Steve Pavlina, the author of Personal Development for Smart People, joined us for an exclusive one on one interview at the Pick-up Podcast studios to discuss his ideas on individual development, interpersonal skills, and his ambitions for the future. He originally started writing his well-received book in 2005 as an analysis of self-discipline, but soon realized that his ambition was a write a book focused on the core principles of human growth and development.
Steve has only recently become involved with the PUA community, due to the increasing popularity of his articles and forums among attraction and dating coaches. Their interest motivated Steve to look into in PUA ideas; with his curiosity growing, he read books like The Game, and interviewed several pick-up artists, such as Zan Perrion. It did not take a long for him to realize the similarities between his own philosophy of personal development and the dogma and techniques behind most expert PUA advice.
A good portion of our interview with Steve focused on value, and his ideas on how people can elicit proper value from themselves in order to get on the path to personal development. Values, he asserts, must be looked for in the future; it is not helpful for one to ascertain their current values, as a person must always ask themselves, “What values do I want to have, and how will I get there?” Looking at your “future self” in this way and establishing value goals will instill in you a positive self image and give you sense of being their own boss.
Steve also discusses a topic that has interested him for a long time and is fairly absent from most personal development books: lucid dreaming. This type of dreaming is helpful in personal growth because it allows one’s mind to overcome certain mental blocks and limitations, such as fears or anxieties. When one imagines something to be real, their minds imposes these imagined realities on their subjective reality; thus if one has a lucid dream about taking a test, his anxiety about that test will diminish because he will feel as if he had already taken it many times before. Steve has many complex ideas on why and how this works, and divulges into what he sees as the false distinction between objective and subjective reality.
The subject of interpersonal skills is thrown into the ring, and Steve expands on his well know aversion to PUA’s emphasis on techniques, like ones that focus on body language and conversation skills. He sees these techniques as “low-level” ideas that are part of a higher idea that needs to be taught above all else: strong mindsets and core beliefs. His own experience with these techniques did not yield the long term results that he had hoped for, and made him realize that real change first and foremost comes from changing one’s state of mind
Ending the interview on a personal note, Steve opens up about his ambitions for the future. He hopes to one day start an organization that uses holistic techniques to help people along their journey of personal growth. He also wants to continue publishing his work to spread the knowledge of the beneficial qualities of human growth. Personal growth, he argues, is not a selfish endeavor as it inspires others to start believing in their own strength and potential.
For More information of Steve Pavlina please visit: www.stevepavlina.com
Outline for Steve Pavlina Interview
1. Developing one’s own personal values:
- It is not useful to ask “what are my values,” because values change based on the time and situation; instead it is better to ask “what values do I want to have?” or“What type of person do I want to become”
- The “future self” exercises: meditate on who you will be in five years times to help you drive your current values toward a certain goal. Steve found that this exercise helped him have a better sense of owning himself, of being is own person.
2. How Steve reacts to people being negativity from other people
A. He declines to accept the grief – if you don’t see it as belonging to you, then who does it belong to?The person who gives the negative attitude is the one who has ownership of it in the first place
B.However, people’s opinions are useful in gauging your own feelings about a particular decision you have made. It is important to listen to other’s people feedback for advice and support, since if you react to negative feedback, then it is a sign that you don’t feel good about your choice.If negative feedback bounces of you, then it is a sign that you are completely ok with the choice you have made.
3. Lucid Dreaming
A. Lucid dreaming affects personal growth – you can learn and grow within your dreams because you are partly in control of them. This control is hard however because it demands focus and mental concentration
i. How it helps: lucid dreaming can get one past mental blocks and limiting beliefs (fears, anxieties, negative thoughts, etc) as a person can dream that he or she is confronting and overcoming these difficulties
ii.A lot of personal growth is mental, and it is necessary in any growth process to push past your own your conditioned limitations
B.Steve gains insight into the real world because of lucid dreaming: the reality we live in is only our perception of that reality.Objective reality then cannot be said to be fully objective, for there is no sure way of knowing what is imagined and real. Changing your perception of the world changes the world itself.
C.When you take a completely subjective perspective to reality, you have the mindset that you can control the world around you, like in dreams.This is helpful because it focuses attention on the powers and effects of your own thoughts.However, one cannot totally control everything in a dream or in reality, though the power of one’s control is evident in the broader picture
4. Interpersonal Skills
A.Steve dislikes the bulk of books on interpersonal skills because they focus on low level techniques like starting and maintaining a conversation, body language, etc.Steve believes that all of this naturally goes along with having a strong mindset and core beliefs, and that it is not helpful “sweating the small stuff”
B.Steve’s own experience with these techniques yielded temporary and fleeting results, and the confidence that they instill in him seemed fake.
C.His approach on gaining confidence focuses on attitudes and inner strength, which is based firmly on acceptance of one’s own current state and the recognition of what skills they need to work on.
D.Steve believes in the slower progressive approach to learning skills; while it is sometimes helpful to dive right in to situations, he finds it necessary to really see how the skills are developing and gain confidence from the process
E.A problem with this is “inner-game junkies,” people who ruminate too much on what to do and sweat the small stuff.These people never gain the confidence to really break through their limitations – they get suck in the process.
i.Steve sees these people as ones who don’t really want to break through their limitations in the first place
ii.He also moves on to emphasize that people should not try and attempt bigger things than they can handle, because this will cause harm by discouraging them from future attempts.
5. Steve’s Personal Development
A. Right now he is working on a juice feast, which is his health diet of consuming only freshly made juices
B.He is brainstorming ideas to write a follow up to his first book.This is difficult because
his first book covered a lot and he really wants to add something to the field that is unique and unexpected
C.One of his long-term goals is to set up a non-profit organization to help people holistically develop their personal skills and inner strength. This organization would focus on being accessible to everyone and be based on wide reaching ideas like that his first book was based off of, like truth, love, and power.
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