Alpha or Beta?

A friend sent to me this picture and asked if I see an alpha or beta male in it.

My verdict: Beta.

It was proven later that the guy is a beta male, and I will share the proof at the end of this post. First, my analysis of the picture and how I figured he is beta.

This also serves as a lesson for men on how not to pose for a picture.

  • Women is leaning away from him
  • Woman’s legs position also shows she’s distancing herself
  • Her hand should be placed on him, instead it is in a position as if she is repelled by him
  • Good thing she is not looking in the camera, or it would have been this Trump Jr situation; but that doesn’t make it good for him
  • He is looking down instead of in to the camera
  • His body is turned towards her which is a mistake. He should be front facing
  • His front hand should have been in the pocket (thumb out) and the back hand visibly on the woman’s back

I see a beta lost in love with the woman who can’t wait to get away from him.

Now my friend shares more pictures of the guy, one where he’s wearing Soy glasses, and in another… well, it screams for itself. Alphas don’t hurt in “love”.

Do we need more proof of his betaness?

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Game Lessons for Job Interviews

Game, or applied gender dynamics, and pick-up artistry offer great lessons for your upcoming job interview.  Many of the principles can be very successfully applied during your job search and job hunt.  Especially for experienced professionals, knowing the psychological underpinnings of status, persuasion and charm will go a long way in helping you in your career.

Here’s how.

  1. Look your best.  If you want to easily be in the top 5% of the job market, pay attention to your appearance.  Ensure you look neat, clean, with a good haircut, properly shaved or trimmed, trimmed nails, and looking like you care about yourself.  Carry good accessories like a good pen, a smart (not overly small or large or very cheap) wrist watch, and a well-fitting tie and a belt.  Understand fashion and be elegant, not flashy.  Wear a suit or a blazer, even to a workplace which advertises “casual dress code”.  Wear well-fitted clothes.  Stand out as someone who puts in effort toward how he looks.  People immediately and subconsciously respect a man who dresses well.  It also instantly makes you feel confident and ready to take on the world.
  2. Be fit.  Most people pay little attention to their health in their 20s and 30s.  Don’t be one of them.  Regular exercise, good posture and eating well helps you look great as well as keeps your mind active and sharp.  Most jobs these days are sedentary.  You will immediately stand out from others if you are active, agile and full of energy.  You will also be able to go through marathon multi-hour interview sessions without getting exhausted.
  3. Display confidence, not arroganceDuring your interviews and conversations with the hiring team, be confident without sounding arrogant.  Confidence comes from a healthy self-image, self-awareness, knowledge of most people’s insecurities, acceptance of reality, a curious and learning attitude toward life, and being comfortable with your strengths and possible shortcomings.  Don’t be apologetic about yourself.  If you don’t know something, express confidence and enthusiasm that you will learn.  Don’t fib or exaggerate.  People can easily detect if you are fake and are trying to impress.  Don’t try too hard to please others.  Talk about yourself in a way that showcases your authenticity, growth over time, and your optimism about your life and your future.  Look in the other person’s eyes.  Keep your shoulders back.  Don’t fidget.
  4. Assume the sale.  Every job interview is a process of marketing and selling yourself.  Go into an interview with the assumption that you will get the job.  That kind of positive thinking and affirmation will do wonders for your performance.  That assumption can’t be faked.  You can only feel it inwardly if you are well-prepared, have done your research, and are able to confidently and truthfully feel that you are a great candidate for the job.  Marketing is often considered to be tantamount to lying, but think of it as a process of convincing and persuasion.  You don’t have to tell lies, but you have to tell your story in a way that highlights your abilities and value.  Be clear in yourself why you think you are a great person for the job, and be ready to answer when asked.
  5. Control the frame (be the chased, not the chaser)It is almost too easy to direct a conversation toward your areas of strengths.  Almost every interview begins with general questions.  Repeatedly mention your strengths.  When answering a question, weave in your experience and skills in a way that makes the other curious to ask you about things that you feel most confident about.  Once you feel that the conversation in going in the right direction, flip the frame a bit and make the interviewer try to convince you that you should join their organization.  Understand that they need you as much as you need them.  Ask them questions at the end of the interview which subtly make them prove that it will be worth your while to join them.  For example, “How long have you been working here?  What are the best aspects of working here?”  Or, “What do you like most about the leader of the organization?”  Or, “How would you describe the culture here?”
  6. Build rapport.  Mirror the other person’s body language.  Speak slowly and clearly.  Use the interviewer’s name occasionally.  Show an open body posture.  Throw in a little humor once in a while and have a smiling, affable expression (which is very different from a sarcastic smirk).  Repeat the interviewer’s question to them in your own words.  Understand what is important to the interviewer and what they want to hear.  Most interviewers are not keen on conducting interviews as this takes them away from their desk job.  In the first few minutes, set the tone for the interview to be relaxed, enjoyable and conversational.  Relax your facial muscles and your body.  Be fluid and not stiff.  Before coming for the interview, if you know who is going to interview you, research the interviewer on LinkedIn or Facebook and find out what they are like and build common ground.
  7. Make the interviewer feel good.  Don’t just recite facts and figures.  Tell stories about your experiences.  Everybody loves stories.  Make the interviewer feel important and knowledgeable.  Once in a while, if they ask a good question, do say: “That is a great question.  Let me try and understand it fully.”  If they correct a mistake in your statements, say: “Thank you.  You are right!” (instead of being resentful and apologetic).  Ask them about their career and what brought them to this organization.  People love talking about themselves.  Do not interrupt them when they are going on and on about something.  End the interview on a high note, by thanking them in a way that most candidates won’t.  For example: “I know you must have taken time out from your busy day for this interview.  Thank you.  I enjoyed our conversation, and I wish you a great day ahead.”
  8. Display high value.  Your resume should stand out.  Think of ways in which it could.  There should be absolutely no grammatical or formatting errors in your resume.  Your LinkedIn profile should be stellar in its language and detail.  Try to get recommendations from your past teachers or colleagues.  Have a cover letter outlining your experience and why you are applying for this job.  Highlight your major accomplishments and learnings in your resume.  If suitable, mention high-value hobbies which show social proof: Golf, Art, Classical Music or Opera, Horse riding, etc.
  9. Have conversational dexterity.  Keep the conversation flowing.  Awkward pauses are awkward.  If the interviewer is stuck, start talking about something that you think will interest them and that will allow you to tell a story.  Talk about the industry domain.  Talk about recent events.  Ask them about the business and any recent news about the company or about a new leader who might have joined them.  Keep them engaged.  One of the worst mistakes in dating or in an interview is to be boring.  Talk about things which genuinely excite you and you will see them being charged by your excitement as well.  Don’t get into religion, politics or contentious topics.  If asked, you can always say: “It is a complex topic.  I don’t have a firm opinion about it but am curious to understand how people think about it.”
  10. Have a well-rounded personality.  Develop yourself to be socially comfortable, aware of social cues, and enough interests outside your work and home that you can engage anyone in a conversation.  More than you know, having a diverse set of interests will set you apart and make you an instantly likable fellow.  Of course, be careful that you don’t show off (that shows insecurity).  Make it seem like you would be someone the interviewer might actually want to know outside work as well.

Alpha and Soy

A friend of mine shared this photo with me and asked me to identify the alpha man in it. We often share random photos of men and play Spot the Alpha game.

This is an interesting photo in that there is likely no alpha male in it, and yet it gives rise to this post.

Since my friend asked me to spot the alpha, I knew there had to be a man in the photo that he had in mind as the alpha.

So I gave my answer: First from the left. And definitely not one of those who are on their knees! (Lesson: An alpha man can’t be on his knees. That’s a posture of subjugation.) I gave this answer because I knew that’s the man he must have in his mind.

Why, you ask? Because he doesn’t seem to be excited to be photographed. He is indifferent. Alphas don’t get excited by things that excite non-alphas and betas. They have high self-worth and self-confidence, hence an external stimulus like attention won’t sway their mood.

But then I added: To be precise, none of the men in the photo are likely alphas. If the aforementioned man was standing near the centre with everyone else in the same position, he would undoubtedly be the alpha of the peck. In this photo, however, what would otherwise give the man the alpha vibe is negated by the fact that he is standing outside of the group of people who are together. He is almost not part of the picture.

The alpha would be the one others would flock around. He would have indifferent demeanor in that he would not be all excited and smiley, but that can’t be viewed in isolation. The alpha’s power would show through others’ demeanor around and towards him.

If that man was in a diffetent photo with another man, and had the same posture and indifferent expression, he would probably still pass off as alpha. Having only two men in a photo changes the context. See the example below:

In a photo like the above, it is clear who is happy be photographed with the other. The one who smiles or looks excited shows to be of low value in comparison to the one who looks composed or indifferent.

On a side note, even though the first photo was a fail for Spot the Alpha game, it inadvertently is a good sample for Spot the Soyboy.

Any guess?

Answer: The second from left on his knees. He has the classic Soy face.

Not to mention most of them in the first photo and the smiley man in the second are also probably soy.

Joint Family, Givers And Takers

Joint families are common in Indian societies. While I see many a benefit of joint family system, I also see the perils that lead to dysfunction in families.

Greatest of the perils in my observation and experience, especially in middle class joint families, is free-rider problem, which is the focus of this post.

Joint family: A family where adult siblings live together along with their parents in one house sharing a kitchen and home finances.

There are broadly two types of MEN who live in joint family –

Givers

  • They are living in joint family because they feel obliged to serve and provide for the family
  • They bring more value and resources to the family than they consume
  • They are often bogged down by responsibilities, in that they may have potential to achieve more, greater things in life, but due to the weight of responsibilities they can’t live to their fullest potential
  • If they were left independent their lives would likely improve
  • They are burden-bearers

Takers

  • They are living in joint family mainly because they are not capable of surviving independently (they may or may not feel obliged to serve)
  • They bring less or no value and resources to the family and consume more
  • They have little potential other than what they gain by exposure to family responsibilities, their stability may be because of living in the family
  • If they were left independent, their lives would likely deteriorate
  • They are burdens

Note that the above classification only covers men of earning age, excepting women and aged dependents. As you can see, the way givers and takers are constituted is in stark contrast with each other.

If you are an adult man living in a joint family you might want to consider which one are you, a giver, or a taker?

Do you contribute equally to home finances as the other earning member, or contribute in proportion to your income? If you earn less and hence contribute less, that may not necessarily make you a taker. But how would you figure out if you are a burden or a burden-bearer?

Are you Giver or Taker?

Here’s how you should figure out if you are contributing enough to the family or are only taking from them, thus being a burden.

Imagine independent survival. Think that you don’t have a family house to live in, nor have any family member to support you financially. You’re completely alone and independent in the world as far as acquiring food, clothing and shelter is concerned.

In that case, how well are you able to survive? Or, would you be able to survive at all? If you are not able to survive, or would survive but not with as many material comforts as you enjoy with family, then that means you are now a burden on the family.

Let me help you ascertain your survival cost:

Your main survival costs consist of food, clothing and shelter.

Consider the quality and quantity of food you consume while living with family, the clothes you can afford to wear and the facilities you enjoy in the house.

Now think about how much money it would take to enjoy the same food, afford the same clothes, and live in the similar house (with all its comforts and facilities). For ascertaining the cost of shelter you would take into account the rent in your area, of the house the size of your portion in the family house.

Adding up these three costs – of food, clothing and shelter – will give you the cost of independent survival (COIS).

Now ask yourself this: Is your income more or less than your COIS? If your income is less than your COIS, then logic says someone else in the family is paying (or has paid, in case of ancestral house) for the life you are living in the joint family.

You’re a burden to the extent your contribution to the family is less than your COIS. Your COIS, for example, is Rs. 10,000/month, and your contribution to the family is Rs. 4,000/month, then you are a burden worth Rs. 6,000 which someone else in the family is bearing.

If your income is more than your COIS, are you contributing to the family more than COIS? If not, then again you are a burden.

How much should be a Man’s contribution to family?

If you are an adult man, first of all your income must be more than your COIS for you to not be considered a failure. Secondly, if you are an adult man with income greater than COIS living in joint family, you must give at the very least equivalent to your COIS, and ideally more than that for there may be non-contributing dependents in the family.

A family in which financial and other responsibilities are disproportionately shared by its men is not a healthy family, as there would be incentives for conflicts and severe dysfunction.

If you are taker in a joint family, you should start working on bringing more value to the family. Or think of going independent and see what you can make of your life. If you come to like independence better, good for you. But don’t continue being a burden. That’s not the way of men.

And if you are giver in a joint family, you might want to have a subtle and honest conversation with the takers, sharing the thinking and method described in this post to assess the situation. Try and see if it awakens their conscience.

Let me tell you this: Takers often have no limits, it’s the givers who have to draw the line.

So if you pitch to them to go independent, you would be doing them a favor initiating them to make men of themselves – even if they hate you for it.

The Main Pic Theory

When you are considering a girl’s online profile, remember that the main photo depicts her looking the absolute BEST at ANY time in her recent past.

In other words, if her main pic is not pretty, you can bet your last coin that she looks much worse in person.  Girls are incredibly conscious of their appearance and will take great pains to have a photo which makes them look attractive.

So, bear that in mind.

Secondly, if her main photo has even a hint of her not taking care of herself, she is going to be an absolutely unhygienic, unkempt, smelly woman.  Some examples of such hints are:

  1. Bad hair-do
  2. Tired eyes with a hint of dark circles (probably a drinker)
  3. Crumpled or ill-fitting clothes
  4. Large sunglasses (she most likely has really ugly eyes)
  5. Hazy or unfocused photo
  6. A photo that does not show her neck, or has her making a funny face.  She is likely not pretty to look at and is trying to cover-up.
  7. Pimply skin.  Remember this is she at her best.  Her acne or some other condition is likely much worse and she chose the best photo available with the least amount of skin eruptions.
  8. Unsmiling photo.  If a girl cannot put up a smiling photo, you are likely dealing with a depressive woman who is probably in therapy or undergoing medication.
  9. The periphery.  If she has taken a photo in her bathroom, examine the items on display.  Evaluate if the bathroom looks spotless or dirty.  A dirty bathroom is a dead-giveaway of a slob.
  10. If it is a restaurant photo, examine what she is drinking or eating, and the condition of the table.

Once again, women are extremely visually-oriented when it comes to their own appearance and their surroundings.  If they post a photo that has any red flag at all, that is a bad omen.  If, for some weird reason, she chose a bad photo despite having better photos, that is an even more alarming red flag.

Simple Meditation for Self-Improvement

In his famous novel, Hermann Hesse wrote that the main character, Siddhartha, when asked about his skills, used to answer: “I can think, I can wait, I can fast.”

All these three qualities are absent in animals, and are distinct to human beings.

Meditation goes one step beyond thinking, to become aware of one’s thinking and to consciously reflect on one’s thought processes.  Meditation is not to think of something (though that too has its benefits, for example, to ponder over the saying of a great man).

Meditation is to observe one’s thinking, or to simply remain aware and conscious without any directed activity.  No activity, physical or mental, as far as one can manage.

Basic meditation is as simple as:

  1. On a preferably empty stomach, sit down comfortably with your eyes closed.
  2. Just remain aware and conscious, instead of getting lost in thought or in daydreaming.

You might ask, aware of what?  Just remain aware of what is going on: sounds around you, thoughts inside your head, your bodily sensations, your breathing, the slight movement of your eyelids, your heartbeat, …

In the beginning, sit for ten minutes.  After a daily practice of a month, you can increase the duration to be half an hour.  Eventually, aim to sit quietly and meditate for one hour.

What are the benefits of thus sitting quietly?

There are five fundamental benefits to this kind of meditation, no matter if you do it for ten minutes or one hour.  Obviously, doing it longer is better.  But an hour is more than enough for a normal man.

  1. You will, gradually, become the master of your mind.  Your mind constantly tempts to flow with this distraction or that distraction.  By holding it firm during your meditation, you are taming its distractability.  You will become more focused and efficient in your daily life.
  2. You will become more aware of your body and senses.  Due to this increased awareness, you will better enjoy your normal sensory experiences.
  3. You will see a reduction in your stress levels and you will sleep better.  If you allow the mind to be consciously idle, it refreshes itself and the stressful thoughts and feelings become mild and manageable.  You might find that after a session of meditation, you can calmly deal with any crisis that you might be facing.
  4. You will be able to respond to situations better in your day-to-day life.  Instead of immediately reacting, a quiet mind takes in the situation and the available information, and thoughtfully plans a response.  It will respond, not react.
  5. You will become more disciplined in other aspects of your life.  A meditator will not over-eat, not over-sleep, not dress shabbily, and so on.  Because you are doing something daily as a conscious activity, automatically your will-power, discipline and orderliness will see an improvement.

 

Feminism has made society obese

Feminism is essentially women revolting against traditional gender roles and wanting to have the advantages of being a woman as well as those of being a man.  While at the same time, they want men to enjoy no advantage from their masculinity.

What this means at home is that men cannot count on women cooking for them and feeding them, notwithstanding that men take the mantle of working and providing for their families.

Since home cooked food is not available to urbanites, both men and women are suffering from bad food.  They are eating processed, pre-cooked and junk food more than ever before.

Cooking for oneself is less efficient and seems like a chore than cooking for a family, which takes a similar amount of time.  This division of labor is anathema to a modern woman.  In many cases, she wants to be financially independent and therefore has no time or energy left to cook nourishing meals for her family.

You might ask, why should a woman cook, and not a man?  What is so special about cooking?  Cooking at a large scale is indeed done overwhelmingly by men: in restaurants, for special occasions, for large gatherings.  Women have traditionally cooked for their families because they were home, they felt good at providing this valuable service of nourishment and health to their families, and because it requires a certain attention to detail to prepare food for one’s family.  An old man might require easy-to-digest food, an infant might need a liquid diet, a growing boy and girl needs a certain diet.  While men did the work of providing for their families, it was the women who ensured that their families remained healthy and well-nourished.

In modern times, men are still held responsible for providing for their families, but women are no longer expected to cook (at least that’s what feminists will tell you). Working women and single mothers come home tired after work and have no energy left for cooking.  Women didn’t need to work outside home, but these days a single earning household struggles to make ends meet.  This is due to lowered wages (in which feminism has been a big factor because it has enlarged the workforce thus depressing the wages).

Not eating home-cooked meals means people are picking up food on the go, eating frozen dinners, gobbing on “comfort food” like french fries, cakes and ice-cream etc.

The growth of sedentary occupations is another big factor in this obesity epidemic, but as any diet expert or personal trainer will tell you, staying healthy and fit depends far more on diet than on exercise.

Feminism has made a good diet unavailable to the vast majority of urban population, and thus we see both men and women more and more unhealthy, struggling against the effects of a bad diet, and growing fatter and fatter.

If you are a single man, learn to cook some efficient and healthy meals at home.  If you don’t have a woman to cook for you, don’t despair and don’t depend on processed food.  Eat well, exercise and rest well.  It is not the same as having food with your family, but in these abnormal times, one has to take care of oneself.