tips and tricks??
Howard Hodgkin, Americana, 1999-2001
This is a list of beliefs/habits/advice that work well for me:
Keeping mental inventory low
Generally, there should not be many things you’re “waiting on.” If you’re waiting on multiple replies before you can make a big decision with your life (did I get this job? Does this person want to date me?) I would suggest assuming the answer is no and moving onto the natural next step. If you’re waiting for something with a quick deadline it’s different (I find it out in three months which grad schools I get in) but waiting for amorphous (and especially amorphous low-probability things) can be ruinous.
It’s very common to subconsciously want to prolong the wait time. If you find yourself doing that, push for a quick response. You’ll feel better afterwards.
Be careful with your frame
People sometimes tell me that I seem self-assured. I think they’re referring to the fact that I try really hard to never drop my frame. This may because I spent a lot of time as a preteen reading PUA forums and researching cults and got spooked. I do think that women in particular are more sensitive to frame control (and are more likely to have it directed towards them). I was also very influenced something Noam Chomsky wrote (I think in Manufacturing Consent?) about how everything can be understood by “normal” smart people and anyone who tries to convince you that you should defer to their judgment is trying to pull the wool over your eyes.
To me, not dropping my frame means that I trust my intuition and decisions above anyone else’s. I ask for input, but I never give up responsibility completely to someone else (you go ahead and tell me what to do…).
Obviously part of life is deferring to other people’s judgment in lots of ways (like… I see a doctor! I trust scientists (sometimes) and lawyers (sometimes) and the person who cuts my hair (always)). But when it comes to personal, interpersonal, political, life decision-y things I prefer to trust my own reactions, and those of a couple close friends. I distrust anyone who encourages me to do the opposite and by default I assume they don’t have my best interests in mind.
Note: I don’t think people need to agree with me or approve of how I live. I disagree with other people’s decisions constantly, and I think feedback in both directions is good. But there’s a difference between “giving feedback because you care about someone” and “trying to control their frame for your own benefit.” I hate the latter.
I prefer not to manipulate people with environment. As in, I try to avoid situations that go something like, I know I can get X to say yes to Y in this particular setting by saying these particular words. I know people do this all the time, in work, on dates, whatever, but I personally prefer to ask for things in a neutral environment. I’m okay with asking repeatedly given that the person is open to being asked, but I am against coercion. I don’t want to feel like I have to do frame control for someone to agree with the thing I want.
Some people’s charisma is very environment dependent and I’ve always thought this is sort of a sham. I believe you should aim to be as compelling in a neutral environment when someone has no context on you as you are when all the odds are in your favor. I realize this may be an unrealistic goal.
Omitting information and lying is obviously a big part of manipulating environment. It’s good to avoid situations and relationships that can only persist because you’re creating an artificial environment by suppressing information. This is too hard to keep up and is unfair to both you and the other person.