January 17th, 2019
The descent into madness -- is it worth it?
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Instructor | Trusted Member

Join Date: 08/20/2006 | Posts: 8860

The self-improvement process basically works on the following premises:

1- Aligning your internal compass directly to where you want to go (as opposed to where you don't want to go).

2- Activating your "reticular activation system" so that all the people, books, distinctions, and resources you previously never saw become apparent.

3- Building a new belief system, and using the "pymalion effect" of self-fulfilling prophecies to your advantage.

It's a field-tested process, which pretty much does the trick every time. I mean it -- I really believe that I can accomplish just about anything just by sticking to the playbook.

There's a downside though -- the "descent into madness" factor.

One of the things that Neil talks about in his book is essentially the descent into madness that goes on when somebody cares about nothing other than transforming themselves.

His outlook is that it's a bad thing -- you lose control over your thoughts, important aspects of your life fall by the wayside, and every waking moment is devoted to the contemplation and cultivation of a new identity.

Take myself as an example:

-Living in a small town in Canada
-No hope of a future
-Thinking I would die alone, possibly in jail
-Scrawny, underweight, weighing 120 pounds

-World travelled, living in an apartment in Hawaii overlooking the ocean (I throw a penny out of my window, and it lands in sand)
-The future is limitless, with anything less than stellar being a disappointment
-Unlimited options in women, and I will probably die doing some risky activity or visiting an impoverished country
-Built, body healthy, improving every day

Has my life been balanced? Not in the slightest.

It's funny to sit in your apartment over looking the ocean, with your girlfriend bent over getting pounded, looking at yourself in the mirror -- thinking "I must have done a few things right to be in this situation."

It's funny to be travelling in exotic countries, flying over mountains, or driving through the hills on a motor bike -- thinking "I'm seeing this country that my ancestors come from, but I've had to fly half way across the world to get here."

It's funny to rub shoulders with people you grew up listening to in your CD player or watching on TV -- thinking "Wasn't I just watching you on youtube last week?".

It's funny to be on a bed with two girls groping you and fighting over you -- thinking "I LEARNED THIS SHIT OFF THE INTERNET?!?!"

More than anything, it's funny and SCARY to realize that you're the best at something (even though you're not all that good), and that if you want advice the only place you're going to be able to turn for it is inwards.

Could I have gotten here with balance? It's hard to say. I don't see a lot of people who did. All the best guys say the same thing: "Don't become obsessed like I did." And yet, all the best guys were at one point obsessed. Was it that becoming UNCONSCIOUSLY competent was their final step in development, or could it be that their obsession was unnecessary and that with better guidance they could have achieved the same thing from the get-go?

My mind -- it's on overdrive the entire time. I don't think most of you guys would enjoy spending five minutes in my head. It often feels like an out of control machine that I'm struggling to harness. I look at guys who don't have my level of responsibility and I'm envious -- they don't have to work as hard as I do to feel an equal level of satisfaction.

Sometimes I think that self-help is a virus that's entered my mind and is doing more harm than good. Other times I think I'm one lucky mofo to live in a world where it's down to such a science -- and not to be sitting back in a small town, married, working labour jobs in the snow like all my friends.

It's a blessing and a curse.

Thoughts / experiences??

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Senior Member

Join Date: 10/05/2006 | Posts: 138

Tyler Wrote:
Could I have gotten here with balance? It's hard to say. I don't see a lot of people who did. All the best guys say the same thing: "Don't become obsessed like I did." And yet, all the best guys were at one point obsessed. Was it that becoming UNCONSCIOUSLY competent was their final step in development, or could it be that their obsession was unnecessary and that with better guidance they could have achieved the same thing from the get-go?

I think the answer lies in all real successes.

Would Olympic athletes obtain gold medals without pitting in all those hours?

How about doctors getting to the top of their profession without putting in YEARS of schooling and long study hours to get where their making 6-7 digit incomes?

How many of the people that have gotten to the top in ANYTHING have gotten there without busting their ass limitlessly? Have they maintained it?
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Senior Member

Join Date: 10/05/2006 | Posts: 138

sub8hr Wrote:
Or to put this another way:

The descent into madness - do we have a choice?

If we want mega-success I'd say the answer is a resounding "no."

well, what else are you going to do with your time? Watch TV?

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Vegas Immersion Member | Respected Member

Join Date: 08/27/2006 | Posts: 388

I think we definately obsess too much over stuff. By we I mean us guys who naturally gravitate towards self-improvement, and the game in particular.

While I am still a TOTAL newb to the game, I mean I've literally only gotten 1 phone number in the last 2 months (had a day two going but she flaked, never called her back and lost the number), I know ALL ABOUT self improvement. I am now a fit 150 pounds, about 12% body fat. That's pretty decent shape, I can bench 195lbs. max. Two years ago when I was 16 years old, I could barely bench 85lbs and was 200lbs fat blob. I am active in juijitsu as well now since I've just gotten over an elbow injury.

I am enjoying by new body, but expected the girls to be lining up since I lost the weight. Such was obviously not the case as I still had the confidence of a fat loser, hence I am now going out a lot into the field trying to learn the game (been rough so far but I'm stickin in there, lol). A year and a half ago when I found about RSD I could never put myself into a situation as terrifying as say, approaching a hot girl. Now that I've lost the weight, I too, like you Tyler, believe I can accomplish anything. That's the only way I am able to stick in there with a positive attitude. Hell, I chickened out for 2 whole days at the mall unable to approach, then ofcourse when I did finally I was nervous as hell and got blown off in 2 seconds. Of the about 15 approaches I've done in the last 2 months, 1 has been successful.

Back to the topic at hand, self improvement just focuses us to look at every single aspect of our life and how we can improve it. This can be detrimental in some cases, such as when we over analyze things out in the field. Thats why the seconds before an approach I just try to clear everything, all the lines and openers and routines OUT of my head and thinking clearly/naturally. Its almost as if it's impossible to please ourselves. We have such high expectations of ourselves, and are contstantly pushing so hard to achieve that, we can go a little insane.

We're always going to push ourselves towards accomplishing extraordinary goals, but better to set the bar too high than too low. We just have to chill from time to time, compare how our lives are now to how they were before, and be content with that.

P.S. stop bragging :p
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Join Date: 09/21/2006 | Posts: 41

when i won gold in a certain sport at a certain competition it was due to a complete and utter devotion to the sport that involved sacrificing every other facet of life, including social life.

however, there was/is always a WILL to keep going and pressing farther. as long as that will is there, i think continuing to press on and devote yourself to something will lead to improvement. however, if you get to a point where you feel "burnt out" in pickup, like swimming, you are going through the motions. there is a certain lack of energy behind it, and its that extra energy that leads to the last touch of improvement. for me my best seasons have always come when i have the most passion for what im doing, and when i have the most passion i tend to devote myself more toward it.

what seperates people is that final little detail, that ten minutes extra of training, or that slightly different degree at which the hand enters the water, or the amount of shoulder/hip rotation and ratio. similarly in pickup it a lot of time is devoted to discover these subtle details, like for me, a certain way to smile, overcoming self limiting beliefs (emphasis on this one), a certain progression to escalate in, a fun vibe to put yourself in, etc.

this is how i found things to be at least. my relay team was the same way as well.

so far, it seems to be the same with pickup.
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Respected Member

Join Date: 10/02/2006 | Posts: 616

I think obsession is necessary if one wants to achieve a level of mastery.

I've tried the balanced approach and it got me no results. I learned about PU when I was late-16. If I would have taken the time to make drastic changes then, I would have become extremely proficient by now (at 20). But I didn't, and so I'm not. Being in school, surrounded by chodes, having all kinds of other external pressures in my life, I simply could not devote myself to learning PU efficiently. And so, I stayed at the same level in terms of game. I gained knowledge, but very little practical skill. I got better in 4 months of going out recently and taking a bootcamp then in 4 years of reading and thinking about it.

I observed the learning progress of many of the guys who got really sharp at PU, including Tyler, Papa, Style, etc. Most of these guys had a time where they focused almost exclusively on learning this stuff (and other PU-related skills) and downplayed all the other areas of their lives. This obsession yielded a radical change of identity and social skills. There's no way to get to that level if you half-ass it.

Because of all this, I decided cunsciously, before last summer, to "become obsessed" and devote a whole year to learning PU. It's not enough, but it is a start. I took time off from school and pretty much all I'm doing, like working-out, taking protein supplements, getting a tan, buying super-money clothing and accessories, and soon taking Improv, martial arts, dancing classes, etc. It all revolves around becoming super good at PU. Not to mention going out to bars and clubs 5-6 times per week.

Being decent isn't enough for me. It is all or nothing. I'm putting so much pressure on myself because I cannot concieve of any other life. Cannot concieve of a life where I do not have freedom and choice with women. And overall it is similar for all other areas of endeavour. I cannot concieve of living a "normal" average life, working 9 to 5, coming home watching tv, like most people do. I've read so much on Ancient history and philosophy and sociology that I have the belief that only a small portion of the human race ever rise up from anonimity and do something great. Only a small portion live and experience the depths and wonders of human potential.

All the world's great military leaders, like Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Julius Caesar, Napoleon, had dreams of unrealistic proportions in the eyes of those around them. They were qualifyied as fanatical. And yet their names remain for thousands of years. Their deeds remain. the mindset they had was to change something in radical, "obsessive" ways, and to create transformation around them. Self-improvement, in the sense of inward development, is basically the same thing. If there is out there in the world the possibility of extreme pleasures, extreme achievement, and extreme satisfaction and glory, than I truly could not ever settle for anything less. Some of us are born to do great things, some of us are "made" like that, depending on how philosophical we want to get.

The fact remains that all the men who have achieved something great, who have accomplished profound and radical transformations around them, had been to some extent obsessed with their dream, and everything else in their life was given less importance. Not everyone can live like this. It is a matter of personal choice
"A coward dies a thousand deaths, a soldier only one" (2pac) -[B]Dre321[/B]

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Senior Member

Join Date: 09/25/2006 | Posts: 162

Not being cheeky but that sounds like an inner game thing. Though not Inner game.

I had a mind on overdrive going on for a long time.
It made me become too busy because every awesome idea I had I wanted to do it. And I knew I could do it. I couldn't let a good idea go by. I got tired and distracted by my own thoughts whizzing about.

So I worked harder and harder but while it was cool it kind of messed up my head. It also got me what I wanted because my rate of work was high.
It also felt like I was going crazy because I had too much going on in my head.

One thing I noticed was this...and I hope this doesn't sound weird.

I had about five voices running in my head.
One that just did simple things...cook food, open door etc.
One was a bad ass and would say things like 'just shut up and do it'
One contemplated everything, put itself in others positions, debate the value of a decision - useful but also fucking annoying in some cases.
One was the negative voice which criticised me which I later converted to the positive voice that gives me props.
One overlooked the other four and finally made a descision. Like a manager.
That one I felt was closest to being ME.

There were also less often noticed others.

All this was internal dialogue. And it was a waste of my conscious headspace.
It was because I was too aware of my own awareness. Something I thought was always such a cool thing to have. I had become really consciously aware of my own thoughts. I had fragmented myself.

But I one day I realised that you can talk to your own voices.
And with a quick internal discussion told the three that argued to go and make a decision. When they had one they could come and tell me.
I did not really want to listen to their dialogue as it wasn't beneficial for all of us. Us being me. head went quiet. It was amazing. They just combined.
I can still listen to all of them again if I want to but now my 'overdrive' is on autopilot back in my subconscious. A decision just comes already approved no more thought required.
I still hit things with the same vigour, but it's so less stressful in my head.
And frees up more headspace for me to be cool and approach things differently, calmly in my head.
I haven't noticed a loss of quality in myself or myself become less driven. In fact I am going faster towards where I want to go.

I read Beliefs by Robert Dilts. He talked about inner dialogue and voices and how people can negotiate them. This was about dealing with problems and phobias.
I used it on my own thinking processes to get them to work together and 'be quiet'.
For me it was an over self awareness issue, and although I knew all of this cool NLP, Self Help stuff I didn't apply it to my thinking, the thinking that thought about my own thoughts!!

If this makes sense and helps anyone then cool.
I may be way off base as how things are for you because I can only say from my perspective as I could never be in your head. As you can't be in mine.
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Trusted Member

Join Date: 09/27/2006 | Posts: 1022

The funny thing to me about all this is the distance we've all traveled, to realy stop and think about it. I have dissociated myself so much from my former identity it feels like i'm talking about a different person, someone I knew very well, but because of state-accessed memory, someone I don't remember too many details about. I've heard of Tyler saying something along those lines.

It's taken me two full years to finally become congruent with my high-value identity, or rather the attention I get from it. I used to stay away from grocery and video stores as much as I could because someone would recognize me from work and expect me to be the person that I was there. Now, that's me, and I have no problem with it. I did this in my hometown, which only has about 35k people, with people from high school constantly trying to push and pull me back to where I was, my family I saw every day, etc. I consider that my greatest accomplishment thus far.

Maybe i'm coming from the opposite direction as Tyler (and i'd like his thoughts on this) as someone who basically (not bragging here) won the genetic lottery and is well above average in the big three genetic traits (being looks, intelligence, and athleticism) but had NOTHING going for him. In fact, many times when I would get depressed (and often have suicidal thoughts) as a late teenager it would be because I had all this stuff, and lived in a world that I thought couldn't appreciate that. (It's not fair! It's not fair!- sound familiar?) I still sink into those thought patterns sometimes when someone gets something and i think "that was supposed to be me!" but I get over it in two minutes instead of two weeks now.

As far as being obsessed, I've always had things I thought were more important than pickup. Sometimes I'd go on a tear for like a week but i've kept myself busy and productive in all areas of my life, so i guess you could call that balanced. Also, I don't think live, "in the moment" experience, no matter how much of it, would be obsessing. Getting blown off and analyzing it for a week is obsessing. My newest theory is that behavior is not much more than a countless number of interlaced patterns, and through self-help you are trying to pull one thread of that out, which messes up everything around it, and you have to put another one in that might not fit, and you have to work with that, so that could explain the "descent into madness."- especially if you're trying to change too much at once.
Gunner is great. I'm not sure what he said, but it sounded cool.

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Senior Member

Join Date: 09/10/2006 | Posts: 168

Tyler Wrote:
It's funny to be on a bed with two girls groping you and fighting over you -- thinking "I LEARNED THIS SHIT OFF THE INTERNET?!?!"

Lol, that's what you should do for your little RSD internet commercial!
I strive to make my life a reflection of my inner vision of the good.
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Respected Member

Join Date: 10/08/2006 | Posts: 633

Tyler Wrote:

Sometimes I think that self-help is a virus that's entered my mind and is doing more harm than good. Other times I think I'm one lucky mofo to live in a world where it's down to such a science -- and not to be sitting back in a small town, married, working labour jobs in the snow like all my friends.

It's a blessing and a curse.

Thoughts / experiences??

I've found self-help invaluable... w/o goals and focus i'd be foundering like everyone else and have no reason to get up in the morning.

I believe balance is important altho being obssessed with something can push progress much faster.

Heres an excerpt from a book i'm reading by Robin Sharma:

Powerful Thought: Great achievement often happens when our backs are up against the wall. Pressure can actually ENHANCE your performance.

Challenge serves beautifully to introduce you to your best - and most brilliant - self.

Who you truly are surfaces only when you place yourself in a position of discomfort and you begin to feel like you're out on the skinny branch. Easy times don't make you better. They make you slower and more complacent and sleepy. Greatness never came to anyone normal.

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Senior Member

Join Date: 09/20/2006 | Posts: 191


This thread and the post that started it, have just convinced me to buy the dvd Foundations series.

After reading my first PUA 'guide', I had everything I needed to fine tune my Game. I already had discovered opinion openers by myself and was/am as alpha as anyone, so there wasn't a lot to learn.

Since then, I've developed my own theories and Game, but have seen very little worth the time it takes to watch/read it (other than the RSD emails, Jlaix rocks).

This post however, man, we are so on the same wave length it is scary, and I can't wait to see what's on the dvds. The effort you put into learning the Game, I put into getting a career. I also sit back and think 'wow' some days, but still strive to go further.

[I've gone from unemployed bricklayer to top earning Business Consultant in 6 years, despite having a poor level of education.]

I think when we start late down a certain path we have a constant feeling of playing catchup, no matter how well we do. Even when we leave all the others standing, we're still chasing ourselves (the 'ourselves' that we'd be if we started years before (though we wouldn't have the drive to achieve, without the late start...)).

While I have no proof for this, I think it may be like a serotonin addiction, it is known that successful people have more of it. Maybe the more we get, the more we crave, just like any drug. Personally, I know I can stop now and be a success, but am currently starting up my own film company, both for another extreme challenge and because movie directors get no matter how old they are.

It's been hard work with many sacrifices, but I wouldn't change a thing. If I could live my life again knowing what I know now. I wouldn't, for fear of messing it up, as I can't imagine it being better than this.
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