The Truth, A Persuader’s Guide

I read The Game when I was 18 years old.

It was my first Neil Strauss book, which came to me after I had already learned enough about hypnotism to decide it was bogus. Back then, I viewed humans as rational creatures who make their decisions by rationally weighing the alternahahaha okay. It was a long time ago, give me a break.

I now understand that a person with the right training can subtly alter your reality without you knowing. So I am wary of reading Strauss’s new book, which wears a title that should immediately send your skepticism to high alert.

As The Truth: An Uncomfortable Book About Relationships rests gently on my piano, I recognize that Strauss has all the tools he needs to insert or delete a belief from my head. A writer and a hypnotist? I only know a few of those. And despite studying this subject for years, persuasion is still hard to avoid.

But I know from experience that if I give myself something to do on the journey, my mind will be more alert. I’ll notice more. So this blog will be my tool. If you want to come along for the ride, I’ll take notes on persuasion in The Truth, as practice for another, bigger book coming later this year.

I’m only a few pages in, and I’ve already spotted what looks like a few maneuvers from Strauss. A friend has a pet theory that he may be “undoing” some of The Game. So I’ll report as I go. Keep in mind, this could be entirely confirmation bias — even when persuasion isn’t an intentional component of good writing, it is always a byproduct.

If you are also a student of persuasion, I invite your interpretation of this presentation. Tweet me.

And one more thing: I’m going to truncate as much as possible. I like Strauss and I want to give away as little of his book’s content as possible. Off we go.

Before the dedication

The book starts with a summary, of sorts, about the book. It is titled, “FULL DISCLOSURE”, explains that the book covers 4 years of his life, and characters are as good as anonymous. But Strauss sneaks in a presupposition, look:

“In order to compress [the book] into a manageable length, reduce the complexity, get at the truth of relationships, and preserve anonymity, incidents, people, locations and situations […] have been changed.”

The italicized part slips right into the reader’s mind. Hidden. But most people start to believe a bit more of what he says afterwards. And then he has a sort of “thinking past the sale” moment:

“If you are reading this and believe you recognize yourself, think again. Your story is the same as that of most others in this book: You cheated and got caught.”

This one’s a doozy. It confirms the self-recognition that will happen to most readers anyway regardless of which book you’re reading. “Think again,” he says, before tying you down to a frame: “Your story is the same as that of most others in this book” (moving you past the sale…). “You cheated and got caught.”

And sold. Primed for the future, and maybe he just made you feel guilty. (I might be doing it to you right now?)

After the dedication, before the table of contents

Strauss starts us with this quote: “People are made to need each other, but they haven’t learned to live with each other.” – Rainer Werner Fassbinder in The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant. A heart sits on the opposite page, white on black.

This quote is wildly vague, as transportable quotes tend to be*. But the two clauses are enough to highlight dissonance. The heart symbolism works with the quote to set the tone. It leads you to remember a situation that could apply within the frame of love and relationships, especially because that’s all there is on the page. (If anyone cares to speculate on the importance of color, this section is almost all white-on-black. Suggesting duality, or a binary frame, maybe?)

Some notes from “Stage I: Wounded Child”

Page 8. The first character Strauss has dialogue with mentions The Game. This might look like a nod to his long-time fans, but to me it looks like priming. If he was going to undo some of The Game, this would be the way to do it. (We discover soon after that Strauss is heading to a rehab centre for sex addiction.)

Page 9. Since I will link this to one or more friends who work as therapists, I am curious about this paragraph:

“They say that when you meet someone and feel like it’s love at first sight, run in the other direction. All that’s happened is that your dysfunction has meshed with their dysfunction. Your wounded inner child has recognized their wounded inner child, both hoping to be healed by the same fire that burned them.”

This seems like a doozy to ignore. It’s super vague — plenty of room for confirmation bias to fill in the gaps. It’s probably happening already. (Consider that “love at first sight” implies you fall before speaking or shortly after, which is hardly enough time to notice someone’s underlying emotional history. I doubt it.)

Page 12, important: Strauss mentions The Game again to segue an introduction to what he wants you to think about during The Truth. He writes that The Game is about, “Why don’t women I like ever like me back?” before moving to a new frame in the next paragraph, which he calls a “tougher” life dilemma: “What should I do after she likes me back?”

Again, angling what the reader will think about during the book.

I wish I didn’t have to do this, but the next paragraph is right in between that^^ and a bit that got my full attention. So I imagine this paragraph is important too. If there’s anything important going on, let me know. For now, you can admire his sequence of nouns. Pay attention to how the words feel as they lead to the end of the sentences.

He says, “Like love itself, the path to answer this question will be anything but logical. The unintended consequences of my infidelity will lead me to free-love communes, to modern-day harems, and to scientists, swingers, sex anorexics, priestesses, leather families, former child actors, miracle healers, murderers, and, most terrifying of all, my mother. It will challenge and ultimately revolutionize everything I thought I knew about relationships–and myself.”

Seems important to the journey.

Next, this short paragraph is a gigantic tell for Strauss’s intentions and understanding of humans. He’s not saying it plainly elsewhere so far. But he does here.

“[1] If you’re interested in getting more out of this odyssey for yourself, notice the words and concepts that most excite or repel you. Each gut reaction tells a story. It is a story about who you are and what you believe. [2] Because, all too often, the things that we’re the most resistant to are precisely what we need. And the things we’re most scared to let go of are exactly the ones we need to relinquish.”

[1] This part gives you an enormous look into Strauss’s body of knowledge. I don’t know if he’s formally trained in hypnosis, but I know he has read a fair number of books by Bandler — he mentions Frogs Into Princes directly in The Game. So he probably has the “three dimensional” perspective on belief and emotions.

This part also hints at Strauss’s intentions. He wants you to notice what’s within you. Whether or not he intentionally makes changes, I don’t know. (I might not be learned enough to spot it.)

[2] Presupposition, presupposition. But I agree anyway (?!). These two sentences do a lot of work.

Page 14: Reminder, Strauss’s character is going to sex addict rehab. This quote happens while he checks in. “But I stay quiet. And I submit. Like a good cheater.” Humorous/sexy undertones firing on all cylinders.

Page 15: I marked this part more for “evidence” of Strauss’s learned talents. The dialogue reads,

“Do you have any homicidal thoughts?” [the nurse] asks.

“No.” And in that moment, I think of a homicidal thought. It’s like saying, “Don’t think of a pink elephant.”

This isn’t rare knowledge by any means, but the greater pattern, he is surely aware of.

Page 16: I think I only noticed this part because of my friend’s reaction as I read it to her. She reacted as if I had said it to her myself, though I was only reading it aloud. But it made me think of the “Say it in quotes” method I learned from Erickson or Bandler.

I ask [the nurse] if she thinks I’m really an addict. “I’m not an addiction specialist,” she says. “But if you’re cheating on your relationship, if you’re visiting porn sites, or if you’re masturbating, that’s sex addiction.”

My friend remarked in agreement.

Page 16 again: I recall that the reader will do presented mental exercises along with the character. In this case, the nurse presents Strauss a list of emotions and asks, “Which ones are you feeling right now?”

JOY, PAIN, LOVE, ANGER, PASSION, FEAR, GUILT, SHAME

Strauss selects one. The reader does too.

I’ll write more about this if there is interest. I can watch for particular things too if you tell me what to look for (and how).

 

*See “Impossible to Ignore” in the Persuasion Reading List.

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A Counter for the Crazy Card

Today I am going to supply my female friends with a few lines that will disarm the “crazy” card. If this seems like a useful post, I hope a few of you will try it.

It is a common notion that men think more logically and women think more emotionally. Everyone agrees that there is a bit of both going on in everyone, but the general consensus seems to be a skew towards “men are logical” and “women are emotional.” Watch close and you’ll notice that the men who apply this meme to their own gender often color it with pride, and the women express pride in their emotional intelligence because of who they are. That’s a logical thing. So you can join me in smirking the next time someone says that.

With this context, I have a simple claim:

No one calls you “crazy” when they can explain why your statement is nonsense with reason.

When you are disagreeing about something, both sides dig into their opinion really hard, especially if it is emotionally contested. Your mind shields you from any part of reality that conflicts with your view using something called “cognitive dissonance.” It’s why it’s so hard to get someone to change their political views. They are an emotional subject.

Once you know what to look for, as I do, you can see cognitive dissonance everywhere. Even casual conversations are rife with it. And in the context of someone arguing with a woman, cognitive dissonance is usually what causes the person to roll out the “crazy” label. Note that I say usually. When you say something that runs counter to what is in the other person’s head, cognitive dissonance happens. But there can be a false positive if you said something that was genuinely crazy (happens to everyone). Now for the good stuff.

If I communicate this part to you well, you will be able to use it whenever you want for the rest of your life. And it works like a charm. I know because I do it to people all the time.

Suppose someone is disagreeing with you. You say something reasonable, they say something reasonable. This cycles back and forth a few times until you say something so airtight that you can almost see a moment of unwilled agreement with what you said. But they subconsciously don’t want to change their opinion, so they have no option left but to hallucinate that you are a crazy person.  “You’re crazy!”

The fun starts here. You can now say to them, “as an intelligent person, I know you can explain what it is, exactly, that you disagree with.”

This puts them in a bind. Either they admit that they can’t explain exactly why they disagree and look dumb, or they give you an explanation with a reason. You can go forward from there. (Note that some people will be clever and evade this. If they dodge and change the topic, briefly answer their next words before re-stating the phrase.)

Another option is to say, “Since we are being reasonable, I wonder if you can explain why you disagree using a reason.” If they retreat back to calling you crazy, remind them, “People with a reason for disagreeing always give it.”

I recommend collecting a few sample data points through observation before you try this. If you don’t have any frame of reference, it will be hard to tell how effective this advice is. My guess is “highly effective,” but you should spend a few weeks noticing what happened right before someone calls you crazy. (You probably know a few ways to test this on-demand anyways.)

My bet is that right before you are called crazy, you will have said something that conflicts with the caller’s worldview. It will only happen if there is some emotional content involved. You can see that on their face every time.

Let me know how it goes.

Analogies Persuade No One: A Visual

It is commonly believed that you can advance your argument with an analogy.

Fiction.

They work for explaining things. But they don’t change minds. I’ll use an analogy and some visual communication to explain this.

When you make up an analogy, you imagine that the person’s understanding of it will match your own. You see at least a shade of similarity between what you are trying to explain and the analogy, and so you wrap it up into some words, and move your body around to communicate.

Then, disaster.

You’ve heard people agree with analogies before in casual conversation. Why didn’t it work this time? How can they still be stuck on their point, especially if you used a flawless, flawless analogy?

Allow me to explain.

Your perception of reality is stored in the part of your head called your brain. Your brain has a collection of memories, thoughts, and other great stuff kicking around. If you had an enormous sheet of paper, you could even map where all of it is located. And so as you are trying to communicate, your brain winds up imagining something based on a few parts of your map. You suppose that it will be understood perfectly — or even partially — by the information on the other person’s map.

ANALOGY_Bulb_Right.png

This is an analogy forming in your head. Isn’t it cute?

You can probably tell that in a casual conversation, where everyone is trying to get along, people will listen to an analogy and go, “Hm, yeah, that makes sense.” But for some reason, it never really works to change someone’s mind when you disagree.

To make up an analogy, you do something like this:

One, take all the things you want to communicate and wrap them into an analogy.

Two, explain your analogy.

Analogy_Bulb_Both_linked_GreenideasP.png

The green stars are similarities, reasons, etc. in your analogy.

As you explain, you imagine that all the parts that make sense in your head will make sense in the same way in the listener’s head. Like this:

Analogy_Bulb_Both_linked_Greenideas_BOTH.png

The level of understanding you want to achieve.

That isn’t what happens. The connections don’t “map” perfectly because everyone has a slightly different understanding of reality.

And then sometimes there’s cognitive dissonance involved.

When a person holds a belief, their mind will go to great lengths to avoid changing it. Science shows that the part of the brain that processes pain has more bloodflow when someone is trying to change your beliefs. To avoid changing, your mind will do all sorts of neat things. You might be unable to understand one interpretation of a sentence, or suddenly be yelling. It’s interesting to watch.

Part of this defense is a guarantee that analogies won’t change anyone’s mind once they’ve committed to their position. The reasons and similarities you are trying to communicate with your analogy will be invisible and inaudible in the mind of the recipient. The links won’t form because a conflicting idea is already in their place. Analogy_Bulb_Both_linked_STOPS.png

The red signs are pre-existing beliefs, incompatible with the analogy

They might understand some compatible parts, but conflicts prevent the analogy from changing anyone’s mind. Their mind will reject it. It could actually hurt them to hear how your analogy “makes sense” if you explain. Neat.

Worse, you might get a combination of dissonance and missing links, like in the picture below. If your analogy is explaining the similarities between your position and a car’s engine, I will misunderstand you because I have no idea how they work. Remember, part of my brain is tasked with resisting a change of opinion. So you’re really better off explaining with reasons.Analogy_Bulb_Both_linked_MIA_IDEAS222222.png

“This bulb is similar in X Y and Z ways, but you don’t know about Z so I’m screwed.”

If you’ve followed me this far, you probably agree with Scott Adams: Analogies are good for explaining ideas the first time, but they persuade no one.

Curating @AJA_Cortes

I began following @AJA_Cortes on twitter for his exercise advice. I stay for his philosophy tweetstorms.

To save them from being lost in time, I’ve picked some of my favorites to store here.

Because he deletes older tweets, I’m actually copying them into this blog post. Only small edits. The tweets are recommended reading!

Cortes on saying no, and setting boundaries, 5:21 PM – 22 Sep 2017:

“Whenever I say No to people, I’m the bad guy”

That’s because you have never set boundaries with anyone. And you need to keep saying NO.

When you are accustomed to being pushed around by someone the idea of drawing a line, and not putting up with their behavior is foreign.

A boundary is simple. It is a barrier. It defines space between things. You’ve got no space, you are a protesting human doormat.

People who naturally sets boundaries, their boundaries are implicit. They don’t need to explicitly say them, they’re understood by implication.

If you are someone however who never sets boundaries, then you will need to be explicit in articulating them.

That means saying NO.

A LOT.

“You are not going to talk to me this way, I am hanging up the phone.” And then you hang up.

“I will not be disrespected.” Then you walk.

“Speak with respect or this conversation is over” & then the conversation is over.

“No, I’m not doing that.” And then you don’t do that.

The obstacles to this are,

  • Well, I can’t just do that.
  • That’s not reasonable.
  • You don’t understand.
  • If I said that, they’d be mad, etc etc.

Real talk, Whatever your excuses are, they are shitty, stupid, fearful, insecurity based excuses. I guarantee it.

Whatever your resistance, it is because of the unfamiliarity & fear over the idea that you actually take a stand for yourself. Take a stand.

On ego, 4:53 PM – 22 Sep 2017:

Difference between EGO and CONFIDENCE.

Confidence – Knowing your value and abilities.

Ego – Your strength of belief in your value and abilities.

We call people that cannot handle being wrong as having a “big” ego, this always has seemed a misnomer to me.

If you cannot handle being wrong or challenged, that’s a FRAGILE ego. Calling it a “big” ego is not so precise.

Someone that is brazenly confident is then said to have a “big ego”. But such a person can also be very willing to learn and admit error.

That’s a HEALTHY ego if that is the case. The unhealthy ego is the fragile one that’s dead set on being right, and refuses to be wrong ever.

These are questions worth asking. There is a reticence by people to appear confident because people might judge them for having an “ego”…

But that is a very fallacious judgment. Hyper confident people can be that way because of a WILLINGNESS to change their mind, not refusal.

It’s very difficult to develop extreme skill and value having an attitude of “you cannot teach me anything”. Completely counter intuitive.

The people that have the stereotypical “big” egos often have LOW confidence. They are fragile Egoic precisely because of their insecurity.

Things to think about. My thoughts are not so clarified on this, but the common definitions have always seemed very backwards to me.

One can have a healthy Ego. One can have an unhealthy Ego. You cannot NOT have an ego at all though, impossibility.

We live in an overly sensitive culture as is, and Confidence is triggering like nothing else, most of all to those who lack it.

The tendency to make things absolute, either/or, yes/no. It’s everywhere in culture. For subjects like these, its oversimplification.

On “self improvement” 9:59 AM – 22 Sep 2017:

“Self Improvement” can create a disillusionment that every single day, hour, second needs to be spent working on something, with no off time.

Reality is that success is TEDIOUS. You cannot work ALL the time. The “hustle” marketing of non-stop grinding is often pretentious bullshit.

Human beings need some fun, enjoyment, relaxation, decompression. It’s not a perfect “balance” of 50/50, but it is proportionate.

Beyond the marketing hype, there is also the simple physiological fact that your brain and body CANNOT be producing ALL the time. CANNOT.

Sleep, food, mental stillness. These things are necessities. So is laughter and some human interaction that you enjoy.

If you are living to work, when do you actually LIVE? Work ethic is admirable, having a life that’s broken down outside of work is not.

Obsessing over productivity when you are already productive, you are trying to squeeze blood from a stone. CALM DOWN.

I would guarantee that your gurus and success idols daily lives are not NEARLY as “productive” as you would think they are. Guarantee it.

The portrayal of waking up before dawn, taking cold shower, slamming nootropics+ meditation+visualization+some other BS. GET fucking real.

If you practiced every single “focus” technique and productivity hack that existed. You’d never actually WORK on anything.

That stuff all sounds sexy and enticing. Practically speaking, the difference any of it makes is marginal.

Every “successful” person finds their own particular formula, and it’s never as glamorous as anyone wants to believe.

They write down priorities. They read a lot, they wake up early, maybe the have coffee. They take long lunch and workout etc etc etc.

I’ve had many hypersucessful clients in different fields. They wake up whenever they NEED to wake up. They go to work. They work on things.

The smart ones take MORE time for themselves than the ones that are constantly on burnout with families that don’t love them.

Real talk.

The smart single ones keep priorities, priorities, they are focused. And when they go play, they play hard and don’t think twice about it.

All this said, be grounded, learn temperance & don’t believe that every moment MUST be work or die. Success is built in increments.

Taking criticism, 6:35 AM – 22 Sep 2017:

If you can’t handle critique, you seek out comfort almost by default. Anything that challenges you becomes something to be avoided.

You then develop a whole set of rationalizations for your situation and why your life cannot change. This is all bullshit.

The reality is that being told you are wrong and admitting you are wrong, have failed, are lacking — it’s crippling to your ego.

You can’t bear it, you’ve built an identity on the lies you tell yourself you become one of those people that you can’t tell them anything.

Your life will middling and mediocre for this reason.

For people in their 20s, 11:02 PM – 21 Sep 2017:

PUTTING PRESSURE ON YOURSELF (A thread)

This is for all the people in their 20s.

You need to be realistic with yourself and your life

There are two paths to this. Those of you who have NOT thought about your futures at all and those of you who are OVERthinking it.

Obviously, the advice is different depending on which side you fall into. If you have NOT thought about your future, you NEED pressure.

You need to stop wasting time, stop thinking you have all the time. You need to create better habits, set some goals for yourself.

You need to think bigger, drop loser friends, and stop telling yourself its okay to be lazy and that things will just “work out”.

Said simple, you need to be an ADULT, and stop with this “adulting” bullshit. You are a grown person, not a child. Time to level up.

IF you are someone that is putting immense pressure on themselves, you need to RELAX. You already have a responsible mentality.

You need to stop freaking out that you are not going to be a millionaire/billionaire by 30 and you are behind and people are ahead of you.

Ambitions are excellent & I encourage you to think big But comparison can be deadly, & getting caught up on self improvement can trap you.

Improvement is incremental, building the business skills necessary for companies, teams, collaborating — THIS TAKES TIME.

And not EVERY waking moment of life can be spent working. You will burn yourself out. You need fun, you need relaxation, you need some joy.

So when I say be realistic, which one are you? No sense of urgency? Or way too hard on yourself? Follow the direction as needed.

On relationships and self-love, 4:22 PM – 21 Sep 2017:

“You don’t deserve love until you can love yourself”

NO.

A lack of self love is not reason to declare one unworthy of being loved.

It is punitive and cruel to believe you are unlovable because you struggle with yourself. This isolates people, in the worse way possible.

We learn love by loving and being loved by others. Children learn what love is by being loved themselves. All people need this.

Struggling with yourself is absolved both through gratitude of self and gratitude of others for yourself.

Self love may come from within. But is expressed both inward and outward, in the real world. You cannot separate it.

Finding it hard to love yourself does not equate to making it hard to love others. The opposite often times.

The love of others is what makes clear our own value and gratitude. To do this ALONE is very difficult. There is a reason loneliness kills.

 

Editor’s note: And now, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for men…

A thread on being a pushover, 10:06 AM – 21 Sep 2017:

“I feel that when I try to assert myself and take a stand, it always causes problems. Thoughts?”

Oh my, where to begin with this…

If you are pushover, realize that your ENTIRE LIFE has been lived out letting yourself be walked all over. That’s how everyone thinks of you.

Does it surprise you then that you get RESISTANCE from people when you try to be more assertive? Because it shouldn’t. It should be expected.

As such, changing your life is going to REQUIRE that you overcome the resistance from EVERYONE and EVERYTHING that pushes you down.

You can’t expect that ONE time of trying to be more aggressive is somehow going to undo a lifetime of living passively. Not how life works.

Another about being a pushover, 7:03 PM – 12 Sep 2017:

If you’ve got pushover personality, you will be taking shit from people every day of your life. All the reason to be strong and assertive.

If you’ve never been assertive in your life, you do not fully grasp the extent to which you deal with people’s bullshit its status quo.

Many problems that you experience are not personal ones so much as they are problems as to the TYPE of person that you are. e.g., a pushover.

Pushover’s are easy to identify: Insecure, don’t lead themselves, non-assertive. Everything sounds like an “is this ok” question.

Pushovers also walk without confidence, stand without confidence, don’t make eye contact. There is a total lack of conviction and assurance.

Now, a person may not FEEL like a pushover But perception is reality. So long as you appear one way, so shall you be treated that way.

So what do you do? This isn’t complicated. You do the opposite of everything that you are now that is weak. Make a list.

“I can’t say no, I’m not confident about XYZ with my appearance, I’m nervous speaking, people don’t take me seriously.” Write all your shit down. ALL OF IT. This should hurt you to write it. This is good pain. You will go through that list, & define the opposite of each & every point.

And then you when you’ve defined the opposite you’re going to write a plan/method/remedy/solution to solve each and every point as well. And you will pick the top 2 or 3 that you can begin putting in work on, AND YOU WILL GO DO THEM.

The alternative is you get used, abused, ridiculed, and ignored the rest of your life but you know what that feels like, so DON’T.

Cortes on unsupportive friends, 8:06 PM – 19 Sep 2017:

The “friends” who say they’re happy for you, & then proceed to lay down 20 different reasons of why you need to stop your hustle — DROP EM.

This is not a complicated situation. Why you persist on keeping someone around whose essentially an overly polite hater — Its baffling.

“I’ve known them along time!”

That is literally the only good thing you can say about them. And that’s not even a good reason by itself.

You are held back by every relationship that does not support you, improve you, energize you. If a friendship is not doing that, CUT IT.

You have no idea the mental energy you WASTE trying to support friendships that are fundamentally a DRAIN on your own life and drive.

 

You can follow @AJA_Cortes here: https://twitter.com/AJA_Cortes

 

Genre X, Genre Y

Music is built solidly on EXPECTATION.
 
If we went on a field trip to Africa, none of us would “get” the music nomadic tribes play. Weird meters with prime numbers, vocals in languages that don’t even sound phonetically similar. We wouldn’t understand it, we wouldn’t know what to *expect*.
 
But the TRIBE would love it, because they grew up around it. Some would know nothing else.
 
My own story: last night I went to Markus Schulz. It was like being kicked in the head over and over until I realized (only part of the reason) why.
 
Markus Schulz plays music that BUILDS into the breakdown, often really hard. That’s not what I expect.
 
My expectation is that when tension is building hard, the release will be a drop, or a chill deep drop… not a breakdown. Not not not a breakdown. Not a synth stack either. It FEELS wrong because I’m not expecting it.
 
But other people love it, so I know I can learn to love it too.
 
I almost quit listening to dance music once. Trance was dying a slow death. Everyone trying something new was shouted down by a million cries of, “That’s Not Trance.” Miserable. These people didn’t know how to like something new.
 
So I went off silently for a few years. It was like I’d forgotten that I love something, just because it changed a little.
 
Then I went into a two day festival with the intent of seeing one or two artists perform. I met people chilling hard to Cashmere Cat. I saw girls shaking it HARD to Diplo. And I realized I could like a bunch of new things, but only if I figured out HOW to like them.
 
So that’s my secret to being diverse in musical tastes. I learn to love it. I’ve done it half a dozen times by now. You go in, you figure out what’s going on, and learn to be excited at the right time.
 
I remember my mom was telling me about her former love of soccer. She said to me, “I used to know when to cheer.” It sounded funny, but she’s right. There’s definitely a right time to cheer, and a wrong time to cheer. If you get lost watching the teams, you can end up cheering for the wrong team. I bet someone reading this has done that. (I have.)
 
So how do you know when to cheer?
 
A good clue is: When is everyone else cheering? When are the people around me getting excited? Surely the whole crowd isn’t pretending — so how are they feeling to accomplish that?
 
So the people who love x genre but don’t like y genre haven’t learned: a) what to expect and b) when the enjoyable part comes. And you can learn to like anything — clearly, if other people can do it, probably you can too.

Kandi, The Good Memory Storage Device

In Robert Cialdini’s Presuasion, the reader learns that an object can act as a permanent, subliminal reminder for a feeling or behavior.

It turns out that as long as an object is in your field of view, it’s still cuing the subconscious associations you have with it. You can check this fairly easily by comparing how well you work with a cellphone in your field of view compared to without.

In the past I’ve played with the idea of parking a gift in someone’s house as a visual persuasion tool. Each time they walk by the gift, they would be persuaded a little bit more.

And then I realized this is exactly what kandi does.

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I recently got back from Group Therapy 250 with Above & Beyond. Some of my friends are pretty big kandi kids (I might be responsible for that). One of them traded me a beautiful pink cuff after I commended her work.

I remember her complimenting my character as she pulled the cuff up on my forearm. I now have it resting on a shelf in my bedroom, next to a dozen other creations I’ve received from good friends. Kandi is colorful and pleasing to look at — that’s why I put it there — but it also feels good to have around.

Hold on though. Why does it feel good?

When you look at a kandi cuff, you are reminded of the good feeling you have from making it or trading it. You are also reminded of the feelings you have from all your other kandi, by association. Each cuff reminds you of all the other memories you have of kandi, subconsciously, every time you look at one. And since it is a big part of rave culture, those associations are built pretty strong.

So my suggestion is that, if you love the rave, you might like to display your kandi somewhere you want to feel good about. Over time, the good feelings from your kandi will become associated with wherever you leave the cuffs.

I also like to make a small note about how I came to own the kandi, if the trade was particularly special. (From a new or old friend, or if I got it under the electric sky — that kind of thing.)

If you wear enough kandi, you know that you can end up with great affection for what are essentially little plastic beads. Only other kandi kids will understand how that feels.

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Festival Chat and Future Pacing

Today I’m going to explain how a common conversation topic influences you to go to more music festivals.

As a long time student of persuasion, I know that influence often hides in plain sight. To me, it’s as visible as the sun on a clear day. Everyone else just sees sky.

I also live in the rave scene. It is a part of my life and I intend to keep it that way. So I know that some form of this question is familiar to anyone with a rave family. And the question is:

“Who do you hope will be on the festival lineup?”

To answer this question, you have to pick one or more DJs to be on a lineup. Until the lineup is released, it can be your dream lineup. This question is your invitation to play.

It’s done subconsciously, but this question actually sends your mind on a search through memories to find an answer. If you’re really paying attention, you might notice a few possible answers go through your head before you pick one. It’ll be a different process for everybody, but if you managed to answer the question, your mind definitely did something.

The persuasion part comes into play when your brain simulates different ways a lineup could play out. You imagine how it would go if this DJ or that DJ played at the event, and if you’re going along with the excitement of the question, you probably imagine a vivid version of the event. In NLP, this is called “future pacing”, which shows your subconscious an idea of how you could act. Effective.

Your experience might be different than mine, but I find the “Who do you want on the lineup?” question makes a great group conversation topic. And when the question comes up in a group chat format, you’ll hear a bunch of answers that you didn’t come up with. Some of them might feel better than your own ideas. Among friends, people tend to like those surprises because your ego doesn’t have much invested in being right about the answer. It’s just for fun.

Together, the excitement of your own ideas plus your friends’ associates with the festival in question. Then you find yourself, later, wanting a ticket.

I bet this topic is more influential than some ad videos.