A Collection of Psychological Life Techniques

In this week’s instalment of Human Optimisation, Capable Men provides you with 20 effective psychological methods that can be utilised immediately to your advantage.


  • If you ask somebody a question and they only partially answer just wait. Remaining silent and keeping eye contact will often result in further dialogue.
     
  • Utilising the Foot-in-the-door compliance tactic. It involves getting a person to agree to a large request by first setting them up by having that person agree to a modest request first. The technique succeeds owing to a basic human reality that social scientists call "successive approximations". Essentially, the more a subject goes along with small requests or commitments, the more likely that subject is to continue in a desired direction of attitude or behavioural change and feel obligated to go along with larger requests.
     
  • Cognitive Reframing technique - Visualise a stressful situation as a challenge and not a threat. A prime example would be stress. The physical traits of stress (increased heart rate ect) mirror identically the physical traits of courage. So next time you find yourself in a stressful situation; immediately reframe it: your body is getting ready to do courage. 
     
  • Don't get physically pissed off at inanimate objects. Adjust your strategy next time. 
     
  • People have a predetermined image of themselves and will fight arduously to protect it. Use this information wisely. Firstly, understanding this concept helps us understand our own emotions and why we may get emotional when our own image is challenged. We can use this to ultimately manipulate a person's decision making. Take giving an instruction to a child for example. They want to be grown up and make important choices, so instead of telling them to do something, give them two choices instead. One which a kid would do (Tidy your toys away), and one which an adult would do (Read a book). You want the kid to do either one anyway, but they think they're winning. 
     
  • Want to be an effective leader? Always project that you are in control. Humans love predictability and stress is simply the byproduct of the world not replicating somebody's personal expectations. When shit hits the fan, it's time to be the dependable force that expects the unknown. When you act as if everything is a logical consequence of something else that happened when times get tough, you quickly become dependable and highly respected by your troops.
     
  • If somebody is angry at you; fundamentally remain calm and slow down your breathing. Pick your words very carefully, relax and speak with a controlled flow. See this approach as conversational Judo. This will take practise, but such a response will help you deal with people who struggle to manage their emotions.
     
  • Mirroring - is the behaviour in which one person subconsciously imitates the gesture, speech pattern, or attitude of another. If you're trying to make a good impression or form a strong bond with somebody, subtly emulate the body language of your peer.  The similarities in nonverbal gestures allow the individual to feel more connected with the person exhibiting the mirrored behaviour.
     
  • Pay attention to people's feet during social interactions. If you approach two people in the middle of a conversation, and they only turn their torsos and not their feet, chances are they don't want you to join in the conversation. Similarly if you are in a conversation with somebody who you think is paying attention to you and their torso is turned towards you but their feet are facing in another direction, that is likely your cue to wrap it up.
     
  • Fake it till you make it - confidence is often more important than knowledge. If you pretend to be something for long enough, you will eventually become it. 
     
  • Chew gum when you're approaching a situation that would make you nervous like public speaking. If we're eating; something in our brains trip and it reasons "I would not be eating if I were danger. So I'm not in danger." Yay! Science Bitch
     
  • Misattribution of arousal - the psychological process whereby people make a mistake in assuming what is causing them to feel aroused. For example, when actually experiencing physiological responses related to fear, people mislabel those responses as romantic arousal. For example; When you take somebody out on a first date, take them somewhere exciting that will get their heart beating. e.g. roller coaster. This gets their adrenaline up and makes them think they enjoy spending time with you rather than the activity.
     
  • Many people will remember not what you said but how you made them feel, remember this.
     
  • If you're in a group meeting and you suspect that someone in there might come after you about something, sit right next to them. They were hoping that the group would provide some sort of herd defence, but if you're right next to them it can't be anything other than personal. "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer”
     
  • Practice the complete eradication of filler words and phrases such as Uh, Um, Like, etc. Instead use short pauses to gather your thoughts before speaking (although not too long!). Using filler words during discussion often means your message gets muddled and can significantly result in weakened messages and loss of focus from your listeners. This is essential for those who aspire for effective communication skills.
     
  • Power posing - Changes in your stance can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success. Watch this excellent TED Talk about Power Posing and the impact it will have on your life.
     
  • See one, do one, teach one method -  If you are taught a new task or provided with vital information, find another person to teach or explain what you just learned. You will comprehend the concept much better and highlight what points you may need to work on. “If you can't explain it to someone else then you don't understand it” 
     
  • Debate - If you're making a point, provide your argument first. Persuasiveness is often fragile and dependent on your social clout. For example, let's say you make the statement: "I'm an vegetarian and this is what I believe," you're already perceived as less persuasive and more biased because people are already aware of why you're arguing what you're arguing; you have something to gain by convincing people. What you should do is not say you're a vegetarian at all. Say "this is what I believe..." Because people don't have any predetermined assumptions, they will be more likely to view you as less biased.
     
  • You know how a joke ceases to be funny when you have to repeat it countless times? Well use that to your benefit; if you find yourself on the receiving end of a joke, act like you can't hear them and ask him to repeat it like 3 times. By the time he says it a 3rd or 4th time, the wind will be out of the sails.
     
  • An excellent way to judge the character of a person is by how they treat people who can do absolutely nothing for them.

The founder of Capable Men. 

Currently operating personal projects while he simultaneously attempts to develop the Capable Men platform. John served five years in the British army, with a tour of duty in Afghanistan before eventually departing the forces to begin a career in the private security sector.

John attended several private protection courses dealing with security strategy, close-quarters combat training, firearms and advanced driving. This new profession took him worldwide Including the protection of government assets in South America, VIP tasks on the Côte d'Azur and security work within the French Alps.

His interests include global affairs, philosophy, hiking, sports and fitness.