[00:00] About Jordan Harbinger
[03:47] About The Art of Charm
[05:47] About Nature Vs. Nurture
[10:19] Brain Reprogramming Techniques
[28:22] Body Language In Fit People
[35:20] Conversations With Athletes
[42:49] How Ben Overcame His Shyness
[49:26] End of the Podcast
Ben: Hey folks, it’s Ben Greenfield, and my guest today has spent many years abroad in Europe and the developing world including South America and Eastern Europe and the Middle East. He speaks several languages, he worked for various governments and NGOs overseas. He’s traveled through war zones, he’s even been kidnapped a couple of times, and as he’ll tell you, the only reason that he’s still alive and kicking is because of his ability to kind of talk his way into and out of just about any type of situation due to his high amount of body language and social confident skills that he’s kind of a ninja in, and he actually has an entire website devoted to social influence and interpersonal dynamics and social engineering over at theartofcharm.com.
His name is Jordan Harbinger, and I’ve actually been listening to some of his episodes over there, his podcast episodes over at theartofcharm.com, and he really has some fantastic advice to share. The reason I wanted to get him on The Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast is because I know that so many of you out there, working on your bodies and working on your fitness and eating healthy, but ultimately if you look good and you’re healthy, it doesn’t matter that much. You can’t carry out a conversation or have social confidence or be able to engage with folks on a dynamic level in social situations, and Jordan is really the expert when it comes to this stuff. So he’s going to fill us in on some of his biggest wins today. So Jordan, thanks so much for coming on the call.
Jordan: Hey, thanks for having me on, I appreciate it. It’s fun to be here on another podcast or show ’cause I know that a lot of people are like oh, I want to look at this website, but honestly, the podcast is what we’ve been doing for years, and it’s fun to be interviewed on other people’ shows, and I just have to remember to stop talking at some point. Otherwise, it turns into my show even though it’s in your feed.
Ben: You’ve had a podcast for a long time, haven’t you?
Jordan: Yes, seven-and-a-half years. It’s funny because back then, nobody gave a rat’s ass about podcasting, and it’s only kind of recently where most people in businesses are like oh wait, we’re not addressing this channel.
Ben: Yeah, exactly. I’ve been podcasting for, I guess about five-and-a-half years or so, and it’s been interesting to kind of see the evolution, especially you’re over in the self-help region of the iTunes-o-sphere, right?
Jordan: Yes, the currently number-one on self-help, depending on which trendy self-help person is published to pull up and aid someone to promote the crap out of their show, but yeah. Number-one or number-two depending on that situation.
Ben: Nice, and I’m over in the health and fitness, and it’s been amazing to see it go from literally, maybe a dozen shows to a dozen a day added. It’s amazing and a little bit dizzying to try and keep up with everything that’s going on in the world of podcasting. So for you, over at The Art of Charm and The Art of Charm Podcast, tell me a little bit about why you exist and what kind of things you help people with.
Jordan: Sure, so what essentially we do is teach, at The Art of Charm in our live programs and in some degree on our podcast is we teach men, and we focus on men. I’ll explain why in a little bit. We focus on teaching men confidence and emotional intelligence in essentially a very structured way that anybody can learn and master. So we teach emotional intelligence and advanced social skills in a teachable, relatable way, and that reason that is key and important, not just the social skills but the way that it’s taught is because most people listening right now go well, I think most people are born with social skills, or a lot of people are thinking oh, well you have it or you don’t. But the truth of the matter is it’s a nurture versus nature type of situation, and the key is that we’ve all grown up with people that had seemingly much more of this than others.
You know if you have a sister or brother, you might think well, they’re the one that was born with all of those. We were born in the same environment, but there’s distinct levels of feedback that people get that create that sort of beneficial pattern. Just like if you grow up with parents who are fit, you’re probably going to be more fit as an adult than somebody who grew up with parents who ate fast food everyday, and I don’t know where you stand on that, but that’s sort of how it works with social skills as well, and so what we do is we say, hey listen, guy-who-wants-to-take-either-his-relationships-that-work or with his love ones to another level or guys who are single. We want to create a space where you can learn these skills, and the other type of client we get is high-end, and this might be more your audience, high-end military special forces, entrepreneurs, intelligence agents that go wait a minute, there’s something out that that I don’t know that will give me a one-percent edge over other people or a five-percent edge or a ten-percent edge. Where is it and where do I sign up and how far do I have to travel to get it done?
Ben: Yeah, I want to talk about that ten-percent edge here in just a minute, but what you said about nature versus nurture is really interesting to me as well as about parents eating fast food versus not. I grew up in a household where pizza, hamburgers and fast food were the norm.
Jordan: Is that why you’re fat?
Ben: Salad was considered iceberg lettuce with some ranch dressing on it, and I was also a really, really shy kid, and my parents had to literally coax me out of my room when we would have company so that I’d put down whatever fantasy novel I happen to be reading and come out and say hello and make eye contact and then disappear back into my dark chamber, and it’s kind of been a journey for me in terms of really learning how to relate with people and how to carry on conversations, and I’ve even had to study things like body language books and things of that nature but I’m curious. Do you have techniques for shy people, or were you shy growing up? What kind of brought you into this whole nature versus nurture idea?
Jordan: Well essentially, what I thought growing up was oh man, there’s all these kids in there. So yes, I had massive social anxiety-slash-shyness as a kid, and it was weird because my dad’s outgoing. So I thought oh, there are some kids that are outgoing, there’s some kids that are not, but what I noticed about myself, I was always very self-aware. What I noticed about myself was if I was, say at a Boy Scout meeting to give you a hint of how big of a nerd I was, but if I was at like a Boy Scout meeting or something with all my friends, no girls, et cetera, I was fine. I was loud, outgoing, fun. Everybody’s like this guys great, and then in school I was like this completely introverted weirdo, and people who were in scouts with me were like why are you so different in school than you are in meeting or after school, at your house when we hang out? What’s the deal? I remember having friends for years that I never really hung out with at my house or at their house, and then one day, I’d be like hey, why don’t you come over after school? I got a new video game or something, and they’re like okay, cool.
So they would come over, and then they would go, “honestly, Jordan, I’ve never seen you like this before. You’re so silly and like hilarious, why don’t you do this at school?” And I’m like, I don’t know ’cause that was the true answer. I had no idea why, but looking back, it’s because of all kinds of different factors that I had manufactured in my head and external circumstances that I was interpreting in certain ways. It essentially comes down to belief systems, and so one of the core principles at The Art of Charm, and this is something that I’m sure you can relate to, as the fitness guy, is that your beliefs influence your actions which influence your results. So you can tell somebody you know what? You got to stop eating salad, or iceberg lettuce with ranch dressing on it, and you go okay, and then you tell them 500 other things to stop doing or to start doing to try to manually change their behaviors. And then after a week, you’re like how’s your new plan going? And they’re like man, I don’t even remember half the crap you told me. It’s too hard, and then they don’t do it and they can’t get there, right? But a guy who’s a good coach, I assume you do a little bit of this as well, and it sounds like from what you and I had discussed when you were on my show oh so long ago. But you tell somebody, hey listen, what you need to do, and I’m totally generalizing and this is not advice you gave on my show, but I’m just throwing this out there for the example. You can say what you need to do is reprogram your brain using A, B and C to realize that things that don’t necessarily taste great, but are good for you, are now the things that you prefer, right?
So you acquire a taste for beet juice, you know? You acquire a taste for things that don’t have fructose added. You tell yourself that high-fructose corn syrup actually tastes gross because it’s too sweet, and you reinforce that mindset by drinking things like beet juice or whatever that’s naturally sweetened, and you start to think oh, okay. This is the appropriate level of sweetness that I have, and whether or not you know this, Ben. This is probably happening in your brain when you start to change your diet, right? Now if I gave you a Coca Cola, you’d probably be like it kind of brings back some childhood deliciousness, but I’m not really into finishing this whole bottle ’cause it’s kind of gross, right? But if I gave you fresh juice with kale, beets and ginger, you might be like this is really good, but if I gave a kid who’s had Pepsi instead of water for the past three months of his life, if I give him that kale juice, he’s going to be like you guys are ridiculous, this is disgusting.
Ben: You talk about reprogramming your brain, is that something you’ve done to yourself or a technique that you use?
Jordan: Yes, this is what The Art of Charm is about, and it’s not being fake, it’s not trying to add layers onto your personality. It’s a subtractive process, so this is a huge concept here and I’ll sort of take it one piece at a time. Reprogramming your brain is not that tricky, it’s not self-hypnosis, it’s not tons of pilgrimages to Tibetan Mountains to talk to monks and meditate for ten days or ten years on end. What it is, it’s essentially the example that we gave before. If you want to reprogram your brain, say you have a fear that says going to parties and talking to people I don’t know is really awkward for me. Well what we would do at The Art of Charm is give you series of baby steps. That would be like alright, don’t go to parties and talk to random strangers, but when you go out this morning, I want you to smile at ten strangers, and that level of rejection should be scary-slash-awkward, but you’re not going to be stuck in a conversation with that person for three hours at a party, right? So once we get you past that type of exercise, we have several different levels where you engage in small talk with certain people. You try to get information about people, you try to notice things about people. You get into conversations with people who are essentially paid to talk with you like baristas and waitresses, and we roll you up gradients, and we can go up really high.
So guys who are a Green Beret or something might be like listen, I’m not getting anything out of talking to a waitress. Dude, I can do that, you know? I can talk to anybody, and we go oh, okay cool. Why don’t we go to a really intimidating environment, set it up in a really scary way for you, based on your personal weak points that we’ve observed over the last few days of our live training program. So we can tailor a situation that we’ll know will be just really outside your comfort zone, and we can push you through it over and over and over, and we will video tape you while in it and then we will show you the tape and figure out where you can. ‘Cause the thing is people’s body language, vocatinality and eye contact, people listening right now are going, yeah. Yeah, I’m pretty good at that stuff. You are when you are, but when you’re outside your comfort zone, when something is really intimidating, then you aren’t, and that’s where it’s actually important, right?
People go oh, I’m really good at body language during job interviews, and I’m fine. Wait, are you sure? Because you’re good with body language when you’re hanging out with your friends, but what about when there’s three multimillionaire law partners who have been in the game for forty years, staring at you from across a board room table, and you have to give a PowerPoint that moves the needle. Then how’s the body language? Then how’s your eye contact? Then how’s your vocatinality, especially when it’s not going well? And that’s where it counts, people think oh, I don’t need that. You know I have girls talking to me all the time if their single and their looking for girls, and their ego doesn’t want to quite let them admit that, and it’s like well, that’s fine. Why are you still single? Oh well they’re not the girls that I’m interested in, okay. Well then, how is your charismatic personal magnetism and presence, how is that when you’re around a bunch of women that you’re attracted to? Oh, well then it’s garbage. Well then come to The Art of Charm, for god’s sake. Stop telling yourself that you’re good at this stuff, and it’s the same thing with fitness. Oh, I’m in okay shape, well yeah.
You can walk down the block and get the mail, and if that’s the bar, then fine. But the numbers say you have high blood pressure and your cholesterol’s through the roof, let’s push the envelope, right? And you do that with yourself all the time, that’s why you’ve done all this ridiculous fitness stuff. If you just went you know what, I can run three miles and I’m totally fine, I’m a fitness expert now. That’s all fine and good, but it all depend on context and it depends on what you want. If you don’t have what you want, then it’s time to push yourself outside your comfort zone, and it’s not just the old cliché of growth happens and learning happens outside your comfort zone. It’s actually a real process and it’s something that I’d like to think we’ve kind of mastered at AOC, at The Art of Charm.
Ben: Ben Greenfield Fitness, one of the things that we like to do is dig into some of the brass tax, some of the nitty gritty like the industry in the trenches type of stuff, and you’ve hit on a few examples that I’d love to dig into in a little bit more detail with you. So if you don’t mind, can I throw a few examples at you and put you on the spot?
Jordan: Sure, sure. Please do.
Ben: So let’ say I’m a really fit guy, and I’ve been working out in the gym. I’ve got a nice body, and I think that that’s all there is to getting people to respect me, to look at me, to kind of command that success that I desire. And yet, I’m standing, let’s say at the coffee shop, you know? In line, and I want to strike up a conversation with a barista, but I’m simply too shy or I don’t feel like I can use that confidence that I have in my body to actually be able to translate it into social braces. So what would you do with someone like that who is fit but doesn’t have the actual social confidence?
Jordan: Right, perfect example, and this goes back to beliefs, influence, actions which influence results, and sort of at an intuitive level as humans, we all kind of get this at some level, so for example I might ask, and this might not be you in particular, but there’s a lot of people listening, and the reason that they’re so into fitness is because whether they still wanted to or not, at some point, they wanted to be really fit so that they would be more attractive. They were not thinking you know, this is great for my longevity, it’s really going to make my clothes fit nicer. I’m going to feel so good in the morning. They were like if I get a six-pack, I would probably get the girls I want. Dot-dot-dot, profit, right? They didn’t know what that even meant, but they thought big muscles, cavemen and girls’ equal reproduction and survival values.
At some levels, subconsciously or consciously, that was happening, and I know this because I was in college and I was like if I keep getting bigger, I’ll keep getting more secure with myself which means dot-dot-dot girlfriend, right? And that didn’t work, I got enormous. I was like a two hundred and nine-pound bodybuilder. Three years before that was one forty-five, alright? So that’s how much weight I gained over that period of time, and sixty pounds over two or three years. And guess what, my level of self-confidence didn’t go up that much because I wasn’t changing my belief systems. I was actually just trying to change my behaviors-slash-appearance. So what you look at when you look at a client or a student at The Art of Charm that comes in as super fit but isn’t getting the results they want, as you start to go, why did you get into fitness? And it’s usually the reason I just mentioned, right? But now there’s a bunch of side benefits that they really love, they’re really interested in that. It becomes a hobby and a passion which is great.
Some people are passionate about drinking, it’s not as healthy as running or whatever, right? So you look at that and you think okay, well the reason that this hasn’t fixed the problem, it’s like gold medalist syndrome for the Olympians. They go through their whole life training to be the best at pole vaulting, and then they win the gold and then they’re like oh crap, that’s it. I’m at the top, and now my life hasn’t magically turned into this dream fantasy. It was great for a three-month period, but now I’m back to my old self and I have nothing left to achieve. I’m the best in the world at this, but no one cares anymore, and that’s a big problem. A lot of them go into depression, substance abuse et cetera, and we end up with a very, sort of mild version of that when we’re getting really fit and we think it’s going to change our results with something and yet it doesn’t, and we might see market improvement. Like wow, girls are checking me out left and right, girls are smiling at me, girls are flirting with me, but now I just don’t know what to do. This is going to change radically, and it’s the same concept for women. They get really fit and I lost all this weight, and now guys are flirting with me, but I’m not any better at managing relationships. I don’t feel any differently about myself, and that’s because the mindsets have not changed. So for a guy in that position, it would be really easy for me on the show to go well, you should just start smiling and talking with people and put yourself out there, but that’s all clichéd advice, that’s not real. It’s what fake dating coaches say or matchmakers when they don’t really know how to solve the problem. It’s so that they can blame the client, and it’s not realistic. And I know this because I was that guy who was jacked going why don’t I meet girls? And I had men, women and experts, so-called “experts”, giving me advice. It was like man, you just got to go up and talk to people, you know? Just put yourself out there, and it’s like no, that’s terrifying.
I’m not freaking doing that, or I am doing that, but all of my rabid insecurities, which are what caused me to become super fit body builder guy in the first place shine through after ten minutes, and it’s not really useful, you know? Why am I super strong fit guy, but every time I go out with a girl, I can tell after half an hour she’s like I want to go home and I never see her again, what’s the deal? And that’s a mindset issue, and so what we would do is we would have to take a really good introspective look at why your mindsets are the way they are, and we would want to put you through those baby steps that I mentioned before, and they’d be totally tailored depending on what your issues are because we need to remove the blind spot, and we need to shine a light on it and then we need to sow you exactly how to fix it and we need to help you take those first few steps. So if we’re looking at hey, Jordan, we don’t care, that’s all fun and good. We understand how that’s how the process works, but we want practical advice now. Okay, I totally get it, so I’m going there. What you would do if you were that muscly-fit dude, and I guess fit and muscly aren’t the same thing, but humor me.
Ben: Yeah, we get the idea.
Jordan: Yeah, you’re going through, and you’re like this waitress smiles at me all the time or this girl at work smiles at me all the time, but I don’t really know what to do. Your problem is not what to do in this particular girl, your problem is you don’t know how to handle this situation in general because this, again another principle at The Art of Charm, how you do anything is how you do everything. And so what we mean by that is you might have a special unique situation or so you think, but really it’s only appearing that way because you don’t have enough experience to show otherwise. So in rather than trying to figure out how to situationally and strategically approach this one special person at work or at the bar or whatever, you need to work on how you do that with everybody. And so what I would say is there’s a few things depending on, again this is such a broad subject but say you have trouble making eye contact. The reason is a belief system thing. It’s a confidence level thing, but the way that we would change the action which would temporarily change the results, and hopefully lead to positive feedback and reinforcement from the external parties that would help you change the belief system. Here’s a simple drill.
For example if you’re having trouble making eye contact, which is one of my huge issues that I have with a lot of guys coming in to AOC and also just something I had when I was younger is look at people in the eye just long enough to notice their eye color. And what this drill does, and do this for two weeks, and this is some sort of arbitrary time period because what I’m trying to get you to do is develop the habit of doing this. If you look at people long enough to notice their eye color. Unfortunately you’re not present at that moment because you’re focusing on their eye color, but what it does is it gets you to “fake it until you make it”. Where you’re looking at them just long enough to notice their eye color. You’re not thinking oh my god, they’re looking right at my eyes. It’s too awkward, it’s too pressing, you know? It’s too forward. You’re at least noticing their eye contact, but you’re not being creepy eye contact guy where you’re like I’m working on my eye contact, and I’m not breaking eye contact and the woman’s like reaching for the shotgun under the counter because you’re freaking her out, right? She’s like dialing 9-1-1 underneath the table on her cellphone, wondering when you’re going to pounce. It’s not like that, it’s a really, sort of arbitrary time period that once you notice the eye color, you can look away all you want, and most people feel a sense of relief when you do that, but what this does is it gets you used to looking people in the eye as a habit.
Now this doesn’t change the belief system, it does change your physiology, and what we also know at The Art of Charm is that the mind follows the body and the body follows the mind. So we can work a lot on physiology, it’s not the answer, but what physiology changes do is they change your mindsets slowly, but surely. And what they will also do is then they will change the results temporarily, so if you look at behavior with an arrow pointed. If we had a diagram, it would be behavior, arrow, actions, arrow, and results. You know, left to right? And if we have the actions changing, that will change the results which will then change the behavior. It’s almost like a circular cycle, and then eventually changing the mindsets due to that feedback that oh, when I look people in the eye, they don’t reject me or they don’t feel like it’s weird or whatever weird belief system you had that was preventing you from doing that before will start to erode because the evidence to show that belief was false is starting to present itself everyday.
Ben: What are some of the best social situations that you would take someone into to have them practice that simple eye trick that you just talked about or any other methods that you teach, you know? If someone wanted to go out and start to build that extreme social confidence and put themselves into situations where they were immersed in that type of pressure. Obviously, you know, I think the number one thing that a lot of people would think of would be like go into a bar or a club, but I would imagine there are other situations that you would encourage folks to put themselves into.
Jordan: Yeah, there definitely are. Again, it depends heavily on the client. If we’ve got a boot camp filled with younger guys that are trying to get better jobs and they’re starting off in their careers, we might say okay. Well what you need to do is sell me on why you should be here or why should I give you a job, and it might be a drill or an exercise, but we would be videotaping it and we’d be particularly hard on them, and they don’t really know when the drill begins or ends a lot of the time, which is really fun ’cause it’s kind of like yeah. Knock it off, this is crap. Get to the point, you know? You’ll be like oh, Jordan’s mean, but we watch them just break down and we go hey, listen. When this happens, you need to ground yourself again using the principles that we taught in the beginning, make better eye contacts which is what we taught you before. Here’s how you do it, etcetera, but if we get a guy who’s like a Green Beret and he’s like yeah, yeah, yeah. I just spend three months in Fallujah. That’s not grilling him and talking to him, and in not so nice ways. I’m not going to do the trick, right?
Because he’s drinking drill sergeant, life and death, sniper fire. I can’t just be like you get over here right now ’cause he’s going to be like I could kill you with a credit card. SO we would take them into a situation that they’re not used to, so we might go why, I have an idea. Why don’t we go to a really swanky lounge and make sure that you’re not really dressed appropriately and make sure that we get there late so it’s really crowded and hot, and then we’re going to put you into the frying pan and then we’re going to ask you to complete a series of drills or missions, and then we’re going to see how your body language composure, charisma, eye contact, vocatinality, hold up to that. Because what you find is guys like Navy SEALs and intelligence agency are like these smooth bastards in every situation. You throw them around some four-foot-five, super cute girl, and they just melt, because they’re not used to it. They’re used to a bunch of dudes and maybe like what’s that director, like explosions behind you, walking away slowly.
Ben: Yup, exactly like Tom Cruise sprinting from the explosion.
Jordan: Right, like Pearl Harbor.
Ben: What kind of drill or mission would you actually throw at someone in this kind of situation?
Jordan: It can be really simple, it can actually be something like alright, you’re going to go in here, and you’re going to go and talk to five people. You’re going to find out where they work, what they’re doing here, whether or not they know anyone, who they’re here with. Super simple stuff and that’s really easy. If you ask me to do that and we were at Starbucks, I just turn to the person behind me and go hey man, are you from around here? Do you know a blah? And I just start asking questions and it would be totally fun, totally normal. If you ask me to do this and we were in Cambodia and everybody had tattoos in their face, I might be a little more apprehensive about the situation, right? So we would tailor it, pretty much towards your specific weak points as our student, and that’s why I keep our boot camp small because we will take you to places where we know you’re not going to hold up. That is the beauty of the program because you only grow when you’re pushed way outside your comfort zone. Especially if you’ve already been doing that with yourself, which I’d imagine a lot of people listening have been really pushing themselves. They’re the dudes who wear the weight vest to the grocery store ’cause kids in groceries aren’t heavy enough, right, Ben?
You know who you are, so we have to take those guys and take those guys and step it up a notch, but there might be also guys like listen. This is all fine and good, but I’m a computer programmer and I run on the weekend. That’s going to be way too much for me. We will scale it down and we will make sure it works for you because there’s no point in having you curl up and do the fetal position in the curling up of the bar and not doing anything for the next five hours.
Ben: Right, it’s not just the weighted vest, by the way, now, it’s also the elevation training mask that you wear at the grocery store.
Jordan: Oh that’s right. That’s right.
Ben: Basically Bane from Batman, shopping for kale.
Jordan: Right, yeah. Well don’t try to walk into a bank with that. I was jogging with my elevation mask. It was like the first time that I used it, and I was like oh, I need to get some cash, and I walked in there and everybody’s bee hole clenched up so tight ’cause I was locking in there with this mask with valves on it, and then I was like oh, hey everybody. ‘Cause I realized they couldn’t hear me, so I took it off and they were like, right? And I was thinking, you know I’m lucky I didn’t get shot right now, probably, because anytime you walk into a mass with something covering your face. They’re just, I don’t like it, especially in a big city.
Ben: Yeah, I got it. So I do want to share with people ow I went from being ultra-shy and reading fantasy novels to really getting a lot more into talking to people and eventually becoming relatively influential in health and in fitness and kind of helping to change people’s lives, but before I share, kind of what I ended up doing, what I’d like to hear a little bit about is this body language thing, especially when it comes to fit people. Do you see fit people, especially folks who have nice bodies who have obviously have worked hard to achieve physical fitness, do you notice them making specific body language mistakes? Or do you see body language patterns from people that might be holding them back from social success or just the ability to get along well with other people?
Jordan: Oh, it’s such a good question. Thank you for asking me that, that’s actually an awesome question and the answer is yes, absolutely. I know one of the things that you’re big on are very big specific detail, and I can give some drills and stuff that apply across the board towards the end of the show, so don’t let me forget ’cause I don’t want people to be like wah, all he said was that it depends on the client. Screw, Jordan Harbinger, but yes. I do see very specific mistakes that guys who are really good with their physiology, and especially with their physique, make. And the reason is again, it goes back to the belief systems, so a lot of guys are like I need to be super fit and maybe they’re like the body builder guys, especially guys who pride themselves on building themselves upwards. They do this, and it’s because they started doing that for whatever reason, right?
Some sort of reason of inferiority or wanting to be on top of their game when it comes to that, what they’ll do when it comes to a high-pressure situation or where they feel like they need to make a “great first impression” is they will puff themselves up even more, and the problem is that causes weird unnatural movements that women look at and go uh, okay meat head, right? Guys who are trained will notice this, too, with guys who aren’t trained. Guys who are just aware will notice that too, so I might be with a bunch of my buddies who are really fit, really buff dudes or fitness models or something, and we’ll be hanging out, having fun. They’re moving a certain way, I noticed the way people move. It something that I’ve trained myself to look for, and especially when I used to do martial arts, and so then when we go and we meet girls, they’re walking around and their arms are swinging out a little bit more. Their chest is puffed up, and they might have some confident body language, but they take it just a notch too far. It’s just like a five-percent hey man, tone it down, kind of thing, and the problem there is that they’re screening in the wrong type of people when they’re doing that, and furthermore, people who are very aware of body language, which first of all, women are about twenty times better at reading non-verbal cues than men are, and this is just an evolutionary psychology thing because they physically can’t protect themselves as well as men can, so they needed to “evolve” to be able to spot threats much better. So they’ll look at that and they’ll go this guy’s overcompensating, there’s an insecurity there somewhere, not sure what’s going on.
The other thing is a lot of times guys who are very, very fit and very, very good physically might be very, very uncomfortable in certain regular “situations” with regular clothes and regular social beings and regular people that aren’t into the same hobbies and beliefs that they have. So the problem that it causes is then they will start to climb up a little bit and get a little bit nervous, this isn’t just for fit people, I suppose this melts over into everybody, but they’ll start to get nervous. And here’s the thing. When you are nervous or whatever emotional state you’re in, people, especially females who are again much more adapt and much more aware, will start to unconsciously or subconsciously mirror you a little bit. So if I have nervous body language, because I’m nervous and I’m talking with somebody and she starts to get nervous. Because she’s mirroring me, she’ll mirror my state, right? It’s something we all do as humans. She’ll start to feel a little bit nervous, and instead of going oh, I’m probably nervous because he’s nervous and I’m subconsciously mirroring him. She just goes oh, this guy’s making me feel nervous, and I don’t like it. I have to go to the bathroom, bye.
That’s what happens, and it’s subconscious for most of us, and there’s women right now that are going um, maybe that happens, and there’s another one missing that are like yes, oh my god, that happens to me like every day I go out and every Friday when I go out. That happens every time. So guys who are doing that, what we have to do is train ourselves not to be nervous, but what we try to do, especially guys that are very physically aware, like athletes, they try to “not nervous” which makes you look really weird. Because that acting not nervous is just you being nervous, only you’re adding a weird layer of I’m really confident right now, I guess, on top of that whole thing, which comes across as really janky and disjointed, and what that does is causes people to go huh, there’s something weird going on with this guy and I’m not sure what it is, but it’s making me feel strange, so I’m not sure I trust him. And that’s not where you want to be when you’re trying to make new friends, network or get dates, right?
Ben: So the whole thing with sticking the chest out or folding the arms across the chest or figuring out a way to kind of make your body talk for itself is not a good idea?
Jordan: It’s generally not that great of an idea to do it manually. Again, you’re changing the actions which are changing the results, but you’re not changing the belief systems but the belief systems are where it’s at. That’s the juice because if you change the belief system to be I am confident and at ease in these situations, through exposure therapy like what we do with AOC. If we repeat at practice, etcetera, things like that. If you worked at a bar once and now you’re physically confident, you probably don’t get nervous at bars because you’re used to that situation, but if you’re trying to do it manually, you’re leaving it up to other people’s subconscious interpretation of how you feel. So does that make sense? So what you’re doing is you’re saying alright, I want to look like I’m tough and I’m in charge, so you’re crossing your arms and you know you’re standing there with your chest puffed out, and people are going wow. That guy looks really angry, but you’re like no, I’m just confident, but it doesn’t matter.
People interpret you and experience you through their emotional state and through yours. So if you’re emotional state is I’m a little nervous, but I’m trying to look confident. What they see is that guys edgy, that guy’s anxious, and he looks like he might be a little bit angry. And so you have to manage that, the best way to do that is to have your belief systems in order because if you’re walking around and you’re thinking, you know, this is cool. It’s just another day at this bar that I go to everyday after work for a drink. Happy Hour, it’s fun. You’re probably smiling, you’re relaxed. It would be really tough for somebody to go that guy’s angry. No, you’re clearly not, but you still look confident. You’re just not trying to look confident, you just are.
Ben: Got it, so what about when we walk into a room, when we walk into, you know? We’ve got people like triathletes and marathoners and cyclist listening as well. We walk into some kind of a race function or show up at an event, we go to a party. What are some of the biggest tips that you have for folks to actually engage in intelligent conversation in these kind of situations and not just basically be that person who is the boring surface conversationalist. Do you have a few, kind of practical tips that you’d give to folks?
Jordan: Yeah, definitely, also a good question, it’s almost like you’ve done this before. So what I would say is there’s a couple. I’ll start by talking about, it’s funny ’cause I just said don’t try to look confident. I’m going to start off by breaking that rule right now. When you walk into any doorway, one of the greatest ways to make a first impression and sort of to back it up a little bit. People’s first impressions are not created when we want them to be, so what this means is say I’m a cyclist, which I kind of which I were and I just got an awesome bite and I’m stoked on it, right? I’m looking at it right now.
Say I walk into a party that you’re having, and I’m looking around and I see pretty much nobody that I know, and I’m hoping that there’s a bunch of friends there that they’re going to show up later, but I’m walking around and I’m thinking I’ll just kill time until Ben and Abel or whatever gets here ’cause I don’t know these folks. They all look like they know each other or whatever sort of excuse I’m telling myself to not engage, and I’m like I’m just going to go to the bar first and grab a quick beer and then maybe I’ll check out the hor d’oeuvres and then I’m going to go wash my hands and then I’m going to go check my phone somewhere, and then I want to go up and talk to a few random strangers because I get a text from you, and you’re like yo man, I’m really running late, like forty-five minutes. So we’ll see you when we get there, and now I’m thinking crap, now I’m just going to stand there.
Alright, I’m going to go talk to strangers. I don’t really want to do it, but I’m going to. And then now I walk up to a group, now I’m not necessarily the guy, especially if I’m trying to talk to say the members of the opposite sex or somebody that I’m trying to engage with on that level. My first impression is not made when I’m like hey, I’m Jordan, nice to meet you guys or whatever I start the conversation with. My first impression was made when I was walking around, checking my phone, getting a beer, washing my hands, standing on the balcony, pretending to admire the view, but clearly just kind of awkward. That was my first impression, so it’s when you become a blunt part of it.
Ben: You mean that was the first impression that you made on everyone else in the room?
Jordan: Yes, exactly. That was the first impression, so the first impression is made when you become a blimp on their radar, and that’s a key distinction because to take it sort of to the extreme, guys will walk into a bar, and they’re like let’s go get some girls, bro. Right, so they walk down there, and they’re like oh, there’s a lot of girls here. I’m kind f freaked out. Yeah, let’s go get some shots, let’s do some drinking, and then let’s hang out in the corner and pretend like we’re talking about sports and then pretend like we’re watching the basketball game, until the alcohol kicks in, and then the booze kicks in and then they walk up to a group of girls and then they’re like hey guys, what’s up?
That’s not your first impression, your first impression was you being a wiener in the corner for forty-five minutes, and guys don’t get that. That’s really a big problem because then you go woah, women only want guys with money. You start to fill in the blanks with whatever weird excuse you have, for that not working out for you. When the truth is you just made a crap first impression, and it was totally manageable. You just didn’t know when that window was, so you missed it by an hour, right? And so when you’re walking into those types of environments, realize your first impression is made when you become a blimp on their radar. If you are walking in the door and people are facing the door, how do you look when you’re standing in the door taking your coat off is your first impression that you’re making on everybody looking at you at that point.
So what we do at AOC is we say listen, straighten up your body language anytime you walk through the doorway. It’s a great way to fix a habit and make a habit work, and so we don’t mean puff your chest out and start walking with your arms swayed out like Mark Wahlberg walking away from explosion or Tom Cruise or whatever, walking away from explosion. I mean just smile, head up, chin up, and shoulders up, shoulders back. It’s pretty easy, just don’t slouch. How’s that? Don’t slouch. Don’t slouch, put a smile on your face, that’s it. It’s a really low bar because when people aren’t watching, or when we think people aren’t watching, that most of us, we’d look like crap. We’re picking our nose and stuff, then you know who you are. You know what I mean? You’re doing all kinds of stuff.
Ben: You’re that guy with the weighted vest and the altitude training mask, and picking your nose.
Jordan: Yeah, like hey, I know that’s my neighbor over there with the weighted vest and a bunch of kids. Is that a Batman castle, what is that thing? Yeah, you’re making that first impression, and so it’s fine to do that. It’s fine to change your physiology manually. I recommend doing it, but don’t rely on it to change your results. So once you do that, so straighten up when you go through doorways. Also, people have a way of talking themselves out of talking to strangers. They’ll go oh well, you know? Those people look busy, and I’m kind of thirsty and I should probably wash my hands when I go to the bathroom, and I’m going to go scope out the venue and see what hor d’oeuvres they have. That type of thing, that sharking thing, especially if guys are out looking for girls, this is what they do, and I know there’s women listening, so I’ll keep it general. They’re sharking around, walking around. Really what you’re doing, and let’s admit it. You’re looking at everybody going who’s going to be somebody that looks like I can maybe go talk to them? Who am I looking at right now that doesn’t scare me or intimidate me?
And what you’re doing is you’re talking yourself out of talking to everybody, and you’re going oh, well those people look busy. They’re like laughing and having fun, they probably know each other. Oh, there’s a group over there. They look too serious, I don’t really want to get involved in that. What about those people? Oh, I think they’re foreign and they’re speaking another language. I don’t want to interrupt them. That would be annoying for them or something like that, and we all make these excuses, really almost subconsciously in the back of our head, and then we decide to believe them. So the way to short circuit that process is to walk up to people having no idea what you’re going to say. Don’t think about it, don’t think about who to go talk to. We call it the two snaps rule, and essentially if you’re thinking about talking to somebody longer than this, then it’s too long. That was two fingers snapping twice, for those of you with crappy headphones, and so that’s too long. So what you do is you walk in, you straighten up your body language, you put a smile on your face, you see people directly in front of you. You go hey man, how’s it going. It doesn’t matter, you can even say I like salad, and it’s totally fine. It doesn’t matter, right?
Ben: I like kale smoothies and ginger juice.
Jordan: I like kale smoothies, do you have an altitude training mask? I mean honestly, it’s still better than walking around for forty-five minutes, pretending to text somebody urgently while playing candy crush instead of being social. Yeah, that’s a great practical tale. I mean from that two-snap tip to the looking at the eye color tip to kind of immersing yourself in these social situations. You’ve got a lot of practical things here, and again, the website is theartofcharm.com. So you can check out some of Jordan’s, basically what he does with folks. He works with students, he works with clients, he’s got a whole system over there for teaching you a lot of these tools, and one of the things that I mentioned that I wanted to share with folks and wanted to bounce off you, Jordan, and kind of hear your thoughts on to kind of finish up was how I ended up kind of getting myself out of that shyness mode, and for me it seems counter-intuitive, but it involved putting myself right out in the limelight and becoming involved with speech and debate and public speaking.
In high school, my parents put me in a speech and debate class in which I had to get up and give talks in front of a classroom, and then from there, I joined the speech and debate team in college and spent a couple of years on that. And by the time I’d really gotten used to speaking on stage in front of lots and lots of people, I gradually began to be able to get better at one-on-one conversations. But for me, I started with the one to many, and I was actually more comfortable with that than one-on-one or group situations or parties or things of that nature, and it wasn’t until several years later when I read the book. I think it’s called “The Power of the Introvert”, something along those lines. I don’t remember the exact name of the book, do you know the book I’m talking about.
Jordan: I do not.
Ben: Okay, it basically a book about how introverts often thrive in situations where they are, in a one-to-many type of situation, and that could be speaking on stage, speech or debate, you know? Whatever, but it’s basically you in front of a lot of people, and for me, that ended up being my avenue to actually hone my social skills and get comfortable speaking with people one-on-one. So that was my trick was I just started putting myself into situations where I had to present the folks, and now I’m doing a lot of it just on a podcast, on a microphone in a one-to-many, but that’s was what I used, and I was curious if you’ve ever kind of seen that type of method work, putting people in situations where they just have to be in the limelight in front of a bunch of people and then using that to build social confidence?
Jordan: Oh absolutely, I mean that’s something that is very common, and a lot of guys will say like oh, I don’t need AOC. I’m taking toast masters or something like that, and that’s great. I just want to make sure that I really clarify that what we were doing at The Art of Charm is not necessarily rudimentary social skills. A lot of people are like oh, I’m just fine in a room. I don’t need these tips. What we’re doing, that’s the low bar, and we’ll do that in class, but what we also do is the elite level. Like the guys who come in from the central intelligence agency, they don’t need help chit chatting with people at a bar. They need the very nuanced how-to-be-confident-in-terms-of-getting-people-to-like-and-trust-you super, super fast.
One of the guys that I recently interviewed and that I worked with and I can’t really say too much about it, but he’s the director of the FBI Behavioral Analysis Program, and essentially their job is to recruit spies inside the United States from foreign diplomats, and let’s just say that we’re on the same page on a lot of things and talk about a lot of things. So that’s sort of the level where AOC goes to, but I think your way, in terms of getting over shyness, that’s excellent. A lot of people can’t start there, and I definitely don’t think people should end there. There’s other things that happen that you may or may not even realize as a result of you speaking on stage. That then combined to make you comfortable speaking with others and relating to others, and there’s also a bunch of other things that were probably already in place that made you just find in personal relationships. I would imagine at the point at which you were, shy and introverted, and correct me if I’m wrong, honestly, but you probably had some good friends in decent relationships with your close family and friends. You were just crap with new people.
Yup, that and one of those guys who had a very small number of very close friends, and not a large social circle. Right, so you can imagine the situation for you would’ve been totally different if you had that shyness and also you didn’t have that many friends. Either because you didn’t connect well with people or because you lived in Zaire and all of your friends were a different culture and you have no way to meet them or because you moved to Germany or because you worked in a new company and you were the youngest person there or because your job was something really intense that required you to connect with people, like sales. You know what I mean? That would’ve been a completely different situation. So it’s not just about getting over shyness. It’s about getting ninja level social skills in a really short period of time, and that what we do. Like you get people strong and fit, like ridiculously fit I would imagine, using your training. If you were my trainer, I’d probably be running. Instead of three miles, I’d probably be running frigging thirty miles, you know? Next year or two years from now, you know?
And it’s the same thing with the social skills at AOC. The things that we would teach will take you from wow, I gave a really good PowerPoint to wow, I have so many close friends. I had never envisioned my life like this, but whatever, you know? Not to be Mister Promote-My-Own-Crap, but honestly, rather than going to the website, go get the podcast, it’s free, and there’s like two hundred and sixty right now.
Ben: Yeah, it is a good podcast, I’ve been listening in, so as you guys can tell from listening to my podcast interview with Jordan, he is a little bit shy so it’s tough listening, but he’ll get used to it. No, I’m just kidding, and by the way, I did leave out a detail. I did actually grow up in Zaire.
Jordan: That’s a joke right?
Ben: No I’m just kidding, actually I don’t think Zaire is a country anymore.
Jordan: I don’t think it’s a real place.
Ben: I think it’s gotten renamed to something new.
Jordan: Yeah, you grew up in Rhodesia, which also doesn’t exist.
Ben: Anyways though, you could check out Jordan’s podcast, you can check out The Art of Charm. I think it’s really cool what he’s doing, and just so those of you listening in know, we have no financial relationship or anything like that. I like Jordan, I like some of the stuff that he’s teaching, and I think that it could help out a lot of the folks who are listening in and I really see the benefit of building social confidence and having good body language, building proper personal habits and kind of making yourself a better person by learning the right way to interact with the rest of the world and this whole interpersonal dynamics thing I think is under-emphasized a lot of the time, and folks like Jordan are out there to help you out. So Jordan, thanks for coming on the call today, man.
Jordan: Thank you for having me, I appreciate it.
Ben: Alright folks, well check out Jordan at theartofcharm.com, or check out his podcast, The Art of Charm Podcast which you should be able to find in iTunes, and until next time. This is Ben and Jordan, signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com.
I used to be extremely, painfully shy.
So shy in fact, that I would literally hide in my bedroom when we had visitors to the house, and my parents were forced to coax me away from my fantasy novels to merely come out and make brief eye contact with our visitors…
…before I disappeared back into my bedroom to go back to my novel.
As you learn in my new book, I also thrived on hamburgers and pizza – and my version of a salad was iceberg lettuce drenched in ranch dressing.
But I’m no longer that way, and now I not only podcast, but I also love to speak and engage socially, and actually get paid to travel around the world and talk to lots of people about how to change their fitness, health and lives!
My guest on today’s podcast is Jordan Harbinger (pictured right), who wrote the article “The Sweet Potato Sex Link – The 10 Best Foods and Supplements For Your Love Life“, who has a knack for helping guys just like me to build the skills and confidence necessary for social success.
Jordan has always had an affinity for Social Influence, Interpersonal Dynamics and Social Engineering, helping private companies test the security of their communications systems and working with law enforcement agencies before he was even old enough to drive.
Jordan has spent several years abroad in Europe and the developing world, including South America, Eastern Europe and the Middle East, and speaks several languages. He has also worked for various governments and NGOs overseas, traveled through war-zones and been kidnapped -twice.
Jordan will tell you – the only reason he’s still alive and kicking is because of his ability to talk his way into (and out of), just about any type of situation. At his website, The Jordan Harbinger Show, Jordan shares that experience, and the system borne as a result, with his students and clients.
During our discussion in today’s podcast, Jordan and I delve into the realm of body language, personal habits, and social confidence.
-What kind of body language mistakes that fit people with nice bodies make which hold them back socially…
-How to reprogram your brain to actually like and appreciate things like kale smoothies and ginger juice…
-A simple eye trick to get you to “fake it until you make it” with extreme social confidence…
-Why bars and clubs are not necessarily the places to go to to enhance your social intelligence and ability to build relationships…
-How I went from eating fast food, being ultra-shy and reading fantasy novels to being named as one of the world’s top 100 most influential people in health and fitness…
-And much more!