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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Fear & The Gervais Principle

A few articles on The Gervaise Principal were going around /r/theredpill a few months back, and how it applied to interpersonal relationships. Specifically powertalk, posturetalk, and straighttalk. It's even on the list of required reading.

I hypothesize that almost all these types of interactions are based on fear.


When powerful men engage in powertalk with one another, and refuse to explicitly state what they want, it's frequently borne out of a fear of litigation. As a thought exercise, imagine for a second that someone knows they have the best lawyers in the world, and will never lose a lawsuit. That person will have no fear of litigation, and won't need to be as subtle in their interactions.

I've noticed that men who are older, who already have "won the game" with regards to money and career, don't need to speak in powertalk as much.

The CEO's I've met, who know that they have a million dollars in income coming to them year after year, are actually pretty nice and straightforward people. Imagine how you would act if you knew that you had a new after-tax paycheck for $50,000 coming in to you every month. Every Friday you're getting a $20,000 gross paycheck.

They don't need to exchange power between one another anymore, because they truly have an abundance of everything in life.

These are actually very nice, kind people who don't engage in as much powertalk anymore. They are bored of trying to play the game and have no need for it anymore.

I've noticed much more powertalk in the famous athletes I've met. These men know that their income, while significant, is only available for a few short years while they are in their physical prime. They have this fear that their money is going to be taken away from them. This is especially true since their fame makes them targets. One buddy of mine, for example, has a past tenant trying to sue him for $170,000 for "damaged" furniture. When your salary and net worth are all over the internet, you naturally get targeted.

The fear is in fact justified, but it causes them to engage in a lot of powertalk.

Truly fearless men with abundance have shed their need for powertalk.


When a person engages in posturetalk, he is doing so because he is scared of others' impressions. He wants to puff his chest out and look as tough as possible. This is especially easy on the internet when anybody can be whomever they want due to anonymity. That's why posturetalk is so prevalent on the internet. But it's really borne out of fear because he is terrified of another person thinking he's less than extraordinary. 


There are two situations of straighttalk, one from a leader to a worker, and one from a worker to a leader, and they are actually slightly different.

When a worker uses straighttalk to a leader, he is actually afraid to misspeak. He knows the leader is in the position of power, and wouldn't dare try to use subtlety (powertalk), babytalk, or posturetalk. If the leader sees through the worker's subtleties, then the worker will be crushed. As such, fear causes him to use nothing but straighttalk.

However, when a leader uses straighttalk to a worker, that is the only type of interaction not borne out of fear. The leader needs nothing from the worker, and the worker's reaction has zero effect on the leader. The leader has a true abundance mentality with the worker, and fearlessly can ask the worker whatever he pleases.


Most people assume that it's better to engage in powertalk with powerful men, to prove that you speak their language.

I disagree.

What's interesting is that other powerful men are not used to being engaged in straighttalk from an equal. If you are straight up with another powerful man, and clearly not a worker or peon, this causes a cognitive dissonance in the leader. Nobody speaks to a famous person or CEO with straighttalk unless that person is above.

By engaging in straighttalk, you are demonstrating a lack of fear, and perhaps even communicating that you believe this usually-powerful person is below you. For example, the President of the United States, or a Russian billionaire oil tycoon, would have no need to engage in powertalk with someone famous. The famous athlete's $50 million is a joke to the billionaire. The billionaire would in fact not engage in powertalk with the famous person, but rather straightttalk. To the billionaire, the famous person is a worker, an entertainer, not an equal.

By engaging in straighttalk with someone who is used to being engaged via powertalk or posturetalk, you actually gain some respect for your fearlessness.

To even have conversations with someone that powerful or famous, it is usually through referrals. You already have some standing because an existing connection of yours usually made the introduction. For example, being part of one famous person's entourage means that you don't need another famous person's connections. If you start engaging in powertalk with them, they know it's because you want something from them and are essentially offering to exchange some power. If you speak in straighttalk with them, they know you need nothing from them, and it makes the famous person wonder if you are actually above them (something they are not used to).


There is another side to consider, and that is that it's not really about fear, but rather optimizing your own return. If you know that somebody will only do business with you if you "speak their language" and engage in powertalk, then you are consciously choosing to engage in that type of talk. Such a person is only using powertalk to gain another's respect, not because he needs to use powertalk himself.

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