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Posts posted by ShadowWalker

  1. There was a very good self-love video by Leo some time ago and it helped me a bit, but what made a 180 degree shift in my was following his recommendation to check out Matt Kahn's teachings. Listened to every video on his YT channel, read both his books and it blasted me into a whole different dimension. Hard to overstate how much he helped me in that regard.

  2. So unless it's my confirmation bias kicking in, you guys are mostly reiterating what I've learned and what I've tried to describe.

    Being independent, when it comes to ambitions is a lesson I've had to learn over and over, and for the most part I make sure that it's taken care of, but the flip side is that it becomes the new limit and/or comfort zone, when in reality interdependence and synergy are vastly superior.

    BTW regarding the women example - I live in the capital city, plenty of beautiful women around. I was talking about girls coming from small towns just to meet me, whereas in other cases girls or even simply close friends who live within a mile can't seem to "find the time" or opportunity to meet up.

    So taking the advice - instead of waiting for people to invite me, I am being proactive and patient, yet it's not working nearly as well as you'd hope and yet I'm not keen on giving up on social interactions in pursuit of "success" because my personal definition of success includes having meaningful social interactions. The next step of proactivity would basically be cold approach, which unless I'm rationalizing some limiting beliefs, seems like a highly inefficient way of building meaningful connections.


  3. In analysing the motivation for following through vs being unreliable I've boiled it down to the two usual suspects - potential reward and/or punishment. If someone has a high payoff they tend to be very dependable even without the threat of penalty for acting otherwise. Similarly if they perceive your interaction as a scarce opportunity they put in more effort than in the case of it being just another common option with low/moderate payoff and low penalty for putting it off.

    As a naturally tolerant person I have steered clear of punishment and focused on being someone people would want to interact with, at least in my idealistic view of the world and myself. The underlying idea is to save yourself the drama and negative emotions, disregard the "wrong people" and focus on those who are capable of appreciating you and the things you are offering. Reality, however, has consistently pointed out a flaw in my reasoning, and I feel I've reached a tipping point.

    Despite focusing exclusively on what's in my control, trying to improve myself and the value I bring to the table in all areas of life, time and time again, I am confronted with an epidemic of undependable, procrastinating behaviour from people who never fail to punish me for my patience and understanding, even if they otherwise genuinely like and respect me. The most common problem is people trying to preserve every bit of optionality, always giving me the same reply "I'll get back to you tomorrow/next week" and seldom following up. Or we make some appointment, something comes up, and they don't even bother to suggest an alternate time to make it happen, so I take the initiative and the whole thing repeats. I can anticipate it as being "the norm" in scheduling photoshoots with beautiful women, as well as in dating, but it also happens when I try to meet up with friends, even supposedly close ones.

    In an attempt to answer my own question, I acknowledge the fact that with high potential reward or punishment things look different - models are much more cooperative for commercial projects, and students who've paid in advance for a Photoshop course I'm teaching are much more likely to show up. Girls who think I'm out of their league will be keen to schedule a meetup even if they have to travel a couple hundred kilometers from another city whereas those that are being hit up by numerous high-quality prospects are hesitant even if they like me, for fear of missing out on all the cool other options, so I'm more of a "Plan B" for them. I get that. I'm not interested in making a moral judgement and "should-ing" all over myself with how I believe things need to be. I accept the way things work but not the status quo.

    So please, give me a straight answer, poke holes in my argument or assumptions if needed. Share what's worked for you to fix a similar problem, or how you never let it become a problem in the first place. Outframe the paradigm I'm in. I'm tired of being the only one who proactively honors his agreements - this has been a lifelong struggle for me, so I'm open for suggestions.

  4. There are 2 quite distinct ego structures according to Matt Kahn - the "superior" and "inferior" ego or as he explains them in other terms - the "narcissistic" ego and the "energetically sensitive soul". The descriptions are fairly self-explanatory, but the crucial part here is that most sensitive souls or inferior egos are trying to follow an old path aimed at superior egos, and wondering why they feel increasingly stuck and insecure. Actually the whole video blew my mind and it's filled with gems, wisdom and love of course, so I won't go into too many details. It was certainly eye-opening for me and an important reminded that I should recalibrate my goals and methods. Doing "the right things" at the wrong stage is not just futile, it can harm you.

    Highly recommend listening at least to the first 5-10 minutes if you don't have an hour for the whole thing


  5. Fair distinction. I was asking based on the premise that we're engaging in a karmic return to the material world after the realization of absolute truth.

    Matt Kahn puts it quite eloquently:


    The personal self is the nucleus of eternal truth. It is the sacred vessel through which Source energy expresses its absolute presence as the individuality and unlimited potential of human form. This means being human is not a substandard level of consciousness, but an opportunity to manifest the ecstasy of your presence as a tangible work of art.

    A true master does not just convey truths beyond the world of time and space, but demonstrates the grace of heart-centered consciousness by walking with their own divinity as the innocence and imperfections of an evolving world. To deny the personal self is to develop a spiritual ego, where the uncertainty of life is bypassed for a bigger cosmic picture to hide in.


    Our greatest offering of surrender is not surrendering our humanity, but surrender through the willingness to be human.

    I've been thinking about taking the best of both worlds so to speak, by tackling slightly more mainstream topics or stylistics than I am naturally inclined, so that I am relevant to my surrounding and more relatable, yet imbuing the manner in which I approach and present things with the wisdom and depth I've cultivated through inner work. Sounds kind of abstract, but I think you've been achieving this very skillfully whenever you engage a more approachable topic and while I would appreciate tips, I also agree with your references to juggling or riding a tricycle.

  6. I watched the video on True vs False Skepticism and Pyrrhonism sounds very much like an approach that is close to my intuitive way of looking at the world. I'm not claiming that I'm faultless at it, but simply that my default way of reasoning is more or less aligned with it. The benefits are fairly evident and well worth looking into it, but let's talk about some of the risks. It's a subject that's been on my mind lately, even before learning about this philosophy.

    True skepticism is indeed a great way to avoid delusion and dogmatic beliefs, but at what cost? Yes, in dualism truth is a matter of context, but beyond inner work, how relevant is this, in a world that does not tolerate ambivalence well?

    We all know media is especially guilty at being intolerant to nuanced information, but this also extends to the majority of normal people, and those who've achieved a high enough level of consciousness are not always in the mood for deep evaluation of subtle facts. Marketing is another good example - everything tends to have a niche, or obvious, even exaggerated characteristics. Being refined and well-rounded does not tend to translate into massive success, even if it is a good foundation for sorting out your inner state and dissolving delusions. Even in dating you are far more likely to have an abundance of options if you fit into some type or "brand", that is recognizable to your potential partner. When people can't easily put a tag on you, they don't know what to make of you and in the interest of preserving mental power they tend to unconsciously ignore you or even assume you are malicious or disingenuous.

    A couple quotes come to mind:

    "The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom"- William Blake

    "Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess." - Oscar Wilde

    As well as the phrase "extreme views, weakly held"

    What are your views and experience? Do you have any heuristics when it comes to choosing whether to apply skepticism and/or moderation, and to what degree?

  7. Yeah too many variables depending on maturity, level of consciousness, and goals in life to come up with any reliable answer. From my experience idiosyncrasies tend to have a bigger effect on relationship happiness and fulfillment.

    If I am to generalize I would say the classic combination of younger woman and older man works well for various reasons: women tend to reach emotional maturity earlier so men their age tend to be infantile and inconsiderate. On the flip side older women often seem slightly jaded, apathetic and intimidating to men their age, who would prefer a woman to practically look up to them with awe and enthusiasm. Women tend to be attracted to mature masculine energy, which usually manifests itself later in life, both intellectually, socially, spiritually, but also often times even in terms of appearance. Many men on the other hand are drawn like a magnet to the freshness and excitability of a young woman, not to mention her beautiful appearance, although I should note there are obviously women who not only maintain their looks but even become more attractive as they transition from being a pretty girl to becoming an enchanting woman.

    And before we get too serious:



  8. Sounds like a good plan. If you feel anxious in beginning the conversation I would highly recommend a chapter in "The Seven Habbits of Highly Effective People" describing the idea of Emphatic Listening. For more on a related note, there's also a lot of valuable insight and tactics in "Crucial Conversations". Best of luck!

  9. 7 hours ago, Loreena said:

    @ShadowWalker Do you do a lot of shadow work 

    If you do, does that help you out with everything ?

    In the beginning of my journey some of Teal Swan's videos helped me in this regard. My more major breakthrough came after I saw Leo's video about self-acceptance and self-love (the one in which he says 'love your sins to death'). Thanks to Leo and this video I discovered Matt Kahn's who is probably one of the people who most radically shifted my inner beliefs and dialogue. The neurotic self-judgement and relentless obsessive self-criticism gave way to kindness and heart-centered empathy, which not only made me feel at peace in my body and mind for the first time since early childhood, but also in effect transformed virtually all areas of my external circumstances.


    @SchallUndRauch Yes, I agree on the importance of context and the place you're coming from when choosing your approach. I have nothing against grinding it out in general, and I've done it numerous times. I simply wanted to highlight and discuss some important nuances and exceptions that I feel are not thoroughly discussed in the book, or in society for that matter.

  10. @Emerald Wilkins  Thank you so much for this insider's view, I kept nodding in agreement while reading your post!

    @Epiphany_Inspired Thanks for the practical advice!

    @Sevi Beautiful insights with a lot of clarity and truth in them!


    I can't believe I thought that forums are in decline. I'm truly grateful for all your input and very impressed with the quality of the discussion. I hope this thread will provide valuable guidance for other artists struggling to make sense of the whole thing.

  11. 9 hours ago, Nahm said:

    Good luck! Post some of your work here? Please

    Hopefully it's not against the forum guidelines:


    9 hours ago, see_on_see said:

    Are you trying to make a lot of money or are you trying to make good art? Hopefully the latter, in which case all that matters is that you can survive with it and pay the bills.

    In short, I actually think that if the art is really good, it kinda markets itself. So, instead of focusing on marketing, it would be better to focus on creating better art. Original, interesting, with personality and style that STANDS OUT, that's what matters. If you got that, you don't need marketing, you just need to put your products out.

    The real problem, is that art with these qualities, art that's ACTUALLY good... is hard as fuck to create. 

    Definitely the latter and that's always been the case for me. It has worked so far, but turning 30 and not having at least some half-decent financial security and prospects for growth doesn't sit right with me. Hence my interest in researching the topic and ultimately improving my situation and abilities.

    8 hours ago, Leo Gura said:

    Of course your work has to be exceptional. But even exceptional work can not be enough. And exceptional work still has to fit some kind of market need.

    Even niche music is still massively popular because it demands so little of the listener. It's like comedy in that regard. Everyone loves good comedy. Because it's naturally easy to like.

    In today's world I would say attention is one of the scarcest resources, so I would actually consider it as demanding a lot from your listener, who's drowning in a sea of mediocre music blasting him from every side, as well as social media and other distractions. I was actually in an underground band before taking up photography and I would honestly claim that it was much harder to reach people despite our band being among the most well-known locally. I should probably point out that I live in a small country with an almost non-existent market for the less popular genres of art. However, I'm fully aware that with online connectivity there's no room for justifications and limiting beliefs.

    I fully agree with the rest of your points, and that's what I'm struggling with. Without being arrogant I can say that I'm confident in the quality of my work, yet I can't claim with certainty that it fulfills a market need.


  12. Not what I wanted to read, but I guess it's what I needed to read, so thanks guys!

    42 minutes ago, Leo Gura said:

    You must be BOTH! Do your art, but don't get so artsy-fartsy you lose touch with ordinary people or ordinary reality.

    I've had to sell my soul to the devil a lot to succeed. If I never did that, you would never have heard of me or found Success is a pragmatic issue. If you care about it, you must make certain sacrifices. You can't just create whatever kind of bullshit you fancy. That's way too easy. You must take others into account as well. But without selling out.

    Your art ain't doing much good if no one can access it.

    Of course, if you wanna be a starving, misunderstood artist, go right ahead. Nothing wrong with that per se. Personally, not my cup of tea though. For me, it's important that my work has a sizable impact on people and that I am reasonably compensated.

    I think you've touched on this briefly in some videos but could this topic deserve a whole video? Would certainly be valuable for all the artists torn between the two extremes. If not, then for all the artists reading this, I recommend checking out Chase Jarvis' channel for some good advice regarding art, business and entrepreneurship.

  13. I think Carol Dweck's book Mindset is a must-read, whether you're naturally inclined to have a growth mindset, or on the contrary, like me, you've gravitated more towards a fixed mindset. Having read it you almost feel compelled to accept that the Growth Mindset is superior in every way, and I've certainly experienced benefits from going in that direction.

    However, I feel there are some very important exceptions. It's easy to become dogmatic and believe that relentless effort is the ultimate key to success, but this can backfire with you stubbornly trying to work on your mediocre gifts in a specific field instead of coming up with creative solutions like the famous Fosbury flop in high jumping. Or you can stick to an occupation that's not really what you are meant to do - Imagine if Newton had dedicated himself to the farm work that he was appointed; what if Darwin had continued studying for a Medical career?

    Being willing to hustle or grind it out sounds like an admirable trait but is that always the best option? This willingness can lead you to accept and optimize traditional approaches instead of disrupting the whole paradigm. The first leads to incremental gains, whereas the second can have exponential effects.

    Would you agree that laziness and impatience are not always the villains we're so quick to make them out to be? I believe that we're throwing out the baby with the bathwater by trying to eliminate these traits, instead of seeing them as potential flags that draw our attention to an inefficiency in a certain system, pointers that can potentially lead us to much needed innovation.


  14. Yeah you could argue with Leo on certain topics all you want, but his ability to research, dive deep, incorporate common objections AND consistently maintain this level while shooting engaging, focused, hour-long episodes simply speaks for itself. Anyone who's tried to record a half-decent video knows  that your expectations are usually replaced with the sad reality of your atrocious delivery and fragmented train of thought. Awe and respect for his efforts and work ethic.

  15. ^ What I meant was that art's properties and art's market can be viewed through a number of lenses, that often times lead you to conflicting conclusions. For example, you can view art as fulfilling a tangible need in the consumer, or you could alternatively view art as having intrinsic value precisely because of it's purposelessness and eccentricity. Both can be correct in the context of the respective paradigm. You could argue that the latter is an extension of the first that is simply fulfilling the need for significance through difference/eccentricity but the whole topic gets messy and unclear very quick.

  16. 4 hours ago, Leo Gura said:

    @ShadowWalker No, actually the difference is much more pragmatic. Starving artists starve because they don't invest energy in learning marketing or bothering to market themselves.

    Just doing great art is NOT good enough. You must learn your audience and learn to appeal to them and lure them in.

    Artist-types usually suck at this, which is why most of them are starving.

    You must be wiser than that. You must reconcile the problem of how to market yourself without selling your soul in the process.

    Success requires ruthless pragmatism. Not wishful thinking. But you can still be a visionary. A highly pragmatic visionary.

    Thank you for the no-bullshit reply! If it were not clear from my topic, I consider myself an artist, and I am fully open to the possibility that I suck at marketing despite investing energy and learning and practicing. One part of what I feel is limiting me in this aspect is a notion that Oscar Wilde expresses the following way:

    "A work of art is the unique result of a unique temperament. Its beauty comes from the fact that the author is what he is. It has nothing to to do with the fact that other people want what they want. Indeed, the moment that an artist takes notice of what other people want, and tries to supply the demand, he ceases to be an artist, and becomes a dull or an amusing craftsman, an honest or a dishonest tradesman."

    I suppose it is possible that I am extending this principle into the realm of marketing where it may not apply, but it often feels like the very things that make my art genuine and unique are that things that differentiate it from the norms and wants of mainstream culture. This leaves me with the choice of either watering down my art and becoming a craftsman or seeking out the minority that could appreciate its value appropriately to justify a reasonably high price. I would obviously opt for the latter but how does one even go about achieving that pragmatically?

    Over the years I've accumulated a decent following of over 10k people on my Facebook page taking photos of mostly alternative girls, but unlike Suicide Girls my work is focused more so on portraits and aesthetics rather than nudity. This is obviously a significantly less viable source of income with everyone interested in working with me playing the "it's free exposure" card, including major magazines. I've had photos of mine with thousands of likes and/or becoming editor's choice at virtually all of the photo-sharing sites, including National Geographic's platform, yet when it comes to print sales the numbers tell a completely different story. I don't want to be another artist crybaby about it, I'm determined to get better, not bitter, hence my interest in joining the forum. I am certain I still have a bunch of limiting beliefs as well as an ego I'm unconsciously protecting so your input and suggestions are all very welcome. Thank you once again!