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.