General Badassery Episode 40

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I'm tired.

Really, that's all it is. I'm just tired. I've been working nonstop producing and promoting a live event for August 18th, and that work has produced minimal results.

Instead, what it's produced is a lot of complaining that this is not what people want to see from me and they don't understand and what the hell do I think I'm doing.

So let me lay it out for you. All in one place. Where you can see the grand scheme of things and where it all fits together.

The Badass Manifesto blog is the loss-leader for a book. A real book, a physical book, somewhere upwards of 350 pages. Everything on here is designed to point in that direction so when the book is done, people will buy it.

The book, in turn, is the initial step toward a pair of higher-ticket infoproducts; one written and audio, one video. And those, in turn, lead into a series of added products, categorised according to the stages and principles detailed in the book.

It's the same basic thing. Free loss leader, an inexpensive tripwire, a mid-price written + audio, and a higher-ticket video course. Across all seven steps.

Then you hit the last level, where it opens up with the Legion of Badass on Facebook - the loss leader - and then leads into a paid newsletter, a slightly more expensive membership site, and finally a high-ticket live event.

Nine levels, with four offers at each level. Stairsteps, leading from the zero-trust boundary where people aren't willing to put in more than a little time... to a high-trust level where they spend a few hundred or thousand dollars.

The purpose of all this is to fund an effort to help a dozen people become multimillionaires by the end of 2020. I don't need to be one of them; I wouldn't know what to do with that much money anyway. I'm sure I'd find something, but honestly, you get too far into six figures and I just don't need that much crap.

I've had money. It didn't make me happy. I don't have a whole lot of interest in chasing after it again. I don't need much. In fact, I need a lot less than I thought. The things you own end up owning you, as they say. Simplify, simplify.

But back to the plan.

If you back up three years to when I was doing the System Sixty project, you'll find that it's pretty much the same plan. Back up three more, where I was saying that what we needed was a self-paced course that taught how to build a business properly; same idea. Three more, to when I was working on the PILOT system - Perception, Initiatlve, Leadership, Opportunity, Teamwork - and you find the exact same core concept.

Three more, and it wasn't out in the wild yet... it was just an idea in my head. Took me a couple years to articulate it.

But I've been doing the same thing for ten years. I've never been particularly secretive about it.

Why people don't understand what I'm doing completely eludes me. It's like they're not even paying attention.

So I'm locking down the filters.

Like the Facebook page, I'll post occasionally in there. Join the Legion of Badass, I'll post frequently in there. Join the mailing list, I'm going to start sending daily emails.

The blog, I'm not worried about anymore. The podcast is effectively over. Neither of them has done much of anything to improve my business.

The most either of them has done is give my audience a release valve to satisfy whatever desire they may have for my content.

I'm moving the podcast into the newsletter, which is $20 a month. The SLOT Machines report will still come with a trial subscription automatically.

But my audience has spoken pretty loudly on this: they don't want, need, or value what I'm doing.

So I'm going to stop doing it.

I had everything pretty well mapped out for the rest of the year. Well, the Jewish year, anyway; mid-September. That's when I look back and think about what is and isn't working, what does and doesn't produce results, and how things need to change in the coming year.

I'm just doing that a month early. nbd

I won't be pulling all the content that's already here; that would be kind of stupid. But for the moment, I have no plans to post further. If you're interested in keeping up with what I'm doing, you should join the mailing list.

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General Badassery – Episode 39

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Holy crap, nine months of podcasts. Can you fuckin' believe it?

I'm sitting here right now looking at podcast #39 and doing the math and going "holy crap, really?"

It's been a really long road, but I've also really enjoyed this. I kind of went off the rails during the podcast and just rambled about immigration and stuff, but mostly this week I just wanted to go "wow, having a whole lot of content really matters."

I talk about something I call the "ten percent rule" when it comes to storytelling, too. This is where you construct a story so long, you can never tell the whole thing.

You only tell at most ten percent of it.

If anyone wants to hear it all, they have to see you tell it at least ten times.

The end result is that they continue to enjoy the story, even if they've heard it before. Which is the solution to only having a few stories.

I'm kind of frazzled right now from doing all this recording tonight, so I'm going to duck out and go grab supplies before the Friday Night Badasses hangout. But I wanted to give you a little bit of something extra in here before I left.

I have a lot of stuff on the drawing board for the next few weeks, and I'm also working hard on this live event. So stay tuned.

It is just starting to get good.

General Badassery – Episode 38

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Live events are simultaneously stressful and exciting.

We're running one August 18th, here in Wilmington, North Carolina. It's a pretty basic event - one day, with a high-ticket mastermind upsell for day two. And the content is pretty easy, since we already have it.

Jason's going to do a presentation for about three hours about constructing a business from the ground up, and then we break for lunch before I take over and give a three hour talk about lifestyle business and the CASINO system and that kind of thing. It's going to be kind of a combination of stuff.

I mean, maybe this is just me, but I want my live events to be... unique. I don't want them to just repeat what I've already said previously. I want new stuff! New information, new approaches, influences from all the books I've read since I first made my notes.

That's probably the most important thing about a business, in my opinion. Or a life. Definitely important in a lifestyle business.

Perpetual growth.

Growth is a thing that's actually pretty well understood, and you already understand it. Imagine a garden.

You take a seed, and you put it somewhere that it's capable of growing. You feed and water it. You give it time. You remove the weeds and pests that may damage it. And eventually, it blossoms.

You work exactly the same way. Construct an environment where you can easily read and research and just sit around thinking. Go there and do that - read books, browse the internet, relax and think about what you just learned.

That's your feeding, and you also need water - all the usual components of life. Eat well, drink enough water, exercise, etc. Pay your bills. Sleep regularly, that sort of thing.

And then you can add the metaphor of sunlight, which is your environment - the people you hang around, the places you go. Try to be around good people in good places where you can have fun and be happy.

When problems pop up in your business, those are weeds, pull them as quickly as possible by solving or working around the problem. When people intrude on your business, those are pests - eliminate them from your life as much as possible. (Preferably not by poisoning them, though.)

Putting yourself in this state makes things happen. It's a productive place to work on new ideas and new plans and come up with ways to improve yourself, your life, your products and services.

Then you just go do it.

A lot of people really get stuck in the idea of doing things, but they never stop to grow. These are the kind of people who work in a dead-end job for thirty years, then get their layoff notice and think "but I don't know how to do anything else" when they realise their entire profession has basically been automated out of existence.

I am fundamentally an embedded systems programmer. I worked my way up from that and became a systems developer, an application developer, a web developer. I learned new disciplines - human factors engineering, user experience, basic design skills - because that was the only way I could keep getting work.

Eventually I had to admit that my skill set was no longer valuable in that arena, and I transitioned to project management. My highest and best use was no longer writing code in a cubicle.

The only thing that kept me going that entire time was perpetual growth. Even if I had to learn things I didn't care about. Even if I had to do jobs I didn't really like.

The more tightly defined your identity is, the more you will ignore because you don't do that.

There are two ways to learn - you can go broad, learning a lot of different subjects, or you can go deep and know one subject really well.

Broad education is far more powerful than deep education.

I'm probably going to do a lot of talking about that in the near future.

General Badassery Episode 37

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So the podcast today is all about coaching, again, because that's on my mind. And I'm looking right now at a 22-page personality inventory that my current client filled out for a prior coach, with all the information that I should need to get on the ball and help him with stuff.

I'm kind of torn on this sort of thing. And sort of unsure about this kind of thing. And similar turns of phrase that strike me as clever when I'm tired.

Forms like this, where you fill out all this initial information, can be useful to get someone focused before the call. But in this particular case... I see something that I think is probably all too common in these situations.

He stopped on page seven.

And this was where the story was constructed - one of the core elements of the BADASS framework, and something I deal with a lot as the most important part of any business online.

I didn't know at first if it was overwhelm, or confusion, or just that the question here was the first place things actually got hard. But I went to his Facebook timeline and looked over his posts and some of his comments on other people's stuff, and I found a pattern.

What stopped him in his tracks was not the sudden lack of guidance, or the sudden demand for creativity. No, it was more insidious than this: it was the clear and simple process for taking this previously-mysterious step.

There are basically two kinds of people in the world, which can be seen when they watch a magician perform a trick.

Both of them will ask how the magician did the trick, and should the magician relent and explain "here's how I did it," one of those - the potential new magician, who might very well learn to do it himself and even improve on it - will think that is even cooler than when he didn't know how it worked.

The other will say "oh," as the magic and wonder dissipates from the trick... so he now finds it somehow empty and ulfulfilling. A couple minutes ago, it was magic. It was something amazing and mysterious and clearly really, really difficult.

Now it's just a dumb trick. It's not that he didn't know it was a trick - of course he knew it was a trick. But when you pull the curtain back on most magic tricks, the actual trick is incredibly simple and cheesy.

Same goes for my client. When telling a story was this magical mystical thing that you had to be a writer or a storyteller to do, of course he wanted to learn the deep and intricate secrets of it.

Now it's just stringing some basic events together. Worse, they're events from his own life - not cool, imaginative, interesting stuff. It's just the same old stories about his family and his career and that thing that happened that one time when he was in grade school.

That's not a story. That's just, you know, stuff that happened to him. Nobody cares about that, right?


This is where you are not your customer becomes very, very important.

See, you know it's a trick. You know it's a pretty cheesy trick. You know you could do that trick after just a few hours of practice, with the right equipment and the right instruction.

They don't.

The magic is still there for them.

You're still a magician. The trick is still, you know, magic. And performing it will still put a smile on their faces and make them see the wonder of the world all over again, if just for a little while.

Every magician knows that the secret - whatever it may be - is kind of stupid and cheesy, every single time. You know what the secret is to amazing card tricks that require expert sleight of hand?

Thousands of hours, usually sitting on the edge of a bed, doing that one move over... and over... and over. Until you get it exactly right. And yes, it really is thousands of hours. Card control is the study of a lifetime. And that study basically requires you to, like, not have a life.

Pretty stupid and cheesy, really. See this rare skill? See how good I am at it? Evidence of a misspent youth.

When you're good at something, it starts to seem easy. And when it starts to seem easy to you, over time... you start to think everyone knows how to do it, they all know how easy it is, and you start to be embarrassed that this is all you do.

It's still magic. Never forget it's magic. Share your magic with the world. Even if it's a stupid, cheesy trick that "everyone" knows.

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.