Category Archives: Pyschopathy

A Noob’s Guide to E3, or How To Stay In the Moment

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I, along with all my video game friends, are headed to E3 in LA this week.  It’s a mess.  Between the parties, sun, and stimulating entertainment showcases, a Player can hardly think.  For you uninitiated noobs, E3 is the video game industry’s annual trade show at Staples Center in downtown LA.  The week-long event overloads the senses by day at press events and by night at company-sponsored parties.  And oh, yeah, we all schedule meetings in between the formal events from dusk until dawn.

The OffWins Playbook dictates that Players “stay in the moment.”  If you are following along in the old-school handout I gave you in our live coaching session, that would be Inner Game Step 5.  Staying in the moment at an event like E3 can challenges even a seasoned vet.  LA is ridiculously hard to get around.  I’ve hiked 45 minutes to get from one event to another because of lack of cabs.  The companies don’t really coordinate so events are running nearly simultaneously.  The visual and aural noise bombards your sensory perception.   And most people are hungover, dehydrated, and sleep-deprived.  It’s a neural gauntlet.

Before we examine staying in the moment, we start with, a paradox (as usual).  To effectively stay in the moment, one must plan assiduously.  (Or plan not at all and float freely like a plankton in the sea.  That’s my preferred method but isn’t very professional).  So plan, precisely as possible.  Planning and adjusting on the fly at E3 is impossible.   Meetings are triple stacked all over Staples Center and downtown LA.  The stress of logistics will overwhelm your experience.  The whole point of staying in the moment is to leave stress behind, wielding a clear mind, keenly focused.  Knowing exactly when and where you need to be helps tremendously.  Just ask my friends trying to book their trip 48 hours beforehand (right now).  All SF flights are sold out, all nearby hotels are booked up, and party and meeting invites are impossible to get.

Pro Tip:  It’s also very helpful to leave 2-3 hour slots open for new possibilities to arise on site.

What Does it Mean to Stay in the Moment?

It means to have your attention focused exclusively on the “now.”  This jump shot, this funding pitch, this networking convo, this job interview, this random watercooler gossip session, this at-bat, etc.  Not the one you screwed up last week.  Not the fear you have of screwing this one up.  Not the pride you are beginning to feel as you nail it.  Not the expectations you have afterwards.  Not the plan.  Not the process other than the current step.   Only the it, itself.

Plan hard, then forget the plan.  Paradox.  The moment is when you execute.  Good planning and lock-down execution are mutually exclusive.  Classic blunder:  taking a step before you catch the ball.  Look the ball all the way in.

Why is it Important to Stay Centered in This Present Moment?

You will miss a lot if you let your attention wander.

First, sensory perception.  What is truly around you?  What are you seeing, hearing, smelling, touching?  What critical information is there?  Sherlock Holmes, Daredevil, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Professor X, all got their super-powers from heightened senses and focused thinking.  I know an investor who once discovered a $100M+ investment opportunity at a trade show by staying in the moment. He was wandering a construction equipment show in Vegas.  He visually observed that two companies were using identical models and displays, without any branding or other identifying giveaways, in both their booths, for a new growth initiative.  The larger company announced the deal months later to the smaller company’s benefit (lawyers:  it was a public event, and using identical displays falls is non-material info and thus falls under the cover of “mosaic” info = no insider trading).

Second, and more importantly, is psychological perception.  A present consciousness enables the player to perceive the emotional and psychological state of everyone in the room.  Continuously checking one’s phone or thinking thr0ugh happy hour options will cause you to miss the signal that the lead decision maker in your meeting is rapidly losing interest in your pitch.  You are about to lose, sucker.  Quit checking your on-line dating profile and close this deal before it’s too late.

Recent neuroscience discoveries reveal the presence of the “mirror neuron” in all humans (more on this once we get to Outer Game- Social Dynamics).  The mirror neuron is a bundle of nerves in our brain.  They analyze incoming sensory perception data to build a mental model of other people’s emotional and psychological state inside our own brains.  It’s what enables humans to quickly establish rapport and synchrony.  That’s an interaction dynamic that every salesperson tries to stimulate to help get the close.  But we don’t have to even go that far, discussing neurological breakthroughs.  Think about the body language analysis training most companies offer in HR.  That stuff is useless if you are not in the moment.  Because you aren’t perceiving the other party’s body language, being lost in your own thoughts.

Hazards to Presence:

Projection:  Humans are the only mammals with the ability to run real world simulations in their head.  I suppose that’s called higher thinking.  In a biz encounter, it’s called Projection.  And it’s bad.  Projecting what you think SHOULD be there, or what you WANT to be there, inhibits you from sensing what really IS there.  Making biz decisions, like how to invest that $100M referenced above, while Projecting, is really really bad.  Investment guys (myself included) make this mistake all the time.  Then the deal blows up on you, and after the fact, you get all stoic, saying, “it is what it is.”  Better to be stoically clear-minded ahead of time, not stoically philosophical afterwards.

Emotions:  Feelings can efffff you up in biz encounters.  Forget what they told you in middle school about feeling your damn feelings.  Once in the moment, a player needs to be an ice cold psychopath.  Your feelings of anxiety about how the meeting is progressing, or how you look in that dress, or what the boss thinks of your performance, or your fear of getting in over your head, or that if you proposal is approved you will have to make a big preso, will not help you get stuff did.  Your feelings are not your friend in that moment.  Clear-minded, or as we studied with the Stoics, Directed-Mind thinking, is your friend, as is the crystal-clear perceptions you are making.  The only feelings you should be entertaining are gut feelings about the present moment and its occupants.

As E3 is a video gaming event, let’s bring in a guest coach from that industry as we wrap up.   Jesse Schell from his book “The Art of Game Design:”

“Reality is amazingly complex.  The only way our minds are able to get by at all is by simplifying reality so that we can make some sense of it.  Correspondingly, our minds do not deal with reality itself, but instead with models of reality.  We mostly do not notice this – the modeling takes place below our awareness.  Consciousness is an illusion that our internal experiences are reality, when in truth they are imperfect simulations of something we may never truly understand.  The illusion is a very good one, but at times we run into places where our internal simulations fail.”

Reality is complex.  To effectively deal with reality, we need the most accurate mental models possible.  Distraction, Projection, negative feelings, untimely introspection, anything removing our awareness from the now undermines the accuracy of our mental models.

Next post, we’ll look at the teaching of Eckart Tolle, on psychological techniques for staying in the moment.  Meanwhile, if you need some last minute coaching at E3, join me at the Ritz’s rooftop pool next door to the Staples Center for a drink.

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Player Profile – Saint Paul and What Psychopathy Can Do For You

I just returned from my weekly classical literature discussion group.  There, I posited that Saint Paul was a psychopath.  It seemed timely since Easter was only a couple days ago.  And behold, there was much push back.

Given that I have a blog or three, and the other guys don’t, I get the last word.

Psychopaths get a bad rap.  Of course, part of it is the name.  The word Psychopath rings darkly in the ears.  Perhaps a re-branding?   Summon the consultants…

Many of my personal heroes were functional psychopaths:  Patton, Churchill, Charlie Wilson.  Who else?  Astronauts score high on psychopathy tests, along with successful business execs, accomplished surgeons, great politicians (can’t think of any living politicians that fit that description), bomb disposal experts, SEALs, hedge fund tradres, and so on.

Most people think only of Killer Psychopaths.  Academic research reveals that the vast majority of psychopaths are socially functional like those above.  Their mental sharpness, charm, and lack of fear actually enable them to be outperformers in the cultural chaos that is the modern, secular, frenetically paced world.

The Persian poet Rumi claimed that “anyone who is calm and sensible is insane.”  Perhaps then, the socially functional psychopath is actually more sane than the average (boring, rule abiding, non-threatening, beta, risk averse) good citizen.

Manie sans delire,” or “mad without being mad,” as the Frogs say.

Let us consider all the admirable qualities of psychopaths.

They care not what others think of them.   Marked by  “shrewdness and agility of mind, they talk entertainingly and possess extraordinary charm.”  How about mental toughness, charisma, focus, persuasiveness, coolness under pressure, and “other such qualities that separate the men/women from the boys/girls.”  Foregoing emotional hangovers.  Stoicism, the ability to regulate emotion, to live in the moment, an altered state of awareness, to be heroic and selectively empathetic…

It might be said that psychopaths are marked by a lack of neurosis, that plague on today’s overstimulated consumer capitalists society, thus making them healthier than the average population.

What is functional psychopathy? Fair question.  Perhaps it can be defined as Fearlessness Minus Bad Decision Making Calibrated for the Social/Moral Context.  For our bizness purposes, that would be the We Win Together thing.  Since we are fellow travelers on this journey to business nirvana, we should consider a commonality shared by psychopathy and spiritual enlightenment:  “anchoring your thoughts unswervingly in the present, focusing exclusively, immediately, on the here and now, as a cognitive discipline.”

Now let’s get back to Saint Paul:  he sanctioned the death of an untold number of good, simple religious folk after their leader had been publicly executed.  In today’s world he’d be tried for genocide under the Geneva Convention.  To his ruthlessness, after seeing a light and hearing a voice, he added fearlessness, focus, drive, and charisma.  For the sake of the executed leader, he endured three ship-wrecks, 24 hours adrift at sea, multiple imprisonments totaling six years jail time, was brutally flogged many times including three times to 40-1 lashes, the max allowable to a Roman citizen, beaten by rods three times, and once stoned by a hysterical crowd and left for dead.  He confronts his new religion’s primary leader, Saint Peter, directly, calling him a hypocrite, which one academic characterizes as a “total failure of political bravado and Paul soon left Antioch as a persona non grata never to return again.”

Of course Paul did author several hundred pages of the best selling book of all time (the Bible), took his religion to Rome where eventually one of the Roman Emperors adopted it and the rest of Western Civ is History.  A functional, effective psychopath indeed.

What does this all have to do with Nice Guys trying to not finish last at the corporate game?  Well, you need an edge.  Maybe a little functional psychopathy in your life can help:

Leadership Traits as the Flip Side of the Psychopathic Coin:

Charismatic/Superficially Charming

Self-Confidence/Grandiosity

Ability to Influence/Manipulation

Persuasive/Con Artistry

Visionary Thinking/Fabrication of Intricate Stories

Ability to Take Risks/Impulsivity

Action Oriented/Thrill Seeking

Ability to Make Hard Decisions/Emotional Poverty

 

Wrapping this up, the Brits did a country-wide survey of their workforce called the Great British Psychopathic Survey (no really, not making this up).  Those scoring high on the scale were, in order:  CEOs, Lawyers, Media personalities, Salespeople, Surgeons, Journalists, Police Officers, Clergy, Chefs, and Civil Servants.

Low on the scale were Care Aides (low paid nurse), Nurses (higher paid nurse), Therapists, Craftspeople, Stylists, Charity Workers, Teachers, Creative Artists, Doctors, and Accountants.

What’s your ambition?

 

 

 

 

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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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