Monthly Archives: July 2009

The Difference Between Being Influenced and Brainwashed

Ever feel like you’re being brainwashed? And by the way I’m not suggesting that you totally agree with everything in this article because I’m a nice guy and have your best interests at heart. It’s just that you know there are times when you find yourself suddenly craving a big Mac or salivating about that new GM muscle car or the new Ford mustang or just absolutely have to have those special tooth whitening strips so you’ll be more attractive… And moments before you watched the commercial or read the ad, you weren’t even thinking about it.  The question is… are you being brainwashed?

Or just influenced?

According to my secret sources in the US Military, for brainwashing to be present all 5 of the following conditions must be met. So ask yourself now

  • Have you been removed from your normal environment of influence or confined to the compound and not allowed to leave no contact with outside?
  • Have you been deprived of sleep getting less than 6 hours per night? (psst are your children brainwashing you?)
  • Are you given emotional, physical or psychological pain or punishment if you disagree?
  • Do you get pleasure or rewards if you agree to get with the program?
  • Has your bio-chemistry been forcibly changed through diet or drugs?

Now maybe one or two of these elements are present in your marriage, your job, your sports team, church, chamber of commerce, fraternity or sorority, etc.

But remember, all 5 elements must be present for more than a weekend. After all it may take a bit of time to be internalized into your unconscious mind.

Now, you don’t have to think about army basic training or boot camp unless of course you want to…But if you were to think about it, imagine this:

  • You are far from home and confined to some sweltering, mosquito infested base
  • You are woken up at the crack of dawn every day by scratchy recording of a bugle playing reveille. When you least expect it they wake you up in the middle of the night for drills.
  • If you don’t get with the program you are shouted at, made to do extreme physical penance (give me 50 push-ups worm) and are subject to other emotional and psychological punishment.
  • If you get along and follow orders and are a good little soldier you get praise, awards, medals, shore leave, extra dessert etc.
  • Think about the food in the military! Just eating S.O.S and mountains of potatoes every day will change your bio chemistry.

I don’t know why, but all of a sudden I’m thinking about this Christian summer camp I went to with my church youth group for a week the summer between 9th and 10 grade.


  • I wasn’t in my normal environment. It was way nicer. A beautiful camp on a pristine lake in the mountains.
  • They kept us up late singing songs and woke us up really early. Averaged about 5 hours a night.
  • They didn’t shout or use overt physical pain. But they made us feel guilty as hell about all the impure thoughts we were having about the opposite (or same) sex. And all the sin we were carrying around with us. It felt painful to me. Very painful. So very, very painful. Forgive me Father for I have SINNED.
  • If you gave your life to Jesus you got applause and that special feeling of getting with the program.  Plus some of the cutes girls were serious bible thumpers and I wanted in with them for more SIN for which I must feel shame and guilt!
  • Damn! No drugs or bizarre food. The food was good. For some people it was better than home.  Nobody was made to drink actual cool-aid or eat bugs.

So even though 4 out of 5 is pretty darn close, I managed to survive Christian summer camp with all my skepticism and doubts intact. Never underestimate the power of bad food or at least very different food to tip the brainwashing scales. It’s all in the details.

Now let’s talk about TV.

  • You are not isolated from your normal environment of influence. When you’re watching the tube you are most definitely in a zombie like trance but you are usually sitting on your own couch.
  • You’re sleep patterns are not interrupted. In fact many people prefer to fall asleep watching TV. There seem to be few reports of people sleep walking into a Hummer dealership with a bag of cash after falling asleep in front of the telly.
  • A really good commercial may remind you of the pain you are already in and may anchor pleasure to the idea that you can get out of pain by making a decision and taking action. Think about your hard earned dollars sneaking out your leaky, inefficient old windows pain
  • A master influencer will definitely link pleasure to his or her idea or outcome for you.  now think about how wonderful the snug, tight, energy efficient thermal windows will be as they save you bushels of cash over the next 30 years…
  • An argument could be made that McDonalds food will change your body chemistry and get you hooked. Or all those pharmaceutical ads for the weight loss drug (with the rectal leakage side effect) could get you hooked and change your bio chemistry. But you’re still in your own home and they have yet to figure out how to get the TV to dispense their stuff. Plus, the other elements of brainwashing must also be present and you can always turn off the TV.

So in a nutshell, TV advertising, is not brainwashing. Ads may be powerful. They may be insidious. They may be persuasive. They get stuck like a sappy love song in your rostromedial pre-frontal cortex and play over and over again. They may be hugely influential. They may not always be a force for good in our lives.

But you can always hit the off button so it ain’t brainwashing.

Now I know you didn’t totally agree with everything I’ve said in the past or right now or in the future so if there are other things you agree with me on feel free to leave a comment below or just think of me as a genius for the next few moments… that’s right.

About the Author: Mark Shepard, NLPT is a Master Practitioner and Trainer of NLP, Hypnosis & Time Line Therapy. Read his blog:

7 Ways To Motivate Your Employees Without Being A Jerk

Most employees behave very similar to children. They fiddle around twiddling their thumbs together when there is nothing to do. They grunt, moan, and groan when they must get up in the morning to go to work (children go to school). And the biggest similarity is the rush of excitement they have when it is time to go home. If your employees are acting and behaving like children, how do you think this affects your

bottom line? How do you expect your company to make the necessary expectations to meet and exceed your goals?

Molding the Perfect Employees

Building a successful company begins with having a productive team. Having a productive team usually comes from the influence of a great leader.

1. Add Emotional Incentives

Even if your employees are not working for commission, look for ways to offer some benefits for working hard and getting the job done quicker. Many of you reading this have employees who earn a fixed income for a certain amount of work. From an employee point of view, if the work is done the job is done for the day. An employee who has nothing to do can cause distractions to other employees who are working. Like a domino effect, this encourages inefficiency throughout the office. From an employer’s point of view, if an employee finishes their work early, they should be given more work. Unfortunately, since both the employee and employer usually don’t see eye to eye, the employee begins to work slower to avoid getting new work. Even if you do not offer them a brand new car, something is better than nothing.  Something as simple as allowing your employee to leave a few minutes early can almost instantly increase their motivation. Some examples of incentives include:

  • Go home 1 hour early on Friday.
  • Better parking spot
  • Extra break time
  • Leave 15-20 minutes early on any given day
  • Free lunch
  • The most comfortable chair in the office
  • Small cash bonuses ($50 or $100 can motivate most people)

2. Create a Positive Environment

The work environment alone can quickly change the productivity for everyone in the office. As powerful leaders, we must ensure the work environment is uplifting, exciting, and enjoyable. Zappos, an online retail sales company retains more trustworthy employees than a majority of the companies out there. During an interview on, the CEO from Zappos Tony Hsieh said that his company does over a billion dollars in sales a year because of their customer service. To filter out the good employees from the bad, Tony offers his new hires $2,000 to quit and shockingly, hardly anyone takes it. Do a quick survey with everyone as to what type of environment compels them to be more excited to work there. Make the necessary changes and you will see a noticeably positive change.

3. Monitor your Employees

It is not necessary to discipline your employees for a sneeze that takes away 5 seconds from work, but it is important to monitor what your employees are doing most of the time. From wasting time on useless web pages to chatting with friends, pay close attention to how they spend their time during work hours. Preventing your employees from doing what they are not supposed to be doing can increase productivity miraculously. Let’s say you have 20 employees who take away 10 minutes each day to do personal things on the computer. That over 3 hours each day of lost productivity. Invest in employee monitoring software that gives you the freedom to monitor everything your employee does from anywhere in the world.

4. Communication

Do you even know the names of all your employees? Sure you are busy, but if I were to tell you that personalizing your relationship with your employee can dramatically raise the level of their performance, would you do it? All you must do is spend 5-10 minutes each every week talking about their challenges, hopes, and dreams. Having a well connected employee also makes it easier to address concerns or issues around the work place.

5. Create Teams

Create teams by mixing up the skillful employees with the ones not so much. Friendly competition can easily speed up the work flow and be fun for the employees along the way. Reward the winning teams each week with a free lunch, VIP parking spots or the other incentives listed above.

6. Learn the Power of Motivational Speaking

Imagine having Tony Robbins speak to your staff every morning before they start work. Do you think your employees will feel good and excited to be there? Spend a few weeks reading books on personal development, leadership and public speaking and learn to be a powerful motivator. When you have the ability to speak with power and influence you will be able to persuade your employees to continuously have a positive mindset.

7. Give Employees a Say in the Company

Have you ever heard of an incident when an employee had some crazy idea that was accidentally discovered and helped a company make millions of dollars? It interestingly enough happens all the time. Your employees are constantly working with you product/service every day, so naturally they will begin to develop ideas that can potentially help the company grow. Let them know that they have a say in what goes on and you will begin to see a growth in your employee’s commitment and interest in the company.

The more productive your employees are, the quicker the company will grow. It may sound simple and obvious, but working on employee productivity is an ongoing task. Create a game plan on how you can implement these 7 strategies right away.

How to be a Dominant Alpha Male

So I have had a flood of requests from the male readers among you asking recently how to appear and come off as more powerful and in control. It really is a terrific question and this article is hopefully going to help you to bring out your true self. You see, we are all powerful just in different areas. (The computer programmer who seems timid and meek when talking with women suddenly becomes a powerhouse of confidence when put in front of a computer and told to program!) So this article is about taking that confidence and teaching you how to project it in all situations of your lives.

The Body is a Temple

We all hate the word’s body language. Assuredly you had some stupid seminar in high school or read a boring book assigned to you that explained how you should act and give off good body language. Well, lets make this a little more fun than that shall we? Here are my top four tips for using your body to appear confident and in control.

1) Take Up Space

You should never be standing less than about a shoulder width and a half apart. The best stance to take up is legs spread apart. (But be aware that this may seem aggressive so make sure to compliment this stance with a relaxed or even smiling expression.)

2) Shoulders Back and Relaxed

Don’t hunch and let your shoulders relax. We are very good at picking up when people are tense and the two places where we tense the most (in uncomfortable situations) are the jaw and shoulders. If you have a problem relaxing your shoulders take your hands and put them behind your back. Walk that way. It is considered elegant and powerful and will automatically broaden your shoulders and chest.

3) Smile

Confident people are smiling because they aren’t worried and are comfortable in that situation. Now I don’t mean a wide ear to ear grin like a flaming idiot, but rather a gentle relaxed smile of acknowledgment when interacting with another person. Seriously, work on your smile and get one that compliments your face. Yes, as lame as it sounds, stand in front of a mirror and work on a smile that you feel makes you look confident.

4) Chin Up

Confident people have their heads up (exposing their necks slightly. The reason we see this as confident is because evolutionarily we are programmed to protect our necks, a confident man who knows he can take care of himself isn’t going to be worried about that and will have no problem exposing his neck.) Be careful not to have your head in the sky however, everything in moderation gentlemen.

5) Limit Large Hand Motions

A certain amount of hand motions are good, it adds to the story and makes it easier for people to follow you, however at a certain point it becomes overboard. Studies have continuously shown that people who are higher class and more confident severely limit their hand motions when they are having an interaction. Keep this in mind- if you are reminding people of Chandler when you talk it might be time to change.

Powerful Interactions

So confident body language is really only the first step although it is a huge one! (Furthermore, studies by Paul Ekman have shown that if you adopt a certain body language your mindset will change to reflect your body language. So if you are uncomfortable in a certain setting, but your body language is confident, you will actually feel more confident!) However, here are some further tips that are going to really help you to be seen as confident and charismatic.

1) Speak Slowly

There are two reasons why people speak quickly: a) They are uncomfortable, b) They are very comfortable but their cognitive process is particularly fast and therefore they speak quickly to try to get everything out that is on their minds. Sadly, only psychologists (and now you) know about reason b. Everybody else assumes that if you are speaking quickly it is because you are nervous!

2) Pause

This is considered a really hypnotic technique and it is used by pretty much every professional speaker in the world. They pause at certain points in order to continuously capture and keep your interest. Use this. (You can even take a quick drink in the middle of a sentence! You are SO (takes drink) Funny!

3) Walk as if You are Busy

You can always tell an important person by the way they walk! When you are walking about town move with purpose and precision and I promise you this will cause people to sit up and pay attention.

4) Lean Back

The person who is the most leaned back is the person who is the most powerful in that situation so the more leaned back you can be do it. This includes leaning back against a wall, allowing yourself to relax in a chair, the key thing here is to be relaxed! Remember, relaxed people are confident and powerful people!

Active Power

Now for the fun part of the article:

1) The Handshake

Make sure that when you shake somebody’s hand, your palm is to the floor. This will make somebody automatically feel dominated (which will make them automatically adhere to what you say with amazing accuracy!)

2) Verbal Power

There is something called conversational dominance which is a way of making sure that you aren’t conversationally dominated by another person. Basically, powerful businessmen (and women) will try to dominate you by asking you a string of questions, the more you answer, the more under their spell you shall fall. So how do you protect against it?

Well when somebody is trying to dominate you conversationally they will ask you questions and expect you to answer them very quickly. (Now this is not to be mistaken for genuine curiosity.) I remember I was at a hotel networking event with my father and we met an old friend of my fathers. The man was very dominant, very hocker (Yiddish for salesman) like and he immediately asked me, “How old are you?” and I came right back and said, “How old do you think I am?” and the man went, “Whoaaaa! We got a slick one here!”

He had tried to dominate me and I didn’t let it happen, I deflected it by not answering but not insulting him at the same time. People will try to dominate other people by quickly asking them lots of questions and the more you answer the more under that persons control you will fall. (Psychologically and unconsciously of course. Not physically.)

So how does it work? Well, during the first five minutes of an interaction, when you are asked a question like, “Where are you from? What do you do? How old are you?” you are going to answer in one of two ways:

  • By making them answer a question for you first: Meaning, you can absolutely tell the person how old you are! But first make them guess! Make them do something for you before you do something for them. This is very important and it will start allowing you to be seen as attractive to women and powerful to men!
  • Answer in a fun way: “Where are you from” Im actually from a little cardboard box on the side of the road etc. (Credit: Erik Von Markovick).

If you are ever at a loss or don’t have something particularly witty to say just say, “Guess”. If you say this with conviction and confidence then people will guess for you and therefore you have successfully taken control of their subconscious minds.

5 Reasons Why Billy Mays is Annoyingly Persuasive

Hi Billy Mays here!” If you live in the United States, chances are you have see his commercials or heard his unique voice somewhere. Oxi-Clean, Orange Glo, and KaBOOM are just some of the many products you probably have in your home! I know my mom’s tried a few of his products before. In fact, I just saw a tub of Oxi-Clean sitting above my washer. His voice is strong and powerful, yet so authentic and sincere. This guy should have been #6 on the 5 Most Persuasive People on Planet Earth. What the hell is it about Billy Mays that makes you want to run, not walk, to buy the products he sells?

1. He Grabs Your Attention With His Excitement

Of course you’re going to pay attention to someone who’s screaming at you. Billy Mays is practically screaming his lungs off when he’s talking to you. The energy and enthusiasm Billy has during his infomercials is contagious. People love to buy when they’re excited!

2. He Believes in His Products

You can tell by the way Billy speaks and moves his body around, that he believes in his products 100%. Billy would swear on his mom’s life if you didn’t believe the Oxi-Clean can remove the dirt and stains from your clothes.

3. Dudes Got Sex Appeal

Billy’s target audience are mainly women. If you ask a women to describe Billy, you’ll get answers like rugged, man-ly, and confident. 3 traits that make women go “hmmm”.

4. He Actually Gives a Damn

When Billy Mays is talking during his infomercial, you can tell by the tone of his voice that he actually cares you wear clean clothes. It’s because he cares so gosh darn much, that you instantly believe that he’s doing you a favor by introducing that product in your life.

5. He Creates Major Urgency

If you don’t call right now, you can never have this products again. The alternative version is that if you don’t call right now, you won’t get all these amazing extra gifts for free.

Billy Sells His Products Everywhere he Goes

Billy Mays Sound Bites

(Billy Mays Ring Tones Anyone?)

A New Reality Show Called: Pitchmen

Billy Mays and Anthony Sullivan have an interesting show called, “Pitchmen” coming out on the Discovery Channel this Spring. I think Billy is an phenomenal sales person and we can all learn a lot. You can also follow Billy Mays on Twitter.

**UPDATE** Billy past away on June 28, 2009. RIP Billy Mays

Introvert to Extrovert : 4 Ways to Take Control of Your Shyness

Have you ever been tongue tied at the thought of approaching an attractive woman and introducing yourself? What about feeling awkward and out of place at business or social gatherings? How about hesitating to raise your hand in class or pick up the phone to make a sales call?

Before we go any farther. Stop! Think for a moment about the cost of this shyness crap in your life. Seriously. What’s it costing you?

  • Imagine what it would be like to be able to approach any woman, any time and engage her in a relaxed funny, sexy, playful conversation that you both enjoy.
  • Imagine being able to speak up for your own needs and desires and getting them.
  • Imagine walking into a business networking meeting and people glowingly referring you to people who need and want your services.
  • Imagine people seeking you out for advice and guidance regarding the product or service you offer.
  • Imagine in a meeting or in a class raising your hand with a key question or comment that makes it easier for the trainer or teacher to teach and for the other students to understand
  • Imagine offering an idea that ends up saving your company thousands of dollars
  • Had an idea that you hesitated to share with your boss or colleagues.You might think you’re shy.

All well and good but first that thing that stops you from taking the risk.

Shyness. (It really does suck, doesn’t it?)

How To Stop Being Shy In Four Steps:

1. Realize you created it. Since you created it. You can change it.

Shyness is not a thing. It is something you do. It’s a process. It’s a habit. It’s a learned behavior. It is not a lifetime sentence. It is not genetic. It is not a disease, even though the shrinks love to diagnose it and call it Social Anxiety Disorder. At some point in your childhood you decided to be shy. You created it because it solved some problems and seemed to keep you out of bad feelings. Again, if you created it (and you really did, didn’t you?) you can change it.

2. Discover Your Program – Uncover your Unconscious process of doing shyness.

How do you do it? I get my clients to teach me how they do their problem. They don’t realize there are a set pattern of steps they go through to get that certain feeling. What triggers it? What do you do first? What do you do next? What comes after that? We care less about why you do it and more about how. Keep going through each step until you get to how you end the program. At some point you stop it don’t you? Write it out as if you are leaving instructions for your temporary worker to come in and do it for you so you can forget about the problem. What has to happen for you to start to not feel totally comfortable and confident? What’s the first thing? Do you see something or someone? What? Do you say something to yourself? What? Whose voice is it? Do you get a feeling in your body? Where? Does the feeling move? Does it have a shape? Does it have a color, a texture? Density? Write all this down so you can see it in black and white.

3. Jam Your Program – At any point if you change a significant element of how you do your shyness program, it will cause the program to jam.

For example let’s say in the past you’d see a hot babe and say to yourself. “oh my god she’s so hot I’ll never be able to get a woman like that,” in that sad hopeless wimpy little voice you hear in your head. Next you’d feel a sinking feeling in your stomach that was the size of a grapefruit with the density of a bowling ball.To Jam it you could do this instead: “Oh my gawd she’s so HOT! with An exaggerated lip licking smirk and then a playfully predatory YUUUUUM! And then shrink down the grapefruit sized feeling to a wiffle ball and push it out 3 feet in front of your body and smack that old crappy feeling with a baseball bat out of the park.Again for the sake of this example, I don’t know what you do specifically. But you know don’t you? Walk yourself through it and write it down. Then mess with it. Play with it. Run it backwards. Scramble it. Do the picture first and then the voice. Try different voices. Mickey Mouse, the Jolly green giant. Some really sexy babe. Repeat as needed.

4. Change your beliefs.

You probably believe you’re shy. How do you know? How do you know you’re not just pretending to be shy in order to get out of having to be successful in all areas of your life? I spend a lot more time on this in my Modern Jedi NLP Training but here’s the least you need to know.

  • Beliefs filter our reality. What you believe becomes so. Change the belief. Change your reality. We represent our beliefs to ourselves internally through the pictures, self talk and feelings we run. For example, I hold my true beliefs directly in front of me on my mental screen. My old beliefs are down and to my left and slightly behind me. Beliefs I want to be true but don’t quite feel true yet are up and to my left.
  • Here’s how to change a belief. When I first stopped being shy. I noticed that the belief that I was shy was right smack in front of me. The belief that I wanted to have, namely that I was the guy with charisma and confidence in any social situation, the guy who could strike up a conversation anywhere at anytime with the most powerful CEO or the most Babe-A-Licious hottie was up and to my left. When I took the shyness belief and slammed it down and left and a bit behind me (to my old beliefs) and powerfully pulled in the desired belief into the very center of my mental screen making it bigger and brighter, I suddenly felt different. Shyness gone. Poof! Holy crap!
  • Results you can notice immediately. It totally changed my experience. Ten minutes later I found myself chatting with a gorgeous hottie as we both got our UPS delivery in the lobby of my apartment building. I did have to practice this occasionally. But so what? What was so cool about this was that I wasn’t forcing myself to talk with her. It was suddenly the most natural and comfortable thing to do. Want some?When you think of a belief that’s true for you notice where on your internal screen it shows up. Typically your limiting belief “I’m shy” will show up in your “true” spot.
  • When you think of a belief about yourself that’s no longer true, (like you are no longer 12) notice where on your mental screen that shows up.
  • Think about a belief you would like to have. Notice where that one shows up.
  • Now move the  crappy belief about being shy to your old beliefs spot. Slam your desired belief about being charismatic and totally confident and comfortable in social situations into the place you hold your true beliefs.
  • How does that feel?

It’s like reprogramming the VCR.

What has shyness prevented you from doing?

About the Author: Mark Shepard, NLPT is a Master Practitioner and Trainer of NLP, Hypnosis & Time Line Therapy. Read his blog: