Have you ever wished you were more outgoing, charismatic, or a better communicator? I’m super excited for this episode with Jordan Harbinger, a social dynamics expert who’s literally teaching people how to do just that while removing those masks of shyness and insecurity.
Jordan is the creator of the top-50, wildly popular podcast Art of Charm, which he’s been hosting now for over a decade! His company hosts powerful boot camps and training sessions for companies and individuals that want to learn the elements of emotional intelligence that will help them to become more persuasive, confident and charismatic.
You’ll learn what Jordan was like growing up (hint: he’s actually an introvert by nature and grew up very shy!) and he’ll also share the two things that keep people stuck when it comes to creating true connections.
Jordan also gives us some of his best tips for how to practice confidence and charisma, including a pretty cool exercise involving a doorway and post-it notes. He even delivers a beautiful rant about how we, as a community, can begin to cure the divisiveness that’s been spreading around the world and come together in a more unified way. This episode is both extremely practical and super inspiring and I know you’re going to absolutely love Jordan’s advice!
Check out the episode below:
In this episode, you’ll hear about things like…
- The psychology and science behind what holds you back from being your best self (and how to move past it).
- The competitive advantage you’ll gain in the marketplace by mastering your social skills (and the unique first step Jordan took to gain this for himself).
- Why introverts are often better with people than extroverts, but they need a little practice sometimes.
- Why body language is SO important and what things you should be aware of when interacting with others.
- How Jordan has been able to successfully shift his core-level identity to someone who is charismatic (after years of being shy and socially awkward).
- An interesting approach to reuniting people with different beliefs and political viewpoints.
Links from the interview:
- Jordan’s Website, The Art of Charm
- The Art of Charm Podcast
- The Art of Charm Episode 570: Susan Cain of Quiet Revolution
What do you think?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this episode. Do you consider yourself more introverted or extroverted? Are there any key takeaways that you’re looking forward to implementing? Leave a comment below and let’s chat. 🙂
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Thank you for listening!
TranscriptRead the Interview Transcription Here
Melyssa Griffin: Hey Jordan. Welcome to the show.
Jordan Harbinger: Hey, thanks for having me on.
Melyssa Griffin: Yeah, super excited. I was just talking to Jordan before this and saying that I wrote a blog post like four years ago after listening to one of his podcast, and excited to you actually have him here now and be able to chat with him. So I know that you teach charisma and social skills, and you help people really become their more outgoing, charismatic selves. Now I want to rewind a little bit and ask you, have you always been like this? Have you always been this outgoing, charismatic guy growing up?
Jordan Harbinger: No, it’s funny, I was really shy when I was a kid. I skipped a lot of school in middle school. I was just shy. I was like oh everyone is looking at me or I don’t want to be here. I just felt really uncomfortable in situations like that. It was weird. It was like dysfunctional at that level. It’s normal, you’re in middle school, everybody kind of feels like that. It was awful. I remember it being kind of like a life changing thing for me to shake some of that. When I got out of high school and then went to college – I had sort of through high school, I’d been coasting on some natural smarts to make it through school, and then college, I was able to outwork everyone because everybody was smart, but everybody was also just drinking a ton and partying. And then for me, I kind of still didn’t have that social stuff, that anxiety or whatever you want to call it – it was really weird because I remember meeting people and then being like oh you’re not strange or you’re not shy or you’re not quiet. I felt like yeah, I am. I’m like internally freaking out here. And then when I finally went and worked on Wall Street as a lawyer, after getting a law degree, I remember going like gosh, this is really hard. I’m still feeling a little bit of this. I’m a little bit better now than I was before, but now I can’t outwork everyone and everyone is smart. So what’s my competitive advantage? I started to feel that pressure again.
I realized that the same solution to being quiet or shy is also the same solution to finding a competitive advantage in a high performing environment like Wall Street, which is if you get really good at charisma, networking, personal relationships, professional relationships, you handle the anxiety thing, but also you end up with this competitive advantage because you can build relationships and bring in deals for the firm. So I decided okay, now I’m finally going to figure this out because the whole me turning into – when you’re in middle school, people go “oh it’s fine, you’ll outgrow it”. I was like no, it’s been freaking 15 years and I’m not outgrowing anything. I could wait this thing out until I die and that’ll fix it, but other than that, I need to figure out what’s going on here and it will be good for my career. So I just sort of decided I’m dedicating my life to this until it gets handled.
Melyssa Griffin: Right absolutely. So what was the first step when you were like okay I need to change something if I want to this to be my competitive advantage? How did you begin to become more charismatic?
Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, so at first I was like I need to learn how to say the right thing in order to start conversations. That was the idea that I had for the longest time. I thought how does* a conversation start. They start with first impressions and that is based on what you say. That turned out to be really wrong. So I went out every day and every night. I did as many social things as I could, and even went out alone a lot for a year. It was weird because I would go to a place like a restaurant and a bar and I’d be in this crowded place. I would find myself hiding in a corner and stuff like that. So I decided to short circuit a lot of my defense mechanism. So for example, the thing that I did when I found myself hiding at events and things like that, is I dressed up in a kangaroo suit for 10 days. I wore this kangaroo suit not with even a head on it, because that would be hiding in this mask. I took the head part off and I walked around in this kangaroo body. My friend owned this nice restaurant with a great bar. So he was like “Okay normally you can’t come in with that, but you’re cool, so just don’t be a weirdo.” I was like I think we’re well past that now having worn a kangaroo suit in here. So I wore the kangaroo suit. What that does is it makes it so you can’t hide, because if you sit by the bar with your drink and you’re not talking to anyone, people leave you alone. If you’re wearing a kangaroo suit, they will not. So I did things like that. I’m not recommending people go get a kangaroo suit, but what I am saying is you have to short circuit all these defense mechanisms. And so, I made huge lists of things like that, like oh I hide when I go out, or oh I don’t start conversations, or I don’t feel comfortable ordering a drink from the bar because they ignore me. So how do I fix all of these things? I just wrote down a lot of these perceived weaknesses and figured out a drill or exercise that would smash it, and then went and did it for like a month.
Melyssa Griffin: So I’m curious. It seems like it should be an easy thing. It’s like you see the things you’re doing wrong and then you see the result that you could have if you just kind of change your personality or change how you approach people a little bit, but there’s something in the middle that keeps us stuck. What do you feel like is the psychology there that holds us back from…?
Jordan Harbinger: Yeah the fear and the lack of accountability. I would say it’s fear and then since we have a lack of accountability, we can sort of rationalize our way out of it. So you can say “I’m not good with people”, and then you go “well I’m an introvert so I have a medical excuse for not networking”. It’s like no – new science especially – we had Susan Cain on the Art of Charm podcast. She wrote this book called, “The Quiet Power of Introverts”. Essentially, that showed that introverts are often better with people because they think what they’re going to say before they’re going to talk, they’re more considerate of people’s feelings, they observe situations and social dynamics better than somebody who’s just blabbing all the time. So we introverts, we don’t have a medical excuse. We’re actually as or more capable, we just don’t have as much practice. And so, you have to get the practice, or there’s something else where somebody goes, “Oh yeah, I know I need to network and get better at this stuff, but there’s no point in me talking with people who aren’t above my level. I only meet people who are above my level at the Christmas party so I only have to network at the Christmas party.” It’s like no, that’s like a baseball player saying, “I’m not going to practice pitching or hitting until we get to the World Series, then I’m going to start hitting.” It just doesn’t make any sense when you think about it like that.
There’s other people that go, “I think I was pretty social so I don’t really need to work on this stuff. There are other situations, but I’m really busy with my career.” It’s like okay cool and then when you go – these are the same people where if you told them I’m going to go to the gym – I was going to go to the gym, but I got fit so I’m going to stop going to the gym because I’m fit now, so I don’t have to do this anymore. It’s like okay. There’s people that were really good relationship builders and really good salespeople, and I sailed past all of them within a year or two because I had my foot on the gas and they were coasting. A lot of people think they can coast because they’re like oh I’m naturally good at this, and those are the same people that are in our classroom at age 40 because they go “I hired a kid three years ago and now he’s my boss.” It’s like yeah, that kid had his foot on the gas and you were thinking I’ve got my head down and I’m working, but I’m not working on the stuff I need to work on because I’m scared.
And so, that lack of accountability combined with that fear is a huge problem because people don’t move past what’s actually causing the issue, and then 20 years later, they’re like I’m trying to become the chief marketing officer and I keep getting people promoted around me. It’s like yeah, you don’t have – what got you here, won’t get you there and that’s a problem for you. Now you want to work on it, but you’re 5, 10 years behind, and now you’re paying the consequences. So a lot of people, they don’t think they need to work on this until the point comes at which it’s already too late. I don’t mean too late in that they can never do it, I just mean they lose a ton of time. We have a lot of people that come into Art of Charm programs and stuff like that, our live training or listening to the show, who are like I wish I found this 10 years ago because now A, B, C, D is happening and I’ve got to figure this out in order to fix that. You’re in trouble if you’re trying to fix a problem. You want to have the problem never crop up because you were prepared for the problem, not because oh crap, the kid I hired two years ago is now my boss. We see that a lot, or wow now I’m having relationship issues. Well yeah, you got to work on the stuff proactively. It’s easy to rationalize that you don’t need to. And so, that’s one of the major issues that people have.
The other issues people go, “Oh I’m trying to work on it, but I’m just so busy.” It’s like no, you just haven’t prioritized it. It’s understandable because if you don’t have drills and exercises like the stuff that I do for a living or that we offer on the podcast for free, you won’t do it because you’re not going to think I’ve got all these things that I need to work on, how do I systematically attack these. You’re like man, I got a stack of papers on my desk, I’m not going to freaking figure out how I can network better. I mean I got ish to do. Man, I got kids to take to school. I’m not trying to figure this out. We try to do the heavy lifting. I knew from my own experience, it’s really easy to go I should study for this exam or I should go and network or I should go do this, but there’s this other easier thing that also allows me to feel like I’m working on a problem. I’m just going to do that instead.
Melyssa Griffin: Wow, so much good advice right there. For people who are getting started with these concepts, who want to become more social and just better with people, when you take them and you kind of incubate them, what do you do with them? What are some of the first things that you work with them on?
Jordan Harbinger: Yeah it’s funny you should mention that. One of the first things we do in our live programs – I mean we have our podcast and stuff like that where we tell people to apply certain drills and exercises and have our interviews with other experts, but at our live programs, one of the first things we do is we videotape. We have an instructor crew of men and women. We videotape interactions with people, the students that walk in the door, and then we go over the tape.
Melyssa Griffin: Of the students?
Jordan Harbinger: Of the students interacting with the instructors. It’s fine because the reason we do that is because we want to be able to show people what they look like. And so, people who come in that might be really like “oh I don’t really need this, I’m really good at this stuff”, what’s great is we can go over the tape and they think they look one way but they don’t. If I tell them, “look you’re not smiling” and my instructor is like “yeah, your posture needs some work”, they’re like, “No man. I’m usually really good. It was just that one time.” If we videotape them, it’s like the first time you heard your voice on an answering machine and you’re like wait I sound like that, or the first video you saw of yourself and you’re like I look like crap, I’m never doing a video again – that kind of thing or you got this terrible lighting like I have right here. I’m going to turn this off. It’s not good for you, and for like the first second ,and then after that you can sort of curate what you want on there. So you can sound differently if you want to if you’re in a visual or auditory medium, you can change those things. And so, the video tape will take people down a peg if they come in with an ego issue that’s prohibiting them from developing. On the same token, if someone comes in and goes “I just don’t know if this is going to work for me”, they can also see themselves improving because we do the videotape and we iterate on it like 20 times. So if you’re doing this and you see yourself improving in real time, you can no longer tell yourself the story that you’re never going to be able to do this or that some people are naturally good at it and others aren’t, because you’re watching yourself improve in one day on video. If you come in thinking I’m awesome, and you watch other people who are deathly afraid get to the level you thought you were at in five hours, it’s pretty humbling, and then your mind is open for the rest of the week.
So the videotaping really does a huge amount of – it helps you develop a lot because you can’t lie to yourself. The tape no longer – the tape is not going to adjust its image of you to suit your ego or to make you feel better about yourself. It’s also not going to reassure the same story that you tell yourself if you’re negative, it’s going to show you exactly what’s on it. The tape doesn’t lie. So that’s one of the first things that we do at boot camp, because some people need to be boosted a little and some people need to be taken down a notch in order to be a little bit more in line with how they’re actually perceived. Because perceiving yourself poorly or too well, really it’s the same problem. It’s just a different place on that spectrum. A lot of people who think that they’re really good at something, it’s just as debilitating as it is if you think you’re really bad at that same thing and you’re not.
Melyssa Griffin: Yeah that’s a really interesting concept to videotape them. I like what you said about how you basically can’t lie to yourself anymore when you see yourself on camera, Yeah, that makes total sense. What about if somebody, maybe one of your students or someone listening, they feel like they’re kind of a socially awkward person but they want to become this more outgoing person. They walk into maybe a crowded room, maybe like a conference or a party and they see all of these people and they want to interact with them, but they don’t know where to start. Do they go find the person that they talked to yesterday? Do they find their friend that they have known for years, or do they try and just talk to some random people, or am I completely missing the mark here?
Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, there’s a couple of ways to handle this. It sorts of depends. There’s multiple strategies that you can put in place if you’re not sure who you want to talk to at a networking event or something like that. One of the things that I do if I don’t know anybody, is I will walk up to anyone who is standing alone. If there’s any kind of refreshments, that’s like the HQ for people who are also like where do I begin, and you can start talking with people there. I like to find somebody – I’ll just give you one strategy instead of multiple, that way it’s easier. Find somebody who’s standing alone or people that maybe look like they’re checking – they’re not sure what to do because there’s a lull in the conversation and they’re standing not just facing each other in some sort of closed thing, but in an open body language. You can go and start a conversation with them and say, “What brings you to this event?” That’s really easy because since it’s a networking event, you’re golden, or how’s the conference been for you so far – if you’re at one of those sort of mixers after the speakers are done. That stuff’s really easy. It doesn’t matter what you say because your first impression is made nonverbally anyway.
So the conversation starter can be pretty much anything. And then once you’ve got the person who’s not talking to anyone else, you can sort of wing men with them. So we love this strategy at the Art of Charm because basically what you can do is, grab that same person and if the conversation starts to die down a little bit because you’re talking, you can say, “Hey, why don’t we go and meet some of these other folks? What do you think?” They’re going to be like, “oh God, yes, I just don’t want to do the introduction part”, because that’s why they are alone in the first place. And so, one of the things that I’ll do is I will then make it the pretext for me going up and opening up another group of people, is introducing them to this other person that I’m with. So it’s harder for us generally, to go up and say “Hey, my name is Jordan. Sorry, you guys look like you’re at a networking event and I want to be in the middle of this conversation. So I’m going to be awkward and forceful and introduce myself.” That can work fine. I’m known to do that anyway, but it’s much easier if you’re walking around and you say, “Hey guys, I’m Jordan and this is my friend Melyssa.” Then it’s like “oh hi guys”. Now I’m basically telling myself that I’m here to introduce you to people. Presenting you to other people is somehow much easier than me trying to present myself, for many of us.
Melyssa Griffin: That almost seems like it puts you in a place of control, like you’re controlling a situation now versus being put in that place where you’re…
Jordan Harbinger: Sure, like please accept me, here I am. It’s like no, I’m introducing you to her. This is what’s happening right now, and they’re like “oh hi”. And then suddenly, we’re in this group of people. And so, you can – if I’m bored with Melyssa, I can leave her there with that group and go meet someone else. So that’s a great way to get rid of somebody who’s like “you’re the guy who I’m talking to”. Does that happen sometimes? Or we can just – I can pull people into the group, like if I see loners walking by, I can say, “Hey, how you doing? Come talk with us. This is a mixer. Let’s mix.” You can do something like that and they’re like “oh good”. Most people at a mixer are like, “Thank God someone is talking with me right now. I’m so glad someone is actually talking with me right now.”
Melyssa Griffin: Yeah. I like that advice because I feel like at the core of this communication, advice and style is including people like how can you find ways to actually make other people feel safer and more included in what you’re doing which is really…
Jordan Harbinger: Exactly. You want to include people, and the easiest people to include are the ones that go – they have this dialog in their head that goes, “Why am I even here? I knew I shouldn’t have come. I’m just going to have like one drink and then – oh good, they have some hors d’oeuvres because I’m kind of hungry. Where should I eat? In fact, should I just eat now. I know it’s 4:30 but this sucks. Oh my God, are people looking at me? I’m alone right now. Oh my gosh, let me get on my phone. I’m going to be on Instagram and then I’ll just leave because I showed up, but there’s no one here I want to meet anyway.” That’s what’s going on in their heads. I know this because that’s what’s going on in my head half the time, early on anyway. So if I go and grab that person and go, “Hey, what brings you here? How’s the conference for you so far?” Usually, and I remember how this felt back in the day when people did it with me, I was like “Thank God someone is here, because now, I don’t feel like such a tool.” So if you can provide that for other people and then you can sort of magnetize the folks in the room that are all feeling that, which is 90% of the room most of the time, you’re good. You’re good to go. It seems like other people are talking, but usually, they’re just talking with the person they flew in with who works for their company. They’re like, “Why are we at this mixer? We’re not mixing.” They don’t want to have to go on Instagram at the same time as everyone else. Most mixers and networking events are people on their phones because they don’t know what else to do, not because they’re doing anything urgent.
So I just assume that if someone’s on their phone not talking, they’re talking on a phone call – if they’re look at their phone, whatever it is, it’s not urgent. Because a lot of people go, “Oh what if they’re doing something on their phone?” They’re freaking not. They’re clicking like on their friend’s Instagram photos. They’re not like, “Hang on, I’m sending an important deal memo.” No, they’re at a mixer. There’s a 99% chance that what they’re doing is killing time. If they’re in the middle of an email, you could say, “no problem, I’ll wait” or “no problem, I’ll come back in a few minutes.” Half the time, they’re like, “No, no, no it’s cool. Send, oh good. Hey sorry, my name’s Jill.” That happens all the time because the reason they started that email, is because they were like “oh shoot, I look like a tool”. 90% of networking is trying not to look like a tool, and we want to fix that and make it more productive. Most of what’s happening at any mixer at any given time, is trying not to look like a total dipstick with no friends and no life.
Melyssa Griffin: Right, exactly. So I’ve heard you say that body language says more than verbal language. Can you tell us a little bit about that? What kind of body language should we be using?
Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. So this is a great place to sort of go to with this conversation as well. Body language, non-verbal communication is really the most important thing. Look, we’ve all seen those equations, like 99% of communication is body – whatever, those things are all wrong. The truth of the matter is non-verbal communication is the bulk of our communication. Why that’s important? Well first of all, if you don’t believe me, go to the mall or whenever you’re walking down the street, and then pay attention to what’s going on in your head. Usually it’s like tall person, short person, wow that person is really overweight, that car is cool, oh that’s a bright color, this person is attractive, did that person look at me, oh they’re cute, okay cool, oh look this person has a bright yellow shirt on. There’s always these judgments being made. We’re evolved to do that. So it’s not you being judgy, it’s just you’re evolved to do that. That’s where a lot of positive and negative assumptions come into play.
If you see somebody who’s 6’4” and a person of color and they have tattoos on their face, you’re probably not judging them in the same way that you’re judging the little old lady with a walker who’s trying to hold a cup of coffee at the same time. That’s normal. A lot of people say like “you shouldn’t do that, you shouldn’t feel that way”. No, that’s complete BS. You’re not supposed to turn off your biology. You’re supposed to be open minded to that impression changing, but you’re not supposed to turn that off and you can’t. Anybody who says they do, is doing at that PC* thing that we love to do nowadays. So if you find yourself listening to yourself, what’s going on in your brain, you know that your first impression and that of others is made non-verbally. And so, you want to have other people judge you favorably initially. The way that we do that is non-verbal. You don’t wait to hear what someone says to make that judgment, it just happens. So that means that what we do, the way we judge people is based on what they look like and not what they say. So we’ve got to make sure that we look like an open, approachable person who’s confident and positive every time we walk into a room.
The way that we do that is through what we call the doorway drill. This is an Art of Charm sort of trademark drill that we talk about here and there on the show, and very classic AOC drill. So if you’re not driving right now, if you stand up and you have your shoulders back, your chest up and your chin up, smile on your face. You don’t have to exaggerate because then you’re doing like this superman thing and it’s sort of silly, and you look really ridiculous. So you don’t have to exaggerate, just open, upright, positive, confident body language. This is a great first impression to make on other people. The problem is if we try to go okay great, I’ll stand up straight and have my chin up, chest up, shoulders back every time I go to a networking event. The problem is when you start talking, you start to shrink back into your usual, computer hunched over mode because that’s the default you have most of the time. So if you’re trying to talk and listen and be present in a conversation and micromanage your body language, you can’t do it. You end up coming across even more stiffly than you would if you just relaxed and had less favorable first impression non-verbally.
So we have to basically delegate this non-verbal impression from where it is now in our conscious brain to like okay stand up straight, shoulders back, make sure you’re paying attention. Crap, I wasn’t paying attention. What did they say? Wait, am I standing up straight still? You can’t do that. You have to delegate this non-verbal communication to your subconscious brain and the way that you do that is through habit. So how do we build a habit of standing upright, having open, approachable body language, or putting a smiling on your face? Do it every time you walk through a door. And so, hence the name doorway drill. So every time you walk through a door, you want to reset your body to that position; open, upright, positive, smiley, shoulders back, chest up, none of your arms crossed, none of this looking down stuff, smile on your face. It’s really easy. The problem is right after you listen to this or watch this, you’re going to walk through a door and be like oh crap, I forgot to do it, and then it’s going to go out the window.
So what I recommend is you grab a deck of, or a stack of post-it notes, those little yellow kinds or the bright pink ones that you get at the Dollar Store. Put those up at eye level in the door frame, not on the door because it’s usually open, but in the door frame. If the door is usually closed, you can put it on the door. Just at eye level, you don’t have to write anything on it. When you see that, it will break the autopilot pattern of just walking through a door and not even noticing it, because you’ll see “why is there a bright pink post-it”, oh right, upright, open, positive, confident body language. Do this at your office. Offices have post-its everywhere. Do it at your house. Do it in the bathroom you use all the time. You’ll find that you build this habit of resetting your body language. So what that does is next time you need to walk into a Starbucks and have a great non-verbal first impression because you should be making that anywhere all the time, or networking event, you don’t have to think turning it on now. It’s just happening because you have your open, upright, positive, confident body language. So what this does is it creates, that is your default non-verbal communication which changes the way that people make those initial judgments about you, about us. And so, when people have a different perception of us, namely that we’re open, positive, friendly, confident – whatever, they start to treat us differently. When they treat us differently, that does a couple things. One, it means we’ve successfully created a better non-verbal first impression. What it also does is it creates different behavior in us because we behave based on how we’re treated. It’s not the other way around. And so, what that good behavior does or that beneficial behavior does, is it creates different behavior in us which is more charismatic, outgoing, used to being treated like a friendly person and friendly, outgoing, charismatic person. You start to live into that, which then reinforces the cycle of having a good non-verbal first impression and having people treat you that way.
So I didn’t go from shy, quiet kid to I’m going to pretend I’m outgoing and it’s going to work. It was slow changes in other people’s perception of me over time and now my core level identity, who I am, has shifted. Now I can go on stage in front of thousands of people and I don’t feel nervous and cover it up really well, I just am not nervous and I’m interested in it, because I’m used to being treated like a broadcaster who’s on stage all the time in front of thousands of people or broadcasting to four million people. I’m used to that now. That’s who I am now. I’m no longer the shy kid. The shy kid was actually the mask. I don’t have an outgoing mask on. I had a shy mask on. I believe that’s true for everyone. It just looks like that’s who we are. If you really think that’s who you are at the core levels, a shy person, go find me a toddler who’s not like, “Why are you so fat? I’m going to play with this person now. I want to run around. I’m going to yell and scream and have fun.” You very rarely meet shy by nature kids. Even if you were that one in a thousand kid who’s just naturally shy and introverted and quiet, you still need to be able to use this skill set, because otherwise, you’re just being willfully ignorant of the secret game that’s being played around you. You’re purposely putting yourself at a disadvantage because you want to be comfortable.
So it’s career limiting. It can be limiting for your love life or if you’re single, it’s going to be limiting for your own kids because you’re not going to be able to teach them this stuff. So if you won’t do it for yourself, do it for your career and your team, or do it for your family, do it for your significant other and do it for your own mental health. There’s a lot of people that think I don’t need that or I don’t want to have to do that. You’re not immune to the consequences, you’re just ignoring them. I think if you get a nail stuck in your head, you’d pull that sucker out. When it comes to being shy or introverted or quiet or not having these skills, there’s a lot of people that want to be willfully ignorant because the alternative is uncomfortable, which if you lay it out like that, sounds pretty weak.
Melyssa Griffin: Wow, that was one of the most beautiful rants I’ve heard in the past month or so. Mic drop! That was awesome! It’s not a mask that you’re putting on. It’s just you’re becoming a better version of yourself and actually taking the mask off. I loved that comparison. So this is kind of an interesting question based off of the tragedies that just happened in Las Vegas and just a lot of the political stuff that’s been dividing our country lately. I feel like at the core of it, is that people do not want to communicate. They don’t want to talk to people who have these very different beliefs systems. Is there something we could be doing to have better communication with these people or maybe see them in a different way to communicate with them differently, with people who just believe something completely different than us?
Jordan Harbinger: Yeah I mean, I made it out an hour before that. I was in Vegas. I was at an event. I was the MC of an event, and I was tired so I went home early. Everybody went to the foundation room at Mandalay Bay afterwards and they were on the floor for eight hours because SWAT teams were clearing the building. So that…
Melyssa Griffin: Was it Thrive you were at?
Jordan Harbinger: Thrive, yeah. Yeah, Thrive 2017. And so, that was unnecessary excitement for a lot of the attendees there. I want to sort of separate how do we tolerate those who have different beliefs from how do we tolerate – because look, I’m intolerant of ISIS. I think we can all sort of be on that same page. I don’t think we need to tolerate some beliefs like that. I think that sometimes it comes down to communication, but definitely, the terrorism thing does not. That’s like a whole political movement. That has nothing to do with communication and belief tolerance no matter what some might have you believe. I think that it’s very tough for us to realize that other people have different beliefs that are as valid as our own. If you don’t believe me, you can look at any gun control debate. If you find yourself – I think the key for me is if I find myself reading something and thinking that person is an idiot because they believe that, you’ve already lost the battle. If I say something like this is because people can buy these crazy automatic weapons, they shouldn’t be able to do that and someone says, “Actually, we should be able to do that because then only criminals are going to have guns.” I’m an attorney. I’m looking for holes in that argument, and I find plenty by the way. If I go, “you’re just a redneck idiot”, then it’s over. There’s never going to be any further, closer, mutual understanding because of that. Even if we were able to legislate the crap out of the gun thing and it was harder to get stuff, that’s not going to make that person any more understanding. They’re just going to be pissed off at the government and the regulations.
So you do have to start thinking about where you are entrenched, where I am entrenched and go, “Why am I entrenched here? Why is this person wrong? Why do they think that way?” And so, a drill that I would give you is find yourself figuring out where you just go “this person is a moron” and then open up that door again. And then in your own head, you don’t have to do this with them because it might be too annoying. Argue their point against your own belief. If you do that enough, you’ll find – not only, will you find tons of holes in your own belief system, but you will find that you have a lot more empathy for that person. If someone says, “you’re going to hell because you’re wearing a sleeveless shirt”, you can start to go, “Okay, this person believes that because they have really strong religious convictions.” I’m going to pretend I have really strong religious convictions and this person is doing something bad and I have to justify that. You’re going to learn a lot more about that person. They might still be totally boneheaded in their perspective and you can still think that’s ridiculous, I’m obviously not going to go to hell for wearing a tank top, thank you very much. You will understand them a lot more, and chances are, you won’t think that they’re a complete and total waste of skin which is what you might have thought when they threw a stone from their church yard or whatever, or when they started ranting about gun control online. Because otherwise, you’re just closing the door to communication and we can’t do that if we hope to ever persuade. So realize that you can either be morally indignant or you can actually make progress, but you really can’t do both.
Melyssa Griffin: Oh yeah, I love that. That’s beautiful. Being able to argue for their side is such great advice.
Jordan Harbinger: You have to. It’s a very lawyerly exercise. Argue their side and then figure out what you’re going to say. Don’t just argue their side and go, “I’m going to rebut them with this.” Argue their side and really be zealous with it and find the real holes in your argument from their perspective. Don’t try to argue their side as you try to argue their side as them.
Melyssa Griffin: Right. One final question I ask all of my guests. What do you feel like people should do to live more meaningful, fulfilled lives? Oh man, that’s a – I like how you ask a really simple question for the wrap of the show here. The motto of the Art of Charm, one of them, is leave everything and everyone better than you found them. This can happen in really small ways. For example, if I go to get coffee right now because I woke up on the wrong side of the bed, hypothetically of course, then I might think okay this barista just needs to hurry up. I need to get back to work. I got bored. I got to go to the bathroom. What’s taking so long? Instead of that, I might say, “Alright, how can I make this person smile? Alright cool, my Uber driver, they’re probably bored right now. How can I make them laugh? I’ll tell them a funny story.” That’s a simple way of leaving everything and everyone better than you found them. A lot of people, they hear leave everything and everyone better than you found it, and they’re like okay I got to start a charity that helps feed stray dogs. It’s like okay, that’s going to take you a decade. If you just think how can you make small differences and you do that and you carry that throughout your day, that brings meaning to your life because you realize how important that is for them, and you can do that 100 times a day and it doesn’t cost you anything. It brings a lot of meaning into your life and frankly, it makes you feel selfishly. It makes you feel a lot better and then it gives you energy to do the other things that are the big things in your life. I think that is what creates meaning, is not just trying to look for it after you’ve won a gold medal in the Olympics, but making the cab driver – if you take a cab to the Olympics, smile, is a better way to look at it. You can line up 100 of those victories in a day or a week, but you can spend your whole life trying to get to the Olympics, and even if you do win gold in the off chance that that happens, you might find that you’re lacking meaning after that in the end. That’s a quick route to feeling pretty crappy about everything that you’ve tried to accomplish. If you’re miserable in pursuit of these big, noble goals, you are really – you’re taking the meaning out of those goals for yourself which really sucks. So try to get the small wins, and the small wins aren’t for you, they’re for other people which secretly is for you. So try to leave everything and everyone better than you found it. As sort of Pollyanna as that sounds, it works in a very self-serving way.
Melyssa Griffin: Yeah I love it. Alright Jordan, thank you so much. I appreciate you. Where can people find you? Real quick.
Jordan Harbinger: If you like this, the Art of Charm podcast is a great place to do this. I interview people, everyone from the CIA agent to tell you how to read people to Shaquille O’Neal to talk about how he makes decisions because he’s famous and can’t trust anyone. We’ve got all kinds of cool people in there from unknown scientists, all the way to celebrities. And so, the Art of Charm podcast. If you’re watching this on a website, just go to theartofcharm.com We’ve got all kinds of drills and exercises for people there. So have at it. Cool.
Melyssa Griffin: Awesome Jordan, you’re the best. Thank you so much.
Jordan Harbinger: Thanks Melyssa. Take care.