Recently I had the pleasure of reading a very interesting book on the inner workings of the human mind.
It’s by Jonathan Haidt, and it’s called The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom. If you’re fascinated by the science behind how humans tick and how it relates to ancient wisdom, I highly recommend that you read this book.
Haidt mentions that in all cultures, human societies have been organized along two dimensions: hierarchy and closeness/liking. Call one the x-axis, the other the y-axis.
Hierarchy is simple enough: people have status according to their power, title, wealth or fame.
And closeness — what I will call kinship — is also straightforward. Society is organized according to friends, family, co-workers, acquaintances and strangers.
Haidt then introduces a third dimension: a dimension of the divine. All cultures seem to recognize some things as nobler, purer and more divine, and other things as profane and impure.
He calls the emotion associated with the divine and moral beauty as elevation. More on that in a bit.
This got me thinking that human attraction occurs along these three axes as well.
Hierarchy is simply the status game. A woman will be attracted to you if she perceives you as being cool, wealthy, well-known, powerful, or otherwise high in the status hierarchy.
She has unconscious mechanisms for finding those features attractive. They’ve been operating at an unconscious level for hundreds of thousands of years, and they essentially serve to enhance the survival of the species. A high-status guy is more likely to have the resources to provide for her and her babies.
Now let’s think about kinship. A girl is more likely to be attracted to you and go out with you if she feels close to you. Classmate, friend, co-worker, relative (though not too close) — we all know people who have dated or married within those categories.
Even a proxy for real kinship often has a positive effect on attraction. Two immigrants from the same country meet in the U.S. Alumni from the same college. Displaced people from the same hometown or home state.
Nobody really knows how this works. After all, in real terms, it shouldn’t mean a whole lot if I meet someone else from, say, Massachusetts. But there it is, the instant bonding. We like people who are like us.
It’s possible that there are ancient mechanisms being activated here as well. In the old days, when people lived in tribes of 50-150 in size, chances were that if you knew someone, they were kin. We share genes with our kin, and if we believe that our genes work to perpetuate themselves, then we have good reason to be attracted to kin.
The third dimension of attraction is elevation. You’re all familiar with the feeling of elevation. They’re similar to ‘peak experiences‘, which Maslow described in his classic ‘Religion, Value and Peak Experiences’.
Here are some characteristics of peak experiences, as described by Haidt: “The universe is perceived as a unified whole where everything is accepted and nothing is judged or ranked; egocentrism and goal-striving disappear as a person feels merged with the universe; perceptions of time and space are altered; and the person is flooded with feelings of wonder, awe, joy, love and gratitude.”
Some people call it spirituality. Some call it moral beauty. You can call it whatever you want. The key thing to remember is that it’s real, it has correlates in the human mind, and it makes girls like you.
Oh really. And how.
In fact, Haidt conducted a brilliant experiment to figure out what the physiological effect of elevation. What he found out was astonishing — and highly relevant to your dating life.
I’m going to spare you the details of the experiment, but the results are basically this: elevation promotes massive secretion of oxytocin.
Oxytocin, you may recall from previous articles, is the bonding chemical. It’s produced at very specific times: childbirth, lactation (nursing), and orgasm.
All three of these events are associated with bonding with another human being. The massive does of oxytocin produced to promote uterine contraction during childbirth cause the mom to be in love with the child for the rest of her life.
Oxytocin production during lactation promotes and prolongs the bonding. And oxytocin production during orgasm cements the bond between the two lovers.
All of this means, as Haidt puts it, that “elevation may fill people with feelings of love, trust, and openness, making them more receptive to new relationships.”
Now, let me ask you this: would it be useful for a woman to feel love, trust, openness and receptivity to new relationships in your presence?
Can I get a hallelujah?
In fact, there’s reason to believe that elevation is more powerful than the effects of hierarchy and kinship. It just hits at this deep, deep level which the other two don’t get at.
Elevation is the z-axis to the x-axis of hierarchy and the y-axis of kinship. It rises OUT and ABOVE the plane.
And when you are the one guy who can provide the feeling of elevation, my friend, you will rise above the crowd as well.
Now here’s the thing: any one of the axes of attraction is enough to bring a woman into your life. If you’ve got two, then you’re in REALLY good shape.
But if you’ve got all three — oh man. You are unstoppable. Because now you’ve got 3D SuperAttraction.
The girls WILL be banging down your door at odd hours of the night. And that may be more than you can handle. So go easy, man.
Seen through this lens, it becomes very clear why certain types of men are attractive, and why certain kinds of methods work.
It also became clear to me why I incorporated so many spiritually-based exercises in the Metamorphosis Mentorship Program and the Transformation Weekend. Unbeknownst to myself, I was giving the students a heavy dose of elevation training.
In the fine tradition of Tao of Dating articles, now that I’ve given you the what and a little bit of the why, I’m going to give you the how.
So this is how you turn your attraction into 3D SuperAttraction:
1) The Hierarchy Axis.
We’ve talked about this before, and most dating advice products out there operate primarily at this level.
The simple way to accomplish this is to be rich, famous and powerful. If this is not accessible to you, then the idea is to be ‘cool’, or at least cooler than her. You do this through routines, jokes, funny stories, and the right attitude.
In The Tao of Dating, I talk about this attitude as the ‘picky buyer stance’. If you have The Tao of Dating, you need to go read that part again so you REALLY get it.
You also use the technique of ‘conversational scaling’. By gently teasing her and giving her a hard time, you are tacitly conveying that you are higher than her on the social hierarchy. This is the opposite of groveling, asking for her permission, or trying to ingratiate yourself.
Let there be no doubt: this works. However, it can also backfire, especially if you take the devil-may-care and cocksure attitude too far. There is a fine line between giving her a good-natured hard time and hurting her feelings and thereby turning yourself into an asshole. Don’t be the guy who crosses that line.
Also, some women out there aren’t just looking for a one-night stand, believe it or not. And they are very, very smart, and see right through some of the smooth, ball-busting guys as players and guys who are only looking to score.
The truly awesome women who know their own worth and can get that guy any day of the week will pass, and hold out for something better.
Sure, every once in a while the routine will work and overwhelm a woman’s better judgment. But let’s say, best case scenario, it DOES work. How long can you hold the routine up? 2 hours? 5 hours? How about two weeks? Six months?
The cocky-funny-teasing routine requires high energy. And unless you naturally are that guy, it’s going to be difficult to sustain long-term. There ain’t no pill to keep this one up so eventually, you have to let it up, the real you will have to surface, and the basis of your attraction will be lost. And you may feel like a bit of a fraud in the process.
So don’t be a one-trick pony. Have genuine strengths. Add a little bit of the other axes. Which brings us to:
One way for this to work is to have a pre-existing relationship. You work together (or used to). You are schoolmates, or even better, classmates. You move in the same circle of friends or relatives.
There are attractive women who already exist in this sphere, which means that this axis is already in play. You already have a leg up! So go and associate with them already.
But can you also manufacture kinship? In a short amount of time? Why yes. It’s the second way. It’s called rapport, and I spend a whole lecture in the Tao of Persuasion course talking about it.
That lecture is available to you for free, so you have no reason not to LISTEN TO IT NOW: www.taoofpersuasion.com. It’s all the way at the bottom. Download it and listen to it to your heart’s content.
Rapport works on the very short term. The ‘two-hit’ technique also creates a micro-kinship in a short amount of time, since we tend to think that people we see often are familiar, even though we may have little real information about them. You see her once, say hi and get her name, come back a few minutes later and continue the conversation — simple as that.
Also remember that by listening to a woman and drawing her out, you can find points of real kinship along the way. Amongst data points like your alma mater, city of birth, where you grew up, circle of friends, favorite movies and favorite books, chances are very high that you’ll find points of overlap.
In fact, using a utility like Facebook.com, you can instantly find out whether your respective circles of friends overlap. “Omigod, how do YOU know Jenny Dennehy? We’re, like, best friends!” Incredible.
There are scenes in the immortal classic “Wedding Crashers” in which the characters played by Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson manufacture stories of kinship right on the spot. Hilarious stuff. You can also play with that — “Gosh you remind me of my little cousin”. Just remember that the real version works even better.
A third way is to set out deliberately to create new circles of kinship. By becoming the social impresario, you are bringing a group of folks together regularly, with you as the hub (which brings a little Axis 1, Hierarchy, into the mix as well). I describe this in detail in the Tao of Social Networking.
This is a longer-term play that takes 2-6 months to set up. But you know what? It pays off handsomely and for a long time to come. Well worth the investment.
A fourth way is to use the power of self-marketing. The more frequently you’re in touch with a woman, the more she is likely to know, like and trust you. With email and text messaging, you can do this in a totally non-intrusive, discretionary, fun manner that doesn’t take so much of your time. I call it ‘pinging’, and it’s a good technique to add to your repertoire.
Ah, finally — the meat of the matter.
The whole idea behind elevation is to send her up the ladder of divinity, or inspiration, or peak experience, or whatever you wish to call it. Three ways I can think of doing that:
A) Tell her a story.
In my seminars, we spend some time working on your Signature Story. This is a story with a beginning, middle and end, preferably about you and some cool episode in your life revealing your character, courage, zest and other cool things about you.
If you make the story inspirational enough, then it can be your elevation module. But you know what? It doesn’t even have to be about you. If you can tell a good elevation story, she will come to associate that story with you since you’re the one who told it to her.
B) Share an inspirational peak experience.
If you have a peak experience together, then that’s real elevation right there. Do some local hill-climbing, and at the end you will literally be elevated with a peak experience.
To have the oxytocin secretion (and therefore the bonding, trusting experience), Prof Haidt found that the experience has to involve ‘moral beauty’ and not just virtuosity. Watching Michael Jordan play basketball (which is what they actually did in the experiment), though awe-inspiring, won’t do it. A speech by the Dalai Lama may work better. And take a copy of Walden by Thoreau to read together when you get to the top of the mountain.
C) Do public service together.
This is similar to B, and it makes a heck of a first date as well. Go to volunteermatch.org to find a local organization worth your while.
D) Attend some spiritual service together.
If you’re the churchgoing kind and you know a pastor who gives a great sermon, go there. If you’re of the same creed, even better. Everybody’s going to be friendlier and more trusting after a good service, and now you know why.
So that’s the whole story, gentlemen. In a nutshell, if you are able to incorporate the 3D triad into your dating interactions — tease her good-naturedly, establish deep rapport, and tell a good signature story — your dating success will have no choice but to SKYROCKET. Let me know how it goes.
The power is within you,