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Book Study: A Guide to Rational Living
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Dusty Offline
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Book Study: A Guide to Rational Living
On another thread, I posted a link to a book by Albert Ellis called A Guide to Rational Living, and a few folks thanked me for bringing it to their attention, and asked for more info on Ellis and his methods. So I created this thread. I thought it might be interesting to do a book study on A Guide to Rational Living. If you’re interested, buy the book and jump on board. It’s not a game book, it’s a psychology book, but we can figure out how to apply it to game here.

There has also been some discussion of stoicisicm on RVF recently and Ellis was heavily influenced by stoicism as well.

I’ll post a chapter analysis every several days. The book can be found at Barnes & Noble or online. If you don’t have the book immediately, you can catch up quickly to my analysis as the first few chapters are short.

Here's the Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/Guide-Rational-Liv...0879800429

Here is some background on Ellis and his methods.

In 1955, Ellis developed REBT (Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy), the first cognitive therapy. With REBT, you learn how to use logic and evidence to manage your emotions better. When I’m talking emotions, I am talking about things like: anxiety, anger, depression, self-esteem, etc.

REBT is not bro-science, nor new age, nor Dr Phil, nor the power of positive thinking bull crap. Ellis is ranked as one of the most influential psychologist of all time (ahead of Sigmund Freud). REBT and its derivatives are practiced and studied in universities and medical schools. It’s been subjected to many empirical medical studies (with control groups and the whole nine yards) and found to be effective.

I am writing a book myself on approach anxiety that applies Dr Ellis’ REBT theory. I’m not a psychologist, however, I do have a good analytical problem-solving mind. I heard about REBT many years ago and had a vague understanding of it, then a few years ago I learned it really well to manage some stress related issues from a job that was kicking my ass, and more recently began to figure out how to apply REBT to game as well. I think the applications to inner game are really strong.

For those who are hearing about REBT and Ellis for the first time, here is a review of the book below. If this resonates with you, then buy the book and jump on the book study.

Quote: A Guide To Rational Living is one of the most enduring books in the self-help/popular psychology literature, selling over a million copies. Since it was published over 40 years ago thousands of 'inspirational' titles have come and gone, but it continues to change people's lives. Why?

The book brought to public attention a new form of psychology, 'rational emotive behavioral therapy' (REBT), that went against decades of orthodox Freudian psychoanalysis and sparked a revolution in psychology.

REBT says that emotions do not arise as a result of repressed desires and needs, as Freud insisted, but directly from our thoughts, ideas, attitudes and beliefs. It is not the mysterious unconscious that matters most to our psychological health, but the most humdrum statements that we say to ourselves on a daily basis. Added up together, these represent our philosophy of life, one which can quite easily be altered if we are willing to change what we habitually say to ourselves.

Albert Ellis began his career working in the Freudian psychoanalytical tradition, but came to the conclusion that going deeper into a person's history and troubles did not actually have much positive benefit. His focus only on 'what worked' led him to the counterintuitive view that thoughts generate emotions, not the other way around. Reasoning your way out of emotional tangles seems doubtful, but Ellis's pioneering ideas, and four decades of cognitive psychology, have shown that it does indeed work.

Watching your internal sentences

Human beings, the authors note, are language-creating animals. We tend to formulate our emotions and our ideas in terms of words and sentences. They effectively become our thoughts and emotions. Therefore, if we are basically the things that we tell ourselves, any type of personal change requires us to first look at our internal conversations. Do they serve us, or undermine us?

Talk therapy aims to reveal the 'errors in logic' that people believe to be true. If, for instance, you are having terrible feelings of anxiety or fear, you are asked to track back to the original thought in the sequence of thoughts that led to your current anxiety. You will invariably find that you are saying things to yourself such as 'Wouldn't it be terrible if...' or 'Isn't it horrible that I am...' It is at this point that you have to intervene and ask yourself why exactly it would be so terrible if such and such happened, or whether your current situation is really as bad as you say. And ven if it is, will it last forever?

This sort of self-questioning at first seems naïve, but by doing it you begin to see just how much your internal sentences shape your life. After all, if you label some event a 'catastrophe', it surely will become so. You can only live up to your internal statements, whether they make something good, bad or neutral.

Nearly always a choice

Ellis and Harper challenge the reader to accept that it is not people or things themselves that cause us upset and anguish, but what we tell ourselves about those people or things. They cite the Roman philosopher Epictetus, who said: “Men are disturbed not by things, but by the views which they take of them.” Also quoted is the famous line from Shakespeare's Hamlet: “There's nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.”

People think they are unhappy because of a marriage, or a job, or an illness – but it is always our perception of these things that matters most. The book notes that it is “virtually impossible to sustain an emotional outburst without bolstering it by repeated ideas”. Something will remain 'bad' in your mind only as long as you tell yourself it is. If you do not keep creating the bad feeling, how could it possibly endure? Granted, if you are experiencing physical pain, you cannot simply ignore the pain, but once it is over there is no automatic link between stimulus and feeling. Even with the death of a loved one, you cannot continue to experience depression over the death unless you keep reminding yourself 'How terrible it is that this person is now gone!'.

If you can't accept this, consider the pleasant feelings you have. After you have enjoyed a symphony or seen a play, you cannot keep feeling the positive emotions they sparked without going back in your mind to certain passages or scenes. Emotions need to be generated in order to be felt. Sustained emotion of any type requires thinking, and it is usually thinking of an evaluative type, that is, your judgment about a situation or person.

People make the mistake of thinking that emotion 'just happens' in response to something, but in fact this is rare. Some types of anger are a direct response to a situation which relate to our inbuilt survival mechanisms. These are biologically rooted reactions. Generally though, it is thoughts you generate that determine the quality of your emotional life.

Take care of those titties for me.
10-08-2013 01:35 PM
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Post: #2
RE: Book Study: A Guide to Rational Living
This really resonates with me. I'm going to check out the book - thanks.

EDIT: Damn't - no Kindle version? Is there another one of his books that you recommend?

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe.
To be your own man is a hard business. If you try it, you'll be lonely often, and sometimes
frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." - Kipling
(This post was last modified: 10-08-2013 01:45 PM by Beyond Borders.)
10-08-2013 01:44 PM
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Dusty Offline
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RE: Book Study: A Guide to Rational Living
(10-08-2013 01:44 PM)Beyond Borders Wrote:  EDIT: Damn't - no Kindle version? Is there another one of his books that you recommend?

I think this one is good too:

How To Stubbornly Refuse To Make Yourself Miserable About Anything-yes, Anything!, by Albert Ellis (Feb 1, 2006) - Kindle eBook

$11.54 Kindle Edition

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10-08-2013 01:53 PM
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RE: Book Study: A Guide to Rational Living
(10-08-2013 01:53 PM)Dusty Wrote:  
(10-08-2013 01:44 PM)Beyond Borders Wrote:  EDIT: Damn't - no Kindle version? Is there another one of his books that you recommend?

I think this one is good too:

How To Stubbornly Refuse To Make Yourself Miserable About Anything-yes, Anything!, by Albert Ellis (Feb 1, 2006) - Kindle eBook

$11.54 Kindle Edition

Sounds a lot cheesier but I'll give it a peek. lol

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe.
To be your own man is a hard business. If you try it, you'll be lonely often, and sometimes
frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." - Kipling
10-08-2013 01:55 PM
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Dusty Offline
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RE: Book Study: A Guide to Rational Living
Here's my analysis/summary of Chapter 1 of A Guide to Rational Living:

Chapter 1:

The book starts out a little slow. The authors talk about how for some people, a self-help book is not good enough to make the changes they desire in their life, they need to see a therapist because they don’t fully get what the book is saying or misunderstand it. The authors do acknowledge however that many people can make profound changes with self-help books. In my opinion, I think there are many reasons why self-help books (including this one) can make a profound difference for many of us on RVF:

• We are not trying to solve serious psychological problems with this book. We’re just trying to get better with women. The authors of A Guide to Rational Living were psychotherapist who saw tough cases of people with severe mental illness, so that probably factored into their talk about how many people don’t get much better from reading a book and need therapy.

• Our desire to use self-help books is for a very specific and targeted goal – to get better with girls. I find specific and target “problems” easier to solve than nebulous, vague and comprehensive problems.

• There are many examples of people who improved their life and their game by reading books and putting them into practice – including Ellis. Ellis became one of the best ladies mans of the century by reading philosophers when he was in college and applying it to conquer his approach anxiety and create an unshakeable frame (he calls it unconditional self-acceptance – more on that later in the book).

Though starting out slow, there are some hints of Ellis’ REBT philosophy in chapter one. He says: “People and things do not upset us. Rather, we upset ourselves by believing that they can upset us.”

This is a core tenet in REBT. How we think about events is what upset us, not the actual event itself. And if you can train your mind to think more rationally about things, you will become more emotionally strong. How does this get applied to game?

Here’s Dusty’s take on how to apply Ellis’ comment to game (“People and things do not upset us. Rather, we upset ourselves by believing that they can upset us.”):

Say two guys (Rational Ralph and Emotional Ed) experience approaching a girl in the mall, and the girl in both cases says “ew creep!”

Ed thinks “It’s horrible this girl called me a creep! Maybe I am a creep! I feel like shit about myself and I’m going to stop approaching girls because I feel so hurt.” Ed goes home and sulks the rest of the weekend, and gives up approaching girls, or when he tries to approach girls again, he gives off a nervous vibe because he is scared he might be called a “creep” again, which wounds him so much.

Ralph thinks: “Ha, she called me a creep! That’s a little over the top! No big deal. You run in to some kooky ones sometimes when you approach enough. Of course I don’t think of myself as a creep and won’t buy into what she said. Maybe I did do something to turn her off though. My approach was a little ham-fisted now that I analyze it. I can think of a few adjustments I can do next time to smooth out my body language which may give me better results. Let’s see who else here I can approach today so I can put these new learning’s into practice.” Ralph then approaches five other girls that day and ends up getting digits from one who he fornicates with a week later.

So the same event happened to these two guys (getting called a “creep”) but Ed gets all butthurt and adversely changes his behavior (stops approaching or gets nervous about approaching) while Ralph doesn’t get bothered at all, learns a few things to improve his game, and approaches more girls and gets laid. How they feel and how they behave is due to how they think! Ed feels miserable and sulks, and Ralph feels good and productive. Ralph gets what he wants, and Ed sabotages his goals. All because of how they think about the same event. And how you think about things is a choice. More on that as the book unfolds.

The girl didn’t make Ed feel upset, instead Ed upset himself by buying into the girl’s creep comment, and blowing it way out of proportion.

You might have thinking habits more like Ed than Ralph. You can radically change your thinking to be more like Ralph, but it takes a lot of force and work. Old habits die hard, but it can be done. It takes honest self-analysis. The authors give examples of people in history who have radically changed their life philosophies and lived and acted in accordance with them, and in doing so made radical positive changes in their lives.

I'll put up my Chapter 2 summary in a few days.

Take care of those titties for me.
10-08-2013 01:58 PM
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Post: #6
RE: Book Study: A Guide to Rational Living
I heard about Ellis from your thread (thanks). I wanted to check out the book but as BB mentioned there is no Kindle version. I took a look at what else was available, and I bought 'How to stubbornly refuse to make yourself miserable about anything-yes anything!' - a mouthful of a title.

This book explains the main principles behind REBT, it is very good and a recommended read. I really like the theory about rational and irrational beliefs, by being aware of these thoughts it allows you to approach your life in a more rational and scientific manner. There is a large section at the end with a list of hundreds of irrational beliefs that many people, myself included, suffer from a number of.

Edit: just before posting I can see the op has recommended the same book.
10-08-2013 02:06 PM
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RE: Book Study: A Guide to Rational Living
Here's my analyis/summary or Chapter 2 of A Guide to Rational Living:


Chapter 2:

REBT is not bro science. The authors say that hundreds of studies have been done supporting the effectiveness of REBT. They’re talking about academic and medical school studies with control groups and the whole nine yards. These studies show considerable evidence that humans feel the way they think. We can use this science to enhance our game. Approach anxiety for example arises from what we are thinking. If you are anxious about approaching girls, it’s probably because of how you are thinking about it (and likely, you are thinking illogically about it). A lot of our thinking that causes emotions that undermine our goals is dogmatic in nature. Here are some dictionary definitions of dogma or dogmatic:

•Characterized by an authoritative, arrogant assertion of unproved or unprovable principles.

•Forcibly asserted as if authoritative and unchallengeable

•Based on assumption rather than empirical observation

•A point of view or tenet put forth as authoritative without adequate grounds

A dramatic example of dogmatic beliefs is the belief that the 9/11 terrorist had that if they martyred themselves, they would get 72 virgins. To most of us, that sounds fucking crazy. But these guys believed this shit (and they were highly educated with engineering degrees and the like).

We learned dogma from our family, from society, from our friends, from the media, from our religions etc. Those of us who swallowed the Red Pill know all about having Blue Pill dogma from society shoved down our throats, and knowing how to reject it. But dogma “feels” right. “Everyone knows that” is a common way we hold on to our dogmatic beliefs. “Everyone knows when a girl rejects you, you should feel bad about yourself.”

Back to the book. In chapter two, the author lay out a model for how thoughts lead to emotions. It goes like this:

G (goal). You have a goal. Our overarching Gs are to be alive and to be happy. A specific G might be to fornicate with women – something that helps us achieve our overarching G of being happy.

A (activating event): Something happens that blocks G. A girl rejects you so you are blocked at that moment from your G of fornicating.

B (beliefs). You analyze what happen at A and come up with beliefs and thoughts. Your Bs can be rational (help you to achieve your G at some point) or irrational (undermine you achieving your G). If you believe “I didn’t like this girl rejecting me, but let me figure out how I can do better next time”, then this is a rational B. If you believe “It’s horrible that this girl rejected me, and it means all girls will reject me” then it’s an irrational B and unhelpful.

C (consequences): Cs are how you feel and how you behave as a result of your Bs. If you have rational Bs about a rejection, you will feel ok about yourself and be resilient and figure out how to improve your approaching. If you have irrational Bs, you will feel shitty, and have a hard time motivating yourself to keep approaching, and will feel nervous and insecure if you do approach again thus undermining your effectiveness. Also, when you are feeling shitty, you don’t have a clear head to analyze things you may have done wrong, and what you could do differently to improve next time.

The above model is pretty important in REBT (called the ABC model), and it gets expanded upon later in the book. It also gets turned into a tool for changing your thoughts from irrational to rational.

I’ll be posting my Chapter 3 summery in a few days.

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10-10-2013 02:15 PM
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The Lizard of Oz Offline
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RE: Book Study: A Guide to Rational Living
Dusty, since you are in the middle of reviewing this I will refrain from "spoilers", even for a book of this kind, and save my thoughts about it for a later post.

I'll say this: Albert Ellis was a great man, one of the best and most original minds of the previous century. The insights of CBT/REBT are truly precious and unprecedented and if taken seriously they can change any life for the better, often beyond all expectations. Anyone who reads this book should read it very attentively and reflect at length about what is being said.

The most fundamental insight is simple and counter-intuitive, meaning it runs counter to the way most people, and especially intelligent people think. But again, no spoilers so more on this later...

same old shit, sixes and sevens Shaft...
(This post was last modified: 10-10-2013 09:08 PM by The Lizard of Oz.)
10-10-2013 09:05 PM
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RE: Book Study: A Guide to Rational Living
Damn..no kindke version.

This sounded like one of beyondborders threads.
10-10-2013 09:14 PM
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RE: Book Study: A Guide to Rational Living
(10-10-2013 09:05 PM)The Lizard of Oz Wrote:  Dusty, since you are in the middle of reviewing this I will refrain from "spoilers", even for a book of this kind, and save my thoughts about it for a later post.

Hey, glad to have you on board. Don't be afraid to jump in on reviewed chapters. I'd like to hear your perspective. I encourage anyone reading this book study to jump in with questions or comments.

(10-10-2013 09:05 PM)The Lizard of Oz Wrote:  I'll say this: Albert Ellis was a great man, one of the best and most original minds of the previous century. The insights of CBT/REBT are truly precious and unprecedented and if taken seriously they can change any life for the better, often beyond all expectations. Anyone who reads this book should read it very attentively and reflect at length about what is being said.

I agree. Especially about reading attentively. I first read an Ellis book almost 20 years ago, and didn't quite get it, mainly because I read it half-assed. Then I dug it out and used it to work on some work related problems a few years ago, and really got a good understanding of it. Then I was like...

Mindblown

Hopefully, RVF members get a boost from my analysis, rather than just reading it with no feedback. I agree whole heartedly that reflection is important.

(10-10-2013 09:05 PM)The Lizard of Oz Wrote:  The most fundamental insight is simple and counter-intuitive, meaning it runs counter to the way most people, and especially intelligent people think. But again, no spoilers so more on this later...

I'm guessing you are talking about USA? Coming up in a few chapters. Smile

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(This post was last modified: 10-10-2013 10:05 PM by Dusty.)
10-10-2013 09:50 PM
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RE: Book Study: A Guide to Rational Living
The simple, deep and very counterintuitive insight that Ellis, Beck and other founders of CBT/REBT arrived at is alluded to in these two paragraphs of the review that you cite in your very first post on this thread:

Quote:REBT says that emotions do not arise as a result of repressed desires and needs, as Freud insisted, but directly from our thoughts, ideas, attitudes and beliefs. It is not the mysterious unconscious that matters most to our psychological health, but the most humdrum statements that we say to ourselves on a daily basis. Added up together, these represent our philosophy of life, one which can quite easily be altered if we are willing to change what we habitually say to ourselves.

Albert Ellis began his career working in the Freudian psychoanalytical tradition, but came to the conclusion that going deeper into a person's history and troubles did not actually have much positive benefit. His focus only on 'what worked' led him to the counterintuitive view that thoughts generate emotions, not the other way around. Reasoning your way out of emotional tangles seems doubtful, but Ellis's pioneering ideas, and four decades of cognitive psychology, have shown that it does indeed work.

There is nothing more appealing to the mind of the average intelligent person than the idea that to solve a psychological problem you have to dig deep (into the past, childhood, or the deep subconscious) and get to the roots of the problem. Only then you can understand it and maybe solve it.

This was the whole thrust of Freud's thinking, and the reason it conquered the world is that it has such immediate appeal, especially to intelligent and thoughtful people who are naturally drawn to this kind of self-reflection and rumination.

The genius of Ellis was that he (and a few others around the same time) made the extremely surprising realization that this doesn't work and is in fact exactly the wrong idea. The way to solve problems is not by digging deep into the past or the subconscious; that accomplishes nothing. The most important sources of our problems are plain to see; they are hidden in plain sight, as part of our most basic day-to-day habits of thought and action. The way to solve the problem is to change these habits, almost mechanically.

Here is another way to say this: you don't solve a psychological problem by understanding it or figuring out its deep or hidden causes. You just let it go. What this also means is that you can do it at any time. There is no time like the present.

Take the time to think about just how counterintuitive this very simple idea is. It's not that it's hard to understand -- it's easy to understand. But it's hard to keep it in one's mind because it is so natural for us to be drawn to the useless morass of digging for deep and mysterious causes. It feels like "going deep" is the right thing; the insights of REBT often feel too workaday, too superficial; they are easy to miss because they seem almost too simple. That's what took real courage for Ellis back in the day -- to go in a direction which made him seem almost like a simpleton.

Now, this is not all there is to REBT/CBT, of course. To actually use it you need to learn the techniques of how to go about this process of letting go of false and useless habits of thought. But it's all made possible by the single insight that day-to-day habits of thought and action are what matters above all else, and that the search for hidden causes is a waste of time.

same old shit, sixes and sevens Shaft...
10-10-2013 10:40 PM
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RE: Book Study: A Guide to Rational Living
^^^^

I agree with everything you wrote Lizard, but would add that REBT does require some conceptualization of philosophical concepts. You also have to have an intuition for logic and and an appreciation for believing things based on evidence and not on "it's just how I feel." I'm not saying it's rocket surgery, but REBT sometimes gets a knock because you have to have some intelligence to fully grasp it, therefore it's not for everyone. I've met a lot of people who believe in astrology. REBT is not for them.

I was thinking today that The Matrix is a good analogy for the use of REBT. We all created a fake reality in our heads based on what society taught us, and this fake reality is what makes people feel unhappy or do things that undermine their goals. With REBT, you question your reality, you ask "why" your current beliefs are true, you reject dogma, and reevaluate reality from scratch, using the scientific method. You begin to think for yourself rather than blindly following society's dogma (which often blocks your goals).

For example, you might believe that approaching a girl and being rejected by her lowers your self-worth as a human. REBT would challenge the dogma in that belief. Is there empirical evidence that your worth depends on what a stranger thinks of you?

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(This post was last modified: 10-10-2013 11:49 PM by Dusty.)
10-10-2013 11:36 PM
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Post: #13
RE: Book Study: A Guide to Rational Living
Yes -- REBT/CBT fundamentally devalues subjective psychology and teaches objective thinking. You might say that it teaches us to be humble in the face of the facts.

But I wouldn't go so far as to invoke concepts like the scientific method or to place any particular intelligence threshold on who can benefit from CBT. To use your own example -- the truth is that almost all women believe in astrology, even if many of them would be ashamed to admit it (between us, women just aren't that bright Wink). It would follow from your logic that women cannot benefit from REBT/CBT, but this is very far from being true -- in fact, they can benefit massively from it, and there are many examples of this even in Ellis' own book. There is no reason to say that you have to shed all your irrational beliefs for CBT to help you with the few that really matter: in fact, I think this is just the kind of absolutist "must" statement -- I MUST not have any irrational beliefs, or else! -- that Ellis would seek to expose and deflate.

The point is that the kinds of facts that CBT teaches us to grasp are usually very modest and plain ones that do not take a lot of intelligence to apprehend. Yet these are the facts that are of most importance to people in their day-to-day lives. The reason these facts are missed is not because people lack the smarts to see them, but because people are not in the habit of thinking objectively at all when it comes to things with which they are emotionally involved. It's as if when it comes to our fears, anxieties, desires etc, we only look inside and lose the world. REBT helps us remember to look at the world as it is.

Here is a classic example. A lot of fundamentally shy people constantly worry about what other people think of them; this can be a paralyzing fear. One of the basic insights of CBT is to make people realize that other people spend very little time thinking about them one way or another. So their shyness is based on the most basic misconception of how others think and what they think about.

This is an extremely simple insight, yet if truly apprehended, it can be life-changing. Indeed, a very simple person who believes in all manner of superstitions and has many other irrational beliefs can arrive at this simple insight with the help of CBT, and their life will never be the same.

Arguably, it is easier for a simple person to benefit from insights like these, because they can sometimes hit them with the force of revelation. Whereas for a more intelligent person, there is often a much more elaborate edifice of clever but useless evasions that has to be demolished before they can see the simple things staring them in the face. And intelligent people often find the plain facts too prosaic, too boring. Of all things water is best, but it is not to everyone's taste...

same old shit, sixes and sevens Shaft...
10-11-2013 09:07 PM
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WestCoast Offline
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Post: #14
RE: Book Study: A Guide to Rational Living
If you can control your thoughts, you can control your emotions. This is a great book and just like any other book out there without constant practice you'll get zero results.

People talk about "vibe" on here. Vibe is simply how you feel about yourself in the moment, this is driven by your thoughts.

Most guys will benefit the most by taking the first step "shutting off their brain" to avoid over-thinking paralysis. Once you see moderate results from a brain shut off (most people use alcohol which is simply minimizing the logical portion of the brain as it is the first part shut off when alcohol is consumed) you should read this book to begin the journey down full control of your thoughts.

Not going to happen in a few months, but is should be a life-long theme for you if you plan on improving your life.
10-11-2013 11:26 PM
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Dusty Offline
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Post: #15
RE: Book Study: A Guide to Rational Living
Chapter 3 summary:

Chapter 3:

Some people when they first start learning about REBT think that it’s too rational and it will turn them into a Dr. Spock or something. Or they think they might stop feeling anything and thus miss out on life. The authors debunk this in chapter three.

They talk about how rational thinking leads to increased feelings of pleasure. Human reason minimizes feelings of panic and rage, allowing more pleasurable emotions to rise to the surface more often.

REBT is not anti-emotion. It encourages appropriate emotions that help you and not hurt you. Over-the-top hysterical emotions, REBT teaches, are unnecessary, cause a lot of pain, and undermine you doing better next time. They are also caused by exaggerated and dogmatic thinking. They block you from achieving your goals. Say your goal is to approach attractive girls, but your dogmatic thinking turns approaching into some huge deal, and you get panicky and chicken out from approaching. Then your exaggerated thinking and emotions blocked you from achieving your goal.

The authors say being perfectly rational is not possible because we are humans, and they admit they themselves are often irrational. I like to think about it in terms of shades of grey. Irrationality/rationality is not black and white. It’s more grey. You can move from a darker shade of grey to a much lighter shade of grey, but never into perfectly rational white territory. Personally, when I’m hungry or tired, I probably slip back more to the dark side until I get some grub and some sleep Wink.

The authors make an interesting observation in this chapter. Mankind has made tremendous technological advances over the years, yet our emotions have not made any advancement. Mankind now acts as emotionally and childishly as ever before.

Take care of those titties for me.
(This post was last modified: 10-11-2013 11:58 PM by Dusty.)
10-11-2013 11:46 PM
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Dusty Offline
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Post: #16
RE: Book Study: A Guide to Rational Living
(10-11-2013 11:26 PM)WestCoast Wrote:  If you can control your thoughts, you can control your emotions. This is a great book and just like any other book out there without constant practice you'll get zero results.

People talk about "vibe" on here. Vibe is simply how you feel about yourself in the moment, this is driven by your thoughts.

Most guys will benefit the most by taking the first step "shutting off their brain" to avoid over-thinking paralysis. Once you see moderate results from a brain shut off (most people use alcohol which is simply minimizing the logical portion of the brain as it is the first part shut off when alcohol is consumed) you should read this book to begin the journey down full control of your thoughts.

Not going to happen in a few months, but is should be a life-long theme for you if you plan on improving your life.

Completely agree. It is a lifelong journey, where you can see progress and improvement until you keel over.

I envy the 20-something guys who might be reading this thread. This book and the game advice here on RVF can set you on a really exciting and fun and fulfilling life. You can't approach it half-assed though. You really need to immerse yourself into learning to habitually think rationally.

The B in REBT stands for Behavior. In other words, action. The best way to reinforce rational thinking and make it second nature, is to implement it into your behavior. You want to get over fear? Then learn to think about what currently scares you more rationally, then go out and act against your fears over and over until you conquer them and those rational thoughts get embedded deep in your core.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Take care of those titties for me.
10-11-2013 11:56 PM
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Videl Offline
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Post: #17
RE: Book Study: A Guide to Rational Living
[Image: mindblown.gif]

Can somebody tell me from which movie/documentary/whatever this is taken from? Tongue
10-12-2013 12:56 AM
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Post: #18
RE: Book Study: A Guide to Rational Living
Chapter 4- How You Create Your Feelings:

REBT is designed for you to make profound philosophical changes. To reexamine your core beliefs and philosophies and be in control of what you want of your life. You can rid yourself of core dysfunctional beliefs such as self-damnation that don't serve you (e.g., “I’m such a loser because I flubbed this approach.”).

The authors say you may take pharmaceuticals to help manage emotions like anxiety, but to affect permanent and deep seated improvements, philosophical changes are required.

A large element of destructive emotions and behaviors stems from unrealistic, illogical and self-sabotaging thinking. This is as I mentioned in an earlier post, dogmatic thinking. Like the 9/11 terrorist dogmatic beliefs about 72 virgins (certainly unrealistic, illogical and self-sabotaging). Or bringing it back to game, the dogmatic belief that a random woman has the power to define your self-worth. Or a dogmatic belief that rejection is some horrible event. If you think being rejected is “horrible”, the “horror” is just some false reality you created in your mind that doesn’t exist in the real world.

Mindblown

Since the "horror" is entirely your creation, you can choose to uncreate it.

The authors contrast irrational beliefs which are judgmental (against yourself!) versus clear thinking rational beliefs which involves a calm appraisal of a situation, cool-headed analysis and reasonable conclusions. Can you see how this type of thinking can help your inner game and game overall?

The authors talk about healthy negative emotions. This is important. Some people think REBT is like “The Power of Positive Thinking” where you’re suppose to like everything that happens to you. Not true. REBT teaches that your goals are often blocked, and that is frustrating when that happens. But REBT also teaches that many people often exaggerate their thinking, and thus exaggerate their emotions when their goals get blocked. Being disappointed when you don’t get the job you want is appropriate and healthy. REBT calls these healthy negative emotions, because they aren’t over-the-top and debilitating, yet you feel enough negativity that you become motivated to reassess what you could do better next time and you want to make changes. Conversely, being emotionally devastated by not getting that job is an overreaction and makes you feel real crappy, and debilitates you from taking constructive action to help you next time.

A couple select points about rational beliefs that the author lists:

• Rational beliefs help you achieve your goals more quickly and efficiently. (For game, thinking more rationally will help you get better at getting girls more quickly and more efficiently).
• Rational beliefs minimize inner conflict and the sabotaging of your environment. (For game, you will feel less psychic pain from the ups and downs of chasing tail, and will be a more pleasant guy to be around).

The authors say that although we sometimes think in terms of symbols or images, most of our important thinking is done with internal sentences (self talk). These sentences we tell ourselves in our head create our emotions. If we think “Suppose I approach this girl and I make a fool of myself! How horrible would that be! I would be such a jackass.” Then you will probably feel anxious about approaching her and might chicken out. If instead you thought, “I wish I didn’t have to approach this girl because I don’t feel like it right now, but damn she is hot. But if I don’t approach her, there is no chance of making a connection. What difference in the end does it make if she rejects me? I really have nothing to lose. If I don’t try to approach, I do have something to lose. I better just approach her then and see if there is a connection.” Then you would feel less anxious and more motivated to make the approach.

The authors contend that people often needlessly create unhealthy emotions like depression, anxiety, rage and feelings of worthlessness and you can change your thinking to reduce these emotions most of the time.

The chapter concludes with this: “ REBT helps you to more fully and openly observe your feelings, acknowledge that they exist, accept yourself with them, determine their usefulness, and eventually choose to feel what you want to feel and what will help you get more of what you want in life.”

Take care of those titties for me.
(This post was last modified: 10-13-2013 12:25 PM by Dusty.)
10-13-2013 12:24 PM
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Prufrock Offline
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Post: #19
RE: Book Study: A Guide to Rational Living
(10-12-2013 12:56 AM)Videl Wrote:  Can somebody tell me from which movie/documentary/whatever this is taken from? Tongue

It's from the "Universe" episode of Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!.

You can watch it here.

The sequence with the gif starts at around 7:15.

PS - Great thread, Dusty. I'm really enjoying it so far.

The Puritan hated bear-baiting, not because it gave pain to the bear, but because it gave pleasure to the spectators. - Thomas B. Macaulay

Rick Von Slonecker is tall, rich, good-looking, stupid, dishonest, conceited, a bully, liar, drunk and thief, an egomaniac, and probably psychotic. In short, highly attractive to women. - Whit Stillman
10-14-2013 12:07 AM
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Post: #20
RE: Book Study: A Guide to Rational Living
Chapter 5- Thinking Yourself Out of Emotional Disturbances:

The authors here say you have a choice as to what to think and how you feel. You can better achieve your goals with one kind of thinking, and sabotage your goals with another type.

I hope you grasp the importance of that statement, and what that can mean for inner game. It’s within your power to train your mind to handle anything that comes your way in chasing tail, and to choose your emotions. I’m not saying it’s easy to train your mind this way, or that it can happen over night, but I am saying it can be done and has been done by many, many people.

A lot of guys have gotten over approach anxiety based on this idea, and never realized it. Just by approaching and approaching they became desensitized to approaches, and their anxiety became manageable. What they did was demonstrate to themselves, through action, that all the dogma they had in their mind about approaching that caused their anxiety was a bunch of hooey. ( I think there is even a better way to conquer approach anxiety. Analyze your thoughts surrounding approaching, find the irrational ones, replace these with rational thoughts, and go out and approach to prove your rational thoughts correct. These rational thoughts soon get embedded in your core, and the irrational ones are kicked out by the bouncers in your head. Actually that's a good way of thinking about it. You're "management/owner" of the club that is your mind, and when you recognize thoughts that don't serve you, you snap your fingers and security grabs the fuckers and kicks them out on their asses. LOL ).

Many negative thoughts and feelings help you to have a better life, as long as they are rational. Again, REBT is not positive thinking. Just to be clear, an example of healthy and rational negative thoughts might be “Damn, I wish this girl didn’t flake on me. I thought she was really cool and I was looking forward to fornicating with her. Hump I feel disappointed. Let me examine what I could have done differently so she might not have flaked. Also, I don’t like this feeling of lack of power when I have all my eggs in one basket. Perhaps a better strategy is to have many more options. Starting tomorrow I’m going to do many more approaches to find girls I like as much as her and which gives me more options.” So you are disappointed (negative thought and feeling) but not devastated, and you are focused on problem solving and have the energy to do so. Versus irrational negative thinking might go like this: “Damn, she flaked on me which is horrible! I can’t keep doing this because it is so awful! Her flaking just proves I’m a loser. Girls must not flake on me! I’m not approaching any more girls because they are all bitches who flake.” In this case, your devastation (rage Rant, depression very sad, self damning Punchballs) debilitates you and undermines your ultimate goals and zaps your energy. Note, the irrational thoughts in the example above cannot be supported by facts, evidence, and logic, and are just pretty much worse than useless whining. With REBT, you learn how to use facts, evidence, and logic to blast this kind of thinking out of your mind.

Take care of those titties for me.
(This post was last modified: 10-14-2013 12:37 PM by Dusty.)
10-14-2013 12:17 PM
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Post: #21
RE: Book Study: A Guide to Rational Living
Great thread, Dusty - looking forward to more.

As an aside, you've got a great way of paraphrasing a book's concepts clearly without going overboard. Is this is a skill you've intentionally developed?

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe.
To be your own man is a hard business. If you try it, you'll be lonely often, and sometimes
frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." - Kipling
10-14-2013 12:52 PM
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Post: #22
RE: Book Study: A Guide to Rational Living
(10-14-2013 12:52 PM)Beyond Borders Wrote:  Great thread, Dusty - looking forward to more.

As an aside, you've got a great way of paraphrasing a book's concepts clearly without going overboard. Is this is a skill you've intentionally developed?

Thanks for the feedback BB!

Now that you mention it, I think you are describing my learning style. When I am learning something, I try to tie it back to things I already know well and intuitively, through analogy or what not. I do that in the work environment too. I guess when I teach others, I do the same thing.

Incidentally, I'm writing a book on approach anxiety, which is applied REBT. Whereas A Guide to Rational Living is very theory, my book is more of a workbook. With a "program" and "worksheets" and a "plan" and "homework." I think you need both theory and an applied plan, so I recommend in my book that people ready A Guide to Rational Living concurrently.

Take care of those titties for me.
10-14-2013 01:40 PM
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Post: #23
RE: Book Study: A Guide to Rational Living
(10-14-2013 01:40 PM)Dusty Wrote:  
(10-14-2013 12:52 PM)Beyond Borders Wrote:  Great thread, Dusty - looking forward to more.

As an aside, you've got a great way of paraphrasing a book's concepts clearly without going overboard. Is this is a skill you've intentionally developed?

Thanks for the feedback BB!

Now that you mention it, I think you are describing my learning style. When I am learning something, I try to tie it back to things I already know well and intuitively, through analogy or what not. I do that in the work environment too. I guess when I teach others, I do the same thing.

Incidentally, I'm writing a book on approach anxiety, which is applied REBT. Whereas A Guide to Rational Living is very theory, my book is more of a workbook. With a "program" and "worksheets" and a "plan" and "homework." I think you need both theory and an applied plan, so I recommend in my book that people ready A Guide to Rational Living concurrently.

Sounds interesting, and I'm sure it'll be a good read. Are you going to release it on Amazon? Or sell it on a website?

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe.
To be your own man is a hard business. If you try it, you'll be lonely often, and sometimes
frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." - Kipling
10-14-2013 02:09 PM
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Post: #24
RE: Book Study: A Guide to Rational Living
I've only written about 40 to 50 percent of the first draft. It's getting harder and harder to write. You write what inspires you most, then your left with necessary stuff but more mundane stuff that's harder to write.

I will make it available on amazon. I saw a company that will proof read your book, make a cover for you, help with distribution, and print copies just in time for people who prefer hard copies.

As a workbook, I want it to be 8.5 x 11" . Not sure how that format will work in kindle etc. cross that bridge when I get to it. But I have worksheets with a lot of content crammed into one page. If the page is less than 8.5 x 11, it might not be readable.

Take care of those titties for me.
(This post was last modified: 10-14-2013 03:35 PM by Dusty.)
10-14-2013 03:12 PM
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Post: #25
RE: Book Study: A Guide to Rational Living
The chapters are getting longer, so I will on occasion break them up into parts. Here is part one of my analysis/summary of Chapter 6 of A Guide to Rational Living.


Chapter 6 (Part One) - Recognizing and Reducing Neurotic Behavior:

Stupidity, ignorance, and superstitious thinking blocks clear thinking and leads to overemotional feelings. REBT has you dispute, challenge and question self-defeating beliefs and change stupid thinking and over emotionalized reactions like anxiety, into calm thinking, problem solving and constructive behavior.

Ellis introduces the REBT concept of unconditional self-acceptance (USA) in this chapter. I believe this is the most powerful concept in REBT, and extremely powerful for developing your inner game.

USA comes from the understanding that there is no way to rate our totality as a person. We cannot rate our essence as a human or give ourselves a global score. Despite this fact, many people (most people?) dogmatically give themselves a global rating, and it usually harms them rather than help them. Like The Matrix, we plug ourselves into this false reality. We dogmatically think that our essence is ratable, and go through life beating ourselves up (Punchballs) when we do not perform well (at school, at work, with girls, socially, etc). You can unplug from The Matrix, free your mind, and just live life without the anchor of self-rating weighing you down. Then, when problems and set-backs inevitably arise, you have detached the problem from your “self” and can analyze it calmly and rationally, and figure out how to best solve it, without punching yourself in the nuts. Punchballs

Scientists do not have a formula for rating people’s entirety. Because the concept of people rating is stupid and unscientific. Who does a lot of people global ratings? High schoolers. Global people rating does not exist, it is not scientific, and it is done most frequently by people who have not reached full maturity. If you can free yourself from rating yourself, and just exist and work towards achieving your goals, you will find a peace of mind and confidence that is amazing. In other words, give up entirely your high school way of thinking about yourself, and adopt more of a scientific way of thinking about yourself.

You can accept yourself, because you decide to, whether or not you succeed at work, with girls, at school, in social situations, etc. Seemingly paradoxically, once you take your self rating out of the equation, and just focus on improving your performance, you usually do much better with: work, school, girls, friends, etc.

Note, you can rate attributes of yourself, but not your whole personhood. I’m not a good golfer. I swing and miss the ball sometimes, my scores are really high, I usually have worse scores than the people I go with. I have enough data (evidence) to conclude I am not good at golf. I can rate that attribute of mine. But I can’t conclude I am a “bad person” because of that attribute, or any other attribute or cluster of attributes. There is no way you can quantify all the attributes of a person, assign appropriate weights, and come up with an overall rating that has any meaning. No one has ever done that objectively, and it would be silly and foolhardy. No two people could agree on the appropriate weights, and even you would change your mind on the weights from moment to moment (millions of weights, because people have millions of attributes). And for what purpose would you do that? Also, you would have to reassess the weights and attribute scores constantly, because humans change all the time.

You might weight good looks and wealth very high in your overall rating of people. But then is Brad Pitt a “better person” than Mother Theresa, because he looks good (no homo) and she did not and he is rich and she was poor? Global ratings are stupid and meaningless. They are worse than useless, because when we rate ourselves poorly, we feel like shit and we block our goals. Why self-sabotage for something that has no real meaning and is stupid. This is why us humans can be so irrational.

When we rate ourselves, we usually end up with a name or a label rating. “I’m a loser, I suck, I’m a louse.” By surrendering your philosophy of loserhood, you stop sabotaging your endeavors and help yourself advance towards your goal of meeting lots of girls.

Having USA dare I say, is alpha. You’re not hypersensitive to what people think of you because you don’t down yourself, so you do whatever the fuck you want. A girl could have a meltdown and call you every name in the book, and you will be unfazed and might even have a smirk on your face because you can’t be put down and her attempts amuse you. Your charming personality surfaces because you are not overly concerned with being liked to keep your self-rating up, so you are not overly cautious. Girls will perceive you as being bold and having high confidence. You take healthy risks (like approaching beautiful girls) because you know if you fail, you’re not going to think of yourself as “a loser” or “a jackass” etc.

Take care of those titties for me.
10-15-2013 09:30 PM
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