Sunday, April 27, 2008

Appreciating What The People In Your Life Bring To The Table

Pic of the crew down at the FN Superconference in Australia.

Man I wish I was there...

Anyway wanted to get into a really important article, and while it may not come across as climatic, if the title has grabbed you on any level I recommend you read it carefully all the way through.

Maybe you know this stuff already, and in that case it's a reminder.

Or maybe you've been walking through life without a map like this, and it's really what you need to hear.

I want to talk about a tendency today that I've watched friends and foes alike use to destroy their own lives and happiness.

This the tendency of failing to appreciate (or perhaps better stated -- to *forget*) what the people you surround yourself with are bringing to the table.

We're talking classic self-sabotage here.

Screw Your Life Up 101.

We all do it to various extents, it's just a matter of how much we're able to recognize and keep it in check.

I've seen it over and over, especially in situations where people's lives are about to hit a "next level".

Here is my opinion of how and why this occurs.

Basically we all have a concept in our minds about how much success we're supposed to have in life.

Most people think that success is a positive event that they would welcome.

That's not entirely true however -- or at least, life doesn't tend to be that simple.

In reality any time your quality of life starts to accelerate past your mind's unconscious concept of where you're "supposed" to be you are now leaving your comfort zone.

When this happens, you slam into what's known as a "success barrier".

And what happens next??

The good old "RAS" (reticular activation system -- the psychological mechanism that makes you FOCUS on certain events and SCREEN OUT others) kicks in and starts playing tricks on you.

Rationalizations deluxe.

You start to focus on petty bullshit, lose sight of the big picture, and forget just how far it is you've come.

(Not to mention how far down you'll fall when you return to your old situation).

Oftentimes this comes in the form of allowing disputes to escalate with the people in your life who are most helping to move you forward.


Because it's those valuable relationships that your mind recognizes as being the easiest leverage-points to sabotage and bring you back down to your previous life.

"So-and-so doesn't really appreciate me..."

"They have no idea what I'm bringing to the table, they'd be so lost without me..."

"The biggest source of stress in my life is so and so...I could be so much happier and do so much better on my own..."

Etc etc.

Now sometimes this is actually true.

To be a winner in life you need to recognize the people who are polluting your mental/spiritual space with negative influence and allow them to go their separate ways.

At the same time, the key to remember is that if you got involved with the person in the first place then surely there WAS a good reason for it at one point.

Moreover, the brutal reality is that oftentimes you need to look at YOURSELF.

Because if you're failing to get along with one person then there's a decent chance that the same dysfunctional tendency will rear it's head in your next relationship as well.

I can say personally that whenever I've fought with my girlfriend I've always had to take a pause and ask myself some hard questions like (and these sound easy -- but they're a lot tougher than just letting your mind go off into it's indignant default state):

"What's causing this??"

"Even if it's her, is this behaviour totally independent or is it a mirror of something I'm putting out there??"

"Realistically if I broke up would I wind up in the same type of argument with my next girlfriend as well??"

Being in a relationship when your job is to take out guys to pick up other girls on the weekends is not easy.

But just by asking these types of questions I've been able to do what no other "POOOAH guru" I'm aware of has done successfully -- maintain a relationship for nearly 4 years.

One thing you'll notice about me is also that I've never spoken a negative word publically about anyone I've ever been involved with.

Obviously that's because it's second-class behaviour and I expect more from myself.

But more importantly, it's also because I recognize if I've had a falling out with someone that it's more important to focus on what I can learn from it than it is to run around trying to rally people towards my opinion so my ego can say "Look!! Everyone agrees with me!! I must be right!!"

The way I see it is life is a learning-curve.

You always have the option to keep evolving to the next paradigm for as long as you're interested -- which means becoming a better person and more fit to live in the world with every single year of your life.

For me, every relationship -- whether with business or women or students or friends -- is an opportunity to become better at relating to people.

I know in my case in the first few years of running RSD I allowed a lot of relationships to go sour.

In the following years I learned from it and probably managed to cut that out of my life ten fold -- where now even with a 100+ person staff and over 100 times more clients who I come into contact with, I've learned to relate to people on a level that I know is Win/Win.

Will that always be the case??

Of course not. But it's continued to improve.

I know with Papa (AKA Nick Kho -- CEO of Real Social Dynamics) and myself there are probably no two people who are more opposite on this earth.

That's both in terms of our personalities as well as our 180 degree different visions for RSD.

We communicate differently, we think very differently, we look at the world ENTIRELY differently.

Any day of the week, if you know us both, you can look at RSD as an organization and figure out which element was Papa's decision and which one was mine.

But we work through it and we compromise -- and that's why the organization has weathered adversity for all these years.

It reminds of a few years back reading the epic "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand.

Instantly I related to how the lead character, Dagny Taggert, had the brother who insisted she produce her usual stellar results despite that he was cutting her off of from the resources she needed to do so.

The brother would yell and scream to get what he wanted -- thinking he could "shut his eyes to reality" and make enough of a stink that the world would just magically alter itself to accomodate his unrealistic ideals.

At the time, and as a guy a few years younger than I am now, I felt like that was Papa and I.

Contained in my own personal myth was the idea of myself as the creative guy who produced the programs that we were known for.

Nick was the guy who wanted me to keep creating more of these at the same high calibre -- but at a faster rate because he had no concept of the time and effort that was involved.

With more experience, however, I began to grasp the old self help principle of "Seek first to understand, then to be understood."

The more realistic perspective of the matter is that both Nick and I slipped back and forth between the various roles.

On one level, with only 16 waking hours in a day Nick wasn't realistic to think I'd produce the type of material RSD is known for at a faster rate.

At the same time, one thing I didn't realize was that in many ways the person who was acting like Dagny Taggart's brother from the story was ME.

In insisting that product quality match my vision to the most obnoxious extent (far beyond what 99% of people could even recognize or appreciate), I was ignoring the reality that Papa was being forced to pull nerve-wracking highwire acts to find the venture-capital to keep us afloat.

RSD is an entity far larger than myself, and it is not my personal empire to make meet my every creative impulse any more than it is Papa's to use as a personal piggybank.

My rigidity nearly bankrupted us several times over the years, and that put Nick under a stress that I could never understand without having been in his shoes.

It is very easy, for example, to say "Fuck anyone who's in it for the money."

But there's also a harsh reality to money, and unless you've been in the situation where you're forced to come up with it out of thin air like Nick, your opinion really doesn't mean shit.

So see, in the same way I'd read Atlas Shrugged and thought "If Nick read this he'd instantly understand where I'm coming from" if Nick were to read the same book (which incidentally he has recently but we haven't talked about it) he would very likely think in reverse the same thing.

We are ALL the heroes and justified individuals in our own personal mythology.

We're in the right, God is on our side, and everyone who doesn't see that is just fucked.

But in reality, or at least as close to it as we can get, the people we surround ourselves with often bring more to the table than we can possibly realize unless we pause and take stock.

It is extremely easy to forget, and a very hard thing to focus on when we're feeling self-justified and looking to lay the blame.

(Especially in the same neurotic detail that we focus on the other person's bad sides when we're in a "mood").

I mean really, how often do you stop to be appreciative for what you get out of your relationships in comparison to how much you spend thinking about the downsides and the bigger and better deal??

But that's unchecked human nature in all it's glory...

Our inflated delusional egos which seek to give us confidence that we don't need anybody -- maybe serving the purpose of allowing us to put on a front so people won't think we need them too much -- which causes us to make these bone-headed moves.

And you know, probably a good 50% of people reading this are engaged in a self-dialogue right now where they're saying "This overly optimistic bullshit doesn't apply to me, I don't get into "moods", blah blah blah."

Of course it's not going to get them anywhere, but at least it will keep their belief systems temporarily intact.

In the meantime, I'm trying to focus on what's good about the people in my life, and bringing more of that energy in my direction every single day.

Have fun!!



Anonymous said...

Loved this piece, Tyler. This was interesting and insightful as always. Thanks!

Dream said...

That was the best blog post I've read in a long, long time.

Rock on tyler

Bernardo Torres said...

Hahahahah, this is amazingly funny because I've just been discussing with my girlfriend now because I'm reaching new levels in pickup and work productivity and starting to see the things I didn't see before about her and our relationship. Amazing how this relates to me. And while I started to see the things that bother me, I forgot to see what our relationship has changed in my life and the ways she is amazingly helpful to me, the way I feel around her, and her immense dedication, even in face of criticism from her family and friends. Will send an e-mail right now to repair that. Thanks a lot for the post.

Theory said...

Thanks for this reminder Tyler. I can really relate to this. My ambitious, self-righteous nature is so quick to point out the faults in others when there is so much to be grateful for.

- Theory

Anonymous said...

I think I really need this and on another level I need to be more assertive. I let people take advantage of me sometimes and it's easy for me to say ok i'll just cut them out of my life.

I think it's useful to cut negative people out of your life but you have to see where you're screwing up.

We've kicked a guy out of our "crew" because of his stupid behaviour and it's hard to just get rid of him like that. I'm the one who has to ignore his calls and so on.

I've noticed BULLSHIT in all my friends at some point. I just need to sort my own behaviour also.

Brett said...

I think that's probably better than any sermon I've ever heard in church (well, in my case temple, but you get the point). Well done sir.

(BSegel01 aka IronJohnson)

Backyard Rambo said...

It is so cool how your posts seem to be tailored to where I am at in my life at the time I read them. My current business partner is a Man 20 years younger than I and I am so glad to have his positivity in my life. (A "Natural" if there ever was one. LOL) Also amazing is the fact that He is one of the few people who understands why I play/work so hard at the social game. Thanks to the RSD Crew for being in my life, too!

Leiv said...

Excellent post. Reading it made me feel quite guilty. There are a lot of people in my life offering me a lot of value, with me just taking it for granted. Good to be confronted with that.

But there's a different side to it. There're some people in my life, mostly family, who I feel are very needy, which makes me reluctant to be grateful when they bring something to the table. It's like I don't want to feel I owe them something. It sucks. Anyone recognizes this?

Volition said...

Top post Owen.

Its typical of us to constantly think "the grass is greener on the other side" instead of looking at what we have and show our appreciation for it.

We have those little social values that are hammered into us from a young age of both:
- Always push yourself to go bigger, higher, further and for longer. (push the comfort zone)
- Keep doing what you are doing and nothing more than the bare minimum and you won't feel the pain of failure or fear or uncertainty. You will be rewarded for this.
(don't push the comfort zone)

This kind of thing I think makes some peoples heads explode with the contradiction. From a non "community" or "self improvement" (or whatever you want to call it) viewpoint, the both look like logical options.

Your true self is always shining through, we just have to stop trying to muffle it.

Komodo said...

Ahaha. The RSD crew is like the boy band of the community. ;] Tyler is currently solo, Timberlake style. It's great that you guys are so 'normal' and 'natural', yet are obviously getting tail. It's all in the eyes and the smug smiles.

Mr. FeelGood said...


I try to take responsibility for every little thing that happens to me. Constantly evaluating where my thought processes and mental states are grounded at. I catch myself from time to time operating from a victim mentality.

Something inside still sometimes wants to see it as me against the world. Hopefully someday soon I'll kick its ass. Till then.. I just try to keep myself honest and my intentions pure


Anonymous said...

Great article Owen.

I recently read the Lightworker/Darkworker distinction by Steve Pavlina. Both are very succesful strategies. The Lightworker has the intent to create value for the world and serve the greater good. The Darkworker has the intent to do everything for his own personal gain. I was thinking about this and instantly thought about you being a Lightworker and Nick being a Darkworker (not that that is negative; both types bring tremendous value to the world and it is often hard to distinguish between a LW and a DW). Both types have their weaknesses; a LW forgets himself in the process and therefore may destroy himself which makes him unfunctional; which won't serve the greater good (which is his intent). A DW focuses too much on his own personal gain and people will come to distrust him; by that destroying his business if he isn't careful. These two types naturally have a lot of conflict when working together. It takes a very enlightened DW and a very enlightened LW to work together succesfully because they have different agendas.

Anonymous said...

awesome post tyler - very insightful and i'm loving the personal touch

Tbird at RSd said...

Thnx for writing this up Ty.
I have to say, I never once thought of looking at my relationships this way. This could be such a big thing, when I think about it it relates not only to my relations with my friends and family, but also to meeting new people, and ultimatey to how you relate to yourself. Gosh this is big.



fullcrum said...

Yea! Return of glory.

I find this especially applies to my parents and myself. So this was a well timed article. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

This shook me ...totally so down to earth it digs a couple feet. The intentions you had writing this are being met.

The dynamic between you and Nick opened my eyes to some of my own relationships. You're right man, the more personal something seems, the more universal it is.

Thanks for sharing this.

Michael~ said...


Michael~ said...

Great Article!!!

The Asian Rake said...

Wow! This couldn't have come at a more serendipitous time for me. Thanks for speaking truth here. I love how you always keep your eye and your writing on higher goals like happiness and well-being. Your blog's an inspiration.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting how most people (including myself) see this kind of concepts and think "Whoa this was cool, I will appreciate people around me more" but then in the hours to come a total amnesia for this knowledge happens. As if we never read it. Which is an interesting phenomena all by itself.

Somehow we tend to go in and out of reactive day-to-day trance where while we are out of it we are conscious of concepts we want to implement and when we are in the trance it's almost impossible to think of this kind of stuff.

For me, I almost automatically slip in that trance when I'm talking to other people where it's almost impossible to consciously control the perspectives on the interaction. So, for example one "perspective" would be the "I appreciate this person" which might look good from the outside and makes 100% sense but the challenge is to keep it in your mind in real interactions, in the time where great majority of people stop having conscious control and the conditioned responses come in play.

And I believe that this is a process that takes time. Because of how our minds are wired up most of us have to neglect this for quite some time to finally be able to learn from our mistakes and this is when that kind of concepts just click in and shift our perspective.

Jose Armando

Anonymous said...

Awesome, always appreciate your insights bro.

Anonymous said...

Inspiring.. Every person who wants to live a life of true happiness should read this Blog..

Joukai said...

So true it hurts.

I had to knock my head hard to understand that, sometimes, the world is doing nothing other than mirroring us. What we put out gets back at us, afterall.

Anonymous said...

yeah I need to really be more appreciative of my parents

Anonymous said...

This is exactly what I needed to hear. I can't express to you how spot on this is needed in my world right now. Thanks

Magnus said...

Awesome article. No-one loves you more than I do dude.

sigmatic said...

Great article brother.

I found that this really applies to my relationships between myself and my house-mates.

Anonymous said...

nice man, you are hitting a lot of new thoughts, just life philosophy in general. you have a good gift for conceptual thinking it seems. I guess that comes in handy if you are doing philosophy related stuff like this a lot. I like the blog, you are dedicated and disciplined bro, gotta admire you, i need to quit being such a pussy and make the changes and put the work in necessary to live the kind of life I want to live. Alright brotha...tyler durden, that guy was a fucking pimp. I mean a very weird pimp, but a pimp nonetheless...haha

BlackJack said...

"In insisting that product quality match my vision to the most obnoxious extent (far beyond what 99% of people could even recognize or appreciate)"

I just wanted to tell you that I appreciated it. Your material, especially the Blueprint, has opened me up to many possibilities.

I realize that developing this material can't be easy. You go into such depth and have to do a great deal of thinking and self examination but I greatly appreciate you taking the effort.

Reg said...

Thanks Tyler. Fabulous.

Anonymous said...

my sister once told me - "assess people's good points and bad points when you first meet them. If you choose to keep them in your life, then ignore all the bad points and focus only on the good".

easier said than done - but worth pushing towards as an ideal.

TD -
since you redirected discussions on your posts from the forum to this blog - you don't contribute to further discussions or answer questions on the thread, as you used to on the forum for your articles.


Anonymous said...

It's going to be tough to put that blog into practice, but I have to try. I appreciate everything you give to the community brother. peace. pierre

Truls said...

great blog. this is something i have been thinking about since i started with the game. I always wanted my friends to "give me something back" in form of social value or validation. Now that i don't rely on this anymore i can just enjoy my relationships a lot more.

BTW. Are you ever coming back to hawaii.

SUNY Albany Pre-Optometry News said...

Hey Owen,

Excellent post, I truly respect your words and the message you are trying to deliver; i wish I could speak with you about it all day.

Anyway, I encourage you to check this out. It is a simple mind/imagination technique in which you create your own imaginary 'palace' that you can enter at any time via. thoughts. You make rooms for everything important to you. Ex) Workout room, library to get work done, meditation room, gratitude room..

To relate to you post, I have made a gratitude garden in my imaginary palace. I must pass through my gratitude garden in order to get into my palace to enter other rooms.

So every time I do this I allow myself to realize all that I am greatfull for. Although this little technique does not focus on the specifics of an interaction too much, it allows, like you said, to focus on the good people and the good energy in your life.

Here is what my gratitude garden is like...

I walk up my driveway where I can see my beautiful house in the back drop, perfectly placed among the green trees. My Garden has a canopy covered in red flowers and beautiful leaves. I enter the garden and I can smell the earth and many other flowers that enclose this beautiful garden on all sides and over head. On my left if holographic images of all the people i love and apreciate, my family, grandparents, dog, my best friends, teachers, etc. When i want, I can touch a halographic image in which the person comes to be more vivid. I can then hug them and tell them how I apreciate them and how greatful I am for them. I can do this with WHOEVER, whenever. (I have acutally used you one time to tell me to be proactive and solve the larger issue by being creative)... On my right hand side is a halographic image on my life on a time line. I can scroll through this time line and stop on different events in my life, the good and the bad. I see the events vividly and realize how greatful I am even if they where not positive. I can scroll to my birth or the present moment, but i am greatful for it all...

I can then exit the garden and go into my house to the workout room which is also a CRAZY vivid place that i enter mentally before I work out.

I am not too much into this type of this stuff, but I specifically like this technique. It really exersizes my creative muscle and empowers me...

Here is a weblink to where i found the idea

Well, just thought I would share!

Let me know what you think...

Great Blog post.

-Matty Balls

Halffull said...

Love the personal touches... it makes this shit real.

You will do awesome as a self help guru... good as anything out there

Anonymous said...

Great post Tyler ! Looks like a response to some old buddies ;)

tffl said...

Excellent post, I really enjoyed it! Thanks. =)

Will said...

great stuff.. as usual, Tyler! Hits the head on the nail compared to the bullshit "self-help" blogs out there.

Stefan said...

Well said. Appreciation and gratitude are key.

PUA! at the Disco said...

Dude, where was that pic of RSD and Guiliani taken?

you look badass in that pic.

Kevin said...

What a great article that is again. Very relevant since I'm in the middle of a break up and like bernardo torres since my girlfriend is leaving Im seeing more of what she had to offer than anytime IN the relationship.

on hindsight a lot of the beliefs about our relationships that we weren't made for eachother come as reflection of myself so much it's very scary.

I'm also noticing a lot of focus on seeing the world through other people's eyes as a fundamental inner game 'skill'. Be it called 'first seek to understand, then be understood' or some other company's focus on 'compassion' or concepts like 'see through'...

but hey maybe that's just my RAS making a shift :)

fullcrum said...

You, Papa, and Giuliani...hahaha. Funny.

Anonymous said...

Interesting article.

I can especially relate to the first part, about success barriers and realizing how far you've come, and not falling backwards or letting yourself slip into old defeating patterns.

I had to cut out old friends who brought back too many negative associations.... i'm starting to come full circle now, and from the process, i can barely remember how i used to be, and its only when i bump into an old buddy i'm like:

"Damn...... i've come a long way"


IvanVR said...

Awesome Post Tyler!

The Now to the C to the W said...

Just to correct Magnus' misleading comments, *I* love Tyler more than he does.

Not to take away from what Magnus' love brings to the table of course :)


Anonymous said...

Hey Tyler,

You have a way of condensing HUGE quantities of meaning into TINY sentences that is rare and wonderful. I really liked that summary of the Taggarts. If it makes a difference, this is coming from a guy who loves the English language... my lover's a literary arts grad from an ivy league... and basically what I'm pompously trying to drive home is that you are very smart. Seems to me you get a lot of types of comments from people here, but your intelligence always stands out to me.

Franco Bertoncini Andrade said...

Hello Tyler!
I read that you are planning to come to Floripa. I live here, and there are a group of PUAs that wanted to know you, so mail me when you come!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post Tyler, in my life situation right now I can totally relate to it, and is a good reminder of the value of seeing the good things on people. Thanks again!