Mar 172014
 

habitbull_icon_512x512

It seems like I have abandoned the 30 challenges project and I disappeared from this planet.

But that’s not true. The latter part at least. I did kind of stop doing the challenges, but I have not abandoned the project. I will finish it one day, but things have changed quite a bit since my last post.

I’ve moved from Belgium to London.

I’ve been working in a startup that does emotion-from-voice technology.

And now I’ve created an Android app to improve your life. It’s HabitBull, a habit streak tracker.

You can use it to track certain bad habits or positive habits and change them if necessary.

It’s similar to Lift or Habit Streak, but better in all aspects ;-)

If you like this idea, or if you want to help me out, or for any other reason – please download the app and give it 5 stars on the Play Store :-)

Thanks so much – and keep an eye on this blog, I’m starting a new writing project soon.

May 112013
 

The title of this article is deliberately vague and way too long. But apparently you liked it enough to click. Read on, my friend.

I hate to sound like a douchy telemarketing guy, but here goes:

These five techniques will change your life! I know because they sure changed mine!

thumbs-up

This is not me.

 

1) The Contrast Principle

“The house I got them spotted for looks really great after they’ve first looked at a couple of dumps.” – a real estate salesperson

We never make absolute judgements. We always compare to things we heard or saw earlier. If we say someone is intelligent, we mean we think he’s intelligent at this exact point in time. Maybe because we just heard him say something rather eloquent, or because a moment earlier a knucklehead Guido walked in. Either way, it’s entirely possible that tomorrow, we don’t think of this person as ‘intelligent’ at all.

A very obvious example is putting your left hand in a bowl of hot water and your right hand in a bowl of cold water. Then put both hands in a bowl of lukewarm water. Your left hand will tell you the water is cold while your right hand will tell you it’s hot.

A lot of experiments have been done regarding this principle and the result is always the same. For example: two groups of people. One group gets offered 10$ to listen to a poet reciting some poems. The other group is told they need to pay 10$ to listen to this famous poet. The second group consistently rates the performance a lot higher than the first group and they enjoy themselves more.

The strange part: even when we know we’re being gamed by the contrast principle, it still works. This happens to me all the time. I go into a negotation with – for example – a certain percentage of the shares I want to obtain in my mind. When the other party tells me how many shares they’re willing to give me – always a lot lower than what I had in mind – I always think “Hmm, maybe my percentage is crazy high, I’ll just ask for a little more than what he said”. And then I leave and I think to myself “FUCK, it happened again. Next time, I will be prepared“.

A lot of salespeople – especially those that gained their skills on the street, like in the souks in Arab countries – are extremely proficient at using this technique. You think you got a great bargain when you get 50% off, but what you don’t know is that their initial price is a tenfold of the lowest price they’re willing to sell for. You feel like these shoes are only worth 10$, but when you hear him say 100$, you immediately figure they’re worth more – unconsciously! – and you won’t dare make an offer of only 10 measly dollars.

Another example: a smooth salesguy sells you a 100000$ Aston Martin. The optional extras are only 15000$, which is nothing compared to the original price of the car, right? So you take the extras. Of course you do. Contrast principle.

Your Advantage: Use this every fucking time you’re negotiating. Be fully aware of the lowball offers of the other party, think of the fair price you deserve and just have the guts to make an outrageous counteroffer. Then you can really start negotiating like you’re supposed to. It’s not rude to make a ridiculous offer, it’s called bargaining. Grow some balls. Avoid being the first to name a price, but if you really, really have to, go wild, over the top, completely ridiculous. Because chances are, it’s not as ridiculous as you think.

Find the price they’re comparing with in their mind, and replace it with your own price. They won’t even notice.

When setting pricing for a product, use three prices:  a low one, a medium one and a (ridiculously) high one. Each price corresponds with the same product, maybe slightly altered (different packaging, some extra features, …). The bulk of the people will choose the medium priced product. The low price scares people away because it is perceived as low value, low quality. The extremely expensive product will make people feel like the medium priced one is a good offer. And of course, there are always rich-asses who want the best of the best, and they will buy your expensive product no matter what’s inside. Win-win-win.

contrast-principle

The contrast principle at work

 

2) Financial Versus Emotional/Moral Triggers

There are different types of incentives to do something. There’s extrinsic ones like getting paid, receiving gifts or benefits or getting a raise. There are also intrinsic rewards, for example that joyful feeling you get when you’ve done something truly good for the world.

The overjustification effect  occurs when an expected external incentive such as money or prizes decreases a person’s intrinsic motivation to perform a task.

This is of course a huge problem. How do you motivate your coworkers or employees to get shit done? We all know about the time wasting procedures we employ when bored at work while being paid by the hour. Checking Facebook, 9gag, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, Fmylife, xkcd, hilarious nonsensical Youtube movies, etc.

For some, money is a good reward. But most people need a sense of gratification, teamwork, accomplishment and purpose in order to fully go for it and deliver amazing work. When the only incentive is money, the result will usually be mediocre at best.

money-bad-reward

You don’t need money, you need some love

It’s easy to instill a sense of purpose in people. Give them responsibilities. Make them feel like their contributions are invaluable. Praise them for every good move. Don’t reprimand easily.

When I’m forced to sit through boring meetings about decisions I have no control over neither care about, I will lose all interest in the wellbeing of the company I’m working for. When I’m being paid by the hour while my opinion is completely ignored, I will not give a shit about the end result. On the other hand, when you engage me and you make me THINK about solutions to interesting problems, when you let me participate in the decision process, I will make mountains move for you. Even when you pay me jack shit.

Something different: there’s an interesting case study about a kindergarten where a lot of parents were always late in getting their children. The head of the kindergarten decided to do something about it, so they started charging money for every 15 minutes the parents were late. They thought this would surely help, but funnily enough, more parents were always late. The reason? The moral incentive to be on time was replaced by a weak financial incentive. The small fine they had to pay actually removed their moral objections to being late.

Your advantage: When you need your friends to help you move, don’t offer them 5$. They’ll think “5 frickin dollars for 4 hours of hard labour? My ass I’ll help”. Instead, play the “We’re best friends” card. Tell them you need their help because you can’t do it alone. Tell them you’d do the same for them. A good moral incentive will always triumph over a bad financial incentive.

 

3) The “Expensive Is Good” Mindset

This is why you always need a really expensive product in your product line. This is also why you need to set your prices high enough. Don’t compete on price. Ever. When you offer a cheap service, people expect bad service.

In people’s minds, high cost means high value. They’re usually right. A lot of people offer quality work for cheap though. The problem is that people cannot know in advance if cheap work will be worth it, so if you take this risk into account, it is usually better to go for a more expensive product.

I love to pay some extra money if I know deadlines will be met.

Your advantage: Raise your prices and profit. Of course, testing is key here. You can raise your prices only so much before the drop in customers compensates for the increase in profit per customer. Just remember: most self-employed people don’t charge nearly enough for their services because they’re scared they will be seen as money-hungry sharks. Which is bullshit, of course, if your service or product is valuable, it’s your god damn right to make some good money :-)

 

4) Reciprocity Or “The Free Sample”

This is the most important principle in this series.

You find a job because of reciprocity. You earn money because of reciprocity. And you are successful in life because of reciprocity.

And once and for all: I am NOT only talking about physical, material things. Reciprocity can be a SMILE, some kind words, or just being a fucking good friend (mind the word order here)!

The best business deals usually come from strong friendships built over years. Hanging out, drinking, partying and talking about random non-business subjects (read: girls) together til late at night. These things are important.

Being a true friend can get you far in life. Totally not gay.

When you smile and you’re friendly, you get shit done. There are people that get pretty much everything for free in life. They are waiting in line at Starbucks. One second later, they’re suddenly at the front of the line without anyone caring. They chat for 3 minutes with the barista and they get their drink for free. How the fuck does that happen? I’m guessing they’re just really friendly, yet slightly manipulative people. They know exactly what they have to say to get the barista to think “Wow this guy is amazing, he’s so friendly, I have to do something for him because he’s so nice to me. You know what, I’ll just give him this one drink for free”.

There are buttons to be pushed, you just need to know where they are located. And if you think this is shady and unethical: think again. Everyone tries to be friendly, everyone tries to get shit done in their lifes. Some people are naturally gifted, some need to think a little bit about what they’re gonna say because they’re shy and awkward as fuck. Don’t judge us ;-)

You might think it’s unethical because you’re “gaming” the system, because you’re being friendly for egotistical reasons. Well, think about it: everything everyone ever does is for egotistical reasons. Hanging out with your friends? Makes you feel good. And you never know when you need them some day. Giving money to strangers? Makes you feel like you’re a “good” person and makes you look good to your peers. Saving someone’s life? Hope they’ll do the same for you one day. Oh, and you’d have become a social outcast if you didn’t.

 

There’s one big problem with this principle: there doesn’t need to be actual reciprocity:

“Perhaps the most legitimately dispiriting thing about reciprocal altruism is that it is a misnomer. Whereas with kin selection the “goal” of our genes is to actually help another organism, with reciprocal altruism the goal is that the organism be left under the impression that we’ve helped; the impression alone is enough to bring the reciprocation.”
― Robert Wright

This, as everything in life, can be used to your advantage.

Your advantage: You know all these free samples you get – shampoo, Red Bull, Coke, the latest Chanel perfume? You think  their main goal is for you to get to know their product, right? Wrong. At least, that’s not the whole reason. What they didn’t tell you is that they count on our subconscious feeling of reciprocity. When we get something for free, we want to give something back. So we buy the product. Think about it: whenever they’re handing out free food samples in the supermarket, you ALWAYS get this little guilty feeling when you take a piece without buying the product. I know I do. If it even works for a fucking piece of strawberry, imagine how powerful this mechanism is, and how deeply it is engrained in our being!

As a company, you can use this trick to increase sales. For example, when you sell frozen yogurt, hire some students to hand out free little empty cups on the streets. People can then come to your store to get the cup filled with a free sample of your frozen yogurt. This way they get to know your location, they taste how good it actually is AND their reciprocity system is activated. Win-win-win!

As an individual, you can win big by using this simple technique. It’s not so much a technique as just being a good, friendly person :-) Just be friendly to everyone you meet, go all out to help people and you will be treated extremely well. You know what they say:

 “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar

People will do everything for you if you’re a good friend. Being a good businessman is being a good friend. It’s an unreasonably powerful, automatic response: when someone gives me something for free – even something stupid like a pen or a coke – I get the irresistible urge to do something back for them.

Of course, this can also be abused. A lot of street scammers insist very agressively on giving you free stuff. They then proceed to talk to you in a very friendly way. Then they leave you alone, but not before they ask you nicely for a little bit of money. This amazingly works extremely well because we don’t want to “get something for free from someone who is poor” so we’ll either try to give back the gift – which, of course, they refuse – or we give them some money.

5) Concession Reciprocity / Rejection, then Retreat

This principle is basically a subset of the reciprocity principle. Instead of recipocrating in material things, you can also recipocrate concessions. A simple scenario to illustrate things:

Marc: “I want 10000$ or the deal is off”.

Polo: “No fucking way, that’s too much”.

Marc: “Okay, let’s say 5000$, deal?”

Polo: “No man, still too much”.

Marc: “Dude, this is already a really, really good offer. Final offer is 3000$, I can’t go any lower”.

Polo: “Nope, can’t do it.”

 

This scenario is possible, but more likely it will go something like this:

Marc: “I want 10000$ or the deal is off”.

Polo: “No fucking way, that’s too much”.

Marc: “Okay, let’s say 5000$, deal?”

Polo: “Hmm, sounds reasonable, deal!”.

 

The more we decline the offer, the more we will start to feel the urge to accept (or at least make a good counteroffer). Every time the other party makes a concession, we feel the need to also make a concession. This is concession reciprocity.

Making a concession is in essence doing something nice towards the other person. We will, again, feel an uncontrollable need to do something nice for them.

Your advantage: And again, this technique is used a LOT by salesmen. They know that, the more concessions they make, the more you will be tempted to say yes. Of course, it’s important for them to start with a high asking price, because otherwise there’s no more money left after a few concessions.

If you want to try out this technique, go sell something and start with double the price you want to sell for. And then slowly subtract a few dollars every time. Your potential buyer will feel obligated to make a concession: he will raise his buying price. If you do it right – make a lot of small concessions, each time a few dollars or dollarcents – you will definitely make a lot of profit. The only thing you need for this to work is confidence and patience. Moral gray zone? Yes. Effective? Yes.

Some other examples (use at your own risk):

Craig: “Do you want to go back to my place?”

Hot Girl: “Umm, no, I don’t really feel like it”

Craig: “Ok, let’s just make out then.”

Hot Girl: “Yes please!”

Random guy on the street: “Can you give me 50 cents for my busride?”

You: “No…”

versus

Random guy on the street: “Can you give me 5 dollars for my busride?”

You: “No…”

Random guy on the street: “Okay what about 50 cents?”

You: “Okay, let me check if I have some spare change”

 

Stay tuned for the next 5 psychological social techniques, and please share this article, it helps me a great deal :-) Thanks!

May 022013
 

It’s been a while. Sorry for that.

I filmed the third challenge more than a week ago, and I wasn’t happy with how it turned out. The challenge is not especially funny, it doesn’t look spectacular at all and a lot of things went wrong while filming. For example, discovering that our cameraman didn’t press the “record” button on the best reaction we had gotten all day, or the microphone deciding to stop working.

However, I edited it as best as I could and I will show it to you guys anyways. Because it’s about finishing things and getting better along the way. It’s not about perfection.

This challenge is very easy in theory:

  • Go walk or stand next to some people.
  • Say “Marco”.
  • Keep repeating “Marco” until they either say something (preferably “Polo” or “I’m not Marco”) or until they walk away.

 

The hard part of this challenge is the fact that other people will think you’re a nutcase. They will look at you like you’re some kind of disease they want to get rid of as fast as possible. They will start walking just a little bit faster, or they will ignore you completely. It’s funny, they know you’re standing there talking to them. They literally see you say “Marco” to them repeatedly. There’s no-one else around. But still they choose to completely ignore the situation. Because the situation doesn’t make any sense. People don’t go up to people saying “Marco” repeatedly.

This one’s more difficult than the previous two challenges because now you have to talk to people, and in a very uncomfortable, awkward way. The hugging challenge was okay, because in a weird way it made sense. Everyone most people like to be hugged. And the lying on the ground challenge was awkward, but at least you didn’t have to communicate.

 

Rules Of The Challenge

  • You have to talk to people you don’t know.
  • “Marco” has to be clearly audible.
  • Keep trying until someone says “Polo” or until you feel very comfortable doing this.
  • EASY VERSION: Act as if you really think this person you’re talking to is called Marco. “Marco?”

 

You will probably feel like it’s not worth it. You will rationalize the urge to not do the challenge. You’ll say to yourself “I don’t need this challenge, it will not teach me anything, I will get beaten up by tough people, people will think I’m crazy, I’ll accidentally say Marco to somone I know and it’ll be really awkward, I don’t have enough confidence to do this, this is only for people who have already done the previous two challenges, this is not the right moment, I’ll wait until tomorrow”. These are all excuses. Yes, people will look at you in a funny way. That’s kind of the point.

Stop this thought process, go out and just fucking do it. The adrenaline rush and sense of relief you’ll feel when you finally just did it will be indescribable.

 

Me Doing The Challenge

A friend of mine, Vincent, helped me with this one. I was kind of nervous at first, but in the end it actually became kind of fun, especially when you’re with two and you can really play Marco Polo.

 

 

Lessons Learned

 

  • Smiling goes a long way. No-one will kick your ass if you’re friendly, even though you’re doing stupid shit.
  • When people are uncomfortable, their “fight or flight” reflex kicks in and they try to get away as fast as possible or they act as if nothing is happening. The eye twitching is pretty clear though.
  • Make sure the “record” button is pressed.
  • I don’t know if people in Belgium are familiar with this Marco Polo game. Only one person actually responded with “Polo”.

 

Stay tuned for challenge #4. Please subscribe to my Youtube channel and share the video on Facebook or Twitter. Please?

Go out and make it happen :-) Now is the perfect moment! Good luck.

Apr 122013
 

So, approximately one week has passed and I did the second challenge. This one’s described in the book “The Four Hour Workweek” of Tim Ferriss.

I hope you tried the first one :-) Tell us how you did in the comments.

If you didn’t do the first one yet, it’s not too late. Just go out tonight and hug some random people!

 

The second one was actually pretty hard. It gave me this weird adrenaline-kicky feeling in my stomach. It’s such an easy thing to do, lying down. It’s not illegal. It’s not morally wrong. And it doesn’t take any skills whatsoever. You just

  • Go to a place where there are some people
  • Lie down
  • Count to 10
  • Get back up and walk away like nothing happened

That’s it!

And still, it feels wrong.

It’s as if I was violating a strange, unwritten law: THOU SHALT NOT LIE DOWN ON THE FLOOR.

Why is it that hard to do?? You can’t even get rejected! You can’t even FAIL at this challenge! It’s just a matter of actually doing it, of willpower, of being brave for just a millisecond. That’s it.

 

Rules Of The Challenge

  • You have to lie down for at least 10 seconds. Longest countdown ever.
  • There have to be people around that are unaware of what’s going down. You should also never have met these people before.
  • You cannot talk about the fact that it is a challenge. In fact, it’s more gratifying if you don’t say anything at all.
  • Extra points for not immediately running away after you did the challenge. For example, when you do it in the subway  and you just go back to your seat afterwards. Awkward stares all around.
  • EASY VERSION: Drink a few beers beforehand.

 

Me Doing The Challenge

Looking back, I should have done it a few more times to get some interesting reactions. The first group just kept staring and someone started applauding. The second group basically ignored me completely, except for one lady who remarked that “I had a few too many beers”.

 

 

Lessons Learned

  • This one really is about just not giving a fuck. People will stare, it will be awkward for a second, but in the grand scheme of things, you lying down for 10 seconds doesn’t mean anything. People basically don’t give  a shit, and neither should you.
  • Once you’re over that initial gut feeling of pure, irrational fear, it becomes so much easier. Doing this drunk would have been a lot easier, but that kind of defeats the purpose. You should be able to naturally lower your inhibitions, without stimulants.
  • There’s a chance you’ll start thinking of reasons why not to do this challenge. One of these reasons might be that “now that it’s on the Internet, it’s not original anymore, everyone will think it’s stupid, or they will just think I’m doing a challenge”. This makes no sense whatsoever. No-one will have ever heard about this challenge. It’s not very well known. And if they have, that makes it even better: now it’s more awkward. The whole purpose of this thing is to not give a fuck, remember? Even if everyone around you has seen 10 people already do the challenge, you should still do it. It’s about not giving a shit about what other people think.
  • No matter how unlikely, you’ll always be afraid of people stepping on your head.

 

Stay tuned for challenge #3. Please subscribe to my Youtube channel and share the video on Facebook or Twitter. If you do, I will give you a hug the next time I see you :-) (instead of kicking you in the nuts).

Now it’s up to you. Go out, just fucking do it and report back here :-)

Good luck!

 

 

Apr 032013
 

By reading the above title, you’ve automatically committed yourself to doing all 30 challenges with me.

I just made that decision for you, so you don’t have to.

It makes things a lot easier.

You will only benefit from doing these 30 challenges. They are all designed to get you out of your comfort zone, to get you to be more social. You will learn to take initiative. You will start DOING things, instead of thinking about them. You will learn to deal with all-around awkwardness. You will learn how to get things done, how to negotiate, how to manipulate. You will start to see the beauty in small talk and you will appreciate every little interaction with other people. You will overcome approach anxiety and the bitch butterflies (as Simple Pickup calls it) and more irrational fears you didn’t know you had. You will become a better person.

 

Stop resisting, start living. Right now. It’s gonna be hard, but it’s gonna be worth it :-)

 

Hey Thomas, I’m an introverted geek who doesn’t know how to talk to people!

Guess what, me too! And I’m trying to do something about it. Publicly. And I invite you to join. Just read the blog post accompanying each new challenge, watch me fail in the video and then go out and do it yourself. You don’t have to videotape it. You just have to do it. If you say you did it, I believe you. There are no hard time constraints, you just have to keep up with me (about one challenge per week). It’s really that easy :-)

 

Challenge #1: Hugging People Without Asking For Their Permission First

Each challenge will be harder than the previous one. This is a relatively easy challenge. What you have to do is basically:

  1. Open your arms
  2. Approach Person
  3. Smile

You will get rejected. That’s part of it. But there will be a few people who will give you a really warm hug :-)

 

Rules Of The Challenge

  • You cannot say a word before the actual hug. The urge to blurt out a measly “hug?” will be almost too big to resist. I know I almost always said something before the actual hug. It just gets too awkward otherwise. But awkward is good.
  • This challenge is not only about overcoming fear. It’s also about getting things done, so you need to actually hug at least one person. Keep going until you do.
  • EASY VERSION: If you think this challenge is too hard, you can skip the “without saying a word” part. I know for some people this will be hard enough already. Just get someone to hug you by asking nicely and don’t forget to smile :-) You can also start with this and then build up to the actual challenge.

 

Me Doing The Challenge

 

As I said before, I didn’t do too well. It’s pretty hard… But there’s a reason I’m doing this series of challenges… Because I’m not good at these kinds of things :-)

 

Lessons Learned

  • People from Belgium are closed minded. They don’t like crazy stuff and they are extremely hesitant to talk to new people. People with foreign roots (like the black guy and girl) were extremely friendly!
  • If I’d have to do this challenge again, I would be more direct. I would not say anything and immediately go for the hug. This would have resulted in a better video with more fun reactions (either mad/agressive or more spontaneous hugs).
  • It’s sooo much easier to do crazy stuff when there are no spectators. In fact, the ideal situation is you, a cameraman who you know well and are comfortable to do these things around and the person you’re approaching. More people means more “judges” (at least in your head). Start in a relatively quiet part of town and work your way up to busy places if you want.
  • Prepping yourself with motivational videos and caffeine works. It’s really important to be in the right “mood”.
  • If you lack a sense of urgency, set a goal for yourself. Tell yourself you will finish the challenge today.
  • Filming yourself is absolutely terrifying. What the fuck? Is that ugly, ugly sound MY VOICE?? It’s an excellent way to get more comfortable in your skin. You can also correct bad social habits or bad body language this way.
  • Your friends are scared and will not participate, even when bribed with Sangria. Do it anyway.

 

Stay tuned for challenge #2. Also, please subscribe on Youtube and share the video on Facebook or Twitter, or whatever shitty social network’s the new hype these days.

Good luck my friends :-)

Mar 132013
 

Drinking water that has color additives and a lot of sugar and caffeine in it is a lot cooler than drinking plain water. We all know that.

But why do we shy away from ordering water in a restaurant? Why do we have such a positive image of Coca-Cola? Wherever you live in this world, there’s a large chance that you really like Coca-Cola, or at least don’t actively dislike it.

  • Your friends like Coca-Cola.
  • There’s no reason to dislike it.
  • So why wouldn’t you like it?

That’s called ‘marketing’, my friends.

It’s a pretty amazing achievement, becoming one of the largest companies in the world by essentially selling sugary water.

 

Let me ask you this:

What’s the difference between Diet Coke and Coca-Cola Zero?

Hint:

Ingredients of Diet Coke: Carbonated water, caramel color, aspartame, phosphoric acid, potassium benzonate, natural flavors, citric acid, caffeine.

Ingredients of Coca-Cola Zero: Carbonated water, caramel color, phosphoric acid, aspartame, potassium benzonate, natural flavors, potassium citrate, acesulfame potassium, caffeine.

They’re virtually the same. They have a slightly different taste which most people cannot even distinguish.

But most males wouldn’t even dream of ordering a Diet Coke at the bar, whilst ordering a Zero is no problem at all.

What the fuck, people? They’re exactly the same.

Try to see the bigger picture here. I know the marketing message of these two products are so engrained in our being that it’s hard to see through it. But try.

Coca-Cola Zero is marketed using commercials featuring a Bond-like hero, guns, explosions, fast cars and cool gadgets. Diet Coke is marketed using commercials featuring girls drinking Diet Coke while desiring the hot delivery guy.

Two products that are – all but marketing – exactly the fucking same.

We are being  royally, collectively brainfucked. And we don’t even care.

 

People don’t buy for logical reasons. They buy for emotional reasons.  -  Zig Ziglar

 

Coca-Cola used numerous techniques to become a gigantic corporation over the last 100 years. But what worked 20 years ago does not necessarily work today.

With everything evolving so incredibly fast, here are some low-cost guerrilla marketing techniques that you can employ today. Test them out and tell me if they work for you… So you can royally brainfuck people with your ingenious marketing :-)

 

1) Communication is Key. Be a friend. Do wonderful things for your clients. Go all out to make them happy.

 

The only way to have a friend is to be one.  -  Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Don’t be like most companies with their generic mails, lack of social media presence and horrible customer service. Although these companies are probably just as capable as the ones that do know how to market themselves, they don’t show their true selves. They mask their real identity behind a facade of fake grandeur and busywork.

Somehow these companies put their heads in the ground, they convinced themselves it’s not necessary to respond to their customers (whether fans or haters) because they’re too important, too big to fail.

WRONG.

Being ignored is the worst feeling in the world, and your clients will hate you for it. If you treat them with disrespect, they will shy away from your company and they will actively make sure their friends will NOT do business with you.

The benefits (free media exposure through social media or just plain old word of mouth) will far outweigh the little extra work you put in. Go the extra mile. When someone insults your company through Twitter, retort with a funny reply. Even when they’re being gigantic a-holes.

The social web is here and it’s real. And it can make or break your company in mere minutes.

 

Examples:

If you hire the right people, you might get some amazing PR results. But that’s not all. You also make the world a better place, and that’s worth more than marketing :-) Here’s Jackie from Krispy Kreme:

 

You can’t possibly show a more humble and human face. And that’s why the frontline, the people who actually have to deal with customers, are your most important asset. Treat them well :-)

And then there’s Lily’s letter to Sainsbury’s: “Why is tiger bread called tiger bread? It should be called giraffe bread. Love from Lily Robinson age 3 and 1/2″. Chris from the Sainsbury’s customer service team actually wrote back that that’s a brilliant idea. He included a £3 gift card. A week later, Sainsbury’s actually changed the name of the bread. It’s these kinds of stories that go viral. It’s heartwarming, it’s unexpected and it’s the exact opposite of how we usually perceive companies (cold, ignorant, too big to respond).

 

2) Be quirky. Be outrageous.  Be human.

 

To me, business isn’t about wearing suits or pleasing stockholders. It’s about being true to yourself, your ideas and focusing on the essentials. – Richard Branson

 

Show your true, quirky nature. Every person has its funny, remarkable characteristics. Use these in your advantage. As the CEO of a company – whether a large Behemoth or a recent startup, show who you are. Don’t be a dull meat-shell sorry-ass excuse of a life. Don’t ever stop laughing, joking around, making friends. Being a leader doesn’t mean stripping away all human emotions.

The return on investment on behaving this way is just too large to ignore. I know this sounds way too corporate, but I want to get this through the minds of those at the top, so they know what to do to capture our hearts. This can only make the world a better place.

‘Corporate’ is not a synonym for evil.

Examples:

Richard. Fucking. Branson. He’s the face of the Virgin Group, a conglomerate consisting of over 400 companies. And compared to a typical business tycoon, he couldn’t be more different.

Here’s a stunt he pulled off when British Airways couldn’t get the London Eye – which they sponsored – up. It’s things like this that win the crowd over.

ba-cant-get-it-up-richard-branson-virgin

 

Here’s Richard baring his ass to promote  Virgin Atlantic in Canada:

richard-branson-arse-ass-virgin

How the hell can he do this without his companies bombing? Well:

Fortunately we’re not a public company – we’re a private group of companies, and I can do what I want. – Richard Branson

 

And then there’s Elon Musk, who was the inspiration for Favreau’s depiction of genius billionaire Tony Stark in the movie Iron Man. Oh, and he also founded SpaceX (one of the first successful commercial space transport companies), co-founded Paypal and Tesla Motors. Needless to say, this guy’s a genius. And the best part: he’s incredibly human, funny and charismatic. He has ideas that seem completely alien and crazy to most of the population on earth. But more than anyone else, he knows what we need as a collective species. He pushes the human race forward. In a gentle way.

 

3) Sex sells. Sex will always sell.

I’m more offended when someone’s killed on television than when there’s something that’s sensuous or sexual. So what?  -  Calvin Klein

This one’s kind of a no-brainer, don’t you think? I included SEX in the title of this article to get you to click the link. I wish it was possible to include images in a title.

We’re animals. Animals wrapped in a thin layer of civilization. But still, animals. Beasts. Savages.

We need water, food, shelter and sex.

Examples:

Godaddy uses sexy ladies to get across their message. They know their demographic well:

godaddy-girls-mascot-sex-marketing

 

And of course there’s Calvin Klein.calvin-klein-sex-marketing

Axe is pretty good too.

axe-marketing-sexy

And then there are the ads that are sexual in nature, but of which the main marketing tool is provocation, not stimulation. Like American Apparel:

american-apparel-sexy-marketing-ad

 

4) Be an inspiration to others.

 

Win with your heart, not your head – win on emotion, not in logic; have a passion about what you do; nobody wants a boss , everybody wants a coach.  -  Art Williams

 

Everyone wants to be a winner. And when we see people that are successful, we feel successful.

We love inspirational videos. They give us this great fuzzy feeling. They let us think “The world ain’t all that bad” or “I can do this shit!”.

Marketeers know this. And they use it to their advantage.

 

Examples:

 

Matt’s quirky dancing video. Every time I watch it, I get goosebumps. And 45 million people with me.

It’s the music. It’s his smile. It’s that vague feeling of “Damn this is awesome. I want to travel the world!”

And of course, Stride chewing gum capitalized on this. They offered Matt money to go travel the world and make another video if they could put their brand name at the end of the video.

 

 

Nike’s commercial about failure with Michael Jordan, making me believe that failure is OK (and it is, it really is):

 

Apple’s Think Different, the most inspiring one-minute video I have ever seen. I don’t even care it’s an ad:

Nike’s video about the FuelBand, created by Casey Neistat, which, although it has an air of complete spontaneity, is probably a lot more engineered than we think:

 

5) Just be fucking funny.

Even if you don’t do anything else, hiring a funny, sociable person to do the social media thing or the regular PR thing will pay off bigtime. Hire someone who knows how to write and who isn’t afraid of some controversy.

 

Examples:

I’ll just leave it at this:

funny-marketing-jobsintown

 

 

All in all: do CRAZY stuff for your customers. Don’t be content with having “good” customer service. GOOD isn’t good enough! Go all out, whatever the price, whatever the hassle. It’s worth it. One ecstatic customer is worth more than 100 merely satisfied customers.

Now, my friends, go market the crap out of your business :-)

And, as always, please share this article because for every person who does, I will eat one jar of Nutella.

Seriously. Do it.

 March 13, 2013  Posted by  Marketing Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  1 Response »
Feb 242013
 

I used to think Reddit was a place of procrastination. A place where you went to see fluffy cats, the most fucked up pictures on the Internet or avocados having sex.

And while Reddit can be just that, it can also be a great place for personal growth.

This article is not written with the intention to praise Reddit, but Reddit sure did change my life for the better. Whenever I had a personal question on whatever subject, I could just go to the appropriate subreddit and ask for a solution. And when I had written decent content or some nice Android apps, Reddit was always there to help me promote my material. Of course, it can also be a very mean and nasty place, but only if you’re a spammer, don’t know the rules or (plain and simple) if your work sucks.

The best and worst thing about Reddit is that you can make it whatever you want it to be. You can create your own bubble of positivity, growth and productivity! Or you can choose to look at mind-numbing pictures all day.

I did the former, and I would like to share with you some of my favourite subreddits and the one post in each subreddit that literally changed my life.

 

1) Reddit’s r/GetMotivated

Each morning I surf to this subreddit and look at some motivational quotes or videos. It’s a great way to get you pumped to start the day with a positive mindset. Here’s one of my most favourite quotes ever:

There’s this one sentence which particularly struck me: “Sometimes the people that seem like they have everything are the saddest you know.”

(thread)

Another gem I discovered while browsing this subreddit: 11 Ways to be Unremarkably Average by my new favourite cartoonist (formerly xkcd). The quote at the bottom is from Chris Guillebeau, one of my favourite authors, who will soon have completed his quest to visit all countries on earth.

 

2) Reddit’s r/socialskills

Although I’m not a complete social retard, I do find most of the advice on this subreddit very useful. I’m kind of shy and going up to people to talk to them is very difficult for me, so I really like the posts on coming out of your comfort zone. Of course, there’s a huge difference between reading about social skills and actually going outside and doing it!

There’s one guy doing a 30-day challenge where he goes out and just does random stuff to get out of his comfort zone. This strongly reminds me of the Stylelife challenge (book and 30-day challenge by Neill Strauss). In fact, I like this idea so much that I will be doing my own 30-day challenge and I invite you to join me. More info very soon.

Another post that was extremely interesting to me was about making new (same gender) friends. This is something I’m not very good at as I just don’t know what to say if someone I don’t know is sitting next to me. I’m always afraid it’ll turn into an awkward shitfest so usually I just don’t initiate a conversation. I don’t like this aspect of myself, because it’s extremely awesome and liberating to be able to talk to strangers!

 

3) Reddit’s r/stopdrinking

 

So umm, I know I’ve been whining about how awesome it is to quit drinking lately. I know this pisses off a lot of people, but frankly I don’t really care.

This subreddit is all about quitting or cutting down alcohol. Most of the people on there are hardcore alcoholics, but even if you’re just a college student who feels the booze makes him a tad unmotivated, this place is really, really helpful.

One of the best posts on there is “For those struggling with the label Alcoholic and if it applies to them“. I hope I can help some people out there by spreading the word :-) Here’s some advantages of quitting, a story on how most Russians see drinking as a hobby which makes it so difficult to quit, the story of a man who overcame his drinking after being sentenced for a felony DUI and finally some more advantages of quitting alcohol.

There’s a similar subreddit for people who are trying to quit smoking pot.

 

 

4) Reddit’s r/nofap

So, this subreddit is basically about not masturbating. In the description it says /r/NoFap is a venue for redditors to openly discuss the many tangible benefits of NOT masturbating for a period of time.”

I know what you’re thinking. “What the flying fuck? I thought masturbation was healthy and normal and …”

Well, yes. I agree.

But there really are some benefits to not masturbating. Especially because in this day and age, everyone watches porn while masturbating. And porn rewires our brain’s reward system in some very strange ways. Basically, it makes us lazy, unmotivated to achieve anything because our evolutionary drive to procreate diminishes as new “mates” are only a click away. It’s all about novelty, novelty, novelty. And Internet porn gives us exactly that, skyrocketing our dopamine release.

don’t believe me? Check out this TED talk. Then read this article.

Also, you don’t have to be addicted to porn to get benefits from quitting. A lot of people report increased confidence (in general but also with girls), more motivation to get things done and to actually do something with their life, less fear, becoming more outgoing and aggressive etc.

One of the most motivating posts I found on this subreddit:

 

 

5) Reddit’s r/seduction

Whether you have a girlfriend or not, this subreddit will help you tremendously. It’s about so much more than seduction. The most important lesson it will teach you is to not give a fuck about what other people think of you. Happiness comes from within. It’s all in your head. Your relation with this world, with other people, it does not exist outside yourself. Once you grasp this, you can take on the world.

What really helped me in this respect are Andrew Hales’ Losing All Hope Was Freedom channel on Youtube. He kind of brought home the message to me that it really doesn’t matter what you say or even how you say it. It really is just being confident and not caring about other people’s opinion. What if you get rejected, what if you don’t get a reply, what if you get a sincere ‘fuck off’, what if people make fun of you. Then NOTHING. You just go on with your life. Vitaly’s Youtube channel does exactly the same thing. Also check out this interview with Vitaly, motivates me to pursue my dreams (Vitaly wants to become an actor). Both Andrew and Vitaly, thanks for motivating me. Keep doing what you’re doing and never give up on your dreams :-)

Women want men that will change the world“, some great 4chan advice.

“It’s called mindset”, a geat post on limiting beliefs:

 

And here’s the best book ever on the topic of man versus woman. It’s a collection of a series of posts of an individual calling himself “Pook” on a certain seduction forum. It’s a MUST READ for every male. It will open your eyes, not only in regard to seduction, but also personal growth, life and so much more. It’s about confidence, about embracing life, about a certain, incredibly powerful mindset.

 

6) Reddit’s r/keto

Want to lose weight? Like, for real? Then try keto. It is the single best diet you can follow to actually lose weight. And if you do it right, you will also kick your sugar addiction in the process.

I don’t know if you realize, but refined sugar is so much worse for your body than fat. Especially in the amounts we consume it in.

If you don’t want to do keto, you can just do a less drastic version: quit binging on processed foods and soda drinks. Just eat whole foods and some oatmeal or bread if you must. Eat plenty of vegetables and some fruit (which is also sugar but at least you get the fibers and minerals/vitamins of the fruit).

 

I once tried keto for about a week, but there’s this thing called the “keto flu”, which are some influenza like symptoms you get at first when eating low-carb. This can be really hard but the symptoms disappear after a while. I didn’t know this at the time and I thought keto was bad for my body and I simply quit. Right now, I’m doing sports every day and I’m cutting back on my sugar intake. In a few weeks, I will start doing full keto again.

Here’s a good overview of keto.

Stop fucking around with your health. Unlike all these other shitty diets, this one actually works, there’s a wonderful community supporting you if you decide to give it a try and no-one is capitalizing on your insecurities and trying to sell you crappy books. The information out there is free and it works!

An incredibly motivating story with actionable advice (only think about today and HABITS are key) and progress pics.

You don’t have to be incredibly overweight to do something like keto. You can just be an average, slightly overweight, insecure guy who wants to feel confident in his own body. Oftentimes, very small changes can become powerful and motivating drivers of growth. Implementing a small new habit and actually sticking with it can give you the belief that if I can do this, then anything is possible. And that’s what it’s all about :-)

Also check out r/loseit and r/progresspics.

 

7) Reddit’s r/entrepreneur

As I’m very much into entrepreneurship and making a living without a boss looking over my shoulder (work in progress), I’m very excited about this subreddit.

There’s something incredibly motivating to seeing all those people trying to escape the rat race and actually succeeding. It is possible!

“So I’ll tell you now: bad shit is coming. It always is in a startup. The odds of getting from launch to liquidity without some kind of disaster happening are one in a thousand. So don’t get demoralized. When the disaster strikes, just say to yourself, ok, this was what Paul was talking about. What did he say to do? Oh, yeah. Don’t give up.”  -  Paul Graham

I hate people who tell me all the fucking time that it’s not possible, it can’t be done. Be like us, stop doing all this crazy stuff. Get a real job. Stay. Don’t try anything new.

“Being realistic is the most commonly traveled road to mediocrity”. I truly believe that.

“One of the things I’ve come to thrive is conversation about ideas, about improving myself and open discussion about crazy things without any hint of it not being possible.”  -  Anon

The secret to freedom is COURAGE. Millionaire leaves message of the key to happiness on a bank receipt… showing a balance of $13 million:

 

 

 

In conclusion:

You CAN change your life, you just have to subscribe to the right subreddits ;-) There’s a very clear difference between subreddits with a positive mindset and subreddits with a negative mindset, and this makes all the difference.

Recently I saw the following quote:

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
― Albert Einstein

And this one:

“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let the pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place…”

This really helps me put things in perspective. I hope I helped some people with this post.

Please help me spread the word. Share this post because maybe, just maybe it can really help someone out there :-)

 

 

 February 24, 2013  Posted by  Personal Growth Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  6 Responses »
Feb 142013
 

Most of us are always consuming, never creating.

We’re consuming lardass-creating fastfoodmindless dopamine-releasing information nuggets on Reddit or Facebook, buying all sorts of not-entirely-useful stuff that’ll lose its shininess faster than a heroin addict can say Bad Decisions.

Seriously think about this for a second: how much crap do you buy each day on impulse? Walking past McDo, you shaped your neurons to think Ooh A Cheeseburger Would Be Absolutely Fantastic Right Now, And Besides, It Only Costs One Dollar. And you go in. You buy the damn cheeseburger. You give in. And how much joy does that cheeseburger bring you? Maybe 10 seconds, and that’s if you’re actually mindful about eating the damn thing and not checking your phone while you stuff yourself.

I’m just as Internet addicted as the next person, so I’m certainly not judging your pathetic lifestyle choices. I made my fair share of those, and I’m slowly but surely changing my ways.

We can turn around our lifes completely. It just takes some willpower and a small but consistent effort every day.

As I was sitting here this morning, thinking about my future, going from idly browsing Urban Dictionary, Reddit and Wikipedia to watching yet another episode of Jersey Shore (yes, I actually do watch this program, sue me), I suddenly came to this shocking realisation:

Most of the time, I am a completely passive observer on Facebook, Reddit and in real life! I rarely create a post or actually reply. I just endlessly scroll through messages other people wrote. In real life, this translates to always reacting, never initiating.

I should be creating, cranking out content! That’s so much more powerful than mindless consumption induced by this small dopamine release. It’s infinitely better than checking your Gmail thousands of times each day hoping for that tiny tingle of joy when the “you’ve got mail” envelope highlights!

The question, of course, is why. Why don’t I create more? Why don’t I just start writing, even if it’s just a stupid Facebook post instead of the book I always wanted to write.

I believe there are a lot of factors. Mostly the fact that we don’t have a real purpose or passion which makes it hard to actually create something. Most people just don’t have a clue where to start or what to create! Another factor is fear. Fear that what you create won’t be good enough. And to be fair, it’ll probably suck. But you get better each time you try. Consumption is so engrained in most people’s lifes that they’re actually addicted, they just can’t stop.

Each minute of creation brings you closer to being awesome, to the 10000 hours, to fame on the Internet and far beyond! Each minute of consumption brings you more boredom and uneasiness about the direction of your life.

Here are some tips.

1) The absolute basics (which most people fuck up anyway)

If you feel like crap, you’re not motivated to create anything, so sleep well, eat well and exercise. Stop getting loaded on sugar. Stop drinking 12 cups of coffee each day. Stop randomly browsing Reddit til 3am.

2) Install plugins to control your browsing habits

I personally enjoy RescueTime alot. It lets me see exactly how much time I’m spending on useless websites. I also use some Chrome plugins like StayFocusd, I-AM-STUDYING and You’re still here.

3) Imagine a screen covering your mouth

And make a habit out of being completely aware of what’s going through this screen. You are the one lifting your hand to bring that 24-oz bottle of Coke to your lips. You put the food in your mouth. You decide what you’re doing with your time. You’re not a zombie.

4) Train your brain to recognize each activity as production or consumption

And whenever you catch yourself slipping away in a consumption frenzy, snap your finger and get back to work.

 

Hope this helps, please share if you like what I’m doing here :-)

Feb 072013
 

So, apparently this is also the title of a book about procrastination. Well, I’m using it anyway, I came up with it independently (and the book sucks).

This post is not about procrastination. It’s about me deciding to go lie on the couch watching Mythbusters instead of writing a new blog article. Because fuck it, my last blog post made it to the front page of Reddit (the worst reason ever to procrastinate). It’s about consuming versus creating. It’s about that vague feeling in your stomach which tells you time is slowly sipping away while you are doing fuck all with your life, going out, partying, watching series about other people’s lifes instead of living your own (Classic Schmosby).

What keeps you going is Hope. Hope that tomorrow will be different. That tomorrow, you will cross off everything on your to do list. Oh tomorrow, that magical point in time.

You see, I’ve been reading about personal development since I was 17. I really do believe I am special, that I will achieve a lot more than the average person. A lot of people believe this about themselves. Some grow out of it when they reach a certain age. They notice reality is not up to par with their dreams and they adjust their dreams accordingly. They settle. Others, like me, keep dreaming.

There’s no problem with having big aspirations, big dreams of becoming a better you, an awe-inspiring person everyone looks up to. But there is a catch. The whole personal development mantra is about you being able to change your destiny, about shaping a better you. The problem lies in the fact that if changing yourself today is possible, it will still be possible tomorrow. So there’s no rush, no urgency. And this is a huge problem. Because there is a rush. The years fly by and before you know it you’re in your fourties looking back at a blank, boring life without thrill. BE CONSCIOUS all the fucking time. Think about your life and how you want to look back on it when you’re lying on your death bed. Don’t settle ever (but do take some time off – it’s perfectly okay to relax and just take a break and lie in front of the tv one night a week. Being inside your own head all the time is not good, Practice meditation and try to just be pleased with the now. Yes, I know how hard this is. Yes, I suck at meditation. Yes, I do realize being in the now and being conscious about your future at the same time is a huge contradiction. Deal with it. Life’s full of these contradictions.)

 

Realize there are a LOT of people on this earth. Like, unimaginably many people. And a whole lot of them will never do anything with their life. They won’t be remembered. They might have some fun, find a decent significant other, have a kid or two and live a mediocre life. Or they might become addicted to drugs or alcohol and end up in jail – or worse. Others might become rather successful with a decent job.

And then there are the exceptions. The ones who make do with their given skills – even though they suck at a lot of stuff – and who become incredibly wealthy, popular and successful. What distinguishes these people? Luck certainly plays a big role. Upbringing maybe. Friends. Intelligence. But not really. The most important thing is how these people perceive the world and themselves. How they react when bad things happen. They’re the ones who just keep going. Those who move quickly, fail and try again.

There’s a word for these kinds of people. Go-getters. If they want something, they act immediately, without hesitation. They Default to Action. They take initative. They don’t wait until tomorrow because they realize their time here is limited. They don’t wait for approval from others. Because you know what? You don’t fucking need approval. You can just start. They don’t wait for a sign from God. God won’t give you a sign because he doesn’t care or doesn’t exist (you choose).

I had a lot of reservations about starting a blog with such a douchy title. What if people don’t like it? (I stop writing) What if people send me hate mail? (I read it and move on with my life) What if I lose motivation? (Refresh motivation or start a new project). The point is, people won’t ever tell you what your next step should be (and if they do, they’ll rarely get it right). After childhood, you have to figure all of that out on your own and just start doing something. You’ll get it right eventually. So here’s me, writing a blog post, taking baby steps to a better future and a more initiative-minded me. Maybe this whole project will bomb, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take.

Luckily, this whole go-getter mentality can be learned. Heck, I’m learning it right now.

My son asked me last night why I didn’t stop being a lawyer and write for a living – which was my “dream” in college. I felt he was too young for the real answer: “Because your dad was a coward.” It’s moments like that in your later years that really ram home the consequences of the choices you make. – Anon

Feb 052013
 

I’m going to keep this list short and sweet. But remember: these tips will only work if you actually implement them in your daily life. Don’t be the dumbass who reads for hours and hours and doesn’t remember anything. As in life, action is key.

Promise me now you’ll not just go sit in front of the tv watching loser series after reading this. Yes, I’m talking The Big Bang Theory. And no Reddit. Especially r/wtf. That shit creeps me out.

1) “I Know You’d Do The Same For Me”

Any time you did something to help another person and they say “thanks”, use this magical phrase. It reminds them of what a wonderful being you are for helping them out plus it puts them in a certain state of mind of reciprocity. Their mind is now yelling at them to give something back.

A friend of mine once ran out of condoms and his girlfriend was coming over later that day. I gave him one and told him “I know you’d do the same for me man”. A few hours later he actually burst into my room and told me “If you need some help with your thesis, I found this and this resource which might help you” . He actually researched some stuff concerning my thesis and helped me out without me asking, without any external trigger.

2) “Have a great day” 

The easiest hack in the world. End your real life conversations and emails with this simple statement. Add extra emphasis by adding “Make it count” *Smile*.  If you practice this a bit and make it seem really genuine and not some standard end of conversation, people will notice and will feel like you actually want them to have a great day. They’ll feel better because they get the feeling someone actually cares about them and their day, and you’ll feel better because you actually care about them. Win-Win right there.

I almost always use a variation on this phrase in my emails (but I make sure not to put it in my email signature because I don’t want people to think it’s a generic, standard text). The phrase I use is something along the lines of “Make this your best day ever”.

3) “Wow, you have an amazing smile” *Smile*

Admittedly, it does take some practice to make a genuine compliment without it being ridiculously awkward or fake. Make a habit out of complimenting at least one person each day. This doesn’t even have to be someone from the opposite gender. Just be aware of your surroundings and any changes. Most people are completely blind and focused inwards all the fucking time. If you notice that not so attractive, slightly overweight colleague has lost some weight, just tell her she looks amazing. You’ve got nothing to lose here. Practice this skill and make it a habit and it will change your life.

I once told a girl in a bar the most ridiculous compliment I could think of:

“You have amazing buttons on your shirt”

She looked like she just saw Godzilla on Crack entering the bar. Just a complete “What the flying fuck” expression. Admittedly, I’d just met this girl so I was in no position to actually say crazy stuff like that to her.

I just laughed it off. “I’ll come up with a better compliment, just give me some time”. I acted like the ignorant loser while still looking confident. I continued talking to her for a few minutes and then out of nowhere I told her:

“You know, you have the most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen on a girl”

I genuinely smiled while I told her that and she was completely smitten.

 4) “You know I completely trust you”

First of all, the “You know I …” part can be used at the start of pretty much any sentence. It makes it so much more powerful by emphasizing that the person you’re talking to already knows the information that’s about to follow but you’re going to say it anyway. This implicitly acknowledges the importance of the information – if it’s worth repeating, it must be important.

Secondly, this statement implies complete confidence in the person you’re dealing with. It transfers the burden of responsibility from you as a boss, lover or friend to the other person. In essence, you’re telling this person that it’s his job to get it done and not yours. You’re telling him there will be consequences to the outcome of the job – either positive (gratitude) or negative (loss of trust).

A more implicit variation on this is “I’m sure you’ll make it work”.

5) Make a Habit out of Taking Initiative

I know a lot of people who are not very good at taking initiative. They don’t really call you back, they don’t text you back right away. They certainly don’t call you for a chat. They wait for you to say Hi when they see you on the street. And if you don’t say Hi, they’ll just act like they didn’t see you. Basically, they don’t have their shit together and are losing friends by the minute. How do I know this? Because I’m one of these people. I’m not a bad person. I’m actually pretty fun to talk to. I do have very good friends. But I’m shit at taking initiative.

One simple hack I found works miracles is simply taking 30 minutes each day to actively take initiative. Use a habit building tool like Don’t Break the Chain or Habit Streak and just use this time each day to call long lost friends, send texts to people you’ve lost contact with or even simply chat with them on Facebook or Twitter. If this seems a bit daunting, start with a simple Facebook message saying “Hey, long time no see, what are you up to these days? I’m currently working on …”. Then you can take it from there. Another good way to stay in contact with people you barely know (and frankly, you’re kind of afraid of) like professors, successful entrepreneurs or highly acclaimed people in your field is to just send them a simple message about an interesting (relevant) book or article you came across.

6) Social Proof

This is the most important hack of all. It’s a simple concept, but you can use it to your advantage and it works wonders. Basically, if there are people who like you, this is evidence for other people that you are actually a fun person. So if you’re in a club and you’re standing there alone or with another guy being non-fun, other people will not be inclined to talk to you. If however you are wandering around the club talking to a lot of different people, a lot more people will want to talk to you.

This can be applied in so many situations. It is the main reason why it’s so much easier to talk to new people when you’re having fun with your friends. They’re social proof of you being a fun person. You’re obviously not a creeper.

When you’re talking to someone you want to befriend, it’s a very good sign if a friend of you accidentally walks by and starts talking to you or just says “What’s up man”. This is social proof. “This person must be liked by so many people, because what are the chances of accidentally bumping into one of your friends here”.

Of course, this can be exploited. You could set it up with your friends so it seems like an “accidental” encounter. I don’t recommend this though, there’s plenty of social proof available without resorting to these creepy techniques.

 

That’s all. Get your ass moving and make something happen today :-)

“Someone once told me the definition of Hell: The last day you have on Earth, the person you became will meet the person you could have become.” – Anon