Tag Archives: Congruence

How Does She Know You’re Lying?


I was reading this book a few weeks ago. It was an old, out of print book that I picked up in some old bookshop, by an author that wrote another, more popular book that I’d read. So naturally, I picked it up, since it was only a quarter. The first book “Dress For Success” by John Molloy was a bestseller, and although written back during the seventies had all kinds of useful advice for what kinds of clothes to wear in what kinds of situations.

The interesting thing about Dress For Success was that it wasn’t written as an opinion piece, it wasn’t just another collection of self-proclaimed fashion guru’s advice based on his own personal tastes and experience. The materials in the book were the results of scientific research. The author owned some kind of social research organization, and they would frequently conduct “experiments” by sending people out in public, and have them perform certain tasks. And the only variable they would vary was the clothes that the people wore.

Of course, many of the results were the results of surveys, e.g. asking people’s opinions after “experimenters” would pass by wearing certain clothes. One example is that they had a bunch of guys go out wearing black raincoats. Then they would follow them, and ask people what they thought of them. They would say they were doing an experiment, and have them fill out a questionnaire. Invariably, the people that were wearing beige raincoats were judged to be more professional, and more upper class than those wearing black raincoats.

Another interesting experiment was they sent several men out in public, and had them eat in a restaurant. After they’d finished eating, they’d explain to the waiter/waitress that they’d forgotten their wallet, that contained their ID’s, but they had their checkbook. (This was before debit cards were invented, and many people still paid by personal check). About 80% of the guys swearing button down shirts with ties had their checks accepted, while almost none of the guys without ties had their checks accepted.

The entire book was filled with useful information on how to dress if you are interested in how others perceive you.

But this other book, called “Live for Success,” was more about general lifestyle habits rather than what kinds of clothes you should wear.

For example, they had several guys that were wearing clothes and had bodies and faces as close together as they could get. The randomized them, and then had them walk into social environments, like bars or clubs, for a long enough period of time so that people would remember them when asked a few minutes later.

Half of the group walked with their shoulders slumped forward, and their head hanging down. The other group walked with erect posture, shoulders rolled back, and head straight up. Keep in mind that everything else between each group was as consistent as they could make it. Clothing, hairstyle, facial makeup, facial hair, etc. What the found, although not really surprising, was interesting nonetheless. The group with erect posture was rated an 8 out of 10, on average, while the guys with poor posture were rated at a 6.5 out of ten. The obvious take away from this is that simply by walking with correct posture, holding your shoulders back, and your head up will increase your “attractiveness” score by a full point and a half out of ten.

What I found to be the most interesting chapter was on congruence. They did a case study on a guy that, on paper, should have been a fairly likeable guy. Decent job, decent family, good income, decent education. But when they interviewed his friends and coworkers, they all described him in completely distasteful terms. The company that employed him had consulted with Malloy’s company (the author of the book) to try and determine what it was about this guy that turned people off so much. Many times people just couldn’t stand to even be in the same room him. The guy didn’t swear, didn’t have excessive body odor, didn’t leer at females inappropriately, nothing obvious that you would think of when you would hear somebody described with such obvious distaste. Nevertheless, whenever his coworkers would see this poor guy coming, they would make a beeline in the other direction.

After a few weeks of study, Malloy and his associates found out what it was. The guy was completely incongruent. His facial expression was incongruent with his message, his body language was incongruent with his speech, and even when he was agreeing verbally with what somebody was saying, his body language and facial expression was screaming the complete opposite. His body language, facial expressions and gestures were always completely opposite of his speech and his language.

Now this may have had some deep psychological reasons based on childhood or something, but Malloy and his associates weren’t there to fix that. All they were hired to do was to find out what it was about his guy that turned people off so much. Once they put their finger on it, they gave him some exercises and pointers to get his non-verbal communication more in line with his verbal communication. They had him do practice exercises in the mirror, hold his head and body still while he was talking, and other things that slowly brought his body language in line with what his verbal message was.

The interesting thing was that although everybody knew that didn’t want to be in the same room as this guy, nobody could quite put their finger on why. And it took a professional social research firm a few weeks to figure it out as well. After several week of practice, most people accepted him as “normal” and didn’t despise him as much. And he found it much easier to make friends, and be productive in his work when it involved interacting with others outside the company.

The clear take away from this is to always make sure you’re body language is in congruence with your verbal message. Any guy who has come home late at night, and tried to lie to his wife or girlfriend, knows how quickly significant others can pick up on incongruent communication, especially females. Females seem to be much better at picking up incongruencies in communication than males.

If you’re in sales, being incongruent can kill a sale before it even starts. Even if you believe in the product you are selling, your body language can shoot you in the foot. I used to work with this guy that would shake his head back and forth (the universal sign for “no”) whenever he talked about his product. This would turn of clients, as it appeared this guy had a distaste for his own product.

But the truth was, when he was speaking of his product, his thought was “nobody can do it better than us” which led to his head shaking. This was often misinterpreted by potential clients as a disbelief in his product’s quality. So even if you have a strong belief in something, you can project a conflicted message if you’re not careful.

The simple way around this is to simply get out of your head, focus on who you are speaking with, and focus on your message. Just like the guys in the bar, hold your head up, keep your back straight, and look them in the eye. You’ll have much more success this way.

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The Power Of Congruence

Fake It Till You Make It

The other night I was watching this movie called “The Sphere.” It was an OK movie that was taken from an OK book; it had some decent actors in there. I think they were trying to somehow tap into the idea that “our thoughts create our reality,” or something along those lines. This, of course, has been written about since time immemorial, but in the movie they had to introduce the idea through some alien spacecraft found at the bottom of the ocean.

What was interesting was that they had this huge laboratory way down deep underwater, all the way down deep, and the conditions on the bottom were completely calm, no matter how bad the conditions were on top. At some point in the movie, there was a need to communicate with the surface, but there was this huge storm brewing, and it was a question whether or not their communication ship would be able to get to the specific point or not. But deep down underneath the surface, it was just as calm and smooth as ever. No matter how rough and disastrous it seemed on the surface, down deep was always calm and stable.

Of course, when the so-called alien sphere started with messing with people’s heads, it became not so calm, until they figured out it was there own fears that was messing with them. Every character happened to see something that represented their worst fears. They figured that the alien sphere was somehow tapping into their fears and projecting them out around them. A nifty metaphor for the idea of creating our reality, good or bad. Whatever is internal will create the external, and whatever you see on the external is a reflection of whatever is going on internally.

I remember reading a discussion on an Internet form regarding seduction. They were discussing the efficacy of one “guru’s” method of acting a certain way around women. One particular camp seemed to be arguing that if you acted a certain way, you’d get a certain result. Like obviously if you smile at people, you’d much likelier get a smile in return than if you didn’t smile. But the other camp was arguing that exhibiting behavior that isn’t natural is “fake” and won’t work.

I guess an analogy would be to walk around forcing yourself to smile at people when you aren’t in a good mood, and see what would happen. It would be an interesting experiment. Start off with four groups, two happy, two unhappy. Then half of each group would smile at everybody for a day, and the other half wouldn’t. So you’d have half of the happy people smiling, and the other half forcing themselves to not smile. And the half the unhappy group would not smile, and the other half would force themselves to smile.

Here’s how I think the results would pan out:

The unhappy group that didn’t smile would remain unhappy, as only a small percentage of people would smile at them. And those that did, the unhappy group probably wouldn’t notice, since they’d be too busy being unhappy.

The unhappy group that forced themselves to smile would likely have a higher percentage of moving from unhappy to happy, as they’d probably get some return smiles, which in turn might make them happier.

The happy group that didn’t smile would probably have a tendency to become unhappy, as even though they were happy, they wouldn’t get any smiles from people, and that might cause them to feel sad.

Then of course the happy group that smiled, would likely increase in happiness, as their smiles would elicit return smiles, thereby increasing their happiness.

I believe that the two groups that acted in congruence with their true feelings would amplify their true feelings the most. The unhappy group that didn’t smile would become even unhappier, and the happy group that smiled would become happier.

But I also think that both groups that acted incongruent with their feelings might actually shift their feelings to be in congruence with their actions, to a certain extent. After a while, the happy people that didn’t smile may become unhappy, matching their feeling with their outward behavior. While the unhappy group that forced themselves to smile might become happy, matching their feeling with their outward behavior, despite it being forced.

The bottom line, then, is that congruent behavior that matches your internal state will amplify your internal state. But a consistent behavior that is incongruent with your internal state may be enough to change your internal state, until it becomes congruent with your internal state. Form follows function, and function follows form.

Of course, this is only one kind of congruence, and it’s assuming quite a bit that is probably impossible in real life. In real life, you can have some parts of your outward behavior that is congruent with your internal state, and some parts of your outward behavior that is completely incongruent with your internal state.

And of course your internal states maybe congruent themselves, leading to a mismatch of external behavior. You may be happy to see an old friend, on the one hand, but on the other hand a little nervous since the last time you met you got into a big fight. Or you may run into a girl or guy that you just started dating, but happen to be on a date with somebody else.

One thing that most success gurus preach over and over again is that the best way to reach your goals is to act and communicate as congruently as possible. If you have a goal to lose weight, but you eat ice cream every night, that’s not very congruent. If you want to become financially independent, but work over your credit cards, that’s not very congruent.

Incongruent behavior can be the result of subconscious conflict as well, and can often times be misinterpreted. If you are a guy, and you really like a certain girl, but are terrified of rejection, you may exhibit some less than useful interpersonal skills whenever you’re around her, making you come across as socially inept and unattractive. She may interpret this as you not valuing her very much. You may want to ask your boss for a raise, but are afraid of getting rejected, so you don’t put too much congruent effort into your proposal. Your boss will think that you may not believe you don’t really deserve the raise, and subsequently reject you, giving you the fear you feared most.

The old adage, “fake it until you make it,” can be helpful in situations like this. Just like in the above thought experiment with the smiles, you can lead your inward state by your outward behavior, providing you keep it up enough.

Just like a kid on swing, by moving your body in the right motions, you can some pretty big amplitude after a while.

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Success with NLP

Integration of Parts

Come Together

I remember once I went to see a movie a while back with this girl I was dating. It was this particularly large multi plex with around thirty screens or so. When we went, we didn’t really have any specific movie that we wanted to see, just that we’d decided to see a movie. Talk about information overload. It took us almost half an hour to decide what to see. Even if I’d been there by myself, I would have likely taken me a while.

It reminded me of another time, one particularly long day at work. As soon as I got home, I decided I wanted fast food. A big bag of greasy, fatty, fast food. I didn’t eat lunch, it was Friday night, and all I wanted to do was gorge myself before falling asleep, most likely in front of the TV. So I jumped back in my car, and drove through my residential neighborhood until I came to the main road. Decision time. Turn right for big chain tacos or burgers, turn left for a couple smaller, but just as greasy and fatty, taco, burrito, and burger shops.

I must have sat there for about ten minutes trying to decide. I’m sure you’ve experienced this. You have a general idea of what you want, but can’t decide on the specifics. Part of you wants to go this way, and another part of you wants to go the other way.

This can be frustrating when it comes to small things like fast food and movie choices, and you can’t really mess up by choosing one over the other. It’s not like I was going to go into a tailspin of depression if I got halfway through my burger and decided I really would rather have gotten a sack of tacos instead.

But what about bigger issues? What happens when you are conflicted on really important stuff? Or what happens if the choices are between action, and inaction, such as applying for a job, or asking out girl? What then?

Luckily, there’s a helpful NLP procedure that can get to the bottom of this. Imagine a discussion between a business owner, and a union leader. The business owner wants the cheapest labor, for the cheapest product, for the maximum profit. The union leader wants the most wages and benefits, for the least amount of work. If the business leader has his way, he’d pay everybody ten cents an hour, with zero benefits. If the union leader had his way, the blue-collar line workers would earn hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, with massive benefits and vacation time.

So what do they do? Both need each other, so they can’t really just walk away. They negotiate. They find solutions that will satisfy both their needs. Sometimes this takes a while, but usually, they eventually come to an agreement that will satisfy both parties. They workers might have to give up their dental plan, while the business owner might have to accept a higher cost of doing business, and therefore a smaller profit.

How about on a personal level? There’s a theory, or an idea, that people are made up of different metaphorical parts. So when you say that a part of you wants to eat tacos, and another part wants to eat burgers, that is actually an accurate description of what is going on.

And to resolve internal conflicts, you go about it the same way as a business negotiation. The cool part about this is most of the negotiating takes places unconsciously. All you have to do is set up the meeting between your parts.

The name of this procedure is called Integration of Parts. I know, creative, huh?

Here’s how you do it. Think of an internal conflict. Any conflict where you have an idea that one part wants to do this, and the other part wants to do that. Got it? Ok, good.

Now sit down someplace quiet, and someplace where there aren’t a lot of people. This looks a little bit strange for the uninitiated. Make sure to read through this a couple times so you really understand this. That way it will be easier to do later on.

OK. Sit down, take a deep breath. You are going to be talking to your different parts. For the example, I’ll use waking up early to exercise. Part of me wants to wake up early to exercise, while the other part wants to sleep in.

So I ask the part that wants to exercise if he’d like to come out for a bit. Wait for an internal “yes” or “no,” whatever that may be. I put that part in my right hand. Then I describe that part in as much detail as possible. Color, texture, weight, thickness, etc. Then I ask that part, what’s important about getting up early to exercise? Health. Ok. Then I ask him what’s important about that? Live longer. OK. Maybe one more. What’s important about that? Enjoy life more. OK, good. So I’ve gotten a pretty good idea of not only what that part looks and feels like, but what’s important to him. (Or it or however you want to refer to it/him/her).

Next, I ask if the part that wants to sleep in wants to come out. Make sure to keep holding the first in your right palm, don’t drop him!

I got through the same procedure with the part in my left hand, the part that wants to sleep in. First describe it, and then start asking the questions. Be sure to go slow, as these parts can sometimes be shy.

What’s important about sleeping in? It feels good. What’s important about feeling good? It makes me happy. And what’s important about feeling happy? I can enjoy life more.


Both parts want the same thing, but they have two separate strategies to get there. Now for the integration.

Talk to them both at the same time. Explain to them that they both have the same things in mind. (Now you know why you should do this alone!)

Since they both really want the same thing, ask them if they’d like to join forces. To get together to make a new part, and have much more resources to get their goals met. If they say yes, then slowly allow your hands to come together, both palms up, both holding the parts. Slowly merge the two parts together as one palm slips under the other. Once the new part is formed, slowly bring it to your chest, and take a deep slow breath as you press the new part into your heart.

Take a few slow breaths, and allow the newly formed part to work out its new place.

That’s all you need to do consciously. Pay attention to your intuition over the next couple of days. You’ll likely come up with some ideas that seem totally obvious now about what to do regarding sleeping in or getting up early to exercise.

This is just one powerful “procedure” of NLP. To learn many more, that can have profound effects on your life, click on the banner below. There is no limit to the uses of NLP to improve your life, relationships, and finances.

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Intuition and Congruence – Two Powerful Gifts From Evolution

I was reading this really interesting book the other day, The Red Queen, by Matt Ridley. A fascinating study of human sexuality through the lens of evolution. One of the various topics was the reasons behind the growth of the human brain. When compared to all other mammals, humans have the largest brain. The question is why? What was the driving force behind the massive growth of the human thinking machine?

Many arguments that are usually given can also be used for other primates, and their brains are nowhere near the size of ours. Most scientists believe it is a combination of many factors to say the least. One of the most prominent is sexual selection within a species.

Imagine a group of cave people, fifty girls, and fifty guys. For the guys, they want to have sex with as many girls as possible. (Obviously). For the girls, they need to be extremely selective with who they choose to have sex with, because the consequences could be disastrous if they choose the wrong guy. Their offspring will not only carry his DNA, but his cooperation will have a direct impact on that offspring to survive.

So how do they manage this? The men try their hardest to convince the women that they are upstanding men capable of providing for the family. One way to do this is to simply pretend to be. They only need to pretend long enough and good enough to get into her cave-panties for the couple minutes it will take to get his cave-men rocks off. Then off to the next cave girl.

So an arm’s race of sorts developed over time. In men, the ability to deceive. In women, the ability to detect deception. Of course, men would pass on their skills of deception to their offspring, be they girls or boys. And women would also pass on their skills of deception detection onto their offspring, be they boys or girls.

So as man evolved, there was a contest, in both men and women, between skills of deception, and skills to detect deception. As mankind grew, this required a bigger and bigger brain.

The reason for this is congruity. In order to detect deception, you must be able to detect incongruity. This requires massive attention to subtle clues of body language, facial expression, and voice tone. Too much for the conscious mind to handle. Many believe the unconscious mind was developed to detect deception without having to spend too much conscious bandwidth, so to speak.

So we developed an “intuition” to tell when somebody is lying or not. Our subconscious minds developed the ability to quickly scan somebody’s body language, facial expressions, and voice tone, and then deliver a gut reaction, or a “feeling” to our conscious minds. And those that have learned to pay attention to this “feeling” or “gut reaction” can spot a liar a mile away.

Conversely, those that can present a very congruent image can be some of the best salespeople and manipulators around. Of course, the best way to be a great salesperson is to really believe in what you are selling. There’s a reason that many companies require their salespeople to actually own and use the product they are selling.

Of course, when you are presenting yourself, either to a potential lover or to a potential boss, it is essential that you believe in yourself. If you have any self-doubts, you will be dead before you even open your mouth.

The moral of this essay is twofold. One, take some time to get in tune with your intuition. It can serve you well against making bad decisions. It is the product of hundreds of thousands of years of evolution, and is there for a reason. Use it, respect it, and listen to it.

Secondly, in order to present a believable image to the world, you must believe in yourself. Self-confidence and self-esteem stem from a belief that you are a good and worthy person with something of real value to offer the world. Don’t sell yourself short.

Believe in yourself, and trust your intuition, and you will go a long way.

The Power of Congruence

I used to work sometimes in this building that belonged to a local broadcaster of TV. The building also served as a resource for various community groups. They had different cultural classes, from modern expressionist art to a how to class on making traditional Japanese slippers. In the entrance of the building were several pictures of different newscasters and TV personalities. Some very attractive people, as being on TV, that has traditionally been a requirement.

I used to teach a class in the building on Monday nights. Every time I’d walk past that bank of TV personalities, there was one lady that I thought was exceptionally cute. For some reason, however, she didn’t have a “traditional” sense of beauty. So whenever I inwardly admired her picture, I realized that she wasn’t a traditional beauty. There was something about her smile, I guess.

One night, the entire class was leaving together. When we passed the bank of pictures, one of the students asked me which I thought was the cutest. At first I hesitated, because for some reason I thought my opinion might be met with disbelief, as there were certainly other faces that were more beautiful, at least according to TV standards. What happened kind of surprised me. After a brief period of reluctance, I said whom I liked. There was pause, as obviously my choice was different than expected. What came next was interesting. Instead of question my choice, why I liked what I did, everybody immediatley looked at this TV personality in new light. As if they thought maybe I saw something that they didn’t.

It kind of reminded me of a story I heard a long time ago. While I’m not exactly sure of the content of the story, the moral, or the punch line, was that people are not moved by the content of your desires, rather than the congruence of them. If you have kind of a wishy-washy expression of desire for something, even if it is somewhat generally popular, people will tend try to pick apart your opinion, and tell you why their ideas are better. But if you express a congruent expression of opinion, desire, or interest, people will generally respect your expressed desires, regardless of the content. And if you are congruent enough, they will go to great lengths to try and learn exactly what it is that you find so intriguing about this.

It is not the content of the message that is expressed that sways the minds of people; it is the congruence with which it is expressed. With enough congruence, any content can be persuasive and influential. I think that sometimes people miss the forest for the trees. Because most people are unaware of the underlying congruence, we tend to put too much effort on the content, when it is really the congruence that we find so intriguing.

You don’t have to look to hard into the annals of history to find evil men that had enough conviction and belief in their message to persuade whole countries to buy into and follow them in their destructive intentions.

When you can come up with a plan that is beneficial to other people, and present it to them with full congruence and belief, you will be an unstoppable force, with the ability and support to achieve almost anything that you can imagine.