Category Archives: Power Control & Authority

Memoirs of a Sigma Female

I have been fascinated for some time with the power dynamics of the pack or tribe and have read with amusement since my early 20’s the slew of PUA (Pick Up Artist) books written by omega males pretending to be alpha males. Hint, wanna-be’s: alpha males don’t look for one-night stands. As in the animal kingdom, they display dominance by regularly protecting and providing for their mate — or multiple mates, concurrently, not consecutively. Omega pick-up artists don’t generate enough income to protect and provide sufficiently for themselves on a regular basis, never mind for a mate and multiple offspring. Having that much income is yet another way the alpha male displays his dominance. (Reader, if you’re wondering why I read these PUA books, it was so I could learn their m.o. and protect myself against such tactics. However, these omega males have a very distinct scent in their sweat so it turns out I never really had to worry about it because I would smell them coming my way before they ever got so much as my name.)

 

 

So over the course of investigating the differences between alpha, beta and omega men, I was exposed to articles and books regarding the characteristics of alpha, beta and omega females as well. I always felt like I was just none of these and wasn’t sure what to make of it (long story short: alphas are hyper confident leaders, betas are loyal worker bees, and omegas are — to be very very frank and oversimplify it way too much — losers). So I started looking more into the traits of actual wolves to discern the real world roles these tribal/pack roles play and found out there was such a thing as a sigma wolf. Sigmas are interesting: in the wild, they find themselves alone because they refuse to accept the authority of the alpha. Ironically, as a lone wolf, the need for survival itself forces them to adapt and to accept the role of alpha that nature thrusts upon them so that they can find a mate. Wolves’ prey is much larger than they are. They need at least one other wolf to help attack and kill dinner in order to eat it. (And you know what happens after dinner, with all that romantic snow and picked-over carcass. SEX. And 2 months later, the beginnings of a new pack. OMG, cute little baby wolves!! SO CUTE!! DYING OVER HERE!!!!!) **Also, I have terribly glossed over the traits and mating patterns of wolves in the wild so there’s that.**

 

 

 

**slightly related tweet about wolves from last month

 

 

Extrapolating that fascinating information, we can see that a sigma human too rejects the ranking and categorizing so prevalent in traditional human hierarchies, but will, in order to survive, “deal with it,” as it were. Sigmas overwhelmingly prefer not to be controlled — in other words, they seek autonomy. But because they have no inclination to control others, they avoid leadership positions. But they can lead. If they absolutely have to. (PUKE. Like during “team playing”! Where one person does all the work but everyone gets credit for it! Guess who does all the work to make sure the team isn’t let down? Yeah, SIGMAS. Fan-freaking-tastic. Avoid groups and group projects like the PLAGUE!) So, ok, I thought, that’s more like me.

 

 

Now, I’ve found that alphas are generally not that bad. Especially alpha females: they like me and I respect them. Alpha males are assholes. Bottom line. Even if they’re good, they’re horrible. Vengeful. Vindictive. Mean. Self-righteous. But they will jump in front of a train if it means the survival of at least two other members of the tribe. So, I guess we all have our bad points. And they reply to that short list of traits with, “True, true, true, true — but I thought you were going to mention my bad traits?” HA HA, so FUNNY, alpha males. Actually, alpha males and females have a great sense of humor and you get points with them for being funny — and for being brave. So if you ever find yourself around one, that’s how you get their protection. (If you *want* their protection — suffice it to say, there are good alphas and bad alphas and the price of their protection will be perpetual loyalty.)

 

And Betas can be decent friends; but they gossip, a lot, and rank and social status are very important to them. And most people are betas. Betas are how we got trends like rolling our jeans and shoulder pads. They will literally do whatever the magazines and the TV tell them to do. They’re not bad people. But then again, is there such a thing as a good or bad person? This blogger says no. There are only good or bad actions — or the worst of all, taking no action when you could have and it would have prevented pain for yourself or others. Betas act when alphas (especially alphas on the TV) tell them to.

 

Omegas are the most detrimental to the happiness and healthiness of everyone in the tribe. They are all the manipulativeness of Alphas, all the gossipy, easily influenced suggestibility of Betas, and all of the resistance to authority of Sigmas — and they can’t stop talking about themselves or complaining about how bad the world is. They personify lost potential. (Alphas would say they never had any to begin with but I don’t know if that’s always true.) When they talk about how fucked up they or their lives are, believe them. When they tell you, that’s just the way it is, life sucks, what are you gonna do, that’s the way it’ll always be, and subsequently you wonder if they ever had a history class, don’t even be tempted to explain that women can vote now and there is no more (legal) slavery in our country, or that things change when masses of people organize to change them. Omegas are rarely operating in reality. So when you point reality out to them, you might as well be speaking gibberish.

 

 

Which brings me to sigmas. Alphas love sigmas because of their usefulness to the tribe which hinges on one primary personality trait, indeed the trait which will define and redefine the trajectory of the sigma’s life’s path over and over again: a sense of obligation. Oh, you’ll miss your daughter’s recital on Sunday if I don’t pick up your shift? Sure, I can take it. What, you’ll lose your driver’s license if I don’t drop you off at the courthouse at 1? Ok … no, no, you don’t need to pitch in for gas. Say again, you need someone to testify at your name change hearing on Friday and I’ll have to use 4 hours of sick pay to do it? There’s no where I’d rather be! No one else can help the tribe avoid total obliteration on Saturday at 2:19 pm? Ok ok, you talked me into it … text me the address. There is a great way to avoid these situations, as the Sigma inevitably learns somewhere in their twenties, and that is to never give anyone their phone number. (True story. What, you don’t like email? Also going car-free when I was 28 took care of 90% of all requests for help. And here I was just trying to stop helping bankroll al qaeda!) But you probably noticed the running theme: a good cause. Sigmas respond to this like flies to honey. But it makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint, doesn’t it? When you think of the tribe as a single entity, always moving toward survival and away from destruction and/or dying out, the presence of specific members of the tribe who feel a sense of duty to make sure the others are ok or will be ok or won’t end up un-ok is a brilliant back-up plan, an insurance policy personified. If the entire tribe were in a van, sigmas would be the spare tire. They wouldn’t even BE a person — that is how utilitarian they are! (Metaphorically speaking.)

 

 

Now betas are going, but wait, I help out! Do you? Or do you say yes initially and then back out at the last minute and feel TERRIBLY GUILTY about SAYING NO at the same time that waves of relief wash over you? Do you really feel an obligation to do the right thing? Or do you suddenly feel overwhelmed by the possibility of missing an opportunity to show someone of social importance how special they are if your hand isn’t the first in the air when it comes time to volunteer? Betas’ volunteering is offering to set up and take down at the office holiday party. Sigmas are volunteering with Teach for America or the Peace Corps (or serve in the military or with another organization). Visualize this holiday party organization meeting: while the Alpha(s) are “delegating” all the peon tasks to simpering betas, and the omegas are complaining about how stupid and pointless another dumb holiday party without alcohol will be, the Sigmas are busy negotiating for permission to bring the booze. (True story — “But my awesome egg nog recipe just isn’t the same without the brandy. Couldn’t we just have the holiday party at a park? … Ok, that’s probably true … then let’s just have the party at a bar. We won’t need to bring the alcohol, the alcohol will bring us! Ha ha, get it???” “Yeah, we get it, Sarah.”)

 

 

But there’s a much simpler way to identify which tribal role a person plays. Alphas are perfectly happy to have sex with or without love (although they prefer with — but they are the last to know this. Ten years into their [second/third/fourth] marriage, they’re like, oh, yeah, this is better). Betas pretend they prefer with but what is most important to them is approval of the tribe: if the tribe says promiscuity is the way to gain status, they’ll be promiscuous; if the tribe says polygamy is the way to gain status, they’ll have multiple wives; if they tribe says abstinence is the only way to go, look who’s donning a chastity belt. Omegas find their way or are lured into bad sexual situations. It’s as if the batteries in their inner danger detector died and no one ever bothered to replace them. They do sometimes marry another omega but usually they sublimate their procreative urge into a fantasy world where actual responsibility is unnecessary. Second Life comes to mind. This is also why PUA (pick up artistry) is so appealing to more extroverted male omegas — they don’t actually want a relationship. The whole thing is a role-playing fantasy. At the deepest level, they know their chances of being rejected for a one night stand are far lower than for a LTR. And, oh yes, sigmas. Male sigmas would rather pay a prostitute (or sex worker, as they would ideally be called) then lead a woman on under the false pretense that there is any hope for an actual long term relationship. They see the uncanny resemblance between dating and prostitution and would rather pay straight cash for sex than trade dinner and a movie for it. (Which is actually way less degrading to women when you think about it.) And if the alternative is an unhappy fake one, a female sigma would rather be in no relationship. If you aren’t a sigma, imagine for a moment what it would be like to have no procreative compulsion, in other words, no ticking “biological clock.” It’s a freedom that I can’t really explain in words. But when I am around frantic betas or manipulative alphas who can’t stop thinking about how they haven’t gotten married or had kids yet, I feel this amazing sense of relief that I am not like them. This doesn’t mean I won’t ever have kids; it simply means I have no active desire to. I would have to have a very specific lifestyle and very specific type of mate before I risked my happiness and financial security that way. What do you call a job that’s 24 hours a day you can never quit and never get paid for? Were you going to say slavery? Funny — I was going to say motherhood.

 

 

What do you call a job that’s 24 hours a day you can never quit and never get paid for? Were you going to say slavery? Funny — I was going to say motherhood.

 

 

And now, the whole reason I was inspired to write this post. The other night I was quite nearly the victim of a slow-motion ambush by the human version of a pack of wolves at a Starbucks of all places. Middle aged mean girls. As I watched the alpha and her highest ranking beta use their tried and true techniques (meaning, strategies that had worked on beta outsiders in the past), Hillary and Debbie Wasserman Schultz came to mind. They felt entitled to everyone around them bowing to their will. And why? Because everyone around them had in the past. But that night, they picked the wrong woman.

 

I was sitting in the chair on the right that night.
I was sitting in the chair on the right that night.

 

I was sitting in front of the fireplace across from an empty chair when the alpha walked in and sat across from me, her knitting bag in tow. I found out later that she and her Stitch ‘N’ Bitch crew do this at Starbucks locations across the twin cities, but at that moment, I thought she was alone. We said hello to each other (I went out of my way to make sure she knew no one was sitting there and that she was welcome to because I was raised by a sigma mom who taught me to be polite and considerate as a way of preventing war which ensures the survival of more of the tribe). Queen Bee took out her knitting and about 15 minutes later, the rest of the pack began to slowly trickle in. And they pulled their chairs so that they formed a half circle that ostensibly ended with my chair. Here’s a picture of what it looked like after half of them had arrived.

 

At the halfway point. Even more stitchers would arrive.
At the halfway point. Even more stitchers would arrive.

 

I knew it was too good not to photograph and blog about and took the picture above from the register. Then even more knitting mean girls arrived until the point where they literally had me boxed in! Now when I got up to go to the bathroom, the woman sitting in the chair to my immediate left that was keeping me from getting out said, “Oh! I’m blocking you in!” as she remained sitting. Yeah, this sweet submissive beta was feeling really brave in front of her Alpha. I replied, in her exact tone, “Yeah! You totally are!” Oh, Right Hand Beta (the one with her black hair pulled into a bun above) wanted to shoot daggers out of her eyes and into my throat. I wish she had tried.

 

 

Shocked by the combination of my perfect echo of her awfulness and my unwillingness to be group-bullied out of my own chair, Beta Number 5 scurried to get out of my way and moved her chair to the side so I could get out. As you can see in the photo, I had placed my laptop so that it occupied exactly half of the footrest in order to mark my territory. I had been watching “The Blacklist” and had intended to go home after it was over. But as I walked to the bathroom, I knew: I’d stay till every last one of those piles of yarn had left the building. When I came back, Beta Number 5 jumped right up to let me in (I almost gave her a treat for such a compliant display of good manners! She was learning so fast too!) and I sat back down. Alpha said, “Yeah, while you were in the bathroom, we logged into your bank account and took all your money.” Yep. I hadn’t locked my screen to indicate to them that they were zero point zero percent a threat to me. And Alpha didn’t like that. I didn’t even look at her. Please. She was a poorly trained mannerless consumer not a criminal. I put my headphones in and started pinteresting castles. Bun Beta Number 1 would glare at me from time to time and I’d smile sweetly. Then, hilariously, she put her Samsung on the two inch border that Alpha and I had left open on the footrest. I realized that she is likely an alpha in her workplace and in her other circle of friends — in my peripheral vision, I noticed that she barely actually knitted and compulsively checked her phone (like an alpha, not like a beta). But in this pack, she was not an equal to the woman sitting across from me. Also, she used some very alpha strategies to get me to leave. In addition to regularly staring at me, she started talking very loudly. (In other words, I could hear her over the music I was listening to which I already had up to max volume.)

 

 

Now at this point, more mean girls/adult women started showing up. I didn’t count but I want to say 10. And if you notice in the picture, Alpha and Bun Beta are the only two in the special soft chairs; everyone else sat in a hard chair. As all the newcomers sat on my side (instead of a few of them sitting over by A & B), I realized that this was a strategy they’d used before, to literally make their prey feel surrounded and run. So fucking mean.

 

 

So guess what I did. I pulled up the guillotine/beheading episode of Criminal Minds (“Drive”) and angled my laptop out so that that group of 8 women could clearly see it and put it on full screen (my laptop is 18 inches wide — don’t worry, I had my headphones in). How long do you think it took before they angled their chairs away so that they formed their own haphazard circle of 8, separate from Alpha and Bun Beta completely? 7 minutes. BOOM. So for the next two hours (I watched another episode of CM afterwards), the 8 women knitted to my left in one group while the leaders talked only to each other on the other side (there was a third woman who joined them halfway through but she didn’t stay long). Around 9, they disbanded, and after every one of them had left, I learned a bit more about their pattern from some people who’d witness their behavior before and discovered that the mean girls do this to whoever is sitting at the fireplace, every Friday night.

 

 

Well, good! I’ll see them again next Friday! Looking forward to it.

 

 

Finally, isn’t it fascinating how terrible people can be? How one strong personality can override even the basic manners and etiquette training your parents instilled in you in childhood? I thought of that sweet beta (Beta Number 5) who moved her chair for me and knew she had parents who would be shocked if they saw her treating a stranger as rudely as she treated me. But that’s pack mentality. One strong leader can bring out either the best or the worst in a small group, a big group, a country, or even the world.

 

Did you like this post? Want more alpha | beta | omega | sigma posts in the future? Please comment below!

 

You say voting doesn’t matter?

Think voting doesn’t matter? Amendments are ratified by elected state legislatures. Are you a woman? Are you black? The 15th & 19th Amendments were passed by white men! There wasn’t a single woman or black person in the entire Congress.

 

If your vote doesn’t matter, why did corporations go all the way to Supreme Court to get permission to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence who you’ll vote for? (Citizens United vs FEC)

 

If your vote doesn’t matter, why did ONE billionaire go all the way to the Supreme Court to get permission to spend unlimited amounts of money to buy it? (McCutcheon vs FEC)

 

If your vote doesn’t matter, why did 19 states pass laws in 2014 making it more difficult to vote? Why are they trying to legislate silence? What do they have to gain?

 

Voting is a matter of cause and effect. The narcissists and liars in Congress today are there because they were voted into office. So were the good ones.

 

I’ve said before and will say again: you can’t use logic to reason with illogical people (though with the above statements, I definitely gave it my  best shot). You have to use emotion. So, finally, please know that if you believe your vote doesn’t matter, someone is getting off on that. They’re rubbing their hands together going, moo ha ha ha … and chuckling all the way to the bank.

 

 

 

 

 

And not voting is weighted. Not voting at the polls is the same as voting with our silence for everything to stay the same. Consider this: the majority of eligible voters do not show up at the polls, even in presidential election years.

 

 

Elected officials may have the rule-making authority, but the masses have the power to decide who gets that authority. We the people. Rulers (“politicians”) work for us. This is the difference between power and authority: Elected officials have Authority. We have the Power to keep them on the payroll OR vote them out. They work for US. Imagine if you had been raised – known your whole life – that the day you turn 18, you become the employer of 4 federal employees — your one Representative, your two Senators, and the President.

 

 

The Divide and Conquer Method is what keeps people discouraged, keeps them from showing up at the polls, and keeps them from exercising this power to cause change – power that, if you’re an American, you came into like the richest inheritance the day you came of age. In other words, if you think the system is broken, remember, you’re supposed to.

 

 

The Myth of Voting for the Lesser of Two Evils

 

Think that if you voted, you’d only be voting for the lesser of two evils? That’s a myth. People are people. They have strengths and weaknesses that can be exploited, whether they work for the private sector or public. Everyone responds to incentives. We the people first have to be aware of that (that politicians are not above us or beyond us – that they work FOR us) and then we can get down to the business of reminding them, hey, you work for us. We pay your salary. And we’re watching. And in two or six years, if we don’t like your performance, we’re going to let you go.

 

We the People have the MOST leverage when a politician is up for re-election and has something to lose — namely, their job. Corporations are already fully aware of this! They know what the masses don’t: party doesn’t matter, threat of unemployment does.

 

 

Corporations already know what the masses don’t about leveraging re-election: the party of the individual congressperson doesn’t matter – only threat of unemployment does.

 

 

We the People have the leverage. Let’s be like corporations and say with our vote, “Congress, if you don’t do what WE want, we’ll find someone else who will – next election.”

 

March 2015 updates: register to vote HERE

 

TWEET THIS (copy/paste): it’s a common misperception that party matters. We have to think like corps&tell Congress, don’t do what we want, no re-election.

 

Source for above tweet: http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/about/news-room/news/2014/11/13/2014-midterms-defined-by-low-voter-turnout

How to Adopt a Zero Tolerance For Weakness in Yourself

Let’s call the authority we have over weakness in ourselves autonomy, because it’s the authority we have over our own premeditated actions. Not all of our actions happen after some consideration. For example, you’re breathing and blinking right now. Do you recall making a decision to take those actions? Our survival instinct has the authority over those actions, not our personality. In a future post, I’ll go in depth into the difference between power, control and authority. For now, here are a few tips and suggestions for achieving greater autonomy in the face of any weakness you find exposing itself in your personality and preventing you from taking action.

 

 

Cultivate realism

Don’t let anyone accuse you of being an optimist. Be logical instead. Optimism requires the denial of reality. For the very same reason, so does pessimism. The glass is half filled with water and half filled with air. Any other description of the cup of life is inaccurate at best and disingenuous at worst.

 

 

Instead, let’s see the possibilities for the future in terms of the accomplishments of the past. Remember when people said that there’d never be emancipation, women’s suffrage or a black President? (You do? Are you immortal? That is so cool — please DM me.) Pessimism, like optimism, is a rejection of half of reality. Rejection of reality is one way of lying. When governments present only one half of reality — even if that entire half is truthful — we call that lie propaganda. Don’t be the propaganda generator for your group of friends and family. Stick to the truth and acknowledging all the facts, viewing the horrifying parts and the joyful ones as being equally relevant.

 

 

Fear is your body’s way of warning you that you could be punished for the action you’re about to take

There are two ways to get and maintain justice: protest the injustice and demand that a specific solution be implemented by those in the position of authority to make it happen OR occupy a position of authority and implement it yourself. Both ways take time and involve a high degree of perseverance and a high pain threshold, but the first can be done right now. The first amendment of the Constitution protects our right to petition the government for a redress of grievances. Next time a link to a petition asking those in an authority position to take an action you strongly agree with gets posted on Facebook or Twitter and you hesitate to sign it, ask yourself if an authority figure from your past ever punished you for protesting injustice. We often attribute the traits of our first governors — our parents — to our current governors (the Government) even though our parents may have been a lot more dictatorial and tyrannical than our state or federal government. In order to keep our actual government in check, and reverse the many civil liberties violations that have been legislated in the past ten + years, we will have to be strong — not weak — and protest injustice. I don’t believe that you would be reading this post at all if you weren’t already on the strong side of the strength-weakness continuum, but when you feel that hesitation, or worse, the rhetorical “what difference does my one signature/vote/phone call/letter make?” question pops into your head, ask yourself if isn’t really fear masquerading as a “sensible” objection.

 

 

Then ask yourself, what is the worst thing that could happen? Remember that brave people and cowardly people both feel fear; brave people simply protest injustice and object to abuse of power by authority anyway.

 

 

Emotions are information

Fear can be an indicator of weakness but it’s also an excellent way for the survival instinct to remind us that we might be making a huge mistake. Rather than try to eliminate fear (which is exactly what you should feel when in danger! also, going into fight or flight triggers lots of adrenaline and noradrenaline to flood your bloodstream, and who doesn’t like that rush?), next time you feel it, remind yourself that emotions are information. Fear informs us that we are in danger. Let it be a matter of probability: How likely is it that you will be punished by the authority whose injustice you are protesting? We’re very lucky in the United States to be able to tweet and blog and call the ACLU if we get punished for expressing our freedom of speech. Check out my post on what a fascist regime looks like if you want to learn more about the alternative.

 

 

Sadness, like fear, is often viewed as a weakness, as an indicator of someone who is “really emotional” as opposed to, say, “really successful” or “really powerful.” At some point in our 20’s, we arrive at a realization followed by a conclusion. The realization is a given, but the conclusion varies for everyone and will define our attitude toward power and authority for the rest of our life. The realization is that the amount of corruption in the world is widespread and devastating. The vast majority of people then conclude that they cannot change it. This is because they perceive themselves to be weak but may not even be aware of seeing themselves in that way. The next time someone says to you, “I’m not strong like you, [your name],” you say, “Yes, you are strong and that’s a lie. There are two kinds of greed, greed for power and greed for money. Whoever told you you weren’t strong wanted to profit from your perception of self as being someone who isn’t strong. Whether they wanted to gratify their desire to have power over you, make money off of you, or both, they were lying, and you are strong.” It is more likely that they will not perceive themselves as being weak but instead perceive you as being stupid/ignorant for thinking you have some kind of power. There are some indicators or signs of this that I like to call “blinking red neon signs.” The irony here is that only people who are aware of the incredible degree of power they have ever get anything done that makes a lasting difference for many people (for good or bad!). So watch for these indicators of weakness not only in others but in yourself.

 

 

When you come across a person who is metaphorically holding up this red neon sign that declares, “there’s nothing I can do. I’m simply not powerful enough,” they are displaying submission, sometimes to life itself. A few of the indicators are sarcasm, hatred, and gross predictions of the future. Sarcasm, as John Knowles said, is the protest of the weak. Hatred is a declaration of impotence (anger is what we feel when we do become aware of our power, confidence is what we feel when we are finally expressing that power by taking action to right the wrong and correct the injustice). And predicting the future (for example, “we’re not going to have a female president; it’ll never happen”) is faux omniscience; when people predict the future in this general way and in a presumptuous tone, it is usually a compensation for overwhelming feelings of fear caused by not knowing what is going to happen. This is an act of self-comforting, the adult version of thumb-sucking. These people are mainly talking to themselves, to reassure themselves that the unknowable is knowable. Now please consider how much pain they must be experiencing to feel compelled to constantly self-comfort in this way. From that perspective, don’t you feel lucky — and grateful — that you are strong enough and brave enough to handle going into that place of “I don’t know” and still feeling ok? And, the more consistently you take action, the more pressure you’ll personally be exerting to shape the future, and the less you’ll have to guess at what the future holds because you’ll be sitting in the front row as it takes a more and more clearly defined shape in front of your very eyes.

 

 

When you feel sadness, know that you have detected injustice. Feeling sad is how you know. Now, what are you going to do? What action are you going to take to change the situation?

 

 

Joy is often measured in the absence of pain

Happiness is an emotion — not a goal. The concept of the pursuit of happiness (thanks, Founders) has irrevocably influenced what we as Americans think of as the meaning of life. As human beings, we know we are capable of feeling joy even in the midst of injustice and crisis (think SNL), and I highly recommend you write down on scratch paper or a note card, “what would it be like if I had a happiness scale and could actually measure the emotion joy in the same way I could weigh coffee or sugar or flour?” Maybe your pain:happiness ratio is 1:1. The most intense joy is often measured in a total absence of pain. What action could you take to get out of pain right now? Now, what action could you take to get into joy?

 

 

Want to read more about the glass being half filled with water and half filled with air? Click here.

Want to read my post on what a fascist regime looks like? Click here. Posts will open in a new window.

When Politicians “Pull a Richelieu”

Pulling a Richelieu

 

Cardinal Richelieu, born in France in 1585, was an expert in discerning how to manipulate or motivate the subjects of the Crown (King Louis XIII at that time and place in history). In his Political Testament, he noted that “… most people can be held to their duty through either fear or hope.” Leaders throughout human history, whether politicians, religious figureheads, or elders of a tribe, have long known the power of hope and fear in getting people to do what they otherwise would not have done by either terrifying them or inspiring them.

 

For this reason, the use of the phrase mind control is incomplete. The concept of controlling a group or civilization’s thoughts is rooted in influencing – asserting authority over – their emotions first. The two most primal emotions we feel, after love for our offspring (which is attachment, not desire for happiness) are hope and fear. Our emotions cause our thoughts; then, feelings and thoughts combine to lead to a specific perception of reality. For example, “life is what you make of it” is a perception of reality that doesn’t acknowledge the influence of people and events outside ourselves. “Shit happens” is a perception of reality that doesn’t acknowledge that good events happen randomly too. This three step recipe for influencing the feelings, thoughts, and complex perceptions of a people would more completely be described as behavior control. And it always starts with the planting of a seed: the seed of hope or the seed of fear.

 

So what’s the difference between Motivation and Manipulation?

 

Regret.

 

When we use our Power of influence to get someone to do something they would not have otherwise done, and they are glad they did it, we have motivated them. When we use our power of influence to get someone to do something they would not have otherwise done, and they regret it, we have manipulated them. 

 
• People (regardless of whether or not their hearts are open or closed) will often feel motivated, safe and/or protected by that display of confidence, even if it is also an attempt to assert dominance, under certain circumstances. You probably know that a con artist is someone who convinces you to take part in an activity that you would not have participated in had you been aware of the true nature of the activity. Con is short for confidence. Why? Because the con artist gains your confidence before he convinces you to take part or gains your consent to act (illegally) on your behalf. Confidence indicates a low level of fear, and fearless people can make other people feel safe. Their intrepidity inspires (or convinces) us to trust them. Trust is another inversion, a practice that allows us to deny the symptoms instead of treating the underlying cause. In this case, trust is the denial of risk. Because we don’t want to be afraid as human beings, because fear is uncomfortable, we are eager to deny its presence in our bodies. When someone says, “trust me,” they are holding up a red neon sign that says, “deny the feeling in your stomach that something is not right.”

 

Want to read more about trading in trust for calculated risk? Click here.