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

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Thank you for sharing your experience, Ali!

Next-level competitive frame indeed :).
The threat of "reporting as fraud" and "possibly pursued legally" would have put me off.

It's possible that the author felt cheated by some customers.
So when he's writing that, he writes with the pain and anger towards a few.
But to take that anger against all of them is often a personal/social and even business-strategic mistake.

It's similar to what we see from misogynists and feminists: some personal bad experiences, and the "natural" step for many is to take it against the whole class.

OK for you if I put a snippet review for the course in the reviews page?
6/10 as a vote would seem appropriate?

Community, new content and Confidence University moved here.

Yea, I also think it's especially unfortunate when competitive attitudes like that lead to turkey-behavior (which may or may not have happened here), since that can harm one's life satisfaction and business.

Ehehe, one of your previous feedbacks in my journal has got me using that "turkey" term more often now, the analogy is stuck in my head :).

As far as a snippet review, I understand your wanting an official rating for this course, Lucio. And, I would love to give one, but I stopped this course early. So, I'd only want to deliver a vote on this one after having seen all of the course's content.


Adjusted a couple of communication mistakes.

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Lucio Buffalmano

Mindset Updates: Kolenda and Pink for Self-Persuasion, Multi-Universe Theory

#1. Kolenda's "provide reasoning" technique

It was, "I am proud of myself every time I go for it and do my best no matter the situation." And, with that mindset, there was this (small) inner conflict of, "OK, am I doing this because I want to feel proud of myself or because it's who I am?"

And, that question may seem unimportant on the surface. But, when one truly wants to relax, they can rationalize to themself, "There will be other opportunities for me to go for it and do my best (that I'll also feel proud of myself for), so I can let this one go."

So, I've adjusted it again to, "I always go for it and do my best because it's who I am."

And, as a result, I don't think I've ever been this close to living my antifragile ego so consistently and confidently.

#2. Daniel Pink's "rhyming pitch" for self-persuasion

I was watching a YouTuber a couple of months ago who kept repeating to his audience, "You don't get respect if your back's not erect."

And, the enthusiasm he said it with got it stuck in my head :).

More than the importance of good posture and body language, I've been thinking about applying the rhyming pitch to other aspects of power dynamics.


Ali: "Collaborative frames avoid losses and pain."

It might seem too small a framework to be effective for self-persuasion, but I don't think we'll truly know until we test it.

And besides, believe it or not, that collaborative frames rhyme has helped me avoid a couple of physical confrontations now (might tell those stories some other time :).

#3. Multi-universe theory for emotional detachment from negative social outcomes

I've been thinking up a few mindsets I can remember in order to use the multi-universe theory (i.e. the "MUT") the way that I applied it before.

The first one that came to mind was the assertiveness mindset, "I'm in charge of my feelings and others are in charge of theirs."

That led me to:

  • "I'm in charge of my friendly behavior and others are in charge of theirs." (= and, it's up to them to take charge of their behavior and be prosocial)

But, I wasn't feeling it.

So, the next mindset that came to mind was, "I am worthy of fair treatment and respectful communication, and so are others."

And, that led me to:

  • "I am worthy of collaborative, prosocial, friendly behavior and so are others." (= and, if you decide to be competitive, antisocial, or unfriendly towards me, that's a very unkind choice to make)

Now, I think there are cases where it's acceptable to be unfriendly towards others (such as with manipulators).

But, all exceptions aside, this feels like a good starting point to work from for this application of the MUT.

*Note: Also, living with this attitude could possibly lead to the deeper love for people often found in charmers.

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Lucio BuffalmanoMatthew Whitewood

Micro-Aggression Techniques to Resolve Covert Power Moves

My "brother in arms" and I had an incredible phone chat last week. Lots of laughter, fun, and an overall good time.

Unfortunately, he forgot that he had a meeting later that night (or maybe it got rescheduled to later that night on last-minute notice, I don't remember) and we had to cut the phone call short.

So, I let him know that I didn't want to hold him up and that we could schedule another phone chat over text. He let me know that he'd be free the following Tuesday (which was yesterday).

So, I texted him yesterday to confirm our phone chat and he said:

J: "...I got a call tn [tonight] actually, but I’m off the majority of this week..."

Now, this felt like the "I'm busy" covert power move. It felt like he was really saying, "I got a call tonight [that's more important than yours]."

So, one option is an "agree and redirect". I can say:

Ali: "(agree) OK, cool, (redirects to a new time for our call) then maybe we can shoot for Thursday..."

But, out of a belief in the mindset of "I am worthy of fair treatment and respectful communication", I wanted to resolve the power move.

So, I could have opted for the "frame mirror" technique by aiming to copy (mirror) his move:

Ali: "Yeah, (frame mirror) I actually have a call tonight too (communicates: I'm also busy with other things to do), so all good, how about Thursday..."

The issues I saw with this approach are:

  • It feels weak: I'm thinking, "You already expressed an interest in talking that night. And, now that you know he's prioritizing another call over yours, you're suddenly also coincidentally busy with another call you're supposed to do? Looks a little too much like a (weak) game is being played here."
  • It seems ineffective: This approach implies that my other call is also important, but J's frame was that his call is more important than mine. So, until I find a way to refuse that frame, I'm still one down.
  • It's a lie: And, this is a close friend of mine who I consider family. There are no fragile first impressions here and there's no need to lie.

So, I didn't respond that night.

Instead, I took the night to think about his message some more. And, instead of responding with a frame control technique, I considered responding with a quick assertiveness technique:

Ali: "J, ("E": Express in DESOE) I appreciate ("S": Specify in DESOE) a more respectful communication."

This would've been good, in my opinion. But, we had so much fun on our previous call that I didn't want to risk souring the chance of carrying those good vibes over into our next call. And, since J is more on the indirect side, my assertiveness could've done that.

So, to calibrate for J's communication style and the positive outcome that I wanted, I decided to use a microaggression technique instead:

And, when I say, "Allows me to pull him up to my level," I mean nothing cocky by it. What I mean is:

Lucio: "Remember the 'enlightened collaborator', expanding the scope for cooperation and cutting out the value-takers? ...with this technique, you give them a chance to play at your higher level. And you do so with 'collaborative shaming', plus a good old judge frame."

As a result, it seems and feels like J has greater respect for me and my time. And, we can have a smoother timer opening up our conversation with a good, fun start when we talk again.

*Note: It also helps that J is so willing to resolve any issues in our relationship, his collaborative attitude makes navigating cases like these much easier.

Pre-Emptively Resolving the "I'm Busy" Covert Power Move

Here's how I did it:

I don't think her text to push our meeting back was a covert power move because the reason could've been anything—a number of which could've been reasons that don't lower my status.

Even so, when we join the meeting later, she could turn this situation that she's created into a covert power move by saying she pushed our meeting back to prioritize another call.

So, I resolved this by treating her request as an "I'm busy" power move anyway. And, in doing so, I'm able to avoid getting trapped into one later while securing my status and her respect for me and my time.

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Lucio Buffalmano

Took a break from the forum for a couple of days and it felt pretty good.

I didn't know I needed it, but the TPM forum is sort of like social media for me. I'm not a fan of Instagram, Facebook, or sites like that, so this forum was always my go-to.

And, overthinking the like system caused me to get into my own head about who enjoys my content and who's "ignoring" my posts. One of the cognitive biases I'm working on is "mind reading"—assuming that people's engagement (or lack thereof) on my posts is a sign of how they feel about me.

So, sometimes, a good step back is exactly what I need to get out of my own head. And, the past couple of days have been prayer / meditation days for me (soothing music, long walks on the beach, mindfulness mediation, and all of that other good stuff :). So, I might take a longer break from the forum after this post.

When I came back, the first thing I noticed is that the Activity section is loaded.

And, when I took a closer look at the posts, all of the content seemed advanced (judge role power dynamics, traffic light conceptualizations, and it seems some new covert power moves were added?).

I felt a little bit like the TPM community had moved on without me. Not in a negative way, of course, more in the sense of what it's like to miss school. You miss a few days and then when you come back, you have a bunch of make-up work to do. Basically like playing "catch-up".

The thing was, since everything seemed so advanced, it also made me feel less enthusiastic to fully return (I hesitated to log in).

It was almost as if it's easier and more comfortable to go back to my mini-retreat and say, "Well, I graduated PU, so I'm sure I know enough to be fine without this new information."

It makes me wonder: is there a way we could organize the content in the Activity section (or add labels) to make it seem like it's more for everyone?

The first question would be, "Would we even want to," since it's a niche website on advanced social skills, so that might defeat part of the point.

But, it's only food for thought.

Seeing Matthew tear through the forum with so much activity makes me feel like he's doing a lot of growing (and, that's probably because he is :). And, that inspires me because sometimes it feels like Lucio is so advanced—and, is still growing so fast—that I'll never catch up to him.

So, it's cool to come back to the forum and see someone I feel like I've spent time growing with show me that I don't have an excuse to be lazy.

The "good guy vs nice guy" conundrum

I ordered a pizza the other day to reward myself for a new habit I built.

The pizza guy accidentally delivered it to the wrong house :).

So, we sorted it out and he was very warm and friendly. He wasn't over-apologetic about it either, so I was also developing some respect for him.

Then, he said something along the lines of:

Pizza Delivery Guy: "...did you want to leave a tip because it's crossed out on your receipt as 'no tip'."

He said something about how I didn't leave a tip online when placing the order so he was only making sure.

I was happy to leave a tip for him, he was very friendly. I didn't quite understand if he was asking me to go back to their website to leave a tip though (which would've been very high-effort), so I said, "Yea, sure, did you want cash?"

He said, "That works," and I told him to wait right there as I went back inside to grab it. When I went to get my wallet, he added, "Yea man, if you could, I'd appreciate it."

And, I stopped. My first thought was, "He shouldn't have said that. I'm about to give you the money right now man, why would you say that?"

And, my second thought was, "I could lie and say I don't have cash on me—pretend my wallet's empty. Then, we'd be on equal footing."

But, I got out the money, handed it to him, and asked him if the number was right.

Apparently, it was more than what it was supposed to be and he asked me if I wanted cash back. It felt too high-effort to make him go back to the car and then back to my porch to give me change, so I told him to keep it.

And, his facial expression showed a warm gratitude as he said "thank you" and returned to his car.

I probably lost status right there, but he presented himself as a genuinely great guy. So, I didn't have the heart to lie, say "no", and then send him on his way empty-handed only so I could keep a few social points. I felt an urge to help that I didn't want to deny.

After that exchange, I sat down with my pizza and thought to myself the same thing I'm still thinking now:

Maybe I'm too soft for this whole power dynamics thing.

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Lucio BuffalmanoMatthew Whitewood

Good to see you again, Ali 🙂

As usual, a few random notes that do not necessarily follow an order of what's more important or not:

Seeing Matthew tear through the forum with so much activity makes me feel like he's doing a lot of growing (and, that's probably because he is :). And, that inspires me because sometimes it feels like Lucio is so advanced—and, is still growing so fast—that I'll never catch up to him.

Keep in mind that a couple of those advanced threads originated from some of the exchanges you shared -and handled great-.
So you could read some of them as in "let's see why Ali did great here".

When I went to get my wallet, he added, "Yea man, if you could, I'd appreciate it."

Yeah, unneeded since the action was already underway.
A "thanks man, much appreciated" would have worked much better.

Complying From Position of Power

One technique to comply without losing any status is to go very high-power and/or break rapport, and then come down from to comply.
For example:

Pizza Delivery Guy: "...did you want to leave a tip because it's crossed out on your receipt as 'no tip'."
You: yeah, what's not clear about that (or "yeah, it's what it says")
Pizza Delivery Guy: (justifies / defends / confirms it's OK)
You: ahaha I'm joking man, wait here, lemme get some

If he gets rude and/or confrontational, then, of course, it's "no tip" :).

Call this technique "swoop from above" because you go high first, to then meet the other at his level.
The fact that you go higher shows that you can go higher, and that you're complying out of personal choice/kindness.

But it's not strictly necessary in my opinion.
I think mental power is also about letting real-world power dynamics pass you by and leave you unaffected.

Learn the game to transcend the game, as they say.

Maybe I'm too soft for this whole power dynamics thing.

Well, the way I see learning power dynamics, it's more about awareness.

Once you're aware, then it's about freedom of choice, personal preferences, and strategic considerations about what's worth fighting for, and what's best to walk away from.

If you had to always pursue the "victory" it would a straight jacket more than empowering.
Plus, one would end up acting a lot like a power-hungry dickhead if he were to pursue victory at all times.

In this case, it seems to me you could look at this interaction and say "I might have done a few things higher power, but overall, no biggies". In the "power dynamics traffic light" system you mentioned this would probably be green.

Ali Scarlett has reacted to this post.
Ali Scarlett
Community, new content and Confidence University moved here.

Yeah man, the whole traffic light concept originated from an interaction of yours that you handled smoothly.
And I had trouble understanding the dynamics so I asked the community & Lucio for advice.

It's not much that you missed because sometimes we have lots of back & forth to clarify things.

  • Judge role power dynamics
    Just more examples
  • Traffic light conceptualizations
    Basically very similar to the aggression scale but expanded to power moves in general
  • New covert power moves were added
    Only 4 more starting from "I'm proud"

I think it's okay to not worry too much about power with one-off situations.
Unless you see this delivery man every time you order pizza.

Maybe I'm too soft for this whole power dynamics thing.

The other data points on this forum indicate otherwise :-).

I also feel "soft" whenever I am learning new skills.
I think it's normal.
Because confidence stems from being good at something.

So feeling "soft" could be a good thing because it means that we are all in the zone of getting better.

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Lucio BuffalmanoAli Scarlett
Quote from Ali Scarlett on July 20, 2021, 3:45 pm

Finally finished up all of the high-quality reviews on my list for the work / job / career / business side.

Rounding up the best information on this topic, I'd say that the best reviews I've made on this subject (so far) are:

That's in no particular order.

I've left out some of the other job / raise negotiation content such as Voss and Pink because these last few reviews have been more of a "deep dive" into the topic.

That said, I'm working on some exciting reviews for you guys that'll transition into a different (perhaps more popular) topic. Hopefully, I can get those out before too long.

MasterClass released a brand new course on "custom career path design" one week ago. I found out about it yesterday. I finished it today.

That's how good it was :).

And, with that, I'm adding this course to my list of the best reviews I've done so far on this topic:

MasterClass has come a long way since I took my first course with them nearly a year ago. So, I'm going to keep them on my radar to make sure I don't miss any more stellar content they have to offer.

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Lucio Buffalmano

I joined a new program recently.

And, as part of my commitment to this new program, I've started cutting some bad habits out of my life. (And, by "bad" I mean habits that take more than they give, so I'd be better off without them).

For one of those habits, I got an accountability partner. The problem is, she plays more games than I'd like:

Protecting My Time

I bought a software that sends an alert to my accountability partner's phone whenever I slip up. That way, I won't have to invest as much time and effort into providing daily reports and check-ins—the software will do it for me.

Only thing is, the software needs my accountability partner's email address to know where to send those reports.

So, I begin the "negotiation" for it, and she pulls (what feels like) a power move on me:

In reference to the traffic light, I'd rank that covert power move as more of an orange/red since there's no social capital yet. So, in my opinion, resolving that covert power move was a good call.

After that, she seems to pre-frame the rest of the interaction as being a full-length conversation:

I wasn't really interested in talking because, at the time, it was a lot of effort to log into Slack for a back-and-forth conversation. And, I didn't have the app on my phone, so I had to repeatedly check my computer for notifications.

Plus, I wasn't in a very social mood at the time—I was already having a negative experience trying to recruit accountability partners from within the MBT program's community. So, I was leaning toward minimizing all communication with all accountability partners to distance myself from the stress that the entire process was causing.

Still, I felt that it was only fair to give her a decent-sized exchange since we had now begun this long journey together.

So, I responded:

Initially, I was a bit confused on why she was investing so much into the conversation after I'd set up a system so we wouldn't have to talk. So, at the time, I took it as a sign of potential interest.

But, then she mentioned her husband, so I was confused again.

Throughout the conversation, I thought to myself that it made sense that she'd want to get to know her new accountability partner. And, that she could simply be a really social, friendly person. (Especially after the "Broo").

But, then she mentions my profile. And, it begins to make more sense to me why she's investing so much:

R: "What do you do for a living? I see on your profile it says you're an author, any work I can recognize?"

The "what do you do for a living" felt a bit early—we hardly know each other and now it feels like she was only investing in the conversation to get a feel for how high-status I might be.

Nothing wrong with that at all, I simply wouldn't be gaining anything from the conversation if that's the case (of course, that's an assumption and could very well be wrong). So, I was no longer interested.

Also, the "any work I can recognize?" isn't a question I'm a huge fan of. It feels like a setup for a judge role where I now need to prove myself to you that my work is popular enough for you to know about it, otherwise, I'm too "low-status".

So, I decided to keep it private:

And, I preserved my time as much as I could while still giving her enough conversation to build some rapport.

Don't Pull A Judge On Me—I'm My Own Parent

There's far less communication these days since the software gives her all of the information she needs. (That, and I don't go out of my way to create conversations with her.)

But, after a while of zero communication, I decide to check in so she knows I still value her commitment. And, she pulls a judge on me:

Now, whether or not she pulled a judge role power move here is only my opinion.

Yet, notice how instead of accepting my compliment with a "thank you" she avoids "thank you" and says "cheers" instead. Almost as if she's consciously avoiding that power relationship of me in the parent role and her in the child role.

She seems quite power-aware. And, I also took that as a yellow/orange flag that there may be more power moves to come from her in the future.

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