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How to thrive in prison: High-submissivness high-power (Michael Franzese)

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This is an extreme case of very high warmth, borderline submissiveness, BUT delivered with high power.

I'm wondering whether it deserves a new category, or if high-warmth, high-power covers it.

Michale Franzese, former mafia boss, says that to do well in prison, you need 3 words:

  • Please
  • Thank you
  • Excuse me

However, look at how he moves, behaves, and talks, and you'll soon realize the guy talks high warmth, but behaves high power:

In another video, he says that if he'd bump someone, he'd be the first one to say "excuse me". And chances are he'd say that in the same high-power format he talks (and the one we recommend in PU).

And he also takes care of the power side. Later on, he says:

You can't take any nonsense. But you know, people have to understand you might be the silent type but don't mess with me. I'm not gonna disrespect you, but don't disrespect me

Did it work?

He says he's been 8 years in prison and only had 2 issues/confrontations ever.
One of them, a guy punched him from behind by mistake -they were looking for someone else-, and another one, one guy was looking to cause troubles to be sent somewhere and he pre-emptively sat down with him and nothing happened.
Basically, 8 years without a single issue.

Sure, it probably helped that he was in prison as a member of organized crime.
Yet, plenty of members of organized crimes get attacked, stabbed, ostracized, or killed (including John Gotti, and he talks about him later).

He didn't.

And the fact that he was able to survive, thrive, as well as walk away from organized crime and still lead a happy life, telling all these stories, serves as a testament to this guy's strategies and approaches.

Ali Scarlett, Matthew Whitewood and 2 other users have reacted to this post.
Ali ScarlettMatthew WhitewoodJohn FreemanStef
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

This is very interesting, thanks for sharing!

I have 2 questions:

  1. Why do you say it's delivered with high-power?
  2. Why do you say that using these words is submissive?

Thanks!

Quote from John Freeman on December 29, 2020, 8:57 am
  1. Why do you say it's delivered with high-power?
  2. Why do you say that using these words is submissive?

It's the whole aura, with many of the elements that makes a delivery high power, including:

  • Neutral tonality
  • Good voice
  • Pauses
  • Slow moves

Plus:

  • Generally high-value man (career, money he was making, role in the organization, etc.)
  • Great social skills / strategies

As well as the mindsets, including:

  • "I respect you, and demand the same back"
  • Make friends, not enemies

Add to that a man who has acquired the knowledge to both potentially mentor people, and you get a guy who makes a lot of high-power friends.

SUBMISSIVENESS

There is a lesson on "words of submissiveness" in PU.

The words are not necessarily submissive per se.
Few words are submissive per se, without looking at the delivery.

But there certainly are words, expressions, and attitudes, that are more likely to be in the submissive or aggressive end up of the spectrum.

Especially when he says he'd be the first to say "excuse me". Take two people who bump into each other, and the first person who says excuse me it's often (but not always) the most submissive guy.

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Ok, got it.

By high-power, you mean "in control", right? Because Power, like Love represents many overlapping realities. I want to be sure I understood right. Because I thought that in the first place you meant "dominant" by "high-power".

About submissiveness: I'm studying PU a 2nd time and this is one of the upcoming lessons. So once I did it, I may come here to make some changes.

I see your point. It is very interesting. I understand how you view it. There is a saying you might like in the book Dune by Frank Herbert: "That which submits rules". 

Here is the frame I come from: "politeness", from wikipedia.

Politeness is the practical application of good manners or etiquette so as not to offend others. It is a culturally defined phenomenon, and therefore what is considered polite in one culture can sometimes be quite rude or simply eccentric in another cultural context.

While the goal of politeness is to refrain from behaving in an offensive way so as not to offend others and make all people feel relaxed and comfortable with one another, these culturally defined standards at times may be manipulated.

To understand better: how would you define friendliness? As a submissive behavior?

By high-power, you mean "in control", right? Because Power, like Love represents many overlapping realities. I want to be sure I understood right. Because I thought that in the first place you meant "dominant" by "high-power".

Yeah, you're right, "high-power" is a very high-level concept and, as such, it contains many elements and overlapping realities.

By "high power", in this case, I mean that he comes across as an emotionally grounded, powerful person, who is confident in himself.
The type of person that you tend to respect, and that you would like to befriend.

how would you define friendliness? As a submissive behavior?

Edit: I'm not sure about a definition to be honest, but this might be something for the dictionary.

The two are definitely distinct, but there might be some overlap, since friendly and submissive signals do often overlap.

That's one of the reasons why in PU I recommend the approach of "high-warmth" (=friendliness), with high-power, so that you avoid that your friendliness is interpreted as submissiveness.
The whole course, in a way, nudges people towards high-warmth, together with high-power, as that tends to maximize social results (makes few enemies, achieves status, and attracts lots of other high-quality folks as friends/allies).

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Definitely!

Thanks for the precisions about Franzese. I agree. To me this is dominance. I don’t want to nitpick about definitions but to me this is dominance. What is a “good guy”? A benevolent dominant individual. And all stems from that. When women say they want a confident men, most of the times, they mean “dominant” I believe.

I think the concept of friendliness is important to explore as it is key to collaborative frames. I agree with the overlap with submissive signals that you defined earlier in other places.

I’m going to read and think about it and I’ll come back to see if I can contribute to the definition. So far, I would say that biologically speaking a friend is an ally. It’s someone who helps you reach your goals.

I think it’s also important to introduce the concept of an equal. I haven’t heard too much  talked about it so far. A friend is by definition an equal in some sense. That’s my contribution for now.

Cheers!

I think his aura is like: I could harm you, mistreat you, disrespect you, even get you killed, YET i prefer to avoid unnecessary conflict for petty reasons so I CHOOSE to give you token submission and be extra polite so I make allies, avoid enemies, adroitly deescalate conflict, keep my ego in check and maybe just in case you could be crazy, too dangerous to normally deal with etc, or in any way capable of doing significant harm, save me the pain in the ass (kind of when a Lion backtracks from a dog he could easily kill yet he is not in the mood for that, chooses to conserve his energy, and who knows, an infected bite dog to the paw may starve him later, or weaken him vis a vis bigger enemies, and what status boost a lion can get from killing a dog? He is already the royal and majestic king of the jungle, so he can be playful and magnanimous or benevolent dominant as John put it.)

Also, a lion even if trying hard probably would fail looking weak, cause he is what he is, a powerful beast (non-verbals, posture, looks, musculature, etc), so people watching would think: that dog was lucky that lion was so patient, tolerant, playful, nice, a gentleman... (all good qualities to attract friends)

On a more machiavellian side, it may help you take the moral high ground and turn public opinion/bystanders to your side if violence escalates as people would know you went relatively far trying to avoid unnecessary violence, so now you can "crack the fuker skull" without looking like you are a blood thirsty psycho, and can even scold him during the beating: "i told you i was sorry, i did not wanted to have to do this to you, look how bloody is my dress now, etc"

A dangerous polite person with high social and emotional skills is and feels more dangerous to smarter/socially aware folks, like a sleeping dragon on top of a volcano, a bull on rampage seems vulgar on comparison.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Great message, Stef.

Stef: I think his aura is like: I could harm you, mistreat you, disrespect you, even get you killed, YET i prefer to avoid unnecessary conflict for petty reasons so I CHOOSE to give you token submission and be extra polite

Yes, exactly.
The reputation also comes into play here. He already behaves like a powerful boss, then when the news spread that he is a mafia boss, that also colors people's perception and they'd all prefer being friends with him.
The fact that he's smart and made a lot of money also helps him: people seek his mentorship, which in turns helps him to make friends/allies.

Stef: On a more machiavellian side, it may help you take the moral high ground and turn public opinion/bystanders to your side if violence escalates as people would know you went relatively far trying to avoid unnecessary violence, so now you can "crack the fuker skull" without looking like you are a bloodthirsty psycho

Sammy "the bull" Gravano had that exact mindset. He'd go to the funeral of the people he'd killed, and think to himself "you knew the rules, look what you made me do, you dumb idiot, bringing this pain on all these people, and on me as well".

Stef has reacted to this post.
Stef
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Sammy "the bull" Gravano had that exact mindset. He'd go to the funeral of the people he'd killed, and think to himself "you knew the rules, look what you made me do, you dumb idiot, bringing this pain on all these people, and on me as well".

I understand the idea to learn from psychopaths and mentally troubled individuals. I do think we can learn things from anyone. However, I would like to recommend you to be cautious with this approach.  I'll give a concrete example. Here, Sammy "the bull" Gravano uses a defense mechanism called "projection", I'm sure you heard about it.

Psychological projection is a defense mechanism in which the ego defends itself against unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves by attributing them to others.[1] For example, a bully may project their own feelings of vulnerability onto the target. It incorporates blame shifting and can manifest as shame dumping.[2]

Projection has been described as an early phase of introjection.[3]

So, in this case, he attributes the responsibility of his death to the guy he killed. This is quite an accomplishment. The problem is that projection is a low-level of defence mechanism. Therefore, I would not recommend somebody to downgrade their defence mechanisms.

Cheers!

Stef has reacted to this post.
Stef

Agree with you, John, that was more like of an off-topic left there without proper explanation.
Though it was a very interesting approach he had, and albeit an extreme one (and one he probably abused), one can I agree with the principle: there are some "sins" one can commit that are fair to be paid for with life. And in those cases, the person who takes the life shouldn't feel guilty (if of interest, we can open a new topic on this).

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Stef
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