(Been away for a good year. I wanted to write a longer article to make it up to the people who used to read this blog and let everyone know what I've been up to -- if you're new to Real Social Dynamics check out www.rsdnation.com for more immediately applicable articles on the topic of dating. I wrote this article a month ago for New Year's but I'm posting it a month late.)
2009 done?? Hoooooooo my GOODNESS.
First up, I’ve got to apologize for being a big dickhead to every avid reader of this blog. I’ve been out of touch this year, and even managed to imply I’d reinitiate the blog without following through.
The offense hasn’t been without notice by personal friends as well—-most of my communication has had to become “scheduled” and that’s obviously pretty lame to people who aren’t used to it.
I’d love to say it’s because I’ve been jet setting around the world to posh parties with Puff Daddy and David Beckham, but it’s mostly been the typical personal and work related stuff. You turn thirty, you take on more complex challenges, your priorities change, etc.
Regardless, if you’re a buddy and I’ve been off the map, sorry!!
The past year has been, well, DIFFERENT.
Somewhat titillating, somewhat repetitious, and of course as always, very eye-opening.
(Because if it wasn’t EYE OPENING, then what kind of self help GUUUUUUURU would I be?? Hmmmmmmmmm.....don’t answer.)
2009 was the first year since 2002 that I lived in the same city with minimal travel (well I travelled to like 10 cities, but it was mostly screwing around on the West Coast).
2009 was also the first year I taught a full schedule of bootcamps in long time, usually four programs a month. I also managed to get the old pimp game back up to snuff, and record the entire process with hidden high definition cameras—the last piece of the “POOOAH legacy” puzzle I narcissistically envisioned as a melodramatic young wannabe.
(It turned out to be strangely satisfying......like Patrick Bateman filming himself with the two hookers while flexing in the mirror in “American Psycho”.)
Probably most important though, 2009 was the year I found out I was having my first kid (a son!), only to be smashed up in a t-bone car accident later the same week.
Soooooo, lots to catch up on!
This blog will be about the year 2-0-0-9.
The story starts in Fall of 2008, the tail end of the two and a half year stint in Honolulu Hawaii.
The time I spent in the islands was nothing less than a PRIVILEGE.
I hope the pictures I’ve posted on this blog over that time have conveyed some small aspect of what it was like, but ultimately it’s impossible unless you experience it for yourself (do it!).
(The old apartment -- FUCK!!)
When I think of the perfect society, I’m like that guy who built the Griffith Park Space Observatory who thought the world could be transformed if everyone could look at space through a high powered telescope, except instead of looking through a high powered telescope, I think the world could be transformed if everyone could visit HAWAII.
(Of course this makes little sense, as evidenced by the many NON-transformed people who’ve been there—but I can use my imaginaaaa-naaa-tion.)
Hawaii is a big favourite for spiritual woo-woo people because the environment is so vibrant and colourful and alive.
The whole idea of “just be in the moment without judgement, and everything will look so amazing and cool” becomes VERY REAL in a place like Hawaii, because, well, if you just relax and be in the moment, EVERYTHING AROUND YOU IS SO DAMNED COOL.
The fluorescent colors, the fresh air, the neon blue ocean and perfect weather—even the RAIN in Hawaii is awesome, like a “light misting” to cool you off and leave behind a RAINBOW for fuck’s sake.
Then we decided to move to different island in South Brazil called Florianopolis. I was addicted to the island lifestyle, and the girlfriend wanted a change of pace. Tim Ferris was all about it on his blog—it seemed like the “trendy” thing for a person in my situation to do.
The two and a half years in Hawaii had obviously moved me away from the obsession of picking up girls (this was probably apparent by the subject matter on the blog).
My interest was leaning towards self development and the whole field of human potential—the idea that you can take someone who is failing to fully evolve (like 99% of people), shake up their reality in a way they’ll never forget, and give them a direction to move forward.
I figured I’d work on Real Social Dynamics while simultaneously laying the groundwork for the next business in the non-distracting environment of South Brazil—a new gig, and more awesomeness like in the Hawaiian islands.
Then in August before leaving Hawaii, circumstances came together where I threw up a final month of bootcamps on the schedule.
I’ve always had a passion for teaching infield programs and done it on-and-off for years—essentially working for free. Obviously the organization gets paid, but I usually do more important for tasks RSD by focusing on other projects we have no one else capable of, and I pay myself the same either way.
I think the effect of this is that I’ve never come to associate teaching with money in my mind, so I’ve been able to maintain my love for it as a “hobby” as opposed to a “means to an end”.
Mainly I view it as an excuse to step up and do the crazy shit I’d be too lazy to do on my own, and also, to force myself to EXPLAIN what I do so I can become more conscious of it and keep improving.
Anyway out of nowhere, what was supposed to be the last month of teaching turned out to be the most fun I’ve had in years.
It reminded me of why I wanted to build RSD in the first place—not to sit in front of a desk “building a business”, or to read grown men bickering with eachother on the internet, but to structure a life where I could be out in SOCIAL ENVIRONMENTS teaching a personal passion that was difficult for me to learn.
(Like, OH YEAH........THIS is why I fucken DID all this!!)
I’d go home at the end of each night feeling more relaxed than I’d felt in years—like a similar feeling that you get after gardening or doing construction. I felt like I was doing REAL WORK, working with my hands, getting my “elbows in the mud” like human beings are designed for.
It was the same feeling of doing work that I felt was valuable and important that got me hooked on this way back in the day—it sounds very clichéd, but it made me feel AWAKE and ENGAGED WITH LIFE.
I realized that for years I’d been harbouring unconscious jealousy towards instructors for living the lifestyle I wanted to live. I’d been telling myself that I’d get back to teaching eventually, and then in focusing my energies on stabilizing the business, I deviated so far from my original purpose of that I no longer remembered why I started in the first place.
It was like I was building and building Real Social Dynamics, to the point of absurdity where it was doubling in size every year.
The entire time I was telling myself this story about how “I’m sacrificing my own immediate gratification to help other people make a living for themselves” when in fact nobody ASKED me to do all this or indicated that it was a priority. I’d just assumed they wanted me to so I could feel important, and people were getting weirded out seeing me unhappy when I was isolated and overworked.
(Stephen Covey says that to work synergistically within an organization it needs to be WIN/WIN or no deal. I was playing LOSE/WIN which Covey says is the worst of any deal, because it builds resentment towards the people you’re trying to help and eventually dissolves your relationships with them.)
From this I realized that I needed to get back into the areas of RSD that I really enjoyed—even if it stopped propping up the growth of the organization at the expense of my physical and emotional health, and downshifted it to a more regular pace.
Obviously I knew I had to keep building the organization as well (and get more done in less time by improving my speed and efficiency -- like I do every year), but I realized as good ol' Ice Cube says, “life ain’t a track meet, it’s a marathon....” -- and that I had to maintain a pace that was sustainable over the many years required to build something amazing and worthwhile.
(Covey also has good insight here: he calls it maintaining the “P/PC balance”—implying that if you overdo it on the “production” side you’ll burn out “production capability” and “kill the golden goose”. You've got to work hard to build an outstanding life, but you've got to love your *experience* of life on a day-to-day basis as well.)
Soooooo, Hollywood round 2!!
With all that said, Los Angeles was IN, Florianopolis was OUT.
I informed the girlfriend I’d be dragging her to Los Angeles for at least a year of teaching bootcamps, packed up our gear, and jumped a flight back to the mainland.
The change was tough for her because she's a rabid surfer (click the picture and check out the surfing scar on her upper thigh -- this chick is hardcore.)
And it was crazy for me as well...
Getting back to LA I was immediately struck by the lack of vibrant color I’d come to take for granted in Hawaii. It made me feel like I was living in a dead environment, like I was choking and dying.
I even had bizarre dreams about hiking in islands, and getting down on my knees with arms to the sky like Tim Robbins in “Shawshank Redemption,” yelling “I never left, it was all a baaaaad dreeeaaaaaaam!!”
Then I’d wake up back in LA, like “Duhhhh, NO, I’m still here.......”
(Check the colors on the left compared to the right -- I took the left at the sea cliffs on the island of Molokai and the right at Runyon Canyon in LA.)
The city took a while to grow on me.
At first I was going to move to Santa Monica by the ocean, but I felt that it reminded me of Hawaii and got on my nerves. I moved to Hollywood instead.
Then as a few months passed I realized that wherever you live, if you choose it consciously, you’re there because the environment has something it needs to teach you at a specific point in your life.
Moving back to Hollywood was the best thing I could have done for myself. Staying in the islands would have been a stagnation—essentially a glass ceiling on my progression I may have never recognized. The lessons I’ve absorbed since being back in LA have been priceless.
The transition nonetheless took time......
Los Angeles has historically been the Real Social Dynamics flagship city—the HOLLYWOOD bootcamp. Taking on the bootcamps full time in LA was a hobby, but also a responsibility to the culture of the organization in my mind.
The other instructors run such effective programs at this point, it’s not like back in the day where I could dominate just from having the most experience. These guys are role models to me in terms of the skills they bring to the table, so I knew I’d have to work at it to maintain the same standards.
Picking up girls in Hollywood is different from the Hawaiian islands in many respects.
Getting back into it I felt rusty, like when I first came to LA from Canada and had trouble getting attraction because I was too much of a wide-eyed kid.
It’s not that Hollywood is hard AT ALL—it’s one of the easiest cities in the world once you’ve gotten accustomed to it. But there’s an obvious adjustment in terms of the amount of stimulation and attitude that’s required to get a girl’s attention, compared to living on a tropical island.
Another challenge was that my profile had increased from the book “The Game” and the subsequent growth of Real Social Dynamics, so coming back to a major city meant being stopped and gawked at in the clubs throughout the night.
There’s nothing like getting back into the swing of things (with the initial shit nights and blow outs) and having random dudes in the club pointing to their girls saying “Hahaha, LOOK, that guys is a PICK UP ARIST!! Let’s FOLLOW HIM AROUND!!”
Newbies are often paranoid that there’s people in the club “judging them” and wanting them to fail. The REALLY paranoid ones probably even harbour delusions that people will pull out their camera phones and film them getting blown out to post up on YouTube.
WELL I REALLY LIVE THAT REALITY!!
(And I think it’s hilarious my life has come to this point—I’ve brought it entirely on myself!!)
To deal with this I shaved my head completely bald.
I thought it would be cool, and especially with my hair thinning over the years, it would allow me to see what it would be like when I eventually went “bald for real”.
The shaved head was pretty sick. The convenience was legit and I looked better than with insane-scientist long hair (although pale—but didn’t care).
Girls would come up and kiss the head all night, then you’ve got lipstick on it and the other girls get jealous and randomly open you—if you’ve never shaved it and you’re curious what it’s like, do it THIS WEEKEND.
(Don’t worry, it grows back extremely fast, even within days.)
The only thing I didn’t like about it was the OTHER BALD GUYS who would come up to me to say “Hey handsome....” or “Looking good!!”
It was like being initiated into a world-wide secret support group for BALD MEN!!
Anyway the long crawl back to awesomeness took about a year...
There were the typical shit nights and times I honestly wondered if I had the motivation in me to take it to that level again.
The breakthrough was when a buddy of mine busted out a cheap camera and started filming me.
I didn't really do anything special that night, but a lot of the shit I did was just FUNNY to watch. It cracked me up and I was showing the footage to buddies over the next few weeks to get them laughing.
This piqued my interest in the possibility of filming.
It got me thinking of videos of dudes like Kelly Slater and Tony Hawk, how they’d film themselves doing the sickest shit and show the clips so people could look and be like “GOD DAMN!!”
That’s not to say I’m pimping like Kelly Slater or Tony Hawk (these guys have literally been honing their craft for a lifetime) but I wanted to bring MY OWN personal best to the table—and capture those “OOOOOH SHIIIIIT!” moments that inspire people to learn this stuff.
The next year was spent learning how to record live pickup, and getting it down to a fine science.
The drive to get myself filmed was the push I needed to pull the old skill-set back up to previous levels, mainly because of what I felt it would do for the people learning this stuff.
Maybe just as important, I felt it would do a lot to legitimize the industry—which is good for everyone, not just Real Social Dynamics.
In the same way I chose to spend hundreds of thousands to create the video programs instead of using a handi-cam and DVD burner, or to make RSD Nation into a legit hub instead of just leaving it as a vBulletin, I wanted to record something that would make it super obvious this is a very worthwhile area to be interested in.
Watching video of myself was also highly educational.
After a mediocre night, I was able to see the LAME TENDENCIES that were blowing me out—the most common being rapport-seeking vocal tonality, trying too hard to get a laugh, and lack of clarity in my intent (oftentimes I just looked like I didn’t want to be there and was “going through the motions”). It made it easier to recognize in students as well.
Conversely, I was also able to see what I was doing EFFECTIVELY when I was kicking ass. With the tendency to watch myself doing awesome over and over on my computer at home, I got more in touch with how I was on an “on night”.
The repetition of watching it eventually made me feel like I was THAT GUY but ALL THE TIME.
I found myself going through peaks and valleys throughout the year.
I generally noticed a month of big improvement followed by a month of being uninspired—pretty much exactly what George Leonard describes in the book “Mastery”.
My goal was to get film of myself peaking, so I wound up giving my film crew a break for the month when I was feeling myself sort of “deflating” and then booked trips to Scottsdale and Las Vegas to film as I felt myself entering into a peak.
(Again no comparisons to anyone else here, I just wanted MY OWN PERSONAL BEST.)
Funny enough, another big help was certain posts I’d read on RSD Nation about how the footage we’d get would just be short clips, not really teaching anything substantial, and a waste of time.
A lot of that feedback turned out to be valuable motivation, because in difficult shooting situations it pushed me and the film crew to take more aggressive risks to get the shots.
Many of the shots are totally absurd. Like I don't even need to say what I'm talking about here, because you can obviously guess. Anything you can imagine in your wildest imaginations, like, ANYTHING, you can assume we shot it.
It’s like we were kids trying to outdo each other on the snowboarding ramp—getting ballsier and ballsier in terms of what we were willing to attempt—and by the end of the year it was like “Uhhhh what the fuck were we thinking?? HAHAHAHA, uhhhhh, *WHAT*??”
It took us about a year to get all this down...
The first six months was mostly getting the hang of being recorded and adjusting to the extra anxiety of overzealous bouncers, possessive boyfriends, and mall security guards freaking out (especially because when you’re kicked out of a favourite venue—poof!—you can’t use that venue ever again).
We’d shoot here and there when we had opportunities, but nothing that awesome or up close in the action.
The next six months was a continual improvement of the technology and film techniques we were using, until about a MONTH before the World Summit, when we had a breakthrough in our recording process that allowed us to record entire nights of crystal clear footage, uninterrupted.
Most of the footage we showed at Summit wound up being shot just in the last four weeks.
Ultimately the year involved a lot of headaches, messy incidents and inconvenience, but at the end of the day when you’re capturing something on film that you’re psyched about, it’s a massive rush.
There’s an anxiety and suspense all the way home that the shot came out the way you hoped, and if it comes out with a clear shot and clean audio then you know you’ve got something amazing on your hands.
Recording infield footage was the big “work project” I focused on in the year 2009, so shooting the type of videos I’d envisioned was very satisfying and awesome.
I’m planning to continue shooting new footage for every year’s Summit, but for now it’s another milestone checked off the bucket list.
(Oh yeah and if you want to see it, get your ass to a free workshop where I'll be showing substantial amounts—www.rsdfreetour.com. And if you learn a lot, attend one of the upcoming outer game tutorials where we combine many hours of footage with interactive exercises--or even the World Summit this August in Las Vegas--www.rsdworldsummit.com)
Anywayzzzzz, this lead me to the NEXT really big event in my life that I experienced this year: MY GIRLFRIEND GETTING PREGNANT, and me getting into a vicious CAR ACCIDENT only a few days later!!
It all started when I noticed this little bump on her stomach and a very slight bloating, as if she was eating a bit too much food lately.
I was like "YO -- you look like one of those college chicks who drinks too much beer!!"
(Check out the bump on the tummy in the right picture compared to the left ^^^ -- little did we know there was a kid in there!!)
A few weeks later I received a curious message from during a bootcamp. It said “Hey babe, would you be mad if I was pregnant?”
I texted back “no I’m cool” and then immediately went back to the seminar. I found myself stuttering and looking flustered for the next two minutes, and I finally said to the students, “Okay sorry, I’m a bit unfocused here, look at this text I just got.”
They started laughing at me nervously, and told me to text back and find out the deal.
I texted back and she said that she wasn’t pregnant, she was just curious how I’d react. Then the next day she wakes me up in the middle of the morning when I’m in a deep sleep, with a big yellow envelope that says “Owen Cook”.
I open the envelope and there’s a tiny diaper, a soother, and an ultrasound of a tiny baby on it.
I say to her “What is this?” and she says “It’s the bean.”
I say “I need to sleep, stop fucking with me. What is this?” and she says “It’s YOUR bean.”
I say “Are you pregnant?” and she says “Yes.” I say “Are you fucking with me?” and she says “No.” I say “Are you sure” and she says “Yes, I just went to the doctor this morning, I didn’t want to distract you last night while you were teaching."
"I've been pregnant for the past three months."
I say “Okay that’s awesome. I guess I have a lot of work to do, I’m going back to bed,” and then roll back over and start to go to sleep.
Then I realized that I’d have to remember what a dick I was being for years, and rolled back over to say how happy I was, do the whole “hugs and kisses” happy time thing.
Obviously I wasn’t really sure what to think of it because the timing wasn’t right. But I also knew that there were a lot of upsides, like that I'd always dreamed of having kids at some point anyway, and I could be a younger father and have more to offer them.
Beyond that, for years I’d had a theory that when you have a kid, that certain petty and small-minded voices in your head would become quieted.
That definitely turned out to be the case: it was an effect I could instantly observe by maybe 20 or 30%.
I think it’s like a “brush with death” where you have to have a strong intention for the epiphany to STICK, otherwise you just fall back into old habits. Because I’d had the desire for the epiphany for so long, it generally seemed to maintain itself.
(And by the way, at this point eight months into the pregnancy, I’m so psyched about the kid that if she miscarried I’d immediately try to have another one. I mention this because there were a number of times during the first two trimesters when she was showing likely symptoms of miscarriage--I'd like to write another article on this at some point.)
Then speaking of a “brush with death”......
Anyway life goes on, and with the World Summit about a month away, I had a highly specific vision in my mind for a type of shot we were still missing for the event.
Basically I wanted an instant pull home right after the club ended because of how quiet and well lit it is on the streets after hours—the typical deal where the girls who didn’t meet a guy are walking home pissed off, you swoop in and instantly bring her home.
It became my single-minded focus to get this shot before Summit in September, because I knew it would be so relevant for the students in Las Vegas. We’d had several of them throughout the year but had never gotten a clear shot of it on film.
Then three weeks prior, I finally GOT the shot I wanted while filming in Scottsdale!!
I’d skipped a weekend of bootcamp to go out there, specifically hoping to get THIS EXACT SHOT, and I was pumped beyond belief. I drove home on a massive high and rambled about how the persistence we’d maintained had paid off.
Like “YEAH BITCHES, WOOOOOOO!!”
Kobe scoring the three pointer to win the game in the fourth quarter type shit.
Then I got home, checked the camera and found the AUDIO hadn’t recorded!!!! The microphone battery had run out just minutes before the open, and the entire clip was on silent.
I was pissed, frustrated, and bashing myself for not having a faster learning curve earlier in the year, because if I’d learned faster then I wouldn’t have been doing this last minute.
What struck me was how I couldn’t stop myself from complaining and feeling sorry for myself.
I remember thinking...
“Damn I’ve just found out I’m having a kid with a healthy and intelligent woman. The whole reason I stayed with her in the first place was I respected her family values and I knew she'd make a great mom--and the decision is paying off!!"
“Ten years ago I thought I’d be alone my whole life and now I’m in this situation—I’m fucken blessed. And all I can think about is how I failed to get the DAMNED VIDEO??”
“What happened to my big EPIPHANY about not being petty and bothered by the small stuff??”
I spent the Sunday in Scottsdale hanging out with friends, and it should have been great time.
I put on like I was in a good mood because I dislike it when other people drag me down, but all I could feel was pissed off at myself.
I made a lot of stupid comments like “We probably won’t get another shot like this before Summit, I fucked up, etc...” totally ignoring all the GOOD stuff we’d already accumulated.
As I drove home, I remember even thinking to myself, “I deserve to be hit by a plane or something for being this ungrateful. I’m like one of those lame victim complex motherfuckers I teach my students not to act like. I thought I was long past this type of thinking, what am I missing here??”
At first I was thinking it was just a natural symptom of the single-minded focus I’d maintained over the past year, but I realized it was something more than that.
What I was realizing, as I observed what was going on with me, was that my frustration was ultimately based in FEAR. The fear of letting go of attachment, and what that would mean on a deeper level.
Like, what does it really matter if I got the shot or not??
The sun will still explode someday, wiping out any trace of my existence, my kid’s existence, and any possible legacy I could ever leave behind. So to be emotionally investing myself into this was in some ways a DENIAL of that reality.
Now obviously this might sound funny, like some sort of complex rationalization not to feel sorry for myself—“I shouldn’t feel bad that I fucked up because the SUN WILL EXPLODE”.
However this is the way I’ve come to think about these things over the years, particularly after the Neil Strauss book “The Game” when a lot of my more "petty" motivations of having everyone think I'm awesome and cool had less possibility of being fulfilled.
The way I’ve been trying to see it the past few years is like this: you work because of what it does for you as a person—the emotional balance it gives you, the sense of contribution, of being fit to meet the requirements of life, etc.
It’s about the PROCESS.
To be emotionally affected by the failure to achieve a RESULT would mean I’m denying all that—I’m basically LYING to myself about the nature of reality, and on an even deeper level, who I am.
Didn’t I have FUN this past weekend?? Wasn’t it COOL??
So if the process was a good time, it was just the RESULT I was fretting about.
Thoughts of death started entering into my mind: how I must have become disconnected with the reality that I’m going to die someday, and how I was burying my head in the sand with some sort of bizarre role play that any of this was actually significant.
This is no joke, this is NOT something I'm saying to make the article seem cool, it is literally EXACTLY WHAT I WAS THINKING, when.............. *BLAM*!!
Imagine you’re sitting in your house (or internet cafe, or wherever) right now, and out of nowhere you hear some sort of SMASH, feel JOLTED past the point you can physically resist against, and then fade to black.
The next thing you know you wake up with glass all over you, and you’re bleeding and struggling to breathe.
As I tried to determine what had happened through the haze of semi consciousness, I slowly came to the realization that a speeding pickup truck had just t-boned the old Toyota my buddy was driving me in, and smashed directly into the front passenger seat where I was sitting.
My side of the car was partway crumpled in, the car was totalled, and the pickup truck that hit me was totalled from the front end as well. I couldn’t breathe properly because the impact had pulverized my ribs.
I eventually managed to use my legs to push myself through the shattered glass and onto the sidewalk.
In a half dazed state I considered what my girlfriend would deal with if I died, how she’d never have a chance to say good bye to me or know my final thoughts.
I fumbled with my phone to text “I love you”.
Then I texted PAPA “I love you bro” as well, thinking how affected he was going to be if I was dead, and how he was the guy who’d given me the initial opportunity to create most of the good things I enjoyed in my life.
(I couldn’t think of anything more MANLY to say to him that didn’t sound gay, mainly because I wasn't able to form thoughts properly and my fingers weren't very responsive.)
Then I just lay there on the side of the road, thinking to myself “Holy shit, I had a kid this week because I’m gonna die. That’s why it happened this week. And my kid is gonna go on without me.” I felt resigned to it and very relaxed, but also deeply concerned for the people who would be affected.
FORTUNATELY, this was just me being paranoid because I was fine (as you can see because, uhhhh, I’m writing this blog).
There was a risk that I could have had permanent spinal injury or something like that, but overall I wasn’t going to lose my life out of it.
The fire department showed up and checked me out.
Lying on the grass beside the sidewalk, I tried to talk to formulate my thoughts into sentences that made me seem coherent, and asked whether they felt the hospital could do anything for me. They didn’t want to give an opinion, so I asked them to give one “off the record” and I wouldn’t hold them responsible.
They said the injuries were mostly internal and there was nothing the hospital could do other than give me x-rays and a lot of Advil. They said I’d be tired and in pain the next few weeks, that I might require rehabilitative therapy over the longer term, but that for now there was little to do other than rest and allow my body to recover.
I eventually propped myself up and hobbled back to the apartment where I was staying, which was nearby.
As I passed the lady who hit me, I shook her hand and told her I was totally fine. She looked like she was still in shock, so I tried to appear unhurt and like I thought the whole thing was funny.
I got back to the apartment I was staying at, and thought about the responsibility I had to my kid—how WEIRD it would have been for him to have to watch me on pickup videos to learn about who I was, etc.
I realized I hadn’t even gotten a life insurance policy yet because I’d just found out about the pregnancy, and that I’d fucked up in that regard as well.
The idea that I could have died made me feel an incredible drive to LIVE and see my son grow up.
It was a weird change of headspace because I’ve normally never felt a fear of death—I’d always thought that you essentially walk through life ALREADY DEAD and that life is something to be ACHIEVED.
But the idea of dying became different to me.
I realized that a lot of my dreams, like crossing Africa by jeep and hiking through mountains and all that, would have to wait for a while. If I die then I die, but I can’t feel like it was from my own recklessness or I’d be violating my responsibilities as a father and a man.
Anyway the recovery wasn’t too bad, especially considering my original assessment.
The drive home from Phoenix to Los Angeles was hilarious—we followed by buddy in another car while he drove the half destroyed Toyota to the junkyard, and other cars honked and cheered him on. My buddy got like 300 bucks for his wrecked vehicle and we crammed into the other car to head back.
Every little bump was gouging, like “Owww, owwwww, owwwww!!” as we crossed the Arizona desert, and the irony of having to spend 6 hours in a car the day after an accident wasn’t lost on me.
Regardless I’ve always loved driving across the desert because I grew up thinking I’d never travel outside of Canada, so seeing something bizarre like the desert reminds me of how far I’ve come.
(The film team and a very shaken and nervous "Tyler" on the drive home -- I seriously couldn't ask for a better team or better friends.)
I also feel very peaceful when I’m in the desert, which is why I love the drive to Las Vegas as well, and camping in Joshua Tree national park (the one from the show “Entourage” where they eat magic mushrooms). I want to visit the Grand Canyon this year too—I’ve flown over it a bunch of times but want to see it up close.
I was stuck in bed for a few days back in Los Angeles, and started walking comfortably again later in the week.
And guess what?? I wound up getting the shot anyway.
The next few weeks I felt better and better, and eventually got to the point where I could consider leaving the house. By the time World Summit was a week away I decided to hit the field again and try to get that damned shot!!
One night out in Huntington Beach and *BAM!!!* I nailed it.
That’s right, all the frustration that day in Arizona was for nothing. I kept my focus and let go of the outcome, and got the EXACT SHOT I’d previously been struggling to get.
This smeared the POINTLESSNESS of getting down on myself over a video shoot even more in my face. It made me feel like I NEEDED to get hit by that car—like it was the best possible reality that could have entered into my life at that point in time.
I feel very similarly about the book “The Game”.
I imagine my life without it, and realize I probably would have gone deeper down a path of denial about what’s important in life—“what’s important in life” being who you become on a core level, living for your own enjoyment, and fulfilling the values that are important to you, regardless of whether anyone recognizes or acknowledges it.
Any experience in life that strips away your bullshit delusions and gets you closer to your core is a good one. In the currency of getting closer to a semblance of self knowledge, gain is loss, and loss is gain.
Anyway after a year of preparation, WORLD FUCKING SUMMIT!!
Sooooooo, World Summit was now a week away, and it was time to comb through the footage and edit it down. What a job!!
My video dude and I bought a high powered editing computer and spent the week burning through a year’s worth of memories. It was crazy to see all the bullshit nights I went through as I was getting back into it—then to see how I gradually improved.
We edited the clips into various presentations, with segments that showed the specific things I wanted to teach—openers compilations, rejections compilations, pickups using a lot of intent, pickups where I made the girl chase, where I remove the girl from other dudes, physical game, pulls with ADD party chicks, chill game with more intellectual girls, etc.
It’s funny because as the typical OCD creative person, I was anxious if the videos were good enough.
Nick (Papa) and TIM showed up at about 5:30pm to leave for Vegas the night before, and I was pushing it until 7:30pm to finish the edits. We’d been working on it all week and were basically down to the wire in terms of getting it all done.
Finally I finished and sat on the couch, looked at Tim and said “Wow I’m just sitting on a couch. This is the first time I’ve just sat on a couch and done nothing in about a week. It’s pretty cool.”
I’m sure Tim was like “YEP, back with OWEN again...”
I gave high fives and props to my video dude after we’d spent the week hanging out, joked about how we should edit more videos when I got back from Summit, and jumped in the big Escalade Papa had rented to drive us all up to Vegas.
It was cool to catch up with Tim for the first time in a year, and drive through the dessert in peace and anticipation of the event. I got to my buddy’s house in Vegas and caught a few hours of sleep.
Woke up in the morning and downed some fruits and green tea, and shot off to the Summit.
I really wondered what the event would look like. I wondered if the footage would make any difference in terms of guys getting laid during the week, or if I’d gone through all the drama for no tangible result.
I also hadn’t done any major PUA speaking events since recording The Blueprint in December 2007. The two or three little talks I did over the past year—I felt they were pretty vanilla and uninspiring, so I was curious what I’d be able to produce.
The morning drive from the suburbs to the strip was very bright, the desert sun glaring in my eyes.
It felt like a dream to be finally doing the Summit after the year of preparation, and I thought to myself “This is the movie I see now, this bright fucking desert, and soon the movie I’m seeing will be an audience looking at me and wondering if I’ll deliver the goods.”
I’d seen Eckhart Tolle live in Phoenix earlier in the year—front row seats about ten feet away from him. It was such a monumental moment to see the dude live in person, one of the coolest experiences I’ll ever have.
Remembering this, it made me think about how for Tolle it was probably just another day at the office, but for me it was on a totally different level. I realized that even though it fell outside my reality, for some people in the audience who’d taken the leap to travel and attend this thing, it was probably a similar type of crazy experience.
I wanted to DELIVER for them. My expectation was I’d be rusty and gradually shake it off over the week -- but that definitely didn't turn out to be the case.
I’ve never felt so centered, relaxed, and effective in my entire life. It was like being up there was what I was meant to do.
The key was in keeping my focus away from how I looked or how I compared to the other speakers—just 100% on making the experience awesome for the audience.
It was weird, but I could FEEL the years of learning how to articulate and intertwine concepts (like in Blueprint) combining with the efforts I’d made to hold the attention spans of L.A. party chicks over the past year.
Like I could feel multiple levels of communication funnelling through my head at the same time, the content, the humour, the emoting and emphasis, etc.
I finally realized that day that if I live to see it come to fruition, I have the potential to become a very good speaker/orator. It might take me until I’m 40 or longer, but I’ll eventually get there. I’m willing to take my time.
Anyway the week at Summit—fully exceeded my expectations.
People normally ask me “What’s better, Bootcamp or Superconference?” and I sort of snidely laugh and say “Uhhh, what do you think??”
But after World Summit, I can’t answer that question anymore—I suppose it depends on the individual in attendance, where they’re at, etc.
Half the people in the audience (100 out of 200 ) got laid that week, many four or five times.
I think it was due to multiple factors.
1) the fact that they’re in Vegas for a week applying what they learned. 2) seeing videos of myself and instructors to cement the ideas in their reality throughout the week. 3) having other students there to go out and wing. And 4) seeing other instructors at the same clubs out pulling girls and doing their thing.
(Like Alex~ got laid four times in a single day—I’m not sure if I should be disgusted or impressed, but the students were always around to see this and learn.)
The week in Vegas was SIIIIIIIIIIICK!!
We ate at different restaurants every day, went out to hot clubs, had a big dorky birthday party for me that was full of dudes (and was super fun--so fuck you all!), and the future mother of my spawn came down to visit for a night to see “La Reve” and eat at Steve Wynn Steakhouse. I enjoyed it because it felt like I’d earned it, after the year of preparation to put together the event.
It was cool just blasting around Vegas for the week. The big lights and excitement. The dude who put me up at his place also had a hot tub in the back yard, so we’d have people chilling back there until the early hours of the morning on some nights.
Papa was initially saying he thought the week in Vegas would be too long, but by the end he was like “This is so fucking awesome we’ve gotta do it again next year.”
I agreed with him SOMEWHAT.
I felt we should shorten the event to 6 days instead of 7, so everyone can get home for work, and start the talks at 2pm each day instead of noon. Most of the students literally looked like they’d had the shit beaten out of them by the end of the week, so I think this will be helpful in holding up the energy the entire time.
Anyway World Summit was one of the truly amazing experiences of my life, and thennnnnnn...............
IT WAS DONE. Back to reality.
("Photochop me. I'm the GAYEST PICTURE EVER.")
So onto he other passion project from this year—“The Relationship Transition”
I still had some recovering from the accident to do, so slept like 11 hours a day back in Los Angeles. It took me another month to get back in the gym, and another 2 months to get back my strength and size.
The next few months I spent on “Relationship Transition”—the book I’ve been working on this entire past year.
It’s my favourite project right now. More profound for me than Blueprint, or maybe more realistically, sort of a next level. It started with just relationships and went in all sorts of crazy directions that are only loosely related.
No promises on the release date—I’ve made that mistake before, so let's just not go there. :)
Working on it I recently had one of those slews of epiphanies where I had a hard time sleeping properly. It’s been a few years since I’ve been through something like this—you may remember a similar epiphany I spoke about at the end of BP Decoded.
It started with me explaining how we all have different “selves” that are forced to relate to each other in a relationship, and it wound up being three weeks realizing all sorts of intense ramifications of this.
For a while I had a hard time even talking to people because I’d be seeing all these new aspects of them I'd never recognized.
It was like being a pick up artist newbie again, like “OOOOH, was that a COCKY AND FUNNY I just saw??? Is that guy a NATURAL??!!”
It’s weird because you move through life sort of assuming you’ll have the breakthrough you need to reach a next level, but sometimes you wonder “Am I ever going to have it??”
Then when you forget about it, forget that you’re waiting for it, and KA-PLOW!!—it comes into your life.
For me, this was the breakthrough I was waiting for, not only in terms of the unique material I needed to take RSD to the next level, but more importantly, for my own development as a dude.
I feel like this is the level of awareness I've been missing my entire life, and that if I just stick on my path without getting scared or deviating, that success will be a foregone conclusion.
These types of epiphanies can also suck pretty massively, because it’s a lot like giving birth to a baby (hmmmmm, well in some respects).
I’d keep waking up at night and having to enter notes into my cell phone.
I’d think I was about to fall back asleep, and BOOM, I’d wake up and have to enter more notes.
I was walking around like a zombie for a few weeks due to the lack of sleep, and I knew it would continue until I’d vomited out everything I needed to get out of my system.
Now I’m sitting here with pages of scattered notes, and I’ve got to start assembling them into linear explanations that will allow people to understand what the hell I’m talking about.
It’ll probably be a few weeks until I’ve got the chapter complete.
Anyway, I’ve talked about some of the more monumental events of 2009, and I’ll wrap with a few other progressions that happened throughout the year.
I was actually hoping to write this article to around 20 or 30 pages, just to make up for the lack up updates the past year for anyone who used to follow this blog, so let’s see if I can make that happen. :)
The first is that I dropped about 40 pounds and got healthy.
I took a major interest in anti-aging as I was turning 30, and basically shifted to a diet of healthy whole foods packed with vitamins, anti oxidants, polyphenols, flavanoids, etc. A lot of teas and spices in there as well.
I knew I had a major opportunity since I wasn’t travelling all the time this year (which makes it really hard to diet), and I needed to do it before I picked up that lifestyle again.
It was cool because I basically did it with cardio and eating properly.
At first I dropped down to around 180, then when I got to 170 I was feeling pretty good. When I finally woke up one morning and weighed in at 169 I was like “HOLY SHIT!! I’m in the 160’s for the first time in five years!!”
I shot over to the Beverly Center and bought my first pair of “skinny jeans” in many years, as a sort of joke slash self reward. I’ve since had to buy new clothes AGAIN as I dropped down to about 157.
Unfortunately the accident had me out of the gym for a while, so I’m at around 163 right now (the result was I lost muscle and gained fat).
I’ll be dropping to about 155-150 or so as my final weight, over the next few months.
I also read through another pile of cool books, as usual.
This year my reading list was mostly focused on health and anti-aging, neuroscience, and autobiographies of world leaders.
My favourite health books were “Younger You” by Eric Braverman, and “150 Healthiest Foods” by Jonny Bowden. I read the first about 50 times, and the second probably over 100.
That’s not to say I read them mechanically, over and over. I just picked them up off the shelf for a few minutes every day—kept adjusting my diet, reading over the aspects I missed.
I think I got better at sitting down to read with focus and for longer periods this year, probably from continuing to do it every day.
I remember when I graduated college in 2006 and I hadn’t read “for fun” in many years—and the first book I read was Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”.
It was a hard book for me to read at that time and I wasn’t sure if I’d really finish it, but pushing through a big brick like that gave me this weird nerd confidence that I could get through anything, and I’ve since read about a book a week.
(Currently I'm reading "The Clinton Tapes" by Taylor Branch -- which is phenomenal.)
Strangely, I also filled up my house from top to bottom with TREES AND PLANTS.
I think it’s hilarious, I've turned my house into the jungle from the movie AVATAR.
(Although I did not take it as far as Jeffy, who took it upon himself to become an Avatar BLUE ELF.)
The plants provide oxygen and remove toxins from the air, and I wanted my kid to grow up without the Los Angeles air pollution hindering his IQ (even more than having to inherit his genes from a dad as bone-headed as I am).
I’ve found the plants also do incredible things for the atmosphere and ambience of the apartment. I highly recommend it—the book I got is called “How To Grow Fresh Air” by B.C. Wolverton.
If you’re curious, I’ve got a huge Lady Palm, a Dwarf Date Palm, an Areca Palm, a Rubber Tree, Janet Craig, Peace Lilly, Dragon Tree, Corn Plant, Dracaena Warneckei, Golden Pothos, an Umbrella tree, and then Snake plants which don’t require light in the bedroom.
These are apparently all really good for indoor air quality—I think I’m now addicted to plants like a reality star addicted to plastic surgery.
I did meditation for 20 minutes a day, usually twice a day, but almost always at least once.
I’ve come to realize how valuable this is, and I've fallen in and out of the habit for years. This year I resolved that I'd finally maintain it.
My interest in meditation has little to do with becoming enlightened or reincarnated into a Bhudda (although I guess if that happened it would be...........interesting.)
It’s more based on eliciting a “relaxation response” as Harvard M.D. Herbert Benson called it in book: “The Relaxation Response”.
There’s benefits that need to be experienced to be understood—TRY IT!!
My focus was also on work productivity, and in particular, an obsession with increasing brain power—I think I even went from FULL RETARD to MODERATELY UNINTELLIGENT.
Ultimately this started from a massive increase of stress at the beginning of the year. I realized I needed to up the brain power if I wanted to achieve a lot of my goals, which often involve sitting in front of a desk for long hours at a time.
Some of the interesting discoveries and experiments—creating a “darkness chamber” to sleep in, so I could experience 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep in the pitch dark (so dark you can’t see your hand in front of your face).
I also ate a “brain diet” loaded with berries, greens, essential fats, teas, spices, clean meats, and even played with supplements like L-Theanine and various other neuro optimizers.
I didn’t stick with the supplements in the long term but found them to be helpful in re-establishing “normal levels” when I deplete them from too many long hours.
The twenty minutes of morning cardio in conjunction with weights seemed to have a positive effect as well—especially after a few months of it becoming a habit. They say cardio increases BDNF (look it up!).
I generally loved getting my cardio back up to speed this year—I went from being fat and not able to run for more than 3 or 4 minutes, to being able to full on SPRINT for about 20 minutes. I never took it further than that with the morning cardio, but continued with hiking in Malibu a few hours every Sunday.
The result was that I became able to handle longer work days without becoming burned out. If you’re working long hours, I recommend you give it a try.
The work productivity experiment also included removing the internet from my house entirely, to the point that I use it only a few minutes a month. I also stopped answering my phone 100%--I usually check it once a day.
This was a hard needle to pull out of my arm because I love the internet and I love INFORMATION. But I realized that reading the internet is a maaaaaajor distraction (that’s right SUCKA, you’re distracting yourself right now!!).
I remember the first week I gave up the internet, two summers back, I read Nelson Mandela’s 600 page autobiography within a week.
I realized from this that I generally read around 600 pages a week, the only question is whether it’s high quality reading or bullshit on Wikipedia and Digg.com, porn sites, etc.
I did a decent job of getting the internet out of my life, but shifted back and forth. This year I finally got it out of my life entirely.
That’s right, the internet = GAAAAAHNNNN!!
I’m writing this article right now on my home computer which has no internet, and surrounded by a bunch of plants.
Tomorrow I’ll go to the internet cafe and copy & paste this whole thing to the blog, and do my 15 posts a week on RSDN (I give myself 90 minutes which limits me from reading anything other than content based questions).
Speaking of focusing on productive work and not bullshit on the internet, Real Social Dynamics got on the “Inc. 5000” list this year.
This was pretty hilarious, Papa calls it the “World’s Biggest Spam List” because we’re now solicited by random businesses on a daily basis.
Regardless, notice we did this with THREE ON ONE BOOTCAMPS.
No compromise of product quality whatsoever, in fact product quality improved as it does every year, and we did the majority of these sales based on word of mouth of satisfied alumni—since we do little media or advertising.
On time off I managed to explore most of the Los Angeles wilderness, restaurants, and hit up the Lakers home games.
To get a break from all this I hiked nearly every trail in Malibu on Sundays after bootcamps, and made it out to Azusa a few times as well.
The hiking in California’s very different from Hawaiian because there’s Coyotes, snakes, deer, etc. One day I was getting out of my car and a Coyote was standing directly beside the door—it took me a second to realize it and stop myself from opening the door.
A lot of people forget that California has some amazing outdoor environments...
I drove the Pacific Coast Highway up to Santa Cruz, and the roads were hugging the mountains along the ocean—VERY NICE.
The other hobby was eating at one new restaurant a week, which was about fifty over the year. I wanted to enjoy the food in a world class city after living on an island with the same food for two and a half years.
The restaurant was my “one cheat meal” a week during the diet—the policy to never eat at the same restaurant twice allowed me to enjoy so many restaurants I normally never would have seen.
Live Lakers games were also a major hobby, having the world champion team in my own city and all that. It’s been a lot of fun getting out to the games regularly, and I’m going to hit up the Dodgers games in the summer as well.
I really have very little “time off” from Real Social Dynamics, so if I’m going to take some time away, it’s going to be for something enjoyable—a good movie or a live sporting event, restaurant, or getting into the outdoors (plus pumping the girlfriend's tummy full of babies.)
I find these types of activities bring me back to work feeling replenished and ready to slog it out.
Oh yeah, and we released Jeffy’s book “Nine Ball” this year.
I don’t know how many people noticed this, but I spent about a week before the day of the launch writing a salescopy that would mimic the type of irreverent humour Jeffy has in his book.
(To do this, I really tried to understand who Jeff is as a person, and learn what his humour is all about. It was something I wanted to do anyway because I’ve known the guy for so many years.)
Go to this site right now and read the RED HEADLINES: www.the9ball.com
I laughed my ass off the entire time writing this shit, combining typical hypey salescopy with off the wall insanity.
I couldn’t bear to leave up a sales page for a book written by JEFFY with pure sales, so I wrote it on a level where I’m practically telling you NOT to buy it (like saying he’s demented, a sexual deviant, etc).
Luckily people didn’t pay too much attention and bought the book regardless.
Nine Ball was the first printed book we’ve ever published. I think the stock looked beautiful and came out even a bit better quality than most hardcover books (better than say, the Richard Branson book I’m looking at on my shelf).
I’m psyched that we were able to take the original idea of just releasing an eBook compilation of Jeffy’s famous reports, and create a real book out of them.
As an avid reader, the quality of Jeff’s writing in the first hundred pages (the new stuff) really blew me away, and the reports all sequenced out were a lot of fun to read again, after many years. I think the book offers a really intense perspective on the game for guys coming into this, and a lot of entertainment for guys who've been in it a long time.
Overall it was just a massive win for Jeffy to put this thing out, and the feedback we’ve had on the book has been phenomenal. I'm pretty interested to see where Jeff decides to go from here, now that he's got it behind him.
Lastly, this was the year I feel I finally gave up a lot of “attachments” on a very deep level, in a very real way. I feel I’ve come to UNDERSTAND the nature of attachment, why it’s bullshit, etc.
Out of everything in this article, and everything I experienced, I think my major challenge this year was “attachment”.
It was a continual focus, always on mind mind—recognizing where I was attached.
Ultimately we all eventually have to give up ALL of our attachments when we die, so to me this is something that’s very obvious as being important.
In recent years it was the struggle to give up attachment to status, reputation, people’s opinions, MY OWN opinions, material objects, my sense of security that I could make an income for myself, etc. This year I took it further.
Due to a series of events throughout the year, I came to realize I also needed to sever attachments to my general feeling of safety and not being harassed, my privacy, and even my MEMORIES of past events (in the sense that if people I care about or admire have different opinions about them, even memories that are “treasured” in my mind, I have to let it go).
I realized that it’s like that motherfucken TOLLE says, “The NOW is really all you ever have.........”
(And this isn’t just with the typical shit like cars, job, women, etc, but literally EVERYTHING.)
I realize this sounds obscure or even weird, but I think anyone whose walked a similar path will know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s like I don’t even need to bother explaining it because you’re either on this wave length or it has little interest to you.
The bottom line is that your life is a movie that's unfolding in front of you. That's all you get, that's all you're ever going to get, and when you think about it, nothing can really mess that up unless YOU "make meanings" out of things that aren't really all that important.
Regardless, it’s amazing how clarity of mind becomes natural when you’re acting from a position of “core intent” as opposed to “attachment to the result”.
Okay I’m done, I hope you enjoyed this shit!!
You can probably tell that I'm psyched about everything I did this year -- almost like "weirdly enthusiastic".
Maybe it seems funny to you, but the truth is that if you DO NOT think that what you're doing is awesome, maybe something is out of alignment.
One of the first rules of pickup is that "the party is always with YOU..." -- like, "I'm doing the coolest shit, and whatever anyone else is doing is awesome for them, but I'm enjoying my own personal adventure."
This is engrained into you from day 1 of learning this stuff, and after a while you learn to "live it for real".
Sooooo, if you're not equally psyched about your own life, it might be time to wake up make something out of it. Keep making little adjustments like the ones we just talked about, until you've obtained an equally obnoxious sense of self-satisfaction.
These events have been the most meaningful to me, and comprised a year in my life where I was mostly healthy and enjoyed a lot of good times. I'm pretty damned grateful for it, because you never know what the future's got in store or how much time you're gonna get.
This will probably be my last article on this blog for a while, so keep up with me on RSD Nation (www.rsdnation.com) and I'll see you soon!!
Thanks for reading!!