Sunday, December 21, 2008

What's so Horrible About "let's just be friends"?

You meet a women whom you like and invite her to hang out with you. After some conversation you make your move. Then, like a beggar being tormented by a passing stranger waving a dollar, the dreaded response comes - "let's just be friends".

"Horrible!" you think to yourself. "This is unacceptable! friendship!?"

Wait a moment...


And with a women you like. So she's not interested in having sex with you. Instead she offered her friendship.

There is only one situation in life in which guys refuse the offer of friendship from a person whom they like, and that's when that person is a women they're attracted to. We turn this into an all or nothing game. If we cant have it all, we reject what might be a pretty good thing; She might turn out to be one of your best friends.

Is that so awful? Why don't we guys accept this genuine offer of friendship? Can't we swallow our prides because we "didn't get laid"?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Negative Emotions Sell

It seems to me that there are more people looking to buy negative emotions than there are people looking to buy positive emotions. They just sell better. We love a good scandal, or a report on the bad dudes out there, or to panic over the state of the economy, or be told we're all sinners. It's addicting. As are all emotions. You become addicted to the emotions that are most common in your life. And once you're addicted to an emotion, you'll do whatever it takes to get your daily fix. You'll go to great lengths, even causing misery and unhappiness in those around you. And it's all done as if in a dream.

Why don't more people just go out and buy "positive" emotions? Some do. They go after some dream that will "complete" them, or use chemicals.

But it doesn't work.

When you're working from the ego's point of view, it doesn't matter what emotions you're buying. You'll end up with those in the "negative" category anyway. Even if you're buying "positive" emotions, you'll get a high - and a low. Then you'll set out for another high - and here comes the low again.

Probably the first profound realization about human nature is that the cause of our sufferings is the false personality that's built around our thoughts, emotions and memories. The second (or joint) realization is that you're not that false personality - the ego - but you are the awareness that's noticing the false personality.

People realize that there's something fake in buying "good" emotions. So they either turn a blind eye and join the chase. Or cut the crap and immerse themselves in cynicism. A third solution is to realize that you don't need to "buy" emotions.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Why Visualising Your Goals Is BS

When someone tells you to visualize your goals he plays on a couple of human traits:
  1. Greed.
  2. Laziness.
  3. Vanity.
When someone is selling you something - whether it's a product, or a dream, or a religion - these traits can be used against you.

I'm not saying every person you meet is going to try and use them against you. Nor am I saying you should be on the lookout all the time, in complete paranoia, looking for evil dudes. The world is, as far as I can tell, a pretty friendly place.


Back to our lovely traits. When you visualize your goal, say a magnificent mansion, or a beautiful lover who will complete your life, you're gradually becoming greedy. The thing is, you're not even noticing it. You vividly see this picture, and with it all of these intense emotions start coming up.

They are the emotions of desire, of wanting, of needing.



Then you're given this line: "when you visualize your goals, and you believe in them, the universe will come to your aid. I know this sounds new-agey and stuff, but it works. I didn't believe it myself, but it does work."

The law of attraction, if you can even call it a law.

It's, simply put, a call for laziness. Sure, a confidence you'll succeed helps if you're working toward a goal, but blind faith? And calling this faith a law that guarantees your success?

You won't always succeed. Will that stop you from trying?


My favorite - The feeling of self importance. When you think you know this secret, this law - and no one else know it, No one else besides you and this small group, this inner circle - you can't help it, you will become vain. This brings up another point. Feeling part of a group, and an elite group none the less. All the more to vanity.

Are We There Yet?

So, I'm on my way to whatever it is I'm after. I have all of these visualization techniques. I'm unstoppable. Only time is between me and whatever it is I want (what do I want, anyway?).

But I'm not there. I'll probably never be. Why? Did I not visualize correctly? Or enough? maybe I didn't believe in it strongly enough? Or didn't communicate clearly enough with the gods of attraction?

I'm not there not because I can't get there, but because I'm using silly techniques instead of taking action.

The solution?

Get a handle on your ego. Not by trying to destroy it, or controlling it. That creates another ego. Instead, observe it's structures. Understand them. Realize that the ego creates them to survive, that they're not real. Under observation they crumble, And down with them goes the ego.

You won't need to "visualize" your success anymore. Now we can start doing the stuff that matters.

Next time you get all hyped up about something, first observe, then see it for what it is - an ego bribe.

Con artists Know More About Psychology than Psychologists?

Is it possible that marketers, con artists and salesmen know more about human nature than psychologists? Could it be that the drive for money and direct results indirectly got them a better understanding, driven by practicality?

Vanity, greed, fear and other human traits are used all the time by marketers, salesmen and con artists. It is the way they get results. Perhaps they're not conscious that they're doing it. That doesn't change the fact they're using their knowledge of human nature to get people to do what they want them to.

Even if you're using so called "white hat" techniques, like reciprocation (giving away free stuff to build trust), and doing so knowingly, or perhaps unknowingly, it's still too vague. The con artist can (and does) use reciprocation to build trust and finally, when the time comes, pull the con.

There's a thin line between the con artist and the marketer. And that's because they both know and do pretty much the same things.

The marketer, however, uses it to build trust and then actually delivers a solution to some problem, or a set of valuable knowledge.

Yet it's so easy for a marketer to turn into a con artist, or for a con artist to turn into a marketer.

And that's because the means are identical. Only the end differs.

I am fascinated by human nature, the good and the bad. Our vanity, greed and ego; The way we build an illusionary "self" based upon our thoughts, feelings, and memories and call it "I"; Or "me" - The structures of our ego. This is the illusion that plagues us all. Perhaps the cause for our sufferings. That's what buddha and other really profound people think, anyway.

What makes a person into a con artist? What constructs does he build into his ego to feel alright about it? Is it greed? Or are there other motivations? I don't think he'd do what he was doing if he didn't feel alright about it.

Marketers and con artists know more about human nature than most psychologists do. Sure, psychologists need their knowledge for practical purposes as well. They need to cure depression, or anxiety, or other mental illnesses. But there's no accurate way to measure their results. And from my experience with psychologists, most of them don't even bother. They don't measure if they're successful or not. Hell, they don't bother defining "success". With marketers and con artists it's easy to tell how successful they are - Are they making any money? It's not theory and speculation for them. They don't "think" this might help, or might provide "results", whatever that might be for the psychologist.

They need results, and they have a way to measure them. And, the good ones anyway, are getting them.

How do psychologists measure results? "Well, if my patient commits suicide, then I failed. Doh!"

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Evaluating Value

"Create value!"

"All you need is value!"

"Make something people want!"

I hear this stuff being thrown about a lot, and it's fine advice. However, it's not complete advice. Knowing that you have to make something people want is only the first step. Or the first half step. The real questions are:

  • "what is value?"

  • "how do I create value, and how do I create it on a consistent basis?”

What is Value?

The first question isn't so hard. Something valuable is simply something beautiful. I never saw something authentically valuable which wasn't also beautiful. Money isn't beautiful, but then again ,it's not authentically valuable. If you're making something beautiful you're on the right track

What is beauty?

Paul Graham talks about beauty in art a lot better than I can.

Good art is not subjective.

There is good art...

And there is bad art.

To say it's subjective insults our creative efforts, and the creative efforts of all who came before us, not only in art but in science as well.

Me saying it's insulting shouldn't convince you I'm correct. That's why I'm pointing you to Graham's essay, so I don't have to redo all of his good work.

How to Create Value on a Consistent Basis

This is about creativity and routine.

This is about leading a healthy lifestyle. Physical activity, emotional health, eat, drink, create.

Creativity and routine sound like opposites to you? Your most creative successes will come out of routine.

You have to record all of your ideas somehow, no matter how badly they suck, or how irrelevant they are to what you're trying to accomplish. Always be ready for the next idea.

Most of all, discover what works for you. There is a lot of information out there. Find it.

Training Your Faith

Faith is vital, And extremely hard to come by. Most people lose their faith. They encounter what they perceive as “cynicism”, or “immorality”, and they lose it. without even thinking about it they lose it. This usually happens as you grow up.

There are a few people that don't lose their faith. But most people do. In fact, it seems the natural course to take; Life is great as a child, as you grow up you suddenly have all these expectations turned to dust, you become cynical, etc etc.

But some people don't lose their faith. Why? I don't have a clue.

At this point I should make it clear that I'm not talking about faith in god, or in some organized religion.

This is about something else. Something bigger. Something a lot more mysterious. Something profound. It's hard to put you finger on it. But there's this feeling, this sense. It can barely be described. It's to be found when you least expect it. In fact, you won't find it when you do expect it. But it's there. And the paradox is, you have to look for it without expecting to actually find it. I know I'm not making any sense (I usually don't).

I suppose it's called faith for a reason, but I don't want you to have faith in God, or church, or country, or Buddha, or some guru, or me, or anything. I don't want you to have blind faith.

I want you to have questioning faith...

What I'm trying to talk about is not there. There is mysticism in this world, it's only very hard to talk about accurately. It's where you cant find it. But you can find it. That's the strange thing.

I don't know anything, nor have I found this thing I'm trying to talk about. I'm only trying to point at the strangeness.

What's so Great About Working From Home Anyway?

I don't get it. Working from home seems to be in these days. Maybe it has been in for a while and only now I've noticed it's “inness”, but still. Anytime something becomes desirable, you can put people into four categories:
  1. Those that have the desirable thing,

  2. those that want the desirable thing,

  3. those that promise or provide the desirable thing (and the means to get it),

and 4. those that don't give a shit.

My favorite is group number four. I love them, they rock. 1-3 suck in varying degrees.

So, what's so great about working from home?

Well... besides the loneliness, the long hours to pull your own weight, and the freedom to use your time however you please?

Wait a moment, I think I've misused that rhetorical device...

Back to our categories. Those that have the desirable thing, besides for salivating, you'll agree, aren't very interesting. Those that want the desirable thing are chasing a dream that probably won't make them feel all that great if they ever get it; and if they do get it, they'll probably realize they were after something else entirely. And those that promise or provide the desirable thing are, to put it simply, bitches; They're the smart ones who realize opportunities are to be found in providing the means to get the desirable thing. Whether it's tools to dig for gold, or teaching how to start a “home business”.

The thing about working from home is the promise that you can have all the freedom you want. It's like the ultimate freedom pill, as if we 1st world countries don't have enough freedom as it is. Look at those poor folks in Gaza, for instance. Now they need freedom.

But I regress.

There is something silly in making it your goal to “work from home”. Why would you want to work from home when you can get out of your home? There's so much out there: People to meet, places to see, things to do, a difference to make.

And we want to work from home? You think you can make a difference from home?

We should want to help others. And get out there and meet new people. And make some art. And write something interesting and actually read it out loud to real people.

It shouldn't be all about working from home, it should be about doing something you believe in. A mix of faith (not faith in god, I don't believe in that), purpose, and “work” you love should be the keywords.

If you have these three things, whether you work from home or some 3rd world country doesn't matter.

Working from home? A recipe for stagnation, For boredom.

The world is a big place, why limit yourself?

I want to work in the world.