Learning to Understand Yourself: Part 1

Each and every ‘Intensive Program’ that I have the opportunity to teach is a blessing. The reason is simple: I learn just as much from each student learn from the information the Kingpin Social Intensive Program delivers. This weekend was no different, and if anything, I took more away from this one than any other as the weekend elicited emotions I had repressed for many years. Digging into the history of the clients that I taught brought to the surface some of the things my own mind had hidden from my vision for a long time.

Learning to Understand Yourself is a story about the memories and emotions that are so often repressed, yet affect our everyday life. Each moment that you exist your unconscious beliefs trickle into your conscious experience. Enjoy the read, and look forward to Part 2 soon. If this piece speaks to you, help spread the word by sharing it with your friends, posting it on your Facebook or tweeting about it.

Food Court: February 16, 1999


The gray skies illuminate the busy food court. The vibe is clean, organized, efficient. White and silver chairs shimmer with the sky cast light surrounding the two men sitting in the center of focus. The dark skinned man dawns a beige and white plaid shirt. His black cap overrides his curly hair. His student sits across from him looking intently at a middle aged man on the level below.

“What are you thinking about?” Brian speaks up and asks his student. His students eyes remain locked on the man one level below. The fourth floor gives a perfect vantage point for the two men to take a step back from the world and put on their observation goggles.

“I wonder what he’s thinking,” Joe responds.

Step Back

Brian looks at the man on the third floor. His oversized winter jacket adds mediocrity to his look. The black briefcase that hangs off the man’s right shoulder doesn’t match the steel–toe work boots worn by his feet. He stands next to the railing that overlooks the levels below. The man’s wandering eyes lack focus.

“Joe. What’s the difference between being conscious and being un–conscious?” Brian quizzes. Joe takes a few silent moments to ponder the question. In slow motion Joe opens his mouth to respond. Each word leaks with a certain weight that adds concrete knowledge to his teacher’s question.

“Making decisions vs. not making decisions,” Joe states with certainty.


Each bootcamp that I teach adds more depth to my insight. I’m so thankful for each student that I have the opportunity to impact. My name is Brian Mark. I study the art of Social Dynamics. I’ve dedicated my life to this practice because I believe that the things I believe in have the power to change the world.

I’ve always struggled to find my identity. Up to the age of 15 I didn’t have any habits that I could be proud of. I spent Junior High fantasizing about Runescape – an online game that allows you to gain experience points by playing your created character. Runescape ran my life. The more you played, the higher the level your character was able to achieve. Runescape, complex in design, made it difficult to level up. I never found the time to escape it. I always wanted to reach the next level in my gaming. And the level after that. And the level after that. Take a second to imagine how severely that affected my ability to socialize in the real world.

15 years old came with some changes. I was graduating Junior High and heading into High School. I had spent the summer of Grade 9–10 working out and getting in better shape. Overweight and unhappy, I refused to allow my genetics to run my life and was determined to fight the person that people said I was meant to be. I never played any sports when I was younger. I had a natural athleticism that I never took advantage of. 15 years of gaming left me with a low self-esteem. I was afraid to try new sports because I was afraid of failure.

This led me to develop a video game addiction like no other. I wasn’t in control of how much I played because I didn’t know what else to do. Gaming made me feel good, and why wouldn’t you want to feel good, right? I had a microphone that I could talk to people on. I had an online chat that I could participate in. My social life, my emotional life, my everything could be accessed on the computer in front of me. Real life relationships were not something that ever took priority in my life. I would ditch my friends to play Runescape. I would skip school to feed my addiction. I would do anything to be on my computer and away from the risks of the world. I was safe in my home.

It was comfortable.


The Public Library: February 16, 1999


“Much of your sub-conscious mind’s development happens in the younger years of your life,” Brian states. “At the moment of birth your possibilities are unlimited. The family you are born into raised you in “x” way, which gives you “x” beliefs and values about the world which shape the way that you live the rest of your life,” he finishes.

Brian circles the room staring into nothingness. His brain organizes the next words that come out of his mouth as he feels his throat creating words that manifest images into his audience’s mind. Consciousness leaks into Brian’s life and causes an internal fire to burn.

“Every day your unconscious beliefs trickle into your conscious experience,” Brian states. “Your eyes see the world and bring into it images that automatically filter themselves through the conscious and sub-conscious parts of your mind. Your perception of these images determines how you react to them. Some of these things scare you. Some of them excite you. We’re here to talk about the things that limit you.” Brian feels his heart sink as his heart opens up. Immediately his mind races back to the day of his final High School football game, the City Championships.

The man had such a love for the game of Football. It was the one thing that took Brian away from his video games once and for all. Video games were such a major part of his life because there was a void. The void that was missing was emotion. Fear limited Brian from connecting with people and allowing them to be in his life for long periods of time. Brian’s childhood took away the love from him that he experienced. Hopping from elementary to elementary school wasn’t easy. Each time the young version of the lad would begin to love his friends he would have to move away from them. In the moment it seemed like a typical move from house to house. To the young man, though, his brain registered the belief that “if he falls in love with something, it will leave him.”

The Observer

This fear kept Brian from allowing long-term relationships to happen… and he wasn’t even aware of it.

“Football was the first long-term relationship that I had,” Brian speaks of the thoughts that ran through his mind in the library. Emotion wells up and ties knots into his stomach. The students listen with intensity as Brian’s voice begins to emphasize the words that mean so much to him. “I loved Football with all my heart. I was convinced that I was going to play it for the rest of my life at that point. That scared me though. For some reason it was hard for me to fully accept Football as my identity. I didn’t feel like I deserved to be on the field that I loved. Because I didn’t feel like I deserved it, I didn’t play my heart out.” The fear of the emotion: love, kept him from achieving his dreams.

“My heart sunk. I could stand to look at myself in the mirror when I lost that game. My self-esteem needed validation as people told me the story they believed to be true.” Brian recalls the things that the people used to say to him after the game. They used to tell him that “he played his heart out,”… that “at least he made it to the finals!” They didn’t understand.

“I’ve come to realize that I did the best job that I knew how to with the information that I knew at the time. I wanted to succeed. I really did. There was something inside of me that held me back from winning that game. I couldn’t figure it out,” Brian states. His mind didn’t see him winning the game. He never saw the solution to winning the game. In the 4th quarter he had already accepted the loss. “I had no idea that it had to do with the way that my sub-conscious brain perceived the things that were happening around me. I had already accepted the loss in the 4th quarter. I controlled the outcome of that game with my present-moment perception of the images that my mind took in.”


The best part about bootcamp for me is that I learn just as much as my students. I live my life by the fundamental laws of Social Dynamics. I understand them enough to be able to teach them in unlimited different perspectives. Each student I teach is a new perspective that dawns on the theory I live by, which improves it to be even more diverse and applicable for everyone that takes the course.

Talk about a Win–Win.

This weekend focused on limiting beliefs. There were things inside of my students minds that held them back from achieving the level of success they wanted. Everything that you want is outside of your comfort zone otherwise you would have it. Fear is the six foot fence on the outside of your comfort zone. The way that you do something is the way that you do everything. Fear must be overcome before you can get the things that you want out of life.

I’ve always been afraid of loving people. When I was younger my mind never learned how to love fully and selflessly. As a child I chose to limit my love because I moved too much and each time I moved away from a place my young mind would stay attached to the people that were left behind. The people that I left continued to live their lives as if nothing had happened. I was left to sit in my basement with images of them, and these images would never leave my mind.

There came a time in my younger life that I refused to allow myself to love anymore.

This belief has never served me. The truth is that I was never aware of it. It was rooted so deeply at the core of my mind’s development that it never trickled into my conscious awareness. Sigmund Freud described the un-conscious as having “memories and events that have been repressed and under normal circumstances cannot be uncovered.” The truth is that the memories and experiences of our past – especially our younger years – shape the beliefs that we have about the world today. Every day our unconscious beliefs that we often aren’t even aware of are trickling into our conscious experience, and affecting our daily lives.

Some of those beliefs help us. Some of them limit us.


Public Library: February 17, 1999


Tension fills the room as the conversation dives beyond the surface level and into the very core that shapes who we all are.

“Describe to me some of the events of your childhood,” Brian states as he looks his friend in the eye. Thomas fell silent as the unconscious memories he had repressed began to surface themselves. They flood his conscious mind like a tidal wave as he opens his mouth to share the story he had buried deep down for such a long time.

“My caregiver and I never had a good relationship. She had the ability to turn on me so fast. One second she would be loving and compassionate, the next she would scream at me in anger,” Thomas speaks up. Brian looks his student in the eye as his mind floods with memories of his own childhood. Similarities bond the student and teacher. Brian’s thoughts wander back to his childhood and the memories that had been repressed for years until he decided to do some digging. “I ended up separating myself from my mother. I no longer cared when she raged at me. I no longer cared when she loved me. It wasn’t worth the pain.” Thomas finishes.

Self Awareness

Waves of emotion pulse their way throughout the room. The aura of Thomas grew strong as his brain became increasingly aware of the things that had limited him for years.

“Your mother is the first woman that you see as you come into this world,” Brian circles the room as he switches his marker from hand to hand. Thomas, Joe and Mikey B pay attention to the speaker, without knowing the speakers mind isn’t even in the room. His brain reflects on the experiences that have made him into who he is today.

“If you don’t have a positive relationship with the first woman you see when you come into the world, how do you think your other relationships with women will be for the rest of your life?” Brian asks. He looks Thomas in the eyes. The rim of Thomas’ eyes were the color of deep ocean waters. The middle of his eyes flood with sky blue. The centre of his teal eyes engulfed with white clouds, surrounding his pupils flooded an oceanic tinge. Thomas stared into nothingness as he responds.

“I’ve never had a real girlfriend.”


  1. Cool and introspective piece Brian. One minor technical feedback: In a third person perspective, narratives should be consistently written in the past tense. i.e “Brian [looked] at the man on the third floor.”

    I really value your ability to objectively dissect your experiences and place confidence in what they mean in contrast to your maxims/philosophies. A great example of someone who silences their limiting beliefs in order to get to the truth. I’ve been (and sometimes return to) at the same point as you have, where the people that I connected with moved on while I still held on to the connection that wasn’t there anymore rather than moving to make new connections and/or build them. Never lament the parting of any road and find your stride within your new path.

    I liked how you dropped Freud in as well. Any recommendations on any books/resources to get a crash course in Freud?

  2. Angelo that was my bad with the past-tense/present-tense. Thought present-tense had greater impact for the story. Thanks for the feedback though. 🙂

  3. Thanks or the feedback Angelo!

    You’re right. You must know the road you have arrived on before you can see the road ahead of you.

    I started reading online before I dove into books. Send me your email and I will give you some online resources.

  4. Hey Brian, I believe we are FB friends? Could you message me there? Online resources would be great. Looking forward to part 2 fellas!

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