Aug. 17, 2022

140 Dave Lakhani: From Growing Up in a Cult to Fighting Misinformation

My next guest is Dave Lakhani, one of the nation's most recognizable experts on applied persuasion, human influence, sales and marketing, and cults.


He is an award-winning author and speaker who has spoken to more than 2 million people in 126 countries around the world over the past decade. Dave is also an Entrepreneur whose companies have made the Inc. 500 list regularly. He is the founder of a business consulting firm and Co-Founder of a growth-focused digital marketing agency. He is a proud veteran of the United States Army.


We talked about:

  • How to increase our own trustability?
  • How to protect ourselves against outside manipulation?
  • Why smart people are the easiest to manipulate? And what specific conditions to watch out for?
  • Why knowing where people are at in their hero's journey is important for persuasion?
  • How to go from white to black belt in persuasion?
  • Why NOW is the best time to start a movement?


You can find out more about Dave here ->



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[00:00:00] CK Lin: My next guest is Dave. Connie is a recognized expert and apply persuasion, human influence sales, marketing, and Colts.

He was raised in a cult from six to 16 when he escaped. He's a proud veteran of the United States. Army is the founder of the bold A growth focused digital marketing agency. Please welcome David.

[00:00:24] Dave Lahkani: Thanks very much for having me CK.

[00:00:27] CK Lin: Hey Dave, um, let's just start off on how we got here today.

We're here today because our friend Dr. Michael Bruce spoke super highly of you spoke super highly of me. And because each of us trust him, that's how it got here. Yes,

[00:00:41] Dave Lahkani: yes, absolutely. And, uh, thrilled that he made this connection

[00:00:46] CK Lin: and likewise, I can't wait to dive in deeper. So why don't we talk a little bit about trust since a huge part of what you do professionally in a, what you do w what your new mission [00:01:00] is, which is to protect people from, uh, the dark art or persuasion, right.

So why don't we focus on trust first, then, then we can go into your frameworks, origin story, and so forth.

[00:01:14] Dave Lahkani: Well, I think trust is at the core of everything we do, and we all want to try. Everyone around us. We want to have people that we know are not trying to lead us astray and yet, um, I think that in our society today and in our current climate, whether it's media or other, um, other outlets, there's a tremendous amount of distrust.

There's a tremendous amount of concern. And there's also, um, a very strong use of sophistry to get people to believe things that may not be true. And so I think that, you know, it's really important that people focus on. [00:02:00] Thinking about trust in a meaningful way. Not just can I trust someone else, but am I trustworthy?

Am I a person that people can look to and believe that I will do what I say I'll do in business, in life, in relationships? Will I do the things that I say I will do? And can I be relied upon? And if the answer to that is yes. I think people are incredibly happy if the answer is no, or I don't know, then it's something completely different and people have all kinds of problems and trust, trust breeds more trust, but distrust breeds even greater distrust.

[00:02:40] CK Lin: Say more about that. What do you mean by

[00:02:41] Dave Lahkani: that? Well, I think that people become more jaded. Um, I think they become, uh, much more likely to imagine everybody is trying to mislead them in some way or that they are doing something that wouldn't be, uh, truthful, helpful, or useful. And. Uh, [00:03:00] so then they just, they start making a painting with a very broad brush and saying, I can't trust any of these people.

So we here, and I'm not even suggesting this was wrong, but we hear people say, you can't trust the media. Now you can't trust the government. You can't trust these big groups that we've traditionally relied on to maintain some sense of meaning and, um, truthfulness in the world around us. And so I think once people lose trust, it's much easier to lose trust in many more things than gaining trust.

And then broadly painting that and saying, I can trust everyone.

[00:03:35] CK Lin: Hmm. I see. So what I'm hearing is kind of a fractal thing, right? How, how much can I trust myself? And from that extent to how much can I trust another human? How am I, can I trust, um, the media and right. That some larger entities, some institutions, how much can I trust further and further out, you know, society as a whole and so forth.

Is that what you mean? Right. It's

[00:03:55] Dave Lahkani: a very fast, slippery, downhill slope. If I can't trust the media and I can't trust the government, I [00:04:00] probably shouldn't trust schools. Maybe I shouldn't trust my, uh, you know, my community around me that I live in. Maybe I shouldn't trust my religious leaders or my spiritual leaders.

Maybe, maybe I shouldn't even trust myself anymore to make the right decisions because the distrust grows so quickly.

[00:04:18] CK Lin: Yeah. I know that you, you spent decades really thinking about the art of persuasion because of your background. We can get into that just a moment. Um, so, so I think what you, when you speak about this question of trust and that this fractal ramification of fractal effect of trust, I mean, I think there's something there for sure.

Let's go a little deeper. How let's see, why don't we actually start off with your origin story? So that way people can understand why Dave is so passionate. So VML, Molly, passionate about persuasion, as well as, you know, sovereignty agency and, and, and the defensive mechanism that one [00:05:00] needs to, uh, have to protect from the dark persuasions, the nefarious parties.

Why don't we start from the origin story?

[00:05:08] Dave Lahkani: And I, and right before I get into that, you know, it's, it's words like sovereignty and agency, and those kinds of things have become politically, um, weighted. And I want to be really clear to everyone that these, this isn't, that kind of a political conversation that I think sovereignty is the thing that we all know.

And it has a definition to each of us. I think agency is something that we all own, and it also has a definition for all of us and that it's not a politicized thing. You're a human being, having a human experience. And there are many people for many reasons who are trying to influence your experience.

And it's up to you to say I'm a sovereign individual capable of making my own decisions and also able to, um, make sure that I am capable of caring for. Defending [00:06:00] myself thinking on my own and making the best decisions for me and those closest to me. So I was raised in a religious cult from the time I was six until I was 16 years old.

It was a cult called Branum mites. They believed in an in-time prophet named William Branum. They believed he was the literal resurrection to the prophet, Elijah from the Bible. Um, they believed in no education past six or seven, the grade for, uh, men or women, they believed that women had to be subservient to men or punishment was allowed.

They didn't believe in marrying outside of the organization. And, um, you know, there was no, uh, no television, no radio, not allowed to listen to popular music and those kinds of things. We didn't live in a compound per se, but we lived in small rural areas and we're sort of sequestered from other people that way.

I went to church on usually Tuesdays, Thursdays, twice on Sunday, sometimes Fridays and the days were not, you know, going to church for an hour and then leave [00:07:00] pleasant meetings. These were fire and brimstone. You're going to hell no matter what you do, the meetings. And so we spent, and you were also supposed to stay separated from the world.

And so, for example, uh, on new years, we would go to church on whatever new year's Eve was. And for hours, we would pray that the new year would come, that God would allow that I was probably 11 or 12 years old before it occurred to me, you know, the whole idea of time zones that the world is not falling off in times of.

Uh, until it caught up with me, you know, so it probably, I could've looked backwards 12 hours before church and realized that the world didn't end, but you know, it took a little while to get there as a child. Um, I think that, you know, in looking at that, I, you know, I started to see the gaps in the system and I, you know, I have brothers who are also in the church with me.

My younger brother had, uh, ADHD, which meant he was literally possessed by the devil to them. And so the best way to get doubles out was to be. [00:08:00] Wow. Um, his was particularly, uh, efficient because he's still with him today. And you know, it really is that I, that, that whole idea is that my brother still has ADHD.

Right? He's not there. It wasn't a devil. It was, uh, something that has affected him and he's had to manage it his whole life, but that's not how they saw it. And so they would lay on hands, pray for people to be healed. If that didn't work, then, you know, beating the devil out of them was acceptable. By the time I was about 16 years old, I realized that, you know, I started to ask too many questions and I was met with, you know, first attempts to justify the attempts to reason.

And then, you know, after that other kinds of attempts to change my mind, I was also told to leave school. And I would, I, I saw the first crack in the system when I say, because I actually enjoyed school. I loved learning. You know, I wanted to learn more. And so when they said you should leave school, they were really betting heavily that if you tell an 11 year old boy, you don't have to go to school [00:09:00] anymore.

Jackpot. I won the whole lottery. I don't have to go to school anymore. I can just stay home and do whatever work, make some money. You do those things. But that wasn't my, that wasn't my path. So I just said, okay, great. I just have to go back to school and I'm gonna let my principal know that I have to leave school because of church and those kinds of things.

And they were like, oh no, no, no, you don't have to say that. You can just, you know, just told me you're not ministry. I'm like, no, I think it's probably fair. Like, well, you just stay until you're ready then. And then, you know, but, but you know, you could leave school anytime now. And so I, I said, you know, now I'm going to stay.

And so then I saw like, they didn't want that scrutiny. They didn't want anybody asking questions. And I, that was my first little view of the crack of the system beyond. You know, the one thing that they didn't disallow was going to the library. And so my mom would let us check out any book we could think to ask a question about.

So if I had a question about car mechanics, you can check out car mechanic books. If I had a question about quantum mechanics, you can check out a quantum mechanics book and you can read it. And if you can understand it [00:10:00] great. And if you can't, she would try and help you. My mom was an educated woman. She went to Berkeley, um, and she was very smart, which people always are confused by like, how does smart people get pulled into these things, but actually smart people are the easiest people to pull into these things.

Oh, interesting. Say more about

[00:10:14] CK Lin: that.

[00:10:15] Dave Lahkani: So, you know, when you're very smart, you realize that there's no truth with a capital T that everything has nuance. And so if you're very smart, you can't say unequivocably no, this isn't possible, right? For a lot of people that are very smart and very many very smart people would say, no, it's impossible.

And here's why, but most people won't, they would say, oh, that's possible. Or that's interesting. So for my mom, she was looking for something very special. She was looking for salvation, a straight narrow path that we made sure that she and myself and my brothers would end up in the promised land of heaven.

And so the straighter and the narrower, the path, the more restrictive, the more sense that it made. So here's a person who has a profit, there've been profits in the Bible. Here's a person who [00:11:00] has got a direct connection to God. He's going to give you the straightened out path. And so that was a very easy, it was a very easy decision for her to make.

It was also very interesting because, you know, part, part of the thing is we moved to Idaho where I live now from Oklahoma, where we were living when my mom first discovered this church to open up a church here. When my mom couldn't be a minister because women were not allowed to minister, but you know, my stepfather could, and other people that came with us could, and our goal is to just build this organization.

We built it up to about 300 people within a short period of time and then continued to grow from there. And in this. And, you know, so we would go through and I would walk through town and we would talk to people and I would walk up to a woman, let's say, who was a young woman? Um, maybe in her thirties.

And now you can see by my face, I'm a little older than you are. And, uh, you know, so back in the seventies, it was not uncommon for these kinds of things to happen. Like people had a different approach to, to [00:12:00] children and particularly children, they saw as being not appropriate. So I would walk up to them and I would say to her, you look like such a lovely woman.

You look like somebody who would be a great mother, a sister, somebody who must just be so cool. And, you know, so now they're open and they're pulled in and by the way, I'd seen other people do similar kinds of things. So I was mimicking behavior, but I also saw what happened when I was nice to be at the time I had, you know, a straight black hair, big brown eyes, you know, and people, women would just listen to you because you're a small child and you don't, you know, why wouldn't you?

And then I would say to them, you know, I think you're someone who I'd really like to know. I wish you were my mother or my sister. There's only one problem. You're going to hell Jessica Bell with your Horesh makeup, your bobbed hair, wearing pants, like a man. And you know, so then that would stop them in their tracks, right.

That, that creates a definite shift in what's happening now. And that's, that's their first thing. He was like, what in the world just happened here, but you know, now you [00:13:00] could almost split those women down the middle. If they were 40 or older, one thing happened. They would usually slap me in the face, grabbed me by the ear and drag me to my mom, which was great because mom was.

Mom knew how to take the job from there. So she would get there and she would say, these people, Hey, what is wrong with your son? What I mean, did you know? He said these things, she's like, oh my gosh, we go to a church that talks about these things and he, you know, he's young and he's still trying to figure out how to talk to people about these things.

And then my mom would start this conversation with them and then invite them to church to come and see. And then it would be very, a simple process. The other women though, were just freaked out and they would be like, oh my gosh, where's your mom. Let's go to your mom and talk to your mom. And then they were like, something happened.

I don't understand. And again, mom was a closer, so she was able to start that conversation. But by the time I was 16, it was time to go. And so I, you know, I knew

[00:13:56] CK Lin: that I had to leave. I had [00:14:00] all my compel that why, what compelled.

[00:14:05] Dave Lahkani: Um, I, I knew that they were going to continue to put more and more pressure on my family and they were going to break my family.

I was getting in physical confrontations with deacons of the church over them beating my brother and those kinds of things. And I knew that they were going to eventually put too much pressure on my family and, um, somebody would break, somebody would get hurt. So I felt like the safest thing I could do for them was for me to leave.

Um, I was capable at 16 years old and, you know, I packed up everything that I owned in the back of a 1970 Ford Falcon car filled up all back half of the backseat. And, uh, and I left, but before I left, my mom said I had to go to church one more time. And I had to explain, you know, to the ministers and everyone in the church, why I was leaving.

And so I said, okay, I did, uh, and they laid hands on me prayed to God that he would turn my soul over to Satan for the destruction of my flesh, that I would be killed for my transplant. And then they sent me on my way. I was excommunicated from the [00:15:00] church no longer allowed to have anything to do with any of the people that, you know, had been my primary community for, from the time I was seven.

So for the, you know, the, there were six really forever, like nine or 10 years, and also for my family. So my family wasn't allowed to have any contact with me either. So I left and

[00:15:19] CK Lin: back in communication with them,

[00:15:20] Dave Lahkani: or my mom died in 1999 when she was very young, she was 51, but we, we, for the last 10 years of her life, we reconnected and were able to really, um, you know, we're able to really develop a very, very positive and great relationship.

She had left the church and a lot of things by that. And so I'm not going to say that the beginning wasn't challenging. It was, you know, He had some anger issues and, you know, I was more than eager to hold her accountable for everything in my youthfulness and inability to really understand how to better manage things at the time.

But, um, we did, we, you know, when she died, we had a really great relationship and I'm really happy for that. [00:16:00] So, um, my brothers, I'm, I'm very close to, we reconnected sooner than, than my mom, but, um, you know, it was that, that whole idea when I left, I stopped at the one place that I had always found solace and knowledge, and that was the Cola or the Carnegie public library in Caldwell, Idaho.

And so I went there and I started reading everything I could about persuasion, manipulation, the psychology of belief, that heuristics of decision-making. And that process was, I mean, I, I just read all I could because I had nowhere else to go at the time I was living in my car, literally and still going to school and washing up.

Bathrooms and that kind of thing at the gas stations then, and I was trying to figure this all out. So

[00:16:47] CK Lin: go to out of all things, why not? I'm trying to figure

[00:16:51] Dave Lahkani: out how my mom made this decision. I was like how to make this decision to, you know, raise my brothers and I, and this crazy organization, then [00:17:00] why would she do that?

And how did they convince her? Because I knew my mom was smart, you know? So I, my dad was smart. And so how did they convince these people that this was okay. And I wanted to know, and persuasion seemed like, you know, I just, I mean, I looked at salesmanship, I looked at marketing and look at all of these different things, right.

Persuasion seemed to be a thing in psychology that I'm like, oh, that must be it. There must be some secret. There must be some way that they secretly persuaded her. And so then I began to study persuasion manipulation and all of the things related to it that allowed me to really get a better fundamental understanding.

And that study has continued now for, you know, over 40 years. So I've been studying it very, very deeply, and I really look forward to, uh, understanding even more as I go along about why we do the things we do, why we make the decisions we make and how we do that.

[00:17:51] CK Lin: Thanks for sharing that. I mean this, uh, well, thanks for sharing your story, how you've actually transmuted this very misfortunate events into.[00:18:00]

You know, your core competencies, your superpower and use it for good. Right. So what answer did you arrive to, uh, now looking back, like how were they able to persuade two very smart people in Berkeley graduates and so forth to join this? Very, you

[00:18:18] Dave Lahkani: know? Yeah. Yeah. It's, it's a, it's a fair question. And so my, my mom had, you know, she, my mom was looking for salvation.

She wanted something she wanted to go to someplace where she didn't have to think in a particular part of her life about anything. She wanted to be able to lay down our burdens, her concerns, all of those kinds of things, and know that. I'm okay. And I'm protected if I do these things and it's going to do the right thing for my children as well.

And so that's what she was looking for was that salvation, which frankly, everyone is looking for in some way, whether they attributed it to spirituality, religiousness, government, whoever it is, people are looking for some form of salvation and she was open to hearing these [00:19:00] arguments. Um, so, uh, she was open to hearing these ideas that, you know, she'd been in Pentecostal churches, you know, prior to this week, you know, she'd been in like a poison drinking, snake handling Pentecostal church that we went to when I was five.

I mean, she had seen these ideas and this one seemed like the right one to her. The arguments were very sound. You know, if you, if you listened to them, they, they made a lot of sense. You know, there's bad things going on in the world. It would be like everything that's happening to us right now, I could easily turn into a cult of personality with a charismatic figure and people that you, because if you just talked to very few people, you know, you look to the number of conspiracy theories.

You looked at the number of people that think the world's about to come to an end. Same thing happened in 1999. When, you know, at the turn of the century, when everybody thought, you know, 2000 everything was going to go wrong. Like there's these conditions that exist in the world and people are looking for answers.

And if you present them with answers that seem reasonable based on some arcane or a specific knowledge, they'll [00:20:00] accept it. If they're smart. And they'll say, I think I'm going to go down this path a little away as well. The farther you go down the path, then you get all of the other things that come along with it.

Emotional connection. Um, reliance on community, um, defending your position, all of those things happen and you stay longer. And you know, the one thing that people will quite often ask us, they'll say, well, how did your mom make the decision to let you leave? Well, I often ask this question. So you're faced with a dilemma.

Do you have children? Yeah. No. Okay. Well, imagine that you did have children for a moment. Imagine you had three children and imagine you live in California. Imagine you went to the beach and you're all out in the water and all a rip tide comes and it starts sweeping all three of your children out to the sea.

You can save two of them, but not all three. Which two do you save? Closest? The closest, right? Okay. That's that's a good answer potentially that, but basically the answer is [00:21:00] you saved the two that you can. Um, you're going to save the two you can. And my mom felt like my two younger brothers could be saved.

She could, you know, I was already lost. I was being swept out to sea. So as sad as that was for her, she could save the other two. So she grabbed them and saved them. And that's, you know, that's the thinking that people have, right? It's, it's not correct thinking necessarily, but it's the thinking you have in the moment of emotion and fear and all of those things, fear plays a big role in how we make decisions.

If we're afraid of something, we'll make decisions to protect ourselves from a negative possible outcome. If we're not afraid of something, we'll look at it more widely. So the fear of going to hell, for example, for my mom was tremendous. She believed that an afterlife or a literal lake of fire could be in her future.

If she didn't do the right things.

[00:21:57] CK Lin: Okay, so thank you for that. Is there anything [00:22:00] else before we make the parallel comparison to what's happening today?

[00:22:04] Dave Lahkani: Well, there, there are many comparisons to what are happening today. Um, there's, you know, there's a lot of fear, a lot of distress, a lot of strife, a lot of things that people generally can't understand or explain, right?

I mean, if the average person can't explain how a virus works, they also can explain how a vaccine works and I'm not making this. And again, not a political argument about whether you should be vaccinated or shouldn't be vaccinated or will get covered or won't get COVID. But what it's set up as a condition where a lot of people don't understand a lot of things.

And so the shorthand they use is fear. If I'm afraid of something one way or the other, because fear works on both sides, fear of losing my rights, fear of getting COVID right? So there's these arguments on both sides of it that fear exists, which is a fertile breeding ground for manipulation.

[00:22:59] CK Lin: Yeah. [00:23:00] Okay. So, so fear exists in the internal, right? My health is at risk. My family's health is at risk and the world is going to, you know, the, the, the dumpers and what do we do then it's easy to manipulate.

[00:23:16] Dave Lahkani: It's easy to manipulate because people are looking for reasonable answers. What's the right solution.

What's the reasonable answer and people who would seek to change your mind. Let's not even say manipulate. Let's just say to create change in your mind, right? Have more access to you through more channels than they ever have any other time in the world. And depending on what you listened to the algorithms or who you're listening to the algorithms prefer to give you more of the information that you're paying attention to.

Not even the information that you. But the information that you're paying attention to, they feed you more and more and more. And the more you see, the more likely you are to get pulled into that idea. And the more likely you are to start to explore the ideas, which become to start to feel more [00:24:00] plausible and more reasoned.

And then pretty soon you develop a connection to an identity with, um, an affinity for those kinds of things, whether they were, whether you would intentionally make the right decision or not.

[00:24:17] CK Lin: Yeah. Hmm. So I just, all of a sudden feel a little heavier from this conversation.

[00:24:27] Dave Lahkani: It's a, it's a heavy conversation to have because you realize you can't think that anyone with a profit motive doesn't have an agenda that if that involves you, I mean, it is heavy conversation, right?

You can't think that somebody with a power. It doesn't have an agenda that involves you. You can't think of anyone really who doesn't have an agenda that doesn't involve you. But what you can think about is how do I extricate myself from the fear from this, whether it's fear or not, because by the way, the [00:25:00] opposite of fear is happiness.

And when you're very happy, you're also very likely to make decisions, benefit of other people because you're in a heightened, emotional state. So in any heightened, emotional state, you're more likely to make some form of the decision. So one of the big things in persuasion is to get people into an emotive state, a highly emotive state, because if you get them in an emotive state and the proper mode of state, they're much more likely to make the decision that you would like them to make or change their mind in a direction that's beneficial to you.

My definition of the difference between persuasion and manipulation is one single word. And that word is in. Yeah. If your intent is to help people get more of the things that are beneficial to them, that help them, um, you know, become better. People, get the things that they want. Then, then you're persuading people.

But if you're using the very same tactics to get people, to do whatever you want, regardless of the outcome for the other person, then it becomes manipulation. And so my definition of persuasion has helped people, helping people come to their own most [00:26:00] logical conclusion, which happens to be one you share.

And so that's all we're trying to do is move people closer to a logical conclusion that we share and that we agree on. That's not harmful. That's trying to help the other person get the things that they need want and will make their lives better and incrementally more versus trying to get whatever I want at any cost to anybody else.

For me.

[00:26:25] CK Lin: I think, I think what you just said, there is worthy of double clicking a little bit more because in my mind, persuasion is happening at all times. Right now, we're persuading each other to stay in this conversation. We're persuading our viewers to, to stay in tune in, right. And then we're persuading, you know, what's get for lunch or whatever the thing is.

So persuasion is happening all the time. And what you just distinguish in my mind is am I manipulating you to change your mind for my need, versus am I helping you to, uh, [00:27:00] essentially wait, what is that you truly want? So I think it's a little bit nuanced. Can you speak a little bit more about the nuance of the two?

[00:27:06] Dave Lahkani: Almost the first book I decided I was going to ask people who were involved heavily in persuasion and who are in often involved in cases of manipulation. Um, what the difference was. So I talked to psychologists, I talked to. Attorneys. I talked to doctors and I asked him this question. So, you know, what is the difference between persuasion and manipulation attorneys said any attempt to change someone else's mind is manipulation.

They had a very clear definition. Psychologists also felt very similarly, oftentimes any attempt to change somebody's mind has manipulation, but that's using a very, uh, a very specific definition of the word. If I asked you, have you ever been manipulated? Probably. Yeah. And did it feel good?

[00:27:59] CK Lin: No, not at all.[00:28:00]

Would you want it to

[00:28:00] Dave Lahkani: happen again? Of course now. Right. And so we all know what manipulation means when we use it that way, but if we say I manipulated the knob on the television, right. That's also an accurate use of the word. So you have to ask what is the accurate use of the word? And we have to agree on what we're talking about.

That's the thing that people don't often do. Right. So we don't agree what we're talking about. We just started. That's right. So when I ask these people that they said, you know, any attempt to change a mind is manipulation. So I started thinking about that and thinking, is that really true? Any attempt to change your mind because everyone's attempting to change your mind.

All of the time you come in contact with is attempting to change your mind. So either the world is all manipulation or it's some nuanced version of that. So I began thinking about it and saying, okay, what is the difference? Well, there are certain things that if we set up, if we set up conditions to exist, where people can more easily make decisions, particularly when they're stuck, they want to make a really good decision.

They [00:29:00] don't know what to do. So if you can set up another set of conditions that allow them to get out of that stuck state, and they're positive, beneficial for them, then you're persuading them. But if you set up those same conditions and you lead them, An incorrect path, which is, it brings us back to, you know, this word Sophos street, right?

So sophistry is a use of false arguments to, um, you know, to deceive people. Right? And so the result of that is that people are easy to deceive because they want to be going back to trust. Right? We want to believe those people around us. We want to believe those people in authority and all of those things.

So they're easy to deceive if they're presented with a message and a believable sort of idea in the right set of conditions. So you have to constantly look at what is the difference and why, why is somebody trying to persuade me? So, you know, the most interesting thing you can do is step back and ask yourself this question.

What is the, you know, what, what is the intent of the person who is [00:30:00] trying to get me to make this decision? And if you ask that question, a lot of times, just that moment of stepping back and asking, what's the intent here? What, what is somebody going to gain from it? And if the answer is, you know, they're going, it's perfectly fair.

For example, if their intent is to make a sale and that benefit to you is high because you purchase a product or a service that's fair. We can agree that that's okay. If the intent though is to sell me a used car that doesn't work and you convince me of it and I do it, that's not fair. And so those are the things.

So you step back and say, why is somebody trying to persuade me? What is the purpose? And what is the outcome of my decision?

[00:30:51] CK Lin: So in my mind, I'm kind of breaking it down to three phases, right? The first phase is awareness. Why is someone trying to persuade me? What would they [00:31:00] gain? And then, and then, and then, and then what, what, what is my decisions? What I'm making right now, is that correct?

[00:31:06] Dave Lahkani: What is it, what is the outcome of the decision I'm about to make?

What would the, you know, if I'm correct, is this the right decision for me, if I'm wrong? Is it a horribly bad decision for me? Because sometimes it's in the middle, you just don't know. Right. You're like, eh, I think I, you know, I don't know. I think maybe I need this thing. Maybe I don't, you know, but if I, if I say yes and it turns out I really don't need it, it's not the worst thing in the world, but if I say no and I really do need it, then it's a little more bad.

So maybe so maybe I'm okay with an, with a decision that's not a hundred percent, but if in that, you know, if in that, uh, if in that decision-making process, I say, you know, if I buy this thing, it's a lot of them. If it doesn't do everything that I needed, I can't get my money back. And it could cause some other consequences that I'm aware of that would be really detrimental.

Maybe I don't want to make that decision [00:32:00] right now. Then you start to see when real manipulation comes in. So if I tell you, you know what, I need this, I need to sleep on this. Well, I don't know if I'll have it tomorrow. Now you're starting to see people try and set up a set of conditions to make you make a decision that may not be in your best interest, but is in theirs.

So sometimes people are just done sophisticated and they're just saying things because they don't know what else to say. But a lot of times people, you know, when we look at copywriting marketing, all of these things, we set up all of these conditions like, um, a false sense of security or, you know, um, a, a sense that something might not be here tomorrow.

That there's a limited quantity or supply. You know, one of the things I see all the time and, uh, information marketing is, you know, we only have a hundred eBooks left. Okay. Yeah, hundred eBooks left, or you set a limit of I'm going to sell a hundred eBooks because there is a limitless number of eBooks left, [00:33:00] right?

There's I mean, as many as you can press in on, there is an ebook it's published again and again, and again. Now you may have made a decision to only sell 100 copies of something, right? That's the whole idea of NFTs, almost like, you know, there is some level of, uh, of availability and you get one and you own it.

And that's, that's a thing. So there's only one, but you know, when we start to say, like, there's only a hundred of something left, that that has an infinite quantity, that's just not right now. You may say I'm only going to sell 100 of them and that's okay if you honor what you say. So you have to think about what are people going to do, because we see it all the time.

Somebody will sell a course or they'll sell a program. And then they'll say there's only a hundred of these available. So they'll, they'll close the cart at a hundred. And so it gets done. Then you have demand was so high. We've decided to release another hundred. Okay. That's you now you're, you're stepping into this territory of manipulation, not persuasion.

Um, also makes [00:34:00] people very distrustful of you because then they start to see, ah, there's a pattern. There's a game to this and it's not real. So next time, like the boy who cried Wolf, I don't care. I know I can get a discount or I know I can wait a little bit longer and still get this thing while I think about it.

I'm just not worried.

[00:34:22] CK Lin: Hmm. Um, like I'm going to jump a little bit. So let's hypothetical situation. Let's say someone was very resistant to getting some kind of a treatment and was about to die unless they change their behavior. Do you then persuade or do you as a,

[00:34:44] Dave Lahkani: so that's the question. I often ask people directly when we're talking about precision, my, my version of the same question and I'll answer it is, you know, if you had a family member, your brother, your sister, your mom, or your dad, and they were addicted to opiates, and [00:35:00] you knew the next time they used opiates, they would die.

If you didn't get them into treatment, is it okay to lie and to manipulate them, to get them into treatment, to save that.

[00:35:18] CK Lin: It's a very difficult question.

[00:35:19] Dave Lahkani: It is difficult, right? Because that comes back to all of the things about sovereignty and agency and everything that we talked about in the very beginning. Right. So do you have more authority to make a decision for someone than someone else? And there's also an argument that says, if somebody is that far gone, they may not be in capacity on decision making facilities.

So they may need somebody to intervene for them. So that's right. In my argument, I would do anything to save my daughter's life and if am I right or wrong, I'm also okay with accepting the consequence that maybe I was wrong, you know, but I'm more willing to accept the consequence of me being right in her living.[00:36:00]

So that's the, those are those kinds we think of. So to your question, you know, is it okay to manipulate someone, to get them, help them get treatment? I think you have to, I think you have to adequately set up a set of conditions. That allow them to be persuaded of their own best interest if you can. But if you can't, then sometimes you have to wait sometimes too long to ultimately take action and make them do something or manipulate them in some way to do it.

Now there's subtle manipulation and there's overt, direct manipulation that you can see. But you know, for me, subtle manipulation might be something like somebody saying, Dave, you know, you're really sick. Um, it could be life-threatening and I'm saying, I don't care. I don't want to go to the doctor. I don't think I need to do this.

And somebody would say, you know, do you want to, you know, imagine how your daughter would feel at your funeral? What are you talking about? I might, I'm not going to [00:37:00] die. Right. But just imagine for a minute, if you had to, like your daughter is this age now, What if he did die, imaginary a funeral, right? You get them to step into that place where it's like, well, I don't want to feel like that.

I don't think fine. I'll do the thing. Right. It's subtle. And it's definitely manipulate because you're using tools that are not you're, you're definitely using tools to change their mind that are not their own right. Or alternatively, you could set up a set of conditions that would say, Hey, listen, let's, let's set a series of, um, let's sort of series of just sort of check marks in place.

If we hit three check marks, then you just have to go to the doctor. Can we agree to what those three things are? And will you agree to do it? If that's true? Yes. If we can see these conditions exist, then yes, I'll go. Okay, great. So now we've just set up a series of conditions and you can weight those conditions in your.

Right. Like, you may have better information or something like that because they don't really understand what's happening to you though. So you just wait the conditions in your favor and then [00:38:00] they hit number three. And so if you're great, you agreed. And I know you're, you're an honorable person and you'll do what you say you do.

So we're going to go to the doctor and that's okay. You know, you're just setting up those conditions or you might, you might use something like, um, social proof, look at all the people who've had these conditions like you at this time, the ones who went to the doctor at this time had this much better result than the ones who waited two more steps down the road and then had that result.

And so now that is a very good persuasive process where you just you're giving them more information. You're using social proof of other people like them. And you're saying if this, then that, or if this, then that, so which one do you want to choose? And you give them a sense of being able to choose their own.

[00:38:48] CK Lin: I really appreciate how you kind of break it down for me. Cause I, I don't think about it mechanistically like that, but it's, it's very, you know, obvious to any anyone listening to this right now that [00:39:00] this is, this is your, your, your tool sets is readily available. You can do this, this, this then does just depending on, you know, the moment you know, of the context and you can just, you know, uh, yeah, that's a beautiful thing to, to, to, to watch how your mind works.

Thank you. Yeah. So, okay. So before we go further into sort of the, how do you defend the dark art of manipulation? Let's say, um, what are some of the, I guess atomic skills that one needs to have to at least be aware of this to, to start practicing. Because, as you said in my mind, every, you know, w we, uh, persuade people.


[00:39:50] Dave Lahkani: We're trying to, where we go and people are trying to persuade us. So, so one is to be aware of yourself, right? It's just to understand what are the, what are the [00:40:00] things that move me in one direction or the other, when am I, you know, if I, if I look through my past, when did I make bad decisions? And what was my emotional condition at that time?

What were the, what were, what were the conditions around me at the time? How was that gathering my information? What led me down this bad path of a bad decision and what conditions like those exist right now, so that I can avoid them, or I can at least become aware of them. So if I know that I'm likely to make bad decisions in these kinds of situations, I want to be aware of the triggers, right?

So that I don't fall prey to them. The second part of it is to also understand. What motivates me from an emotional level. Am I emotionally motivated by immediacy? Like I need immediate gratification and those kinds of things. And if I know that's true that I probably want to set up some barrier that allows me to not have immediate gratification.

So if I, for example, think, okay, I might want to buy something or I might want to go on a date with someone who doesn't look, you know, I've been down this path [00:41:00] before. I know they're not good people for me necessarily. So instead of making the date for an hour from now, I might make the date to Friday because that gives me time.

So it gives me space to think about it and to observe more and think more about what I want to do or buying a product instead of going, you know, instead of going to the store and buying the product, I might say, I'll go to the store and I'll look at this product and see if it's what I really want. Then I'm going to go back home and I'm going to buy it online.

Because that gives you again, some space to make a decision about is this really what I want to do and to remove the emotional content around it, because in your car, you don't have the same emotional content as you do with a sales person in the store, right? And then by the time you get home and have to fire up your computer and look at this thing and look at a couple of reviews and all of that, you've now given yourself more and more time and more information.

So you give yourself that space. So, you know, in terms of what people need to do in either direction is they need to understand themselves first. How do I react? [00:42:00] The second thing they need to understand is how do other people react to me? And so the most persuasive people are often have very charismatic personalities, some of them, and it doesn't matter if they're introverted or extroverted, you can be very persuasive regardless, but.

Most people have very caring, charismatic personalities. They're engaging, they're thoughtful. They're well-spoken they tend to fit in and they make you feel better about yourself. And, and those are very appropriate things to do by the way. Um, again, you have to come back down to this idea of intent. What are you trying to do with it?

But those kids, if you want to develop more persuasiveness, you become more charismatic. You take the time to think about other people. Before you think about yourself. I asked you more questions. I want to learn more about you. Have you ever been in a situation where somebody has, you know, they've, they've talked to you and talk to you and talk to you, and then you realize like 45 minutes have gone by and all I've done is talk about myself.

And I haven't asked this person a single thing [00:43:00] about them because they're so good at just like really getting you to talk about. And you love those kinds of people. Usually you feel great about it. Like, oh my God, this is such a great conversation because conversations about me are always amazing. Right?

And so, because then I get to talk about me and I get to talk about the things I want to talk about. And so, and then you realize all of a sudden, oh my God, I'm being rude. I haven't even asked a thing about you. And so then you start trying to change the conversation, but if they're very charismatic, they can very easily bring it back to, to you.

Right. And so it's, it's that whole idea of being charismatic and then sort of a final thing is, um, understanding how you make decisions in terms of, you know, your intellectual capacity for decisions. So what is my process? And when am I stepping outside my process to make a decision? And when am I staying in my process to make a decision?

Because in either direction, again, there's times to step outside your process because you need to make a decision quickly and you don't have the time that you have some other quantity that allows [00:44:00] for you to make this decision very quickly, or maybe. You need to step out of your decision-making process so that you can observe what's happening.

Right. So, you know, in neuro-linguistic programming, we call it breaking state, right? So we'll say you break the state of what's happening right now. And then that would, if I, if I, so an example of breaking state would be, if I said, is that a, is that a black widow spider behind you on the wall? Right. And you would look right.

You would say, right. And so now I've changed your focus away from whatever it is you were focused on. And that's what we want to do as well. So, you know, there may be a time to break your own state to step out of this moment of persuasion, manipulation, whatever it is and say, I need to observe from a third party position and decide if this was the right thing for me.

So being charismatic, understanding the emotional content around your decision-making and then understanding your process are three very good ways of setting this up for that. You can make better decision.

[00:44:59] CK Lin: [00:45:00] Yeah, what you just said is a beautiful articulation. Um, I don't think most people have that. Okay.

Let me, before I go into that, on this podcast, we talk a lot about the metacognition, right? The matter process, right? And then this decision matrix where you just talked about is essentially that, and I don't think enough people have enough, uh, where without you, I'm a, I'm a nerd. So I actually will laid out my decision matrix that I put in a spreadsheet and try to organize them and make decisions that way, how I work.

But, uh, but yeah, but having, having a great understanding of the conditions, the triggers, you know, uh, understanding of oneself, what. Me emotionally resonant to something. Is it an immediacy? Is it distance? You know, how other people react around me? Am I Alex seduced by their charisma? Uh, and then what is essentially the last few minutes has been the importance of having a metacognition process, whatever [00:46:00] that looks like for, for, um, for whoever's listening.

I love spreadsheets that's me. But, you know, do you have something like that, like readily available, like a, like a chart where like, if this, then that kind of

[00:46:12] Dave Lahkani: thing. Yeah, I do. And it's internalized now, but yeah, I spend a lot of time, like really analyzing myself. Like why do I make these decisions? You know, from a business perspective in this, you know, will predate a lot of people, probably listening to this podcast, but.

You know, 20 years ago on television at night, they had infomercials. And so there would be these long format, 30 minute long infomercials, and they had a pattern and a process and people bought millions of dollars of products off of these infomercials when they were good. Tony Robbins is a, for example, a product of an infomercial.

Tony Robbins didn't become Tony Robbins because he was such an exceptional orator and speaker. And all of those things, he became that because everybody knew who he was from his, you know, his program that was on late night television. There was one point when Tony Robbins was on television every 30 minutes, 24 hours a day.

[00:47:00] And that's tremendous exposure to someone. So when you look at something like that, and you say

[00:47:05] CK Lin: you're on TV, you are automatically more,

[00:47:10] Dave Lahkani: right, because they wouldn't put you on TV. Otherwise, even if people logically know that they bought that. So I would, I would literally sit there and take notes, yellow pad after yellow pad of notes, about what they said, how they did it, what, you know, how am I feeling in this moment?

Like, I, I, and I would pick products that I liked that were appealing to me and I wouldn't let myself buy them, but I would say, okay. Or sometimes I did, but only after I, you know, went through this process and I

[00:47:36] CK Lin: would, that was your decision dojo, you know, you liked that, that you resisted.

[00:47:42] Dave Lahkani: Yeah. Yeah. And then, and then I would, you know, then I would go through this process right now.

Okay. I'm feeling this right now. He just said this and I'm feeling. And I'm feeling really compelled to do this, you know, and I would write that down and I would go through it. And I bet that, and I did it with infomercials. I did it with in-person sales processes. I would like, you know, [00:48:00] record people when they didn't know it and stuff like that while they were trying to sell me stuff and then I would go back and I would listen to it and I would say, right, those same kind of things down.

So I had a really good idea of what allowed me to make those kinds of decisions. I did it in even relationships with people, like what was appealing about this, what was not appealing about that until I had a, I had a good sense because for me it was, you know, you're right. It was my dojo. It was my lab.

That was where I was really figuring out this process of how people make decisions, how they decide to, um, you know, buy something or not buy something or to be persuaded or not be persuaded. And then I met a person named, um, a person who wrote a book called resistant to resistance to persuasion his name's Eric Knowles and Eric Knowles had he, his whole study of persuasion was not about how to persuade people is helpful.

Resisted being persuaded and then what you could do to influence that resistance. And so you can influence.

[00:48:57] CK Lin: Yeah,

[00:48:59] Dave Lahkani: [00:49:00] exactly. Exactly. So one of the most fascinating studies that we have is, you know, you're talking about raising money, um, for like, uh, raising money for a project at a college. And so they'd go around and they would ask people, do you want to buy a cupcake?

And people would say, I don't need a cupcake. And you know, so they're 50 cents and now I don't need a cupcake. And so they're like, okay, great. So then they came back around and you know, another group of people, not exactly the same people, obviously, but another group of people and they would say, Hey, do you want to buy a half cake?

They're delicious. And they're only 50 cents. Well, people don't ha they don't want a half cake is. It was like, oh, that guy you, so in that moment of confusion, again, breaking state and half cake, what's a half cake. Maybe I should try that. Maybe it's delicious. I never heard of that. I may be all. Okay. It's only 50 cents.

So then there, the sales of half cakes up where people would have said no to a cupcake would say yes to it, half cake, which is still a topic by the way. And they would buy the cupcake and say, yeah, that was [00:50:00] great. And so they were able to convert at a much higher level because of that, because people didn't have anything to compare to.

Right. They didn't know what this half cake thing was, but they didn't know it was food and it sounded kind of delicious. So why not try it

[00:50:14] CK Lin: right? That's why this, the whole idea of anytime you create a new product, you want to create a new category. I can remember that baked goods was, uh, some. Interesting baked goods.

Uh, shit. Um, not a donut, but a

[00:50:30] Dave Lahkani: oh, the cronut. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely.

[00:50:33] CK Lin: They create a whole category, but it's essentially the same thing. Just

[00:50:38] Dave Lahkani: a fried croissant with some glaze. Yeah. So yeah, it's very similar idea. Right. And people like, oh, and then people like, oh my God, we had a Crow that night in that Krone I got to find, and then you can't find them.

Right. Because they're legitimately limited because not every bakery sells credits. So now you've got to go on this search to find a cronut, then you have to find that perfect cronut. And then, you know, [00:51:00] so it's this whole process and the more you get pulled into that process, the more likely you are to become a lifelong fan of cronuts.

Mm mm. Unless it completely doesn't deliver on the experience. So you taste one and you're like, oh, this is disgusting. Then you're done with credits. But if you, but if it was good, then you've got to find the best one, right? The best coffee, the best bagel, the best dad, the best one.

[00:51:22] CK Lin: Uh, this may be a little digression, but I think it was worthy of discussing.

Um, so a friend of mine, we were talking about his dreams the other day, and he told me that he, when he dreams and he was sometimes take notes, not necessarily about the content of the dream, but the emotional contour, the shape of the dream, how he felt, why he felt certain ways. Then we started talking about, he does that.

He uses the same, uh, mental model for two movies, two stories, not necessarily about a particular scene, but really about, you know, what this character [00:52:00] said and that how that makes him feel in particular way. Then we started talking about psychedelics, right? Similarly, not exactly the content, but the emotional shape around the thing.

Because if you think about none, we started talking about how, um, dreams, movies. Psychedelics are amplified version projection of what, how we feel inside. So if you can analyze the more amplified version and then bring it in and try to understand what about it inside that resonates with me. So, as they're speaking, that kind of thing to Mike, can you see any kind of correlation to here?

[00:52:36] Dave Lahkani: There's a lot of correlation to it. If you look at it from a psychological standpoint, and if you look at it from a, from an evolutionary standpoint, right? So we're all, if you'll read Joseph Campbell's work the monomyth and the hero's journey, right? We're all on that heroic journey, right? We're in our ordinary world every day, right?

It's the matrix. We don't see the matrix because we're in the matrix and then there's a call to adventure. Something changes, right. And we'd [00:53:00] go, oh, wait a minute. Something looks different. You know? And then we go through this process of the hero's journey where we change and that's that shape of the emotional content.

Right? So if you can predict where people are in their journey, then you can influence them at that stage of the. And you can also look at your own stage in the journey, whether it's an emotional journey, whether it is a physical journey, whether it is a, you know, psycho, physical journey where you're doing all these kinds of things, you're, you're still going through that process.

We still all have that basic need of, you know, so one of the things that I say there's only three things in the world that people want only three,

[00:53:39] CK Lin: tell us, I'm leaning in

[00:53:43] Dave Lahkani: it's to get laid it's to get paid and it's to live forever. That's all people want and everything else ties back to one of those three things, right?

So people are either trying to procreate. They're trying to, you know, have that sense of feeling of euphoria that comes from literal [00:54:00] sex or the idea of procreation that you're going to live forever anyway. Right? This is your legacy. It's all of those things. People want to get paid. They want to be able to make money so they can survive, live thrive, do whatever they want to do in the world.

Move through the world in a way that's meaningful to. And then they want to live forever, which is our legacy, whether it's literally living forever, which many people would love to do and, or it's creating a significant enough legacy that we live on beyond ourselves, right? There's this, uh, there's this idea in, in Mexico, if it's the Mayans or maybe the Mexicans themselves of the three deaths.

And the interesting part about the three deaths is they say that the first time, the first death is when you realize that you're going to die. It's that minute that you have that first recognition of your mortality. That's the first death. The second death is your physical death, right? It's that moment where you die and you cease to exist in the world in the way you do now.

But the third death, and this is the most, this is the most terrible death for [00:55:00] a lot of people. Is the last time someone ever says your name? You know, if you think about that, that's that shape of the emotional content again, right? Like, so we're all trying to get laid paid live forever because we want people we never want to die.

Right. We want to be able to always live on and we want that. We want this to have meaning and all of those things that we think about in philosophy and psychology and religion, we want all of these things to be true so that our life has some sort of meaning. And that contextual shape of the emotional content is absolutely relevant to persuasion because based on where people are at in their, you know, in their cycle of evolution, through these, through this heroic journey, determines how persuadable they are, how manipulative they are, how likely they are to say yes to you.

And by the way, we're going through those journeys every day, all the time through to completion in many things, brand awareness relationships, [00:56:00] Everything that we're doing all those times that you're talking about being persuaded, that little hero's journey is playing out in a miniature way,

[00:56:07] CK Lin: so, okay. So what would you say to, you know, someone who's listening who wants to be better at you to do what you did listen to different persuasive messages on the infomercial to, to do that, or are

[00:56:26] Dave Lahkani: there, I think there's lots of ways to get this information, right.

So I would encourage everyone to do some there, there, you know, there's some books I think people should read that are really good. I mean, obviously in complete bias, they should read mine, but yeah, exactly. But you know, there's some other good ones that are. Really exceptional. So if you ever read, um, uh, Robert Greene's 48 laws of power, uh, the artists infection, um, Cialdini's influence book.

Um, those, those are [00:57:00] just core books that every single person should read and think about. Um, Robert Greene did such a good job of right. He calls it power. But what he really did is look at how people gain the power through persuasion and sometimes manipulation. In fact, a lot of times, if you look at the art of seduction, there's a lot of manipulation in there, but it's, it's how do people gain power in those meaningful ways?

And so, you know, if you read some of those books, I think they're absolutely life-changing in terms of being able to understand how do I comport myself in the world and how are people trying to comport themselves to influence me in the world and then read resistance to persuasion. And if you can get a copy, I don't even know if they exist anymore because I'm Eric Knowles is retired now travels around the United States, playing banjos and old time bands.

And doesn't really talk about persuasion much anymore. He taught at university of Arkansas, but if you can find online his omega strategies, overcoming resistance to [00:58:00] persuasion, uh, it's one of the best tools you can ever get your hands. Okay,

[00:58:06] CK Lin: I love books, right? I'm a nerd.

I, I, I use like Rome research who look at, you know, what are the patterns and what's that

[00:58:15] Dave Lahkani: I'm trying to get that down. I haven't, I, I love, I love the idea of it. I just haven't wrapped my head fully around it, like note taking I have, but I haven't run research. That's I

[00:58:24] CK Lin: got that. I, I will show you my system kind of how I go about it.

Right. So, so, so I love knowledge. I love discussing knowledge and holla and noble warrior. Right? However, one thing I do realize is this there's the logical mind, the cerebral mind, right there is in the moment decision-making and then to really embody. His wisdom. Right? So, so there's still a gap between reading a bunch of books, collecting the information, maybe even recite certain, you know, wise words from, from Dayla Connie, but to truly internalize it, to use it, use it.

[00:59:00] Well, there's a gap there. So, um, so I think reading those things are, is a start, but then how do they practice?

[00:59:09] Dave Lahkani: Excellent. Actually a question. So I think you have to pick, you have to pick a thing and say, I'm going to spend X period of time noticing and practicing this thing. So if I were going to take something like, um, uh, The law of reciprocation, for example.

So I was going to say, you know, there's a lot of reciprocation says, if I, if, if I give you something, you feel obligated to reciprocate and give me something back. If I give you a compliment, I say your hair looks nice. You have to say, you know, your lack of hair also looks nice. Then, you know, we feel that sort of social contract to say something good back to each other.

Or if I give you a gift, you feel obligated to give me a gift or do something for me, it's such a powerful concept. For example, like the federal government quit allowing people even to take people to lunch because it influenced disproportionately somebody's decision to do [01:00:00] business with somebody else.

That's just how we ended up with, you know, $700 hammers and $10,000 toilet seats and planes and that kind of thing. But it's, it's that kind of an idea. So you pick one single thing that you're going to work on. I'm going to work on being charismatic. I'm going to work on this law of reciprocation and I'm going to go out and I'm going to notice when people pay me a compliment or other people come from.

And I'm going to see how that plays out. What does the other person do this thing too? What does that look like? And what context do they not do it? And what context do they do it even more? And then I'm going to notice how compelled I feel in that moment when somebody does it to me to do something back, I'm going to not give them a compliment back or a gift back intentionally, just to see what happens, how do they act?

How do I feel? Right? You start playing with those kinds of things and you put them into practice. Then you go out and say, now I'm going to [01:01:00] intentionally give people compliments just to see what happens then. So like one of the examples that I've used. So there's a couple of things. Like one of the things that he, when I teach, I used to teach very large scale, uh, persuasion program.

So we would go to like a place like Vegas and I would say, okay, great. So here's, what's going to happen at the end of today until tomorrow morning. And we would end the. Six o'clock at night, right? Um, I'm taking away your phone, all of your identification, your money, and you can't have it back until the morning.

We'll keep it safe. We'll keep it protected, but you can't have it, Beth. And you have to go out and function in the world. Oh. And by the way, we canceled all of your hotel reservations. So you have to be able to get a hotel room. You have to be able to get a meal. You have to be able to do all that. You have to persuade people to do these things and people freak out, right?

They're like, oh my God, it's impossible, but it's not. It's really not. If you use the tools that you've learned up to that point, it's [01:02:00] not impossible. It's quite easy actually. And so, you know, when you think about how do I set these conditions up to benefit me, to be able to have this place where I can get what I need.

It becomes very easy and you become very creative and you start thinking through all these things. So I'm not saying you have to go to that extreme, right? Because this was also part of a situational program where people

[01:02:24] CK Lin: transformational program,

[01:02:25] Dave Lahkani: transformational program. But what I'm saying though, is if you take those ideas and you just do small experiments, right.

You can begin to see how it impacts people, how it impacts you, because there's this whole other idea too, around persuading that if I'm doing it, I'm going to get caught, right? Like people are going to know that I'm persuading them and I'm going to get caught and I'm going to feel embarrassed. I mean, all of these things, right?

So if you , the more you do it, the more effective you become at it, the more natural it becomes to you, it comes to you. And the more natural it is for you to do it in a [01:03:00] positive, meaningful way. So you just take one idea to. And then after you've taken, let's just say 20 ideas and you become pretty efficient at understanding how those ideas work and what contexts.

Then you start layering them together. Well, what happens if I, you know, if I give you a gift, but I take away some choice. Now I say, look, you know, instead of saying, we could do anything for dinner. I say, you know what? I give you a little gift. Like, Hey, I'll get you a cup of tea and you drink your tea and you just say, where are we going to go to dinner?

Well, we could go here or here. There's a perception of choice, but they're my two choices. I've already done something nice for you. And you're probably either going to say, oh, I don't care. Both would be great. Or you're going to say, I'll pick this one, but now I've persuaded you to make a decision that I really wanted you to make.

I wanted you to choose which one of the, my two favorite places we went to dinner at. So then you begin to notice, like what, what happens when I start stacking these things on top of each other, then you begin to notice what happens with. [01:04:00] Apply these things in context of somebody is fearful. Somebody's angry.

Somebody is sad. Somebody happy, somebody is feeling stuck. What happens when I do these things in which one has the biggest impact in each one of those emotional states, right? Which ones have the most impact, then you start categorizing these things. And literally you should probably keep notes. If you're making an intentional effort to learn.

If you're not making that intentional of an effort to learn, then you should at least categorize in your mind and try and remember, last time I did this thing, that thing happened or when people like this, it's that, you know? And so you have to really, um, you have to really understand what it is. That's going to impact them in the moment and keep trying.

But that's how you go from that theoretical knowledge to active knowledge, to then some level of mastery, right? Of I'm able to do this on a, you know, basically a non-thought basis.

[01:04:55] CK Lin: Yeah. I mean on this podcast, given that, uh, the name is Nobel [01:05:00] warrior, we use dojo as an analogy, quite a lot. We used white belt, a black belt as a journey, quite a lot.

Right. So what you just illustrated in my mind should be taught in school because we influence people all day. And yes, some people are more instinctive from more intuitive added, but someone like me, I need like instructions, right. I need dojo time. And as such to, you know, grow, go from white belt to, to black belt level.

[01:05:27] Dave Lahkani: Exactly. Right. And we all need that. And I think, you know, when it comes to these things, because many times people, you know, not many times, I would say most times as a, as a gross sort of over simplification of this, most times people, um, they, they make decisions without a lot of thought right now, there may be a lot of things that happened that led up to that, but they make decisions without a lot of thought because there are some highly emotional.

And so, you know, it becoming aware of yourself I think is actually the [01:06:00] white belt, right? That's the white belt level becoming aware of other people as the yellow belt level, you know, and how they're interacting. And then is that influence that you move through the metal belts, you know? And then it's the ability to choose which thing that you're going to use in the moment that makes you have that level of mastery that's at the black belt level.

[01:06:19] CK Lin: Yeah. Until you make the unconscious conscious.

[01:06:23] Dave Lahkani: Yeah, exactly, exactly. Where you just don't even have to think about it. You know, you just don't think about it. You just do it and you move with the flow of what's happening around you right there. And you know what to do because you've because you've done it a thousand times.


[01:06:38] CK Lin: Yeah. And that's where it's not even, you know, whether you're work. There is no doubt because you've practiced it a thousand times and it's just, you know, very, you illustrated earlier, like you can do this, this, this, this, or this. And then you're just like, oh, okay. So it's like an obvious thing for you to just lay it out.

Right. Cause you've done it at, you know, probably a million times right now. Right. [01:07:00]

[01:07:00] Dave Lahkani: So, and when it doesn't work, you, you also have the knowledge to say, oh, that thing didn't work. Let me do this instead. You know, I can, I can, in the moment, you know, I can in the moment shift and move to this next thing that may work.

That'll give me that advantage.

[01:07:17] CK Lin: So, so let's shift gear a bit bit from self-mastery from, you know, white belt to yellow belt, green belt, blue belt, and so forth to black belt to. Because you have an agency, you represent very charismatic, you know, thought leaders to help them, you know, amplify the good they can do in the world.

Can you say a little bit more about that? How do you choose who number one, who you want to work with and also number two, given all the tool sets that you have, how do you help them amplify their ability to persuade the masses to deliver more good to the world?

[01:07:58] Dave Lahkani: Well, it comes down to who we'll [01:08:00] work with.

It comes down to that very first thing you talked about it's trust it's. Um, are they trying to do something good in the world for the purpose of helping greater humanity and not just themselves? You know, I'm, I'm very capitalistic. People should make all the money. They can completely believe that, but you should do it.

And you should do it with some sense of honor and to be able to help people around you by making their lives incrementally better. So we look at that very closely and, and, and especially if they're very charismatic people, like I'll spend a lot of time with them trying to understand, like, I'll, I'll break them down a little bit, like, see what happens when they're under distress?

Who are they really? You know? And

[01:08:39] CK Lin: they do that. And how do you do that? Oh, well, I used to go for a long run, some sauna, some sweat lodge, like, what are

[01:08:47] Dave Lahkani: you doing? Maybe something like that. You know, like when I was younger, I used to just get people drunk, to be honest, because like people tell you the truth when they're drunk and they act like themselves, right?

So you, you just become more of who you are. It's not my approach [01:09:00] now. Right. That was very unsophisticated. That's like white, yellow belt sort of techniques. But you know, I, now it really is like, I listened to people very intently and I hear the things that they're saying, and I can start to pick apart.

Like, this is a, this is a construct. Thing that they're trying to present because they keep really keep shifting it around and trying to show me the face of that thing again. And again and again. So when I see that, I think to myself, what's behind that. Why would you hide behind that mask? And then I'll penetrate into that and I'll push on that button and see what happens.

How do you do that? Uh, by asking him hard questions. So, you know, like I'll, I'll, you know, like if I knew somebody who was trying to say, oh, I care about, I care about the environment. I care about the world and I'll say, great. Um, you know, that sounds really interesting. Uh, and then I'll go to their trash can and I'll say, why do you have plastic bags on the trashcan?

I thought you cared about the environment. Uh, you know, like I don't have any in [01:10:00] mad and they get, and I'm like, okay, so you're kind of full of crap, right? You poke poke a little bit, you know, but they might say, oh, you know what? I have. I will use the plastic bags from the grocery store that I get, because I don't know how to get rid of them, but at least if I put trash in them, then I feel like, um, you know, okay, fair.

Right. You know, then you get to see, do they, are they walking the talk, but when they react emotionally to it or get angry or get defensive, then you know, then you realize, okay, I'm onto something. And I may push a little bit harder and it's not for the point of breaking them or something. It's to the point of saying, tell me what you really believe.

[01:10:39] CK Lin: Yeah. You want the truth?

[01:10:41] Dave Lahkani: Yeah. And once I understand that, because sometimes they're just unsophisticated. They don't know how to make that argument yet. And that's part of what we do, right. We help them make the argument that's right and compelling. And, you know, we help them create the persona that allows them to be the person they want to be, and to be able to get the outcomes [01:11:00] that they want to get.

So we do it in a number of different ways. We do it by teaching people how to communicate better. We do it by teaching you, you know, but we have a whole team of people who do copywriting and video development and all of these kinds of things for these companies. And we help them create very persuasive material, hopefully that cause people to get the result they want, that gives them a better.

And we tend to work generally in the health and wellness industry. So, you know, we we're, we're trying to help people get those outcomes that are most positive for their lives. Why, why health

[01:11:28] CK Lin: and wellness?

[01:11:29] Dave Lahkani: Um, just because we have a long background there it's not anything in particular. I mean, I do a lot of work in speaking outside of that, but our agency, I own a separate agency called breath, Foundry digital.

And we do, uh, we do a lot of work in like the health wellness supplement and. Because there's so many things that are misunderstood, you know, there's, there's this, uh, you know, I, I mean, I guess I have some fundamental beliefs too. Like, I believe that you can impact your own health positively, um, potentially better sometimes than you can with [01:12:00] pharmaceuticals with natural sorts of solutions.

So I look for who are the thought leaders who are, you know, if you, you look at somebody like Andrew Huberman, for example, who have humor in a lab podcast, and you would think, oh, that guy is only going to be on the side of pharmaceuticals, but it turns out he's not at all Rhonda Patrick and other person who I admire, you know, again, they're like, oh no, here's a, you know, sometimes they are sometimes they're like, look, if you have this thing, do that thing because that's the answer.

And that makes sense. But if you had these longer-term conditions, you might want to examine this or that. And there's all of these things. And I would prefer just to put less chemicals in my body the more so that's sort of where my bias is. And so it makes sense for me to work with people who support my beliefs and bias because I.

[01:12:44] CK Lin: Yeah. You have a superpower to amplify people, so

[01:12:47] Dave Lahkani: to help them amplify their message.

[01:12:48] CK Lin: Yeah. Your intent is to, well, you know, if you have a good intent, you, you, you put your superpower behind certain people.

[01:12:56] Dave Lahkani: Yeah. Michael versus really great example, you know, so two [01:13:00] things happen. Number one, something negative that really happened to him in his business.

And we were talking about it and I said, look, I'm going to keep that from happening to you again. And the second thing that happened is, you know, we started talking about sleep and I'm like, man, I, I wish I could get a good night's sleep. He was like, well, let's fix that. And then he started breaking this stuff down and he legitimately, and he's a legitimate sleep doctor, number one, but he really did care.

Like he sat there with me and said, tell me about this. And tell me about that. Try this, try that. And then, you know, then he'd call me later. Hey, did you do that thing? What, what happened? Well, this happened, oh, well that means this. Okay. Now, now we're having a relationship and I'm like, okay, great. Well, let me help you.

How do I help you? Right. So he persuaded me to help him in the way. You know, just by helping me. Right. So it's that whole law of reciprocation happening and, and, you know, people often ask me to like, you must be impossible to persuade. I'm probably the easiest person to persuade. Well, because I get sucked into the process, right.

I'm like, oh, I like this. I like where this is going. I like what's happening. Okay, great. You know, you did all that work and I dig [01:14:00] it. It was sort of elegant or maybe it wasn't elegant, but you were trying really hard. I'll just buy your thing anyway, because, you know, because it's because I need it or I want it or whatever.

And you did a good job at that, but if you try and manipulate me, I'm also very adapted getting into that process and understanding your process and then just messing with you.

[01:14:19] CK Lin: Yeah. It's like that spidey sense, right? You need to send their intent, you know, are they trying to persuade you towards, you know, for your own good versus, you know, manipulate you towards their.

Selfish interest or things like

[01:14:34] Dave Lahkani: that. I mean, if you ever want to find out if somebody is really doing that, like just ask them progressively harder questions, say, you know, like if you were selling like, um, this flashlight, right? So you're selling this flashlight and you say, you know, I might, I might ask you like, well, why did you use this rubber thing here for this clip?

Like it's rubber and it's crap, and it's going to break. Why didn't you use metal? I think [01:15:00] metal is a better choice. Why? And you're either going to say, well, here, here's our reasoning behind it. This is what we think. And here's what you don't know about this particular kind of plastic, you know, here's the research behind it, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Or you're going to be like, what does it matter? Just put something different on if you don't like it. Okay. Right

[01:15:19] CK Lin: behind the decision in action.

[01:15:23] Dave Lahkani: Yeah. So she had to, so then I started asking more questions. Well, yeah, but you okay? I get that. So you're saying that, but then you don't use plastic on this. So why is what, what's your, what's your hang up with plastic?

Because I think metal is better and I see you get defensive or do you just keep coming back and saying, well, here's some things you might not know. You're check this out. Like, oh, blah, blah, blah. And if that's the case, then I'm like, okay, well, that makes sense. That makes sense to me. Okay. That's great.

You're congruent though. You're not trying, you're not getting defensive. You're not getting angry and you're not trying, you know, because you are, then I start thinking to myself, what's, you know, what's to gain by selling me this inferior product, because now I do think it is [01:16:00] inferior before I was making it up.

And now I believe it, you know? And so I just want to know. And so, and you know, it's also always fair to get help, right? Because people may ask you questions that you don't really have a legitimate answers to. It's better to not make up an answer and to get the answer than it is to try and make up an answer, because it will always be discovered that's another form of manipulation, maybe not nefarious, but it is definitely a form of manipulation when you're making up answers.

If you don't.

[01:16:27] CK Lin: Yeah. Uh,

[01:16:29] Dave Lahkani: telling people the truth, like, I don't know the answer to this, I'm making this up, but we're going to test it or something. Yeah.

[01:16:36] CK Lin: So sometimes I would say some stupid shit. Now I have to backtrack and you know, what, what I just said, I didn't have an answer as well. Therefore, you know, I, I say what I said to, to placate you, you know, and then it naturally has a really positive effect because I'm being like, Hey, this is actually what happened.

Right. So,

[01:16:53] Dave Lahkani: which is very self-aware and mature. And what I might do in that similar situation is when I realize I've just done that, [01:17:00] and I want to be honest about it, I would probably try to make it a joke. Like I would say I'm just bullshitting. I don't really know the answer to that, you know, like, uh, but, uh, you know, and then I'm like, I'm making it funny, like ha ha.

It's funny. But what you're saying is really honest, like, look, I was just trying to placate you because I didn't know. I mean, like that's a very emotionally mature response minus.

[01:17:19] CK Lin: Hmm. I can see why we get along so well, because I kind of do the same as well. Uh, it's not always well-received with people because it feels, uh, very intense.

Like what about this? What about that? Like, people don't

[01:17:34] Dave Lahkani: know what to do with it.

[01:17:35] CK Lin: They don't not everyone likes that level of scrutiny.

[01:17:39] Dave Lahkani: No, especially not salespeople. Right? Like they don't, they, they don't like that level of scrutiny, but it's, but that same level of conversation when you're talking about everybody trying to persuade each other, like if I'm trying to persuade somebody to go on a date with me and they don't feel very, like, I don't know if this is the right person for me and they ask me more questions and I start getting defensive about them.

I [01:18:00] mean, like, those are all clues, right. And people are oftentimes, um, there, or, you know, like people can be very honest and, um, People don't know what to do with that level of honesty there, because nobody's been that honest with him before. Right. Nobody's ever given him that sort of feedback to say, you know, but you start with you, right.

Like, I'm sorry, I was, I was placating you with my answer. That's actually not accurate. So, um, but I do want to find the right answer for you. Like you, you know, like they could respond to that negatively and say you're an asshole, or they could also respond to it and say, wow, that's really honest. Thank you for that.

You know, thank you for, thank you for telling me that, because I would have taken the answer that you just gave me and imagined it was true because, uh, and the deepens, the trust they have with you when you're like, you know, when you open up the kimono a little bit that way and say, I was, I actually didn't know.

Yeah, because it's okay. Like it's okay. Everybody, we all have this sort of sense that we have to know everything all the time, but you really don't. Right. It's [01:19:00] okay to have no answer to something.

[01:19:02] CK Lin: If someone tells me they know everything, like I'm Garrett, I can guarantee this person doesn't know much, truly an expert, because I've worked with like Nobel laureates, you know, super, super smart people like this, truly the specialist of their field.

Yeah. They're very comfortable, you know, with their not knowing


[01:19:27] Dave Lahkani: Yeah. They don't even presume to know everything about something they don't. I mean, that's just not in their frame of reference, even if they probably do like, there's like, I don't know. Maybe that, you know, I remember talking to, I remember talking to a, uh, uh, a person who I was staying persuasion with and he was a PhD and, you know, and he said, you know, I said, well, what about this situation, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

He's like, yeah, Like w w wait a minute. How do you not know your PhD? You spent your lifetime studying this. How do you not know? He's like, I don't know. Never, never encountered it before. I don't know. I don't know the answer. I can figure it out, but I don't know the answer. [01:20:00] Okay. Fair enough.

[01:20:03] CK Lin: So, so let's change gears a bit, right?

Cause your, your new, uh, mission in life is to protect people with misinformation, the weaponization of information and so forth. Did I articulate that?

[01:20:19] Dave Lahkani: I, I think, you know, I mean, from a perspective standpoint, I feel like we're in one of the biggest propaganda and disinformation wars we've ever been in, in my lifetime.

Um, as being played out in the media, it's being played out online is being played out everywhere around us with every intent to manipulate us. And unfortunately, people are being manipulated on a daily basis on both sides. There's no, there's not. What does

[01:20:45] CK Lin: it mean? What are the

[01:20:47] Dave Lahkani: both? Well, the w w w you know, like if you're a Republican or a Democrat, you're not backs, you know, like pick your thing right now, you know, inflationary non-inflationary is that, you know, good [01:21:00] decisions, bad decisions, all of those things, right.

Everybody is, but lots of external actors are trying to influence what happens inside the United States. Right now, lots of people are doing it through the, you know, the very tools that we use on a daily basis, social media, email, whatever it is, right. They're, they're constantly driving these messages to us, trying to change our mind, right.

Trying to have us see the world in a particular way. And, you know, they use fear. They used euphoria. They use all of these kinds of opportunities, um, primaried, greed, all of those things, right. To, to try and get us to not pay attention to what's happening. It's like walking elephant on stage. If I can get you to watch over here, it's easy to walk the elephant on stage because you're paying attention someplace else.

And that's the thing. And, and then people are hurt, right? Because they, you know, they, they don't know what to think or do. And then when they're confronted with what happened as a result of this they're hurt. And so my, my goal [01:22:00] is to really, you know, it's to have people to stop for a moment and use their logic and thinking, and be okay with the fact that like, somebody just did something so eloquent that made me want to buy this thing.

And I wanted it anyway. That's why I put myself in this situation. Why don't I buy it from this person instead of his friend, because he was better, but when it comes to these bigger picture, things like. You know, trying to sway our opinion about the world or how we have to live, or, you know, what's true or not true.

Some of these things, you have to make hard decisions about what you believe yourself based on your information, but you have to extract yourself from the emotional, the emotional waterfall of information that's covering you all the time to be able to see the waterfall for what it is. Right. So it's as efficient, always in water.

Well, he doesn't know he's in water until he's out of the water, right? And then it's the same with us. If we can extricate ourselves from that situation and [01:23:00] recognize there's all of these tilts to manipulate and change my mind, or to persuade me that something is true and maybe it is true, or maybe it's not true, but I can, at least if I extract myself and stuff away and look at it from that third party position I can decide is this right for me?

Is that the right thing? Are these tools that they're using being used. To help me make a better decision. That's going to make my life incrementally better, or is it designed to help them make their life and clinically better, give them more, give them more influence, whatever it is. So,

[01:23:29] CK Lin: so, so let me ask you this question, right?

Because as you were speaking, the movie whacked. Yeah mine. Right. And Hey, we're paying attention on this thing. And so the, the, the actors created this whole new distraction, so then, then pay attention to this, this other thing. Right. Um, and sort of what I'm thinking is how loud the messages, how emotionally evoking or provocative it is the frequency of it, the right ad by using ads or how much [01:24:00] consensus, how many influencers are agreeing to it in my mind, sort of the, the heavy leverage that you can do to, you know, change people's perception.


[01:24:12] Dave Lahkani: Absolutely. And at what level are you trying to change him? Because there's definitely messaging directed to our children. There's messages that are directed to us as you know, and there's messages that are directed to every stage of people's life. Right. And so, but they're all like what they have in common is the same.

And so you have to look at all of those things that are happening another really good movie. If anybody's interested in watching it, that really breaks us out as called thank you for smoking. Yeah. Exceptional movie about how this happens, how this, you know, how this storytelling and this whole re-purposing and, um, repositioning of everything happens really, really good.

You know, it's that idea that, that we are all being on a daily basis, manipulated and at your very, very best people, you, you know, more will win over less. Right. So, [01:25:00] you know, evil, what does that mean? You'll just be overcome by it at some point in some area, right. You can't defend against everything at once.

You know, we, yeah. The

[01:25:09] CK Lin: information is overwhelming and then you're trying to look for a base, like who can I trust and refer and then there, and then the signal to noise is so faint. Then you're like, ah, so many people are agreeing with it. Maybe I should just go with the,

[01:25:23] Dave Lahkani: I want you to make my decision.

I'll just go with the masters because it's centered. Right. Exactly. Which is why, you know, like riots start and all these things, right. One person starts and everybody's like, oh, everybody's doing this. You know, one of the original studies in psychology around that was, um, it was just an idea of, um, you know, basically monkey see monkey do right people.

We, we, we tend to mimic what other people do. And it was a study that was done in New York and, uh, they had a person stand and look up at a spot on a wall and then other people would stop and they would look to see what they were looking at. Pretty soon as a group of people looking up at the wall, the original [01:26:00] person would leave and everybody else would be looking at the Walmart.

People come pretty, there was a huge crowd of people looking up and they don't even know what they're looking at. Right. Well idea that, oh, if everybody's doing it, it must be okay to do either the right thing to do.

[01:26:14] CK Lin: Reminds me of that art show. Um, I think, uh, our basil or something like that, where someone had tape a banana there and then before, you know, it became a thing, his sofa got a hundred thousand dollars on stupid

[01:26:27] Dave Lahkani: things like that.

Right. Right, exactly. Right. Because people, I mean, if, if everybody thinks it's worth that, then it must be right. So it's, but it is that idea. And it's, you know, bringing it back to the dojo for you, you know? So I studied martial arts for years and what, you know, used to have these things called mass attacks, right?

So you get attacked by multiple attackers and, and what you realize very quickly is if you're one single person, maybe you can defend against five people a bit, probably not, but maybe you can. But eventually like one person's going to get through [01:27:00] and they're probably going to do something small, right?

It's not even going to be a big thing. They accidentally kick you in the knee when they were trying to do something else. And now you're down on the ground and then you're overwhelmed. Right? And then you watch the movies and you see these guys that are, you know, they defend against 500 people or a hundred people or 40 people.

It's just impossible. Right? There's at some point the mass is too large and you can't overcome it. And that's exactly what happened in this case, too. You know, in some area of your life, you're going to, you're going to make the wrong decision. You're going to be influenced by the wrong people, whatever.

But the question, the point is to, and to your point that you made earlier about saying I was placating you, it's the same thing. Like I made a bad decision about this. I need to stop right here and reverse my decision, even though it might be painful or, you know, whatever. I, you know, I, I won't say who these people are because they would recognize themselves.

But I, I was in a relationship with someone at one point. And I, I had a very strong [01:28:00] belief about something for a long time, like a number of years, but then I got better information one day and I was like, oh crap, nothing. I believed was wrong. Like I was wrong, my whole, and I would defend it. I would be, you know, but I was wrong.

And I said to this person, like, I don't believe that anymore because now I know this thing to be true. And I believe, you know, based on this empirical evidence that it's true and they couldn't accept that and ended the relationship over it because they're like, how can you, how could you change your mind?

I was like, well, wait a minute. Like, how could you not change your mind in the face of better information? Right.

[01:28:39] CK Lin: That's the definition of growth and

[01:28:41] Dave Lahkani: learning. Exactly, exactly. But, but they'd never been faced with that thing before. Somebody said like this thing that I wholeheartedly believed I don't believe anymore.

Right. And so, which for me is just natural because I mean, my whole childhood, my whole basis was believing something and then changing it. And so then I recognized that there really [01:29:00] is no, generally no capital T truth. There's only a lot of information that you have to sort through to come to your own best conclusion.

And I think for all of us, we will always come to those places where we've made poor decisions about something, or we got influenced or motivated, manipulated in some particular way. And then you at some moment wake up and realize like, oh, that wasn't right. And you just have to turn, you have to, you have to pivot in that moment and say, okay, on the face of better information, now I'm going to, I'm going to accept that I made that poor decision, but because these things are coming at us from so many directions, there's so many levels.

I mean, if you think about all of the things that you hear about in the news on a daily basis, Vaccine inflation, global warming. You know, I knew I Sage, um, you know, uh, cryptocurrency is going to break the economic system, Democrats versus Republicans, you know, black lives matter, all lives matter. And you know, you just name it, right?

I mean, you name those things that are coming out. And at some point there's [01:30:00] too much for us to, to manage at once. So you have to then have some heuristics I'm shorthand to say, this is the thing I'm going to pay attention to. Right? So we look for people who can curate information for us, people, we trust things like that who have similar kinds of opinions, which may or not be right.

But at least we're willing to say, okay, I'm going to outsource my decision making on this particular thing to that person for now, or that particular outlet or whatever, but eventually something's going to overwhelm us, right? Because there's just too many of these things to monitor and manage at once.

And everybody's little thing is different than ours. So if your thing is global warming, and my thing is. A new ice age. Right. Somebody's got to both of us and we thought about it and thought, I think that thing is right. And when we talk about it, we might fight about it. We might argue about it. We might do whatever we want to do, but then one of us might go, oh, I didn't know that piece of information.

Now. It makes sense. Right. I see what you're saying. That is a

[01:30:58] CK Lin: very rational [01:31:00] response.

[01:31:00] Dave Lahkani: It is a rational response and it's also not a common one. Right. But, but, but that's what I mean though. Like we, we can't eventually some manipulation will catch up with us. Right. And it's generally at that bigger scale and that's why I'm fighting against this.

Like, I want people to recognize, like you need to ask very hard questions about what is it that people are trying to accomplish by screaming, this message so loud. Is it legitimate? Like, is it legitimate that something bad's happening, the sky is falling. Is that really happening or what is that? Why do they want you to think that thing?

And who is the person who wants you to think that thing? Is this really coming like right now, legitimately? I think most of them, not most of that, that's an accurate, I think that a lot of what's happening in the country that drives a lot of the discontent that's happening in this country, neighbor against neighbor, all of those kinds of things, right.

Is not driven by Americans at all. I think it's driven by foreign [01:32:00] actors who have a desire to see us turn on each other. And so then you have to ask that question, who is that for an actor? What do they have to gain by getting us to fight and not pay attention and all of that? And once you unwind that, then you can say, okay, now it's clear.

I know what to believe. I know what to do. And I know how to act. I know what messages to share myself. And that's, that's the goal is to help people come to that level of clarity. But if they understand persuasion first and how it happens, it's much easier to see it. Right. So. That's

[01:32:33] CK Lin: okay. So on that note, let me ask you a question as a, someone who was being cult, right?

Who being that, you know, environment where they're trying to control everything. There's uh, I don't know how to say this. I'm going to fumble through it a little bit. Right? So conspiracy therapy theorists could easily say, oh, that's what I do. That's why I only, you know, go down [01:33:00] the, the, you know, trust the people that are trust, because whatever they say that review worldview makes sense, you know, then they become more and more radicalized, so to speak.

Right. So then how do you, again, right. Trying to find that agency in the sermon. So then you're constantly updating your worldview rather than just, as you said, outsource it to them and then allow them to take you down a different

[01:33:22] Dave Lahkani: path. Th th this will sound very hard, but you have to presume that every single person you meet has of.

And that you have to understand which ones matter and which ones don't in your overall schema, which ones really matter. And if you understand that everybody has their own agenda and that everybody can sometimes be a lot of people who have a similar agenda, you can always question it. And again, it's that, it's that stepping back and saying, you know, where is the evidence, right?

I mean, really the, the calendar, the true counter to persuasion is the scientific method, right. It's sitting back and saying, okay, [01:34:00] here's my hypothesis. This person's trying to persuade me. What conditions can I set up and test to see if that's true is what they're saying. Also accurate all of those kinds of things.

Right. But it's that sort of. Spock like logic that causes, you know, there are these arguments to fall apart or to see the truth of them and be able to say, yeah, I believe that too. But like with conspiracy theories, they sound so good. Right. And they sound plausible and you know, and some of them may be true.

Right. So I think if you, and again, I don't want to make this about a political thing, but I think if you look at something like COVID in the beginning, it was an accident. Didn't come out of a lab, it came out of a market. Right. And then as time goes on, we get more information. We'll figure out, well, it probably did come from a lab.

Right. But the first people to say it came from lab were conspiracy theorists. And then everybody got more information like, okay, maybe something happened and then these set of conditions. Right. So you have to think, is it, [01:35:00] you know, but then there's the, so then the flip side of that is now like we're now, by the time you hear this word.

And so they're saying, well, like I'm a Chronos relational lab to be the counter to all of this, because now they've done all this testing and that's where it goes. That's, that's where it starts to go astray. Like there's this massive nefarious and they who are doing these things and nobody knows who they are.

And so then you have to start peeling that stuff back and saying, okay, who's trying to, who's trying to gain something by having us be fearful by believing that people are willfully manipulating our health by the billions, not just millions, but by the billions, to be able to figure out some way of gaining more power.

And you have to ask yourself simple questions, like what if they were wrong? And out of is there like 5 billion people in the world right now, 3 billion of those people die. Does that does that day then really still have power or do they [01:36:00] get so broken that they can't do anything, right. So you have to think about these things.

Now, if they are psychopaths or sociopaths, maybe they don't care, but they may have some of those tendencies, but they're really trying to do it for some other bigger reason that usually benefits them. Then you just have to figure that out. But the way you do it is to step back very far so that you can see the picture and then say, what happens if I don't participate in any of this, then what happens?

Right? And you just let it play out in front of you for awhile and see what happens to you. And then you begin to make better decisions about what you're seeing and who you should listen to and who is actually telling the truth and all of those things, right? So it's, it's very challenging, but logic is the logic really is the penetrating divider that will allow you to separate manipulation from persuasion and truth from.

[01:36:54] CK Lin: Yeah. So let me recap real quick. So the assumption is the, the viewpoint is [01:37:00] everyone has their own agenda, right? Yeah. Everyone including institutions. Let's just look at it from that point of view

[01:37:09] Dave Lahkani: for being on here. I mean, including me, I have an agenda for being here. Yeah. Everyone,

[01:37:14] CK Lin: everyone, myself included.

I want to have an amazing conversation from him, with Mr. Dave Lakhani so, so that's my agenda, right? Yeah. Everyone had their own agenda. And then ask yourself this hard question, step back, and ask yourself this hard question. What is their agenda? Why are they trying so hard to try to persuade me slash manipulate me for whatever reason, right?

And then, and then look at it from that perspective and then see, and allow it to play it out to, to further refine your decision matrix, such that you can make the best decision based on your own person. Uh, desire. Is that a good, roughly a good return?

[01:37:53] Dave Lahkani: Yeah, it's very good. That's it? You need to have to understand what is it, what's in it for someone else to get this thing what's in it for me.

[01:38:00] And is this the, is this the world I choose to live in or the, you know, the process people, all of those things that I choose to interact with on a regular and daily basis of it is then great yell. Great. I mean, that's the reason for religions. That's the reason for governments. That's the reason for communities.

That's all of those things. It's all fine. But you have to make your own decision because that comes back to your sovereignty and your agency, right. I'm into can charge at me. And I am the one making decisions about me and who I am and those people that I am around, like I might control my children's, you know, sovereignty and agency to a point until they get to a certain age.

[01:38:36] CK Lin: Yeah. How do you do that actually in this day and age? How do you

[01:38:41] Dave Lahkani: help? It never has been, I mean, because you can't compete with the level of, you know, the level of. You know, by the time your child is 10 years old, they probably have a smartphone maybe sooner. Um, which I don't agree with by the way I gave my, but I will.

And complete fairness gave my daughter a smartphone when she was 10. And I [01:39:00] think it was probably a very poor decision. I probably should have waited. So she's about 15 when her brain was better developed and all of those things, but the inputs are so great that you, you, you have to constantly teach these children a framework for understanding, persuasion, understanding manipulation, and, and asking these very questions.

So to your point, they should be teaching this in school. But the question is if they taught it in school, would they see the NCD agenda of what school is about which really at school, as we know it today was designed to help people become factory workers, not to become smart. And so we're still a hundred years later, 150 years later using that same methodology to try and live in an environment that no longer about factory workers in the United States.

It was very interesting. I was, um, I was on a school board here and one of the, um, one of the original founders of Khan academy, not south Khan, but one of the other ones came and was talking to our school board. And one of the things that [01:40:00] they said was, you know, like people get really worked up about, you know, their kids are, you know, they're using their phone in class and they're, you know, used to be a calculator for me.

Right. If you're using a calculator, you cheating, but you know, if you, you know, the excuse, we're using phones in classes and they're going out and they're doing these problems and, you know, copying them off. Well, what he said was like, look, here's the thing. These kids have the biggest piece of AI and the largest brain that we've ever known in human history in their pocket.

Is it better to teach them, how do you leverage that and use that properly? And. Truth from fiction is the information they're getting from this device truthful. Is it useful? Is it meaningful? Is it going to help them or is it fiction? And it's not, it's some agenda that somebody is pushing and let's be really honest.

If the calculator can do it faster than the human can do it, but you know, the conditions that are needed to get the outcome. Why wouldn't you do that? Because it's more efficient, right? So we teach them how to leverage that for the technology. And [01:41:00] that's the same, the same is true of persuasion. If you learn to, you know, if you learn to use the tool and the technology properly, and you have it available to you at all times, and you're doing it for the right reasons and you know, the difference between truthfulness and not, it's great.

And if you understand that everybody else has the same tools and they're using them for their own purposes, it allows you to step back and say, is there their purpose? Similar to my.

[01:41:27] CK Lin: So, I don't want to end our podcast on a, on a heavy load because I don't think that's what your message is your message to be aware of what's happening. Right. And, and in my mind, as an entrepreneur, as a creator, uh, uh, as a, as a, as a former scientist, uh, life is created out of chaos, right? So when there's a lot of energy in all kinds of different directions, amazing creations happen.

So I'm curious, Dave, what is one thing that you're excited about seeing all of these chaotic [01:42:00] energies all around in media and polit political things and technology things. What is something that you're like, oh, knowing what I know. Seeing the art of persuasion I'm really excited about.

[01:42:14] Dave Lahkani: I don't think there's ever been a better opportunity, you know, for, for entrepreneurship to blossom and grow than it does right now.

And that happens for all of those very same reasons I've talked about that were fairly negative, but people who, um, have a positive and important, and, and I include entrepreneurship too, by the way, to include social endeavors or anything else where a single person is trying to make a massive difference or change or introduce some new idea that's meaningful to the world.

I think that, you know, because of persuasion and because of our ability for any single person with just a cell phone basically, or a smartphone can create a product that changes the world can and get that message out and persuade people with [01:43:00] free tools. Like the, the, the ability to. Be able to create a message, create a product, create something that allows you to significantly impact the world has never been more accessible than it has than it is today.

And probably today's the least accessible that it will ever be again in the future. And so, you know, if we look at those opportunities and say, I can create whatever I want, I can be able to do these things because this, these platforms with technology and these, you know, these same tools exist for me and they're available to me for free.

I'm just going to go out and create a persuasive message or maybe would come up charismatic person, and I'm going to tie positively benefit humanity in this meaningful way. I think that's the most exciting thing to me in the world. You know, my daughter is 17 years old and she's thinking about now, like how she can become an entrepreneur and what all the things she can do.

And she can see it clearly like, oh, this was my path. Boom, boom, boom. I put them at 17 years old when I was 17 years old. I was still trying to figure out like what I wanted for lunch regularly. [01:44:00] You know, it was, it was it's those kinds of things like we've come that far really that it's, you know, that the tools were available and that's, what's so exciting.

I mean, you know, we, we talk about all of these big ideas, but the reality of it is. When you talk, go back to sovereignty and agency the best way to be sovereign. And the best way to have your own agency is, you know, it gives you that basis to create whatever you want to create. You can be whoever you want to be, and you can impact the world in the most meaningful way you can.

And so, um, there's plenty of big problems to solve in our world. And I think we have all the tools we need to solve them now, and we have the platform to solve them. And I'm, I'm completely excited by the solutions I see coming out of people every single day. I mean, is

[01:44:42] CK Lin: there any specific ones that you're like, oh man, the promise of blah-blah-blah is so interesting, you know, giving the role, the identity that you have as a protector, as an entrepreneur, as a, someone who advocates for thought leaders, is there anything that you're like, oh, this project is really [01:45:00] interesting or

[01:45:00] Dave Lahkani: exciting.

I I'm, you know, I'm, I'm really fascinated by. The opportunities that exist in community building outside of a traditional community. Right? So I can build a community of people who are all gathered together, focused on the same thing who are trying to do something in moments using social media, using, um, you know, the ability to reach traditional media by, by, by then going out and connecting people in my physical environment together.

Um, I have concerns too about things like, you know, and, and it may be that I don't fully understand them yet. And I'm completely open to that. But things like living in a, in a metaverse, right? Like, that's, that concerns me because, you know, that's a whole other level of persuasion and manipulation that can happen that you can't really control.

And it seems innocuous and safe because you're inside of an, a world that doesn't really exist with people it's just avatars and things like that. But those avatars are connected to real people. And those real people still have the same emotional [01:46:00] reactions to things that happen to them. And all of that.

But I do think that it offers a tremendous opportunity for us to see more of how we're the same than how we're different and to respect the differences of people in a meaningful way. So I'm excited, optimistically about what's going to happen with it and also concerned

[01:46:19] CK Lin: yeah. As you're speaking. Um, there's an interesting idea.

I don't know if you're aware of this guy, Balaji is, uh, you know, you know him. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. So he had a, he had an interesting piece called how to start a nation and the premise is quite interesting. You said, you know, how do you start a nation? Traditionally, you, you have tools like wars or, you know, revolution and things like that.

And those are very, very expensive. Right. But with the advent of the digital, um, technology, the infrastructure, you can actually aggregate people from all over the world to do a thing, right. They also transact with each other ally group. [01:47:00] And now, and then, and then you don't, you, you no longer have the threshold of neat you disrupt existing infrastructure via war or revolution, or going to a seed setting, uh, kind of like created use the cruise ship to, to establish a, you know, a Michael country kind of a thing.

Cause all those have larger, um, uh, thresholds. You can start a nation by a digital and then backtrack to physical. Right. So that was interesting. Um, point of view,

[01:47:36] Dave Lahkani: I think it is interesting. It's very yeah, that's a, it's a lot to think about, but when you, when you think about it, you absolutely could do that now and that couldn't have been done.

Probably years ago, because currency had to be gold or money that we agreed on or some exchange. And now we've got digital currency, we've got all those kinds of things and you could easily work backwards to that when you have enough people, you know, [01:48:00] who are willing to show up and agree to the same thing and then start acquiring physical goods and properties and things like that in a way that doesn't show up the way you said.

I think that's fascinating idea,

[01:48:10] CK Lin: Dave. I just so acknowledge you for sharing your wisdom, share your point of view from decades of studies around persuasion. Um, yeah. So this is, this is a really interesting time. Or all of us, there's, there's great opportunity, but also possible great danger as well. So thanks for sharing your perspective for anyone that wants to follow up or read your books or follow up with you, or, you know, become a client.

Where do you want to them to go?

[01:48:39] Dave Lahkani: You can go to growth, Foundry and that's my agency. And you'll find a lot of information there, or you can also, my books are all available on Amazon Barnes and noble, all the normal places. So beautiful. Thanks so much. All right. Thank you.