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What I'm Doing, (Maybe Where 🙂 ) & Why

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I mined the gold and now am refining it. (in reference to the PDFs)
Nick Kolenda's PDFs are really awesome.

Thanks to Ali once again.

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Sam Wellington

Thanks to both you and Lucio too man, I don't know if I would've been able to get it done so soon without both of your encouragement :).

Power Over-Protecting a Request for Feedback

I got off a meeting a few hours ago.

It was with a pretty successful entrepreneur who was blown away when I solved a problem of hers in a matter of minutes by introducing her to the "chocolate-covered broccoli" concept. (In reality, she solved it herself, she simply needed a way of understanding how the change to her messaging would impact her results. And, that analogy that a mentor of mine gave me happened to really resonate with her.)

She booked another call on my calendar so we could exchange ideas further. Then, during that meeting (which was today) she asked how she could help me.

I mentioned a project I'm working on that could use some funding and she introduced me to a major player in entrepreneurship / angel investing / venture capital. A successful businesswoman who is connected to all of the top startup investors in Silicon Valley.

Only issue was, I didn't have a pitch yet.

As it turns out, my connection has experience refining pitches and is fairly involved in the angel investing scene herself.

So, after the meeting, she sent me this email:

Reading this, I was glad to see that she had gotten enough value from our brainstorming to be eager to set up another meeting with me.

Now, comes my reply/approach:

I was thinking too hard about Kolenda's de-emphasize persuasion technique and overdid it :).

A better alternative here might've been:

Ali: "If you want to ("if you want to" = power-protecting) comment or edit with your thoughts, I'll be grateful ("grateful" = future-value signaling).

Or, if I was feeling extra cheeky today:

Ali: "Comment or edit with your thoughts...or don't, it's up to you ("it's up to you" = power-protecting) :).

Also, you may have noticed the "potential WIIFT frame" I noted. That's where I could have changed my entire approach and said:

Ali: "If you want to comment or edit with your thoughts, I'd be happy to introduce you to..."

But, I had already told her I would make that introduction for her at the start of the meeting—before she offered me any support.

So, I didn't want to take it back and dangle it in front of her face as if to say, "I know I said I'd introduce you, but now I'll only introduce you if you do this other thing for me that you said you could do."

That's why, instead, I made sure to include it at the end of the message as another value-give on top of everything I was already giving. That way, she would want to earn her "right" to meet with me again while being a value-giver, so she'd want to leave that quick comment or two.

And, it worked:

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Rocking, Ali!

I can see you becoming a high-flyer consultant who walks in and delivers psychology-backed marketing/persuasion plans that save the day.

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Knowing the Power Dynamics of Investor Meetings

*Note: Quick side note before we get into this, Oren Klaff might have spoken about this already in his book Pitch Anything.

So, remember the successful businesswoman I was getting the pitch ready for?

Quote from Ali Scarlett on July 28, 2021, 2:58 am


"...she introduced me to a major player in entrepreneurship / angel investing / venture capital. A successful businesswoman who is connected to all of the top startup investors in Silicon Valley."

Our meeting was scheduled for today. And, before our meeting could begin, she emailed me this:

Now (hopefully, she doesn't read this), I actually had my schedule cleared out for the following thirty minutes in case our meeting took an hour. So, I was technically free at the new time she wanted.

Unfortunately, I see a few problems that I would have had to face if I agreed to her new time:

  • Leadership: I would be giving her control of the logistics and, therefore, following her lead. And, that would put me in a "lower in power" position (which means less of a chance she'd want to collaborate)
  • Covert Power Move: She was really saying, "Ali, I am double booked, can we talk 30 mins later [so I can prioritize this other booking that's more important than yours]?" And, of course, that would have lowered my status and power (which only would've lowered her impression of me further)

So, while I'm not proud to say this, I lied about how busy I am:

*Note: I have work that I got right back to after she sent her email. So, I was actually pretty busy. But, I still consider this a "lie" because I wasn't SO busy that I couldn't have agreed to her new time.

I made this move because, in doing this, we can now meet on even footing which would make any deal we come to more of a win-win (think "strategic lying to defend your leverage: utilitarian value-adding").

If she were to turn away a potentially great deal because of a power move she pulled on her counterpart, it would only result in her shooting herself in the foot—along with anyone else involved in the collaboration.

And, I added the "is that OK with you" because, in the past, I gave access to my calendar to someone who abused it. They started to schedule meetings that could have been three-line emails and it felt disrespectful towards me and my time. So, these days I'm a bit more protective of my calendar.

That's why I didn't want to simply assume it was OK to start using her calendar again without her permission (similar to the "assume the close" technique).

I wanted to respect her boundaries, avoid losing status, defend my personal / negotiating power, and achieve all of this within a collaborative frame.

And, the result this time was positive:

She expressed what feels like a genuine respect for me and my time. And, at the bottom there, she even went so far as to give me all of her contact information.

First impressions are so fragile that I view a case like this as an eagle approach—examining the big picture and looking at the long-term. Then, making the choice that will result in the most positive outcome for everyone.

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Lucio BuffalmanoTransitioned

I'm proud and very happy to see how you handled this, Ali.

White-lie included!

This is strategic, protective white-lying.
As you say yourself, it was proper "eagle behavior".

Values and Ethics

Quick digression into values and ethics.

As much as physical self-defense doesn't really count as violence -not the "bad" kind, at least-, so power moves to protect one's power and self-respect do not count as (the bad type of) lying (in my book).

The concept of "lying is always bad" is a bankrupt, fake ideal and value.

Where is the value in letting someone abuse your time, your sense of self-worth, and your whole persona, if the truth opens the doors for that abuse?

YOU count.
You matter as much as anyone else.

In that sense, allowing poor behavior towards you is the same as enacting poor behavior towards someone else.

And in this specific case, looking from the outside, I get the impression you're delivering a ton of value.
So this is not a case of one party giving so much value, that it can be fair to let the other party move around his schedule.

Her Behavior

As a matter of fact, she could have white-lied first in this case to protect your power and self-respect (ie.: "something unexpected came up").

But she picked a win-lose course of action instead (value-taking power move).

"I am double booked"?
It doesn't mean anything, it's not like you "randomly get double-booked by life circumstances". You CHOSE to double book. And you do not double-book yourself if you respect the person you're double-booking on (and the value they're bringing to the exchange).

This is not to say that she's generally a bad person.
But it is to say that maybe she needed a reminder as to:

  1. Treat you properly
  2. Properly assess and value the value you're bringing to the table
  3. Stick to win-win (rather than the lose-win that that power move moved towards)

Your Perfect Answer

If you:

  1. don't respect that person enough
  2. the value they are bringing
  3. the value of a win-win

Then you're forcing him to take action and re-establish his self-respect.

And a good power-aware, high-quality person will take appropriate action to re-establish his self-respect, and a more equitable, win-win relationship / exchange.

And that's where we get to self-defense power moves.

So you did great.

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Quote from Ali Scarlett on July 29, 2021, 12:06 am

First impressions are so fragile that I view a case like this as an eagle approach—examining the big picture and looking at the long-term. Then, making the choice that will result in the most positive outcome for everyone.


A further note on this one.

The Assertiveness (Disadvantage?)

There was an option to tell the honest truth here.

Such as, to say :

I am free, but I don't appreciate this attitude of yours

And that might have worked.
But on a fresh relationship, it was a bigger risk.

One type of person would have respected that a lot, and even respected and appreciated you more.

But for many people, that type of assertiveness would have been "too much".

Not used to that level of frankness, they'd have gone on a journey of ego-protecting scapegoating.
Such as, instead of saying "he's right, I did not act properly and I will fix this", they would have blamed you (for example, blaming you for being too calculative, power-hungry, mean, aggressive, or whatever).

This is a case where assertiveness can harm relationships and long-term value creation more than support it.

A white lie was the smoothest way out.

Maybe we can come up with a better name than "white-lying", as the "lying" still triggers "unethical" bells in many people's minds (mine included).

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Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on July 29, 2021, 6:17 am


Maybe we can come up with a better name than "white-lying", as the "lying" still triggers "unethical" bells in many people's minds (mine included).

Yeah, maybe we can call it a "half-truth". That would remove the inherently negative "lie" word completely :).

Antifragile Ego Update: Up (Conceptualization) & Downs (Internalization)

As a concept, the antifragile ego has never been more clear to me. I've even made some adjustments to how I phrase my Ultimate Power notes in my phone:

#1. Kolenda's "provide justification" technique

My original note said, "I always go for it and do my best, no matter the situation."

But, sometimes I would be walking on the beach, see a social opportunity, and question "why" I should go for it. The rationalization was that I get more benefit from relaxing on my beach walk than from putting myself into a social challenge.

So, I adjusted it to, "I am proud of myself every time I go for it and do my best no matter the situation." And, that "I am proud of myself" would be the "because"—the justification/valid reason for going for it—that Kolenda recommends for persuasion.

As a result, I go for it more often because I immediately know what I get out of it—I want to feel proud of myself.

*Note: Kolenda calls using "because" providing justification. But, since justifying oneself is often considered defensive and submissive, I may begin to refer to this technique as "provide reasoning" which is more positive.

#2. Simon Sinek's WHY approach

I also included my WHY in my notes and put the antifragile ego at the end of it. And, so far, that also works for me.

Simon Sinek shared his WHY statement before, so I'll use his as an example of what I mean:

Sinek: [Why do it?] "To inspire people to do the things that inspire them so that, together, we can change our world. That's why I always go for it and do my best no matter the situation."

#3. Removing the liabilities

I used to have this as a rule:

Rule #2: "High-quality men always make daily deposits into their strength of character and personal power."

The problem with that was, if I were locked in my house working all day, I would feel as if I hadn't made my daily deposit. And, those days would lower my self-esteem.

So, I removed it.

#4. Rephrasing mindsets for my identity

In my phone's notes, I used to have written:

Original: "My goal is to always go for it and do my best so I can maximize the amount of universes in which I see victory."

But, as I started to internalize the antifragile ego more, I would read that back and think, "Going for it and doing my best isn't my 'goal', it's my identity. It's who I am."

So, I rephrased it:

New: "My goal is to maximize the amount of universes in which I see victory by always going for it and doing my best no matter the situation."

And, that's been much better for my progress.

Unfortunately, if I'm not constantly pushing myself to reinforce my antifragile ego, I begin to view it less as my identity and more as my mindset. And, that causes it to lose its impact on me—it decreases my internalization of this identity.

So, I have an additional note that says, "Your antifragile ego is more than your mindset. It's who you are." And, that helps remind me of this identity's importance and the impact of the points written on the rest of the page.

Mindset Tests: Multi-Universe Theory, Kolenda for Self-Persuasion

Multi-universe theory for emotional detachment from negative outcomes

A friend of mine sent me a gift. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to sign for the package.

During the situation, the delivery guy had an attitude that I didn't appreciate. When I opened the door he looked me up and down judgmentally. When I was unable to sign for the package, he tried to hurry off in a manner that made me feel like he was communicating I wasn't "worth his time".

I thought about how if I were Brad Pitt, he would have given me the time of day. He might have made an exception. He would've at least done more.

So, at the time, I took his attitude as a sign that I'm not high-power enough yet. And, mentally and emotionally, that hurt my feelings.

But, then I thought about the multi-universe theory. I thought about how there's a universe where that same delivery guy in that same situation with me was warm-forwards, patient, and charming. I thought about how the delivery guy in that universe had waited for me to call FedEx to sort things out.

And, when I thought about it, the delivery guy's attitude was more of a reflection on him than on me.

That realization allowed me to calm down. Now, I was emotionally detached because I understand that his attitude is his choice. And, his choice to be rude was a disappointing reflection on him for me because he had the choice to be as kind as he was in that other universe.

After that, I was able to sit back emotionally-detached and realize, heck, if I were in his shoes with a busy schedule and more stops to make, I might have done the exact same thing. Who knows? So, no hard feelings.

This mindset has been phenomenal for me so far. Even in terms of negative social media comments. In another universe, a person commented something kind and uplifting. So, for that same person to comment something negative in this universe is a reflection on them and a disappointing choice to make in my eyes.

*Note: This mindset has also allowed me to care less about what others think about me because, in another universe, their thoughts and reactions to what I do are positive. So, their choice to behave or think negatively in this universe is exactly that—their choice. It's up to them if they want to be their best self by being more prosocial and nonjudgmental.

Kolenda's work applied to self-persuasion

I applied Kolenda's work applied to self-persuasion once with the "provide reasoning" technique above. Now, I'm thinking about testing the "congruent attitudes" approach.

I'm currently making a list of all of the times I went for it and did my best regardless of the situation. And, by looking back at that list and remembering all of those moments, I can infer from my past behavior that going for it and doing my best is something that's important to me (which is an attitude).

And, in an effort to be congruent with that attitude, my behavior will reflect that in the moments where I need it to.

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Lucio Buffalmano

Rock on, Ali!

Another random note from my side, just picking one thing among the hundred things one could write about:

Brad Pitt is not just a high-value guy, he is a world-famous emblem of "creme de la creme".

Sometimes the comparison we end up making might spur us forward by showing us how much we can move forward.
But the other side of the coin is that when we feel that the chasm is so large, they also bring us unnecessarily down.

When Brad Pitt was born, the stars happened to all align for him (he's a 10 in looks, a 10 in acting, a 9/10 in brain, a 10 in luck, and he also became a 10 in fame, money, and social power).
And even then, the biggest difference between you and him is not value, quality, and not even bank account. It's fame. Fame might be the single biggest differentiator.
That, and... That you're not hooked on alcohol :).
And I say that not as a dig on Pitt, but more for its "shock effect". As a way to bring more emphasis on the fact that he's human, and you're human. And if you look at some different angles, Brad Pitt is behind you, in at least some traits.

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Brad Pitt also took quite a while to get his footing when he was young.
Something not mentioned widely.

Some things from the Wikipedia page on him,

  • Born in 1963
  •  Two weeks short of completing the coursework for a degree, Pitt left the university and moved to Los Angeles, where he took acting lessons and worked odd jobs.
  • From 1987–1993, it was his early work
  • Only in 1994, he started to get some breakthrough

Yeah, 30 years old is quite young to stumble upon a breakthrough, but he still needed his twenties to find his footing.
And he worked odd jobs according to that source.

And as Lucio implied, Brad Pitt is one of the most successful actors.
There's an element of luck to this success.
Probably quite a few other actors are out there with equal talent, hard work, and looks.
But they took longer to succeed and maybe did not make a name as big as Brad Pitt.
So there's a survivorship bias (or selection bias).

What I'm saying is that maybe you are competing in an area with many competitors.
So there's an element of luck needed to achieve success. Maybe a huge element.

During the situation, the delivery guy had an attitude that I didn't appreciate. When I opened the door he looked me up and down judgmentally. When I was unable to sign for the package, he tried to hurry off in a manner that made me feel like he was communicating I wasn't "worth his time".

I wasn't there so I'm not sure.
Indeed, sometimes delivery men can be quite rude.

There are other times where their employers are squeezing every ounce out of them.
Low wages, many deliveries, etc.
And they become unhappy.

Not saying his attitude is okay.
But maybe it was unintentional because he was frustrated.

It's quite probable that some delivery men can be rude to non-famous CEOs too.
So I'm on the same page as Lucio that Brad Pitt has these benefits because he probably focused on fame to a degree.

There's also a downside to his fame.
Meaning being well-known to everyone including value-takers and low-quality people.
He attracts leechers who are nice to him.
For example, the delivery men could ask him for tips, and he would feel more pressured to give a good amount.

Thanks for the feedback guys, your comments are very helpful :).

What I'm Dropping Off the List

I joined a program called MBT the other day.

"MBT" stands for "Masculine Behavioral Therapy". And, the course owner claims to apply cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) frameworks to the development of one's masculinity.

I'd been following the course creator's work for about a year. And, I liked how he was different from a lot of the dating gurus and PUAs out there in that he encourages men to raise their SMV through self-development. He coaches men to become alpha providers (i.e. "the providing lover") instead of only aiming for the lover role.

So, when I went to the checkout page, I was glad to see that the main testimonials were of men talking about how they feel like they no longer need a woman to feel happy. And, most of those other testimonials gave the impression that this course was about more than dating, but that the men in this program are actively taking control of their life (getting their finances together, working on their vocal tonality, developing another income stream, etc.).

So, I was excited.

Unfortunately, there were some issues early on.

#1. Hits you with a contract

The course creator waits for the payment to go through and then makes his customers sign a contract before giving any access to the course—all while still holding on to the money.

And, the contract felt like it was rooted in a competitive frame:

User-Agreement and Refund Policy: "...The program comes with our actions based 30 day "Black and White Blueprint" refund guarantee.

Our refund guarantee Is called the "Black and White Blueprint" guarantee because refunds are granted on a black and white basis (no grey area). If you have taken the required actions to qualify (listed below), then you can receive a refund, end of story.

If you have not taken the required actions to qualify for a refund (listed below), then you do not qualify and you will not receive a refund, end of story. There will be NO EXCEPTIONS....

...The conditions for USER to receive the refund are as follows below:

1) User must complete, to the satisfaction of Infinity Adventures LLC, in Its sole and absolute discretion. All 12 weeks of the Masculinity Blueprint Accelerator Course via videos and exercises. Tracked usage will be applied to each client.

Any issues with the course owner's approach aside, there's an internal problem with the contract's logistics here.

The course owner doesn't open up the entire course right away. So, he makes it virtually impossible to complete 12-weeks worth of content ("to his satisfaction") in only 1 month.

And, the threat that turned me off:

User-Agreement and Refund Policy: "...You agree that you fully understand that our staff is always willing to work with you and will always honor any guarantee. However, if you file a fraudulent dispute or chargeback, you forfeit your refund and your account will be reported to your banks as fraud, sent to collections, and possibly pursued legally."

In case you were wondering, this part is boldened and highlighted in red on the contract.

I signed and joined the course anyway. After following him for a year, I trusted that his content would live up to my expectations.

#2. Basic content on personal development

Week one was the only week that talked about self-development. And, it was more of an overview that was only a few lessons long (e.g. start lifting weights, start eating right, develop your focus, etc.).

*Note: I'm sure this overview was helpful to those new to self-development. But, I've been working on myself for years and have been fortunate enough to have found some very high-quality content. So, that week's content didn't add any value. If anything, it hurt his credibility a bit because, at times, I was able to spot areas where he was wrong.

The other eleven weeks are all dating content. And, I was uninterested in that content because, for me personally, I'd prefer to wait until Seduction University comes out to start learning more about dating.

Otherwise, I risk internalizing misinformation I don't entirely agree with (e.g. the course owner says that parent-style touching is "needy behavior" that over-validates women, says he doesn't believe in having female friends even if they could be good additions to one's network, and so on).

#3. Poor-quality community

Lastly, the community is full of low-quality individuals. And, I don't say that to be rude, unluckily, that's the kind of people that the course owner attracted with the social strategy he used in his marketing.

Less than 20% of the community makes up for 80% of the community's overall value. And, the course owner hired those higher-quality men into "MBT coaches". So, based on the community's set-up, that makes it more difficult than it's worth for anyone to network with them (that's in my opinion and maybe based on where I am in life). And, now, the community is full of guys taking "teacher roles" and pulling power moves on each other seemingly to be the next one hired.

So, I filed a dispute and got a temporary credit for my $797. I don't appreciate or accept the power-relationship he tried to create with his threat. If he has a problem with my refund-request, we can talk about it until it's all resolved.

*Note: There were some social scalping tendencies in his communication, but I looked past it to give him the benefit of the doubt. So, in the future, I'll be more careful.

What's Next: PU Memorization, (Maybe) Course Reviews

Now that I got a temporary credit for the bulk of my money, I'm putting it into Jim Kwik's Recall Masterclass. And, I'm going to memorize the lessons in PU that would be great to have on hand at the snap of a finger.

I'm also going to be using that course to memorize my notes from The Social Skills Guidebook as well as some more of the applicable tactics from Methods of Persuasion and The Psychology of Negotiation.

To continue my work on mindsets, I've already joined Ramit Sethi's "Mental Mastery". (So far, it's basic information that have some flaws I spotted, but maybe when the rest of the course opens up it'll be more valuable.) If it's worth it by the end, it'll get a review here on TPM.

Secondly, I've also joined a Udemy course called "Neuroplasticity: How to Rewire Your Brain". The course owner seems to cover the neuroscience of habits, so maybe I can use that to make a habit of using socially powerful body language consistently.

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