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My Journey to Power

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Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on February 12, 2023, 9:46 am

Strong feedback, but great post, Zathrian!

That "no-holding-back feedback" can be the gold that most people refrain from but that sometimes is exactly what one needs.

I wasn't there, but Zathrian's description of a hypothetical scenario where someone explains things that nobody asked for and that end up being divisive and creating bad vibes is spot on.

In some circles of philosophers and/or people who enjoy debating that can still be good.
But in the majority of socialization, it's not.

And it's especially not so good in those types of slightly more formal dinners where the hosts care about having that type of "higher-class successful dinner".

Thank you for your feedback, Lucio! I totally agree.

Successful in those cases is defined by something like "a good time where they can show off their cool house, their cool, high status, and socially smart, friends, and have everyone leave happy and satisfied".
Those dinners and their topics tend to be more on the "safer" and PC side, so if you're at one of those, it's important to tread carefully outside of those "safe" paths.
A dinner that doesn't go according to that plan reflects badly on the hosts as well, and they won't like the people who derail their plans.

Yes, true. Thank you! Totally. I could have chosen a topic that could have been both interesting and not controversial or inappopriate.

I agree that a discussion like this may be out of place in several situations.

In this situation, however, I personally don't feel that bringing this topic up in itself was necessarily a mistake.

In fact, there was a couple at the table that openly sided with John:

Quote from John Freeman on February 10, 2023, 9:36 pm

The two women laughed when I used the words "men and women have different reproductive strategy". I then went meta and said that them laughing proved this was taboo to talk about. Her BF said that nowadays what is taboo is to say anything negative about women. (<---- he is going overboard in his support here)

I pointed to the fact that women will also bet on a man that he will be able to acquire and keep resources. One of the woman took advantage of people talking between themselves to admit that it is what she did with her current BF (the one who commented earlier). (<-------- she is siding with you against the host)

Rather, the points that may have generated the confrontation here to me seem:

  • teacher frames, which no doubt may have irritated people;
  • "request for social confirmation/acceptance" I read between the lines.

I fist bumped her as she admitted. (<----------- this, I think, showed an unconscious request for "social acceptance", and reinforced the confrontational frame with the other woman)

If people sense that one is entering a discussion by showing certainty (teacher frames) but being looking for social support, they are invariably going to test the speaker on that.

More congruency between internal beliefs and discussion instead produces more "social acceptance".

One way to achieve this could be to frame the discussion as "sharing opinions", instead of teacher frames.

Or, on the other hand, to discuss with a frame "I believe in what I'm saying, and I'm only saying it to liven up the discussion", as in the Roger Dodger approach.

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Lucio BuffalmanoJohn Freeman

Thank you Bel, very important points! About social support as well.

As you said, one would be better off to start their conversation on “this is what I read and now think like this, what do you think?”. This leads to a real conversation instead of me imposing “facts” on people even if based on Science.

So the way of approaching it matters a lot. It’s like when parents say that they used a treatment (onions in the room) that has most likely no effects (no studies yet) or homeopathy I learned not to correct them but just listen. I made it confrontational with a “I know this and this is the truth so let’s start from this and not from what you know/believe”. So definitely some frame imposing/smart alecing/teacher frames.

I could have gone the charmer route and make it agreeable for everyone by listening and talking about what they want to talk.

Zathrian has reacted to this post.

On my recent performance review, I met a social strategist 2 weeks ago and he gave me good advice that I would like to share his bits of wisdom with you, some of those you certainly know already. It's a mix of ideas as we talked for about 2 hours:

My bosses care a lot about money so I have to see work through their eyes. Yes they care about patients AND money. So I have to be sure that they make more of it and give more value. What is interesting to know is that 2-3 days of my work for them is worth my whole monthly salary in terms of revenue (not profit). So I do make them a lot of money. They don't acknowledge it but it's ok. It's the baseline for them. They do teach me a lot. However I make them a lot of money. So he proposes to give them as much value as possible.

Before leaving, to ask: "Can I help you with anything else?". That goes with Lucio's advice that staying late is worth way more than coming up early. Things come up at the end of the day as work piles up and energy goes down. So work at the end of the day is more valuable. I stayed late the other day and my boss sent me a text early morning to thank me with a steeple/praying hands as an emoji. The next day she came to me and thanked me again. I was surprised as for me I was only doing my job. Now I know it's the right direction.

He also says that I must be focussing on doing what's the most important things for them. It’s never about me. I have to solve the problem they face the most. We talked about this here already.

"Anyone who’s in a state of emergency is not in control".

When you run around like a chicken it seems like you're not in control. I realized that there is a difference between the effective high-paced high performer and the disorganized employee running left and right. They both go fast but not with the same intent/direction.

"Make them feel like kings but not too good of a king. But be the one that hold them on your finger"

He means that I must make them feel like they are the bosses, are in control and powerful and that I bow to them. This must be done sincerely of course (in my mind). It's a strategy but it's not kissing ass (in my view). It's acknowledging their qualities and experience. The machiavellian part is that he advised that they must feel like that through me only. That I actually give them validation and can withhold it. So to have power as a subordinate through giving validation. For instance he uses: "right away boss!" he even does the military salute on videoconferences and his bosses love it. He said that one must outthink them but subtly. So the way he does it works with his bosses who seem less sharp than him. So they don't see that he's actually buttering them. They love it and go with it.

He told me that my bosses probably feel inadequate and insecure in a sense. So I must make them look good and massage their ego.

He also advised me to bring biscuits everyday to be the biscuit boy AKA to bring value through food. I think one must not overdo it but I already do it as I like to bring things to my colleague. As a lower level employee (a learner) it's also a way to provide value to them.

We talked about dealing with stupid parents, his advice:

Make stupid people think they’re smart

He also advised me to 

"Keep your gun powder dry": tell them only what they need to know

On being attacked in a performance review:

Let them attack you. When they’re out of ammunition then you go with your arguments. Since they have said all their arguments, they cannot counter you anymore.

On strategy:

Strategy is contemplating all the different possibilities for a behavior (emotional possibilities as well)

On communicating with parents, he met a great doctor who was not telling too much but just enough for the parents to reassure them:

Your son has a belly ache that we're currently investigating but he's doing well.

On learning social power/social dynamics:

Train yourself with people who don’t matter

He means that to improve in social strategy one can experiment techniques with people who either won't notice them or have no leverage on you. This is highly machiavellian of course.

On asking a question to my teachers/bosses without looking stupid or like I'm asking a question I could have answered by myself:

My teachers told me that....


I read that...

And then ask the question. The 2nd case is one that I encountered. I used this before meeting him and it's the most effective way of doing it: you do your own research and then you confront it with experienced people's knowledge.

This one I like it a lot:

In every private practice, there are 2 physicians. He correctly guessed that one is agreeable and the other disagreeable. The strategy is to convince the disagreeable one with the quality/quantity of my work and attitude. The reasoning is that when they discuss my performance review beforehand, the disagreeable one will end up convicing the agreeable one: negative arguments would overpower the positive one and the disagreeable one is often the dominant one, which is the case in both practices. So it's most effective to please the disagreeable one.

Mats G has reacted to this post.
Mats G

Haha great list John lots of verification of PU.  I am the biscuit boy.  Or in my case muffin man.  I even learnt to bake.

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John Freeman

Nice to meet you, Muffin Man! I'm Biscuit Boy! Let's make a crime-fighting team! 🙂

Seriously, yeah it goes with what is being taught here. I recommended him the forum. He liked the "how to spot a psychopath" thread. Maybe we'll see him around!

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Quote from John Freeman on February 13, 2023, 7:48 pm

I met a social strategist 2 weeks ago and he gave me good advice that I would like to share (...)

This guy is a beast!

Thank you for sharing, I may even make some notes for PU.

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John Freeman
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Hahaha, glad you like him! You're very welcome.

When he told me:

Strategy is contemplating all the different possibilities for a behavior (emotional possibilities as well)

I thought: Lucio is going to like this guy. I'm going to tell him that he would feel right at home here (which I did) 🙂

Correction: wording

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Lucio Buffalmano

On sleep

the past 6 months I woke up between 4-5 am and slept 4-6 hours. This because I have great motivation to reach my goals. I’m a morning person as well and always have been. I found out I can function with that amount of sleep and understood that is why people like Benjamin Franklin was sleeping so little. It’s because he had great motivation to reach his goals. Any time he could use to move forward he would.

However, the key word is “function”. It’s close to impossible for me to be a high performer with this amount of sleep. For me 7-8 hours is still what I need. That also explains the challenges I had at work: I could not perform at my best. From the inside it feels like I’m doing ok. From the outside not. Lack of sleep has quite an effect on (my) cognitive abilities. This has been proven and everyone has experienced it.

What I found out in the past 6 months is that it affects my memory, my ability to structure my thought and the quality of my reasoning. I can also see it on the forum (forgetfulness, writing/thinking mistakes: not making excuses it’s what I noticed).

I still think that waking up early works for me. However I need now to develop the corresponding willpower to go to bed early. I did it and know I’m able to do so. The next step is making it a habit by removing the habit to procrastinate going to sleep.

Affirmation: I’m the kind of person who goes to sleep at the time he decided. I’m the kind of person who gets the sleep he needs.

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Lucio BuffalmanoTransitioned

Hello friends,

I'm back from my travel in New Zealand, where I travelled 3 weeks on a road trip. Every time I travel I learn things about myself and take some distance with my life. I could reconnect with a friend with whom this trip has been a project since 17 years ago (!). In short, during my time with her, I wanted to have an equal foot with her in the planning/organizing. But then I realized she was better at it than me (I love to travel improvising and choose what to do on a day-by-day basis but at 2 people it's not optimal) and she knew very well the country. So I went with the flow and mostly followed (I don't know how many times I said: "Yeah, sure!"). Thanks to her I lived many great experiences focussing on the relationship and warmth. After a conversation (after a conflict on day 2) with her we set our expectations and from there it was great. Once again it was a humbling experience as I could see how much I have to learn. It was a win-win and a great experience for both of us.

Some of the things I learned is that I burned out trying to do too many things (again!).

  • Started several audiobooks
  • Wanted to study one hour in the morning (not sleeping enough)
  • Wanted to work out 6 days a week but did not make it because I was working too much
  • Was working on politics
  • Wanted to write 1 post every day here
  • Wanted to perform at my job
  • Wanted to expand my social life
  • Wanted to expand my dating life
  • Wanted to learn rethorics
  • And other projects...

In short, I spread myself too thin wanting to do too many things. Being in NZ helped me to see that. So my current plan is to rebuild my life from the ground up by prioritizing sleep, exercise, healthy food and deprioritizing work, friends, dating, etc. From the inside to the outside. I could also see that having stopped to meditate was a big mistake.

In short, I focused on the pebbles instead of the little rocks. So I can recommend wholeheartly to travel as a way to take perspective on one's life. That is one of the main reasons I do it. I also recommend travelling to NZ, it has amazing landscapes, warm and smiling people, very interesting culture (both white people = kiwis ("pakehas") and maoris. The weather is great as well. I found the people to be quite positive, in several circumstances.

I hope you are all healthy and good...

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Lucio BuffalmanoAli ScarlettAlexandrJackTransitionedMats G
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