Amplifying Your Persuasive Influence with The Magic of “Seduction”

Part 3 of The Art of Persuasion: “THE PULL©” – Universal Influence Series

 Sometimes when you encounter people you will notice that they seem to have the “Magic.” They have that idiosyncratic special gift of personal genius that makes them powerful, influential, entertaining, persuasive, and seemingly supernatural.

People with that gift make us happy, laugh, excited, entertained, and willing and eager to buy what they are selling. A popular term about people like that is “he can sell igloos to Eskimos!”

Have you ever looked at how they do what they do? Have you ever noticed what makes you get so impacted and persuaded when they are around?

I call people like that SEDUCTIVE and you will often pay good money to get the experience of being SEDUCED!

For example, you may be a major fan of special and talented entertainers, musicians, singers, musical groups, chefs, celebrities, comedians, dancers, directors, movie stars, gurus, or politicians.

You may have been so impressed with these people that you have gone to see them in concert or at some other live performance. You may have also been willing to spend a LOT of money to get really good seats to experience the concert of a lifetime! You love that person / group / star so much that you often want another “fix” of their magic!   In other words, you will pay a lot of money to be “SEDUCED” into that magical emotional state once again.

You also know what is going to happen. Imagine it is a 2-hour concert and you have listened to the recordings countless times. You know many of the words to the songs. You have had so many wonderful life memories because of those songs and you want another fix!

Read more


Replace bad habits with good ones… and add common sense

Most of us want to be happy and successful, and yet rarely do we receive any education or guidance on how to achieve those competencies.

Happiness is routinely connected with good, close, and functional relationships.

Success is often connected with having fiscal literacy and being good with money.

As you get older and continue to experience the way life is, you will learn some lessons about what is really important.  Among the lessons we learn are perhaps the two most important; how to be happy and how to be successful.

  1. To be happy: You must be skilled at managing relationships in both your personal and your work life: listening, persuading, resolving conflicts, reaching agreements, negotiation, teamwork, handling emotions, and establishing solid closeness with others.
  1. To be successful: You must be skilled at fiscal literacy: managing money at the least, and making money at the most.

Curiously, it seems insane that Relationship Effectiveness and Fiscal Literacy have been largely missing from school curriculums since there have been schools!

Is it any wonder that most of our relationships are sub-optimal and largely dysfunctional or that many of us are broke and/or spending more money than we have?

It is time to remind ourselves to embrace the Obvious and practice some Common Sense about how to be successful and foundationally good with money.  This will likely make us more functional and prosperous!

Read more


When You Want Connection and Reinforcement from Others

Do you want to be complimented, loved, admired, and respected?

You may be unaware that you are continually preventing the very thing you want.

After several decades of experience in my psychotherapy practice helping people to achieve much more functional lives and satisfying relationships, it is clear to me that virtually everyone wants the same thing.

You may be thinking that everyone wants to be happy and successful, and while that is largely true, most people spend their lives also wanting something perhaps MORE than that.  People want to be loved, liked, appreciated, important, complimented, admired, respected and connected.

Overall, it appears that we humans must seek and gain some strong measure of being regularly CONNECTED with others.

Consider the following:

  1. We require closeness and connection with others. Everyone largely wants connection… to find love, closeness, intimacy, meaning, lasting friendships, close family sanctuary. When we lack any of these, we can become sad, estranged, isolated, depressed, lonely, self-destructive, addicted to substances, and/or medication.  When we become emotionally malnourished, we become unhappy!
  1. We want to be fed regularly! While we certainly want food regularly, we also want to be fed emotionally. We want to know that others like, love, admire, respect us, and we want to remain connected. It’s the ongoing reinforcement of the “glue” that remains so important!
  1. We often look for relief when we feel disconnected and unimportant. Sometimes we medicate with food, which gives us relief while we eat — followed by weight gain and feeling worse.  Imagine treating loneliness with food. Does that seem like common sense? Hardly.   Other times we choose medicine.  Perhaps the largest categories of medicine in Big Pharma that are the most successful and profitable are anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medicines.  These medications are designed to help you cope with your emotional problems, and among the most powerful emotional disturbances people experience is LONELINESS! When we feel disconnected, estranged, isolated, alone, unloved, unimportant, and/or unappreciated, we often become depressed and unhappy. These medicines may turn down the volume of your unhappiness for a bit, and yet, you will likely keep your emotional problems without replacing your ongoing behavior with habits that allow you to restore being connected with others.
  1. We become addicted to other forms of seeking reinforcement and attention. Some of the ongoing addictions that we seek to help us feel better, loved, appreciated, respected, wanted, and desirable are Social Media:  
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Snapchat
  • Pinterest
  • YouTube
  • Blogging

We have become so dependent on getting some kind of reinforcement that we routinely advertise information about ourselves on the internet in the desperate hope that someone will pay attention to us.

In 1938 Dale Carnegie wrote How to Win Friends and Influence People. He said the most powerful need that people have to be met is to feel important. How true! Therefore, if that need is so powerful, is it really a surprise that people work overtime to get attention today on the internet?

  1. What happened to marriage? Most of us want to be married and live happily ever after. It sounds good and yet 50%-60% of marriages fail after five to eight years. What is curious is that common sense tells us that it would be unthinkable to try to fly an airplane without thoroughly learning how to fly, and yet most everyone tries to fly a marriage without knowing the first thing about how to keep it up in the air successfully.

When you were courting your partner, you both were on your best behavior… you looked good, smelled great, went the extra mile, routinely fed each other emotionally, and continually found out what each other wanted and then gave it to the other. You married the courtship! What would make you both quit the courtship after the wedding?

The single most common contributor to damaged or failed marriages is that both people are emotionally malnourished. The married partners quit the ongoing reinforcement and maintenance they delivered during the courtship. What often results is criticism, indifference, silence, fighting and contempt.



Most of us want to be happy, and yet, too many of us are consumed with our crankiness, fear, depression, feeling unloved, insecurity, being miserable, feeling inadequate, feeling betrayed, etc., essentially being wrapped up in chronic unhappiness!

In addition, I am often struck with the large population of people who are persistently stuck in unhappiness. These malcontents are often whining, bellyaching, criticizing, obsessing, bleating, condemning, catastrophizing, awfulizing, and complaining. 

I believe that people will keep choosing familiar routines like this simply because they are familiar, regardless of whether they like it or dislike it.  Some examples of this are below. 


You go to the same restaurant and order the same item on the menu. This routine is common and it is a great habit if you really like that restaurant and that particular item on the menu. Some of us do!

On the other hand, you may be mixed on how much you like the restaurant and/or the item on the menu. You may have impulses to try new items and a new restaurant yet this restaurant is familiar, as is the same menu choice. It is okay and it will do.  It is good enough rather than being terrific.

The above example is certainly familiar to many of us. We often prefer predictable food even if it is just okay simply because we want to avoid something unpredictable… though it might be OUTSTANDING. It sometimes seems that avoiding being MORE unhappy is MORE important than seeking out MORE happy!


Think about people you know who have been married for a long time. How many of them seem to be really happy?

Many are either unhappy or resigned (blah, beige, surrendered). Somehow they have lost their smile. You can often spot these couples at a coffee shop while having breakfast.  You can tell right away they are unhappy because they ignore one another and look miserable. They eat in silence, waiting for life to be over, all while being addicted to their phones.

It could be concluded that they behave as if they are going to same restaurant, ordering the same menu item, and are resigned to being underwhelmed with their choices and lot in life.

Many married people become resigned with the following chronic thoughts or remarks:

  • This is all I can expect anymore.
  • I have to just lump it.
  • I have long since given up trying to get his/her attention.
  • It’s cheaper to keep her.
  • I’m too old to change. He/She doesn’t care anymore.
  • I don’t care anymore.
  • Who would have me at this age?
  • It is unrealistic to want more.
  • I guess this is the best I can expect.
  • He doesn’t listen. He is wife-deaf.
  • She simply wants nothing to do with me.
  • We are roommates.

Gee, this is beginning to sound very similar to our perspective about the restaurant; avoiding being more unhappy is MORE important than seeking out MORE Happy!

If you follow these examples you will be STUCK with the insane belief that PREDICTABLE UNHAPPINESS IS PREFERABLE TO UNPREDICTABLE HAPPINESS!

If you are like most people, you will blame everyone but the person in your mirror

The restaurant — “They don’t care about customer service anymore. The food quality has deteriorated.  The coffee is cold.”

The marriage — “He doesn’t take me anywhere anymore.  She only pays attention to me when she wants to criticize me!  He/She ignores me all the time and watches TV.”

The result is that you start focusing on UNHAPPINESS, become resigned, and wallow in it.  You end up passing your life with time instead of passing your time with LIFE!

Read more


Most of us have real difficulty saying “NO.”

When we say “YES” rather than “NO” (which is often what we really want to say,) we get caught in a bind of one of the following:

  • We have enabled the other person(s) to take advantage of us.
  • We feel conflicted because they are perfectly able to do the work themselves and yet they want to be rescued… and we accommodate them.
  • They are sometimes playing “victim,” (a very popular state of mind these days) where they want to be saved, and we save them because we feel guilty.
  • We are more willing to be nice, popular, and helpful rather than encouraging the other person to solve the issue themselves.

Presently, we are noticing an enormous population in this country playing the “chronic victim” role… whining about their lives, complaining that too little has been done by others to help them, life is unfair, and continually singing the song entitled, “What have you done for me lately?”

Here are some popular examples:

  • A large group of millennials have long been told by their over-protective “helicopter” parents that they are special, wonderful, perfect, and deserve everything life can provide for them. This group of millennials have been so over-protected and enabled by their parents that:
    • Parents complain to college professors that their child’s grades need to be changed because their children deserve better.
    • Parents sit in on hiring interviews with potential employers to help their children get the job.
    • 36% of college graduate women and 43% of college graduate men are still living at home and subsidized by their parents (Pew Research).
    • 80% of baby boomer parents today are still paying for their children in some way (USA Today).
    • Parents have been caught bribing universities to gain admission for their children.
  • Your sibling wants you to keep giving him/her money.
  • Your parents continue to whine about their woes and make you feel guilty, so you rescue them with money and/or service.
  • There is a population of career homeless people who want to continue to remain that way while complaining, rather than taking responsibility for themselves and their future.
  • Your good friend continually wants help and you keep saying “yes” because you either want to avoid feeling guilty and/or experience criticism from him/her.
  • You keep over-accommodating a friend because you believe they will someday grow up and thank you for everything you have done for them.
  • Certain people in your network continually “borrow” money, never pay it back, and yet you still “loan” them money, while they keep singing the blues.

Much of the time you are asked to help someone who refuses to take responsibility for themselves.

At this point, you are often quite perplexed, and bewildered and still you believe that continually saying “YES” is a good thing. You keeping thinking:

  • My intentions are good
  • I can really help here
  • I can solve it right away
  • My advice is quite good
  • My need to be needed is being fed
  • I want to please them
  • I have to gain approval
  • I want to be popular and if they are unhappy with me, that is really bad!

Note:  To be clear, saying “YES” and helping others is often a very good thing. There are many wonderful people out there who need help and are very appreciative when you say “YES” to help them out.  Many of them want to return the favor.  You may notice that you can often tell the difference between people who show ongoing appreciation of the help you give and those who continually take advantage while manipulating you to feel bad or guilty if you say “NO.”

Further, if you think about it, you also probably know the difference between accommodating others when you are happy to do so in contrast to when you are over-accommodating in order to either gain approval, remain popular, or avoid conflict/feeling guilty.

Most of the time when you over-accommodate others you know you are doing it and you often regret how much you allowed them to take advantage of you.

So, what is going on here? What makes you so reluctant to say “NO”?  How is it that you keep enabling others to take advantage of you?

What is so awful about saying “NO”?

Here are some explanations of what might be going on in your head:

  • I want to please, gain approval, and be popular.
  • I want to avoid disapproval, disappointment, and criticism from them.
  • I want to avoid the constant concern that they will reject me because I said “NO.”
  • I believe I am only valuable to others when I help them, rescue them, and prove that I am worthy of their love, appreciation, and regard.
  • I hate conflict and disappointing others.  That reminds me of my past where I was continually criticized and mistreated, which made me feel inadequate and unworthy.  I felt manipulated all the time by people who used guilt to get me to say “YES” so I became a chronic “people pleaser.” My self-sacrifice became a habit and somehow it seemed a good thing to fall on my sword, become a martyr, and an over-accommodator.
Read more


Oh my!  Do you notice what is going on around the world and especially in the United States? 

  • People are routinely being gunned down in churches, synagogues, theaters, entertainment events, schools, companies, governments, and homes.
  • Parents are attempting to bribe universities in order to gain admission for their children.
  • Highly respected manufacturers are being accused of significant crimes and misdemeanors while they betray their markets, deny everything, and attempt to defend themselves.
  • Politicians seem to be more interested in keeping their jobs, rather than actually doing their jobs.
  • Lots of people are routinely ignoring or rejecting facts about certain subjects, and instead spewing their vitriol reflecting their rabid criticisms about the same subjects.  They are unable or unwilling to create civil debates and discussions with those who hold different views.   
  • There appears to be some who think they are entitled to everything without taking responsibility for their lives.  Somehow they think, “I exist, therefore I am entitled.  What have you done for me lately?”  Gimme, gimme appears to be the chorus many are continually singing.
  • It is becoming more self-evident that many think it is preferable to become a professional victim… whining about their situation.  Blaming everyone else is now very fashionable.
  • Lying, cheating, blaming, whining, belly-aching, criticizing, condemning, and avoiding responsibility have become fashionable habits of a large population of citizens.
  • Caring, compassion, generosity of spirit, taking responsibility, and integrity all seem to continue sliding downhill and evaporating.

What has happened to our character, standards, adult behavior, self-respect, pride, and strong principles?  It’s time we rebuild, restore, strengthen, and promote our Strength of Character!


  • Manners. When out for dinner, it’s common to see those at the table more content being glued to their cell phone rather than enjoying the meal and talking with family or friends.
  • Anger.  More drivers are committing “Road Rage” because they think that another driver disrespected them or cut them off. 
  • Respect.  More and more, children and young adults are failing to show deference towards their elders and people in authority like teachers, police, parents, military, etc.
  • Clothing.  Many seem to think that it is acceptable to go out to an elegant restaurant wearing ripped jeans, t-shirt, and perhaps a baseball-style cap backwards rather than dressing as if it were a special occasion.  Moreover, many young men believe that the rest of us find it attractive to look at their underwear while their pants are pulled down to their thighs! 
  • Communication.  The formal written letters, thank you notes, and phone calls have gone by the wayside in favor of 280-character tweets or one word responses via text.  Rarely does anyone have a personal one-on-one conversation. 

Think about your life and how you are living it. For most of us, our lives are filled with some great ups, some painful downs, and a whole boatload of underwhelming vanilla in the middle. We frequently waste a lot of time either watching life go by or simply stalling with great intentions to get going real soon.

Read more



Part 1. Your new state of mind (your viewpoint).
Love What You Can Love and Let the Rest Go.

Part 2. Your new habits – (your conduct)

What is one of the most challenging dilemmas of life? It is trying to reconcile the gap between how much you love a family member and how much that same family member drives you crazy. Most of the time the targeted individuals are YOUR PARENTS; your MOTHER and/or your FATHER. Sometimes this dilemma appears to be irreconcilable!

Read more

Pride is Very Expensive!


Do you know someone who:

  • Holds on to a grudge for years
  • Has an inflated view of their own importance
  • Is self-righteous, sanctimonious, and “holier-than-thou”
  • Likes to win and hates to lose
  • Has to be “right”
  • Likes to argue and debate everything
  • Wants to avoid taking responsibility
  • Refuses to admit mistakes
  • Criticizes and blames everyone else
  • Believes life must be fair and equal with everyone all the time
  • Is suspicious of others and constantly defensive
  • Is easily hurt, victimized, and takes everything personally
  • Covers up hurt with anger
  • Plays victim and whines about the delicious agony of life
  • Has difficulty recovering from a failure or set-back
  • Denies their bad conduct and instead protests that they were misunderstood
  • Accuses others of the very behavior they routinely display

Read more

Professional Victims

It appears that playing “victim” in the U.S. is getting more popular these days. I’m struck with all the whining, blaming, accusing, and bellyaching.     It seems like playing the victim is now becoming fashionable!   

Many people unconsciously play a victim role and, in so doing, they enable others to mistreat, criticize, take advantage, and be disrespectful to them. Others consciously choose to play victim so that they can continue to be irresponsible and blame others for their misfortunes.  Read more