Everything Comes Down to Ego: Feed it to Get What You Want

The reason why people want to be famous? They want to be the center of attention (we have no idea why anyone would want this). The reason people want the Patek watch, Ferrari and big house? To get more attention. The reason why people buy brand name clothing? To get more attention. And. Of course. The reason why people want more money? So they can buy even more stuff to gather attention! Eventually, the ego drives everything and the smart people will prefer being out of the spot light. Sure you can use money here and there to press the greed button (some random girl at the bar) but… It doesn’t actually result material amounts of utility. Except feeding the ego. Now the good news is you can take large scale advantage of this.

How to Use the Ego

Use the Ego to Obtain a Contact: To become likable take the opposite tone of this blog. Don’t talk in blunt, direct sentences. Don’t give out hard facts. Stick with being in the grey area. Since we know facts and opinions are looked down upon, you’ll simply talk around topics until figuring out what their opinion is. Once you find their opinion that will now be “your opinion”. The best way to do this is with the following topics: politics, sports, celebrities and the economy. If you know the person is a liberal, agree with something like wage inequality. If they think the stock market is a short or a buy… simply agree with them. You don’t gain anything by telling them you believe the opposite. By doing this you now have someone who is open to your opinion on something they *don’t* have a strong opinion on.

Now you see where we’re going… this all ties into your network. Lets say you need help finding the right place to manufacture your product. Once you find the right guy, you’ll talk to him for a little bit to build rapport. You’re going to ask him for help so he needs to like you first. Agree with him on politics, sports, etc. After a few weeks or months he’ll like you and begin messaging you as a friend. Now you’ll go ahead and “close the sale” asking for help with your product… We’ve given enough hints on where we’re going with this sub section!

Praise a Different Quality to Establish Rapport:  Making it harder, the person doesn’t have a strong opinion on any of the hot topics. If they had a strong opinion you latch onto it because those are heavily emotional (politics, religion, sports, economics, etc.). How do you proceed? Well you target a quality they are actively trying to improve. If you take the time to try and build rapport, you’ll inevitably find one area where they are insecure and trying to improve. This could be fitness, diet, their own social skills etc. It is inevitable.

If you find out that they are the shy type and don’t have many friends invite them to a party. If they are trying to fix their diet, invite them to eat in situations where they are forced to make the right health decision (don’t tell them it was pre-planned of course). You see the point by now. If you can help them take even 1/2 a step in the right direction and do nothing but give them positive encouragement, there is a zero percent chance they will dislike you.

Always Tell Them it is “Worth a Shot”: There is no point in trying to change someone’s opinion. So what you should do is bias towards the standard “Everyone needs new experiences and it sounds like it *could* work”. Even if you think the idea is terrible, chances are they are going to do it anyway. Since they are not asking you for money you’re in good shape because you really lose nothing in the situation. Why? Well look at the logic flow below!

If you tell them “it could work” they will give you some credit in the case that it did work. “Everyone else said it wouldn’t work except you!”. Now if it fails? Well you hedged it with “could” so you already had the standard 1-2 sentences of what the risks were (hedged it all out). So even if it fails (most ideas people pitch you on fail), they won’t be upset because you believed in them and they just got “bad luck”. Emphasis on the bad luck part, never tell them it was their fault go with bad luck 100% of the time.

How Get Rid of Your Own Ego

This depends on the situation. As you know, if you’re an athlete for example, being humble is just foolish. You earn less since you want to gather more attention to get endorsements and more followers. The quiet athletes don’t have the “look” or the “vibe” to pull in the mega deals and contracts. In other cases you do want to kill the ego…

Do You Want Money or Prestige? This is most prevalent on Wall Street. Many people choose prestigious banks even though they may pay them less long-term. They just see the name brand and think that’s the right decision. It isn’t. Always choose the right environment for you to move up the responsibility ladder. We’ve covered this many times but people still email us with Career questions! There should be no “which bank” questions. You always choose the one that leads to promotions. You’re better off working at Citi Group than Goldman Sachs if you’re never going to get the chance to move up the ladder. This is a classic example of choosing the money over your ego. Never let the ego win because you’ll lose long-term.

Do You Want Freedom or Attention? Another good question is if you’d rather sell shoe laces online for $200K a year or work at a name brand company for $200K a year. The first one is terribly boring. No one cares about your shoe lace business but at least you’re hanging out online selling them from a beach in Rio de Janeiro. This one is quite interesting because we know several people who sell extremely boring products online that live well (working from a computer screen). The flip side is when you get into the standard “what do you do?” question from regular people they won’t be interested.

Do You Want Function or Flash? This one kills the ego as well, if you can afford brand name clothing and cars do you actually want it for yourself or do you want it for attention. There is nothing wrong with being interested in cars or threads… the question is the “why?”. If the answer is you’re spending money to impress other people… that usually ends in disaster. The people impressed by it are not the people you want to attract. Think about it like this. If you can afford a Ferrari are you impressed by a Ferrari? The answer is no. All you’ll think is “cool car”. The people who are impressed… can’t afford one. Why would you want to attract these people? So on and so forth.

There are certainly exceptions to this rule, if you’re part of a Ferrari club or some exclusive yacht club you’ll meet a lot of good connections no doubt. At the same time… if you were successful enough to make it this far you already know the same people! The higher you move up in the pyramid the closer everyone is.

How to Avoid the Ego Trap

The last part is more of a life long commitment. No one enjoys losing money on an investment. No one enjoys being wrong. No one enjoys “smiling and nodding” when someone tells them something factually incorrect. None of these things are fun but they are a necessity for mental health.

Smiling and Nodding: This is the best strategy we know of. If someone tells you something factually incorrect “smile, nod and agree”. This will go against every single bone in your body. You want to tell them how they are wrong and even have the facts to back it up. Don’t bother!!!! If you smile and nod, they won’t talk to you and you’ll save time. You’re not going to change their opinion anyway (they never actually asked for your opinion they just started spouting out nonsense).

Put Yourself in Failure Situation: Say you’re not a good lateral athlete (just an example). Play some sports like tennis that require it. This will result in a lot of losing. If you lose at least once a week in something, you will then realize there are many people who are better than you. This is a great exercise. Most average people will make excuses blaming referees in sports or saying they were somehow “cheated”. Instead you’ll do this to simply remember what it’s like to lose once and a while. Also. It’s a good reminder of someone always being better. The money game is a great example since there are around 2,000 billionaires in the world and therefore it is practically impossible to win that game.

Avoid Debt: We practically never talk about debt here… Because we don’t use it. In rare cases a mortgage can be taken out for a rental property, however the cash flows need to be funded by a passive or semi-passive income stream. This makes it a lot easier to keep the ego in check. Even if you’re near 100% certain that a good investment has come up, levering into it just doesn’t make sense (you built up 7 figures in net worth so why would you risk losing it all?).

Concluding Remarks and Questions

These are the main things we’ve noticed: 1) don’t bother changing people’s opinions, 2) by having no real social media presence your opinion can conflict from one person to another to help build rapport and 3) lots of money is lost chasing attention – instead of the end goal of more freedom and money. If you have good strategies for making people like you by feeding their ego please leave them in the comments. As we said, a good example is to take this blog, built on *rapport breaking*… and do the opposite.

Comments

  1. wayneredacted says

    One way I’ve been agreeing with people’s opinions for them to like me: Trump. His presidency already bringing alot of value to my social interactions.

    General public/media = hates him

    Haters will be more vocal, supporters will tone down in workplace (some trump supporters getting fired/public shame/etc.)

    Very easy to converse with supporter colleagues with “Yeah I just pretend to hate him cause it’s risky to support Trump publicly”

    Then you agree with haters on their negative bashing.

    Politics risky but baseline understanding of sports is solid too… Also (hypothesize) agreeing with a person has scaling value based on their age. Many older folks have some sort of paternalistic attitude towards younger reps here in sales.

  2. YoungHustler96 says

    Amazing article. Just recently came across this blog and it has changed my life. Purchasing Efficiency was an even better decision, small price to pay for such valuable advice that no one else will tell you. Good information is the most valuable commodity and Efficiency is packed full of it! Anyways, I think you guys had one typo.
    “No one enjoys “smiling and nodding” when someone tells them something factually correct.”
    I am sure you meant *incorrect!’
    Cheers!

  3. Pointer says

    I’m subscribed to your blog, purchased your book and I agree almost 100% to everything you preach.
    There are some moments though, like this one, where you just promote being a selfish prick and manipulator and even then, I still agree with these points, because honestly I’m pretty fucking tired of the stupidness of masses.

    I can only notice that you almost never talk about the emotional implications of a person, not in detail at least. Some require an emotional recharge from peer validation, even if it’s something superficial or stupid. Otherwise, it’s veeery easy to slip into the depression valley. At the end I can only see you commenting about this situation that this person is not up for it.

    My point is that for all the things you preach, it requires a quite of psychopathic individual to be able to follow or be this way almost 100%. And this is more confirmed from your posts when you mention that 1%, 5% or a few are capable.

    Anyway, keep up the good work. Your information here will help a lot. The world is full of dumb people, and although this comes as a narcissistic point from me, it is the way it is. The more you age, the more you realise 90% of people don’t deserve your time or company because they are just below mediocre, have major lack of self-awareness, situational empathy and the intelligence to predict outcomes in every day life moments.

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      Hahaha! You are right about promoting being a selfish person like this… the problem is the following question “is it true”

      Never had any issues with depression, most can’t make the leap from “everything is meaningless because they won’t change”… to the important realization that *because* they won’t change life is just a fun game!

      We see this a lot on the internet where people complain about “how the world is” if someone knows how the world is… why are they unhappy and broke? It’s a interesting question.

      The answer is they love telling people how the world is and haven’t given up their *ego* to accept it. Enjoy the ride and if you read between the lines we also give you the tools to have a great time!

      Life is largely pre-programmed follow the outline of the operating system and experience full ego loss. This means everyone *else* is a moviestar and you’re just watching the show for fun

      • Mastermind says

        Interesting idea Pointer…

        Sometimes writers on this blog come across psychopathic (lacking emotion).

        I’d say they just super rational thinkers which can come across dark/blunt sometimes

        Doubt a true psychopaths would start a blog and hand out free info !!

  4. Rubac says

    Unrelated:

    I go to one of the top 5 schools in the country.

    Was in the entepenurship club talking to the president about online sales: he had NO idea what any of that was.

    Too easy to get ahead!

  5. AC says

    Great post, nobody talks about the ego.

    Fun experiment:

    If you have blindly ambitious friends when they tell you a vaguely ambitious goal (I want to be a millionaire, I want to make a huge business etc) ask them why?

    They usually give some random goal like “I want to buy a Ferrari” or even “So my girl/wife will stop busting my balls”!

    And then, you ask again “Why? What would happen if you had that goal now? Would you drive your Ferrari and chicks would jump in it or would your girl stop busting your balls forever if your bank account suddenly changed?”

    Their jaw usually drops, really funny to watch if you keep it casual and want to mess around!

    • says

      And if you keep following them down that rabbit hole of “Why?” you eventually get the same answer everybody gives you: “I want to be happy.”

      Everyone wants to be happy.

      How long before modern medicine invents a Prozac that works? A milder meth with no side effects? Happiness is neurochemicals: endorphins, serotonin, adrenaline, and GABA.

      What a stupid thing to waste your life on.

      Why not try to be so much more than “happy”?

  6. Ym says

    In some “nerdier” spaces (tech, IT Networking, programming) — the most talented guys that you will want to stay connected with/do a deal with them are “nerdy”, and likely very insecure from an ego standpoint in at least one key area (girls, social skills, fitness, looks, etc).

    In personal experience when working with some of these types of people I find myself purposely making my speech/texts sound “dumber than them” or “asking their opinion” adding in words like idk you probably know better, or not sure what’s you think, or “this might be a good idea”, just making it super wordy and non threatening.

    It is a little unnatural but the feeling they get of being superior is clear and they want to help you/mentor you more. And they like you.

    Great post.

  7. vincent thibault says

    Great article on EGO

    Just wanted to ask a quick question on debt

    Would it be a good idea to use leverage to buy a cie or real estate etc if you have access to 100% debt financing and the debt as no recourse on you personally

    if you can have 3-4 different entity 100% financed by debt even if one goes down it semms to me personal risk seem minimal and upside is quite interesting ?

    really liked efficiency btw

  8. Impatient Bastard says

    So to summarize, basically practice the 3 dark triad traits. (First half) master and understand yourself (secondly)

    Its a great article. Logically it binds you to highest probability behavior of success I’d imagine.

    So would you guys say, its always a silly thing to take a stand on a political issue?

    • TMA says

      “So would you guys say, its always a silly thing to take a stand on a political issue?”

      I apologize because I know you want a response from WSP. Normally, they’re very busy and not able to answer all the questions that come up.

      You might want to ask yourself what you hope to benefit from by taking a stand on a political issue. Unless you’re a politician or a very influential celebrity, it’s unlikely that you are able to exert real political change by taking a personal stand. By all means, vote if it’s important to you, but by taking a political stand *against* someone, you establish yourself as an adversary against something they are very passionate about. This might work to your advantage if you’re trying to game a girl, as breaking rapport and challenging her on her views can cause attraction. In a business situation however, it’s likely easier to agree with your counterpart because neither of you are likely to have much political influence.

      Note that when I said you can take a political stance towards a girl you’re gaming, I don’t mean that she should be the subject of you exerting your political opinion. You would simply *disagree* with her in a clever and funny way.

  9. Katavasis says

    “Do You Want Freedom or Attention?”

    The guy who will deem you “boring” and “without passion” is the same guy who will rot saturday afternoon handling paperwork for his beloved “coolbrand” company. But hey, at least he’s doing what he loves LMAO.

  10. Sartorial Pundit says

    This is very Machiavellian. I love it.

    One weird thing about stroking someone’s ego is that they begin to trust you more than anyone else. They’ll tell you secrets without you having to give them much in return.

    If shit hits the fan, then you’ll most likely have leverage.

  11. AliBaba says

    People with big egos will act confident (whether they are or are not) which is almost always a good thing when it comes to sales.

    Where would you say the line between having an ego and being confident is?

  12. Brazilian Boy says

    Hey guys, excellent post as always!

    What do you do if you have 2 contacts that can generate a great amount of money and have opposites opinions on something like politics (they know each other and might find out if you tell 2 diferent stories about politics, for example).

    Cheers from Rio de Janeiro!

  13. Blank says

    I personally find that nodding and smiling is easier when you assume someone to be stupid. It gets quite difficult when it’s someone you’ve ascribed an intelligent status but I remind myself that my role in life is not to convert people. Reading Neitzche’s Genealogy of morals should be essential reading age 18 or before.

    What works for me is that I love me and believe I can learn or do anything with few limitations of which I read my serenity prayer. I do not want to be good or evil.

    I simply enjoy being human. Play the game, don’t waste time complaining about the set up of the table

    This is great essential reading and I hope people find your book or blog before it’s too late. Though some will never changd. The desire to be loved is stronger. Life is but a game and without the great sense of morality people are consumed by, my life would be difficult.

    Thanks

  14. Mastermind says

    People want attention because its a type of validation

    Validation ‘proves’ you as a person are adequate

    As you pointed out in ur book a massive insecurity people carry is fear not being enough. Attention is a currency use it wisely!

  15. Brent says

    Wealthy business guys LOVE their ego stroked! I

    I saw this when I was at Faena in Miami. I got so much value from complementing how smart their kids were and the guy just opened the gate of business knowledge on me.

  16. Ted says

    WSPs, baby aspirin is bad for you. It’s a drug which thins the blood and irritates the stomach. Our blood was meant to be thick. Our bodies are organic and drugs are inorganic. There are better and natural alternatives than that.

  17. says

    What a joke…you guys are talking about a guy who is overweight, has high cholesterol so he takes cholesterol lowering drugs, dyes his hair, takes finesteride for his prostate o did I say he s fat, come on guys use a better example. Just because he takes all these things and is still alive doesn’t make it right or healthy. Next time use a better example.

  18. Needmorework says

    A better way to fail every once in a while? Approach a lot of hot girls at a bar or night club, rejections happen to even the finest of men!

    I love it when WSP does posts on Life but one section I would like for you guys to cover in the near future is how to actually build a quality social life. Even though I bought Efficiency, the only part in it that talks about social life is the one about nightlife.

    I am not in NYC but I am in one of the biggest cities in my region, the issue I’ve been having is that it seems to be tough to make new friends and mix with some of the fun social circles. Most of these people made their friends in college and seem to stuck with their college crowds, college football is pretty big around these parts too.

    Having a good social life that leads to quality parties and such can be a godsend when communicating with normal people and perhaps sending that shy guy an invite to the party, the issue is how to actually build it and how that actually looks like after college.

    MeetUp has been a fucking disaster for me.

    I tried a sports league but it seemed to go for 6 weeks before everyone just went their own way.

    Pretty sure of a lot of your readers, I am not the only one struggling with this.

  19. Software Sales Guy says

    My view on life changed forever when I realized I could make money from my laptop.

    Never walking into a coal mine again.

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