Know What You Want: “Do not go Past the Mark you Aimed for; In Victory, Learn when to Stop”

A few weeks ago, I finally got to see the DVD of “Devil Wears Prada.” Now, don’t ask me why I was so obsessed over finally getting to see it. Maybe it was because I had rented it in the US, but didn’t have the time to see it before the due date came up and I didn’t want to pay the fine so had to return it unwatched. Or maybe it was because in China, I tried to buy a bootlegged version of it twice, and both times, I found that it was dubbed in Russian! At least I got a refund on my $1 purchase. LOL. Btw, this illustrates the power of compliance and the Investment-Value connection.

So finally, a few weeks after returning to North America, I successfully rented the damn movie. Why did I want to see it in the first place? I think I read a review a long time ago that talked about the beautifully wielded power of Meryl Streep’s character, Miranda Priestly. And back then, I was into studying the acquisition and application of power. But by the time I finally got to watch the thing, I had forgotten all about that. Streep, btw, does an amazing job. Her character never raises her voice, yet commands a powerful tonality, pauses often, and speaks and moves slowly to emphasize her points, just like Sebastian originally taught. And she makes it all seem effortless.

This post is a follow-up of my earlier post on being unselfconscious.

I was really moved by this movie. That’s weird because it’s a chick-flick. And there were some really pathetic melodramatic moments and lots of moralistic undertones.

But at a certain level, I was able to relate quite closely to Anne Hathaway’s character. She was supposed to look like the girl-next-door with little fashion sense but highly educated and motivated. Sort of like me a couple of years ago, except I’m a guy.

While working as the assistant to the chief editor of a top fashion magazine, she learns the ropes of fashion. She learns what goes with what, who all the designers are, and the names of the several dozen shades of blue. By the middle of the movie, she turns into one of the most elegantly dressed and coiffed girls on the screen. And near the end of the movie, she hooks up with the “hot, young, fashion guy.”

Admittedly, the movie’s basic story is very parochial, along the lines of the over-done innocent hero/heroine corrupted by greed/ambition/worldly pleasures but escapes from complete damnation at the last moment and is redeemed to goodness-type of plot. One of the best versions of this is the Michael Douglas–Charlie Sheen “Wall Street.” I also really enjoyed Lucas’s portrayal of the fall of Anakin Skywalker in the third Star Wars movie (but that would be too geeky to mention).

“The Devil Wears Prada,” though, hit home more because the content was so much closer to the journey of the PUA. The world of fashion, beauty, seduction, first class travel and hotels. Make yourself more attractive to others, especially the opposite sex. Change the outside, and you’ll change the inside, which will assure permanent change on the outside. Fake it until you make it.

And here’s the lesson: Hathaway’s character originally took the job with “The Devil” because she thought it would further her journalism career. She originally felt that a stint at a fashion magazine was beneath her and what she really wanted to do was get into serious journalism. At each step in her transformation, she had to make sacrifices, including her friends and boyfriend (who was totally lame, btw). Each time, she assuaged her guilt with the excuse that, “I had no choice.”

Only at the end, when Streep’s character told her how much she reminded her of herself when she was younger and that Hathaway’s character did indeed have a choice–she chose to get ahead–it was only then that Hathaway’s character finally saw how far into the dark side she had gone and how many compromises she had made.

In learning the dating arts, we can sometimes get too lost in the process of improving our skills with women. Some of us first started because we were lonely, depressed, and just wanted a beautiful girlfriend. Some of us just wanted to have sex with hot girls. Some of us just wanted to learn how to talk to girls without stuttering. And then, after months and months of practice, we got our first major success. And then a few weeks later, another success. And another, and another. And little by little, we had surpassed our original goals without even knowing it. And then, there we are, years later, having f*cked 200 girls and currently seeing three MLTRs, yet we are still … unhappy.

Why? Because we keep setting the bar higher and higher. And we’re never content until we reach the next goal, and even before we reach that one, we’ve already set a new one, much higher than the last. And we never stop to ask, “Is this enough?” Or, “Is it worth it?”

Every so often, we need to stop to assess where we’ve gone and whether or how we’d like to proceed. We should look up to survey the forest, so we won’t lose it for the trees.

As Christian Hudson has repeatedly asked me, “How far are you going to go with this?” Once in a while, we should be self-conscious, stop, and ask ourselves, “Is this what I really want?” Or, in Robert Greene’s words, “Do not go past the mark you aimed for; In victory, learn when to stop.”

When I started on this journey, I really didn’t know what I wanted, except to be able to attract girls more easily, at least as well as the average cool guy. I’m pretty confident now that I’m currently above average in this department. Should I stop? Or should I try to be like Sebastian and pull 6 girls in 5 days? Or should I try to compete with the other masters? I’ve got a long list of sticking points. Should I continue until I’ve taken care of each one? But every master says he has a long list of sticking points, too. Will it ever end?

Now that I’m in Asia-based lifestyle consulting, I’m having to confront these issues head-on. Is this actually what I really want? Or after I’ve purposely lost myself in the process and become unselfconscious in attaining mastery, and months or years down the road turn to survey the path I’ve left behind, will I regret the sacrifices I’ve had to make?

I think this kind of doubt is quite natural, healthy even. As David Deida has said, “Be willing to change everything in your life… He must be capable of not knowing what to do with his life, entering a period of unknowingness and waiting for a vision or a new form of purpose to emerge. These cycles of strong specific action followed by periods of not knowing what the hell is going on are natural for a man who is shedding layers of karma in his relaxation into truth.” There are going to be periods of intense, strong success from unselfconscious living. But every once in a while, you should stop to reassess where you’ve gone and where you’re going.

When you aren’t sure what your goals are, it’s not necessary to stop what you’re doing. You don’t need to sit around waiting for inspiration. Learn by trial and error what your new goals should be. Just remember to keep yourself constantly open to realizing your new purposes.

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7 comments
Adventure says August 3, 2007

By the way, the movie is so much better than the book (yes I read the book). So much more happens in the movie.

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Regal says August 6, 2007

Interesting post, D-man. The thing with pickup is, you shouldn’t look at it as the penultimate source of true happiness and fulfillment, no more than you should view becoming an expert weight lifter or a wildly successful investor as the path to nirvana. Learning pickup is a tool to allow you to get one component of your life handled – your ability to bring the quality and quantity of women into your world that you desire. Anything more – bragging rights, business opportunities – is peripheral.

Anyone who has ever said to himself, “If I can just get to THIS POINT, THEN I will be happy,” is not on the road to real happiness. Happiness does not come from achieving an end. Happiness is the journey – when you are in the process of doing what you love, what you truly want and need to be doing with your life, only then will you be happy.

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The Asian Rake says August 6, 2007

Hey Regal,
Great point. I like how you’re able to be so detached from pickup. Since you’ve chosen it as a hobby instead of a defining part of your identity, you’re able to treat it like you would with weight lifting.

I think that’s a great perspective.

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Regal says August 7, 2007

Whoa, good point bro. I actually do that with everything in my life… I don’t like being identified as one thing – I’m not a rapper, or a writer, or a PUA, or a weight lifter, or a consultant, or an entrepreneur, or a basketball player, etc. I DO those things, but they don’t define me. They are simply things I do. The problem with identifying yourself too closely with one aspect of your life is that you are making yourself much less versatile by taking focus away from everything else. It’s like playing the stock market. The most diversified portfolio is always the surest bet for long term success.

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foj says August 31, 2008

Good point. I like the idea of not feeling like I have to have a goal, just get into it and figure shit out as you go. Be willing to take the big steps, to push past the pain barrier but also develop your ethics and goals along ther way.

A recent “epiphany” I had was to not accept teachings as dogma. (duh)

It took me 4 listens to 4H Work Week before I realised this and have taken this into PUA teachings too.
Developing my own BS detector is hard, I no longer have the floaties of other peoples perceptions, it’s time to swim solo.

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chris says May 2, 2009

Good post David. Achieving pickup goals only to raise them higher and still feel a sense of dissatisfaction is a symptom of being on the “hedonic treadmill.”

The wikipedia definition is “The tendency of a person to remain at a relatively stable level of happiness despite a change in fortune or the achievement of major goals. According to the hedonic treadmill, as a person makes more money, expectations and desires rise in tandem, which results in no permanent gain in happiness.”

At the end of the day, happiness and satisfaction comes from the inside, not from external factors (“inner game” in Community parlance). That doesn’t mean it’s pointless to strive for goals. Goals are healthy and good. But although achievement of goals may be necessary, it sure as hell isn’t sufficient for true happiness and satisfaction.

Like Dale Carnegie says, “Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.”

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A personal reflection | sperms and omelette says October 27, 2011

[…] This post is my own personal reflection to David’s post. Take a look here – http://www.doctorasianrake.com/2007/08/know-what-you-want-do-not-go-past-the-mark-you-aimed-for-in-v… […]

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