Built On Trust

Insider Secrets

No matter what round of funding you’re looking for, there’s something that’s just as important as the facts & figures of your business: the trust between you and your investors.

Medium is the Message

Digital communications are phenomenal. It allows us to connect with anyone anywhere in the world at any time. We can fire off an email at 1am from our hotel room, and then get a reply 20 minutes later from someone suffering from equal parts insomnia & “inbox-itis.”

But, easy done is easy ignored.

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Silver Bullet Thinking

Don’t Forget the Human Element

A wonderful talk on the importance of not ignoring the human element from decisionmaking.

“Silver Bullet Thinking”

This is a term she used which piqued my interest. It’s usually those who think they can find a silver bullet that are most affected by them.

“Oracles never stand alone”

To gain insights, companies should never rely solely on data points; that information is ignoring the human element from its meaning. That’s where the role of the oracle’s team comes in. An oracle can look into the messy information, and their support team can conduct interviews to interpret the oracle’s intuitions.

That’s what makes what I do so powerful; I’m an “information oracle” of sorts.

What does your future hold? Let’s talk!

The Eyes Have It

Psychology of Gaze

You’re out in the park catching up on Facebook on your phone when, out of nowhere, you feel the distinct sensation that someone is staring at you. You look up from your phone, and sure enough, you see someone looking right at you.

We’ve all had some form of this experience happen to us, and the weird part about it is how real the perception of their eyes on us is feels. We can actually feeeel them checking us out. And it’s spooky.

So, what’s going on?

You’re not actually feeling someone’s eyes on you. Not in a literal fashion, anyway. What you are feeling, however, is the awareness that someone else is aware of you.

Noticing when someone is noticing you has evolutionary benefit. If you’re prey, and you’re completely oblivious to the fact a predator has locked their eyes on you, chances are you’re not going to be around long enough to pass those “Does not notice when others notice me” genes onto the next generation.

Gaze As Communication

We not only understand someone’s gaze as their attention on us. Humans have evolved with a finely tuned sensitivity to what that gaze means. Ever had a conversation with a friend at a party using only your eyes? You know exactly what each one of you is saying, but there were no words spoken. That’s an incredible feat that few creatures are capable of performing.

Also, we’ve learned to understand if someone else is interested in something (as indicated by them looking at it), it’s probably important for us to look at it too. There’s a fun demonstration of this if you can get your friends to play along. Go to a busy sidewalk and have everybody look up. You’ll quickly notice how many strangers will see you, see you looking up, and then look up in that same direction very quickly. It happens without them noticing it, but it does happen.

Non-Conscious Awareness

Your brain picks up so much information every second that if you were consciously aware of it, you’d be totally overwhelmed. Plus, our brains run on about the same amount of energy as the light in your fridge, so it has to cut corners where it can. Our senses don’t do so much funneling info into our brains as they do filtering info out. Most of what you see is never noticed, and most of what you notice never conscious levels.

This means you notice a lot of details you’re never aware of.

It’s quite possible that your eyes noticed someone else’s gaze on you (which could mean predatory behavior), but it’s way deep down on your level of awareness. You’re focused on your phone, and the tiny detail of someone else’s eyes aren’t a clear and present danger. Your mind communicates on a low level by creating that subtle uneasy feeling that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up.

Feels like a superpower, but it’s really the marvel of evolutionary biology keeping you on your toes.

Next Level

There are some martial arts traditions that take this to the next level. They’re assuming that you’re not detecting someone’s gaze, but their intent. If you’re reading their intent, then you should be able to detect it without direct line of sight.

So they claim to test it.

With a sword.

The practitioner being tested kneels on the floor, and the person administering the test stands behind them with a sword raised over their head. The idea is for the swordman to summon “intent to do him harm” before swinging the sword down onto the head of the kneeling practitioner. The person being tested will “feel” the swordman’s intent to do great bodily harm, and roll out of the way before the sword can harm him.

[vc_video ratio=”16-9″ align=”center” link=”https://youtu.be/7O0_CKdKX-c”]

This “intent to do harm” they’re feeling for has a word for it: “Sakki.”

I’d love to test it by putting a sword on a robot arm, and connect its movement to pushbutton. I would stand behind the person, summon the intent to do harm, and then only have to move my finger before the sword is activated.

My hunch is they’re perceiving a lot more than Sakki. Like sound.

Ideomotor Response

We often make the mistake of thinking our minds direct our bodies, but that’s just not the case. As SF Zeigler likes to say, “Our bodies inform our minds.” And there’s a deep dive into exactly this dynamic in the book “You Are Not So Smart: A celebration of self delusion.” It’s a great read, and I highly recommend it.

Our bodies lead the action, our mind catches up, and since your mind didn’t order the movement, it feels like it’s someone else is responsible for it. It’s called the Ideomotor response, and it’s the secret to pendulum readings, dowsers, and any other kind of divination claptrap that relies on easily influenced contraptions.

Confirmation Bias

Another point to consider is how often we feel like someone’s watching us when there’s nobody else around. It’s a false positive, and since it’s not a significant event, you forget it ever happened.

But when you feel it, look up, and see someone looking at you that feels much more significant, so you remember that experience.

When you think back on all the times you’ve felt like someone’s watching you, you only remember the times it happened, and completely forget the times it didn’t. Therefore, you get the perception that you’re always right.

You’re not. You’re only remembering the times you were right, and conveniently leaving out all the times you were wrong.

It’s human nature to want to be right. It’s not a conscious thing you’re doing, but you are doing it nonetheless.


Did you get weirded out looking at the picture I picked for this article? Probably so. Why is that?

There’s a reason the saying goes, “Character is what you do when you think nobody is watching.”

Experiments show that people behave more honestly when they’re being watched. Not only that, they behave more honestly when they think they’re being watched. Not only THAT, but they behave more honestly when there’s a poster of eyes on the wall nearby!

There’s an “honesty box” where people could put change in for the coffee they take. Above the coffee is a poster with the prices of coffee, coffee+cream, tea, etc. One version didn’t have eyes on it. The other version did.

The version with eyes resulted in 3 times as many donations! That’s a huge impact!


The eyes are a powerful communication device that we’ve evolved to use & understand on many levels below & beyond our conscious awareness. This isn’t a supernatural thing, it’s a subconscious thing.

Try to remember that before you start giving thousands of dollars to some guru who claims to be able to teach you how to dodge swords when you’re not looking. . .

A Warrior’s Mindset

There’s no shortage of articles explaining how “business is war,” and they almost all start with pull quotes from Sun-Tzu’s Art of War. They go into granular detail about the strategies & tactics of warfare as a way to help you understand how to apply those lessons in the boardroom.

They explain how to deceive your enemies. Confuse your competitors. Outsmart those who want to eat your lunch.

But they’re almost all missing a key component:


The mind of a warrior is their most valuable weapon; this can’t be overstated.

To achieve the mood of a warrior is not a simple matter. It is a revolution. To regard the lion and the water rats and our fellow men as equals is a magnificent act of a warrior’s spirit. It takes power to do that.
~Carlos Castaneda

A warrior understands to underestimate an opponent could spell disaster. Treating everyone & everything as your equal is a way of respecting their potential to teach you something (like you’re mortal).

3 Aspects of a Warrior’s Mindset

1. Focus on Victory

The primary thing when you take a sword in your hands is your intention to cut the enemy, whatever the means.
~Miyamoto Musashi

Complete focus & dedication to success is absolutely essential in making it a reality.

If your mind is concerned with anything other than the job at hand, you will lose.

Most people are “interested in being interested.” They dabble. They dip their toe into the water. Their mind is always distracted with “what if.”

They have crippling FOMO.

Those who lack total commitment to their goals wind up drifting through life. They never enjoy the benefits of a hard-earned reward. They go for the easy route.

You, on the other hand, can sustain a laser-like focus on what you want. Dedicate your incredible willpower to making it happen, no matter what stands between you and what you want.

There will be people who will tell you ambition is unsustainable. This is their own fear of failure being projected on you. They love you, and don’t want you to suffer the pain of disappointment when it doesn’t work out (like what happened to them).

Don’t limit your life to someone else’s comfort zone.

Be of a single mind that is solely focused on success.

2. Know Your Capacity

“I was just doing what anyone in my situation would have done.”
~Every Single Hero on TV

There’s more inside you than you realize. You are capable of amazing things; both good & bad. Familiarize yourself with your potential, and then train it to a high degree.

This takes incredible mental strength that is already inside you.

The trick, then, is to create a safe setting where you can explore your inner warrior so you can learn how to call on it. Just like you can find yourself in a state of flow, you can develop a sense for your own inner warrior who is capable of fighting tooth & nail like your life depends on it.

Because it does.

What would you do differently if you found out you’re dying? Would you call the people you love? Would you finally start that hobby you’ve been putting off?

Because you’re dying. Right now. And so is everyone you know.

None of us is getting off this ride alive.

Generally speaking, the Way of the warrior is resolute acceptance of death.
~Miyamoto Musashi

So don’t hold back. Don’t wait for a better time. Train your mind to be its best.


3. Advance

Approach the enemy with the attitude of defeating him without delay.
~Miyamoto Musashi

It’s an unnatural thing to move towards danger. Our first instinct is to withdraw to a safe distance.

This helps those who would do you harm.

If, on the other hand, you move towards a person/situation, it will surprise them. It stifles how much room they have to maneuver around you.

In life, every action you take has the potential to be good or bad. Only move if the odds are heavily in your favor; otherwise, stay put.

Moving with no clear purpose only serves to expend your energy, and cloud your ability to see the most advantageous options available to you.

When making a big decision, don’t rely solely on momentary consideration. Really lay out everything that could go right & wrong.

Want to start your own business? Make a list.

Want to pursue a new relationship? Make a list.

No matter what the decision, make a list.

This will keep you from reacting to momentary distractions. This will help you consider all possibilities, and avoid the pitfalls of moving for moving’s sake.

To ignore this detail is to invite disaster.

So move when it’s in your favor. Stay put otherwise.

Retreat only when absolutely necessary.


Most people are content with their lives. They’re fine with cruise-control, and letting others set their course.

This article was not for them.

If you’ve made it this far, it’s likely that you understand that you have to fight to stay human, & the most important part of that process is the mental part.

Hopefully you’ve gotten something worthwhile out of the article, and if you think someone you know would appreciate it to, be sure to share it with them.

Sidenote: You might have noticed several of the quotes were from the same person, Miyamoto Musashi. He has a fascinating story. He was a samurai who fought his first duel at age 13, killing his much more experienced opponent. He eventually won 60+ duels before retiring from a life of fighting where he spent years reflecting on the nature of life. You can read his book, “the Book of the 5 Rings” to find out more.

Designers Are Mind Readers
(And So Are You)

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]In order to create something that “just works” designers have to be mind readers. They have to get inside the heads of their intended user, and create something that feels natural & intuitive to use. This doesn’t happen on accident, and it can be a very difficult process to perfect.

The interesting thing is, you’re a designer too; you just don’t know it yet.

What Is Design?

At its core, design is simply the process of making a series of choices. Imagine you’re designing a cell phone.

“Do we use steel or aluminum for the body? Since steel will interfere with wifi signals, we’ll use aluminum. Now what about the processor?”

On down the line of questions you go, until eventually you’ve created a product that’s incredibly valuable.

Note: The end product is only as good as the quality of questions asked to create it.

The Same Goes For Your Life

Our lives are the results of the choices we make, so every decision contributes to the overall value of your life. Few people take ownership of the process, (or even understand the importance of their choices,) and wonder why their life isn’t how they think it should be.

Product of Your Environment

Just like the design of a cellphone is affected by the natural principles of physics, the design of your life is affected by the natural principles of psychology.

The less you know about how your mind works, the more challenges you’re going to have making choices that get you the results you want.

This is where the mind reading comes in handy.

Sometimes the most difficult mind to get into is your own. You constantly wonder why you find yourself in the same situations even though you think you’re making better choices. Instead, you’re just making different iterations of the same mistakes.

If you’re having trouble making lasting changes, it’s not your fault. We’re not taught how to think like designers & mind readers in school; we’re taught how to follow directions.

Fortunately for you, I’m both. I’m a designer by education & experience, and a mind reader for the past 20 years.

If you want to break out of the cycle you’ve been stuck in for years, I want to help you! Let’s chat. Let me know what you want to achieve, and we can develop a game-plan that’s specific to you. Let’s design something together![/vc_column_text][us_btn text=”Get In Touch” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.likeamindreader.com%2Fcontact%2F|||”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

The Right Way to do Wrong

A question I get asked a lot on podcasts & interviews isn’t really a question, it’s more of a statement.

“I bet you can manipulate people, huh?”

Well, yeah. That’s what I get paid to do, and it’s why I started [     ] Like A Mind Reader in the first place; teach others the tricks of influence & psychological direction.

Historical Precedence

In 1906 Harry Houdini (the most famous magician of all time) wrote a book called “The Right Way to Do Wrong.” In the preface he says this:

The object of this book is twofold: First, to safeguard the public against the practices of the criminal classes by exposing their various tricks and explaining the adroit methods by which they seek to defraud. “Knowledge is power” is an old saying. I might paraphrase it in this case by saying knowledge is safety. I wish to put the public on its guard, so that honest folks may be able to detect and protect themselves from the dishonest, who labor under the false impression that it is easier to live dishonestly than to thrive by honest means.

The part that really grabs my attention is “Knowledge is safety.”

The psychological techniques & tools I cover in my consulting, coaching, & personal work are exactly the same used by big corporations, advertising, and the unscrupulous.

Just like any tool, it can be used for good or evil, and it’s up to the person using them to never use them for nefarious means.

But only through education & knowledge of the techniques can one protect themselves from it. We’re influenced and manipulated every day by those who would strive to relieve you of the burden of your hard-won money.


I’ll wrap up my thoughts with the words of Houdini:

The work of collecting and arranging this material and writing the different chapters has occupied many a leisure hour. My only wish is that “The Right Way to Do Wrong” may amuse and entertain my readers and place the unwary on their guard. If my humble efforts in collecting and writing these facts shall accomplish this purpose, I shall be amply repaid, and feel that my labor has not been in vain. ~Harry Houdini, Handcuff King and Jail Breaker


“The Right Way To Do Wrong” is now available as a PDF + Audiobook bundle! Read & listen to it wherever you go.

Beyond Maslow’s Pyramid


In 1943 Abraham Maslow released a paper exploring the typical development of exemplary humans, and since then his ideas have been spread world-wide as “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.”

The basic idea is a person starts at the base of the pyramid, and each level must be mastered before they can begin working on the next level. Think about how difficult it is to appreciate the beauty of life when you’re worried about your safety. . .

Most people want to skip the bottom level work and focus, instead, on top level ideas. This is like trying to build the 99th floor or a skyscraper without pouring a solid foundation first.

Doesn’t work.

100th Floor

But what happens when you do all the hard work of taking care of your physical needs, you’re safe, you have incredible people who love you, you have confidence that could move mountains, your thinking is crystal clear, you smell the roses, and you put 100% of your potential into action.

What now?

Despite how valuable Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is, it’s still severely limited solely to personal development.

It’s great introspection, but it’s still navel gazing, none the less.

When you’re ready to look beyond yourself, welcome to the 100th floor where we start to look at how to think about your life in a context that transcends your personal limits.

Your choices have impact far beyond your own boundaries. Every decision you make can impact everyone you’re connected to.

Beyond the Pyramid

There’s a whole life beyond your own wants, hopes, dreams, and wishes. Consider your place in a universe that’s way too big for your mind, and start making choices from a universal perspective that transcends your own limited scope.

Magic of Success

Magicians are in the business of creating experiences that are absolutely mind blowing. No matter how impossible it seems, however, tricks work by making use of natural principles of nature.

If you look at people who are massively successful, it can seem like it happened as if by magic. They started a company and *POOF* they’re incredibly successful.

Success, no matter how incredible, is the result of effort applied in accordance to certain fundamental principles. I’m going to explain how magicians do what they do to help you understand what it takes to be successful in your own way.

I’m not supposed to do this.

I’ve consulted for Criss Angel. I’ve performed at the world-famous Magic Castle in LA. I’ve entertained United States troops stationed overseas.

I’ve been in magic my whole life, and I know my way around the world of mystery.

What I’m about to tell you is absolutely forbidden in the magical community; I’m going to reveal the secret to every single trick you’ve ever seen in your life.

Not only that, once you’re in the know, I’m going to explain exactly how you can use that knowledge to conjure results in your personal & business life that will look like pure magic to outsiders.

Anyone looking in won’t be able to comprehend how you can get incredible results, but you and I will both know there’s more to it than meets the eye.

Here Goes

Magic is boring.

There, I said it.

That’s the biggest secret in magic; just how simple it truly is.

People want magic to be this exotic thing that lives in a secret dusty room holding arcane knowledge, rituals, spells, and even a hex or two. But when it comes right down to it, magic is actually elegant in its simplicity.

Sure, there are magical masterpieces requiring feats of engineering and technology that are phenomenally complex to create, but no matter how complicated the machinery every single trick you’ve heard about is built on fundamental psychological principles that work across all cultures.

Those principles reveal truths about how we, as people, navigate the world, make decisions, & think about ourselves.

I’m going to dive into what it all means for business, relationships, and beyond.

*pulls a book on the shelf which swings open to reveal a dusty room, and walks in*

The Secret To Every Magic Trick Ever

 “The magician creates the context for logical assumptions that are later shown to not be true.” ~Jonathan Pritchard

Forgive me for quoting myself, but I want to make sure the world knows I said it first.

There’s a lot going on in the quote, so let me break it down piece by piece, and explain how it applies to other worlds outside magical performance.

The Magician…

This is the agent of action. This is the person who is making things happen. This is you.

Since prehistory, magicians (shamans, spirit guides, etc) have fulfilled a very important role in societies as someone who understands the forces of nature, and uses that knowledge to bend reality to his/her will.

They are considered to be in possession of knowledge that is beyond ordinary comprehension, and capable of creating miracles.

I love that idea because it is so very close to reality. Everyone knows something that seems so obvious to them, but appears completely mystifying to anyone else. In this way, we are all magicians of our own lives. We understand the world in a unique way, and we can all use that power to create amazing results.

…creates the context…

Context means everything. Context is the reason a comedian can call someone a name and everyone in the room laughs, but if you try it at a bar you’ll get a lesson in manners outside in the parking lot.

Context is the basis for relationships. Nothing exists in a vacuum. Everything exists in relationship to everything else in the universe. It’s the circumstances and facts around an idea or situation that helps shape its meaning.

How context is built, and used, has far-reaching implications.

A magician is on stage in a theater. People know that the magician is going to be performing tricks, and that it is a performance. These are all parts of the puzzle that come together to provide a context for the audience to enjoy the magical performance.

The experience is further crafted through the performer’s words, actions, music, lights, and every other tool of stagecraft at his disposal. Every element in use helps create a context which creates a reality where magic lives.

Just like the magician, you create the context in which other people perceive you. Everything you do, everything you say, everything you wear, etc. creates the context in which people can understand you.

Once you realize you are in control of how you are presenting yourself to the world, you can start taking ownership for the results you are getting (or not).

…for logical assumptions…

“I am turned into a sort of machine for observing facts and grinding out conclusions.” ~Charles Darwin

The magician shows a coin in his right hand, drops it in his left hand and closes his fingers around it into a fist. With the wave and snap of his fingers the coin vanishes.


Your eyes saw the coin in his right hand, and watched the hand turn over above his left palm. You know the coin drops into the left palm because gravity is a fundamental force of nature. Logical.

And that’s where the magician leads your mind astray.

It’s logical to assume that if you turn your hand over, the coin will fall to the floor.

What’s not logical is to think a person has spent 20 years learning how to hold a coin with the muscles of the hand in a way to make it look empty from above.

The magician doesn’t announce, “Behold, my empty right hand!” He just behaves in a way (creating the context) that would make you think it’s empty (logical assumption).

If he were to state “My right hand is empty” he knows you would immediately challenge him immediately. Instead, he behaves as if the hand is empty, your mind tells you it’s empty, and you believe it. After all, why would you lie to yourself?

To help us navigate the world, our minds help build guidelines and general rules about how the world works (like gravity will make a coin fall from an open hand when turned over), and uses these as shortcuts to decision making.

These assumptions operate at a level that precedes conscious thought. You aren’t even aware that your mind is doing that for you. If you want to discover what kind of assumptions you’re working with, look to the major points of conflict in your life. You’ll be sure to find beliefs and ideas about what is true about the world that is out of alignment with reality.

The most powerful way to change your perception of the world is to challenge your beliefs and fundamental assumptions about reality. It can be uncomfortable, but if you want change in your life, you’re going to need to work on the assumptions that are dictating your reality.

…that are later shown to not be true…

In the example of the coin disappearing, your assumptions about coins dropping towards the floor creates a narrative in your mind that tells you that the coin is now in the magician’s left hand.

The more you trust your own conclusions (based on “logical” assumptions) and the longer you hold those beliefs, the stronger the magical effect will be when it’s revealed that things aren’t how you thought they were.

In the context of a magic show, this experience is fun. It makes people laugh, clap, and gasp with wonder.

In the context of the real world, this experience can be devastating. You thought you had the contract and your client (seemingly) suddenly goes with another agency. You thought your partner was faithful, and you find out they’re not.

The list can go on forever.

And, it can be incredibly empowering.

You thought you couldn’t depend on anyone else, but the whole community shows up to help you (The plot behind, “It’s a Wonderful Life”).

Things aren’t always as they seem, and if you find yourself in a reality where things don’t match up with how you thought they are, then it’s your assumptions that need revising.


That’s the secret to magic and success.

Context is everything, your assumptions dictate your perception of reality, and sometimes life isn’t what it seems (and that can be a great thing!).

If you’ve found this article helpful, I’d sure appreciate you sharing it with your friends. Let’s help make the world a better place by promoting great material!

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns feel free to leave a comment, or message me directly. I read everything that comes through the inbox.

Let’s start a conversation.

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.


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.)