprise that those who battle depression also are less physically active than the average person.

Working out really is hard. Fitness models, bodybuilders, athletes, and supplement salespeople would love it if you believed that you are just an unmotivated sloth. But, show me an insanely fit man or woman and I’ll show you a person who is dependent on supplements like a crack addict. To work out completely naturally, with nothing but water, food, and sleep is a difficult proposition. Add a full time job it’s that much harder. Add in family, friends, hobbies, and the human condition and it is no wonder that the entire developed world isn’t dealing with an obesity epidemic.

The sick joke is that fitness inspiration through imagery of unrealistically, aesthetically in shape men and women can have an inverse effect on the desire to even get started. After all, how much time, effort, energy, money, ambition, and sacrifice is going to be required to become as fit as those Instagram fitness celebrities?

This is where a paradigm shift is required. Paradigm shifts take as much time, energy, and effort as all the crunches and clean eating required to get a ripped 6-8 pack. BUT, a paradigm shift can be as simple as seeing something differently and taking action differently based upon a different vision/way of thinking. The paradigm shift in this case is to see exercise as not just exercise for the body, but as exercise for the heart, mind, and spirit as well. A way of becoming more fit as a whole person. Not just as an aesthetically pleasing narcissist. But to be healthy, literally from the inside out.

Anxiety and depression are the thick thieves of living life. I can attest that from experience. If doing some push ups, squats, crunches, weight lifting, yoga, jumping jacks, and jogging can do it’s part to combat these twin towers of terror in daily living, why not? It’s cheaper than a Prozac prescription. But self-mastery is hard, and that’s what we’re talking about when we’re talking about the need to exercise for the benefit of mental health.

Self mastery is hard, very hard. If it were easy then everybody would do it.

I can’t pretend to have all the answers. I can only speak to what effect physical exercise had on me while I was in the throes of my depression as an adolescent. I used exercise as a distraction. I used it as an excuse to not deal with my larger, more encompassing mental/emotional problems and disorders. I would go to the gym after detention during my high school years. Rather than seeking advice from educated, trained personnel I would pump iron and run laps. As time went on I found yoga and meditation.

Lifting weights, doing cardio, practicing yoga, and meditation were/are all wonderfully helpful distractions from “getting help”. But any singular or combination is infinitely better than watching television, surfing the internet, spacing out, laying in bed awake, remembering past negative events, and/or imagining future confrontational events; all of which I am guilty of doing repeatedly if not habitually.

We are all flawed beings. We all seek to be perfect, if not at least better. We’re all doing our best, even if our best is not good enough. If physical exercise can improve our mind and our spirit, then why not set aside ten minutes, to a half hour a day a few times a week to becoming more whole and making a good faith effort to fill the hole in our soul?

The effort required to expand my comfort zone to putting the effort in there, fuels my effort to expand it elsewhere, and I hope it does for you too…

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by @anarchyroll
10/7/2014

Meditation has been a gift to my life that I am forever grateful for. If my body raced as fast and as consistently as my mind did, then Usain Bolt would be my lackey.

I have varied my meditations by;

  • length (2, 5, 10, 15, 30 minutes)
  • time of day (morning, afternoon, evening, late night)
  • focus level (breath only, visualizations, purposeful wandering)

One of the best modifications to meditation I have found is the incorporation of binaural beats.

I didn’t realize I was using binaural beats until I was on a date and the woman I was with was describing this app I had downloaded the previous year with a variety of sounds to stimulate the mind for a variety of reasons. The app is called is call Brainwave Tuner. I downloaded it shortly after hitting rock bottom in the autumn of 2012 (death in family, loss of job, dropout of college) as a small way to help turn my life around. When I downloaded it, I wasn’t exactly sure how it could help me, but my inner voice was telling me that it would help me in the future, and it has.

What I like about the app as opposed to singular binaural beats that people listen to and watch on YouTube is that the app has around twenty different beats, each with its own specific purpose. It certainly is no miracle drug or magic pill, but it is not snake oil either. It helps me achieve deeper levels of meditation, relieves tension headaches, and helps me concentrate on doing work. This article as well as my last 20 in a row, and a decent amount of the previous 170 have been written while listening to binaural beats.

Specifically in regards to pairing binaural beats with meditation, which is the primary use; I find it is good to alternate between using them and going without any additional sound/audio guidance. BUT if one lives in a loud, crowded, urban environment I recommend using either binaural beats, new age music, or audio based guidance for a vast majority of meditation sessions to aid in elimination of external distraction(s).Binaural beats can be purchased, which I do recommend doing, but one should certainly utilize YouTube to dip their toes in the water and get a sample of the effect(s) the beats can have on them.

The more people who meditate, the better. The more variety of meditations, the better. If binaural beats are used to get people to meditate who wouldn’t, or help people experience deeper meditations then they are a gift on par with meditation itself. The certainly have helped me to meditate longer and deeper with more focus. For that I am grateful and recommend them to all.

 

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by @anarchyroll
9/27/2014

Even over a month later I get the wrong kind of goosebumps thinking about Robin Williams’ suicide. I didn’t think I was that big of a fan of his. I didn’t think a celebrity death outside of my immediate circle of idols and heroes would/could affect me the way Williams’ did.  I don’t feel like I lost a family member or a close friend, but I do feel like I lost someone just outside that closely guarded circle of loved ones.

I’m not a celebrity worshiper. I only see the E! channel right as I turn it off or insist to my friend or date that he/she turn it off immediately. I don’t read tabloids, TMZ, or celebrity gossip/feature magazines. I only own a handful of Robin Williams movies, but each one is high up in my list of all time favorites.

Robin Williams didn’t just come across as happy, he came across as one of if not the most slapstickiest, happiest people in the history of the world. His comedy made people laugh from their bellies until their face hurt. He had so much staying power in Hollywood, almost forty years, that he could never be scoffed at as a fad or flash in the pan. He was an institution not just of comedy, but of the arts.

Marc Maron recently reposted his 2010 WTF Podcast interview with Robin Williams. The interview was so striking and almost foreshadowing that TIME magazine took notice of it.

Another great podcast, more short form than Maron’s; the Savvy Psychologist from QDT.com, recently had a great podcast debunking suicide myths in the wake of Williams’ suicide.

 I have battled depression for now, over half of my life. I recently just had a bout with it from the day after my birthday through the middle of the following month.

I have never taken anti-depressant medication. This most recent bout was the closest I came to seeking pills for help. I suppose a chemical imbalance in the brain, maybe should be treated with chemicals. If I didn’t know people who have had massively bad side effects from taking happy pills, and didn’t read about all of the people who once coming off the drugs were worse than before they went on, I might have been inclined as a youth to allow a medical intervention into my mind and spirit.

The side effect of depression itself that has been most damaging to me; has been an internalized belief of entitlement that, because it is so hard for me to keep my shit together internally, that life should be easy for me. This is coupled with being raised white middle class. A fear/avoidance of the externally difficult, unknown, potentially painful that has led to a case of failure to launch and/or live up to potential. Internal battles that leave me fatigued, burned out, and depleted of willpower.

The battle of depression is an invisible one. The effects are invisible. The side effects are invisible. Robin Williams killing himself shined a very bright light on this invisible fact.

Some side effects of that light have been

And I’ll keep my fingers crossed that young, upper middle class girls will stop talking about #thestruggle in relation to shopping, style, and exercise when people are struggling to live day-to-day but, I also doubt their collective ego-narcissism will dissipate in the face of anything other than the apocalypse.

I know I certainly looked at myself and my situation differently. I for the first time gave serious consideration to taking anti-depressants. The storm passed as I started to research what my options are under the Affordable Care Act. If there is another bout, I certainly will have Robin Williams in mind when I decide what to do to move through the storm. Perhaps others will too. Robin Williams gave so many gifts to the world, perhaps the awareness of the need to seek external help in the face of internal struggle will be his greatest.

Rest in Peace Mr. Williams,

Thank You.

 

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by @anarchyroll
8/6/2014

Overcoming fear is part of life. They say fear is only in the mind, so is the idea that overcoming fear is a single act or moment that lasts forever.

Conquering fear is a process. If you want to master a skill, it will be a process of growth. Like exercising, if the muscle(s) aren’t continuously worked, they will regress.

Fear is bad enough, and gets written about quite a bit. A concept/aspect of fear that I am yet to encounter literature on is the habit of fear. The habit(s) of thinking, perceiving, and/or acting in fear based ways can remain long after the fear itself has been conquered.

These habits of thought, perception, and action can cause the illusion of regression, which can then cause a regression in the model of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I have noticed within myself that even when I don’t feel any physical fear or anxiety when attempting to do something that once terrified me, I will sometimes still not follow through with the right action that is in line with my goals. Why would I not take action if I’m not feeling afraid or thinking fearful thoughts?

Because there is a vacuum of space in my mind and spirit where fear used to be. The habits of fear based thoughts, perceptions, and actions are so cemented into my being after so many years, that it isn’t enough to blow up the concrete, I have to build something new as well.

It is both frustrating and humbling, because it exposes the progress I have made as well as the lack thereof. It lets me know I have much work still left to do after what feels like two lifetimes worth of an odyssey of the mind, heart, and spirit.

It is also something I was/am unprepared for. I thought once I stopped having such frequent, intense panic attacks when pressed up against the edge of my comfort zone that I would just naturally move forward by larger and larger increments. I falsely assumed once I reached a certain point of progress I would only take steps forward as opposed to continuing to take steps backwards.

I thought conquering fear was a destination, not an ongoing process.

But there is no aspect of personal development that is a final destination. Constant growth, evolution, improvement, change is required to achieve any and all goals. Whether the goal is material or immaterial, internal or external, physical or metaphysical.

I just wish I would have known that there would be a vacuum of space that existed where the fear used to be. The habit of fear in addition to the fear itself. That getting to the top of the mountain doesn’t mean much unless there is infrastructure below me to get back down and move on to the next challenge life has to offer.

I know what I have to do and should do which is choosing to do courage and taking right action. But I have fallen into holes in the ground of not doing what I know I should/need to do, then getting caught in the paralysis of analysis. Getting trapped in a cycle of going to sleep determined and waking up with progress amnesia. So many bad habits formed and cemented during all of my formative years. I go to sleep having made progress getting out of a ditch only to wake up in the morning to find I sleep-walked my way back to where I was yesterday, last week, last month, etc.

Habits, not the fear itself, but the residual effects of living a fear based existence for 3/4 of my life. I don’t feel afraid but I act afraid. I don’t take action when I want to because I am so used to being to afraid to act that stagnation is the status quo.

The habit of fear. Another obstacle to get to self-mastery. Though this concept feels more like black ice than a brick wall.

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by @anarchyroll
7/20/2014

Learning how to talk to women in bars and nightclubs for the sole purpose of having casual/promiscuous sex is not what one would call the traditional road to enlightenment and inner peace. The Game by Neil Strauss is not a personal development/self-help book. It is an entertaining non fiction story intertwined with a how to manual of how to become a more socially suave man. Many women think of this book and other “seduction” manuals and are offended at the concept and existence of such material. The seduction community has some message board posts that can be considered the Rosetta Stone of internet trolling. However, without The Game I never would have become a well read person, and never would have been able to look beyond the stigma of consuming personal development/self-help materials.

I was never taught how to talk to women, or how to talk to girls for that matter. I was socially conditioned during my youth of watching television to look at women as either objects or villains. Pamela Anderson and pro wrestling provided me an education of women that I was too afraid to learn from first hand experience. Embarrassment and looking dumb in public settings while interacting with women is often too much for the male ego to bear.

There are plenty of men out there who when it comes every level of interacting with women are natural(s). They are the exception, not the rule.  The inability and/or unwillingness most men have push through the pain of getting to the other side of their comfort zone, is much more of a psychological/medical condition that  most people would give it credit for. The genuine emotional and mental pain most men experience at just the thought of failing at socializing with the opposite sex is hard to put into words. To imply one needs to simply man up, is akin to telling clinically diagnosed psychotics to just stop being crazy.

My inability and ignorance with the opposite sex led to an uncountable number of panic attacks, emotional breakdowns/meltdowns, and repeated diversions of time, concentration, and effort in the direction of my life’s purpose.

In the tradition of the double-edged sword, being introduced to The Game eventually led to me to reading other self-help books as well as the personal development and human potential movements. I discovered both after consuming so much social dynamics and pick up artist material, that I realized the hole I was trying to fill inside of myself was deeper and more profound than a hook up or series of hook ups could fill.

But I never would have gotten to personal development without The Game. The social stigma that pick up artists face is the same that self-help books have. That something is unnatural or wrong about both the information and the people who consume/apply the material(s). I thought self-help was stupid and to consume that knowledge meant that I was weak, defective, and a failure of a human being. I thought having to read a book about how to meet women meant that I was a failure as a man.

The real failure is in knowing one is not living their life the way they want to and/or feel they should and continuing to live that way rather than seeking help in the knowledge of books or mentors. Although we would all prefer to be perfect inside and out, part of the human condition is the inadequacies we have as people internally and/or externally. I am happy that my decision to face rather than deny my failures as a social being as a gateway to address the rest of my deficiencies at both the deep and shallow levels.

And it’s a fun book to read.