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The power of persuasion is too powerful?


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#1 SteveDeFacto   Banned   -  Reputation: 109

Posted 14 May 2011 - 05:39 AM

Lets say we have two people John and Henry. John is very skilled with words and very good at controlling his emotions as well as the emotions of others. John has below normal intelligence and no skills or talents. He also has a below normal appearance. Henry on the other hand has below normal communication skills and has trouble expressing his thoughts and feelings. However, he is very intelligent and talented in computer science and math. He is also abnormally well built and has an attractive appearance.

John and Henry are both in high school. Through John's superior people skills he becomes popular and everyone likes him. He tends to barely pass every class he is in and spends all of his free time hanging out with friends. Now he likes the most beautiful girl in the school and always says the right things to make her feel good. Eventually they start dating. Henry on the other hand was not very popular and only had a few close friends. Though he always scored the best out of everyone in all of his classes. He had a few brief relationship through out high school but they always ended badly.

John and Henry both graduate high school though John barely passes and Henry has the highest GPA in the school. John's rich friend's father likes John and offers him a job. Over a couple years John is able to work his way up in the company and eventually works his way into a manager position. Even though he tends to make mistakes everybody likes him and wants to see him succeed. He also marries his high school sweet heart. Henry on the other hand scored 2,400 on the SAT and went straight to Harvard for Computer Science. Henry graduates with a bachelors degree and finds a nice job even though his interviews never went too well his credentials spoke for them selfs.

Henry and John are making about the same pay even though Henry spent 4 years working on his degree while John was already working. 5 years go by and their positions stay about the same. Henry and John both decide to take a chance and start a company. John speaks to a few investors and using his superior powers of persuasion he is able to get funding. Now he reaches out to his talented friends and co-workers who admire him and he persuades a few of them to join his company. Over the next few years John is able to make a profit despite making many blunders he was always able to find the necessary funding to cover them.

Henry tries to find interested investors but he is not able to effectively communicate his idea and his network is too small. However, he is able to take out a loan given his good credit record but it's just enough and every penny will have to be stretched. Henry calculates everything and makes all of the right moves. However his rate of employee retention is very bad and he is not able to sell his product to the clients nearly as well as John. On top of this he has a large mountain of debt. Henry eventually is out done by the competition and has to file for bankruptcy. Henry ends up working for John and has very poor credit.

John on the other hand has never been better and just finished paying off his new house and was able to retire at the age of 35 with a beautiful wife and a mountain of cash. Henry lives in an apartment and ended up with a smart but below average wife. Henry eventually retired at 65 and lived a fairly average life while John and his wife went on curses at least twice a year and live a great life. Henry was the best at every thing he did and worked hard for everything he has while John was below average and had others working for him.

Basically this is an example of the power of persuasion and I have come to the realization that success is entirely not related to how smart you are but rather how skilled you are at manipulating others to get what you want. It's also about luck but that is a factor that can happen to smart or social people. I think the chances of being truly successful yet lacking social skills are little to none. This makes me feel slightly hopeless about my future. Any opinions on the correlation between social skills and success?

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#2 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 30352

Posted 14 May 2011 - 06:35 AM

Life is not fair and shit does float to the top.

Work on your people skills.

Henry tries to find interested investors but he is not able to effectively communicate his idea and his network is too small ... his rate of employee retention is very bad and he is not able to sell his product to the clients ... he has a large mountain of debt. Henry eventually is out done by the competition and has to file for bankruptcy ... and has very poor credit.
Henry was the best at every thing he did

Doesn't sound like it going off results.

#3 forsandifs   Members   -  Reputation: 154

Posted 14 May 2011 - 06:37 AM

EDIT: Hmm, interesting. I opened the thread with the intention of disagreeing with the title (due to having misinterpreted what you meant by it, though I 'm not sure how I managed that anymore), but actually having read your scenario I think you make a good point.

EDIT: However there are a couple of points I think you neglected and which I think are important.

The fact that Henry is so naturally talented and yet is still socially inept, strongly suggests he has some type of disorder like for example mild aspergers. This is enough to account for his surprising lack of success.

Also, I think you are heavily underestimating the intelligence of John. He seems to be a social genius.

So I agree that persuasion is a remarkably powerful tool, however I postulate that Henry could have been just as succesful if he hadn't suffered from a disorder like Aspergers.

EDIT: On a personal note, lately I have been dwelling a lot on how lacking I am in the persuasion department myself and I sympathise with Henry (though in my case I strongly suspect I have mild ADD). Though I have rarely lacked a few decent friends and have done OK on the romantic side I have always felt very hindered by my social ineptness. Like Henry I feel I could have done and could do much better with even average social skills. I am trying to work on my social skills but it seems very difficult to overcome social ineptness when it comes so naturally. For example I heartily congratulate myself when I'm able to talk with someone I am not familiar with without putting my foot in my mouth, looking like an idiot/freak, or coming across as painfully awkward. :/ As a result I am and have always been almost painfully shy and introverted though I am trying to change that.

#4 Nanoha   Members   -  Reputation: 300

Posted 14 May 2011 - 07:03 AM

Are people skills and manipulation not a form of intelligence? Charisma and what not is very important in many aspects, we're a social species after all (Some of us not so much as others). We all have different strengths and weaknesses, if John and Henry had worked together they would have both done far better than they would have alone.

As far as fairness goes, who says all our goals are to be wonderfully wealthy and so on? As far as the story goes then sure, both set up a company they want to suceed but one fails. If I had a weight lifting competition with the worlds strongest man I'd probably lose but there are plenty of things I could beat him at I'm sure.

I strongly value my intelligence, there are lots of things I'm good at that I don't really care about.

#5 Kekko   Members   -  Reputation: 504

Posted 14 May 2011 - 07:07 AM


This thread makes me think of this good old Spolsky-gold:
"The moral of the story is that with a contrived example, you can prove anything"

- Joel Spolsky

Still I get the point you're making, but real life is not that bad. If you're brilliant at university the people there with social skills are gonna know about it and contact you. That's my experience anyway, as someone who is more like Henry and less like John. I've also met a couple of people who were obviosly brilliant but wouldn't really function in a workplace. Usually they couldn't get their ideas across or explain them properly.

If you're smart but lacking socially then maybe starting your own company is a bad idea. How about becoming the right hand man of someone more entrepreneurial? As this video and to some degree the 11th law of power points out, this is an underrated position.

Lastly, while there is overlap between friendly and manipulative, they're not the same thing.

#6 Sean T. McBeth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1489

Posted 14 May 2011 - 07:08 AM

Henry still has an advantage because charisma is learnable, if he'll just get off his ass and do something about it instead of hiding behind his intelligence as an excuse to not learn how to deal with and manage people.

[Formerly "capn_midnight". See some of my projects. Find me on twitter tumblr G+ Github.]


#7 forsandifs   Members   -  Reputation: 154

Posted 14 May 2011 - 07:12 AM

charisma is learnable


Tips please! :>

EDIT: hmm, google searching provided some surprisingly helpful results actually.

#8 Koobazaur   Members   -  Reputation: 691

Posted 14 May 2011 - 08:03 AM

Congratulations on turning 18, Henry!

Postmortem: one must die -  Political narrative-adventure game playing an Agent of Death who must take ONE life that could change the fate of a conflict-torn Nation

 

Check out my DevBlog for news on the next title!


#9 dublindan   Members   -  Reputation: 457

Posted 14 May 2011 - 08:33 AM

Read this book: How to win friends and influence people. Also, check out its wikipedia page for a brief summary specifically the Major sections and points section lists most of the details in summarized point form.

#10 Vectorian   Members   -  Reputation: 109

Posted 14 May 2011 - 09:06 AM

charisma is learnable


Tips please! :>


Talk to people, by far the easiest and most effecitve way. Go to conferences, seminars, lectures by interesting speakers. Talk to people while waiting in line, ask for directions rather than use google maps, ask the cashier about a good game or movie, don't look it up on the internet, etc. all works great. The more people you speak to the better at it you become.

#11 Antheus   Members   -  Reputation: 2397

Posted 14 May 2011 - 09:39 AM

Chapter V from Boy meets world series.

#12 ChurchSkiz   Members   -  Reputation: 449

Posted 14 May 2011 - 10:45 AM

Henry still has an advantage because charisma is learnable, if he'll just get off his ass and do something about it instead of hiding behind his intelligence as an excuse to not learn how to deal with and manage people.


Said much better than I could have put it.

The world doesn't turn for cry-babies...

#13 forsandifs   Members   -  Reputation: 154

Posted 14 May 2011 - 11:44 AM

Talk to people, by far the easiest and most effecitve way.


I agree that its the most effective way, however I can't yet agree that its the easiest. There's a deep seated reason why shy people are shy. They certainly don't want to be shy, quite the opposite, they often day-dream of being socially affluent. Its not just simple fear of being embarrassed or worse that makes them shy. Its much deeper and more powerful than that.

EDIT: For example, I am afraid of heights, to the point where looking over a low balcony makes my knees knock (I'm tall). Its probably due to one of my uncles holding me over balconies for my amusement as a child (I was a big fan of superman :P ), and my older brother always scaring the crap out of me by pretending to push me off balconies whenever I looked over them. Whatever, people do stupid things, especially kids. Anyway, but if someone were to randomly place 100 euros at the top of say 1 of 10 climbable trees, and gifted them to me, I would push past my fear of heights and climb all ten trees if necessary to get that money.

EDIT: On the other hand the value of a friend or other half is much higher than that of a 100 euros, but I cannot make myself talk to 10 strangers for the potential reward of a friendship or other half (even though objectively its probably a much easier and safer task than climbing 10 trees). It could almost be described as an abject terror that renders you almost incapable of logical thought, action, or speech, a rabbit in headlights effect. Its simply not that easy for those who are shy.

#14 Sean T. McBeth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1489

Posted 14 May 2011 - 11:59 AM

Here is an idea that worked really well for me. Sit down with a piece of paper and write the letters of the alphabet down the side. For each letter, think of a story that you can tell about yourself that someone would be interested in. So for A, telling someone about your exploits in the mythical realm of Azeroth is not going to be interesting. It can be a funny story, it can be heart warming, it can be whatever, you just need a story. Once you have your list of stories, practice them. Learn how to tell them in interpersonal settings without sounding like you have a pre-canned story that you're reciting. If you're having trouble coming up with ideas for each letter, just use whatever cities you've been to that start with that letter.

Some examples from my "story book"
A - I spent a weekend camping on Assateague Island, it was one of the most ethereal experiences of my life. I tell how the horses act like just another group of people hanging out on the beach, how they come up to you and are interested in you, but are still completely wild animals. Don't pet them! Would you try to pet a stranger on the street? You'll get about the same reaction. This one is particular good for girls. If I'm in a group of guys, I don't focus on the horses as much as how I ended up setting both of my hands on fire for a brief moment.
B - This is usually "Bristle Bots", and I tell a story about how I built 100 bristle bots for an art exhibition, calling them "macro bacteria", and making them run and bounce against each other in a giant, round "petri dish" that I made out of MDF and clear plastic.
C - This one is "Catapult" about the various weapons of war that I build out of pens and binder clips and rubber bands in my office if my boss doesn't keep me busy. I believe that people shouldn't be merely unproductive with their time if they cannot be productive, I believe they should be distinctly destructive. Hence, I usually have lots of interesting work. I'm hoping to eventually change this story to "Car", where I recount a project to build a gravity car, but that probably won't happen this summer.
...
Z - I did special effects work for a small independent film troupe that was making a Zombie film. They wanted to set one of their extras on fire and came to me "because I kind of remember you playing with fire when we were kids". I told them there was no way we were setting anyone on fire and that they should just leave it to me and I'd take care of everything. I built a man-sized torso on a cart with off-centered wheels to give it an intentional wobble to simulate walking. With the wobble, it made the hinged arms swing back and forth just like a person running. I dressed it up in clothes, molded a face out of clay, put a hat on it, doused it in kerosene, and set it on fire for the shot. It came out perfectly, a large group of people actually showed up just to watch because they had heard this was happening.


You get the point from there. A lot of my stories involve me nearly dying from doing something stupid "in the name of science". Most of my stories involve some sort of project that I built, some group of people I helped, some place I traveled. If you can't fill the entire alphabet with stories, then you're probably just not a very interesting person and should look to expand your interests so you can be a more well rounded person. Once people like you, it's pretty much a cake walk to get them to do things for you. And actually, you can get them to do just about anything. People want to be associated with interesting people and will do things just to be your friend. Since I've started doing this, there has not been one time that a girl has turned me down for a date. I get job offers from startups constantly. And I have the time of my life figuring out new ways to update my bank of stories.

There are tons of other things that you can do, but this is probably the most important. Everything else kind of flows from there. Oh, and don't dress like a slob. You can have your own style, just make sure you're clean, and that your clothes fit and are neat, fresh, and in good shape. Seriously, as long as you dress well, you don't even need to worry about your physical attractiveness otherwise. Don't believe me? Look at Robert Pattinson. By all accounts he is an ugly dude: he has crooked nose, pasty complexion, no muscle tone, beady little eyes, and makes pouty lips like a sorority girl standing in front of her bathroom mirror with her iPhone. But people like him because his hair is perfect and he dresses well. That's all it takes. And it's super easy to do, just buy a subscription to Esquire or GQ magazine and do whatever they tell you. Or go completely off the wall and do things like wear a kilt or giant gold chain on top of an otherwise respectable business suit. Being quirky makes you seem interesting, and once you're "interesting" to someone, you can make them do whatever you want.

Trust me. Because this guy:
Posted Image


As bald and overweight as he is, can sit in a bar and have at least 3 gorgeous women come up to HIM and want to know more about him

when this guy:

Posted Image


who was fit enough to run 3 miles in 20 minutes without barely winding himself, could hardly get women to give him the time of day (God, I can't believe that jacket, ugh. Where did I ever get that thing?).


If you're not getting anywhere in life, it's because you're just not that interesting of a person.

[Formerly "capn_midnight". See some of my projects. Find me on twitter tumblr G+ Github.]


#15 JBourrie   Members   -  Reputation: 1204

Posted 14 May 2011 - 12:17 PM

In most cases, career success is both tangible skills and social skills. And this is the way it should be: it doesn't matter how smart you are if nobody wants to work with you. Most professions are a team-effort, and if you're the guy that tries to go it alone because you can't deal with other people, you aren't going to be a valuable member of a team.

Of course, if you're amazingly/super/ultra/funky brilliant you might be able to go it alone and still succeed: if you discover a cure for cancer, or a renewable energy source, you might win a nobel prize or something. But In the typical business world nobody wants to work with somebody who doesn't want to work with them.

Check out my new game Smash and Dash at:

http://www.smashanddashgame.com/


#16 forsandifs   Members   -  Reputation: 154

Posted 14 May 2011 - 12:29 PM

...


Nice read, thanks. :) I will try that A-Z story thing out. Will be fun, and as you say probably helpful.

can sit in a bar and have at least 3 gorgeous women come up to HIM and want to know more about him


Believe it or not that actually happens to me almost every time I go out at night! But almost invariably I end up smiling like an idiot, saying very little, and the bits I do say are often forced and awkward, so we rarely click. I have to meet someone that makes the first move, is very keen on me, and very compatible for it to work out at all. Which is just crap really lol. And so many times, including platonic situations, I know that someone wants to talk to me and I just can't do it, so its a perhaps golden opportunity chucked away.

If you're not getting anywhere in life, it's because you're just not that interesting of a person.


I have to agree that is usually probably true, as harsh as that can seem, and as difficult as it can be to admit. I am definately going somewhere and I have been to places, but on the other hand I could be much further along than I am, and could get to where I'm going more quickly and productively. For example, without having thought about it much, I guess I won't be able to fill the A-Z list at this point in time...

#17 SteveDeFacto   Banned   -  Reputation: 109

Posted 14 May 2011 - 01:49 PM

Henry still has an advantage because charisma is learnable.


Aspects of charisma can be learned however some aspects you are naturally born with and these aspects are your emotional intelligence. This mainly has to do with your ability to recognize and pickup on what others are feeling though subtle cues, the ability recognize your own emotional state and to control it, and lastly the ability to express yourself in a way that makes others like you. These things are not very easy to learn and for some they can be near impossible especially if they suffer from asperger's syndrome or simply didn't develop the foundation for these skills at a young enough age.


Much like capn_midnight suggested there are some tricks you can learn to over come these short comings but if someone who is naturally social put the same effort into learning this it would no doubt improve his charisma as well. In my personal experience I am starting to become pretty good at controlling my own emotions and I have seen a positive in pack on my ability to resolve disputes and people actually like me better afterwards. I'm still lacking in many areas though but I'm trying my best to improve my skills.

#18 Sean T. McBeth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1489

Posted 14 May 2011 - 02:21 PM


Henry still has an advantage because charisma is learnable.


Aspects of charisma can be learned however some aspects you are naturally born with and these aspects are your emotional intelligence. This mainly has to do with your ability to recognize and pickup on what others are feeling though subtle cues, the ability recognize your own emotional state and to control it, and lastly the ability to express yourself in a way that makes others like you. These things are not very easy to learn and for some they can be near impossible especially if they suffer from asperger's syndrome or simply didn't develop the foundation for these skills at a young enough age.


Not true at all, and you sound like a person who is just making excuses for themselves and why they're "doomed before they even begin". You certainly don't sound like a person who has done any reading on modern education psychology.

There is no such thing as naturally born talent, outside of the whole autistic savant thing, which comes with a pretty heavy trade-off. The idea that normal people are more naturally attuned to certain skills and subjects is a bullshit line popularized by western psychologists in the late 19th and early 20th century, based on nothing other than speculation. In cultures untainted by those Victorian era asshats, there is no concept of such division of skills, and average people perform relatively equally in all areas. You'll see a lot of teaching experts, stuck in their ways, STILL push the old lies that people have certain, specific ways in which they learn (visual, spatial, aural, etc) and that other forms cannot be adapted to, and that people who are strong in one area of subjects, say Art, are typically weak in other, opposed areas, say Science. There is no such thing as boundaries between skills! There is no such thing as "Emotional Intelligence" or "Mathematical Intelligence" any more than there is "Blowing a Snot Rocket Intelligence" or "Masturbating Intelligence". Classification of skills is just an arbitrary construct that people have created. It's all just learning, and learning is just another skill.

Now, given two people with equal base knowledge starting studies in a new area, you might find one of them picks up the basics more easily than the other. This is where the danger of this stupid idea of separation of skills comes in. In our Western society that believes in such wrong headed ideas, the kid who struggles with the initial steps of the task will likely assume he's just not suited to learning that subject and give up entirely, while the other kid assumes he does have a "natural talent" and continues practicing. If they would both just continue to practice, they would both get equally far. If this were a marathon, the kid with so-called "natural talent" is really only one step ahead at the beginning. At the beginning of the race, that might seem like a huge advantage, but by the end of the race there is no accounting for it. It's all about the effort you put in.

[Formerly "capn_midnight". See some of my projects. Find me on twitter tumblr G+ Github.]


#19 SteveDeFacto   Banned   -  Reputation: 109

Posted 14 May 2011 - 02:37 PM



Henry still has an advantage because charisma is learnable.


Aspects of charisma can be learned however some aspects you are naturally born with and these aspects are your emotional intelligence. This mainly has to do with your ability to recognize and pickup on what others are feeling though subtle cues, the ability recognize your own emotional state and to control it, and lastly the ability to express yourself in a way that makes others like you. These things are not very easy to learn and for some they can be near impossible especially if they suffer from asperger's syndrome or simply didn't develop the foundation for these skills at a young enough age.


Not true at all, and you sound like a person who is just making excuses for themselves and why they're "doomed before they even begin". You certainly don't sound like a person who has done any reading on modern education psychology.

There is no such thing as naturally born talent, outside of the whole autistic savant thing, which comes with a pretty heavy trade-off. The idea that normal people are more naturally attuned to certain skills and subjects is a bullshit line popularized by western psychologists in the late 19th and early 20th century, based on nothing other than speculation. In cultures untainted by those Victorian era asshats, there is no concept of such division of skills, and average people perform relatively equally in all areas. You'll see a lot of teaching experts, stuck in their ways, STILL push the old lies that people have certain, specific ways in which they learn (visual, spatial, aural, etc) and that other forms cannot be adapted to, and that people who are strong in one area of subjects, say Art, are typically weak in other, opposed areas, say Science. There is no such thing as boundaries between skills! There is no such thing as "Emotional Intelligence" or "Mathematical Intelligence" any more than there is "Blowing a Snot Rocket Intelligence" or "Masturbating Intelligence". Classification of skills is just an arbitrary construct that people have created. It's all just learning, and learning is just another skill.

Now, given two people with equal base knowledge starting studies in a new area, you might find one of them picks up the basics more easily than the other. This is where the danger of this stupid idea of separation of skills comes in. In our Western society that believes in such wrong headed ideas, the kid who struggles with the initial steps of the task will likely assume he's just not suited to learning that subject and give up entirely, while the other kid assumes he does have a "natural talent" and continues practicing. If they would both just continue to practice, they would both get equally far. If this were a marathon, the kid with so-called "natural talent" is really only one step ahead at the beginning. At the beginning of the race, that might seem like a huge advantage, but by the end of the race there is no accounting for it. It's all about the effort you put in.


I know someone who is clinically diagnosed with asperger's syndrome and I'm going to tell you now he was completely unable to detect when I was becoming annoyed with him. I eventually locked him in the other room and ignored him for 2 hours until his dad came to pick him up. Yet even after that he never picked up on my irritation towards him and suggested that we hang out more often. He actually is very smart as well but he is completely unable to pick up on what others are thinking. If you are suggesting that he could become normal or above normal through training I'm seriously doubtful...

#20 Sean T. McBeth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1489

Posted 14 May 2011 - 02:51 PM

I know someone who is clinically diagnosed with asperger's syndrome and I'm going to tell you now he was completely unable to detect when I was becoming annoyed with him. I eventually locked him in the other room and ignored him for 2 hours until his dad came to pick him up. Yet even after that he never picked up on my irritation towards him and suggested that we hang out more often. He actually is very smart as well but he is completely unable to pick up on what others are thinking. If you are suggesting that he could become normal or above normal through training I'm seriously doubtful...

Oh come on, the dude has autism. You can't expect to use an autistic person as an example of what normal skill acquisition is like. No, I don't expect the handicapped to be capable of the same things as fit. I don't expect a paraplegic to ever run in the Olympics, no matter how hard they try. On the other hand, I don't expect a blind man to become a painter, but it does happen.

So what are you saying? Henry in your original scenario has a mental deficiency of some kind, rather than a skill deficiency? If that is the case, how does that at all prove that persuasive skills are somehow more "powerful" than academic skills? And you still haven't addressed the fact that your own arbitrary scenario tries to make John out to be a dolt, and yet he still manages to get shit done and change the world.
You say,
"[John] reaches out to his talented friends and co-workers who admire him and he persuades a few of them to join his company." -- That's just good management! A successful company depends on more than just the efforts of one person. Get over this fantasy that you can live in your head and all by your lonesome become a millionaire.
"Over the next few years John is able to make a profit..." -- yeah, because he's a good manager.
"...despite making many blunders..." -- that happens to everyone, nobody knows exactly what to do all the time. Henry blundered on how to get funding and how to manage people. A much bigger blunder than "didn't make the thing right the first time".
"...he was always able to find the necessary funding to cover them." -- now you're contradicting your own scenario. If the funding is covering up the losses, then he never made a profit. So which way do you want your contrived scenario to go?

[Formerly "capn_midnight". See some of my projects. Find me on twitter tumblr G+ Github.]





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