Monthly Archives: February 2013

More on the Red Pill

“…And literature became an arsenal open to all.” Alexis de Tocqueville

Over beers in the (rare) SF sun, a reader and friend asked what the Red Pill was. Ummm, dude bro, like, didn’t you see the movie The Matrix? A really bad movie series but the Red Pill/Blue Pill metaphor is useful.

Let’s go straight to the source of all knowledge and truth in the Universe. That being wiki:

“The red pill and its opposite, the blue pill, are pop culture symbols representing the choice between the blissful ignorance of illusion (blue) and embracing the sometimes painful truth of reality (red).”

Before you, dude bro reader, decide to pop this red pill…a foretaste:

Paradox: ­Perplexing but powerful. How can being absent increase your presence? How can allowing others to make fun of you make others take you more seriously? Jesus and Nietzsche in the same playbook? Wait, what? (for the heathen bro among us, Jesus is a major religious figure who advocates love over law, and has 1B followers worldwide. for the christian bros among us, Nietzsche is a dead German philosopher who explored man’s dark side, proclaimed that “God is dead” and is universally hated by most Christians – a paradox in itself given Christianity’s emphasis on love).

Offense: ­ Play it, don’t take it. Be willing to be completely offended. If you aren’t willing to be challenged at every level, you should go back to playing your X­box right now and prepare for a pitiful life of cube­boredome. If either Jesus or Nietzsche offend you, you offend too easily and you are probably on the wrong blog.

Masculinity: Your friend. Despite what HR and society may tell you, it’s OK to be a man and it’s damn awesome. Healthy Masculinity can take a career, and more importantly, a team, to a championship.

Jesus and Nietzsche both have some good stuff to say about blissful ignorance versus painful truth, along with a host of other philosophers (Solomon, Lao Tzu, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, Socrates), poets (Rumi, Robert Bly, Keats, Frost), warriors (Patton, Bradley, Sun Tzu, Rommel, Ghengis Khan, Lawrence of Arabia), theologians (CS Lewis, Augustine, a few popes, the Buddha, the Dalai Lama), writers (Hemingway, Patrick O’Bryant, Thoreau, Melville), politicians (Churchill, Charlie Wilson), plus mythology (Greek, Norse, Celtic), religion (nearly all of them), mysticism (but no cheesy New Age BS spirituality), neuroscience, psychology, anthropology, and maybe a few business leadership books.

Fear not, noobs, wannabes, players, and haters, I will package the above into blog-sized bites for you. Your job is to merely read and reflect, maybe over lunch, in your cube, in between checking fantasy football stats and your Match.com profile, while you nom a five dollar foot long.

Peace out, homies.

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Social Dynamics – Pop the Red Pill and See the Matrix?

Cash is purported to rule everything around us – Wu Tang Clan’s CREAM principle – dolla dolla bill y’all.   Actually cash doesn’t rule over all – social dynamics rules everything.  That includes who gets the cash, the power, and the girl(s);  note the three usually go together.

This is good news and bad news.

Bad news, because social dynamics befuddle the average benchwarmer.

Good news, because social dynamics, once understood, can be managed, manipulated, and maximized by the skillful player.

The Social Matrix integrates every aspect of human existence to determine winners and losers.  This includes social IQ, emotional IQ, charm, attraction, image management, relationship building, strategy, humility, and self-awareness.

Natural Players often excel in charm and attraction.  These are obviously their strengths.  Over-reliance on these things is their weakness – eventually undermining their impact.

Wannabe Players can make varsity.  But only if they humbly study, and then apply.  Strength and courage are required to persevere through trial and error. Gaining mastery across all social disciplines equips the Wannabe to eventually overtake the Naturals.

The humanities and social sciences can do the “coaching up.”  Philosophy, mythology, religion provide the foundation.  Anthropology, sociology, psychology, poly sci, and literature provide the advanced techniques.  Neuroscience and physiology also come into play.

So if Social Dynamics is the game, what’s the scoreboard?  Social Status.

Every interaction involving two or more has a ranking among the players.  This is completely fluid, situationally.  A well timed joke, a pair of cowboy boots, the right body language, tone, and eye contact, a push and a pull, combined with deep industry knowledge and preparation can enable a junior analyst, sitting in the right seat, to steal the situational Alpha rank from a CEO.

In other words, Frame Control.  Who controls the Frame, controls everything.  More on Frames later.

But dare you take the Red Pill?  Do you want to see the matrix?  Think carefully.  Neurosis and semi-comfort from merely playing the Game and a little bit of the Game within the Game, Politics, might actually be easier.

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I Wish I Was a Little Bit Taller, I Wish I Was a Baller

New blog, Day 2.

My girls are running around the hood slanging rocks (girl scout cookies – hit my pager if you need a lil sumn sumn).  Gives me time to drop more wisdom for Wannabe Ballers.

I’ve got a couple exec coaching sessions coming up.  Some media company sales dudes in LA and some Silicon Valley video game start-up geeks.  Stoked!

The sales guys signed up for the Healthy Masculinity for Corporate Purposes.  We’ll have to work cigars into that one.  The geeks get the “Soul of the Billion Dollar Deal” package.  Will be a few ladies there.  So that one will be smoke free.

Both will hit the philosophy stuff.   I’ll get to that in a few posts.  Here’s a sneak preview:  Stoicism, Abundance Frame, Outcome Independence, Positive Energy Flow, Know Thyself.  The dudes get some Nice Guy versus Good Guy thrown in, plus Its OK to Be A Man No Matter What HR and the 3rd Wave Feminists Say.  Of course we’ll respect all boundaries on that latter point.

Anyway, I say all the above to give some context for this new blog.  All my lovely, faithful readers from the original Offense Wins Championships have heard a lot of this “man up for awesomeness” nonsense before.  Here, I’ve re-skinned for my exec coaching purposes.  To the existing reflections on masculinity and philosophy, I’ll be adding some “Corporate How-to,” while dropping nearly all the male/female relationship thoughts.  So more emphasis on Framing, Frame Control, Social Dynamics for Bizness, Status and Attraction (which my astute readers will know overlaps quite a bit), Effective Pitching, Body Language, Game within the Game, Productivity vs Impact, Meeting the Quarter from the Hot Tub, Vegas for Successful Objective Achieving…

Enough with the preview reel, the show must go on:

How I Learned to Love My Inner Psychopath

Don’t be scared by that psychopath reference.  The surgeon who rebuilt your ACL is probably a psychopath.  Your CEO is probably a psychopath.  Saint Paul, Abe Lincoln, FDR, and Patton were probably all psychopaths.  The Wannabe Baller who makes the leap, does so, by tapping in to his inner psychopath…exercising cold judgement, developing social potency, fearlessness, stress immunity, impulsive non-conformity, and even a bit of coldheartedness and Machiavellian Egocentricity while avoiding the Hannibal Lector weakness for, well, nevermind, you get the idea.

How I Learned to Love My Masculinity

Now the Noobs are really freaked out.  HR does not permit discussions about gender.  But you are man.  You have 17x the amount of Testosterone as a woman.  Evolutionary Psychology hypothesizes that most great feats of humanity were/are/will be driven by man’s hard-wired survival/reproduction instinct.  So there must be something important about manliness, and progress, and civilization (which is different than culture).   Healthy masculinity builds and strengthens.  Healthy masculinity embraces conflict and challenge.  Get some.

How I Learned to Love My Inner Philosopher

You don’t know what you don’t know.  Somebody needs to tell you.  Wisdom does not chase you down the street, begging you to listen.  In fact, the opposite, nobody wants to help anybody.  People are locked in their miserable, average little lives.  They lack the will to succeed and they sure hate to see other people succeed.  Plus, orthodoxy, convention, and the institutionalized status quo are threatened by a untamed free thinkers.  So triteness and cheap stimulation are mass produced to distract and tame.  But the raw truth about you, life, and the world is out there.  The faker our reality gets, the hungrier we are getting for the real.  Hence goofy movies and books like The Life of Pi.  Ancient and not-so-ancient thinkers offer rich sources of wisdom that can strengthen our vitality and energy.  Or figure out how to thwart convention on our way to the top.

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Game On!

“Let not to get a living be thy trade, but thy sport.” Henry David Thoreau

There are four types of players in the corporate world.

The Natural Ballers – They just got it, whatever it is, and everybody else wants it.

The Wannabe Ballers – Guys that know they ain’t got it but want to get it.

The Benchwarmer Noobs –  Guys that ain’t got it, know they ain’t got it, and won’t do anything about it.

The Comfortably Numb –  They ain’t got it, don’t know it, and don’t care.

The Natural Ballers are the bubble boys.  Alpha males, HS QBs, good looking, charismatic, most likelys in the yearbook, the BMOCs, frat boys turned high potential junior execs.  Small talk comes easy to them.  They are comfortable with themselves and everybody else.  Darn it, people like them.  Very little social anxiety, they are moving on up without even trying.  You want to hate them but they are too damn charming.  There is nothing wrong with these guys; we could all be so lucky.  Blindside:  arrogance.  20% of total corp pop.

The Wishful Wannabes are the aspirational retards.  They want to be Ballers, too.  To their credit, they are trying hard.  This blog is for them.  Try smarter, boys, not harder.  But try, indeed.  Blindside:  awkard try-hardness.  10% of total corp pop.

The Neurotic Noobs who won’t man up and fix their ish.  Maybe their daddy was mean to them or they got teased in the locker room or they are scared HR will get them if they wander near a boundary.  Whatever the reason, they are the spineless, who the rest of us are thankful we get to compete with.  This blog despises them (professionally, not personally – some of my best friends are…) for they waste their manhood.  Blindside:  metaphorical bed-wetting.  60% of total corp pop.

The Comfortably Numb, I actually envy.  To be content, as the Good Book says, is great gain.  Blissfully unaware of their suckiness and relatively happy.  This blog is not for them cuz I would never want do disturb another human’s contetedness.  Unless they want to share their secrets…Blindside:  none.  10% of total corp pop.

The point is some people are naturally good at the corporate game, and others (like myself) have to figure it out.

I’m a hick from a tiny town in West Texas who has now been on Wall Street for 15 years.  I beat out an Ivy League MBA Baller and Shot Caller for my current job, managing large amounts of American Pesos – like, a bunch of commas and zeroes.

He was way smarter than me, with a Wharton degree and five years at a top hedge fund.  Trouble was, he knew he was good.  I didn’t know I was good, at least on the surface….awww shucks, I’ll just do my best.  He was playing the game, and a little bit of the game within the game.  Me?  I was playing the game and pretending not to play the game within the game while winning the game within the game within the game.  We fired him a few years later.  I swear I had nothing to do with it.  Stack of Bibles.  It was alllllllll my big boss’s idea.

Today, I get asked to do executive coaching.  Execs in my network, outside of my company, want me to share the “secrets” (lmao) to becoming a real Player, jumped up from Wannabe status.  Secrets, plural, because there ain’t no one thing.  It’s a bunch of things, mostly unique to each individual Wannabe Baller.  The common thing, the uniting factor, is will.

Pop the red pill, see the matrix, beat the matrix, by philosophically embracing your masculinity and awakening the friendly psychopath that hibernates deep in the psyche of every man.

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