Why I'm A Dick - And Why I Won't Change

By Leo Gura - May 1, 2014 | 7 Comments

Why it’s important to be provocative when teaching personal development.

Video Transcript

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Hey, this is Leo for Actualized.org and in this video I’m going to tell you why sometimes I behave like a dick.

All right. So why do I sometimes behave like a dick? And what I’m referring to here is sometimes the way that I might respond to a YouTube comment, or a comment on Actualized.org, or a point that I make in one of my videos. Why do I do it in a dickish way at some points and in not dickish ways at other points?

Zen Masters

So, a short story. Zen Masters. Do you know anything about Zen? Zen Buddhism is the Japanese tradition of obtaining enlightenment through deep contemplation. Basically you sit and meditate for years until finally you reach enlightenment. And this is a very… very hardcore practice. This is not something done very casually, this is something done with a lot of intensity.

What will happen is that a student will go and sign up for Zen and then he will sit there. Usually there’s usually a Zen Master, the guru, and he’s going to help you to attain enlightenment. And so what you do is you listen to that guru and you do what he says, what he tells you to do, and if you do that for many, many years, eventually maybe you’ll get there.

One of the things that Zen Masters will do is that their students they sit in a hall and meditate in a big group. The students will meditate and the Zen Master, he’ll walk around, he’ll observe them and he will give them little tidbits, instructions, some help. And the Zen Master he is kind of like this stoic, quiet figure, at least stereotypically. He’s like this stoic, quiet figure who has a very penetrating way of showing you what you’re doing wrong.

In order to crack through towards enlightenment, to really make the Zen process work for you, what you really have to do is you have to be very harsh with your ego. You can’t pussyfoot around. Sometimes you’ve got to cut right to the chase and sometimes that’s what the Zen Master does, he cuts straight to the chase and sometimes that will hurt. Literally this might hurt, physically it might hurt.

In fact what Zen Masters do is they have a stick. They walk around with a stick like a bamboo rod and as the students are sitting there in the meditation hall meditating, well they meditate for many hours and I don’t know if you’ve ever tried meditation, sometimes when you’re meditating and you do it for a long time your mind gets tired and you tend to doze off, you tend to fall asleep.

Well, you’re not supposed to do that. That ruins your meditation. So the Zen Master he’ll walk around with a bamboo stick and he’ll smack people across the back of the head or the back of the shoulders in order to wake them up.

Wake Up

The reason I’m saying this is because that’s kind of what I’m doing when I’m being a dick. If I’m being a dick to you in a comment or I’m being a dick towards your point of view of life, the reason I’m doing that is because you’re way off course. You’re so off course that arguing with you logically is not the best way to help you, and at that point you need to kind of be shaken up.

In fact that’s one of the challenges I have with these videos is in trying to bring some of this wisdom that, that I’ve accumulated over the years, in trying to bring that to you and trying to communicate it in an effective way so it actually takes root in your life, so it’s not just running around in your head.

Well, I need to wake you up. Some of you need to be woken up and that’s challenging to do because I only have so much time with you and if I sit here and I baby you, if we’re playing this kindergarten game and I’m trying to be gentle with you, I’m trying not to hurt you and I’m trying to soothe your ego then that might feel nice for you and you might like it and you might like my video for me doing that, except the problem is that you are going to stay asleep.

You Don’t Know You’re Asleep

See, so many of you are asleep and you don’t even know it. You don’t know that you’re asleep and you need to be woken up. And the only way sometimes to wake someone up is to really shake them. Shake them. Put some fear into them. It’s a rhetorical approach. It’s a style of teaching and I don’t think that that’s always the best approach.

Sometimes what’ll happen is sometimes I’ll take a very compassionate approach. I hear someone posts a comment where they’re really struggling and I can feel that they’re really struggling, they’re really having a hard time and they’re just lost. They’re lost or confused. So in that kind of a situation usually my heart will go out to that person.

Because I can relate to that. I’ve been there myself, I can understand why that’s happening to them. They don’t have the knowledge, they don’t have the mindsets, they don’t have the experience. So with that kind of person I’ll be more patient. I’ll write a long reply, I’ll try to encourage them and I think that’s… that’s great.

Sometimes I just see people behaving in stupid, stupid ways. They know better, right? They know better. They’re wiser. They know what the right course of action is but they’re being lazy. They’re so lazy, they’re so plugged into group think that they’re just behaving in such ridiculous ways that they need to be shaken up.

In that kind of situation I’m not going to take a compassionate… approach with you. That’s the kind of situation where I take a stick and hit you over the back of the head so that you understand that what you’re doing is totally, fucking stupid and that you need to change. And sometimes that’s what it takes. Sometimes it takes a nice knock on the back of the head to learn that what you’re doing is not right.

Then you go, ‘Oh, okay, I was asleep that whole time. Okay now I understand I was asleep. Thank you for waking me up’.

Now of course most people don’t take it that way. Most people, when you hit them over the back of the head with a stick what do they do? They get mad at you. They start blaming you because their ego doesn’t want to admit that they were wrong. That’s usually the case.

A Little Ruthlessness

That’s one of the challenges that a true teacher faces, is that a true teacher, he has to be a little bit ruthless because he can’t be gentle. Some students do not take to gentle handling, they need to be roughed up a little bit. And that means the teacher needs to do what he has to do and the student has to react the way he reacts, and if the student leaves, if the student doesn’t like the teacher, well, tough luck.

The fact is that there’s specific things that you need to be doing in life in order to live a successful and happy life and if you’re not doing those things then you’re going to fail. One of the philosophies that I take with Actualized.org is that I don’t try to bullshit you guys.

I try to be very direct and when there’s a clear principle that you’re breaking it needs to be made very, very clear because one of the challenges that I faced myself through the last five years of learning personal development, is that sometimes people or teachers or self-help experts will take a very light-handed approach and they’ll be very compassionate, they’ll be very optimistic and very positive thinking and they’ll tell you that you can do anything, and that everything’s okay and things are going to be fine and they take that kind of approach.

And sometimes you need that encouragement. I’m all about positive thinking and I’m all about dreaming and doing all that stuff, but your dreams and your positivity needs to be grounded. It needs to be grounded in something solid. Because if all you’re doing is you’re dreaming, and all you’re doing is you’re having wishful thinking, and you’re thinking positive and you’re thinking stuff is just going to happen for you miraculously, then I can guarantee that you’re going to be miserable in life and you’re not going to have the level of success that you want. You’re not going to really be doing solid personal development.

Grey Areas

Part of my job, I feel, as someone who is working within this field is to show you clearly where the boundaries are. Where you are wrong and where you are right, because when you know clearly that you’re wrong, well, then it’s very easy to not do those things. At least you know.

A lot of times what I found is that when a teacher is fuzzy about it and he tells you, “Well, maybe you’re right, but maybe you’re wrong”. And he carves out these large grey areas, maybe that’s even technically true that this area is grey, but the fact is that it doesn’t help you because your mind is tricky and it will use that fact against you and so you’ll say, “Oh, that’s a grey area so I can just continue to be lazy and I can continue to be stupid and I can continue to…to do all these self-destructive things, and not start to kind of wise up and straighten my course.”

So sometimes you just need to be told that you need to straighten your course because, honestly, if you roll through life being asleep, being unconscious, doing unwise things, then you’re not going to transform. You’re not going to get the kind of results that you want from life. You’re going to sell yourself very, very short and you’re not going to self-actualize.

So that is sometimes why I take a hard approach. I’m still trying to work that out, when to take a soft approach, when to take a hard approach. Sometimes I get that wrong, but I’m learning and I’m learning pretty quick.

So that’s what I had to say about that. That’s why sometimes if I’m a dick, excuse me, but I’m trying to do it for your own benefit and I try not to take too much pleasure in it, although sometimes I take some pleasure in it. I need to get some pleasure out of this stuff.

Wrap Up

All right, so this is Leo I’m signing off. Go ahead post me your comments down below if you have any questions or concerns. Go ahead like this, share this and come check out Actualized.org, sign up to my newsletter. I release free videos, free articles every single week that help you to stay on course.

Personal development is something you do throughout your entire life. You want to be growing every single day, every single week, every single month, every single year. To do that, what I found, is that you need someone to help guide you, help keep you on course, help keep reminding you of these things.

So when you sign up to the newsletter, you’re getting new ideas, new strategies, new techniques, all the stuff that I’m researching on a daily basis. You’re getting the best of that for free. So what do you got to lose? Sign up and if you stick with me and if you keep doing this stuff, and you become a hobbyist of personal development, then you’re going to achieve so much more in your life.

You’re going to achieve whatever goals you want. You can become self-actualized, you can become enlightened, you can get the career you want the relationship you want, the health you want, the money you want. All those material things that you’re looking for you can get all those.

But more importantly you can get the satisfaction of growing yourself. To me that is the greatest satisfaction and I want to share some of that discovery with you. So go ahead and sign up and you’ll be getting that every week.

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I totally agree that assertiveness is often called for when helping folks get their stuff together. I think it depends a lot on their personality type, but by and large if you can shock someone into listening to you once, you can usually take a slightly gentler approach going forward.

Leo Gura says:

Yeah, it requires a delicate touch and good judgment. I’m always learning how to be more effective with “stuck” individuals.

mike says:

thats why i have great respect for your teachings

The Welder says:

It’s been a very long time since I’ve seen a video where such a moron talks so much and says so little. I’m sure there’s plenty of weak minded people that’ll buy into this man’s babbling bullshit though, so donate away and help him spread his shit far and wide. I just wish I could unwatch this bollocks and reclaim the time he wasted.

Zazenji Ah says:

The Keisaku is not to “wake people up”. It’s to relax the shoulders after several periods of zazen. It’s requested by the meditator and given after bowing slightly forward exposing your shoulder.

I’ve done this process at Sojoji in Japan. It’s really nothing special. Just to relax the shoulders.

In Rinzai Zen some people may power trip using. Different tradition.


Zazenji Ah says:

It seems to me like you really need a teacher. You keep saying all this stuff that you “think” is correct. You don’t seem like a teacher or anyone who’s undertaken a prolonged period of meditative practice. 2 years meditation a teacher does not make. It seems really egotistical or presumptuous sometimes. I’m not going to wander into criticism, but seriously be careful with what you are doing or teaching people.

Take Care

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Replying To: mike