The Myth of Charisma

the spot of joe

During my conversation with Dennis, I asked an important question. I have been learning how to be confident, how to be charismatic. What did I need to sound like? What did I need to look like? Steve Jobs himself learned charisma. He wasn't charismatic before seeking the knowledge.

So I asked Dennis "Did you learn confidence or did you speak confidence innately?"

His answer caused me to think.

"Charisma is such a grand word but if we translate that into enthusiasm perhaps... Which is less grandiose, I certainly agree that it is something which is very difficult to fake. Where you could tell me a story where you could somehow attempt to suggest to me that you're enthusiastic about a product, the - whatever you want to tell me about but if you're not, I can sense that. Or any other human being could sense it. You need to find something about which you are truly, hand-on-heart enthusiastic about what you're pitching.

Which could be yourself to a potential girlfriend, which could be a product to a potential customer, which could be a company to a potential VC but you have to believe it, as in really believe it.

And if you believe in something you don't have to be a good presenter or have some inherent charisma, but if you believe it, other people want to believe as well. There's nothing nicer to be around people who actually care.

I'm confused if you don't fall in love with my idea about this intelligent agent." - Dennis Mortensen

I pondered that since our meeting and I see he's right. Isn't it obvious when someone is faking it? When someone is trying to sound believable? What's the difference?

There is a small delay, a gap between their sub-communication and their communication. A disconnect. You can sense that inside they feel a different way than they look on the outside.

That they're trying to convince you rather than showing you what they believe on the inside.

It all comes down to getting closer to who you are inside. To being more you, less filled by others' approval like wood filling.

Build self-assurance and radiate it out. There's a reason successful people don't care how others feel about their success. Internally, they have validated it. Inside themselves, they already do the work of judging their actions against their metrics and keeping themselves accountable.

It's irrelevant what you think of a successful person's achievements, since they are fulfilling their own desires and helping their own community. The evidence is there, within them, and within their successes.

It is less a product of success than a cause of it. To be able to plan an achievement and execute it you need to have self-awareness to know you want something, the social awareness and work ethic to get there and the serenity to let criticism go, listening to the lessons that matter.