Category Archives: Beliefs

Always Increase Your Thinking Power

Stay Ahead of The Pack

In NLP there’s an idea that flexibility is huge asset.

Meaning if you could choose one “trait,” that would help the most, in most situations, it would be flexibility.

Not the touching-your-toes kind of flexibility, but being flexible in how you can respond in any given situation.

Take a look at humans vs. the rest of the animals, for example.

One thing that gave us an advantage back in the day was a sexual division of labor.

Men hunted, and women gathered.

Compared to all other animals, where both men and women get the same food.

Because we split (for whatever reason) we could live in twice as many environments.

If we couldn’t hunt in any area, we could gather. If we couldn’t gather, we could hunt.

Being individually flexible is also a huge advantage.

If you are given a problem, and you only have one way of solving it, what happens if you get stuck?

But if you always have several ways of solving problems, you can solve a LOT more problems.

Which means you’ll be worth a LOT more money.

Being able to speak several languages is better than only one.

Being fluent in several subjects (math, science, art, etc) is better than one.

Because the world is changing at such a rapid pace, it’s tough to keep up.

Unfortunately, the world isn’t going to sit around and wait while we try and figure out what to do.

It’s going to keep on moving forward.

With or without us.

You can choose to keep up, and prosper.

Or even stay a little bit a head.

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Get Lucky

Knock Three Times For Luck

We humans are pretty goofy with our superstitions.

There’s a pretty funny TV show where a guy was staying at his friends house.

The friend’s name was Charlie. Charlie’s mom came downstairs to lock the front door, and then turn out the lights.

But she did everything in threes.

Meaning she locked and unlocked the door three times. Turned the light off and on three times.

Each time counting, “one, two, three.”

Finally Charlie’s friend asked Charlie’s mom why she did that.

“So Charlie doesn’t die,” she said matter-of-factly.

Charlie shrugged, like it was no big deal.

While that was a pretty funny scene, we humans are pretty crazy when it comes to superstitions.

Like “knock on wood,” which means “good luck” originates from back when they thought evil spirits lived in trees, and by knocking the tree, you’d chase away the bad spirits.

Scientists believe that we humans “connect” feelings and emotions to things pretty easily.

It helped us survive when we had to chase food, and sometimes food chased us.

Back in those days, you couldn’t afford to sit around and reason things out.

Yet here we are, connecting goofy feelings to things that don’t really make sense.

Of course, you can use this if you want.

(Just be careful!)

One way is to get people talking about things they really want.

Their ideal future. How they imagine it happening.

The more you get them speaking in specific detail (using their ideas and their words) the better they’ll feel.

And you can easily “connect” those good feelings to pretty much anything you want.

So long as you aren’t overtly cheating them, they’ll love you.

Especially if you’re selling anything.

Why?

Because if the product is anywhere close to being a good fit, they’ll ALWAYS associate it with their deepest desires.

Of course, you don’t need to use this to sell things.

If you just want them to feel really good, and associate those good feelings with you, it will work just as well.

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How To Become Attractive

Why Opposite Usually Works

There are a lot of metaphors about doing the opposite of what you think you should do.

A poem by Rumi, the ancient Sufi poet, wrote about how when we “think” we’re walking into the water, we’re really walking into the fire, and vice versa.

If you’ve ever had a crush on somebody and your instincts told you to tell them EVERYTHING, certain that would get them to reciprocate your feelings, you probably found it had the opposite effect.

There’s that old saying that “what we resist persists.” The more we try to avoid something, the more we seem to make it come true.

What feels good in the short term (like eating cheeseburgers and playing video games) usually plays havoc on out long term success.

Even in Star Wars, Obi Won told Luke to “let go and surrender to the force” because he was trying to hard.

This idea shows up in movies, philosophy and everywhere in between.

There was even one episode of Seinfeld where George Costanza did everything the “opposite way” and it worked like a charm.

(Of course, since it was a comedy, he’d do things like walk up to gorgeous women several inches taller than him, tell them he was unemployed and lived with is parents, and they’d fall madly in love with him.)

How can we apply this to real life?

One way is how we get our ideas across to others.

We think if we say the magic words or become super persuasive with our ideas (backed by our pictures in our mind) we’ll somehow override the pictures and ideas in the minds of others.

But if they are doing the same thing (which most everybody is) then it turns into an “idea contest.” Or a “who can describe their ideas the best” contest.

The interesting thing is our ideas are pretty vague. Ours and everybody else’s.

Which means if you ditch your ideas (just for a little bit) and expand THEIR ideas, something pretty cool will happen.

One is they’ve likely never had anybody do this before.

Two is that the bigger their ideas (wants needs and desires) get, the “stickier” they’ll get.

Meaning they’ll start to see EVERYTHING (including you) through their newly expanded wants, needs and desires.

If you look at everything through a blue filter, everything will look blue.

If they look at everything through their wants, needs, and desires, they’ll see that as well.

It’s not intuitive, it’s certainly opposite, but it works like crazy.

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How To Stand Out

How To Project Attractive Behavior

Women are much better than guys at reading body language.

They step into a party and know right away who’s into whom, and who’s not.

Which means if you are radiating the wrong “energy,” there’s not much you can do to build attraction.

When I say “energy” I mean the sum total of all your gestures, movements, voice tone, etc.

All of your non-verbal communication and behavior.

Men get attracted by how she looks.

Women get attracted by how men behave.

What behavior does she like?

Or more importantly, what behavior makes her attracted, whether she likes it or not?

Somebody who is not needy. Somebody that thinks she’s cute, but isn’t desperate for her company.

Somebody that looks at women and thinks, “Hmm, she’s cute, but cute girls are a dime a dozen. I wonder what her personality is like?”

Somebody that is confident in their own skin.

Now, she doesn’t think all of this consciously. She just FEELS IT. And usually within a few seconds.

Unfortunately, if she’s NOT feeling it, there’s not much you can do.

On the other hand, if she IS feeling it, there’s not much you NEED to do.

Just smile and say, “Hi,” and wait to see what she ways.

How do you build this behavior?

More importantly, how do you build this behavior so you radiate it naturally, wherever you go, without needing to think?

It’s pretty easy.

It’s just a matter of your frame of mind that you train in.

Most guys rely on their “factory settings” in their brain.

But your mindset, how you see the world, how you see girls, is pretty easy to shift.

And once you do, you’ll be amazed how much better everything looks.

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Social Confidence

How To Make An Awesome Impression On People

Social Confidence

We humans tend to make a lot of decisions based on unconscious triggers.

Much more than we’d like to admit.

As an animal, we are self-organizing, hierarchical, pack animals.

Meaning we always either try to be an authority, or defer to an authority.

They put a bunch of people in a room, and soon one guy is the “leader.”

We make a lot of purchasing decisions the same way.

If some guy with TONS of authority is selling something, we don’t usually question the quality of what he’s selling.

This only works with some products, though.

If a famous person was promoting a new burger chain, and the burgers tasted like moldy dirt, we’d only eat their once.

But the HARDER it is to check the quality of something, the MORE we defer to these “triggers” when making decisions.

Take an exercise and diet program for example. The only real way to test if it works or not is to try it out for a couple months.

But since there are so many out there, it’s not logistically possible to try them all.

We’d be dead before we finished!

So we tend to rely on things like Authority, Social Proof, and other triggers.

Most of the time, when something is hard to judge on it’s own merit, we almost always use some kind of shortcut to help us out.

For example, when we meet somebody, we really don’t want to spend a couple weeks getting to know them to see what kind of person they are.

So we look for triggers to help us.

Who they’re with, the clothes they wear, and most importantly, how they carry themselves.

Short of any obvious triggers like Authority (are they famous?) or Social Proof (do they have a huge entourage?), we have to judge them based on the subtle and subconscious behavior.

Which is an outward representation of how they judge themselves.

Meaning if they like and respect themselves, it will come across how they walk and talk.

Which means we’ll like and respect them.

In a sense, it’s kind of like those elections in third grade, where everybody voted for themselves for president.

YOU can instruct other how to feel about YOU.

All you’ve got to do is feel about YOU how you’d like other people to feel about YOU.

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Maximize Your Power

How To Play Both Sides

Maximize Your Power

Once I had to hire somebody for a lab I worked for.

I was co-interviewing with my boss, and we were having trouble filling the position.

One of the applicants looked really good on paper but he came across rather stiff.

He even described himself as a “lone-wolf” kind of guy.

And since working in the lab required talking to a lot of different departments and being proactive, we decided to give this guy a pass.

Sometimes it’s cool to be a “lone wolf.”

I’ve done a lot of backpacking, and generally it’s better to have fewer people than more.

The more people you have, the longer it takes to make a decision.

But with only a couple of guys, you tend to spend less time talking and more time walking.

Whenever you have an objective that doesn’t necessarily involve a lot of people, like fixing your sink or cleaning out your garage, being a lone wolf is generally best.

Get in there, get it done, and then get out.

If you had six of your buddies over while you tried to fix your sink, it’d NEVER get done.

Some people are terrible about playing the “lone wolf.”

Whenever they decide something important, they need to talk to as many people as possible and get all kinds of different opinions.

Clearly, it’s limiting to be either a lone wolf all the time, or a social butterfly all the time.

It’s very effective to be able to shift into either mindset depending on the task at hand.

But some people are much better shifting into one than the other.

If you can only do one, you’re limiting yourself.

But if you can do both, you can be pretty marketable.

You can tell any interviewer, for example, that you can get along with all sorts of people and work well within groups, but you also know when to turn on the tunnel vision and get things done.

Not only can you switch sides when needed, but that will come across in your energy.

You can radiate both intense focus as well as socially powerful energy.

Making you stand out from everybody no matter where you go.

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Story Collector

Be A Collector Of Stories

Story Collector

When I was a kid we would organize these scavenger hunts in the neighborhood.

Somebody would organize a list of weird things. Then we’d break into teams and go around the neighborhood and knocked on doors.

Whoever collected all the stuff (yellow clothespin, etc.) would win.

Then later when I was in Boy Scouts, we had a similar game, but it was more like low level “hazing” for new kids.

We’d go to these huge jamborees with hundreds of different troops.

And we’d send kids around looking for things that didn’t exist.

Like left handed smoke shifter, or a bacon stretcher.

Everybody was in on it, and pretty soon the new kids would figure out they’d been had. Most of them would keep going around, because it was pretty fun.

But me and my buddy would purposely go around to all the different troops and ask for the craziest stuff we could think of.

Just to see if they could keep a straight face while telling us another troop (the one that happened to be furthest away) had it.

It was also a good way to stay away from your own troop, because you hung around your own troop, the adults would eventually give you something to do.

Talking to people can be incredibly rewarding.

Even if you don’t have any intention other than passing the time.

Because most people are pretty interesting.

And the more people you talk to, the more stories you’ll pick up.

Sure, a lot of people won’t offer much, but a few will.

You can think of other people’s stories like “resources.”

So when you DO find yourself talking to somebody that you would like to persuade or influence, telling stories is a great way to do it.

Or if all you want to do is develop deep rapport, perhaps to start a relationship, stories can be a good way to do that.

They tell a story, and you relate a story that happened to a friend of yours.

Each story you collect can be a resource to further deepen your relationships with people you’ll later meet.

Think about that next time you see a huge crowd of people roaming about.

Think of how many stories they might have.

Then go and collect them.

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Social Confidence

Give Away Yourself For Easy Conversational Power

I’ve been the best man a couple of times at weddings.

Both times, after giving the toast, it was a blast.

First, you’re wearing a tuxedo. Second, if you’ve given a halfway decent toast, everybody knows you.

Also, you feel like you have an “obligation” to mingle.

Which means you can “operate” pretty effectively. Work the crowd. Start conversations with attractive strangers.

Since it’s expected, and you’re part of the wedding party, there is ZERO CHANCE of getting rejected.

Now, here’s an interesting idea on human nature.

People will treat us EXACTLY like we treat ourselves.

If we think we suck, people will treat us AS IF we suck.

It’s as if we humans have this sixth sense. We see somebody approaching, and we’re sure what to do.

So we look for evidence to help us. If the person is smiling, confident and relaxed, and acting like they truly LIKE THEMSELVES, we are much more likely to like them.

On the other hand, if they are nervous, closed off and look like they’re scared of something, we will get scared as well.

Imagine how easy it would be to talk to people if you’re job was to give away hundred dollar bills.

Imagine if you had to approach however many people you wanted to and said your name.

If they said their name, you’d give them a hundred bucks and walk away. But if they didn’t, you wouldn’t give them anything, and walk away.

Pretty easy job, right?

Just doing this job for a few days would make you LOVE people.

Now suppose that you VALUED YOURSELF at more than a hundred bucks.

That you TRULY BELIEVED that somebody interacting with you was worth MORE than a hundred dollars.

And not only that, but THEY believed it ONLY BECAUSE you believed it.

How enjoyable would life be?

Pretty enjoyable! You would LOVE to meet new people.

And people would LOVE to meet you.

The truth is that “meaning” is pretty flexible.

And with consistent practice, you can “build up” how much you VALUE yourself.

So every time you do start a conversation with a stranger, you sincerely believe you are PROVIDING value to them.

This is easy to do with practice.

So start practicing. Click here to learn how.

Beware The Dangers of Safety

Unexpected Chains Of Events

The other day I had one of those nights where things end up much different than you planned. I figured it be a night when you start off thinking you are going to go out, grab a bite to eat, maybe watch a few play of the game on TV at your local sports bar over a beer or two and call it a night. Sometimes, despite not having any plans on a Saturday, it still feels good to hit the sack early on Friday.

But, thirteen hours after my night had started, things didn’t look like they were going to slow up any bit. In fact, they seemed like they were just getting started.

I used to work with this guy that kept a religious schedule when it came to sleeping. He would wake up early during the weekday, and he was a subscriber to the idea of never sleeping in, even one minute later than normal, on the weekends. He thought that would completely ruin his sleep pattern, and make it much more difficult to “catch up” if he cheated.

I suppose that makes sense, but all that willpower you can seemingly muster every morning when the alarm goes off just isn’t there on a Saturday. I mean what’s wrong with hitting the snooze a few times?

Keeping a strict, routine, predictable schedule is important to a lot of people. I know folks who have gone to the same restaurant for years and only order on or two things. To them ordering even a different dessert is a stretch. There is plenty of marketing data that clearly indicates, as we get older, they are much less flexible in their thinking. For companies that rely on brand loyalty, that is a good thing.

But for new companies, or companies that are trying to launch a new product that is targeted toward an older market, this can be quite a tough sell. The trick is to make it seem like by choosing the new product, they will be holding fast to their old beliefs and habits.

This isn’t as hard as it seems at first, as it all gets back to your ability to leverage criteria. Many people have a criterion of familiarity. All you need to do is convince them of all the things about this new product that they are already familiar with, and it will make the decision to switch products, or start using a new product that much easier.

There has been a lot of research done that whatever it is that we value in any particular thing is not only largely subjective, but internally generated as well. The actual object, obviously, is not internally generated, but the feelings and ideas and beliefs we have about the object are. Recent studies have shown brain scans which suggest that up to 40% of ALL of our perceptions of the world are internally generated. That is we perceive something with one or more of our senses, and our brains only detect enough of whatever it is to fire off an internal memory of that particular object. Then the internal memory is referenced as much as possible. Just like a huge memory cache, in order to save on neural processing speed.

We take our brains for granted, but twenty percent of our energy goes to keeping our brains active. That’s a lot of energy, so it makes sense to have some kind of built in system to maximize its efficiency.

So if you’d like to convince somebody that something that they’ve never seen before is actually quite familiar to them, you just need to figure out what their criteria are for that particular thing. It’s just matter of developing enough rapport to be able to elicit sufficient information regarding that internal representation, of whatever it is, and then showing them that the new object fits that representation just as well, or even better, than the old one.

When I used to sell cars, I was amazed at how well some of the salespeople would “switch” customers from the car they thought they wanted, to one that was available. And it wasn’t any kind of strong-arm persuasion tactic. I sat in, as a trainee, on some of these conversations between salesperson and customer. It was almost as if the salesperson was simply helping the customer come to the conclusion that the other car (the one they were “switched” to) was actually a much better choice for them. And they always allowed the customer to believe that it was all their decision, and the salesperson was just there to help them fill out the paperwork.

Personally, though, no matter how much I intellectually know that waking up at the same time every day makes much more sense, I still have developed sufficient willpower to go to sleep at the same time on a Friday night, let alone wake up at the same time on Saturday. Maybe I just need to persuade myself that waking up early on Saturday fulfills the same criteria as staying up late on Friday, so I can get some better sleep on the weekends.

But by the time Saturday afternoon rolled around, and I realized that I was going on more than twenty four hours without any sleep, the fact we were all at the amusement park with those foreign exchange students let met to pretty much give up on anything turning out normal that weekend. My two drinks and make it an early night had gone down in serious flames, and I had given in to the energy of the moment. And what happened after that was what really made me realize something needed to be done.

But that is for another story.

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Success with NLP

Beware Of Ancient Fears Infecting Modern Language

Pistols At Dawn

I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday, and I noticed something interesting about her speech. She had always spoken like that, but I hadn’t talked to her in quite a while. Last time we spoke was before I had become interested in language, having read several books on linguistics and other interesting tricks of language, most notably books by Pinker, Lakoff, and Grinder/Bandler.

The thing I noticed now, that I didn’t notice before was her heavy use of indirect speech. For example, I would say “A,” and she would then think “Because of A, then B,” with “B” being something that didn’t sound like such a good thing. But because she didn’t want to (either consciously or unconsciously) blurt right out “B!” She would always hide it behind layers of presuppositions and vague references.

For example, she would mention wanting more money at work, and I would suggest asking her boss for a raise. Instead of saying the obvious “If I ask for a raise, he’ll say no, and think less of me for asking.”

Which is a common enough fear, and generally the immediate reaction of most people when thinking about asking for a raise. But instead of blurting that right out, she’d say something like:

“I’m not sure if I have the presence of mind right now to think of what would happen if I were to do that.”

Which sounds innocent enough, until you unpack that seemingly simple statement and see what she’s really saying:

She is assuming that “presence of mind,” (whatever that is) is something that is difficult to identify, as she’s not sure if she has it or not.

Something called “presence of mind,” is required to understand the result of a request for more money.

“If I were to do that,” is stated as a second conditional. A first conditional is an “if..then” statement using the present tense, which presumes it is something that is likely to occur.

If it rains, I will get wet.
If I spend my money, I won’t have any.
If I drive too fast, I may get a ticket.

While the second conditional, with the past tense, is used for things that we don’t expect will happen, or are impossible.

If I asked my boss for a raise, he would say no.
If I saw a UFO, I would run.

So in response to a suggestion to ask for more money, she hides her “no, I’m too afraid” behind about three layers of linguistic protection.

If you’ve ever listened to a politician speak, you can tell right away that there speech is usually filled with layers and layers of vague ambiguity, so nobody can ever pin them down on what they said, if things go wrong, and if things go right, they can claim they had something to do with it.

It’s no wonder the joke, “how do you tell a politician is lying – when his lips are moving,” is so funny.

In one of the aforementioned books, Pinker was talking about how in societies where they have a history of class distinction, where upper class people could legally kill lower class people, (or other upper class people if they situation warranted it) they have developed a very polite level of speech, which can exist hundreds of years after the threat of violence.

If you were talking to some guy that was carrying weapons, and by offending him you risked getting your head slice off, you’d quickly learn to speak politely. It doesn’t take long for such a society to develop polite language. The American South is one such example. If you said the wrong thing to the wrong person, he would demand “Satisfaction,” and you’d have a gunfight at twenty paces on your hands.

Those that study linguistics on a much deeper evolutionary level suggest that all indirect speech has its roots in ancient fears of immediate reprisals. It doesn’t sound dangerous in the least to ask your boss for a raise, at least not from the standpoint of physical violence, but nevertheless, those feelings of fear cause us to hide our real feelings beneath several layers of “politeness” and vague ambiguity.

There is a fascinating book called “Mean Genes,” which illustrates all the ways that our automatic impulses that helped us immensely in our evolutionary past can be a real pain in the you-know-what in modern society. Stuffing our face until we can’t move when we are in the presence of food is one example that you can see everywhere you look in modern western society.

In the past, the several thousand year ago past, that impulse was beneficial. People would go several days without food, and when they finally got some, all other concerns were put on the back burner, and it was time to eat until the food was gone.

Not so helpful when you pass by three McDonalds, two Dunkin Donuts and a Bakery on the way to work every morning.

Of course, the great hope of modern humankind is to rise above our evolutionary based fears, and the ability to use our rational, conscious minds to think our ways around those pesky impulses to plan our future, instead of letting our impulses plan it for us.

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