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

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Quote from Bel on November 30, 2022, 12:39 am

Thank you for sharing this, Ali!

The “You broke the handbrake” part had me laughing out loud! 😀

I am reliving the scene:

Him: Oh it’s just a bit slow, but there’s a trick to it.

Him: Maybe with some oil…

Him: You broke it!

Him: Just take the car, pretty please with cherry on top?

That guy had all the potential to go into a pity play and turn the sale into something very similar to Monty Python’s “dirty fork” sketch!

Ahaha, man, I was so pissed, but you're right, it's funny when you think about it :).

Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on November 30, 2022, 3:32 am

Good to see this guy doing his best to confirm the stereotype of the used car salesman :).

Great review Ali, and good call on seeing the power moves.

One different approach I may have gone for is to seek to go meta on the game to surface the power moves and try to "dissolve them" in favor or something better.

A possible issue I see here is that his position was "salesman trying to get the most out of unaware customer". You calling the game turned that into "salesman trying to get most out of aware customer".

That's a HUGE step forward, so fantastic job on your side.

The issue with that is you're still in a "you VS me frame", and you can still expect him to keep on trying with the power moves.
And you'll lose out on a potentially more honest exchange (or future relationship if you ever wanna go back).

One way to do it:

Him: "He's (another sales rep's) selling your car!"
You: "hey man, look, I respect you doing your job and it's all fine with me. At the same time, I've been in sales and I know the various sales tricks and techniques. Really, and please, I prefer honest dealing, no games, no gimmicks. I buy here today, but I'll need to service this car, and I'll buy other cars in the future.
So what I'm saying is: please let's be honest and straight with ourselves

Of course you're not guaranteed that will immediately change things.

But you can call the next power move and do the same, and even "give him a last chance" to play straight, after which you can either ask to deal with another salesman, or change dealership, or simply accept that you'll have to play the game.

Plus, even if things improve, you may still not be able to trust him 100% -but any improvement is still a step forward-.

However, this at least gives you a chance, and chances are that it gets you closer to a better and more honest exchange (plus, with a lot more respect and consideration).

Great point, thank you so much, Lucio!

I think your approach is more eagle-like:

  • Wanting to surround oneself and deal with honest people
  • Making a conscious and active effort to reach honest talk, exchanges, and relationships

Will definitely keep that in mind for the future next time I come across an over-competitive game player like this one.

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Getting out of my first traffic ticket using the TPM approach

In this thread, Lucio recommended his "how to avoid traffic tickets" article.

I read it when I got the chance and, as always, it all sounded like solid, science-backed advice.

Little did I know, I'd be using that advice sooner than expected :).

It started when I found myself driving the wrong way down a one-way street (which is an infraction).

I didn't see a Do Not Enter sign, but the cars all facing the opposite direction and the narrow room to get past another car that was headed in my direction (on the one-way road) were pretty telling.

As I reached the end of the one-way, I see another car in front of me that's also headed in my direction who I'll now have to squeeze past (someone who was also going the right way).

Unfortunately, that car turned out to be a cop car.

They slow down, turning on their lights (signaling me to stop), and we both come to a halt right beside each other, both our windows rolled down—them facing the right way and me still facing the wrong direction, not having gotten the chance to leave in time.

Me: Hi (holds both hands up to say "hi", showing both hands)

Them: Hey, did you make a wrong turn? Are you U turning or... (gives me the benefit of the doubt, already off to a good start)

Me: I don't know what you mean (plays dumb anyway just to be safe).

Them: This is a one-way.

Me: This is a one-way? (starts setting the stage for them to teach me)

Them: Yes, that's why all the cars are facing one way and you could barely squeeze past that car (looks like they're unsure if they can trust me yet).

Me: (gives honest reason) Oh, I didn't see a Do Not Enter sign, I didn't know.

Them: Yeah, that's why all the cars are facing the wrong way (really they were facing the right way, *I* was the one in the wrong, so they're taking a teacher role now, telling me what to look out for from my perspective)

Me: My bad (shows deference to let them teach me + show respect for their authority). So, can I turn left here? (asks for help)

Them: Yeah, you can turn left here.

Me: OK, thank you [leaves].

*Click the blockquote above to expand it.

Since I just got a new (used) car, I have it as a new addition to my auto insurance policy.

And, because of the details of that policy, getting this ticket would've shot up my monthly payment by a lot.

So, big thank you to Lucio and TPM for this one :).

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Monk Mode: Success (So Far)

Started monk mode exactly one week ago.

In only seven days I've already:

  • Read four books: the top three "best of" entrepreneurship books and The Personal MBA.
  • Written a TPM review/article for a 464-page book: The Personal MBA was quite the hefty read.
  • Balanced that with TCC coaching/consulting and other work: no productivity loss despite the ambitious reading and writing.

Still, I say "so far" because—as Lucio pointed out in regard to something totally different—consistency is far more meaningful than what one manages to do in a single week.

So, can I sustain it?

We'll see :).

It all started with doing a full dopamine detox on Sunday according to this guide:

I did the Time Theorist (advanced) level.

And, ate nothing, did nothing, and said nothing all day (albeit it's not listed, as you can probably imagine from the difficulty, no TV or even going outside was allowed for me either).

Since then I've been feeling different and getting a lot done.

Reading (Maybe) Slowing Down for Now

The Personal MBA killed my momentum a bit.

Chapters six and seven felt like such a waste of time for me, I wasn't enjoying reading.

But, I'd already committed to writing a review (and wasn't sure if the content would get better later on in the chapters), so I decided to suck it up and continue forward.

Having the ambitious goal of tackling the entrepreneurship "best of" list and having done my due diligence before making this book the first read on my list, I had very high expectations for it.

But, it fell quite short.

So, now I'm taking a quick break by continuing down the "best of" list, currently reading Disrupt You by Jay Samit.

Hopefully, once that's done, having rested from much of the note-taking and critical-thinking analysis, I'll have recharged to get back into the project (and have more knowledge to make my reviews higher-quality).

Michael Franzese NFT Coming Soon

When I did a review of Franzese's negotiation course, he admitted me into his "Inner Circle" (a networking group he created).

I got an email a few days ago inviting me to a group call with him, Peter Voogd, and everyone else in the Inner Circle where he unveiled his new NFT and gave early access.

But, a few red flags popped up:

  • Voogd kept certain information vague: dropping names like Jordan B. Peterson and Patrick Bet-David saying that they've said they're "all in". But, all in on what? On buying the NFT (which would actually drive up its value) or only helping to promote it (which, if not many take action on their promotions, does nothing for the NFT's value)? He wouldn't say.
  • Said Andrew Tate sent him a text that he's excited to be a part of the project: and I don't have the greatest impression of Tate right now based on the little I've seen of him. So, I don't feel comfortable tying myself to anything he's (closely) involved in.
  • Answered a couple of questions manipulatively: people posed questions in the Zoom chat for Voogd on what would happen if the value of the NFT goes down, how the recession affects the NFT, and so on. He responded with honest information coupled with reassuring them that this is a "legacy project" so they have no plans to abandon the project/manage the NFT in any way that would harm the community since that would reflect badly on their reputations. But, then he said that with the way he and Franzese are going about the project, the value of the NFT is going to keep going "up and up". And, that turned me off completely. He went from being a cool teacher to a salesman promising a "risk-free, you're guaranteed to make money off of this" dream. And, given how little the community seemed to know about NFTs, that felt manipulative.

I can't say too much more about it because it hasn't officially debuted/released yet. (They were collecting pre-orders on this call.)

But, I opted to stay out of it.

I say that to say, I hope I'm wrong.

I like Franzese and I respect Voogd's work ethic as well as much of what he's built. So, I'm happy to take the loss now (losing their special, discounted pre-order price) and buy the NFT when the value has gone up (which, I'm hoping it does for Franzese, Voogd, and everyone in their communities) if this project works out.

Until then, my focus is on my personal growth, TCC, and giving as much to TPM as I can.

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Thank you for sharing this, Ali!

That's an interesting approach to monk mode, not even food?
You know better of course, but just saying this as it's the same I'd say if I were sitting having a coffee/meal with a friend: are you considering that maybe going into extreme territory a bit?
You know the answer to that.

As for Peter Voogd, I know nothing about the guy, and from what I read in your review, it popped red flags all over.
Also the association with Franzese, loved the guy when he shared mafia stories -and great case study for social strategies / high power behavior-. As a self-help guru, fine. As a self-help guru pitching products and doing lateral affiliate deals, I'd also keep in the back of my mind what his past was about :).

And if one asked me for a highly unrequested, highly unqualified opinion on that NFT investment... You know what my skeptical bent would advise doing 🙂

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Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?
Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on December 5, 2022, 5:44 am

Thank you for sharing this, Ali!

That's an interesting approach to monk mode, not even food?
You know better of course, but just saying this as it's the same I'd say if I were sitting having a coffee/meal with a friend: are you considering that maybe going into extreme territory a bit?
You know the answer to that.

Ahaha, yeah, I'm testing an extreme approach to self-development for a bit.

First, with the dopamine detox.

Then, with testing out Jon Anthony's "Clean Bulk Diet" (which I started on Monday, the day after the detox):

*My Thanksgiving Day meals 🙂

You might notice the box of cheerios on the left which was my snack before the detox.

These days, I only eat that set of clean meals (brown rice, black/pinto beans, chicken, and broccoli), only drink water, and will buy some cashews if I want a snack. (And, the usual breakfast go-to is oatmeal.)

I've been feeling healthier, more energetic, and overall more "well" (albeit less full, I don't find this diet very filling and recently ate a week's worth of food in only two days).

But, I've also started Transcendental Meditation (along with some other practices) which has been reducing my stress and restoring my energy, so I'm not sure how much the diet is contributing to my current (positive) results among the other activities.

Still, right now, I'm having fun. (I sent that picture to my friend and he said my diet looks OCD-like, I couldn't help but laugh :).

Maybe I'll start adding salmon soon.

Comparing Myself to Someone Else Recently Made Me Feel Worthless

I remember when I first started looking into entrepreneurship back in 2017.

I was a young, curious, ambitious guy, thinking about what business to start with little idea what I was doing, but much of the intangible necessities needed for eventual success (the work ethic, learner's attitude, and drive to achieve).

In that digging, I stumbled across a young entrepreneur (who was roughly my age) named Iman Gadzhi.

He had started a social media marketing agency (SMMA) and was making good money.

But, I knew starting an SMMA wasn't what I wanted to do (regardless of how much money there was to be made in it). And, a few months later, stopped watching his YouTube videos.

Now, five years later, and just a few months ago I saw Iman again.

It was like reuniting with an old acquaintance for me.

He had only gone up from when I last saw him, now with two houses (one in Capetown and another in Dubai) and a $10M investment portfolio that makes him $1m/year without him having to touch it.

I was happy for him.

And yet, I couldn't help feeling perplexed about my current station in life given that we're the same age, both worked hard, both worked strategically (I did my best to adapt after COVID completely washed away my plans and I think I did well—publishing a bestselling book), and yet we were in such different places in life financially.

I went to bed that night wondering what I was really doing with my life.

And, woke up the next morning with that feeling only having stirred further, still unresolved.

I worked all that morning, trying to fight it, reminding myself to compare myself to where I was before, not where others are now.

But, it did no good. And, I was growing upset and frustrated.

I tried to call into question whether I thought I was entitled to more from my life by now.

But, it wasn't entitlement. My thoughts were too rational, knowing my path is my path and others are theirs.

It was the inexplicable pain of feeling I hadn't done enough despite all I'd done thus far. I blamed myself and began to call into question whether or not others were right about me.

Maybe I'd become a starving servant leader (at least, in comparison to Iman).

I talked to God about it while driving to a restaurant for lunch after work, praying and seeking answers.

When I arrived, I got out of the car slowly, feeling dazed from the long thoughts, introspection, and slight nihilism slowly setting in. The conversation with God had led nowhere and I was now in no rush for anything as the strain on my mind from all the thinking drained my body.

As I walked at a "time doesn't exist" pace, a man and his wife reached the door before me.

He opened the door for his wife to go in (taking the host role) and then held the door for me, not seeing that I was not near the door yet because I was still moving so slowly.

I hurried to the door to avoid making him wait (showing respect) and said "thank you" as I took the door, letting him go in before me.

Albeit he got in before me, his wife was waiting for him inside and I could've easily gotten to the line before him as he reunited with her.

But, that felt wrong, so I went to the hand sanitizer machine first—pretending to need to clean my hands (even though I knew it was probably still broken like the last time I'd gone to the restaurant, which it was)—giving them enough time to get in line before me.

The easier move might've been to simply gesture "please" toward the line and invite them to go first.

But, I really didn't feel like interacting with anyone. I kinda felt like shit. So, going to the broken sanitizer machine was the easier move for me.

As I built my burrito, he commented on how much I'd put in it, and albeit I didn't fully hear/understand the joke, I laughed with him a little bit anyway (and lost a bit of my self-respect in the process).

As we made our way to the register, he told me he'd already paid for my meal.

I said, "Oh, no, you don't have to do that." (Notice, I didn't use the phrasing, "Oh, you didn't have to do that, but thank you." I avoided the "thank you" and past tense format because I truly didn't want him to do it. I didn't feel like I'd done anything to deserve it.)

He said, "It's already paid. You said 'thank you' when you took the door, not many people your age say 'thank you' anymore. Your parents raised you well." (Little did he know it was mostly PU training :).

At that point, I said "thank you", and watched the two leave, trying to memorize their looks in case we ever crossed paths again so I could return the favor in the future.

Then, it hit me.

Power University Made Me Something More...and Erased All My Negative Thoughts

My gift isn't making money. Maybe that's Iman's gift. But, my gift is people.

And, I just got a free meal for nothing.

At least, it was nothing to me, it meant something to the giver. And, by "it", I mean me.

I'd made myself a man of value to the point where I'd gotten a free meal from a total stranger.

And, I wouldn't have made it that far so fast without PU.

Of course, I was never worthless. There's worth in being a learner.

But, I'm a learner with the objective of results. And, comparing my results to Iman's made me feel bad.

Little did I know, I was using the wrong scoring system.

I should've been tracking my progress in terms of how far I've come in growing and sharing my gift with the world (if tracking how much I'd learned thus far wasn't doing it for me).

And, if I have a gift that connects to people, then power dynamics is absolutely a huge part of that.

Now, a few months later, and not only do I have a growing business (TCC), but I was also offered the opportunity to discuss a full-ride scholarship to a couple of top 20 schools (like Cornell and Northwestern) thanks to, you guessed it, networking.

So, these days, I make an effort to continue giving anything I can to TPM.

I won't live forever and the good that TPM has done for me has the power to make an impact the likes of which it'll be nothing short of an absolute treat to watch :).

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Thank you for sharing this, Ali!

Read it on mobile before bedtime, and it was such an awesome read!

Random considerations on "making money"

"Making money" may certainly be a valid indicator of someone's "worth" (in some specific areas/traits), skills, "level of personal development", value one is adding to the world... And a few more "traits".

But, depending on what you want to tease out about someone, it's only a (tiny) indicator among many others.

Often, it's far more an indicator for traits such as "drive (to make money)" or to compete and dominate (an industry), and not necessarily much else.

And it also doesn't even necessarily say much about one's ability to even re-achieve the same business success since one can easily "luck it out" with lucky timing and place in a booming industry, or start early and luck it out to get on board some very capable but more risk-averse partner who didn't want to start by himself -saw a few of these cases as well-.

And sometimes, it may even say the opposite -it's certainly possible to make money while being a value taker-.

Personally, I generally respect successful businessmen and entrepreneurs -plenty of exceptions though-.
But I don't look up to anyone who's making more money than I do. (<---- EDIT, albeit the "personally" in the beginning is meant to power protect, this may still come across as a covert brag and involuntary one-up, as if to say "look at me, am I not cool". I could have phrased it better, and of course, no one-up meant)

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Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Also, one note I forgot last time and re-popped later into my mind:

Quote from Ali Scarlett on December 10, 2022, 5:42 pm

As I built my burrito, he commented on how much I'd put in it, and albeit I didn't fully hear/understand the joke, I laughed with him a little bit anyway (and lost a bit of my self-respect in the process).

You were there and know better -always-.

Reading it from afar though, it seems a pretty normal and fair reaction: he put forward his "bid for vibing" and rather than letting it die -a small social slap to his face- you vibed back.

Of course might have been too much if it was offensive and/or if you laughed too hard -albeit having interacted with you, it doesn't seem to me you're the type to overdo that-.
But generally speaking, it seemed a pretty smooth behavior and good interaction.

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Ali Scarlett
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

These past few weeks have been packed with nothing but work.

And, while there's still much to be done, I wanted to take the time to give an update as to where I've been, what I've been up to, and a few things I've been thinking about.

Some Things I've Been Working On

#1. Getting My Digital Marketing Certification

For starters, to everyone who kept saying I could build a business/pursue a career in marketing, I took your advice.

I recently completed five training programs in digital marketing (Google Ads, Google Analytics, SEO, FaceBook ads, and email marketing).

Right now, I'm testing what I've learned:

  • Set up and launched two Google Ads campaigns for my cleaning company: which I did all of the keyword research, campaign structure work, and copywriting for. We've already gotten some good results and I'm managing both campaigns in preparation for going bigger in February.
  • Did some technical and on-page SEO for TCCB and TSSB: a process of more keyword research, writing the title tags, meta descriptions, and image alt texts as well as some other things.

Still, SEO takes time (at least for me, especially given how new I am to it), so I've outsourced the rest of the technical and on-page work for TCC to a specialist (he'll do more keyword research, the header tags, site speed, schema markups, and so on).

That way, I can put my time into the next couple of tasks on my plate:

  1. Setting up and testing Kartra funnels: for now, I'll be testing an eBook giveaway funnel created by Jason West for the first chapter of TSS (on TSSB). I'll be running some traffic to it and then, maybe at some point in the future, I'll test on one or more of Tai Lopez's funnels.
  2. Writing articles for TSSB: which will take some time investment on my side because I'd like to write and publish at least ten articles for new site visitors to read.

#2. Improving TCCB Content Quality

I also recently removed two articles from TCCB I didn't think were valuable enough to remain on the site's blog.

At some point, I'll review all of the articles before writing too many more new ones and, moving forward, I'll be harder when grading my own content to keep it high-quality.

#3. Claiming My Google Knowledge Panel

TSS did so well, Google gave me a knowledge panel:

I claimed it to add that "Books" button above and I've been sharing the win with my friends.

It's been helpful for my networking, of course, but also a great opportunity to assess my friends' character.

All of them were very supportive and happy for me, a stark contrast to how some older friends of mine reacted a few years ago when they saw that I'd met a celebrity for the first time:

  • One friend started bragging to people about it if he was around others: once he even did it when we were on the phone together. Someone asked who he was talking to and he started hyping me up as a way of hyping himself up that he's friends with "insert XYZ title/achievement of mine" here. It would've been cool if it was value-giving, but I told him I prefer to keep my work private and he said something like, "Don't worry, it's my flex..." (in other words, "I said it for me, not for you, so it's OK man.").
  • Another friend said, "Well, just don't leave me behind, OK?": which even surprised my therapist when I told her back then.

Now, years later, all of my friends are high-quality individuals happy to celebrate with me in a value-giving way, even if it's something small like a genuine, meaningful compliment.

Come to think of it, now maybe it's time I updated my forum picture as well :).

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It Seems We May Have Called It On the Michael Franzese NFT

Which is actually called the "Mob Ties NFT":

Full disclosure, I don't know much about NFTs.

But, from the little I understand, that line is supposed to be going "up and up" according to Voogd. And, that doesn't seem to be the case.

Plus, anyone who bought the NFT can't see the (private) financial stats of how they're performing now because the mods have locked everyone out (see the channels on the left-hand side):

I have to say, that looks a bit sneaky to me.

A part of the promise from Franzese for this NFT was that people would get access to lessons on how to become great leaders. And that's what that announcement post above is about.

Glad to see he's kept his word on that, albeit I didn't feel that was valuable enough of an incentive for me to buy the NFT.

However, the lessons are only one of the incentives Franzese offered. Another one was that the more NFTs you buy, the more access you'd get to Franzese, Voogd, and the high-value people they know. Plus, anyone who could afford to purchase a large volume of the NFT is likely a high net-worth individual, so if you graduated to that high-ranking title with other people, it's likely those other people are (hopefully) millionaires.

Here's an example of an upcoming event only for people who bought a lot:

*The more NFTs you buy, the higher your title, starting from "Mob Ties Member" all the way up to "Mob Boss"

Still, the problem I saw with that was the power dynamic.

How does it look when you sit in a room with the heads of this NFT project (which are hopefully all high-value people) and you're the only one who bought their way to the top?

And, add to that the fact that everyone else in the room has the power to pull the rug from underneath you at any time because you've put your financial investment into their hands.

To be frank, it looks like you're the sucker (at least, to me).

In their defense though, they mentioned some things about vetting/screening people before approving the promotions and putting a limit on how many NFTs would be open for purchase on the market (which doesn't make sense, how can the value of the NFT keep going "up and up" if it's going to stop being available for purchase?), but the risks didn't seem worth the reward to me.

And, with my power awareness on that call, I saw this coming.

Now, things are looking bad from the outside for their sales, but they do seem to have a pretty low refund rate so far (only 7% of the total NFTs bought are back on the market trying to be resold).

Let's hope everyone involved in this project comes out of it with a win. I'm still keeping my distance for the time being.

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