Make Better Decisions

“I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.” Charles R. Swindoll

Whether it’s figuring out whether to take the job offer or not, who to date, where to go to school, or what to have for dinner, every day is full of choices.

The quality of our lives are the results of the choices that we make. We actively design our life with every decision we make.

No pressure, right?

We often have very little information on what the outcome of our choice will be, and we can have a difficult time weighing the pros & cons of a particular choice we’re faced with. That’s why it can be easy to get “paralysis by analysis.”

That’s why I want to share 3 psychological elements that influence the choices that you make, and once you understand them it will help you make better choices more quickly.

“One should make his decisions within the space of seven breaths.” Lord Takandobu

Element 1: Loss Aversion

As much as we’d like to believe that we’re noble creatures driven by logic & reason, we’re actually weak apes who are terrified of having things taken away from us.

When we think about the future, we’re much more concerned with what we could lose instead of being excited about what we could gain. Our motivations are more about what we can keep than what we can get.

This is why it’s easy to get stuck in negative mental loops about how everything is going wrong in our lives instead of appreciating all the amazing things that are actually going right.

When you consider a decision, ask yourself if you’re deciding to keep what you’ve always had, or if you’re opening yourself up to getting what you’ve always wanted.

Don’t (only) think about what could go wrong. Think about what could (also) go right.

Element 2: Intrinsic & Relative Value

Everything is relative.

“When you sit with a nice girl for two hours you think it’s only a minute, but when you sit on a hot stove for a minute you think it’s two hours.” Einstein

It’s the same 2 hours in both cases, but your perception of its value is different. The same goes for making choices.

Think about the proportional value of what you’re going to win or lose when making a choice. If you stand to lose $5 and you’re a millionaire, it’s a (relatively) low risk decision. If you only have $20 to your name, though, suddenly $5 is a significant amount of money.

The intrinsic value is the same (near worthless paper), but the relative value is much different.

If the stakes of a choice seem high right now, take the course of action that will increase your relative value the most.

Element 3: Anchor Points

Anchoring is a cognitive bias that deals with our tendency to rely too heavily on the first piece of information we have when making a decision.

Think about buying a car. What’s the first thing the sales person does? Takes you to look at the most expensive car on the lot.

He knows you’re looking for something sensible for your family of 5. He knows they’ll never all fit into that shiny sports car he’s showing you. He also knows that when you see the price tag of that sports car, your mind uses that as the set point for how much cars cost.

It’s now the anchor point.

Now, when you look at the minivan, its price appears much more reasonable, relative to the sports car (see element 2).

That technique is a powerful 1, 2 punch to your psychology, and it works.

This is why a sales person will help you buy your suit first, and then the little stuff later: your mind uses the price of the suit as the anchor point for making price-based decisions later (relative to that anchor point).

So when you’re evaluating a decision, and how it will play out, understand that your emotional connection is directly linked to the first piece of information you consider. Use this to your advantage by anchoring yourself to a positive outcome, and go from there.

Takeaways

Decision making is a messy system with a lot of fuzzy math involved. Our conscious brain plays a much smaller role than we’d like to admit, so take the time to really understand how your non-conscious mind influences your choices.

Take control of your choices, and you’ve taken control of your life.

Backfire Effect

“Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

In an ideal world, when you’re presented with contradicting evidence to your current way of thinking, you’d correct your beliefs and then move forward with a better understanding of the world.

Unfortunately we don’t live in that world.

The Backfire Effect

There’s a particularly nasty cognitive bias called the Backfire Effect that says once a belief is integrated into your way of thinking, you will protect that belief more strongly when you feel it is under attack.

What that means for you is, every time you try to win an argument with logic, you’re actually making the other person believe even more strongly. (Ever tried explaining why a conspiracy theory believer is wrong? You know exactly what I’m talking about.)

This was clearly shown in an experiment run in 2006 by Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler. They would show people articles they fabricated that seemed to support something that was demonstrably untrue. Then, Nyhan & Reifler would show participants the facts. Surprisingly, participants would double down on their misconceptions.

The Backfire Effect is the other side of the coin from the confirmation bias. Confirmation bias filters information you look for while the Backfire Effect protects you from information that’s found you.

This is exactly why no matter what kind of scandal is uncovered, candidates gain support.

All your hard work of persuading someone will backfire on you with equal & opposite force. It’s Newton’s Second Law of Internet Discussion Dynamics.

3 Ways to Make Money

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]One of the first steps towards true independence is figuring out how you’re going to support habits like drinking coffee, having a safe place to sleep, and binge watching Netflix. The most sustainable way I’ve found to maintain those habits is making money.

(Sure, I could find a Sugar Mamma. That would be fun, but that means I would still have to depend on someone else for stability. It lacks long-term viability.)

With a quick search on Google you can find more articles on making money than you could possibly read in a lifetime, and 99.9% of them are scam bait. That’s why I wanted to share the 3 ways I’ve made money over the years. What’s cool is, no matter what you choose to do to make a living, chances are good it’ll be some variation on one of these things.

Each has its own benefits & drawbacks, so I wanted to share these with you so you can start thinking about how to implement one of these strategies in your own life.

1) Negotiate A Higher Salary

You don’t say!

I know it might sound too obvious , but it’s something not everyone thinks about doing. Most folks think raises are something that are automatically factored into their job (and that might be the case with you), but if you want a substantial bump in pay you’re going to have to ask for it.

Asking for a raise is part art, part science, and all gumption. Here are some things to think about.

Benefits

  • You know what you need to get a raise: demonstrate to the company how you’ve saved them money, and how you’ve made them money. That makes it easy to justify why you’ve earned (not “deserve”) your raise.
  • If you don’t know what you need to do to get a raise, you can ask the one person who holds the secret to that: your boss. They’re hoping you’re making their lives easier, so ask them what that would be & how much that would be worth to them.
  • Salaries tend to stick with you, and move up from there. If you can negotiate a good situation from the get-go, there’s more time for it to continue growing. The earlier you start, the bigger the payoff will be over time.

Drawbacks

  • All this sudden skill set development & self improvement might be seen as a red flag by your company that you’re preparing to move somewhere else.
  • You’re at the mercy of the profits of the company. If the budget is already tight, then where are they going to find your raise?
  • Your industry might suck. There are some jobs that, no matter how good you are at them, they’re never going to pay more. Look into your industry, and you’ll find what the low, median, and high salaries are for your area. Might be that you’ve picked a field that has limited opportunity for massive pay potential. Either move, change fields, or accept your fate.

2) Freelance

This is the main way I’ve made money over the years. It’s a fantastic way to pay the bills, and it essentially means you’ve learned how to find people who will pay you for your skills. Don’t have skills someone will pay you for? Get some!

No matter what you wind up doing, there are really only 3 pay structures that freelancers use:

  1. By the hour
  2. By the project
  3. Retainer

Each dynamic has its unique challenges and benefits, and if you’re interested in exploring that in more detail, I might write more about that. But, for now, let’s look at the general points of freelancing.

Benefits

  • Suuuuuuuper easy to get started. In most cases you won’t need to get certified; just start telling people what you do, and they pay you to do it!
  • Pricing is pretty easy as each market has found its level. Let’s look at the college entertainer market, for example. Comedians typically get paid $X, magicians get paid $Y, and speakers get paid $Z. There’s variation within each category, but it’s easy to find where you fit.
  • Can be something you do on the side in addition to your normal job as a test drive instead of keeping your freelancing idea as only a daydream.

Drawbacks

  • Finding clients can be challenging. There’s nothing worse than making the leap to start freelancing, and then waiting for orders to come rolling in. The feast or famine dynamic of freelance work can destroy your sanity.
  • While your market makes it easy to figure out how much to charge, it also makes it difficult to charge more than that. If you want to make significantly more money, you’re going to have to do something drastically different.
  • You’ll find there’s a lot more to freelancing than simply doing the skill you’re getting paid to do. You’re really running a complete business by yourself, and taking on all the responsibilities that that entails. You need to make sure clients pay you, that you pay your own bills on time, schedule client meetings, etc. You might find yourself wishing to go back to your 9-5 job much more quickly than you ever thought possible.

3) Create A Product or Service

The first two ways of making money are what I call “trading time for money.” Due to the laws of physics you’ll never get more time, so there’s an upper limit to how much you can get paid. Not so with selling a product or service.

This is one of the only ways you can uncouple your money making potential from how you spend your time. People who create lasting financial & personal freedom usually do it this way. They create something of value that can be found, bought, and delivered without them having to personally deliver it.

The internet has been around a long time, but its true potential to deliver value in this way is just starting to be understood in a major way. But, as with all things, there are good & bad parts to it.

Benefits

  • You can make money while you sleep. You can make money while you go parasailing. You can make money while you pet sloths in the Amazon rain forest. The internet is always awake & always ready to take customers’ money for your product.
  • You can sell 10,000 of whatever in the same time as you can sell 1. That’s what we like to call epic scaleability.
  • You can constantly tweak your system to maximize returns with analytics that have virtually no barrier to entry. Capabilities that would have cost corporations millions of dollars 40 years ago can be yours with a couple clicks and pasting a snippet of code into your website.

Drawbacks

  • A lot of customers have been burned by garbage products. Let’s face it, most stuff online is a get-rich-quick scheme with a new coat of paint. That means you’re going to have to work extra hard to show why you’re one of the good guys.
  • There are a lot of moving parts, and it’s easy to get paralyzed with an avalanche of options. Plus, you’re going to need to figure out if this piece fits with that piece, and plays wells with that other piece.
  • You could work on a product for 6 months, a year, or more only to launch with zero interest. I’ve done that, and it made me feel like a loser. After doing it the wrong way enough times, I’ve figured out how not to do it. I show my clients how to avoid this trap, but if you don’t know how a successful proces works, you could waste a lot of time, energy, money, & effort.

No Need to Reinvent the Wheel

Sure, you could find the next big thing, and bring something to market that the world has never seen before, but I’m a big believer in getting the most out of the least effort. That means sometimes the tried and true methods can be your best bet when trying to find the easiest way to make extra money.

There are thousands, and thousands, and thousands of examples of businesses that fit one of these models. To me, that says they’re a surefire win. You could sink all your hopes and dreams on a completely original approach (like trying to invent the next Google), but that’s such a rare thing the odds are not in your favor.

For example, that’s why startups that you can describe as “The Uber for X” rarely last long. Better stick to what works, and let someone else take the risk of innovation.

For you, think about what you’ve been wanting to try, and figure out which of the 3 approaches to money making it fits into best. This will dictated by a combination of things like your skills, obligations, goals, current financial situation, etc.

This is a great way to take an infinite number of possibilities and sift them down to workable solutions. Use this framework to filter your schemes, and you’ll find success than forging ahead without thinking![/vc_column_text][us_cta title=”Set Up A Consult Call” controls=”bottom” btn_link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fwww.likeamindreader.com%2Fcontact%2F|||” btn_label=”Send Me A Message” btn_color=”secondary” btn_size=”25px” btn_icon=”fa-envelope-o”]Interested in figuring out how you can start building stability & alternate streams of income? Let’s talk![/us_cta][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Remember Anything

“Hi there! Great to meet you!” I said as I shook her hand.

“We met 6 months ago.”

Ouch.

Guess how well the rest of the meeting went?

It’s incredible what having a poor memory can cost you. The weird thing is, you rarely find out what forgetting something will cost you. In the example I just shared, though, it cost me thousands of dollars.

What has having a poor memory wound up costing you over the years? What would you stand to get from even a small improvement in your memory?

I want to share a couple techniques I’ve used to sharpen my memory that you can use right away.

Beliefs

It’s a myth that having a good memory is something you either have or don’t. Like most things, it’s a skill you can practice.

Most people, however, hold the belief that “I have a crappy memory.” And then they wonder why they can never remember anything. Your non-conscious part of your mind believes what you tell it, and if you tell it you have a subpar memory, then guess what? That’s what you’ll get.

The first step in improving your memory is simply telling yourself your memory is getting better.

Attention

How can you remember something you never noticed in the first place? You can’t.

Once you tell yourself your memory is getting better, you’ll start paying attention to details you want to remember.

Think about meeting someone for the first time. You’re worried about what you’re going to say, what they think of you, whether or not they’re going to invest in your company, etc. Everything but focusing on paying attention to what their name is.

No wonder you’re going to forget it as soon as you hear it; you never really heard it in the first place.

Stop that “in one ear and out the other” process by shutting down the mental chatter and really notice details.

Do this and you’ll be ahead of 90% of everyone else.

Systems

Want to take your memory to the level beyond paying attention? You’re going to need a system.

We tend to remember things that are in some way related to information we already know. That’s why it’s easy to remember someone’s name if it’s the same as our brother, for example. We learn things by associating them in relationship to what we know already.

If you have no way of relating to a new piece of information, there’s nothing for it to connect to, and you’re much more likely to forget it.

What you need is a system that allows you to establish associations with any kind of new information.

Here’s a system that works for me. There are many systems out there, but this is a great place to start.

Linking

This works best on lists of information, like a grocery list.

Our minds recall interesting imagery more easily than logical or bland images. Let’s use that to our advantage.

Look at the first & second item on the list, and then create a compelling image in your mind that includes both items. Go to the extremes. Either in terms of number, amount, size, violence, etc. The more unusual picture in your mind, the more likely you are to remember it later.

Once you have that image firmly in your mind, drop it completely. It’ll be there when you get back, I promise.

Now, look at the second & third item on the list. Do the same process of “linking” those two items.

Continue like this until you’ve associated all items on the list.

Now, when you think of the first thing, it will bring up the image with item 1 & 2. Then the second item will prompt the image with item 2 & 3. Third item prompts the link between 3 & 4, and so on until you’ve remembered the whole list.

It’s surprising at how simple it is, but it works.

Drawbacks

The main issue with this technique is if you forget one link in the chain, you’ll forget everything beyond it.

Also, it won’t let you recall details in non-sequential order. If you need item #19, you gotta start at the beginning.

Feedback

If you find success with linking, I’d love to know! Shoot me a message via our contact form, or drop me a note on Facebook. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Further Reading

If you’re interested in exploring memory techniques in more detail (or other systems that are best suited for your needs,) check out my book “Perfect Recall” available at Amazon.

I go into the history of memory techniques, advanced techniques, and more. It’s aimed at people who are looking to sharpen their memory without wasting hours and hours on archaic techniques that don’t work.

It starts of with the basics, and moves on from there.

Enjoy!

 

5 Facets to Covert Operating

Secrets of a Secret Agent

If you want to see psychology in action, look no further than spies.

They’re essentially mind readers in the fact that they can fully get inside the minds of the people around them, and then blend in without a trace. These skills aren’t simply useful if you’re behind enemy lines; these techniques work in everyday life & business, too.

Here are 5 facets to the mindset of a secret agent (or “operator”) to maintain personal safety & control.

Passive Mental Sonar

Sonar is a type of echo location.

  • Active sonar is the process of emitting a sound, and then listening for the echos that bounce of objects. This is how bats finds bugs to eat at night.
  • Passive sonar is simply listening for whats already there.

I came up with the term “passive mental sonar” as a way of explaining a general situational awareness that isn’t active enough to pique the interest of those around you.

Our minds pre-consciously filter out most information that’s available to your mind so as to not be overwhelmed. The trick is to develop a keener awareness of relevant information about your surroundings through constant practice.

If you integrate the practice of passive mental sonar into your daily commute instead of keeping your mind in your phone, you’ll be amazed at what kind of information you’re completely ignoring that a spy would notice in an instant.

Knowing more about your surroundings is always advantageous should you need to respond quickly to a threat (real or imagined).

Subversive Influence

Influence isn’t the active of passive aggressive bickering, threats, or coercion. Instead it can be a subtle game of mental cat & mouse. With just a different word you can plant a suggestion in someone’s mind, and they’ll think it was their idea.

People tend to believe what they tell themselves, so if you can get your suggestion in under their awareness, it’s as good as done.

Effectively summed up as a subtle form of, “Don’t throw me in that briar patch!”

Reading Integrity

Integrity is the measure of someone’s internal, emotional, and physical structure.

Being able to read someone’s personality, character, and intentions at a glance can save your life. On the flip side, understanding how someone would read you (and how to influence their conclusions) can be just as powerful.

Spies are masters of disguise & leading others to underestimate their abilities.

Gamification

Most people look at dynamic situations as something where there is absolute zero control.

If, however, you viewed every situation as a game to play, suddenly it doesn’t seem so daunting.

People who allow themselves to be controlled by circumstances are operating at an animal/instinctual level. Cause & reaction.

If you choose “cause & respond,” you will maintain more control over how the situation plays out.

Social Plasticity

Every society has its own customs, clothing, traditions, and so on. Your ability to blend in and “do as the Romans do” will significantly reduce the likelihood that you will be chosen as a target.

Note: Going too far in your cultural assimilation is just as bad as not going far enough. Aim for becoming a part of the mental background noise of your surroundings.

Geometric Multiplication

If you implement one facet in your daily life, you will immediately see the difference. The more facets you integrate into your daily practice, the more you compound their positive impact on your decision making and presence.

In a business context, you want to be able to keep your ears open to what’s going on without broadcasting too much of your own information, plant seeds of influence before you need the payoff, read the character of your coworkers (who you can depend on and who is going to climb over you), don’t take any of it personally (think of it like a game), and find a company with a culture you can easily mesh with. I’ve seen plenty of people fired for lack of culture fit, even if they were good at their job.

Put all these to use and you’ll be a mind reading spy at work & play!

 

One Event, Two Outcomes

In high school & college I was a competitive debater. I wasn’t naturally well-spoken and quick on my feet. I think almost entirely in pictures, so it was difficult for me to translate those images into coherent ideas that are easy to understand in words.

With that background, I absolutely love watching live debates; especially debates that matter.

Recently the two main party nominees squared off for the first presidential debate of the 2016 circus election cycle. At the end of the debate, there was a clear winner.

Who was it?

Turns out, it was the person you believed would win it before it ever began.

Aftermath

Like most interesting quirks of the mind, how things play out after an event are often more interesting than the event, itself. Nowhere is this easier to see than the fallout from the debate.

If you’ve talked with more than 10 people about the debate, you should have seen first hand how two people can go through the same experience, and come out with completely different beliefs about what happened.

As soon as the nominees wrapped up, you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Hillary won the debate. The guy sitting next to you at the bar felt exactly the same way. . . about Trump.

And it’s interesting to note; he has the exact same level of certainty about Trump’s “undeniable” win, as you do Hillary.

How in the world can that be?

A little hiccup in reasoning called “belief bias.”

Belief Bias

Belief bias is what happens when someone’s beliefs, personal values, prior knowledge/experience colors the reasoning process to be more accepting of invalid arguments or information.

Those beliefs act as a preventative filter for any kind of information that would disrupt the world view that’s working just fine, thank you. Why would I do anything different?

A completely rational person would be able to take in all points made, evaluate claims, and come to a conclusion based solely on that data.

But we’re not completely rational people. Our fuzzy logic & slippery pre-conscious brain processes get in the way.

We interpret experiences so they support what we believe already.

Show me one person who changed their mind after the debates. . .

Can’t do it?

You have the belief bias to thank!

(and be scared of.)

How Do You Motivate Employees (& Yourself)?

Extrinsic vs Intrinsic Rewards

Extrinsic rewards are physical objects or tangible benefits bestowed by an outside agency (like winning a trophy or a gold medal). Intrinsic rewards are the feelings & emotions accompanying an activity for its own merit (like the feeling of accomplishment at the top of Mt. Everest).

There are thousands of ways employers have tried to boost morale & worker satisfaction in an effort to maximize bottom line earnings. But, what actually works?

Extra vacation days? Annual bonuses? Fun work environments? Team building exercises?

There’s an interesting study from 1973 that demonstrated that extrinsic rewards often backfire. They tend to undermine the intrinsic motivation to perform at a high level which results in poorer job performance overall.

The Study

In a nursery class of 3-5 year old children who liked to draw, researchers divided them into 3 groups:

  1. Those who were told they would get a certificate for drawing (Expected Group)
  2. Those who were not told they would get a certificate for drawing, but would receive one afterward (Unexpected Group)
  3. Those who were neither told about a certificate, nor received one afterward (Control Group)

After the initial session, researchers waited a couple weeks and then implemented the second phase of the experiment.

All the children were in a room with paper & crayons, but no mention was made of a reward for drawing. Children in Groups 2 & 3 spent the most time drawing whereas children in Group 1 spent the least time drawing.

What Does This Mean?

If you use a quid pro quo system of motivation for employees (like a cash bonus), you’ll actually decrease motivation to do a good job at that task unless you continue the rewards. At first, the money triggers a release in dopamine in exactly the same way as someone anticipates the effects of tobacco, cocaine, or any other kind of addictive drug.

The weird thing is, however, people tend to overestimate how much they’re going to enjoy the payoff when it actually gets there, and they acclimate to the dopamine hit. That’s why entrepreneurs & performers who choose to turn a hobby into a full time career tend to go through a period of feeling very low motivation to do something they previously loved to do for the sheer joy of it.

“If I’m not getting paid for it, why would I do it?”

professional-comic

So How Do You Get The Best Results?

There’s the easy way, and the hard way.

The hard way is to find people who love to do the thing you need done, and then set them loose. Let their intrinsic motivation of satisfaction drive their efforts for you.

Finding this perfect overlap of interest & job can be time consuming and difficult. That’s why it’s the hard way.

The easy way is to make rewards unexpected and random. Understand, however, when something happens once people will expect it again. The trick is to do it at random intervals as opposed to a “random” annual bonus at Christmas. (Same goes for verbal praise, and any other form of positive feedback. Random distribution is more effective.)

Takeaways

  • Money & extrinsic motivators are much less effective than aligning someone’s intrinsic motivator to complete a task
  • If you’re going to use an extrinsic motivator, it’s much more powerful if it is given unexpectedly

Office Politics

“Keeps your friends close, and your enemies closer.” ~Machiavelli

Sometimes in a corporate setting, you have to go into a meeting knowing that there’s a huge target painted on your back. There’s that one guy (for whatever reason) who is going to come at you with both barrels, and you’d prefer to minimize the damage.

What do you do?

Do you sit as far away as you can? Do you “forget about the meeting” and not show up?

Nope.

Sit right next to him.

If you’re right next to him, this will prevent the psychological distance he would need in order to feel comfortable attacking your ideas.

If, however, you sit across the table from your would-be attacker, it sets the stage for a more adversarial dynamic that encourages an “Me vs You” situation.

Global Implications

 

This technique of proximity improving relations has played out over all of human history.

There’s much greater psychological resistance to attacking someone who is right next to you than someone who is a world away. Think about how you would rather fight someone: would you rather go into hand-to-hand combat or push a button thousand miles away?

The physical & psychological distance makes it easier to be aggressive towards someone else, and that’s why you sitting right next to the person who has it out for you forces them to be too close for comfort.

Win!

First Lessons

One of the first things you figure out when you learn to read minds is just how boring people are. So completely, unbelievably dull.

Sure, being a mind reader sounds like fun until you think about how awful your Facebook feed is, and that’s the stuff your friends thought was worth sharing. Now imagine what they think isn’t worth sharing.

That’s what it’s like to be a mind reader.

Let me tell you why it’s comforting in a way (and completely freeing).

Nobody cares about you

Once you see just how often other people are thinking about you (never), your fear of looking silly evaporates. You’re free to learn how to dance. You’re free to learn Mandarin.

Learning means being uncomfortable. Being uncomfortable means looking stupid.

But nobody cares.

Not even your Mom; she’s too busy wondering if she’s an awful parent & worrying just how badly she screwed you up.

Don’t worry, you’re fine. You’re free. Nobody cares, and that’s wonderful. You can stop trying to measuring up to what you think other people want you to be.

You’re a mind reader. You know better.

Everyone is scared

That they’re going to flub the big presentation. Of losing the client. Of being a bad uncle. Of being a bad lover. Of being broke.

Of dying alone.

Maybe that’s just me.

The good news is everyone dies, & you’re going to die alone.

Nobody can do it for you, but you can die surrounded by the people you love & the people who love you (sometimes those are the same people!).

We’re all scared (mostly) hairless apes running around trying to shout loud enough into the universe in the hopes that, just maybe, our echo lasts a while after we’re done screaming.

When you realize everyone is one missed green light from a total meltdown, you feel pretty good about where you are in life. You’re not perfect, but you sure as hell have it together better than that monkey in a suit bashing his briefcase against a rock.

Nobody is unique (including you)

Your problems? Those special circumstances that make you a snowflake unlike any other in the history of ever? Yeah, that’s not real.

I don’t care what your problem is; someone’s been there before. You’ve been out-hipstered. Take a breath. Put down the double caramel macchiato, and repeat after me:

“I’m not the first. I won’t be the last. If they made it through, I can too. If they didn’t, I will.”

Everyone’s problems can be whittled down to, what? 5 things? Health, wealth, relationships, and I’d have to invent the other two.

So, 3 things.

It kept the Oracles of Delphi busy. It kept the gypsies busy. It keeps palm readers busy.

They don’t have to come up with anything new, because you don’t have any new problems.

Lost all your money? Wife left you for your brother? Your girlfriend’s roommate killed her baby by rolling over on it in her sleep, so she switched your live baby out for her dead one?

Been there, done that. It’s in the Bible.

Get over yourself, you’re not special.

(and that’s awesome)

People want to like you

Because that means you’ll like them.

We’re social animals. We want to belong. Even if it’s with a group that doesn’t fit us; we’ll go where we’re wanted.

Once you start poking around in people’s minds and see they’re desperate for the approval of people who don’t even like them (like you) you’ll realize that’s how you are.

Then you’ll stop wasting your time trying to impress people you hate just so they’ll like you.

You’ll have so much more time for Netflix reading.

You aren’t limited to reading the minds of the living

You don’t have to talk to ghosts to read the minds of the smartest people through history.

Nor, the stupid people, for that matter. (Even idiots write books.)

Read a book! Reading is about as close to real mind reading as you’re going to get, unless you’re me.

The author becomes some kind of wizard who traps an idea with words, condemns the words to some kind of prison (clay, stone, paper, or digital), where you come along after who knows how long, and unwittingly release dangerous ideas back into the world.

Look what you’ve done.

It’s all terribly exciting, isn’t it?

Communicate Easier

People think if they had the power to read minds it would lead to easier communication.

The surprising thing is, there would be very little improvement from what you have already.

The assumption is you’d get a more accurate “truth” because you’d know exactly how people feel instead of what they tell you.

Over the years of my experience, however, I’ve found most people say exactly what they mean.

The words they speak, and the words I hear in their head are remarkably similar.

The only time that’s not the situation is when there’s coercion: either someone trying to lie to me, or I’m trying to lie to them.

Think about the times you’d lie to someone.

You might lie to keep a surprise birthday party, well, a surprise. You might lie to get something you want. You might lie to preserve your safety.

Everybody else is the same. Very few people are telling you premeditated lies non-stop.

The most common reason people have for lying is controlling an outcome: whether it’s preserving their safety, getting something they want (but haven’t earned), or preserve the illusion of trust when it’s been violated.

There’s a way to make sure people don’t lie to you though. Give everything away. Show them you can be trusted with the truth.

Choose to believe people when they tell you how they feel. Make them feel safe sharing thoughts, feelings, and ideas with you. Don’t criticizing them when they open up.

If you choose to believe people at face value, you might be surprised how honest people become.

So if you want the magical power of mind reading to learn when people are telling the truth, you can start by practicing telling the truth, yourself.