Monk Mode: Stronger, Smarter, More Refined

Monk Mode

Monk mode is a self-improvement framework for improving one’s social market value within a short space of time. Many people fail to integrate self-improving behaviour into their lives because they cannot overcome psychological hurdles and are easily distracted by copious amounts of bullshit. Monk mode is about mitigating distractions and focusing solely on self-betterment. Naturally such an endeavour is going to demand sacrifice. However, the rewards you reap, the sense of direction you gain and the power you feel from the self-control you’ll exercise will feed your growth immeasurably by allowing you to project confidence both inwardly and outwardly.

The sacrifice: you’re going to be minimising your time contribution to social obligations and junk activitiesThe reason for this is because these activities consume a lot of your precious time whilst yielding zero to negligible increase towards your social market value. Monk mode is a serious commitment, you cannot half ass it. You’re either in or you’re not. It will be a struggle in the beginning, but once you’re fully engaged it will become a beneficial yet addictive lifestyle.

The kind of activities I’m talking about when I talk about “junk activities” consist of the following:

  • Going out for coffee or sitting around idly.
  • Playing video games.
  • Watching marathons of television series/movies.
  • Watching porn.
  • Refreshing the shit out of Facebook/Twitter/Instagram or whatever social network it is you’re hooked on.
  • Refreshing the shit out of internet forums such as /r/theredpill, 4chan or whatever community you’re in, basically: procrastinating on the internet.
  • Sitting around drinking alcohol/doing drugs then being out of action with a migraine the next day from a hangover/come down.

All these activities are distractive or masturbatory; they do not benefit you in the long run but may temporarily please you in the short-term. Entertainment is necessary to cool off from periods of hard work but leading a life of continuous instant gratification is a path that leads to nowhere but failure. Such a lifestyle achieves nothing other than casual fleeting bemusement. If all you do is distract yourself and spend your time on junk activities, you’ll leave no time for the things that really matter: activities which contribute to personal self-enhancement. One cannot hope to have high social value without investing in themselves, and this is where monk mode comes in.

Cutting your social time to a bare minimum is incredibly important, more important than you may think. It’s very hard to stay focused when other people are telling you their problems and discussing nonsense gossip. It’s all too easy to get caught up in a distracting shitstorm of banality, let’s face it: if you’re low value the people you know probably aren’t going to be contributing much to your life other than their mundane company. There’s no harm in taking a break from them in order to get your own shit in order. To keep focused you need to detach yourself from the cacophonous mumbling of society and instead focus on signalling the desire of your will into real life gains by having a plan and implementing it.

A brief but relevant tangential interjection on self-respect: If you hate yourself or do not value yourself it’s because you give yourself no reason to value yourself. We don’t just disrespect other people who are low value, but we disrespect ourselves for being low value. The exception to this is those with narcissistic personality disorders that make the individual delusional about their own value. If the bulk of your time goes on junk activities, you will be directionless. There will be no feedback loops in your life to give you self-esteem. There will be an absence of activity where you push yourself, see a small gain, get validated by your small gain and then feel the resulting pride that comes from being better at something and seeing yourself grow in some small way. As humans, we are meant to grow, to flourish, to actualise. We desire growth and live for growth, for without growth we feel purposeless. In the absence of growth, we flounder. When junk activities start to comprise the majority of your time expenditure you rob yourself of the opportunity to grow. The higher your social value, the more you will come to value your time by merit of recognising your abilities and possessing a resulting self-respect as such. High value or not, we all have a finite amount of time until we die and every second wasted is a missed opportunity feeding into a sense of lethargy and mediocrity.

Now back on topic to monk mode, the core structure of monk mode is based on the three I’s: introspection, isolation and improvement. Monk mode is a temporary form of MGTOW, by cutting yourself off from the rest of the world for a while you can fine-tune your focus, calibrate your direction and confront yourself. You’ll be acknowledging your weaknesses and then formulating a plan of action to deal with them. For the things that can’t be fixed, such as being born ugly, mitigate them with damage control: work out, get stylish haircuts, dress well and etc.

Introspection is to look inward, to evaluate one’s self. You’re going to be identifying your weaknesses, making yourself aware of them and then accepting them. Rather than hide, begrudgingly co-exist with or deny your weaknesses you must acknowledge them and accept them. Only by doing this can you gain the power to rid yourself of such afflictions. Accepting your weaknesses allows you to own your flaws rather than permitting them to imprison you within a negative mental feedback loop of helplessness. The most unintelligible thing a person can do, and “the average person” does this all the time, is to ignore one’s weaknesses. Weaknesses are ignored out of ego, out of emotion, to sustain your sense of being, and whatever shaky foundation of self-confidence it is that you have. However, it is this wilful ignorance of such weakness that amounts to nothing more than a shoddy farcical fabrication of confidence. It’s not pure, rational confidence, but delusional, narcissistic confidence. By not addressing your weaknesses you allow them to take control of you in whatever manner it is they manifest. Rather than patch up the hole in your armour, you are pretending there is no hole there at all. And thus by ignoring the problem, you only grant it the opportunity to extend its foothold within your psyche, damaging your chances at success and happiness.

A conscious denial of an accepted truth for the sake of one’s ego leaves you vulnerable to the potency of the truth. A core part of red pill philosophy is to be harmonious with the truth so that the truth is fighting on your side rather than against you at the side of your enemies. Whoever is congruent with the truth, can monopolise the truth and expose liars. Those who are reliant upon fabrications must expend massive energy on maintaining their façade. As someone who lives harmoniously with the truth, you need not expend such energy, giving you a further edge. When a person tries to use one of your weaknesses against you, aware of the truth, the power of embarrassment will be absent and you will be able to keep composure (hold frame) rather than let a scrupulous detractor rob you of your power within the primacy of the moment. You need to be honest with yourself so that you know what you’re working with, without awareness you cannot hope to achieve success. On a Machiavellian tangent, nobody lucks into success contrary to what they may have led you to believe about their accomplishments.

Isolation is necessary to encourage an amplification of focus and a fortification of one’s personal direction. Handling social politics such as relationships, logistics, people’s feelings and yadda yadda is burdensome on one who is looking to mitigate or otherwise eradicate their weaknesses whilst working to enhance their strengths. You have a certain number of things you can contend with at one time, social obligations will quickly obliterate your workload and leave you feeling overwhelmed when you’re looking to achieve loftier goals. It is important that one has their own space and the freedom to self-govern and direct their desires, and a modicum of solitude is necessary to achieve this. With awareness of one’s weaknesses comes the clarity of self-determination. With a clearer and more lucid mind the path to accomplishing higher desires becomes more obvious and self-evident. Confusion is an affliction which causes many to float along in life, lost, without any real purpose or goals. You do not want to be one of these people, the “average person.” In order to achieve greatness you need clearly obtainable goals, an awareness of your position and the peace, space and freedom to determine your self-governance independent of undue external manipulatory influence.

Without the conflict of social obligation or the dissent of outside opinion, you are free in isolation to forge yourself into the very thing that you want to be. What you want for yourself is more important than what anybody else wants you to be.  Through introspection should you not already know it, you will deliberate until you know exactly what it is you want to achieve. Ultimately you’re the one who is stuck with yourself for the rest of your days, forced to endure whatever weaknesses or failures that you may or will have due to inaction. It is thus up to you to be responsible for your own happiness and dictate to yourself what needs to be done to actualise your desires. The influence of others has the potential to be beneficial, but for the sake of monk mode we will assume the precedent that the majority of external influence is absent in value and thus incongruent with the diction of your planning. Others can aid you in your goals (such as a personal trainer or should you be still undecided of your direction despite much introspection, trusted advisors.) However, nobody should be dictating what those goals are and making decisions on your behalf (such as your parents, or people who have a vested interest in you not improving yourself.) You shall be your own planner and you shall plan diligently. Do not underestimate the importance of isolation if you are a social animal, for it is most necessary in order to ensure success.

Introspection and isolation make up what are the psychological components of monk mode, they are the processes which when successfully enacted allow a man of procrastination to forcefully impose his will upon the world, to take action where others merely theorise. You must become a doer, a mover, a player. You must become a man of action rather than allow yourself to be one of inaction.

Improvement:

Refer to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs for an illustration of what your immediate life priorities should look like, starting with the physiological and moving upwards, note the inclusion of “sex” in the physiological category, I believe this primarily refers to an orgasm in the literal sense (which can be masturbation), this is not the same as “sexual intimacy” as shown in the love/belonging category:
IllimitableMen - Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Self-improvement activities are things such as:

  • Lifting/jogging/playing sport (a workout of some kind.)
  • Tidying and cleaning your room (if your ground zero is spotless it will do wonders for your mental state)
  • Learning a language (increases your skill base and opens up foreign social circles)
  • Learn from non-fiction books, they’re especially good for turning wasted commute time into productive time.
  • If you’re a student of some kind, study hard, don’t waste the opportunity, be good at your specialty and you can make money from it if you’re in the top percentile.
  • Learn a martial art/instrument.
  • Learn to be funny (great for making friends and easing social awkwardness.)
  • Learn to cook, use recipe books/trial and error (very important to aid nutrition and fuel your gym gains.)

The younger you are when you begin investing in yourself, the better. That doesn’t mean if you’re not young anymore that you should just give up on the idea however. If you’re 40 years old and only just realising you’ve wasted most of your life up until this point then it’s better to turn around now and start making a change rather than doing it at 50. Once you hit 50 you only would have said “shit I’ve known this crap since I was 40, I should have done something back then!” and then compounded your own sense of frustration further. It’s like compound interest albeit more inadvertently masochistic. Control the time you have left on this Earth and make it valuable or you will have to live with insufferable pangs of regret until your deathbed. You need to maximise the efficacy of your time, time is your most valuable commodity and it’s incredibly finite, like an hourglass, it trickles down, except unlike an hourglass you can’t turn it around and start again if you have wasted the sand granules that have already dropped on pointless shit. You have one continuing trickle of sand that symbolically represents the fleetingness of your existence on this Earth and that’s it. So use your “chance at life” wisely if you want it to have purpose and are to attain some semblance of self-actualisation.

Practicing your social skills is important, too much reclusiveness results in rusty social skills and reduced articulacy. If you fear your social skills may be deteriorating then go out intermittently, however socialising should not feature prominently within your calendar until you reach the top 10% of men. Even then, once you make it to the top you need to be wary not to grow complacent and lose what you’ve built for yourself as a man of ever-increasing social value. In high society social circles, business is often mixed with pleasure; bear the importance of that in mind.

When choosing friends: surround yourself with funny people, people who can take a joke and aren’t overly defensive. I personally make it a habit to talk to people with a keen wit or a sophisticated sense of humour as well as watching stand-up comedy in my leisure time (yes, even in my leisure time I like to passively learn from other people’s wit.) Comedy should be important to you; as comedy is medicine for the soul. Comedy can stop a man in pain from turning insane, immerse yourself in the world of comedy and the world of comedy will do your state of mind wonders. Not taking serious matters too seriously is a great coping mechanism for aiding one’s mental endurance. Use comedy as a painkiller to aid you in your journey of self-improvement if you need it to take off the edge, it’s a far healthier way to spend your down time versus drink and drugs.

Leaving Monk Mode and utilising your gains:

How do you know when you’re ready to leave monk mode? It’s simple. You will manage to resist junk activities and sustain self-improvement as your modus operandi (factory setting.) It could take you a long time to reach this state; it depends on your starting point and more importantly, your self-discipline. Monk mode is as much about learning self-discipline as it is engaging in self-improvement. When you manage to sustain monk mode as a way of life you’ll be on your way to cultivating a lifestyle of success. You will be wrapped up in the self-importance of improving all the facets in your life, managing them with a keen eye and watching all your personal investments flourish (much like a stock portfolio.) Your schedule will be so packed that you won’t have time to waste on low quality, frivolously time hungry exercises. If someone’s got something going on and you know you’d get more done doing your own thing, then keep doing your own thing. You are the basis for your sense of direction; don’t get drawn in by other people’s whims. You should never feel like being the tag-along, you have the ambition, the vision and the determination to keep moving towards the top. Your time is far too valuable to even contemplate wasting it as a “tag along.”

Leaving monk mode with your SMV gains does not mean you can become stagnant in your endeavours. Retain your hunger for betterment no matter what level you’re at. This is the defining quality (successful maintenance of one’s SMV) between someone who is “doing great” and sustains the greatness achieved through monk mode and someone who was “doing alright” and has now fallen off the wagon and begun to relapse. Do not accept half measures from anybody, but most importantly, do not tolerate it from yourself. Stop being your own worst enemy, free your mind and begin actualising.

Addendum: A book I really recommend in helping you refine your focus, ambition and general direction towards a certain direction or career path in life is Robert Greene’s book “Mastery.” Mastery is a practical guide to becoming successful in your chosen field, giving historical examples of masters, gaining apprenticeship and refining your focus to maintain a relentless motivation. Such a book would make a great read as part of your monk mode endeavour and I would even go so far to say it would help you with disciplining yourself to stay in monk mode by helping you figure out what you want out of life, rather than monk mode just being this “thing that you did that one time.”

Buy “Mastery” in the USA
Buy “Mastery” in the UK

Buy “Mastery” in Canada

18 comments

  1. Brilliant. May I recommend Plato’s Republic to the especially ambitious among you? Look for Allan Bloom’s translation. It’s a difficult read but definitely worth mastering.

  2. I was recently in monk mode, though I wouldn’t have called it that. One thing to watch out for is that it makes you appealing to others and they will intrude on your isolation. In my particular situation it makes sense to have my girlfriend live with me(very rural, cooks well, cleans for me), and when I start spending ninety percent of my time on improving myself she has trouble leaving me alone. Then, when I take some time off to attend to her needs I have to lecture her on being present because part of what was making her desire my attention so much was her seeing me exercising my intellect.

  3. This post is going to be my everyday-first-thing-in-the-morning read until I have changed! Thank you for that!

  4. This is a very well written and well thought-out post. You’ve just gained another reader of your blog. Bookmarked.

  5. I’m going through a period where I was tired of feeling lonely although being “surrounded” by virtual and non-virtual “friends”so I was thinking of leaving all social media (and a lot of social live) and focusing just in myself. Then I found this post and read it a few times until it sat down. Then I proceeded.

    3x I: isolation, introspection, improvement.

    Let’s go!

    Thanks for your encouraging post

    1. The key to virtual friends is that the content you consume from them must be uplifting and add fuel to your abundance mental model. Read grand master Ill’s penultimate post on the personal development tag about being in the abundance or scarcity mental model–it’s very good.

      Disconnecting I think is a mistake. There can be time wasting elements that can swarm you in virtual networks and communities, but one can learn to manage them and mold their content into a tool for a much greater flow of new ideas and information, and also as an outlet to begin to learn the very valuable skill of organizing and expressing one’s thoughts. This act of taming the wild chaotic beast that is social media could very well strengthen your skill at picking out signals from noise. There is a lot of noise out there but there is also a lot of signal. Being able to pick a signal out of a lot of noise is an immeasurably valuable skill. As long as you get a heavy dose of signal from social networks or communities you can rest assured your time was well spent.

      I personally find twitter and facebook to have a too high of a noise to signal ratio. This blog is in its infancy and hasn’t really blown-up yet. Mark my word that it will some day in the future. You could very well get a lot of value in participating in discussions in these comments. Also r/redpill is a great sub-reddit.

      The fact that you are here on this blog commenting makes me believe you’ve started your journey on the right path. Godspeed.

      1. Well I’m not disconnecting completely. Regarding Facebook I made a new account with 0 friends just to follow the sites I am interested in (also cause I manage an Facebook page for work). Still using twitter but stopped posting in Instagram and discontinued Google+

        They were time consuming as I sat there often refreshing every network constantly. Of course I am not retiring completely. I still have Skype and smartphone chat apps. But I am cutting my time on them as they were not contributing anything positive at the moment.

        Instead I will focus on my improvement by other more productive ways. Gonna read the post you hinted about.

  6. I would add “excessive sex with plates” to the list of junk activities. This is a trap I found myself falling into headfirst last year once I got things to the point where I had multiple women to choose from who were guaranteed lays on any night of the week.

  7. I strongly disagree that morality (should say “ethics”) and lack of prejudice (should say “good judgment”) are at the pinnacle of being a man, and I further disagree that automatic respect of others should be expected of me, but other than that, good article, and I will put it into practice.

  8. Can’t say I fully agree with all your arguments, but I do like some. I think you’re right when you say people nowadays fill their lives with “junk activities”: Facebook, twitter, instagram, watching shows that don’t benefit you in any way. However, I do believe that of course one can use these things in a healthy manner, if, as you suggest, one can practice some form of self control and realize that one should only use these things in ways that are beneficial (eg. talking to an old friend on Facebook chat, I believe would have value). Your argument in favour of total asceticism, for me, is a bit much… eg. not going out for coffee with a friend, not allowing oneself to enjoy a movie ect. It’s life’s “little pleasures” which, in the end, make ones life worth living and completely denying them, to me, would be non-beneficial. Social needs are also important for people — and to have fun. I think the regular persons fight nowadays is how to use the many, many forms of entertainment thrown at us in a way that is both fulfilling and entertaining… in a way that doesn’t seem wasteful. Life is not solely about “growth” as a human being; to me it’s enjoying life and not feeling guilty, but also feeling inspired enough to pursue some form of meaning.

  9. I have, as of 2-3 weeks ago, hit the point where my self-discipline kicked in, and now every day is an optimization challenge. I love it, and my confidence is getting to interesting levels. My life is naturally rather isolated, and encourages self-reflection and productivity. This post is spot-on.

  10. As a martial artist I would follow the Japanese model called Gogeshio. This is a warriors retreat whereby you push yourself beyond all limits physically, mentally, and ultimately in transcendent clarity you achieve a spiritual quality to your art. Many of the historical Masters, Mas Oyama, Goshin Fonikoshi, and Myamoto Musahi would go off into the mountains isolated and train their techniques with single minded focus. a rule was, “For as many hours that you sleep so shall you train” 8 hrs. sleep 8 hrs. training. For three months in the wilderness alone with your self had such a profound effect on these warriors that when they returned to normal society they were often glorified for their incredible insight and superior mental ability. To do this in today’s society this is not realistic. We had a training camp in northern Ontario that we’d prepare for a 10 day challenge and even with such a short period it had a profound effect.

  11. Thank you for the insight. I’ve become more prone to isolation the past year, and I’m loving it. Sadly, I haven’t got half as much done as I wish I would have. Part of the problem is the people trying to pull me back into the bottom. I am currently in my last year of college and people are always trying to get me to hang out, drink, or “chill”.. Some people understand that I enjoy my alone time, but there is one friend who is the biggest AFC I’ve met and he gets all pissy when I don’t want to hang out. He doesn’t seem to get that I’m not avoiding him, I’m avoiding everybody. It’s very frustrating, and there isn’t one day when the kid isn’t inviting me to join him in some mundane, counterproductive shit that he enjoys doing. What is the best way to handle this? When I’m up front about it I’m a recipient of passive aggressive behavior. Disclaimer: I’ve known this kid for years (we grew up around the corner from each other) and he decided to attend the same school as me. He’s always acted like this, being he grew up a spoiled only child with inadequate attention from his parents, so it isn’t as easy to get my point across as it is with others. It also sucks that my roommate has him over a lot so it’s hard to be unaffected. This kid doesn’t know how to spend time alone, also has no drive to do anything.

    Sorry for asking help with this soap opera fucking garbage, but I am in need of some assistance here. I just want to achieve full-blown monk mode, and UNFORTUNATELY this is the problem I have with meeting that expectation.

    1. He sounds like a parasite who will drag you down or keep you at the bottom if that’s where you already are. You have to hold firm and say NO. See him on your terms, if he will not respect your boundaries and your desire to improve yourself, then consider kicking him out of your life for he is toxic. Being bitchy/passive aggressive is not a good reason to give into him, that’s just him coercing you. He has issues and could probably do with some monk mode himself, although spoiled as he is I’m not sure if this article would get through to him either. He may be your childhood friend but that shouldn’t give him the right to dictate your future and how you plan for it now. You need to hold firm, put your foot down, say NO and stick to your guns. Define your boundaries and ensure he conforms to them, or get rid of him and kick him out of your life for good. Best of luck.

  12. Great read. Just bought Think and Grow Rich and Mastery 2 weeks ago. I have been coming into contact with people and reading articles such as these which brings those things I am learning into full circle. I am on a journey towards personal development and growth and enjoy communities such as this one which aligns with my new found focus.

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