The Golden Rule Of Achievement

I’ve failed.

I’m fucking hopeless.  Just hopeless.  Just like the losers out there who can’t stop masturbating.  The guys who have no self-control, who fold like cards, who justify their actions through meaningless arguments… I’m just like them.

Except I’m not.

My phone got the better of me.

Except it didn’t.

This is the difference between enhancing your life with goal-setting, and being a slave to your super-ego.

 

What is the super-ego?

 

He’s your internal cop.  He’s the one who says “you shouldn’t”.  He makes you feel terrible when you fail, and beats you up psychologically.

He makes you feel guilty.

The superego is our internal policeman. It decides right or wrong, do it or don’t do it, permitted or not permitted. It is the superego that produces feelings of shame and guilt. It is the superego that inhibits and prevents; it makes us obey the rules, both legal and social. The superego stops us.

Jack Willis, Reichian Therapy – The Technique, for Home Use.

 

Most men’s super-ego represents as their father.  Depending on your father’s attitude towards discipline, your super-ego may be chilled out, or, as in my case, a fucking asshole who rules every moment of your life with what you should be doing.

If he’s a bully, you can’t win.  If you won, you didn’t win well enough.  If you failed, there is no hope for you, you piece of shit.

 

My Internal Attitude to Goal Setting

 

I read the r/TheRedPill forum and was surprised at the amount of young guys having trouble getting what they want.  I shouldn’t have been.  No schools I know of teach the proper attitude to achievement.  It’s a skill that needs to be learnt, and it takes a while to learn it.

The media shows us plenty of great men doing great things, while riding in chariots of gold-plated greatness.  If you’re like me when I was in my twenties you think “I can do that!”

You try.

And try.

And try again.

And fail over and over and over.

And when you fail, you berate yourself.

Why can’t I finish what I started?  Why does it seem like everyone else is getting somewhere?  Why do I seem to get in my own way?  Why does it seem like I want to fail, when I do it so often?  Am I really a loser?  Am I just a Weak Willed Pussy?

This is your super-ego, and he needs to be shushed.

There is one, and only one, golden rule to achievement.

When you fail, never ever berate yourself.

This rule is so important I will repeat it:

When you fail, NEVER EVER berate yourself.

When you fail and beat yourself up, you are dealing yourself pain.  Beating up yourself is far worse and far more insidious than anyone else doing it to you.  Guilt starts to build within you.  You start to avoid setting goals.

Ever wondered why after you fail at a goal you take a while to start again?

Pain avoidance.

You’ve heard that negative self-talk can destroy you.  Well, there is only one time when it is supremely important that you talk positively to yourself.

After you fail.

 

failure michael jordan

 

Failure is inevitable.  You cannot try and not fail in your life.  The secret of winners is that they continue to try, over and over again.  But in their heads they are whispering “I don’t like that you failed, but it’s ok.  You discovered x, y and z about yourself.  There’s always next time.  There’s always next time.”

There is always next time.  You can try and try until you succeed.  The only one you are racing against is yourself.  You’ll never beat him.  But you can both lose if you don’t get your head right.

You have to think long term.  It doesn’t matter if you take 6 months, or a year, or five years to get what you want.  If you don’t get it the first time, it is obvious there is more for you to learn before you can achieve it.  You will learn so much in your journey, and will look back and marvel at how far you’ve come.

When you stop berating yourself, you can then deal with the other roadblocks in your way.  Fear of success, and fear of the unknown are common issues, but are only accessible after the super-ego has been quieted.

 

…..

 

I failed at #NoNothingNovember.

What did I do?  I checked email.

Why did I do that?  I was entirely aware of what I was doing, that I was failing at my goal.

What was the alternative?

That I wouldn’t get a very important delivery when I wanted it.

Goals shouldn’t get in the way of an enjoyable life.  There is certainly a place for discomfort in goal-setting, but in this case, my actions are completely justifiable to myself.

I feel no guilt.  I feel no shame.  I have not beat myself up in any way.  I’ve admitted my failure to myself, but I will continue to not use my iPhone in the way that I committed to.

#NoNothingNovember goes on, and I go with it.

 

In Which I Stop Being Such A Pussy. Mostly. #NoNothingNovember

“Don’t you ever fucking lie to me again.”

She looked extremely pissed.  And as usual I completely underestimated her pissed-offedness, and snickered to myself.

That was the last straw.  She stormed out, slamming the door.  NoNothingNovember was becoming very interesting.

…..

I’ve been trying to define the last of my goals for #NoNothingNovember.  I’m a pretty logical guy, and I tend to get slightly obsessive about defining things very specifically.  But not asking for permission has been giving me a little grief.

I’ve been trying to find an example in my life where I could practice owning my authority.  I want to own my life completely.  I want to make the decisions that affect my life without requiring someone else’s authority.

My realisation is that the authority I give others is utterly under my control.

Well, sort of.

It’s under my control if I realise that I’m doing it.  Part of the problem is that giving authority is a hugely subconscious act, and one that has been ingrained from childhood.  I had an extremely authoritarian and dominating father, one who  commanded authority and demanded submission.  My siblings and I were scared lambs under his god-like rule.  I learned early on that to question authority led to pain, and lots of it.

Fortunately, my character is such that I continued to do it, despite the pain.  However that early conditioning ensured that I did so only under the right conditions, where the risk of confrontation, especially physical confrontation with men, was at a minimum.

The last two years of my self-work have been focussed almost exclusively on overcoming that early conditioning, and establishing my footing within the world of men.  Previously my standing had mostly been bluff, and that had worked for over ten years.  After faking it for so long, I have now made it.  My confidence is complete, and I know I belong.

Now, I’m just tidying up the edges.

Asking for permission is one of the last pieces in the puzzle.  I read Danger and Play’s article on audacity, and it struck a note with me.  Being audacious means being your own boss.  No-one else will tell you to be audacious.

And that brings me back to my wife, and my first trial of not asking for permission.

…..

I’ve been wanting to try testosterone boosters for a while now.  I’ve heard they are of little use, but I’m not going down the steroid path.  A friend had mentioned he was seeing some results from a booster, so I discarded my trepidation and bought a bottle.

Trepidation?

My wife vehemently dislikes t-boosters.  She is a nurse and likes supplements to be throughly tested.  She had the same issues when I went through a nootropics stage.  So I knew that if she found out, we would be having an argument, possibly a vicious one.

I’d ordered before I’d thought about entering #NNN, and so when the bottle came in the mail, I put it in my top drawer, and wondered how I was going to take the stuff morning and night without her finding out.

One afternoon she asked me, “What were those tablets you got in the mail the other day?”

Shit.  She HAD seen the package.

“Just some pre-workout pills.”  And that was that.

Enter #NoNothingNovember.  I started thinking about how much of a pussy I was being.  In my own house.  I was being ruled, not by my wife, but by my idea of her authority, and my fear of that.  I’d built up such a monumental gargoyle of authority in my subconscious that I’d lost sight of reality; that she is just another person in my life, with no authority over my actions.  I respect her opinions, but I do not have to follow them.  And in the end, they are just some fucking pills.

I am my own man.

…..

I pulled the pills out of my drawer and put them in the vitamin cupboard.

And waited.

No Booze, Phones or Permission… #NoNothingNovember Here We Go

You may have seen that Kid Strangelove in conjunction with /r/TheRedPill are running #NoNothingNovember.  This is post-modern Lent, where we become ascetics with the things that are bringing us down and making us weak, in the hope that we will become strong.

I’m quitting alcohol (pretty boring), my smartphone (sort of interesting), and asking for permission (I have no idea where this will lead).

No Alcohol:  I’m starting this from the 3rd of November rather than the 1st.  I’ve a party to attend.  It may not the be the whole of November, but hey.  I’m no masochist.

Alcohol and I have a funny relationship.  I get terrible hangovers, which has mostly prevented me from drinking more than 6 beers at a time for years.  This is a good thing.

I don’t mind a beer to relax.  But when beer happen everyday, and starts to wear away the sharp edge of my awareness in the evenings… then there is a problem.

I’m the sort of guy who can keep to a goal like this once I’ve started.  ( I wasn’t always like this… but that’s for another time.)  It’s not the first time I’ve quit drinks for an extended period.  So I’m taking this opportunity to put booze back into the barrel for a month.

No Smartphone:  This is one I’ve been thinking of for a while, and wondering how I would go about it.  Well, I’m going cold turkey.

Why you ask?  My iPhone is ruining my head.

I’m an info junkie.  When I get interested in something I read everything I can on the subject until I get smashing headaches.  My phone is my research vehicle, and I will read blog after blog after blog until my brain literally feels full.  This happens every couple of weeks.

In between those times, my phone is my distraction machine.  If at any time I am slightly bored, the phone will come out.  Even if there is nothing for me to read, I will search around on the web until I find something, anything.  You know and I know, there is a ridiculous, tottering refuse pile of shit on the net.  I usually cannot remember what I’ve just read the moment I close Safari.  And I don’t even use Facebook, Reddit, or any other forum style time-wasters.

Not only does my brain literally hurt, but my eyes are paying the price.

I have always had excellent vision, both long range and short.  Due to iPhone use my eyes feel incredibly tight.  It feels like I look, but I don’t see.  I sweep my gaze around a view, but I don’t take anything in. I’m sure this is due to the tiny eye movements one does when reading the small screens of phones over several years.  I don’t know how common this is, so I’m interested to see if anyone else out there has the same problem.

So what are the rules?  The only things I can use on my phone are text messaging, phone calls, Apple/Google Maps and photos.

No Permission:  I read this article about audacity over at Danger and Play and it’s been bugging me ever since.  Whenever I’ve been audacious in life it’s paid off.  Usually it’s been a function of anger and frustration, where I finally say what I’ve been bottling up, and the results are usually excellent.

Audaciousness is a function of permission.  When I ask for no-one’s permisson but my own, I become a white hot pillar of unstoppable flame.  Metaphorically of course, cos otherwise I’d be dead, stupid.

I really don’t know how this one will turn out.  Character change is a very long term project (i.e. 5-10 years minimum), and this particular aspect is bound to cause significant anxiety over a period of a month.  There are important relationships in my life (my wife, my work colleagues) that this will greatly affect.  Nevertheless, paying attention in this way will show me how much permission I’m asking for in my life, and how much it will pay off by refusing to ask for it.

I have no measuring stick for this one.  I will simply be paying attention to when this behaviour crops up, and monitoring my anxiety levels when I go against my regular character-based actions.

 

Thanks again to Kid Strangelove for instigating this little bit of awesome in my life, and also TheRedPill Reddit group for supporting it.  Nice one guys!

Are You Intelligent? Or Just Smart?

I got called “smart” a lot at school.  It was not usually meant as a compliment, nor as an insult.  It was just the way it was.

My father often commented on how much smarter I was at my age than he was.  I liked it when he said that.  Unfortunately it really didn’t mean as much as what you might think.

Being smart is not hard.  Being smart means two things: having a decent memory, and being able to manipulate symbols in a culturally useful way.  Both of these things are relatively easy to practice.

To improve memory one must practice remembering things: facts, trivia, poems, songs, or, as in my childhood experience, bible verses.  To manipulate symbols effectively, one must read, write and speak often enough with appropriate feedback to ingrain the symbols.

Most children without learning difficulties or brain damage are smart.  My boys can rattle off more dinosaur names than David Attenborough.  They can memorise song lyrics after one or two listens.  My five year old can write his name with ease.  They are classically smart for their age, and their grandmother (to my disdain) reminds them to the point of ridiculousness.

 

But would you call them intelligent?

 

I have spent a lot of time trying to define what I mean by intelligence.  The current dictionary definitions do not capture the specificity of it.  They tend to list popular meanings instead.

The Random House definition:

1. capacity for learning, reasoning, understanding, and similar forms of mental activity; aptitude in grasping truths,relationships, facts, meanings, etc. 2. manifestation of a high mental capacity 3.the faculty of understanding.

The Merriam-Webster definition:

(1) : the ability to learn or understand or to deal with new or trying situations :reasonalso : the skilled use of reason(2) : the ability to apply knowledge to manipulate one’s environment or to think abstractly as measured by objective criteria (as tests)

The closest they come to my definition is “aptitude in grasping relationships”.

My definition:

The ability to correlate at least two previously unconnected points.

 

 

 

Timothy Leary described the growth of a child’s symbol manipulation skills as laryngeal-manual development, referring to the use of the voice and the hands as the primary conductors of symbolism.  Many people use the word intelligence to describe how well a person uses these muscles.

How well a person communicates will certainly limit the quality of the information being transmitted.   However, it’s fairly rare that an adult human encounters a situation where he requires intelligence.

Memory and rote learning are usually enough to get us through the day.  Most workplaces these days are the homes of automatons, with systems inserted to prevent thinking.  Schools reward high levels of smartness, but don’t often seem to know how to improve intelligence.

True intelligence on the other hand describes the ability to take two ideas or actions, and put them together in a way previously unknown to you.  It is an act of creation, and is usually accompanied by a small “aha!” moment.

 

…..

What are some examples of intelligent action?

 

When playing football, you keep putting the ball over the crossbar when taking shots on goal.  You find that your successful shots depend on you placing your left foot next to the ball, and keeping your right foot toe down.  These two bodily movements have now been correlated with successful goal-shooting.  This can be committed to memory to consistently improve your shot.

 

iniesta intelligence
Andres Iniesta: Geekiest football legend ever

 

Einstein drew new correlations between mass and energy, space and time.  He literally imagined himself on a train approaching the speed of light.  This metaphor brought so many previously unconnected points of data together that it changed the future for all of us.

 

intelligent physics
I got so excited!… until I saw Technically Viable

 

C.L. Sholes found a relationship between the arrangement of letters and typing speed on mechanical typewriters, thus creating the QWERTY typewriter.

 

intelligence

Then Shai Coleman decided that QWERTY didn’t make any sense in the modern era, as there were no more mechanical typewriter arms to get mangled.  He created Colemak and made typing

  • Ergonomic and comfortable – Your fingers on QWERTY move 2.2x more than on Colemak. QWERTY has 16x more same hand row jumping than Colemak. There are 35x more words you can type using only the home row on Colemak.
  • Easy to learn – Allows easy transition from QWERTY. Only 2 keys move between hands.
  • Fast – Most of the typing is done on the strongest and fastest fingers. Low same-finger ratio.

He recognised the redundancy of QWERTY and created a new interface to reflect that realisation.

…..

 

Intelligence is a skill.  Like all skills, we can improve our intelligence through improving the quality and increasing the quantity of the experiences we have.

These experiences create patterns from which future choices can be made, known as engrams.

 

Wikipedia definition of engram:

Engrams are a hypothetical means by which memory traces are stored as biophysical or biochemical changes in the brain (and other neural tissue) in response to external stimuli.

In other words, engrams are patterns that have been wired into your biology through consistent use.
Why are old men often so creative when it comes to problem solving?  They have a huge number of engrams to draw upon to derive solutions.  Although a hypothetical idea, I find engrams a useful metaphor for increasing intelligence.

Rock climbing has a number of different styles, one of which is crack climbing, as above.  You may notice she has her hands in a crack. Now, let’s say she has climbed several routes like the one above.  Perhaps this one:

 

 

and this one:

 

off-width crack

 

You can see that all the routes are different, but they all have similarities too; they are all on rock, they all have cracks to climb, they are mostly vertical.  Our climber has built up a decent skill set on cracks; a set of engrams she can call upon whenever she encounters cracks.  The more engrams she has to call upon, the more likely her chance of success on any given crack climb. Our climber then encounters this (horrors!):

 

 

Although she has never done a crack route like this before, her experience and engrams will allow her to make intelligent choices and correlations between her past and present climbs.  This increases her chances of success many times.

So too with intelligence.  The more problems you can solve, the more experience you will gain, and the more engrams you will develop.  All this experience will give you a wider range of options when it comes to your solution. At heart it’s the need for a successful result that drives intelligence.

To improve intelligence you must search out problems that need solutions and goals that need achieving, then find the points to correlate for a solution. Over time you will notice increased correlations and realisations.

Only then will you find an appropriately awesome ending for this post.

 

References:

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/intelligence

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/intelligence

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engram_(neuropsychology)

Bored Men Make Me Puke In My Mouth

I was in the work truck today and my two companions were discussing how their wives/gfs were away at the time.

To my horror, they both said how bored they were.

WHAT IN THE FUCK.

 

bored man

 

As I quietly retched in my mouth, my internal doorway of friendship came crashing down, crushing several small cute and furry mammals in a mess of intestinal pulp.

I actually felt physically ill after their admissions. These men had degraded themselves to the point that they needed another human to make their lives worthwhile. I could barely be in the truck with them.

What happens to a boy to make him decide that his life is only interesting when his woman is around? Why have they no interests in their pitiful lives that they can enjoy without Les Woman?

I am so proud of my individuality (in the original sense of the term) and independence that to see another “man” (or more accurately “human with a penis” – they are men in only a purely technical sense) dismiss those things makes me weep flaming balls of pissed-off acid.

Yet again I had to reject humans whom I thought were reasonable beings worthy of my friendly company. It is not worth spending energy on friendships that will end with the realisation that they are merely shells of people.

 

Somewhere along the line these men had their development retarded, and decided to believe in the Almighty Lie: that there is a a soulmate out there, somewhere, floating in the mist.  Once found, these men would then be complete, whole, free to travel the world in a cornucopia of polka-dotted delight and companionship.  As a result they felt they could give away their insides, their desires, wants and ambitions, and trade them for company.

I, a man of substance and intelligence, am sick to loathing of these exoskeletons whose thoughts resemble inconsequential soap bubbles.

These men need to build The Rock.

Without a rock inside a man sinks into the quicksand of boredom and apathy. That rock is the sense of self that cannot be vilified by others. It cannot be destroyed until death. That rock is the monument to oneself. It keeps a man strong, chained to his principles and yet buoyed by them. It is like a man’s shadow in bright sun, sharply defined and following him everywhere, keeping him rooted to the ground instead of floating with every whim that captures his imagination.

This rock must be grown and constructed.  A man must spend his life building such a rock, carving his likeness into the granite of his genetic inheritance.  His rock reflect his desire to become what hewants.  His tools are persistence and imagination.

It is an ongoing task.  But it doesn’t take long for the stone to grow from a pebble to a boulder, where it can anchor a man, strong in the knowledge that he needs no other man or woman.

And this is where boredom becomes nullified.

Build your rock.