When I completed 15 years old I went on a school trip. In this little vacation one of my friends bought with him a book to kill time: The Game.
The Game was written by Neil Strauss and was my first contact with the idea that social dynamics CAN be learned. To be sincere, just the mere idea that I could observe a group of people and cultivate a set of skills to consciously succeed in social interactions blew my mind.
The first thing I noticed was that in every social environment people tended to organize themselves in groups. A group of friends will stay together, many times organized in a circle with each member of the group facing each other.
To these groups (any group of people, really) we call sets. The useful thing about observing sets is conquer and destroy.
When each potential social interaction is coherently highlighted by the cognitive system, the elaboration of a strategy and tactic comes naturally without any effort.
So, this is true for any meaningful pattern in social venues.
The more you observe, note, and process, the more effortlessly the social interactions go.
To illustrate further, if I go out many times to bars, clubs, seminars, or any social event, and focus completely on one aspect of the social dynamics, by the end of the night I’ll have some general rule to cultivate. If I go out many times focusing on just one aspect of the interactions (perhaps I looked exclusively at the eye contact, or volume of voice, or storytelling, etc…), I’ll implement the awareness of this pattern into my cognitive system, and soon I don’t have to even acknowledge its existence anymore and I’m able to focus on some other matter.
In this form, a study routine can be defined. I believe that this routine is the only true way of practicing charisma. The hard way to learn charisma:
Not everybody has an easy time going out and talking to people. Many people can normally talk and have long meaningful conversations with anyone, but when they are consciously trying to practice it, fall from their horses.
Each person has a different learning curve. Find yours.
When I started practicing charismatic methods I had one big problem. The issue was that when I went out to practice I had to be hyper-vigilant of myself. That was just one issue. Another big problem was that my motivation to learn the charismatic toolkit was empty.
Being vigilant of yourself
Being vigilant of yourself is tricky.
The more vigilant I became, the more conscious I was. But I found soon enough that if I placed my consciousness in certain planes I would always fail.
It’s like when you are walking in the streets and notices that someone is watching you. Suddendly you try to ignore this attention and focus on what you are doing: Walking. And so, you ‘forget’ how to walk. You stumble down the steet.
Being aware of certain things at certain moments can ruin your execution.
Tactical exercises need a tactical mind. Time and time again it has been demonstrated that trying to manipulate strategy while executing tactics is disastrous.
This was one of my issues.
Another problem was the fact that I lacked intention.
Many of my peers in the charisma community believed that they had to hide their intentions tightly.
Back in the days, going under the radar was law.
It was believed that you had to know your intention, but you could not reveal it to the “target”.
This way of thinking is flawed in many ways. First, the idea of seeing the person you are interacting with as a “target” is incorrect. A target is a place in space that you want to hit with a projectile. A target is not someone you are sharing space with. And a person cannot be treated as a target and find you charming. So be aware.
The second point is that showing intention is not wrong. As a matter of fact, showing intention is NECESSARY for a successful negotiation.
To negotiate you must know what you want to get out of the negotiation, and this is where I lacked. My sole intention was to learn and improve my skill set, but I learned that while interacting with me was fun, I didn’t have the right instinct pulling me to the right interactions, and this simply because I didn’t want anything from anyone except myself.
To other members of the community what lacked in them was a STRONG intent. Wanting to have sex with someone is not strong enough to make someone expose themselves to social “battlefield”. Their intent is not strong enough to justify (to themselves) why they are approaching strange people in the streets. Plus, approaching people consciously can be painful if you don’t have a pretty good reason to do that.
For a quick illustration, try to go to a party alone with the sole purpose of having fun and observe how easy it is to approach people. Compare with when you go out with the explicit objective of meeting someone for romantic ends and see how difficult it is to go into other people’s space and interrupt them.
The hard way of learning charisma is practicing.
I need to go out many and many times to challenging environments full of predictable and unpredictable social phenomena that I can observe, make a note, implement into my spirit, and improve my overall understanding of social dynamics. I also want to speak more about how to show intent the right way.
Next week I’ll write more about charisma and how to achieve mastery. Please if any of this rings a bell to you, leave a comment and tell me your experience. Thank you.