Beta Vs. Alpha Male Responses

In the interest of not giving out your personal information too soon in order to please the woman, and thereby lowering your status in her eyes, Purushatma has suggested this conversational tip –

Do not offer more information than is minimally necessary, and instead of immediately answering like a slave, offer some teasing and mystique.

Quoting the examples from his blog:

She: So how was your weekend?
Beta: It was nice.  I spent some hours at home on Saturday relaxing, then on Sunday I did some chores and went to a fun party in the evening with friends.
Alpha: Uhh.  Couldn’t wait for Monday to come.

She: So what do you do?
Beta: At the start of my career I was a programmer.  But now I am an analyst with this transport firm.  It is big firm with offices in many states.
Alpha: Covert arts.
She: No, seriously what do you do?
Alpha: Hehe you will find out soon.  Are you a recruiter?

She: So what should we do this Saturday?
Beta: We can go watch this film XYZ that has been recently getting some good reviews.  We can enjoy popcorn and coke during the film.  Afterwards, whatever you say.
Lesser Beta: We can go for a drive, listen to some music on the way.  Maybe a brewery?
Alpha: Come to my place around 2.  I’ll have a plan.

She: Have you dated many women?
Beta: Some.  I was married for a short while.  My longest relationship outside marriage was 2 years.  I did a speed dating thing in January, and it was quite interesting.
Lesser Beta: Of course.  Still haven’t found the right one.
Lower Alpha: Let’s just say I ain’t a virgin.
Alpha: Are you serious?

Okay, you got the idea.

Body Language Read Of Kathy Griffin’s Apology

In the last post I wrote about what I think of Kathy Griffin’s remarks about president Trump in a press conference where she said Trump broke her. (For more context refer to that post.)

The press conference proved that her apology which she issued before the press conference was not sincere.

Beucause one can either be apologetic or defiant and doubling down. She clearly doubled down on going after president Trump, which means her apology didn’t mean shit after all.

Scott Adams, who said that her apology seemed 100% sincere to him, has withdrawn his sympathy from her on one of his Periscope sessions after the press conference.

What surprised me about Scott Adams, however, is that he believed her apology to be sincere when he saw it. I say this because he is one of the finest observers of human nature and body language and is trained in persuasion. Although, he had made it clear that he was biased towards Kathy because he knew her personally and liked her. She had given voice to one of his comic chatacters on Dilbert TV show. That is perhaps the reason for his failing to see (or failing to acknowledge) the tells of insincerity in Kathy Griffin’s apology.

Now since the press conference made it apparent that her apology was insincere, I thought there had to be a good body language analysis of her apology that revealed the tells.

And I found one.

I am not a body language expert, but I know more about the subject than the average person. With that level of knowledge, I can tell that this analysis is good.

Systems Approach: Be Happy And Successful Everyday

Scott Adams, in his book How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big presents the idea of Goals Vs. Systems. He tells us how goals are for losers, and that systems are better than goals.

This idea potently resonated with me when I read about it in the book. So today I’ll tell you about the importance of systems as opposed to goals, and how systems thinking is better than goals thinking.

Sources of Happiness

First, let’s talk about what makes you happy.

In life, you feel happy when random good things happen to you, and/or when you achieve what you were aiming for.

So here are the two sources of happiness. 1) Random good things happening, and 2) Success – which is achieving what you were aiming for.

If on a given day something good happens in your life then you feel happy, but something good happening everyday is not guaranteed; because we don’t particularly aim for good things to happen everyday. They happen randomly once in a while. Much of it just happens by luck. So, it can be said that the happiness they cause is accidental.

Another time you feel happy is when you succeed. But that also happens once in a while because you don’t achieve your goals everyday. Goals are usually medium to long term things. So, most of the days you are working towards goals, and that’s not the same as success.

Accidental happiness – one which arises out of random good things happening to you – is out of our control. So we won’t talk about accidental happiness anymore.

That leaves us with happiness from success – and that’s where systems are better than goals.

Success and Meaning in Life

Let’s say you are a goals person. You set goals, and you achieve those goals. You feel happy when you succeed by achieving the goals. When you achieve goals it is this feeling of success that gives you happiness. It is this success that gives you the boost.

Success is very important. It provides meaning in life. If you’re not aiming for things, you lack meaning in life. If you aim for things but don’t achieve those things, then that’s a lot of demotivation and you lose the meaning and may feel depressed.

For a meaningful life it is important to aim for things and to achieve things; to succeed.

Why Goals are Not Good for Success

With goals you can taste success only once in a while. Goals won’t help you feel successful constantly everyday.

You feel successful only when you achieve some goal.

If I say that my goal is to become a fitness trainer five years down the line, then I’ll have my focus on that goal. When my focus is solely on one goal I might miss other opportunities coming my way. And since I’m devoted to this goal I may not learn anything else. I won’t put in time learning guitar for example. Or I’ll not write blogs. I’ll not learn about technology. I’m only focusing on things that will help me achieve my goal of being a fitness trainer. And that seems like a perfectly sensible thing to do.

Being devoted and intensely focused on one’s goal is considered to be a good thing.

But let’s say if something goes wrong with my body, like if I meet with an accident, or get some illness, or something happens that affects my ability to become a fitness trainer. Or let’s say after five years I find that the practice and preparation I did to achieve that goal was not sufficient. I’m still not there. I’m lacking the knowledge that’s required.

In five years, anything can happen to prevent me from achieving my goal that I was intensely and singularly focused on.

In such a case I would have lost many other opportunities that came my way while I was focused on the goal. Since I won’t have developed myself in other areas, I would end up getting nowhere.

Besides, we now live in an extremely complex world where technologies are changing so fast that it is not even wise to set a long term goal and devote all the time and energy to that goal.

In the long term the thing that you chose as your goal may not remain the best thing for you. In that case, you may achieve the goal and still may not feel successful if it won’t be the optimal thing anymore.

Scott Adams says that in the modern fast-changing times achieving your goal is like riding on a horse with only one arrow and trying to shoot with that arrow a target that is moving all the time. The odds of success in a meaningful way are dismal.

Systems and Success

With systems approach, however, you can feel successful everyday​. And that’s a big advantage of systems approach.

As Scott Adams puts it, a system involves some things that you do everyday as a routine that increase your odds of achieving success in a non-specific way in the future.

As a systems person I do several things everyday. My current system involves working out for an hour, practicing guitar for 15 minutes to half-an-hour, reading for 30 minutes to an hour,..

You may have five to six things, or more, or less. But there has to be several things of interest to you that you do regularly everyday without a miss.

I don’t have a goal of being a fitness trainer. I don’t have a goal of being a professional guitarist. I don’t have a goal of being a writer. I’m working on all these things purely out of interest, more like a hobby.

What makes it powerful, however, is that they are part of my system. So I do them as a routine everyday.

And it doesn’t require much will power as I’m not doing anything to an extent that would burn me out. I don’t have to put strenuous efforts – because I don’t have the pressure of achieving goals.

If I had a goal, say that of being a fitness trainer, there are chances I may not achieve that goal. But in the systems approach I don’t have a goal, so there’s no way I can fail.

My system only requires me to do the certain things I do in little portions everyday. And since they are things I’m interested in, I will most likely succeed in doing them everyday.

What are the chances I won’t be able to exercise on a given day (thereby not succeeding), as against the chances I won’t be able to achieve the goal of being a fitness trainer (thereby not succeeding)?

In the former, I will succeed almost everyday. In the latter, the chances of me succeeding are slim.

So, which is easier and more likely to make me succeed tomorrow? Carrying the uncertain goal to be achieved years down the line, or adhering to the system which requires me to do small things that I’m interested in?

As a person with systems approach you succeed everyday. And that keeps you happy everyday.

Because all you have to do is small things as a routine everyday. If you do those small things that don’t require much willpower, you are successful.

What’s more, everyday you keep getting better at the things your system involves doing. So in the long run, your odds of hitting it big with one of those things are ever increasing!

That is the greatest bonus of systems approach.

Conclusion

If you don’t have a goal, you can’t fail. And with systems, you can be more certain than a person with goals about hitting it big one day.

View Webpages Blocked On Your Company’s Network Using Instapaper

I am an avid reader. Whenever I get free time at work I want to read something on the Internet.

On my company’s network, some websites are blocked. For instance, I can’t directly access WordPress blogs. Not only those blogs hosted on WordPress.com domain, but any WordPress blog is inaccessible on the office network.

Since I read tons of blogs, it would drastically limit my reading of the stuff I am interested in.

Fortunately, Feedly is accessible at work. Feedly is a feed-reader. So I could read my subscribed blogs on Feedly.

There is, however, a limitation with Feedly.

Some blog-owners don’t allow full feed of their blog posts. So I would not be able to read those blogs whose owners have chosen to only allow the tile or a snippet of their blog posts via feed.

Today I found a solution to that problem. The name of that solution is Instapaper.

For those of you who don’t know, Instapaper is essentially a reading app which renders web-content for reading later and reading in clean, reader-friendly format.

Here’s the hack (It’s actually a feature of Instapaper which is incidentally a “hack” for me):

Go to Instapapper.com. Sign up. Log in. Then click on More link on the bottom left, then click on How to Save. Or lick on this link directly: https://www.instapaper.com/save

You will see a button called Instapaper Text, with instruction to drag it to your Bookmarks Bar. Once you have done that, you’ve done it.

Now any time you click on any webpage link and the page displays a message such as “Your organization has chosen to limit viewing of this site due to the rating of its content” or something like that, click on Instapaper Text button and the webpage will be rendered on Instapaper in the same browsing window.

Note that this hack is useful only for accessing webpages with reading material. And needless to say, only if your company’s network allows access to Instapaper.com to begin with.

Here’s Why You Can’t Convince Someone With Rational Arguments

Argument: (noun) 1. A fact or assertion offered as evidence that something is true 2. Discussion in which reasons are advanced for and against some proposition or proposal

We spend too much time arguing with people about things that don’t matter. Things like which phone is better, why some film is good, which stock to invest in, which is a good holiday destination, what is the best way to lose fat etc.

It is not important to change someone’s mind about things like these. People can be left alone with their opinions once disagreement is found.

These are the kind of things on which different people are most certainly going to have different opinions. But when we hear from people an opinion that is different from ours, we want to convince them of our point-of-view by arguing with what we think are rational explanations for why we think what we think about it.

If we knew how our minds work, however, we would consider it a waste of time.

In this post I am going to tell you exactly what you need to know about human mind to save your time and energy by not engaging in arguments of this nature.

We Are Irrational All The Time

What if I told you that all human beings are irrational all the time? Yes, you read it right. ALL OF US ARE IRRATIONAL, ALL THE TIME. Even the philosophers and scientists, and so-called rationalists.

The only time we are rational is when we are making really simple decisions.

Here’s what I mean by really simple decisions: Let’s say you want to reach somewhere within an hour and if you walked it would take you two hours to reach there. So you employ rationality and say it’s rational to take a cab instead of walking.

That’s an example of really simple decision. I want you to remember this example or refer to it when I say simple scenarios where we do use rationality.

Such simple decisions are where we use perfect rationality. Our rationality is not really boast-worthy then, is it?

The moment there are multiple variables in the mix, rationality goes out the window and emotions or gut feeling takes over. We make up our minds based on how we feel about something and continue to think we are being rational. What we are actually doing there is rationalize the decision we have arrived at through emotions or gut feeling.

I will give you some examples of the decisions that we think are rational, but are most likely taken based on emotions or gut feeling.

The choice of school or college, the preference for workplace, the choice of cellphone and cellphone carrier, your favorite film or film star, your support of political party or candidate, etc. These are the kind of decisions that we like to think are rational but are anything but.

How do I know these are not rational decisions?

Any time you see two people having two different opinions over something, or different people having different opinions over something, though it may seem simple, it is not one of those simple scenarios (refer above to the example of simple decision) where we are rational. It is the multiple variables scenario where the opinions are based on emotions and subjective experiences, or gut feeling, so to speak. People who think they are being rational about these things are merely rationalizing their positions.

Why We Don’t See Our Irrationality

If we are rationalizing our beliefs, opinions and decisions rooted in emotions or gut feeling and all we are doing is rationalizing them, then why do we keep thinking that we are being rational?

The answer to this lies in confirmation bias.

As soon as emotions or gut feeling biases our mind towards one position, confirmation bias kicks in. We start noticing things that confirm the position we are already now biased towards, all the while blocking all the conflicting information that may come our way, which keeps on expanding the bias until we become certain about the correctness of our position.

Confirmation bias is a well-known psychological phenomenon. If you don’t understand confirmation bias, you have not taken the first step in understanding human interactions.

Convincing Someone With “Rational” Arguments

When an opinion is formed in the irrational way, that is, based on emotions or gut feeling (which is how it is almost all the time), it is almost impossible to change that opinion using facts and “rational” arguments.

Reason: An opinion or decision based on emotions or gut feeling is likely fueled by a lot of confirmation bias. When that position is argued against using facts or what the opposing side thinks to be rational arguments, it induces cognitive dissonance in the person holding those opinions.

Cognitive dissonance is another well-known psychological phenomenon, and is equally essential in understanding human interactions in a meaningful way.

Cognitive dissonance is a mental discomfort one feels when one is presented with facts and arguments that conflict with one’s own beliefs or opinions. The stronger one’s beliefs/opinions are, the more the dissonance.

Once the dissonance is created by conflicting information/facts, the person would want to get rid of it. Now there are two ways to remedy cognitive dissonance. Either the person suffering from the dissonance can agree with the person with the opposing view (and accept that they were wrong), or make up more irrational hypotheses to justify their views in the face of conflicting information.

For some reason, humans are not good at accepting that they were wrong upon being countered with conflicting facts and information – at least not immediately. But they can’t live with cognitive dissonance either. Result: The disagreement widens.

When Rational Arguments Work

There may be times when you have changed other people’s minds using rational arguments and facts to counter their opinion. I don’t say it never happens.

But if you credit your rationality or facts alone for that success, you may be mistaken.

First of all, no one is perfectly rational except in case of really simple decisions (refer above to the example of simple decision). So when you thought you convinced someone using a rational argument, you were actually using better rationalization for your position than your opponent was using for theirs.

That said, some positions are more rational, or better, than others, even if both the positions are held by different people based on their emotions or gut feeling. And a person with aptitude for rationality is easy to convince with facts and “rational” arguments.

So here’s two situations where rationality and facts have worked for you –

  1. When the person you presented your differing view to already saw you as an authority, or generally respected you, regarded you as an intelligent person.
  2. The target of your argument was someone who had aptitude for rationality. Meaning, they regarded rationality as a virtue.

Barring scenarios with the above two conditions, there’s no way anyone can convince another person of a different or opposite view – at least not immediately.

So if you are setting out to argue for what you consider to be a superior belief, opinion or decision with 1) someone who doesn’t know you or doesn’t regard you as a particularly intelligent person and/or 2) doesn’t have aptitude for rationality – which is most people you will come across – good luck with getting your point-of-view through their head.

You might want to save time and energy, and possibly even the relationship, by hearing a different opinion from someone and letting it be.

Why Men Should Not Get Tattoos

Men should not get tattoos. There are two reasons for that.

  1. Tattoos are historically associated with criminality. Prisoners, gang members, drug dealers etc. have been using tattoos as marks of identification with the group. As such, there is stigma attached to having tattoos. I have found this stigma to be legitimate. More often than not, people who have tattoos are low-IQ, too individualistic and opposed to generally held social norms. Quite a few of them have unstable mind.
  2. Apart from reason # 1, which is a good reason in itself for not getting a tattoo, getting a tattoo is not-so-intelligent.

In this post I will talk in detail about reason # 2 for it needs explaining.

I have interacted with many men who have tattoos, or want to get one, about why they are fond of getting inked. The explanation I got from most of them is this: Tattoos are an expression of their unique individuality. In other words, they believe that the inked image or pattern on their skin defines them.

When asked what if later on they don’t like the tattoo they got, they explain, patronizingly, that once they get a tattoo, it would become a part of them. It becomes a permanent feature of their body. Just like one can’t not accept their face if they don’t like their face, there is no question of not liking the tattoo once got.

Of course, when there is no choice, what is one to do but accept? But getting a tattoo that later on one doesn’t like is a bit different from having a bodily feature one doesn’t like. One doesn’t choose one’s body. But one choses to get a tattoo. That entails… regret. So, even though one accepts the tattoo as a permanent feature of one’s body, that doesn’t eliminate the possibility of regret.

I hypothesize that more often than not, people will regret getting a tattoo. The reason is simple: People can’t even choose and stick with a Facebook cover (or wallpaper on their cellphone) that defines them (that’s exactly what they aim for when choosing those images, right?), but they believe that the image or pattern they think defines them now will always define them, and that they will never find a better “definition” for themselves.

The reality is, just like you always replace your Facebook cover with one that better defines you, you will always find better images or patterns that would better define you; more so because your personality is never constant. Our minds change all the time. Most people grossly overestimate the consistency of their tastes and preferences – things their mind perceives as meaningful.

Now let me go a step further. This whole “expression of individuality” explanation is just a rationalization. The real reason people want to get tattoos is that they want to stand out.

Let’s be honest, can we?

One wants to wear certain clothes and accessories, get certain haircut and buy certain shoes, etc. so that one stands out and gets noticed. Not so that one feels good about oneself. People who say they dress up not for the world for themselves are being dishonest. If they wore certain new clothes only so that it made them feel good, why would they look forward to wearing them only when going out in public? It sure makes them feel good, but that is because – and to the extent – they think it makes them stand out or get noticed. Spot the primary reason.

Tattoos are also done to stand out.

Now some people who have tattoos on non-visible parts of their body (back, chest, upper biceps,..) would jump up in opposition. But they’d be wrong. Their tattoo, too, is to stand out, if at more intimate occasions. Funnily enough, they can’t resort to “expression of individuality” rationalization for tattoo. Because if their tattoo is not visible at all, where is the expression? And to whom?

To this they’ll say they don’t need to show it to anyone; just having the tattoo on them makes them feel good. That’s BS. But I’d give up on them at this point. You can stop reading here if you’re one of them.

So: If one thinks that one’s tattoo is an expression of individuality, then newsflash: they don’t understand human mind. Secondly, tattoos are not expression of individuality but are done to stand out. If one has hard time admitting this to oneself, they need to work on their rationality.

If one is rational and says that one has got a tattoo to stand out, one needs to bear the stigma. (I will not hire someone with a tattoo.) One should aim to stand out by doing something worthwhile. Develop a skill, achieve something to stand out. It is one thing to attempt to stand out by wearing certain clothes and getting certain haircut; that’s within the range of normal behavior. But it is quite another thing to ink one’s body permanently; that’s not normal, that’s neurotic.

Related reading:

Peacock Theory of Mate Attraction and Decline of Culture

5 Reasons Visible Tattoos Will Negatively Impact Your Life (exrernal)

5 Reasons Why Girls With Tattoos And Piercings Are Broken (exrernal)

How To Do Affirmations And Why They Work

In 2016, Scott Adams has been one of the most influential persons I came across. His book How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big is the best self-help book available today in my opinion. In that book, Adams offers many hacks to help one become more productive and efficient, and succeed in life.

One of the things that he talks about in the book is affirmations.

What Are Affirmations?

Affirmations are simply the practice of repeating to yourself what you want to achieve while imagining the outcome you want. You can write it, speak it, or just think it in sentence form. The typical form of an affirmation would be “I, Scott Adams, will become an astronaut.” – Scott Adams, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big, Chapter 24

When you want to achieve something in life, whether it is something material or in terms of any skill, you should say to yourself or write down on a piece of paper several times a day (10 to 15 times or more) that you will work for it and achieve it; and it vastly increases the odds of you achieving the desired thing.

Affirmations may not appeal to scientific minds, but let me assure you that I am not superstitious. I also don’t believe the pseudoscience of The Secret or the Law of Attraction and think that doing affirmations exerts some pressure on the universe to bend its laws in favor of the person doing affirmations. But I am convinced that they work.

Why Do I Believe In Affirmations?

The reason why the concept of affirmations appealed to me when I read about it in Adams’ book is partly because I had already employed them when I was younger and superstitious, and had seen success. I did them differently then and didn’t call them affirmations.

In those days, every night before going to sleep I used to recite some prayers and then say to myself, “I will do this-and-this”, “I will achieve this-and-this” and so on. I achieved many of the things I stated in my affirmations. But as I grew in age I stopped saying those prayers and affirmations, and thought I was superstitious for doing so. I also thought that I would have achieved them regardless of affirmations.

Now I strongly believe that affirmations did help me at least to some extent in those days. It’s just that the way the affirmations worked was different than what my superstitious mind thought at the time.

How To Do Affirmations?

You shouldn’t be too specific in your affirmations. For example, if your aim is to master guitar, don’t say “I will master guitar in two years“. Instead, just say “I will master guitar”. Understand that affirmations are not science like physics where you can apply x amount of force for y amount of time and be sure of the outcome. Leave out details like timelines from affirmations.

Keep the affirmations clear and short. Some examples below:

  • I will master guitar.
  • I will own a bigger house and a bigger car.
  • I will quit my corporate job.
  • I will make money online.
  • I will write a book.

Write them down on a piece of paper 10 to 15 times or more in a day. Or you can just say them aloud to yourself. Work with 5 to 6 affirmations regularly. More than that would be too many.

This way you are repeatedly affirming that you will achieve what you desire. It will vastly increase your odds of achieving those things.

How/Why Do Affirmations Work?

Human mind is a complex organism. It cannot be operated in a straightforward way as we would like to keep it. You can’t just say “I want achieve so-and-so”, and glide through the path to achieve the end. There are distractions and you lose focus. There are also demotivating factors that derail the mind.

But if you hack your mind, you can get it to do what you want from it.

Affirmations are a mind-hack. They keep the mind focused on goals. They keep reminding you of your destination so that your mind quickly spots the influences that are going to derail you. As a result, you avoid the negative influences before they affect you. And not only do you avoid the negative influences, you draw positive influences towards you, too.

For example, if one of your affirmations is “I will always stay lean and healthy”, it will be easy for you to stick to healthy diet, avoid smoking, and find ways to avoid any and all health problems. It’s like your mind will always be on the lookout for information and guidance for healthy living.

If your mind is reminded of 5 to 6 long term goals several times in a day then any time it is free it will divert its energy towards activities that take you closer to those goals. This may sound simplistic, but affirmations are actually more potent than one would be willing to agree. Affirmations are one of the best mind-hacks.

As a closing remark I would add with emphasis that for affirmations to work best it would help if one believes that affirmations work and one wants them to work.

Try affirmations instead of New Year’s resolutions this time.