Imaginary Men (New Audio Program)

November 19th, 2014 by Steve Pavlina

Imaginary MenToday I’m happy to announce the launch of a whole new audio program that I recorded with several friends. It’s called Imaginary Men, and I think you’re going to enjoy it — especially if you’re in the mood for something different. :)

This is a very unusual and original program. I doubt you’ve heard anything like it before. We definitely broke some rules when we recorded it.

The main topics are relationships, dating, and personal growth — nothing unusual about that. What’s unusual is the way in which we made the recordings — and what you’re going to hear when you listen to them.

First, there was no pre-planned or scripted content. We recorded the whole thing spontaneously, off the cuff, over the course of three nights at an apartment in Santa Barbara, California.

Second, our goal wasn’t to give you how-to advice per se. Instead we opted to share deep insights into what it’s really like for men to passionately pursue an inspired path of personal growth over the course of many years. What were the major stumbling blocks? The unexpected breakthroughs? The subtler lessons and finer nuances that no one talks about?

Third, we committed that we would go deep and that we’d be as real and authentic as possible. What could we share that we’ve never shared publicly before? Where are our current edges of growth today? How are we continuing to tackle our greatest challenges?

The six contributors to this program, including me, are all coaches, explorers, and communicators. We’re used to sharing ideas and advice with people who want to learn from us. But often that kind of sharing is done in a very controlled and deliberate manner. What would it be like to give people a glimpse into what we talk about behind the scenes, when no one else is around?

Would other people find value in being a “fly on the wall” to listen in on that kind of discussion?

And finally, we drank 10 bottles of wine while we made the recordings. Yes, really! That was enough to loosen us up and perhaps influence us to share even more, but not so much as to make us foggy or incoherent.

Enjoying and Appreciating Growth-Oriented Friends

I know that many of my readers don’t have many friends who are into personal growth. A survey I did a few years ago revealed that 40% of my readers say they have zero friends who are into personal growth, and another 20% only have one friend like that. This makes it difficult for them to enjoy the social support that can make big lifestyle changes and stretch goals so much easier.

When I tell my friends about new experiments I want to do or new paths I want to explore, I generally receive tons of encouragement. I’m well aware that many of my readers aren’t so lucky. One of the reasons I wanted to record a program like Imaginary Men was to give you a realistic glimpse into what it’s like to hang out with a bunch of growth-oriented friends.

The other contributors to Imaginary Men are all younger than me. Most are in their 20s. We’re all lifestyle-first people who don’t have regular jobs. We love life and embrace new experiences. We make a lot of mistakes, rebound quickly, and keep on going.

If I invited a bunch of friends in their 50s and 60s, with decades of speaking experience and established business empires, and made a similar product with them, I’m sure it would turn out very differently. They’d sound eloquent and wise to be sure, and their advice would probably be very agreeable, but in the end I think the result would be very tame. I think they’d have a hard time communicating the same way I see them do when they’re off the stage and not being recorded. Many people in this field have created brands that are associated with their on-stage persona; as soon as you put a microphone in front of them, they become their brands. They can be so different though when they aren’t in the public eye. I didn’t want to create this kind of program because it gives people a mistaken impression of what it’s really like to pursue conscious personal growth over many years.

With my younger friends in the field, I see so much more authenticity. Much more often I notice that their on-stage and off-stage personas are the same. If there is a difference, it’s usually not much. They don’t already have huge empires to protect or publicists to appease, so they can afford to take more risks.

Candid, behind the scenes conversations with friends of all ages are tons of fun and very rewarding. But many of my older friends would never let anyone record and publish such insider conversations. It would be too intimate and too risky for their business models. My younger friends, however, almost invariably love the idea. I think one reason is that they grew up with very different cultural influences, like social media, which makes them feel a lot more comfortable sharing aspects of their lives publicly.

An Experimental, Co-Creative Project

Imaginary MenThis was definitely an experimental project. We weren’t sure it would work. But we figured that it would be a fun thing to try. Maybe it would yield something that other people would find worthwhile. We knew it would be a fun experience to create it, and we’d all get to know each other better. Everyone was enthusiastic — and hopeful — to make the attempt and see what we could co-create.

There was a certain excitement to not knowing in advance exactly what we were creating, what we’d share, or how this would turn out. We could all feel a powerful energy in the room when we made the recordings.

When we listened to the final program, we were blown away! It was actually good — really good, we thought.

In all honesty I’d say the first 30 minutes were a little slow, but once we got past the intros and warmed up, it flowed beautifully all the way to the end. We ended up with 9 hours of deeply honest and very original material.

I was especially amazed at how many different topics and ideas we managed to cover — facings fears, letting go of limiting beliefs, overcoming shyness and social anxiety, alternative relationship styles, building confidence, exploring sexual fantasies, unconditional love, attracting quality partners, open relationships, being present, and tons more. You can see a more thorough list on the Imaginary Men website.

We decided to released Imaginary Men as a downloadable product (MP3 format), so people can easily listen to it on their favorite devices — iPhones, iPads, Android devices, laptops, etc.

We also decided to include several bonuses, including videos of some of the contributors’ speeches and a specially created social anxiety bonus that includes public demos of real exercises you can do to build more social confidence. The bonus content alone is several hours of material and covers some topics in more detail. I contributed a 90-minute speech I gave in Oslo, Norway, last year for one of the bonuses.

Finally, we decided to price Imaginary Men very modestly, so that lots of people could easily afford it and enjoy it. It’s just $47.

The net income from the sales of Imaginary Men will be split between 7 guys — the 6 contributors plus the professional audio engineer who did all of the recording and editing work for no up-front pay. This helps to support all involved, and it gives us a way to measure interest. If people enjoy this co-creative style, it would certainly encourage me to do more co-creative projects of this nature.

Obviously we’d love for you to buy, download, listen to, and enjoy Imaginary Men as much as we enjoyed creating it. The material was professionally edited, so I think you’ll be delighted with the quality of the recordings. But we don’t want to be super-salesy about it. I invite you to check it out and if it appeals to you, give it a chance. The Imaginary Men website is more story-based than salesy. It shares the story behind the program and how and why we created it.

Since this is an experimental product, we’re also offering an unconditional 60-day money-back guarantee. That way there’s no risk to you. You can download and listen to the whole thing, satisfy your curiosity, and if you didn’t like it for any reason, just let us know, and you’ll get a full refund. It’s our hope that you’ll enjoy it and appreciate it enough to feel that we deserve the $6-and-change we’d each get for your order. :)

Enjoy Imaginary Men

As open as I think I am, I appreciate having friends who can definitely challenge me to keep learning, growing, and stretching myself. When you listen to Imaginary Men, you may find it amusing to realize that I’m the most conservative guy in the group. There were definitely some things the guys shared that made me think, “Wow… are we really going to publish that?”

And yes, we did indeed publish it! :)

So if you’re in the mood for something uniquely different that may encourage you to grow in ways you never expected, I think you’ll really enjoy and appreciate what Imaginary Men has to offer.

Give it a listen, and let me know what you think! :)



Steve Recommends
Here are my recommendations for products and services I've reviewed that can improve your results. This is a short list since it only includes my top picks.

Lefkoe Method - Permanently eliminate a limiting belief in 20 minutes
Site Build It! - Use SBI to start your own money-making website
Getting Rich with Ebooks - Earn passive income from ebooks
PhotoReading - Read books 3 times faster
Paraliminals - Condition your mind for positive thinking and success
The Journal - Record your life lessons in a secure private journal
Sedona Method (FREE audios) - Release your blocks in a few minutes
Life on Purpose - A step-by-step process to discover your life purpose

If you've found Steve's work helpful, please donate to show your support.

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Ridiculously Rewarding Relationships

November 12th, 2014 by Steve Pavlina

When you desire to attract and meet a new relationship partner, a common approach is to be more social, start connecting with new people, and try to be as likeable as possible.

I think that’s a mistake.

Where does this lead? You may very well find a new relationship this way, but it probably won’t be very satisfying. There’s an excellent chance you’ll end up settling for someone who’s only partially compatible with you.

When people are seeking new relationships, they often modify their personalities. They amplify and show off their most socially acceptable qualities, and they tone down the more unusual parts of themselves, especially the parts that other people might not like.

To some degree this is common sense. Putting our best foot forward is a reasonable strategy when seeking a new relationship. But what exactly is your best foot to put forward?

Bland Branding

So often people socially brand themselves so as to avoid rejection. Consequently, their branding is extremely bland. They try to fit in. They pretend to be like everyone else.

This may seem likable, but it’s likable only to those who are desperate. It’s not attractive to people who lead interesting lives and who have options. Most likely you’re only going to attract people with low self-esteem using this approach.

The irony is that if you try to avoid being rejected by average people, you’ll only ensure that you get rejected (or avoided) by the people you find the most interesting and attractive.

The very people who could be truly amazing relationship partners for you will pre-reject you because you seem bland and boring.

Suppose I were looking for a new relationship. And suppose I concluded it was best to share some of my positive but still socially acceptable qualities. Imagine that I created a dating profile where I shared that I love personal growth, traveling, and reading good books.

That is all true, and no one would be offended by it, but virtually no one would find it particularly attractive. It would look like every other profile out there. Bland and boring.

If I did actually connect with someone as a result of that kind of profile, it would almost certainly be a very weak match. Personal growth and traveling may indeed be something we share, but lots of people have these interests, so they aren’t particularly special. If I ended up being drawn into a relationship with such a person, it would eventually lead to boredom. I would also have the nagging sensation that I could probably find someone better (for me).

This applies to friendships as well as romantic relationships. I’m often contacted by people who tell me they like personal growth, traveling, and reading, and therefore (in their opinions), we must have a lot in common and could probably become good friends. But since I share these qualities with virtually all of my readers, I feel no special excitement about getting to know these people. In fact, they seem utterly boring and forgettable. Why would I want to bother getting to know someone who seems just like everyone else out there? What is there to sink my teeth into and explore with them?

I’d rather read a good book.

Exposing Your Uniqueness

To attract a quality connection, it’s much more sensible to share something unique and interesting about yourself, as early as possible. This will undoubtedly be something that you’d expect would cause large numbers of people to pre-reject you.

The flip side of pre-rejection is pre-qualification. While some people are writing you off as a loon, others are exclaiming, “Wow! I really want to meet this person!”

If you want the right people to be able to recognize you as a quality match, you must also give others the opportunity to reject you as the most repulsive wretch on earth.

I rather like it when people make it easy for me to pre-reject them. You may think that pre-rejection is something to be avoided, but look at the benefits. Pre-rejection can be a real time saver. Why should I invest my time and energy in getting to know someone, only to find out much later that we have a serious incompatibility and are never going to maintain a rewarding friendship? I’d rather know about these risks in advance and save myself the trouble, so I can invest in the truly compatible connections and enjoy all the richness they provide.

Suppose someone tells me they’re into hunting. When I hear that, I’m out. That’s a dealbreaker for me since I have no interest in socializing with people who desire to kill animals. I would still appreciate knowing this about someone early on, so I can avoid investing in them any more than I have to. It would be more bothersome to find this out about someone much later. Being able to pre-reject this person upfront saves me time. We’re not going to be compatible, so there’s no need to go any further.

On the other hand, suppose someone tells me she’s vegan. Now I instantly know that there’s an important quality we have in common, something that connects deeply with my values. And branching off of this quality, we’re probably going to have a lot of other traits in common too. Also, the fact that she doesn’t hide this about herself greatly amplifies my feelings of respect for her.

My girlfriend Rachelle and I connected due to our shared interest in D/s play. We also share an interest in personal growth, which was enough to create the circumstances for us to meet the first time, but it didn’t lead to any deeper connection by itself. When we first met, it was in a room of 100+ people who were also into personal growth. There was nothing special or unique about that. But when we learned that we had something much more interesting in common, that helped spark a strong attraction and led us straight into each other’s arms.

If you haven’t learned this already, you’ll eventually discover that your most rejection-worthy qualities are also your most attractive qualities. Whether someone is repulsed or attracted just depends on whether they share your desires and interests or not.

Being Shamelessly Different

Many people fear exposing their differences because they don’t want to deal with harsh judgment and criticism from those around them, especially from friends, family, and co-workers. They often tell me that this is their greatest fear that prevents them from making big changes. They dislike the idea of exposing themselves to ridicule and rejection. So they freeze and do nothing.

These people are focusing on the wrong side of the spectrum. Yes, all of that judgment and ridicule will happen. But it doesn’t matter because on the other side, there’s the opportunity for much deeper levels of invitation and acceptance.

All things considered, the judgment side is irrelevant. If the judgment is likely to be so harsh, those connections are highly incompatible anyway. You have a bunch of people taking up space in your social circle, and if you’re so worried about their judgment, then you aren’t sharing a true and deep connection with them anyway. So nothing much will be lost when they reject you for having desires and interests they may dislike.

The real question you should be asking here is: Do you want to connect with people who like you for you?

If so, then let the incompatible people reject you. You’ll get used to it. They’re just taking up space and wasting your time anyway. Let them go. You have better things to concern yourself with… and much more delightful people to connect with.

Ridiculously Rewarding Relationships

The benefits of being shamelessly yourself massively outweigh the drawbacks. What are the main drawbacks? Perhaps some mean messages sent your way. And the benefits? The best relationships of your life.

I still get the occasional emails from people who don’t like that I’m vegan… or that I don’t have much respect for stable employment… or that I have a thing for submissive women. These emails serve mainly as a source of entertainment. I enjoy having a jobless, vegan, submissive woman sitting on my lap as she reads aloud one of those emails in a silly voice, as I playfully nibble on her. Usually we just laugh at the sheer stupidity of these people for presuming that they have any chance of being taken seriously. Occasionally I can’t resist teasing them a little, such as by replying to “confess” my secret allegiance to the Devil and sharing my success in turning millions of people away from their particular value system. ;)

Truthfully, the main benefit for me is that I get to experience, enjoy, and appreciate a deeply loving relationship with a woman I absolutely adore. That’s easily worth dealing with some criticism and ridicule from people who aren’t compatible with me anyway. I’ll gladly accept these judgments in exchange for the rewards of our relationship.

What’s the alternative anyway? If you hide your most interesting qualities, you’ll only succeed at surrounding yourself with weak matches. Then what? Spend the rest of your years pretending you actually like those people. That doesn’t sound particularly intelligent.

What About Compromise?

In my marriage I often succumbed to the belief that healthy relationships require compromise. Maybe you can get most of what you want, but probably not everything you want. Some desires you just have to let go of because your partner may want something different.

I don’t feel that way anymore… not for years.

Many people ask for a relationship that’s an 8 (on a scale of 1-10), and then they settle for a 6 or 7 and try to make it work. Before they even get into a relationship, they pre-reject a good 20% of their desires.

I used to pre-reject my desires too. I figured that some of my desires were unreasonable or unusual, so I shouldn’t even ask for them. This is a good way to attract a relationship that leaves you feeling ambivalent, always wondering if you could have found a better match while simultaneously concluding that it would take too much effort to upgrade. You stay in the relationship because it’s better than being alone, not because it’s what you really desire to experience.

Now consider a different approach: Ask for a 10, and hold out for a 10. This requires getting more clarity about what kind of partner you most desire to connect with.

Even though a 10 may seem like an impractical deal, in this case I’m talking about your real-world, practical 10. This means you have to consider which of your deepest desires could actually become a reality, if only you found the right match.

I realized that my pre-rejected 20% included some qualities that were actually possible to match on. These qualities might be uncommon, but with billions of people on earth, even seemingly rare qualities may still be present in millions of people.

One way to define a level 10 relationship is that it’s a relationship without the feeling of ambivalence. It doesn’t give rise to that “should I stay or go?” feeling. In a level 10 relationship, when you ask yourself, “should I stay in this relationship?”, the answer is a straightforward, obvious yes. There’s no doubt to speak of.

That’s how I feel about my relationship with Rachelle. We share an amazing connection, we love each other deeply, and we keep discovering new ways to learn and grow together. Instead of feeling ambivalent, I just feel lucky.

If I had been willing to settle for a 6 or 7 (or even an 8), I wouldn’t have met her. That last 20% included qualities that she has in abundance, but I wouldn’t have given myself permission to request, receive, and appreciate them.

What I find most interesting is how it feels to be in a relationship with someone who matches on that last 20%, not just the other 80%. The first 80% feels comforting. The last 20% is what gives me the bulk of my feelings of attraction, excitement, stimulation, and gratitude. The last 20% is also where most of the growth happens. It’s the part that keeps stretching me beyond my comfort zone — first to ask for it, and then to keep receiving it. I feel lucky because every day that I’m able to experience that extra 20% feels like a major win.

Will Your Ideal Match Recognize You?

If your ideal partner showed up in your life and crossed your path right now, would s/he be able to recognize you as a potential match?

How pathetic would it be if your ideal match showed up and didn’t even recognize you as their 10?

People can’t easily match with you when you’re in hiding. If you hide from being judged and ridiculed, you also hide from your best matches.

I know that if I publicly share something like, “I would totally love to have a D/s threesome with two submissive women,” then some people will judge me for it. I might get a little more negative email (again, a source of entertainment while waiting for the next season of House of Cards). But then if a D/s-loving or D/s-curious submissive woman happens to see that, I might just be a little too busy to even have time for read those emails. ;)

Worst case, I might get an email that says, “That does it! I’m never reading your blog again!”

Yawn.

If you want to attract and enjoy a level 10 relationship, or even some level 10 experiences, what is that last 20% that you’re afraid to share openly? What are the desires, interests, and personality traits you’ve been hiding? What do you explore in your private journal, but never on your social media pages?

That last 20% should ideally be the first thing out of your mouth. That’s where your deepest compatibility is. That 20% is what makes you interesting, attractive, and stimulating. Unfortunately that 20% is also the part that you’re most likely to hide.

I would LOVE for you to enjoy a level 10 relationship in your life — lots of them, in fact, if we can include friendships too. I’d love for you to enjoy lots of level 10 experiences that are 100% satisfying, not just 80%. This is an achievable goal. These are real connections and real experiences you can have, if you’re willing to get past your resistance and stop worrying about possible negative reactions from people.

Let those negative reactions play out. Treat them as entertainment. Then enjoy the positive benefits of being true to your desires.

The desires you’ve been denying yourself could lead to some amazingly beautiful connections and some truly wonderful growth experiences.

If it bothers you that other people are inviting and enjoying experiences that you’ve only dreamed of having, why not simply join them? Surely that’s better than wallowing in denial or envy, isn’t it? What you may not have realized is that those people are being subjected to all the same judgments and criticism that you’ve been fearing and avoiding. They’ve simply learned that such fears are pointless because the judgment doesn’t even matter, especially when weighed against the benefits.

P.S. If you ever feel compelled to send me a judgmental email, please do your best to make it entertaining. I recommend starting with “Dear Master.” Also, if you need to quote the Bible, please specify which one of the 200,000 – 400,000 versions of the Bible you’re actually quoting. (Yes, there really are that many versions. Apparently God needed quite a lot of words to say that he disapproves of my existence.)



Steve Recommends
Here are my recommendations for products and services I've reviewed that can improve your results. This is a short list since it only includes my top picks.

Lefkoe Method - Permanently eliminate a limiting belief in 20 minutes
Site Build It! - Use SBI to start your own money-making website
Getting Rich with Ebooks - Earn passive income from ebooks
PhotoReading - Read books 3 times faster
Paraliminals - Condition your mind for positive thinking and success
The Journal - Record your life lessons in a secure private journal
Sedona Method (FREE audios) - Release your blocks in a few minutes
Life on Purpose - A step-by-step process to discover your life purpose

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