[0:00:52] Podcast Sponsor
[0:02:45] Various Drug-Related Topics
[0:05:34] Ultimate Coffee Mix to Turn on The Brain During the Day
[0:09:10] Introduction to Jordan
[0:13:12] Taking Modafinil
[0:18:34] Erectile Dysfunction Vs. Brain Dysfunction
[0:19:26] Kegel Camp App
[0:24:42] About Robert Greene And His Book
[0:29:30] Why Do Athletes and High Achievers Come Across as Intimidating?
[0:43:45] Non-Verbal Communication Techniques
[0:56:52] Recreating “Authentic” Body Language
[1:03:41] My Annoying Body Language Quirk
[1:08:00] Who is Dr. David Buss?
[1:09:35] The Doorway Drill
[1:14:20] Closing the Podcast
[1:15:58] End of Podcast
Ben: I have a master's degree in physiology, biomechanics, and human nutrition. I've spent the past two decades competing in some of the most masochistic events on the planet from SEALFit Kokoro, Spartan Agoge, and the world's toughest mudder, the 13 Ironman triathlons, brutal bow hunts, adventure races, spearfishing, plant foraging, free diving, bodybuilding and beyond. I combine this intense time in the trenches with a blend of ancestral wisdom and modern science, search the globe for the world's top experts in performance, fat loss, recovery, gut hormones, brain, beauty, and brawn to deliver you this podcast. Everything you need to know to live an adventurous, joyful, and fulfilling life. My name is Ben Greenfield. Enjoy the ride.
Hey, it's Ben Greenfield. I interview my buddy Jordan today, Jordan Harbinger. We kind of just jumped right in. We hit record from the get-go because we always have these super amazing interesting conversations. You get to be the fly in the wall for this one and you are going to learn a crapton. We always have very, very interesting chats. You're going to like this one. This podcast is brought to you by my company, Kion.
We have an amazing holiday and Christmas promotions going on right now. I realize we're super close to the holidays, probably too late for you to actually go Christmas shopping at the time that this is coming out. But man, if you have a gift card or you got money for Christmas and you want to get like our super pure antioxidant rich coffee, the clean energy bar that I personally developed, pretty much took all the superfoods that I sprinkle on top of my smoothie in the morning and turn them into a bar with cacao nibs and almonds and sesame seeds and chia seeds and the gelatin equivalent of a half cup of bone broth, it's all in there in the Kion Clean Energy Bar.
We've got our anti-aging skin serum, our gut healing colostrum, our Kion Lean which is basically the best weight management formula I have ever used. I take two of those every single night before dinner. I was at a steakhouse last night with some of my friends and I just break it out. I give it to everybody. It cleans up the liver if you're drinking. It's got rock lotus extract in it. That and so much more. Pretty much anything cool that I discover, you can find at Kion, K-I-O-N. So, you go to getkion.com, getK-I-O-N.com, and now is the time to go because we have a ton of prices totally slashed to the floor for the holiday. So, check it out, getK-I-O-N.com. Alright. Let's go talk to Jordan.
Jordan: Does consuming cannabis at night, it aids in deep sleep or it hinders deep sleep? I know it was one of the two and I just can't remember which one it is.
Ben: Based on testing, extensive self-testing, what I've found is that CBD especially in doses of like–pretty hefty, like 60 to 100mg, which is a lot when you consider a lot of CBD supplements like one serving. I don't know why they sell it in such paltry amounts. It's like 10mg, enhances deep sleep. So, CBD, by itself, enhances deep sleep without fail for me just based on my sleep tracking. Once you throw THC into the mix, you see a drop in sleep latency, meaning that it seems to kind of shut down ruminating thoughts, et cetera, but you also don't seem to enter deep sleep cycles quite as intensively, which even if you're not quantifying, you sometimes tell like you dream, which you don't do as much during some of your deep sleep cycles. For me, I don't wake up as rested if I say you–let's say like an edible that has CBD and THC in it or some kind of an indica strain or something like that which is just pure CBD.
Jordan: Yeah, because what I've been finding is if I wake up at let's say 1:00 a.m. and I'm like, “Crap. I'm going to be awake all night now.” I tried it down a little bit of a tincture. And then I might pass out. Of course, the problem is it takes two hours to take activation or to take effect. But I wake up and I feel like, “Okay. I know that I just woke up but I don't feel like that morning like, ‘Oh yeah. I'm good. Let's do the day.'” I feel kind of like I know I was asleep but I don't necessarily feel like I was asleep.
Ben: That is very common with CBD. With CBD, a lot of times, you'll wake up, you'll be well rested but it takes like 10/15 minutes to shake things off. Kind of similar to melatonin, like if you take a bunch of melatonin, you get a pretty good night of sleep but it takes a little while when you wake up to really get going.
Jordan: I guess my question is, does that affect your health negatively during the day or am I just groggy because I had a little bit of a substance, CBD, during the evening? Or is this like, “Hey, if you do this all the time, you're feeling less rested because you actually are less rested”?
Ben: You actually are rested. You're just a little bit groggy. It takes a little while to shake it off. I think it has to do with the endocannabinoid system and the fact that it takes a little while. And there are things you can do to increase wakefulness. I was actually going to tell you about this because I know you and I like to geek out sometimes on ways to stimulate the body. And I think I have discovered the ultimate mix to really turn on the brain during the day. I've experimented with a lot of different nootropics and smart drugs but hear me out on this one.
What you do is very common like before adding coconut oil or butter or anything like that to your coffee or your tea, ghee was very popular. It's like an Ayurvedic recipe from thousands of years ago, this idea of putting ghee into coffee or into tea and blending it, and borrowing from other elements of ancient wisdom and the nootropic world. And also this guy named Paul Stamets, who's like a mushroom —
Jordan: The mushroom guy.
Ben: Yeah, the mushroom guy. What I do is when I wake up, I'm usually fasting for a while and I do a little bit of black coffee. But then for my second beverage of the day after I've done my fasted morning workout and all that jazz, what I've been doing is about a teaspoon to a full tablespoon of ghee. And then I put a couple packets of that Four Sigmatic Lion's Mane extract into the NutriBullet along with the ghee. I do a little bit of salt, because it seems to kind of like make it more flavorful like a little bit of Celtic salt, a really good salt.
And then I do a very small amount of psilocybin like 0.1 to 0.2 grams, like barely perceptible amount but–and this is something Paul Stamets says. There's a little bit of a synergism between the Lion's Mane and the psilocybin. And the final thing that I put in there, even though Paul Stamets recommends like a niacin or kind of like a flushing type of compound, well, cacao and cacao flavonoids, those are notoriously good for vasodilation, opening up arteries. So, I have this tea–you know Tucker Max, right?
Jordan: Of course, yeah.
Ben: So, Tucker Max was talking to me at this conference and he told me he doesn't drink coffee but he drinks this cacao tea in the morning.
Jordan: Wasn't I there for this conversation, actually?
Ben: You might have been. You might have been on our table. So, I bought this, this My Cacao that he told me about and I put about a tablespoon of that in with the ghee, the Lion's Mane, the psilocybin and the salt. And then just to make it taste good, I put a little bit of stevia in there. And then I blend that up, and holy cow, I'm just like ready to rumble for hours on end and you feel amazing. It's something about the chocolate, the Lion's Mane, the ghee and the psilocybin just opens you up for the entire day. So, it's a pretty potent one.
Jordan: So, you're essentially micro-dosing with psilocybin then?
Ben: Yeah, very, very, which is not uncommon, this idea of very small amounts of psilocybin to enhance your cognition. But this particular blend I like because it just–something about the ghee and the chocolate and it's a little bit thick. It's almost like you could eat it with a spoon. It's just super good.
Jordan: Wow. Okay. So, you're doing this and you're doing this every day?
Ben: Well theoretically, you're supposed to, when you do a micro-dosing schedule, micro-dose every three days. I don't hit it exactly every three days but pretty much any day. And this comes out for me. I find it comes out for me to about three days of the week when I've got a need for higher amounts of cognition or output. Saturday and Sunday, don't fall into that category, and usually, Friday doesn't either. For me, it's Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and/or Thursday. I do this and it works fantastically.
Jordan: Gotcha. Okay. Perfect.
Ben: Yeah. For those of you listening in, by the way, I hit record as I alluded to as soon as Jordan and I started talking. So, my apologies for the long intro for those of you who have no clue who the hell Jordan is. But Jordan, do you mind if I introduce you real quick?
Jordan: I think that makes sense at this point, yeah.
Ben: Yeah. It does seem to rather than you just being a random stranger that I'm talking to on the phone. Anyways, Jordan has been on the show before. He was actually on a show entitled How I Went From Eating Fast Food, Being Ultra-Shy And Reading Fantasy Novels, blah, blah, blah. It was a super long title and I think the title was more alluding to me than Jordan for some reason. I have no clue why I titled it that way but–
Jordan: Yeah. I've never read a fantasy novel in my life.
Ben: I know. Yeah. I went back and I was looking at it before recording, I'm like, “Why did I name this after me?” I think it must have been what we talked about. We mentioned about how to reprogram your brain and some cool eye tricks to improve your social confidence. We talked about bars and clubs and how to enhance your experience of those types of venues. We talked about body language mistakes. We talked about a lot of things that go into your area of expertise, which is broad but includes the whole idea that we're going to unpack in greater detail today, which is nonverbal communication and cues that people sometimes subconsciously give.
But Jordan also has a couple of articles. He's guest contributed to my site and I'll link to all that. I'm going to put all the shownotes if you guys go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Jordan, BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Jordan. If you can't spell Jordan, I'm sorry. My apologies. Google that. But anyways, Jordan has this huge interest in social influence and interpersonal dynamics and social engineering. He's helped private companies test the security of their communication systems. He's worked for law enforcement agencies, spent several fascinating years abroad in Europe and South America and Eastern Europe, in the Middle East. He speaks multiple languages. He's worked for various governments and NGOs overseas. He's traveled through war zones. He's been kidnapped and I think you told this story on our last show twice.
Ben: And he's able to talk his way into and out of just about any situation. He actually has a podcast as well, the Jordan Harbinger Show. I'll link to that, too. He gets a lot of really great folks on there like musicians and intelligence operatives and writers and visionaries and politicians and folks from all walks of life to deconstruct how they succeed. So, he's got a fantastic show as well if that's your thing, if personal development is your thing. He talks about way more than CBD and psilocybin.
Anyways, Jordan, welcome back.
Jordan: Thanks for having me, man. I appreciate it. I've been looking forward to this for a long time. It's probably rare but we hang out much more in person than we do online and on shows, which I think is the inverse of most, what do you call it? I hate this word, influencer, friendships or whatever you'd want to call it.
Ben: Yeah, digital friendships.
Jordan: Digital friendships, yeah, which is a good sign. It means we're actually friends in real life, which I think is probably in the scheme of things more valuable.
Ben: I think so. Well, I mean there are books about that like, what's her name? Sherry Turkle. I think her book, “Reclaiming Conversation” is the name of the title. She goes into how much is left on the table from eye contacts to the oxytocin release when you shake somebody's hands to everything you need in a true flesh-and-blood relationship versus a digital relationship. And opening the kimono for those of you listening in, you know Jordan and I are part of different masterminds together. We get a lot of similar conferences together and I guess we've been friends for what, like probably six years now, maybe?
Jordan: At least, yeah, because I'm trying to do the math in my head and yeah, it's got to be around there, if not slightly longer. So, it's great to have the ability to bounce complex stuff off of you and vice versa especially because the way we started this conversation was, “Okay. How does this affect sleep and what's going on here?” Because for me, and I'm sure for everyone listening, the last thing we want to do throughout our life is develop habits that we think are bridging some sort of gap and then find out, “Oh, by the way, your brain died slowly over the last 10 years that you were doing X.” And I won't mention any names here but I just heard about somebody that you and I both know, and I think this might be public knowledge, but he took modafinil for like a decade.
Ben: Oh, really?
Jordan: And I was just like–
Ben: Geez, now I'm going to wonder who it is.
Jordan: I can probably tell you off air. I don't want to blow someone up on your show.
Ben: No, don't blow somebody up. Okay. So, he took modafinil every day?
Jordan: For 10 years and I think it like–and it wasn't just a tablet early in the morning. It was like, I think multiple times per day for a decade.
Ben: Geez, man. What happened?
Jordan: He's alive and he's running a company but that doesn't mean that we won't find out in 10/20 years what a decade of modafinil every single day does to your brain and body.
Ben: Yeah. Have you used modafinil before?
Jordan: So, I was going to ask about that and I think that's an interesting point as well. I tried it and everyone's like, “It's amazing,” and I thought, “What the hell. I'll give it a shot.” I was a cranky demon for the entire day and I experienced absolutely no side benefits. My wife just goes, “Whatever pill you took this morning, throw them all away or I'm divorcing you,” basically was the outcome of that situation because it was cranky like the hungry kind of cranky but not actually hungry. Just that same level of crank for no reason, and I was irritable.
And I remember hearing some mouth noise from a friend of mine who was smacking his lips on the couch. Normally, that would be like, “Oh, I don't love that but whatever, it's my own pet peeve.” I remember distinctively thinking I want to throw a piece of cookware at his face and I was like, “That's not a normal human reaction. I'm turning into a psycho. What is this pill?” So, I had a massively adverse reaction to it.
Ben: I have a little stash up in my pantry for–it's an anti-narcoleptic drug. If I fly in from an international trip and I get home like 2:00 a.m. and let's say I have a podcast to record at 8:00 or my kids want me to go to their Friday assembly and I've gotten home from Tokyo at 2:00 a.m. or whatever, I will pop it in a case where I know that otherwise, I would be unlikely to be able to keep my eyes open. Because that's what it's designed for, to keep you from falling asleep during the middle of the day, but what it does is it actually stimulates a part of your brain called the hippocampus to release a whole bunch of what's called acetylcholine, which technically is the ingredient of a lot of nootropics and smart drugs. It gives better cognitive performance and better memory. It actually works. But the other thing that it does is it jacks up through the roof your levels of dopamine.
So, what this means is short-term, if you've got low levels of acetylcholine, or let's say you just don't need a lot of egg yolks and walnuts and when you take modafinil, you're not thinking ahead and supplementing also with acetylcholine, within a couple of hours, you develop a lot of the symptoms you just alluded to, like you get cranky and you get weird and you get irritable. But what concerns me when you talk about this unnamed person who used it for 10 years every day is when you jack up dopamine levels to that amount every single day, you develop insensitivities to dopamine. Like nothing feels as good when you're not on modafinil like sex or music or movies, or it's like–have you been to the website, yourbrainonporn.com?
Jordan: Actually, yes, I have. I did a show about that a million years ago. That's right. I forgot about that.
Ben: Yeah. It's like a pornography user typically needs increasingly, shall we say, deviant porn in order to get the same effect or they have difficulty getting pleasure from a normal sexual relationship or just like a “normal” woman versus what they're looking at on a porn website because they just developed this complete insensitivity because they're just jacking up their dopamine over and over again with porn. Kind of similar with modafinil, when you're on a long time, you just eventually exhaust your dopamine levels.
Jordan: That is, yeah, obviously a terrible side effect. First of all, I get a lot of interesting things in my inbox as I'm sure you do as well. I do an interview with Dr. David Buss or Dr. Matthew Walker on sleep or just some kind of crazy expert that people haven't heard of, and my inbox typically will fill up from guys and gals, young and old, but one thing I've noticed in the last few years that I don't remember before was a lot of younger guys in their 20s, 30s saying, “Hey, I'm pretty sure I have erectile dysfunction that's been induced from growing up with porn.”
That is terrifying because we didn't–I don't know about you, I didn't have access to anything like that until probably college where I actually then had access to real women. And it was like I had an insatiable appetite for both but then after a short while you realize, “Okay. Well, there are tons of real women. I am in college.” And so we had a choice to deal with both of those things. But if you are in middle school and your first exposure to women is hardcore free porn on the internet, how the hell are we going to fix that? And that's an entirely different conversation but with this modafinil and with all of this sort of nootropics, I feel like we're playing a little bit with fire here and I don't want to sound like the old guy or like the puritan. But when people are doing different types of generic modafinil for a decade straight, we're running headlong into a wall here.
Ben: Yeah, yeah, I agree. And in the case of a porn user and erectile dysfunction, I don't think it's erectile dysfunction. It's just brain dysfunction, like you're simply not producing the chemicals. So, let's say you have the mechanics to be able to get it up, you just aren't producing the dopamine and the other arousing chemicals that allow you to do it because you've just pretty much developed an insensitivity to those. Although I should note that I did have a 288K personal modem when I was in high school and I do remember when I visited a porn website and sat at the edge of my sheet for nearly 10 minutes waiting for a naked woman to appear. I do remember those days of pixelated images on the internet.
Jordan: Yeah, a static image.
Ben: Right, right.
Jordan: Yeah, for a static image to download. And I think that might be even a different beast than what we have now, which is like open seven tabs with seven different videos that are uploaded instantly.
Ben: Clickety click, click. Hey, speaking of porn, by the way you, I think–and if this is something you don't want to talk about, just feel free to move on. But I think you told me that you set the record on the Kegel Camp app at one point.
Jordan: I did.
Ben: Tell me about this.
Jordan: So, this is pretty funny and a blast from the past. So, Emily Morris from Sex with Emily has this app called the Kegel Camp where she did literally seven years ago probably when I got it at first. And it's like you squeeze and release, you squeeze and release, right? And I was like, “Oh, this isn't doing anything.” And she's like, “Just keep going.” And I'm like, “Alright. Cool.” So, I went and there was something like 10 levels in the app and I got to level 10 and I go, “Hey, I'm on level 10. It's pretty easy now.” She's like, “Well, are you seeing results?” I was like, “Oh, you bet, yeah.” I probably don't have to explain what those results are. When you have super strong Kegel muscles, there are a lot of different great results like not having to go to the bathroom a lot, which was the most useful one but definitely not the funniest one. But then she added 10 more levels and I made it all the way through Level 20.
And when I got there, I texted her and I was like, “Hey, what's going on? You know, Level 20, I'm starting to do it.” She goes, “I didn't even think Level 20 was possible.” She's like, “I just added it in there and extrapolated. You're the only person I know who's made it that far.” So, yeah, I have the record so far in Emily Morris's Kegel Camp app. And this was incredible because I'm one of those guys with a walnut-sized bladder that drinks a ton of liquids all day and stays super hydrated and is possibly overhydrated so I have to actually be careful with it. But I realize like, “Oh my gosh, I can control a lot of things, a lot of elements of having that urge.” And of course, there are sexual side effects that are very positive from being able to do crazy amounts of Kegels.
And I will also say that there's a lot to be said for feeling like you can control the system down there because as a man, I think often we are reactive to that system, and which we're sitting there with our fingers crossed hoping during sex that we don't have problems with it. Beforehand, we're hoping we don't have problems with it especially if you're one of those guys who wrote to me watching too much porn. And then also, I've heard of plenty of guys who are taking flights and things like that. And I don't know, this is an entirely separate problem, a lot of guys are having–and I mean not 20-year-old guys but guys in their 40s and 50s are having issues with things like bladder control and I'm like, “Where's this coming from? I don't understand.”
Ben: Yeah, urinary incontinent. It actually happens to guys, too. The whole Kegel thing is interesting because I actually download this app, this Kegel Camp app. I think it was after you told me about it and messed around with it. It reminded me very much of, I think it was maybe seven years ago or so, I wrote an article called The Private Gym. Have you heard of this thing called The Private Gym?
Jordan: I feel like I have but possibly from you, yes.
Ben: Okay. So, our mutual friend, Jordan Gray, the relationship coach Jordan Gray.
Jordan: Oh, yeah.
Ben: Another Jordan who's been on my podcast before. I remember when we were at an event. I think it was one of our little mastermind events that we all go to. He was telling me about his wet towel exercise where he put a towel on your erection, just a small dry hand towel and you practice lifting that when you get an erection and then —
Jordan: That's funny. I feel like I accidentally invented that when I was 12 and I just kept doing it because it's funny. So, maybe that's why I'm so successful at Kegel Camp.
Ben: And you progressively graduate to a larger towel and then you get the towel wet. Well, this company, Private Gym, developed an actual magnet that wraps perfectly around the penis that has progressively larger sizes of the magnet and so you can do progressive resistance training with your penis very similar to a Kegel exercise. And I remember for the article that I wrote, I spent–my wife would laugh at me because I would do it in the bathroom, in the bedroom, but I spent about eight weeks training with this device. And one of the side effects that I noted was, A, way better urinary control, and B, for those of you who deal with things like constipation and bowel movement issues, way better control over that function as well.
A lot of people think Kegels are for women who want to train for incontinence or for some kind of a sexual effect, or men who want to train for something similarly, but there appear to be a wide range of ancillary side effects from doing Kegels. So, if anything comes off of this podcast, I think everybody should download the Kegel Camp app and–I don't know, maybe we should get them to sponsor the show.
Jordan: Maybe, yeah. But just be careful. I feel like you're going to end up talking–our next episode in a year is going to be about how you deadlift now with using only your penis, and that's going to be dangerous for everyone involved. So, make sure you throw a little asterisk with some insurance or something at the end of this one.
Ben: Yeah. Yeah. Maybe somebody can invent some kind of an attachment for a hex bar like some–I can imagine some kind of a sleeve that goes in the front of the hex bar for those who have graduated to that level. So, we haven't really talked about anything that I planned on asking you yet. Here we are 20 minutes in.
Jordan: That's right, Kegel battle attachment. We do have time.
Jordan: We do have time to get to relevant information as well. I'm totally open to that.
Ben: Yes. Okay. Maybe we should focus on something useful. So, here's this, have you heard about this book–because I know you've had them on your podcast but I don't know if you've seen his book. Robert Greene has this book called, “Laws of Human Nature.” Have you seen this one?
Jordan: Oh, yeah. I read that book right before it came out and I interviewed Robert Greene on the Jordan Harbinger Show for two straight hours and so far, it's been one of the most popular–it's the most popular episode of the show. It was something like 430,000 downloads so far. He is incredible and that episode was everything that I ever wanted in a podcast episode, just incredible.
Ben: That book, besides alerting to me how much of a narcissist, like a closet narcissist I probably am based on his description of narcissism. And he does have a fantastic chapter in there about how to be a good narcissist, like how to turn all of those inclinations around and actually develop a true appreciation for other people and use narcissism to become a good leader. But he gets hardcore into nonverbal communication skills, which I know that you're kind of an expert at. So, I'm curious when you interviewed him, did you have any kind of major takeaways or things you learned from him in the realm of nonverbal communication?
Jordan: Yeah. It's funny with nonverbal communication. I started off learning verbal and nonverbal communication for the purposes of networking when I was a Wall Street attorney and I wanted to generate business for my law firm. And so, I thought about, “Alright. How can I master getting to know people and networking?” And it actually came down largely to nonverbal communication because it's not what you say that creates those first impressions; it's the way that you appear to other people when they notice you. So, when you become a blip on their radar.
And then, of course, I started taking classes like Dale Carnegie and things like that. Of course, the advice there is, “Look him in the eye and have a firm handshake.” And I thought, “Okay. If somebody doesn't like you or isn't giving you a million dollar legal contract, it's probably not because you didn't look him in the eye or have a firm handshake. There's something else going on.” So, I spent the last decade and changed learning all I could about nonverbal communication. There are so many things out there that are flawed or oversimplified, or it's like if their feet are pointing towards the door, they're thinking about leaving. It's like, “Ugh, maybe.”
And more recently, I started training three-letter agencies on verbal and nonverbal communication and things like that. I actually had a really interesting experience right after the Robert Greene interview where I was dealing with a lot of former clandestine operations people from the Central Intelligence Agency and we were all in a room together. I didn't know who they were; I just knew the one guy who I was speaking with was. And I said, “You know, when we met at this party, I could tell right away that you were a former spy. It was either that or a professor.” And he said, “Oh really? Why?” Because he was undercover in Africa for like 10 to 20 years or something like that. So, not a good look when some random dude at a party can spot you out of the crowd. And he said, “There are other people here that I used to work with. Do you have any idea who they are?” And I got something like 8 to 11 out of the 15. And I say 8 to 11 because I was on the fence about a few of these 15 people that were in the room.
Jordan: And we've actually tried to figure out and codify this because it's potentially very dangerous if somebody who just walked in and talked with people for 20 to 30 minutes can pick these people out. That's really, really bad. And they're really good at picking each other out of a crowd, and that's fine but it's terrible if a random civilian can pick these people out because these are life or death situations a lot of these people find themselves in. These are guys and gals that go undercover in Iraq, Syria or elsewhere and have to deal with a lot of dangerous situations in Pakistan and elsewhere. So, this is not good.
And what we've codified as a result of this was a system of personality archetypes similar to what I've been using for a while but really, really specifically geared towards high performers. And what I've noticed actually, and that'll be of interest to you, is that athletes, high performing physical competitors and things like that actually have a lot of similar nonverbal communication. And I'm not sure what causes this but I think it's a lot of physical confidence and situational confidence that probably comes with dominating in sports and/or being undercover in the CIA which is no easy task. And I think it results in people sticking out in a way that for a spy is really bad, for an athlete or high performer can be really good but also has the side effect of being potentially intimidating.
And I don't know if you've heard this from your show fans and from people that you work with but a lot of athletes come across as intimidating. And I don't just mean like boxers and MMA fighters. I mean, there are track and field athletes that they'll tell me things —
Ben: Yeah. I mean, the CrossFitters, anybody who's fit, really. I always, and hopefully this doesn't rabbit hole too much, I've always wondered if whether or not it's just people feeling ashamed because it makes them feel like a slob or something when somebody fit walks into the room or if there's something else going on.
Jordan: There's a little bit of both, and we can rabbit hole on this because I feel like it's relevant here. There is an element of highlighting people's insecurities when this happens, and this does dovetail with what we can discuss here in a second, but it does make sense. So, for example, you have this problem in general regardless of how fit you are, let's say that you are 250 pounds but you should be like 190 and you've got a bunch of friends that you hang out with and you play Xbox all the time and they're all 245, 235, whatever. When you start losing that weight, what's going to happen? Some people might be proud of you but that group of guys or gals that you hang out with that's at a similar level are probably going to resist it a little bit.
It's not because they don't care about you and it's not because they actually want you to be unhealthy or suffer adverse consequences. The reason that this often happens is because whenever somebody who we deem to be the most like us undergoes a series of changes, the more like us we deem that person to be, the more uncomfortable we get as a result of those changes. I'll repeat that just in case because it might be a little confusing. The more we look at somebody and we think they're like us or we're like them, the more any change in their status like their social status, whatever that means, whether that means physical appearance, physical fitness, income level, the way that they–for guys like you and I, any sort of media attention somebody gets for their business or if their podcast blows up or their YouTube channel blows up, something like this, the more we end up kind of taking that personally.
And the reason, one of the reasons that this happens is because we compare ourselves consistently to other people with whom we feel we're on the same tier. So, this can be great because it can be self-motivating but it can also be really dangerous to our interpersonal relationships because–let's say we as a group decide to, “Oh, let's all get fit, guys. All we do is play Xbox all weekend. Let's go to the gym and do some other stuff and then we can game after.” Well, if we all start off great, and then two months later, somebody falls off the wagon because their knee hurts then somebody joins them because they feel like, “Oh man, every time I do this, I get sick for a day after,” because they're not used to the physical exertion. So, then those two guys start gaming.
Well, let's say the third guy, that's you or me, we stick with it because we're starting to feel good and like the changes and we're getting positive reinforcement from our wife and kids. Well, the problem happens later down the line. Those same gaming friends, they might not want to hang out and see us anymore and they won't say, “Screw you, buddy. All you've done is get in shape. I should be proud of you but I'm jealous.” What they do is we rationalize in our brain some other reason like, “Oh, this person's not as friendly or as fun anymore.” Or, “They're rejecting us because all they care about is the gym and their half marathon and they never join our gaming sessions anymore. Jordan thinks he's too cool to hang with us.”
This is totally normal human behavior, and the reason is because nobody wants to have this highlighted for them. If you go and win a Spartan Race like you did when you stayed over at my house in San Francisco a couple of years back, then I go, “Well, of course. Ben Greenfield won a Spartan Race. I understand that. That's his thing. I'm happy for him but –“
Ben: I don't think I won it. I think I got second.
Jordan: Oh, you came in second?
Jordan: Well, I'm trying to do some revisionist history here. It must be because I had the life —
Ben: I like your memory though. That's great.
Jordan: I try to remember everything in an ideal scenario for those–the benefit of those on the show that are not me. So, yeah, it makes sense that you achieve something like that. I don't feel any sort of self-esteem issue because you're more athletic than me because that would be weird that a professional, essentially professional athlete and health guru such as yourself, you're supposed to do things like that and I'm–it's not part of my identity. But if somebody else who's in my same lane does something, well, then I might start feeling insecure about it.
And we have to be really careful about this because we want to surround ourselves with healthy people both emotionally and physically, and I'm sure your audience is the epitome of this. They're always working on themselves. The definition of biohacking is what? Eking out that last 1% to 5% of changes that are going to make a difference because you're already eating and working out and sleeping right theoretically?
So, we have to be very careful that our rationalizations don't get a hold of us. And I see this happening all the time and destroying people's relationships even with their significant other because people start to think, “Uh-oh. My wife did this or my brother did this or my close friend did this.” The fact that I'm not doing it, all my excuses are pretty much gone.” If the guys I've been hanging out with every weekend who have the same income level and the similar family situation, one guy gets in shape and the rest of us don't, I start to see that I could do this but I'd chosen not to. And the cognitive dissonance where I have to rationalize why they did it and I can't, it becomes so much work that I don't want to face it anymore.
And this, I find, actually can stop people dead in their tracks from self-improvement because if by improving you become socially isolated, that's a really strong trigger for a lot of people, especially people that aren't in great shape, because if you've been in bad shape or mediocre shape your entire life, well maybe you were bullied. And even if you weren't, even if you were just bullied period, you might have a trigger button built-in that says, “Oh, when people start treating me like this, I start feeling really horrible and isolated.”
This can be a trigger that people will actually choose to be less fit, less healthy, eat more junk, sit around more and derail their fitness plans because they want to keep their friends. And this is extremely dangerous. And so this is a good rabbit hole to go down I think even though it distracted from your original question because I see this happening all the time and it doesn't have to be with fitness. That's an example that's great for the show but it can be somebody who's a go-getter at work and their colleagues aren't. It can be somebody who has decided to have kids and so all of their business go-getter entrepreneur friends split off from them. It can be somebody who decides to start a business instead of working for the man and then they find that, “Oh, you know what? My friendship and social circle has started to die out.”
So, we really do sort of have a magnet for what's comfortable. The problem is it doesn't have to be what's comfortable for us; it can be what's comfortable for those around us.
Ben: Well, hello. I want to interrupt today's show to tell you about Christmas in a cup. That's right, Christmas in a cup. I promise I won't talk about it. I talk like a grandma during one of those commercials a while ago and I think it disturbs people. So, I won't talk like a grandma but what I can tell you is that if you're sitting back in your rocking chair, preparing to open your stockings or hang the stockings with care by the fireplace or however that old Christmas poem goes, you want to be holding in your hands a wonderful heartwarming cup full of smooth coconut milk, cinnamon, ginger, lemon balm, super mushrooms just like grandma used to eat.
And this is all like a super healing golden juice. Good for the stomach, good for the gut, for the joints, for inflammation. It's like those golden juices that you get at the coffee shop with none of the sugar and crap added to them, it's just pure, golden milk. It's full of anti-inflammatory spices, and did I mention, it tastes like Christmas in a cup. So, it's called Organifi Gold. They also have a red juice that's got some really good anti-aging and blood building properties to it; a green juice that saves you all the chopping and the cutting and the smoothie building. Just put it in water or anything else that you would like such as chili. No, don't put it in chili. Put it in like maybe almonds milk or coconut milk, blend it up or use a latte frother. Organifi is offering 20% off of all their fine powders. You go to Bengreenfieldfitness.com/organifi. Use discount code the discount code mentioned there. It's going to automatically save you 20% when you use code mentioned here.
Also, right now, I'm not lying to you, right now I am wearing Birdwell Beach Britches. My wonderful Birdwell Beach Britches. I'm actually in California while I'm recording this if the audio sounds a little funky compared to the audio that you were hearing while I was interviewing Jordan. And these Birdwell Beach Britches, what they use are materials that are fashioned from or inspired by sailboats, sailboat sales particularly. And that means that they are completely unbreakable.
They literally inspect every single individual seam and stitch in grommet and if anything breaks, lifetime guarantee. You send it back to the factory, they fix it. They build these things for all shapes and sizes. And if you live in a cold climate like let's say you're in Siberia or Alaska or maybe some glacier in Russia, listening to this, the good news is they also have competition jackets, they have wonderful winter and fall wear, too. They're light and rugged competition jacket just like the shorts will survive decades of adventures.
So, you get 10% off of anything from Birdwell Beach Britches on your first purchase. You also get a lifetime guarantee and free shipping over 99 bucks. So, go burn up some of that Christmas cash you just got or you're about to get and go to birdwell.com. That's B-I-R-D-W-E-L-L.com and the discount code that you use at birdwell.com is–brace yourself, you guessed it, Ben. If you guessed Greenfield, you're wrong, it's Ben, [email protected]
Yeah, for the people you're hanging around. That makes perfect sense especially I know we have a lot of our listeners who are into things like intermittent fasting, which a lot of people don't get when all of a sudden you aren't joining in on whatever–whether it's the Saturday morning church breakfast or the weekday feeds at the office. All of a sudden you're the odd person out and I think that gets in the way of a lot of people adhering to whether it's an intermittent fast or a lunchtime workout when you're suddenly skipping out on lunch and you're on the stair mill on the gym instead.
And I think it works in reverse, too. You're no doubt familiar with the idea that the more your friends tend to fall into the category of overweight or obese, the more likely that you are overweight or obese. It's kind of a relatively obvious scenario in which you are the equivalent of the five people that you spend the most time with but it really flushes itself out, pun intended, in the health and fitness realm where your fitness, your body weight, your eating protocols and diet, everything is very reflected by your friends and the people that you hang out with. And as you just alluded to, as soon as you start to strike out on your own or deviate from those patterns, you tend to create whether jealousy or anger or bitterness or some kind of alienation from that same group.
Jordan: Absolutely. And I'll take you one further. This is kind of terrifying. I talked about this as well with I believe Dr. David Buss on the show as well. There are network effects that are just terrifying. So, for example, you mentioned–what is that phrase? You only go as high as your five closest friends or you're the average of the five people you spend the most time with. There are network effects that say things like–even if you and I, Ben, don't have–let's say we have no overweight friends because everyone around us is healthy and a go-getter, that's great. I mean, it's highly unlikely. That's great but let's imagine that it's that way just for kicks.
The network effect of any of the people that we know also having friends that are unhealthy and overweight, we still suffer negative network effects from that. So, you heard me right. Even if you and I don't know a single overweight unhealthy person in our life, which is impossible, even if the people close to us have close friends that are overweight and unhealthy, we still suffer network effects. And there is peer-reviewed research that shows unhealthy habits creeping in like freaking LinkedIn connections where it's like you're a second-degree connection, you're a third-degree connection.
That person's BS vaping habit or whatever is still at some level having a network effect on us. And I'm not exactly sure how this functions. It probably isn't–well, you've got friends that do vaping and smoke cigarettes all the time so we're going to end up smoking at some point. It's not necessarily like this. It probably has to do with the way that people eat, the type of food that we're around, social activity.
I'm not exactly sure how they did this study but the fact that there are network effects is really terrifying because that means that we can't just surround ourselves with amazing people and be isolated from those negative influences, we actually–or it's not possible unless we're in some sort of elite military unit that never sees anybody else and only is surrounded by each other all the time. We are going to have those negative influences creep in. So, it's important to have your own set of discipline, habits and ideas on how things are supposed to be done and really to stick to them because we think we're doing great on our own, we think we're resisting, but if anyone in our close circle is unhealthy or even in their close circle is unhealthy, it will still creep in. So, we have to really rely on our own systems. We can't just say that we're never tempted because it's not realistic. It's just not what the science shows.
Ben: Yeah. Yeah. So, coming full circle back to athletes or people who are fit, being intimidating. When we walk into a room when we're hanging around with people who may not fall into that category, what are some of the nonverbal communication skills that you teach to allow us to be better received in that type of scenario?
Jordan: Right. So, it's not as simple as, “Oh, this person's an athlete so they stand up straight, so they look great,” or they're, “Oh wow, they're wearing clothes and they look like they've got good musculature.” Everyone's intimidated. It's actually a little bit —
Ben: My Welcome to the Gun Show t-shirt.
Jordan: Yeah, exactly, exactly. Some of that might do it right but that's really not necessarily what we're looking for. What we've found is that a lot of people who are athletic or are competitors in some way, they don't necessarily have to be athletic but of course most elite athletes or even mid-tier athletes are very competitive people. That's why you all get into that stuff in the first place. We find that we're competitive. And what this does and the personality archetype scale that we developed for the Jordan Harbinger Show, the competitor is generally where most of us live. Athletes and high performers tend to be more of a competitor than most other people.
The other personality archetypes for reference are things like the doormat, somebody gets walked all over. The bully or somebody tries to drag people down to their level. Competitors are relatively healthy archetype because again, that's where these high performers live. But the problem we have is as athletes or as high performers, we often look at relationships or at least to competitive relationships as zero-sum. And what that means is, “I have to be better than other people because that's how I get social approval. If I don't get it, they are going to get it and then it means something about myself.”
Robert Greene and I touched on this with the idea of toxic envy, and that we can talk about in a little bit if you're interested. But the problem that we see with competitive people is often there's covered up anxiety. It's not clinical anxiety, right? This isn't something you're dragging yourself with that event all the time. But we often feel self-conscious, anxious, fearful or uncertain or unstable especially with regard to our sense of self because often athletes, high performers, our sense of self for years, especially if we've been that way our whole life, has been derived from the approval of others.
And then we spend our whole adult life being like, “I don't need anyone's approval. I'm going to the gym for myself and I'm competing for myself.” And often, that may be true but I'm sure you've seen this, Ben, it's just as often the result–maybe we're doing it now. Maybe we're going to the gym for ourselves now but maybe when we started it was because we wanted the opposite sex to find us more attractive. It's kind of like ask any musician, “How did you start playing guitar?” The answer probably wasn't, “Well, I just loved the sweet, sweet melody of that bass.” It was, “To get women to like me,” or something like that, right?
Ben: Oh yeah. Me, I originally began weightlifting so that I could get good at tennis/impress my female tennis instructor who I had a crush on. Same thing with running the hills back behind my house and then even though it really struck strictly with being–strength conditioning, we want to be a better tennis player through high school. Once I got to college, of course, it was about being a sex symbol and lifting weights to basically create that Adonis-like figure that I thought that women around me at university would respect. And then once I got married, it turned into–kind of came full circle and started turning in back into training for performance for like Ironman or Spartan or whatever.
And now, I'm actually at this crossroads now because I'm slowly kind of getting out of the competitive sports realm. And so now, I'm at this junction where I'm trying to develop the motivation to stay fit because I know it makes me feel good and will help me live a long time and will help me play basketball with my kids better. And basically, I'm having to develop this whole new set of rules, but you're right, motivations change as you progress through life.
Jordan: Exactly right. So, you're starting to feel a little bit more of internal, I guess drive and of course doing it for your kids and you realize at some conscious and subconscious level, your kids don't care if you have a 12-pack instead of a 6-pack of abs. And so your goals change. And so what I've noticed is that with competitive archetypes, we find ourselves comparing ourselves to other people on specific dimensions like wealth, looks or influence. With athletes especially, it has to do with the level of fitness, a lot of it, and this is totally fine.
Look, using other people's status as motivation to become better is completely fine. The problem is when we build ourselves up or tear ourselves down using that comparison because yes, it's great if you say, “Wow. Ben is in really good shape. He's doing yoga in my living room on a foam roller and my wife and I came home and there he was and I've never seen a guy with 0% body fat or whatever, it's incredible.” That's great.
Ben: I think I was also wearing an elevation training mask because you happen to have one of those in your little bucket as well.
Jordan: Yeah. So, it kind of looked like naked Bane in my–or Speedo-wearing Bane in my living room and I'd never really seen anything like that.
Ben: Like Skinny Bane.
Jordan: Skinny Bane, yeah, exactly. Using that to motivate yourself is great, it's fine but the problem is when we engage in this judgmental observation privately or internally. Obviously, if you're doing it publicly, it's really unhealthy because now you're starting to consciously place yourself above or below other people and you will spend your entire day with your self-esteem fluctuating based on who you are around and what angles you have that are better than what they do and what they do that's better than you. And you'll often have an emotional reaction to those people. And the problem is using those observations that we have to ourselves to explain our own success or lack of success can be really, really unhealthy and it results in both verbal and nonverbal communication that pushes other people away.
So, you hear it from elite athletes that feel really isolated and by nature, we think, “Well, of course. You're a gold medalist. There are not many other gold medalists.” It's not just that. It's the fact that they're so competitive that they're actually pushing people away who are better than them in some way because the feeling is so uncomfortable, but they also don't want to be around people who they clearly dominate, which is probably the majority of the world, because they feel like there's nothing there that's motivating them. And if this is a subconscious process, it's quite dangerous.
And if this is confusing, some of the archetypical thoughts of a competitor are, “I wonder what they think of me.” Or, “That idea sucks, mine was better.” Or, “That idea was really good. I wish I had thought of it.” Or, “This person has advantages I don't have. That's probably why they're getting ahead.” Or even something really simple like, “Well, they might have a great job but I have a better social life or I'm healthier than them even though –“
Jordan: And that can lead to really dangerous communication patterns that push other people away and then an athlete wakes up or a high performer wakes up one day and says, “Holy crap, I don't have that many close relationships and it's starting to take a toll on my emotional health.”
Ben: Are there specific things that you do then with your body language when you walk into a room and you're like an athlete or an exercise enthusiast you know you're going to be the fit person to allow other people to feel more comfortable around you?
Jordan: Yes, absolutely. So, remember what I said earlier in the show which is that you are judged non-verbally especially when you become a blip on other people's radar. So, most people think that social interactions of any kind start when you open your mouth, and that's not really true. It's very tempting to think that because then we think we have control over how the interaction goes or how we're perceived. And this is especially true like in a dating context. Guys will say, “What do I say? What do I do?” And that's largely irrelevant. And women will ask the same thing but I think women are, of course, more clued into nonverbal communication just due to their place in evolutionary biology. There's a safety concern for females that are not usually there for men.
And so we find that when people walk into the room, we subconsciously look at new people who enter a doorway all the time. And we find, often enough, that when we judge those people, it's happening so fast, it's happening subconsciously. And we often have an adverse or beneficial emotional reaction to that person. So, if you're an athlete and let's say you're more muscular or even just taller, let's [00:52:21] _____ that because I don't want it to just turn into the game of physical mass, taller than somebody else, you automatically —
Ben: Or you can lift the heavier magnet on penis gym.
Jordan: That's right. That's right. You know that you've got Level 20 on Kegel Camp. You've got that in your back pocket. A lot of people will be intimidated by this, a lot of people have an adverse or comparative emotional reaction to this, and that can be highly problematic for you because now you're going, “Crap, I'd spend all these years getting in shape and now people don't like me because I'm making them feel bad about themselves.” And of course what we think is, “Well, screw those people. I don't need their approval. I worked hard for this. I don't care if they feel bad.” But remember, we're the ones that are facing consequences, unfortunately, of this.
And so we might be tempted to be around other high performers as a solution and yet then we end up being even more competitive with those people and them of us. So, it can impinge on our relationships there, too. Actually, the problem that we find is not we need to have athletic people or high performers become more accessible. I don't want people to walk in and be like, “I need to slouch so that people think I'm a schlubby slap and don't have an adverse reaction.” What we actually need to realize is there's not much that we can do to change this perception. And so we should actually stop trying to mitigate because subconsciously, athletes and high performers will often do this especially women, and I know you've seen this in your inbox.
Women will go, “Oh shoot, I'm in shape and I'm really tall. I need to slouch.” Have you ever heard this before? Athletic women will be like, “I need to slouch or I need to not wear heels or I need to pretend I'm stupid so that I don't intimidate other people.” This actually rubs other people the wrong way because we can tell it's disingenuous and then you start making relationships with people based essentially on a lie. So, in many ways, you've got to own it but on the other hand, you don't want to do this in a way that's going to really throw it in people's faces. So, we make ourselves more friendly or more accessible.
And the way that we can do this is instead of having–if we're worried about intimidating people as guys, you'd literally need to smile more when you shake hands. And I know that sounds incredibly basic but you'd be shocked. When we videotape military Special Forces, intelligence agents, one of the things we do is we do video work where we will film them in interactions. One of the most obvious tells is this sort of really tight jaw and the firm handshake with the eye contact, it's great but it's really, really intimidating for a lot of people because remember, it's not the handshake that's intimidating, it's not the lack of smile that's intimidating, it's the fact that you are clearly very physically able and agile and you aren't letting us in at all.
So, we want to be much more accessible especially for guys. We want to smile more, we want to listen to what people say and do, laugh at their jokes even if they're not necessarily that funny. You don't have to lay on a completely fake façade, don't get me wrong. I love authenticity even though I hate the word authenticity because I think it's overused in silly. But for us as competitive people, we often will be inside our own heads and so that makes us seem unfriendly. Does that make sense? Like if we're thinking about how we measure up to other people, other people are already intimidated by our physical presence. So, if we're sitting there in our head and people are talking, we're not reactive, that makes us even more intimidating. So, its presence and accessibility that make us look more accessible and more like somebody that shouldn't scare the wits out of us as a competitive archetype.
Ben: Yeah. It's actually very similar to, for example, what I was reading in Robert Greene's book when you allude to the idea of smiling, even if you maybe don't feel like smiling. But he talks about method actors and how they actually learn to recall certain scenarios in their memory in which they, let's say really, truly were happy. Like I'm the athletic guy, I walk into the room, my jaw is set, I'm ready to look you in the eye and give you a firm handshake and all of a sudden, I learned from Jordan on this show that I should instead maybe like hold back on the vise grip and give a true authentic smile when I'm greeting someone and not look them in the eye with extreme intensity.
Well, how do you do that without creating the complete opposite, like a fake smile with no crow's eyes that's obviously just like a fake smile? Well, Robert Greene in that book–what's the name of the book again? It's the Law–
Jordan: The Laws of Human Nature.
Ben: Yeah. The Laws of Human Nature. He talks about how you could actually recall a scenario in which you really, truly were happy or maybe you think of a crazy funny movie that you saw or something else that brought you joy so you're actually able to create a smile that is authentic. It's kind of difficult to explain but it's this idea of actually learning to create authentic body language even when it might feel inauthentic. Does that make sense?
Jordan: It does and the problem is that a lot of us, what we think as our authentic body language is actually the result of us trying to mitigate or change our first impression and we're bringing this from childhood. So, people are wrapped up, especially us competitive archetypes. We're wrapped up in our own emotions. We're wrapped up in our own traumas. And this is a Robert Greene concept directly. We're always reliving things from our childhood. If you weren't athletic as a kid, now you're compensating for that as an adult in some way. Even if it really is that you just enjoy physical activity and you changed, you're still reliving things from your childhood.
So, other people who are reacting to you, you're not really the trigger. The trigger is something that happened when they were four or five or fifteen years old. But this isn't personal, but what we see is it's not that guys and gals are walking through the doorway and being super look like The Rock and are scaring the crap out of everybody. Usually, it's actually the other way around, especially with women, what we find is a lot of slouching, a lot of indirect or non-direct eye contact, a lot of trying to make themselves smaller and we'll find–I even know–I don't want to out anyone here but one of my friends is a very good MMA fighter and he was bullied as a kid because he had I guess a potbelly.
Ben: Conor McGregor, is that your friend?
Jordan: Yeah, yeah. My buddy, Conor McGregor. I don't know if you've heard of him. He was bullied as a kid and people used to reach up his shirt and smack his stomach. Remember pink belly, you do that in school when you were a kid?
Ben: No. I remember I was homeschooled.
Jordan: Oh, yeah, that's right. So, maybe your parents did it to you but the other kids didn't, I don't know.
Ben: No. No. I had no friends nor did my parents touch my belly.
Jordan: Oh my gosh.
Ben: It's horrible.
Jordan: This explains so much. But they used to smack him on the stomach. And so he developed this habit of grabbing the bottom of his shirt and tugging on it. And the reason he did that was because of course he was self-protecting and we all have this. Now, he still does this as an adult. Nobody's going to bully him because he will destroy people. Literally, what he does is knock people out for money, right?
So, it's a little more complicated than that but he's a showman when it comes to this and he's a great person and everyone loves him but he still got this hang-up. We all have these little tells. And so often I'll be coaching and talking with people who are high performers, especially if I'm dealing with military or intelligence agents and you'll see these women who are like world champion skiers or something like that and I'll say, “Do you work on the computer all day?” And they're like, “Oh, not really. Why?” And I'll go, “You're slouching.” And they'll go, “Damn it. I started doing that in middle school because I was taller than all the boys and I never shook the habit.”
And so this awareness around our physical and verbal and nonverbal communication is extremely important because it's not that we're walking into places and were intimidating everyone with our stature most of the time, it's that the things we are doing to try to fit in socially are actually causing us harm because we know that the body leads the mind and the mind leads the body but what we've found in what Robert Greene discusses in The Laws of Human Nature is that often these beliefs are shaped by us when we're young and by events when we're young and it shows up in our nonverbal communication. And to illustrate this, I had lunch recently with a bunch of ex-military guys that now do protection force like Elon Musk and Bill Gates in these sort of high-level Silicon Valley entrepreneur billionaire guys. And I remember–
Ben: Dude, Elon Musk has a flamethrower. He doesn't need bodyguards.
Jordan: He doesn't but you never know. Someone could sneak up on you when your flamethrower is still warming up. And I said, “Hey man, this is random but –” First of all, we're talking about what we could do for the organization and I said, “This is random but were you the youngest of a set of siblings?” And he said, “Yeah.” And I said, “Did they bother you when you're a little?” And he goes, “Yeah. We still don't get along to this day. Why?” And I said, “The way that you're sitting right now and the way that you're talking right now and whenever I talk and we talk at the same time, you always cede to me and then you look down.” I could tell that he was bullied when he was younger but he's so naturally fit and athletic. I thought there's no way that it's just kids at school because he would just destroy them. And so it must have been somebody in his family or his parents. And it turned out that his older brother, this particular individual, bullied him to the point where they actually don't have a close relationship even now.
And so, this is all visible from nonverbal communication and it sounds like black magic when I can walk into a room and see somebody that I've never met before and wondered if they were bullied as a child by their siblings. But all of these personality archetypes, everything that I used to read other people and teach spies and whatever else to read other people, all of this stuff is from seeds planted ala Robert Greene's book, The Laws of Human Nature, from when we were kids. And so this type of baggage might feel like we've let it go but all of those signs were still shaped by that physically and emotionally.
And this might sound a little woo-woo but I don't think it's beyond the realm of comprehension. For those listening to this show, I know you all do mostly biohacking but everything that you do when you walk into a room, all those first impressions, all the way that you relate to your friends and family, all of this has been shaped by who you were as a kid, and I can see it, and other people can see it. Even if we can't put our finger on it, people will react to you in that way because nonverbal communication is all evolved.
Ben: Yeah. Yeah.
Jordan: We don't make it up. We don't have rules really other than some cultural things like handshakes or bowing if you're in Japan. But the rest of it is evolved. You have a one millisecond whatever impression of somebody and it's like 90% correct because of the way they—
Ben: Yeah. Interesting. Now, I know we're coming up on time but I want to ask a selfish question and kind of put you on the spot to see if–maybe this all just is biomechanical because I played tennis and had a right arm dominant sport growing up or something like that, but when I stand in a room, one thing that annoys me, when I see this in photographs, same thing, like why the heck am I doing that? I tend to stand with my shoulders back like rolled back especially my right shoulder, but even my left shoulder, like I stand with my shoulders back. That's the best way I can describe it. Almost like thrust open with the right shoulder farther back than the left when I'm talking to people. Almost like my body's torqued in some way especially when I'm engaged in conversation and I find myself even doing this like consciously, I'll recognize it even if it's not me looking at me in a photograph. Have you ever seen that or do you have any thoughts on that?
Jordan: Yeah. I've actually noticed this about you in particular and–
Ben: Crap. You've seen it too.
Jordan: But it's not a big deal. I just assumed that you had some sort of–it's funny you should bring this out this exact example. I assumed that you had some sort of drill where you are constantly resetting your posture because you wanted to stand up straight and that that drill had a trigger that was conversational or you just noticed that other people were standing a certain way and you reset your posture but are you saying that's completely subconscious?
Ben: I wish I was that intelligent. No. I don't know why I do it.
Jordan: Interesting. Yeah, that's super interesting. It's hard to say why anyone does anything like that. I mean, if somebody has a specific set of nonverbal communication, it's pretty easy to guess but just when you're in photographs or is it mostly when you're interacting with other people?
Ben: Well, it's photographs of me interacting with other people where I notice it.
Ben: I mean, sometimes when I'm interacting with other people, I actually also notice it.
Jordan: How much physical affection did you have with your family when you were a kid?
Ben: With my father, not much at all. I actually go out of my way to snuggle with my boys. I know my dad sometimes listens to my podcast and sorry, dad. I apologize when I put you on the spot on these things but yeah, with my father, not much at all. I don't have many memories of snuggling or hugging or anything like that. With my mom, a little bit but we were–my wife when I talk with her, like her families just have like snuggle parties on the couch and there was just constant hugging and snuggling and that's still like something she does with our boys, whereas, I have to go out of my way to remind myself to do it because I didn't grow up in a house like that. So, probably less than average.
Jordan: Okay. And of these photos of you interacting with other people, how many are you interacting with a man and how many are you interacting with a woman, and is the reaction in your body the same?
Ben: Tough to say but I would say–man, that's tough to say. I can't say I've actually really paid attention to the difference between the sex of the person I'm communicating with.
Jordan: You know, you can get back to me on this because I'm super interested in this particular thing. I mean, it's not urgent obviously but I'm very curious because if it–I would hypothesize that you're interacting with men and that you're having sort of a physical reaction that is a little bit–not standoffish but that upright, extra upright posture with your shoulders back, it's probably triggered by something usually, again as Robert Greene says, those patterns come from childhood. So, I'd be very curious. And if it's women, it could be something completely different. I know you were brought up and still are quite the man of faith, and that may also have something to do with it. There are different theories for different reactions but this reminds me of something I discussed with Dr. David Buss. You've had him on the show, I assume. It's something—
Jordan: Have you not?
Jordan: Oh, my gosh.
Ben: You keep talking about him so I feel like I should. Who is he?
Jordan: So, Professor David Buss is the world's leading scientific expert on evolutionary psychology of human mating strategies which is a fancy way of saying, “Why the heck do men and women do all this weird stuff? Oh, it's because of this thing in our past that caused it.” So, one of the things that we discussed on his interview on the Jordan Harbinger Show was what dating apps are doing to our brains with the amount of variety to allude to our conversation earlier about porn, mate switching strategies. So, why affairs happen and the mechanisms that are at play and why mating strategies tend to be universal even if, let's say cultural variations seem to suggest otherwise? And there are just so many interesting things that we discussed.
With him also, we discussed a little bit of nonverbal communication and sort of what these strategies are especially when it comes to–you can see pictures of people in some of his studies where they've had, this is this person with this partner and this is this person with someone they've had an affair with and the nonverbal communication is completely different. It might be really fascinating for your audience. He's extremely interesting.
Again, also Robert Greene, with his ability to pull things out of what might look like thin air but is really just evolutionary psychology mixed with reading nonverbal communication I think is fascinating. Look, I don't want to give the impression that I can look at anyone and be like, “You got two little Halloween candy when you were 11.” I can't do that. I can certainly tell if you've had too much Halloween candy throughout the course of your life but I can't really pinpoint specific events. But what I found was by being acutely aware–what's that?
Ben: Oh, no. I was actually going to see if you could identify the actual Halloween candy that I like growing up or whether because I used to go after the king-sized Butterfingers if that reflects on my right shoulder stance.
Jordan: I was going to say Butterfinger but now no one's going to believe me. No one's going to believe me because you already outed it. But I want to leave with a drill because I know we are coming up on time. I want to leave with a drill, and this is especially good for —
Ben: Another drill in addition to the wet towel and the penis one? Oh, geez.
Jordan: Yes. I mean, I know we're overloading people with the wet towel and the penis and Kegel Camp, but this is a drill that you can do in public and it won't get you arrested. How's that?
Ben: Okay. Great.
Jordan: This is called the doorway drill. And essentially, what this is is for a lot of us that try to mitigate behavior or have some sort of social anxiety or even those of us that maybe don't have social anxiety but change the way that we appear to others in order to fit in better, this is called the doorway drill. Essentially, what we're going to do is right now unless you're driving, for example, stand up straight, chest up, smile on your face, shoulders back like Ben Greenfield in a photograph just an upright positive open body language type of communication.
Remember this particular posture. The smile on your face is key and this is the type of positive open confident body language that we want to communicate when people see us first. Not when we see people first, when we become a blip on their right radar, that's when it's important because that's when they form their initial judgment. And so we want to do this every time we walk through a doorway. And that for the ladies out there who were too tall in middle school will get rid of the slouch. That for the guys out there who feel like they're scaring all of the other men and women because of their build size or because of their level of athletic fitness, this will reset you to somebody who's still upright but also quite accessible, approachable and friendly looking, in any case.
We do this every time we walk through a doorway. Now, the problem is you walk through doorways all day so you're immediately going to be like, “Okay,” and then you'll forget five seconds from now. So, grab those–you know those useless sizes Post-it notes that are like an inch wide and you're like, “Nothing fits on here except for one word,” and they're bright lime green?
Ben: Yeah. Dude, those are for books.
Jordan: Grab a stack of those. Those are for books. That's right. They are.
Ben: Yeah. [01:11:20] ______ in books.
Jordan: I wouldn't know. I use audiobooks. Grab those that have been in your drawer for 13 years and stick them up at eye level in the doorways you use most. So, like your home office, maybe your actual office. And since it's a Post-it note, nobody's going to be like, “What the heck is this weird thing?” You don't have to write anything on it. Put it up in the doorframe at eye level and this interrupts our autopilot pattern response.
So, we walk through doorways, we're never going to notice it. If we see that Post-it note before we walk through the doorway because it's at eye level, what happens is we go, “Why is there a lime green–oh right, the doorway drill.” So, then you remember to reset your body. And you don't have to do–in order to have Post-it notes all over town, if you have it in the doorways you walk through the most, you'll start to reset your body several times a day, and that's what creates this as a habit. And you'll start to see people reacting to you much differently than you were before, than they were before. And we also know that other people's behavior towards us is actually what creates our self-impression.
A lot of us think our impression is self-created and it's totally not. It's all based on the way other people treat us almost exclusively. So, when we have different nonverbal communication, we show up to other people in a different way, which causes them to treat us a certain way, which we then reinforced naturally in our behavior. So, what we want to do is reset so that we look open, positive, confident and friendly; have people treat us as such and then we don't have to manually change our nonverbal communication so that we're not intimidating. We actually naturally do this. Does that make sense?
Ben: Yeah, yeah. It does. Interesting.
Jordan: It creates that virtuous cycle and all it's going to cost you is a half a stack of not even Post-it notes. And that we found has made an enormous difference in having groups like the Green Berets or military Special Forces units and groups like that show up as “normal people” because when you're surrounded by these individuals and those network effects we discussed earlier are mitigated, so basically, we have that military look, you can mitigate that with the doorway drill.
And I'd like to think that this is going to help save some clandestine operations people's lives out there because it's going to be less obvious who and what they're doing. But for at least athletes, military and other folks listening to your show, this is a hack that can, not only aid you socially but will also make you feel and look better and result in better social health throughout the rest of your life, and you don't have to keep those Post-it notes up forever. After a couple months, you probably have this habit solidified.
Ben: Yeah. And it just basically is doing exactly that, it's creating this nonverbal communication habit that you can practice in your house before you actually get out and try it in the streets.
Jordan: Exactly, exactly.
Ben: Okay. Well, we know that we've done well with this podcast and really reached out to a lot of people if all of the tiny miniature Post-it notes on Amazon sell out. We know we've actually changed some lives with this show.
Jordan: That's right. That's right.
Ben: Maybe I won't put a link to the mini Post-it notes in the shownotes but what I will link to are Jordan's episodes particularly with Robert Greene and David Buss along with the books, “The Evolutionary Psychology” book and “The Laws of Human Nature” Book also by David Buss and Robert Greene respectively. I will also link to Jordan's podcast, his website, the Kegel Camp app of course, and everything else we discussed. Maybe I'll even put the link to the funky coffee that we talked about in the intro.
Jordan, it's always a blast talking to you and tapping into just a little bit of the wide body of knowledge that you have on this stuff. So, thanks for coming on the show and sharing this with us.
Jordan: Yeah, I really appreciate it. Look, I love your audience because it's all these awesome go-getters and people that want to eke out that last 1% to 5%. And I feel like these are appropriate geek level folks who are going to really enjoy the things that we talk about on the Jordan Harbinger Show. Even if it's not Dr. Matthew Walker with sleep and it's just Molly Bloom talking about underground poker games, I feel like your audience can really relate. So, I'm looking forward to hearing what the Ben Greenfield Show fans think of the Jordan Harbinger Show because I think there's great overlap in the right areas.
Ben: Word. Alright. Show notes are at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Jordan for those of you listening in, BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Jordan. Everything will be there and his show is the Jordan Harbinger Show. You can find it wherever fine podcasts are found. I'll also link to that and his website in the shownotes.
Want more? Go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com or you can subscribe to my information-packed and entertaining newsletter and click the link up on the right-hand side of that web page that says, “Ben recommends,” where you'll see a full list of everything I've ever recommended to enhance your body and your brain. Finally, to get your hands on all of the unique supplement formulations that I personally develop, you can visit the website of my company, Kion, at getK-I-O-N.com. That's getK-I-O-N.com.
Jordan Harbinger is back!
In my first podcast episode with Jordan we talked about:
-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…
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.
He 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. He’ll 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.
On his podcast, he gets deep into the untapped wisdom of the world's top performers — from legendary musicians to intelligence operatives, iconoclastic writers to visionary change-makers, deconstructing the playbooks of the most successful people on earth.
Among the many things Jordan and I discussed here in Round 2:
-Various drug-related topics…2:42
- Hefty CBD doses enhance deep sleep
- Throw THC into the mix, sleep latency drops
- Does it affect your health negatively during the day?
- You are rested, just a little bit groggy.
- Ultimate coffee mix to turn on the brain during the day
- Put in Four Sigmatic Lions Mane extract
- Trace amount of Psilocybin
- Jordan's adverse reaction to taking Modafinil and the reasons I use it
- Erectile dysfunction vs. brain dysfunction
- Jordan set the record on the Kegel Camp App
-About Robert Greene and his book, The Laws of Human Nature…24:40
- Non-verbal communication
- Appearance is more important than words for first impressions
- Much of what we believe is either flawed or just wrong
- Jordan called out a former spy because of his NV communication
- Codified a system of personality archetypes geared toward high performers
- Why do Athletes and high achievers come across as intimidating?
- Shame for their own inactivity
- The more we look at someone and think they're relatable to us, the more any change in them makes us more uncomfortable or resentful
- Rather than congratulate them, people find excuses why achievers are snobby, arrogant, etc.
- People don't like their shortcomings highlighted
-Non-verbal communication techniques Jordan teaches to be better received if you're an athlete or high achiever…43:40
- Hidden anxiety regarding sense of self
- Motivations change as you progress through life;
- Comparison can be efficacious to your self-development and also very unhealthy
- High achievers shirk others because they don't provide any motivation
- Soon you realize you have no close friends, it's affecting your emotional health.
- How to behave when you're “that guy” to allow others to be more comfortable around you.
- Make yourself more relatable
- Smile more; loosen the jaw
-Recreating “authentic” body language, even if it feels inauthentic…57:30
- What we think is “authentic” is often us manipulating our body language to give off a desired vibe.
-Jordan's observations on an annoying body language quirk that I have…1:03:40
-And much more!
Resources from this episode:
-Ben's article on The Private Gym
-Book: The Laws Of Human Nature
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