General Badassery Episode 36

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So let's talk a little more about disbelief leading to distrust, like I mentioned in the podcast. (You should listen first.) The core disconnect there is that if I don't believe what you say, my inherent assumption is that you are wrong.

That doesn't mean you can't alter that, probably by showing me some proof, as happened with a coaching student who came out of nowhere and knew nothing about the internet marketing world and claimed to be making multiple six figures annually. Online. Without any internet marketing exposure.

So a webcam was fired up and documents were displayed, and holy crap seriously? No background, all just... self-taught? In a vacuum?


It happens. I didn't believe so I had to be shown. That's where the trust had to come from. "Show me."

We see this in Frank Kern's stuff all the time.  He has to prove his results, over and over. It's one of the things that divides the internet business world from the rest of the world: we don't have a lot of trust. We don't look one another in the eye, we don't shake hands, we don't hang out at the bar.

We're just profile pictures and names. Some places, those names aren't even real.

And we all want to see proof, which in America means cash, and that means we chucked the whole taboo about telling people what kind of money you make. We advertise our salaries and incomes and outlays and profits. We get on Twitter and say we just landed a $50k client.

Some people are offended and say they'd never work with that guy. They inhabit a slightly different world.

The thing is, on the internet, you are frequently working with someone whose mindset is different than yours. They're not prepared to believe you know what you're talking about, and you have to show them. They're sceptical.

This is something you can overcome by going to events, of course, but some people can't make it out to events. Particularly newbies, who have only just started and probably wouldn't spend what it takes to go to an event anyway.

So we do the next best thing: we show screenshots, and we have little dashboards in our marketplaces where we can check up on people and see what they're really selling and how much they're likely making. It's the only real information we have about whether someone's approach works.

Whenever we disbelieve what someone's saying, we automatically assume either that they are wrong, or that they are lying. And being the suspicious sort of people we are, a lot of us just assume it's lying until we see some kind of evidence otherwise.

Generating trust can be difficult. Of course, this post is getting a little long now, so I'll leave further discussion of that to the Facebook thread in the Legion of Badass. Jump in and add your two cents. If you're not a member, just send a join request.

General Badassery Episode 35

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As you might guess from the podcast, I've been wrestling with a few things related to my coaching practice lately.

It's not that I've got bad clients, and it's certainly not that I'm a bad coach (I'm an awesome coach), but there's this missing element where people aren't doing what we agree they're going to do.

Accountability is the barrier. It's the stumbling block. I think it was either Jim Rohn or Zig Ziglar who said that people complain motivation doesn't last, but neither does bathing, which is why we recommend it daily.

It's hard to introduce accountability into individual coaching without adding some sort of "I will harass you about your goal until you actually do something about it" component.

I don't like that idea. Harassing people about getting stuff done seems counterproductive. I don't like it when people do that to me, and it actually makes me less likely to follow through.

Of course, I am not my customer, so maybe that's exactly what I need to do.

I'm open to suggestions about it. Jump over to the Legion of Badass and comment, if you have one.

General Badassery Episode 34

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Jeffrey J. Selingen's College Unbound (Amazon affiliate link)

This week I'm railing against the American higher education system, which of course might be of interest to you if you are entering college or sending your children there, but the obvious question is: what does this mean to you, in the business world?

Well, I'll tell you.

We have a massive number of educated men and women out there who do not have sufficient influence to go out and get a decent job. They're smart, they're capable, they want to work - they just can't seem to get anyone to hire them.

There's a culture of desperation growing there which is much stronger than the culture of entitlement we hear so much about. These people are not bad people, so much as they are people who bought into the system they were handed... without a clear idea of whether that system was still working.

It has to work, right? Why would your parents pressure you into it, and companies demand you weather it, and banks loan you money for it, if that system didn't work?

Because they either don't know, or don't care.

Basically we have this model for how a person's life goes, which essentially consists of going to school until you go to work, and continuing to work until you retire.

The theory is that you will work at the same place, but it's really difficult to do that. Rises at most jobs don't keep pace with inflation, while switching jobs every two years produces an average 10% pay rise each time.

And that's without considering the possibility of layoffs or your employer folding entirely.

Of course, if you're not one of those people - probably because you either didn't go to college, or went to college long enough ago that it still worked, or just got lucky in the employment lottery most college grads have to play - you might wonder what all this is to you.

Well, it's an opportunity.

You have a chance to work with college-educated people who really, really want to do something that matters... but don't know how. They need direction, mostly. They need someone to tell them what to do.

They're pretty good at doing it without much supervision. And the major thing they need is a mindset adjustment, so they can switch gears from the old industrial era way of thinking - to the "new economy."

You know, the one where you can run your own show and not have to be told what to do.

Which is really the same old economy, since you've always been able to do that, but we call it new because we got complacent about the whole college and job and retirement plan. That was the "new deal" back in the day, but hey; meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Switching over to being the boss was always the smart move, but most people are of the opinion that they can't do it. They need to be convinced, oddly enough, that they are in fact capable of being their own boss and doing their own thing.

The fun part is, they'll pay you to convince them.

General Badassery Episode 33

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This week's podcast came out of some stuff I wrote while working on a paid report, which didn't actually fit in that report. So I dragged it into the Legion of Badass on Facebook, where I used a visual aid to cover the idea in

See that green bullseye? That's you. Right now. You've got what you've got.

See the red circle? That's all the shit you can't have for one reason or another.

Now look to the inner circles. The orange one is stuff OTHER PEOPLE have, but that you could get from them. And the yellow one is the stuff you could make yourself.

I've labeled those with TIME, MATERIAL, and INFLUENCE, too. So let's go over that.

You can't get more time. You have the same 24 hours in a day as everyone else, and there's no way to get more of it. You're going to live on this planet and have the abilities you have as long as you are here and you have them, and as Kansas put it - all your money won't another minute buy.

Below that you have material. Money. Possessions. Anything physical at all. If you don't have it, then the simple fact is it belongs to someone else and the only way you can get it is to convince them to give it to you.

And then there's influence. You can manufacture influence. You can go out and learn a new skill, which lets you influence the world and the people around you. You can go out and make friends, who may be smarter and richer and more powerful than you. You can hire people. There are all kinds of ways to increase your influence, and YOU CAN ALWAYS MAKE MORE.

You can make and get other stuff, too. You can sit down and write something, which produces material that you can trade for more material (like money) or for influence.

This post here on the blog is actually being traded for influence; you don't have to pay for it, and its entire purpose is to make you think about the stuff I'm saying in it, because if you go "holy shit that's true" then when I finish writing the report that this post didn't fit into - you'll be more likely to buy it, trading material for it.

Everything you can have in the world is either something you can make yourself or something you have to get from someone else. And the only way to get anything from anyone else is through influence... which you can make yourself.

We keep saying over and over that every business in the internet age is a relationship business, because that's what ABSOLUTELY ANYONE can manufacture: influence. And if you practice, you'll get better at it. And when you're good at it, you'll be able to get all kinds of other stuff, all the way out to the limits of what you can get.

General Badassery Episode 32

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So let's talk a little more about brains, or more accurately about triune brain theory. This is an old, and now discredited, notion that your brain is actually a holdover from the animal kingdom - that you have a reptilian brain, a mammalian brain, and a primate brain.

I do happen to have a set of animal metaphors which I went over in the newsletter this week, and among them are a lizard (reptilian!) and a dog (mammalian!) and a monkey (primate!) - so it's easy, especially given my issues with Maslow last week/earlier today, to think I'm just tacking some stuff onto the ends of the triune brain theory.

This is not, however, my intention. The concept of the animal metaphors in my system isn't to say "these parts of your brain are the parts you had when you were a monkey/dog/lizard" because human beings didn't evolve from dogs and lizards and that's dumb.

The only thing I'm saying with my animal metaphors is "here's an easy way to remember what each part of the brain kind of resembles." It's just a mnemonic device; it doesn't mean that an actual lizard has what I call a lizard brain.

This cascades across most of the stuff I teach, honestly. It's still just a bunch of BULL, but I'm certainly not trying to throw SHIT at you with it. The point is to indoctrinate you into the secret language of my cult, and whoa did I just say that out loud?

Well, it matters, you know. Any tribe of people needs a secret language; a series of terms that represent their values and ideals in a way that people outside the group won't understand.

The idea is that when you talk about secret inner circle stuff for your tribe and your cult members, people on the outside - that "them" part from "us and them" - have no damn clue what you're talking about and can't participate in the conversation.

Unless, of course, they join the cult and learn the language and get their initial analysis. The Church of Scientology uses the Oxford Capacity Analysis Test for this; it gives you results that you can't figure out, and you need a representative of the church to explain it to you, so you have to invest an hour in this test and then physically go to a church so a cult officer can manipulate you into thinking joining this cult is a Good Idea.

Whether you like that particular cult or not, it's a pretty good mechanism for getting people to join. Most successful cults do something similar.

That's why I go out of my way to make catchy little secret names for everything. SLOT Machines. The Legion of Badass. The Black Stallion method. DISCO products. SWIFT communities.

The entire purpose is to draw you in further so you'll be able to understand the conversation, and in that process to get enough of your attention that your brain's natural desire to have made good decisions will kick in.

And then you'll want to believe that you believe this stuff. So you'll pretend that you do.

Where a lot of people mess that up is by having dumb crap that doesn't even sound like it could be true. Like you get deep enough into some cults and there's this weird belief about the end of the world and the forfeiture of all your personal possessions (to the cult!) or something.

A successful cult builds on a foundation that sounds plausible to the initial applicant, and requires very little cognitive friction to accept. I mean, you know there are needs people have, and that they can be organised hierarchically. And you know that the brain has different parts that do different things.

So feeding into what you already know makes those things sound perfectly natural and normal, and you get the idea that you should join up and hang out with us because we're cool and smart and fun.

And then the insular, crappy kind of cult that just wants to lock you up and exploit you will eventually tell you a bunch of weird crap nobody will believe, so other people reject you and you have to only interact with other cult members.

So, you know, watch out for that. Some cults are positive and productive; that's the kind I'm building here, but there are other cults which can also be positive and productive.

The ones that are neither will ultimately get around to saying you need to believe a bunch of weird shit that nobody in their right mind takes seriously, which is your cue to get the hell out of it.

I'm no exception, either. Watch carefully. If you see me pushing some crazy bullshit, holy crap, the cheese fell off my cracker and you need to GTFO.

General Badassery Episode 31

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Talking about the basic human needs naturally carries some implications, and one of the more interesting ones is this.

If you want to fill your own needs in a particular category, you need to be around people who have that need filled.

It's related to that "smartest person in the room" thing that people talk about: if you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room.

Which basically means that if you can't work on the next need for some reason - like there's nobody to help you, and you actually need help - you can't meet that need.

And that carries on into this thing that a lot of people miss.

If you have time, money, and energy to spend on meeting further needs... but you can't meet them, because you are not in a position where they can be met... most people drop down to Consumption. The most basic of needs.

So you have someone who is trying to get a job, because their Survival and Safety are taken care of by welfare and food stamps. Now they want a job, so they can be in a position of Strength.

But in order to get a job, they need a car. And the car will cost them not only $500 to buy (getting some piece of shit off Craigslist), but they'll need insurance. They look at the $300 they've got left this month, and they can't get either one of those things.

So they go buy an iPhone.

Now, that was kind of a dumb decision, because if they just held onto that money they'd have $600 next month. If they could just think long-term and save the money, they'd be able to get the car and the insurance in a month or two.

Trouble is, that's farther up the chain. That's something you can do from a position of Strength, but when all you have is Safety and Survival, it doesn't feel like something you can do.

On the other side of Strength, it looks like they made a stupid decision, and they did. But it's the only decision that made any sense on their side of the line.

Some of us have never been on the other side of the line. I've been back and forth several times, so I know the difference in how you think and how you act on either side.

I know, because I've done it. I've spent the $300 I had towards a $750 rent payment because "I can't pay the rent" is the same whether you're $450 short or you just plain don't have anything.

The thing to remember is that in most cases, the decisions you see people making aren't always the decisions you would make, but you also don't know all the factors that went into the decision. And in most cases, those people are making their decisions better than you could.

General Badassery Episode 30

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So today I'm talking about systems and goals.

I'm a systems guy, so that's where I lean anyway. But there are a lot of people talking about goals, so let's kind of harp on why goals are honestly kind of stupid.

The common expression, as I've used in the podcast earlier, is "a goal is a dream with a date on it."

With no plan for how to get from where you are to that goal, however, the goal is still pretty worthless.

The big issues with goals come down to how they're focused on nouns instead of verbs. They're about having and getting things.

Systems are about action. They're about doing. And I generally find it preferable to do things than to have things - honestly, if I have something, it's because there's something I can do with it.

I don't really need to have a thing just to have it. Anything with no value beyond its existence seems worthless to me. And that's a value judgment, not like an immutable law of the universe, so maybe you don't agree... and that's fine.

But I still value systems over goals. Primarily because while goals can only be repeated, systems can be modified.

Your goal to have a Hawaiian vacation, once accomplished, has very little application beyond having another Hawaiian vacation because you've been there and done that.

But a system for planning and taking Hawaiian vacations can be repurposed into planning and taking... Australian vacations. Or African vacations.

Any vacation at all, really, you just have to change the destination and add in a little complexity for international travel.

A system can be optimised. A system can be simplifed. (I cover those in the newsletter this week.) A system can be repeated and tested and improved.

A goal is just like, a thing. You might get a system to fall out of a goal, if you pay attention to how it worked and how you got there. But when you try to apply that system again, how much of it is really repeatable?

You didn't construct it with the aim of being able to repeat it. You just wrote down what produced a Hawaiian vacation the first time. You may not be able to do the same things.

Designing a system with the aim of repeating it, in my book, makes a whole hell of a lot more sense than just setting a goal and chasing after it. Even if you set and reach deadlines.

Of course, your mileage may vary on this front.

General Badassery Episode 29

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This week's podcast is all about the BULL SHIT LIFE we all lead.

The basic idea is pretty simple: if you do nothing, you'll end up with a BULL SHIT LIFE, because that's what gets handed to you by default. It's the same thing with most stuff; if you just do nothing, you end up with complete garbage because that's what you get for doing nothing.

But there's an insidious little trap there, which is that you can't just do anything. You have to deliberately select things that are going to get you somewhere, and if they're not getting you where you want to go, you have to do something else.

Tony Robbins likes to say "are you willing to do what you need to do to get where you want to go?" - and that's a great place to start. The real question is what you need to do.

Most of us aren't really born knowing that, so we have to learn - bit by bit - where it is that we want to go, before we can even begin to worry about what we need to do. And once you know the destination, you can chart a course in a series of steps.

Then comes the big question: are you willing to do that?

I did that with MLM. I knew where I wanted to go with it; I wanted those big cheques with huge dollar amounts on them. And I knew what I needed to do - I've gone over that before, in Facebook posts, and it comes down to selling training to build a successful downline of high-performers that follow you from one program to another while you play hopscotch with the latest and greatest offerings.

But I wasn't willing to do that, because it's what I call an "arms race" - you're always looking for the next step, and you never get to sit down and relax. You always have to watch your downline for the top performers, and watch the industry for the next Big Thing, and drag the top people from one to the next to the next. Forever.

That's basically my idea of hell in business form.

I found a similar thing with CPA marketing, and with affiliate marketing, and that's why I don't do those. It's not the kind of business I want to be in.

They're still perfectly good businesses to be in, I just don't want to do that. Any more than I wanted to be in SEO, which is an arms race with competition: the search engines actively want everything you do not to work.

I didn't want to bet against Google and Bing, especially since a bunch of my Microsoft friends worked on Bing (as did I) and I didn't want them to become the enemy.

Loyalties run deep, you know.

But the whole thing about those industries is that everyone feeds you a load of BULL, where this is the best way for you to build your business, and if you don't do that you will be a dork and not make any money.

What I did like was the training model, where I would study the hell out of things and figure out how they worked... then sell training on them.

And I didn't want them to be things that would go out of date or need constant updates, or we're back to the arms race again.

So I concentrated on people and culture and economics, because those things don't change much. That got me out of the "keep up with the field" race where everything had to be checked and rechecked over and over again in case someone else changed things on me.

Now I just study deeper and deeper stuff, and make better and better training. I iterate actoss my products, and make sure they have the best information I know, but I don't need to do that constantly because the information in them is always good and will stay that way.

There are lots of things like that. How to play guitar. How to sing. How to get rid of an accent. How to speak in public. How to write well. How to persuade. How to interact with people. How to get dates. How to get laid. These things don't change. What they are today is what they'll be in fifty years.

That's a major key to getting out of the BULL SHIT LIFE - figuring out what life is not going to be bullshit, and going after it.

I cover that in more detail in this week's newsletter, which goes out to customers of the SLOT Machines report. It's $10 to start and then $20 a month after that. If you're a subscriber, you probably already have it in your inbox.

General Badassery Episode 28

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Okay, so let's talk about economics some more.

And there was much rejoicing. (Yayyyy)

Specificallly, how money is intellectual property.

Now, as mentioned briefly in the podcast, United States currency is a fiat currency, which is to say that it's not backed by any physical commodity. So let's talk a little more about how money backed by a physical commodity works.

Imagine that you have fifty tonnes of gold and each tonne of it is worth $16 million. (Sixteen ounces times two thousand pounds times five hundred dollars an ounce. I pulled this out of my arse to make the math easy.) That means you have $800 million. Now you can print eight hundred million one-dollar bills and everything is fine.

But now what?

If you want to print more money, you have to get more gold. But there is only so much gold in the world, so sooner or later there simply isn't any more to get.

Now think of an employee who makes $25 an hour. Every day that employee comes to work, she works eight hours and you owe her $200.

But she has not created any more gold by coming to work., She can't. The amount of gold is finite - much more so than your employee's ability to come to work.

This creates what we call a deflationary currency. There's only $800 million. Everyone using that currency has to share that $800 million. When it's gone, it's gone. Which means the price of labour - indeed, of everything - constantly goes down.

If you do the math, a single full-time employee works 2,000 hours annually. At $25 an hour, that's $50,000. A thousand of those are $50 million. And in sixteen years, that's the whole $800 million.

That's a thousand jobs for sixteen years and then there's no more money. What seemed like an astronomical amount of money to start with is now gone. And we have over a hundred million people in the United States workforce - for a total of five trillion dollars annually, at an average $25 an hour.

It should be pretty easy to see that something is very wrong here, and we can't sustain a society on that. There's just not enough money. The GDP of the United States is almost eighteen trillion dollars, at this writing.

That's what we produce. But it's not gold. And if we could only exchange it via certificates for gold, we'd run out of gold.

There are two ways to resolve this. First, you can print more currency, like another $800 million. Now each dollar is worth half as much gold. Nobody likes this, because where your $50,000 used to entitle you to a hundred ounces of gold, it now entitles you to only fifty ounces. The price of gold doubles.

And this is why, on the gold standard, gold was always a safe investment: its price could only go up. Currency could suddenly become less valuable, but gold would only become more valuable.

So we switched from the gold standard to a fiat currency. And the difference is this.

Your dollar is still exchangeable for a dollar's worth of SOME commodity. But it could be anything. It doesn't have to be gold. It could be silver. Or corn. Or pork bellies. Or anything at all.

This opened the way for currency to be backed by renewable resources, so currency itself became renewable. So long as the government continued to generate and retain assets of any sort, it could continue generating and distributing money.

This took us one step farther from the mining-based economy and into the manufacturing economy. Services and refinement started to matter. An ounce of gold could be made into more valuable jewelry, and hence generate money.

It didn't stop there. A pound of steel could be made into gears, a pound of copper into pipes, a block of marble into a statue. And because the commodity was not fixed, all of these could now back currency.

And then we made the next, massive change... which altered everything forever. Digital information. You could already take a book and print it on paper, increasing the value on the paper. But with digital information... thanks to copyright... that book didn't need the paper anymore.

You didn't have to grow and chop and process trees to put a book into someone's hands anymore. You could distribute it as a digital file. And the actual cost of doing so dropped to near-zero.

But the value of the information in the book stayed the same. As did the information in a song, or in a poem, or in a painting. We all became publishers. The internet made this possible.

And with more and more value inherent in the digital realm, free of physical constraints - renewable or otherwise - the economy was unbound. And the owners of copyrights profited outrageously.

The overwhelmingly vast majority of value in the American economy is not in commodities or manufacturing. It now rests almost exclusively with intellectual property - software, media, art.

The implications of this are explored more fully in the $10 SLOT Machines report and accompanying $20 monthly newsletter. You can subscribe here. I recommend you do, even if the sales copy is kind of shit.


General Badassery Episode 27

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Okay, so here's the thing about making your work into a game.

There are about five major things you have to kind of integrate into your life, and the first one is that as you go through your day to day business, you should automatically turn your experiences into information. Like when you go to the grocery store, you should see things that are related - or could relate - to whatever it is you do.

The next thing you have to develop is some sort of process where that information turns into content that can be read by others. Sitting in your head, it's no good to anyone. You need to share it.

Once you've developed and shared that content, the next thing you need s a method of turning that content into products. Collect it, categorise it, bundle it into neat little packages.

Next you need to work out how to turn products into money, which is simple enough on the face of it - you just ask for it. Just sell it to people.

And finally, you need a way to turn that money into more. Not necessarily more money, but more something you can drop into the machine again. You can use it to support a new experience, or to have some older information turned into new content, or to have someone else go through your content and make products.

Find a way to roll some of the profits back into your efforts, so the machine feeds itself.

When you get ths running well, and admittedly I have still got my struggles making all this happen, your life turns into yourr work and you just go through your day watching the cool shit you want to do... just naturally fall out of your day to day life.

It's a hell of a dream. And I'm doing pretty good on the first half of it.