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Bel's thoughts

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Getting better with power dynamics makes you see the world - and other people - better than they are 

This morning I went again to the post office, and interacted with the same employee.

I was returning some items to an online store and the return modality allowed me to just bring my phone and the items: the post office would pack them and write the address.

This ensued:

Post Office employee: Oh no, another one of these returns. Why don’t you choose the one where you prepare the box next time.

Me: It’s easier for me to choose the return with no box.

Post Office Employee: But not for me.

Me: ( Amused look)

* click on blockquote to expand

He then rapidly changed the subject.

While going away, I thought to myself: today the guy was nicer than usual.

Then it struck me: he wasn’t nicer than usual, it was me who handled his (usual) power moves by not even thinking about it.

Getting better at power dynamics, I now see, makes one see other people as better than they really are.

Only a submissive guy knows the full extent these assholes can go to. Especially because unchecked power moves get progressively worse, often to abominable levels.

By the opposite token, a more experienced guy will handle many power moves totally unconsciously, and other people will stop pushing, and start behaving.

This will make him see others as better than they are, on average.

Lucio Buffalmano, Zathrian and 2 other users have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoZathrianMats GPower Duck

Nice!

This is a great reflection, Bel.

My neighbor calls another neighbor here "psychopathic".
I find the "psychopathic neighbor" neighbor to be super high power and a total go-getter, but also very nice and helpful to me.
And still, it's the same person with the example in PU that I had to call to enforce boundaries of respectful communication (plus a few more examples of how NOT to date for a woman and be instead a bit kinder and more submissive).

Hadn't I been enforcing those boundaries, she'd order me around like a dog :D.

P.S.:
Well done for your example.
And still, the most effective intervention there was at yet a higher level of "frame of moral reference".
Feel free to open a new topic about it, can be an interesting case study.

Bel has reacted to this post.
Bel
Community, new content and Charisma University moved here.

The "gradual approach" to checking power moves and recovering power makes it easier to enforce more and more boundaries compared to the "I want immediate respect" approach

I went back to the post office for another matter, and I dealt yet again with the same employee.

While waiting in line, I saw him behaving badly with other customers (tasking, complaining, power moving, and just being an asshole in general).

I thought: "If he so much makes even a small power move on me this time, I'm going to escalate so much that I'm going to destroy his reputation here".

Then, when my turn came, he didn't say a word. Did what he had to do, handed me the receipt, and goodbye.

Then it hit me:

The reason why I was ready to escalate now without much apprehension, was because I had already recovered power gradually with him, throughout all my recent past interactions.

And he also knew it, subconsciously.

In other words: enforcing boundaries and checking power moves progressively not only

  • makes one appear more "reasonable" and less "out of character"; but also
  • it also makes it easier to take the further steps to reempowerment.

It's one thing to go from -100 to 0 in one big jump, and much easier (also subconsciously) to go from -100 to -80, from -80 to -50, and so on.

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Lucio BuffalmanoMats G

I was reflecting on Mats' recent journal entry (and, thank you for sharing that, Mats).

I find I have been, like Mats, focusing on myself and getting reempowered against power movers above all other aims.

I also find I have been subsconsciously looking at all people as potential power movers, and getting ready to check power moves whenever and wherever I go.

This is going on at the expense of other aspects of my personality and behavior. My "kindness" is reducing, for example.

I was also starting to wonder if something is wrong with me, in this respect: not wanting to make friends, not being sociable, wanting to be alone, seeing everyone as a potential nuisance to check.

Then when I read Mats' journal entry, I thought maybe this is a necessary step toward recovering a normal life.

Maybe it's supposed to be this way, and only when one gets to "unconscious competence" does one (including me) restart to become more "sociable" again.

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Lucio BuffalmanoMats G

Contact sports, and foul plays - and, the deadliest combination of personal traits that assures one will be hit hard (physically, or with power moves)

I found myself in the past in the situation of playing contact sports (including martial arts) and being physically hit hard by some people.

On three occasions the hits were so hard that I got injuries from those, and I took approx one month each time to recover. In one occasion the hit precipitated an injury that blocked me for more than three months.

I was reflecting on this phoenomenon.

At the time, I thought these "hits" were accidental. After all, all three (different) people who hit me expressed surprise and remorse immediately after the incidents.

Now I know better.

I realize that men, especially, often channel their aggressiveness in contact sports and (some) men do not shy away from winning, if they feel they are losing, by deliberately hitting the opponent hard.

Of course I'm not saying that any physical accident in contact sports is deliberate. But, I am saying that in my three past episodes there were other indications as well.

By putting them all together, I can see that these were deliberate.

I also see that the probability of having this happen while playing a contact sport depends on a combination of two factors:

  • one: being somewhat competent in the sport (otherwise, if one is already losing, no need for the opponent to hit);
  • two: being void, or very low, in power awareness, and in the capacity to see manipulation and deception.

The risk of being hit reduces, the more one shows power awareness.

If something like that happened to me now, I would immediately accuse the other person of being deliberate, and/or probably even try to even the score physically.

Or a combination of the two (most likely, first trying to even the score, and only then - as a reaction if they accuse me - accuse them of being deliberate in the first place).

On the contrary, someone who is manipulated, or low in manipulation and power awareness, is an ideal target for fouls in contact sports. Opponents can just sense that they are going to get away scot free, if only they fake remorse and surprise convincingly enough.

I see that this can also be seen as a metaphor for power moves in life, of course.

In general, the likelihood that a person power moves on another is going to depend on the combination of factors above.

For example, in a workplace, one will be - on average - bullied and power moved on more and more, the more he or she is:

  • competent in his work; and
  • very low in power awareness.

The deadliest combination for life.

There is also another similarity between fouls in contact sports, and power moves: whether the other person meant to injure you or not, he is still hitting you.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Thank you for the thank you Bel!

I think your reflection is spot on. At least that's exactly how I was starting to feel.

While I'm sure there are people who can find the right balance straight away, I'm not convinced they're better off for it. For me, going from one end of the spectrum to the other has taught me a great deal of things that I would never learn if I acted "right" from the very beginning. Maybe the path we take is longer, but ultimately I think it leads to better results.

 

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Lucio BuffalmanoBel

The gradual approach to checking power moves has a parallel in the gradual approach to becoming high power

EDIT: And: I can either reply late, or be more curt

Tonight I received an email from a work contact (not a client) which was very curt, no salutations, no please, no warmth, and also a final "thank you" (tasking).

I responded with this exact text that follows, no more:

No updates

Bel

Then it hit me: it would have been impossible for me to forgo politeness this much, had I not reempowered myself against various power movers in different situations.

The gradual approach toward a specific power mover has a parallel to the gradual approach to becoming capable of being high power and low warmth when needed.

It’s a path one takes not only with respect to specific situations, but also with respect to oneself and one’s life.

EDIT: Elaborating a bit on this, as it's a huge revelation for me:

  •  when other people start disrespecting me, or taking me for granted, yes - I have the option to respond late;
  • but I also have the option to be more curt than they are.

The subcommunication is:

You want to be treated politely? Then write me a polite email. Because: I can be more curt than you.

Works especially well with work counterparties, as with clients it probably pays more to be more polite in any case.

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Lucio BuffalmanoMats GPower Duck
Quote from Bel on June 6, 2023, 1:51 pm

I also see that the probability of having this happen while playing a contact sport depends on a combination of two factors:

  • one: being somewhat competent in the sport (otherwise, if one is already losing, no need for the opponent to hit);
  • two: being void, or very low, in power awareness, and in the capacity to see manipulation and deception.

The risk of being hit reduces, the more one shows power awareness.

If something like that happened to me now, I would immediately accuse the other person of being deliberate, and/or probably even try to even the score physically.

Or a combination of the two (most likely, first trying to even the score, and only then - as a reaction if they accuse me - accuse them of being deliberate in the first place).

In general, the likelihood that a person power moves on another is going to depend on the combination of factors above.

For example, in a workplace, one will be - on average - bullied and power moved on more and more, the more he or she is:

  • competent in his work; and
  • very low in power awareness.

The deadliest combination for life.

Yeah, good point.

But incompetent and power unaware ones can also make for very juicy targets.

It's just different people who power moves on them.

The highly competent ones are in the crosshair of the more driven, alpha, competitive, and dark triad types (plus other competent folks).

The incompetent ones simply attract the bottom-feeding power movers.
Or the ones who need a "sure win" against the easy punching bag.

Plus, sometimes, the incompetent and low power ones even attract the whole group to power move on them as a way to make everyone feel better and superior (you know, the guys who become the butt of the jokes).

Basically, in my opinion, the main differentiator within your model is your power awareness and skills, rather than your task-related competence.

P.S.:
In the dojo environment, also involving the instructor is often a good move.
Good instructors walk a fine line between making the training realistic enough, while policing or removing the idiots.

Bel has reacted to this post.
Bel
Community, new content and Charisma University moved here.

You're right, Lucio.

I see "being competent" was just sort of a narcissistic excuse to justify being picked upon.

I did involve the instructors, at least the last two times it happened.

But I did do it in a very indirect way, and it was no use.

I remember the last time it happened.

I was at a krav maga course. This guy had basically almost broken one of my ribs during an exercise.

I felt the pain, but didn't know this.

I got up and asked the instructor in front of everyone:

Me: Coach, I'm sorry. What if someone hits another during an exercise? Isn't it ground for exclusion?

Coach: During the exercises you have to be really determined and do it like you would in real life.

Me: Yeah, but what if someone really gets hurt?

Coach: The only case where it's grounds for exclusion is if someone goes to another and throws a deliberate punch.

(I interpreted this as meaning: if you got hit, it's an accident. If you retaliate, you're out).

Hitter: I think he's referring to me.

Me: I'm not personalizing this, just wanted to know.

And, I left the course soon after.

I think I've come a long way.

Thank you, Lucio.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Best to not respond to "thank you" emails from prospective clients who are still deciding whether to engage me?

A prospective client (from abroad) contacted me for a potential property purchase in my country.

I had a videocall with her and we talked about it at lenght.

I was warm, polite and explained how things work in my country as to real estate purchases.

I said nothing was due for the initial call, and I would send her a fee quote for the project if she decides to engage. I sent her the fee quote and I ended my email with

Me: ... I am available for any clarification and send you my kindest regards.

She responded with a very warm email, like this:

Her: Dear Attorney,

thank you so much for your time last week and for the quote.

I will let you know how we decide to go on, as we're still deciding.

Hope you are very good and look forward to talking soon.

Kind regards

Now: I am conflicted.

I am conflicted because, on the one hand, I know that responding to "thanks" by thanking back is a good thing.

But here, I have a feeling there may be something bigger at play since I'm awaiting for her decision on whether to engage me.

I have the feeling that if I follow the general guideline, I will risk coming across as "too eager" to get the work and "too ingratiating".

She may feel something is "off".

So I am headed toward not answering, especially as she said she'll get back in touch.

I think the idea is the same as discussed here: the client is deciding, and me "pushing" (even if perfunctorily, ie with a "thank back email"), may make the client think something is amiss.

And subcommunicate I am not busy.

The fact that in the other case the client had disappeared, while here she has engaged me with a "thank you" email, does not seem to change things much in my mind.

Happy to read if I may be missing something, guys.

 

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