No One Woke Up Like This

Glamour Magic: The Witchcraft Revolution to Get What You Want - Deborah Castellano 2017

No One Woke Up Like This

You cannot win a battle alone, even if your saints and spirits are guiding you, you hear the voice of God Herself, and you have a map of everything to do and everything to avoid. The Maiden knew this. She knew that if she wanted to reunite France as an illiterate farm girl during a time that women were still property instead of people, she would need powerful allies. Always the shrewd tactician, she knew that if she could find a way to get to the king, everything would fall into place. King Charles VII was unanointed, desperate, and constantly losing ground to the British and the Burgundians. His situation was dire enough that he would be looking for something, anything to give renewed hope to his followers. What could be more inspiring than Joan of Arc, a young country girl guided by God, her banner rippling in the wind, her armor shining in the sun?

First, Joan needed to get to Charles. It was not exactly a smooth journey to get to him; even in the Middle Ages, people tended to give you a wide berth if you had a really big idea and claimed to be guided by saints and angels. Joan persuaded her cousin to take her to see the captain of the garrison of her town to get her an escort to see the king. It was initially received about as well as you would expect. The captain told Joan’s cousin to take her home to her father where she should be beaten for having ideas. It was a small town, though, and it’s not hard to imagine Joan lying in wait to see the captain every time he went to the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker using the time-honored, teenaged tradition of persistence about her petition until he was too worn down to say no.

While Joan was working on the captain, two soldiers became interested in Joan’s cause, especially when they found out her “Lord” that she kept referring to was not a nobleman but God. Joan told the soldiers something along the lines of Of course I would rather be at home doing what women are supposed to be doing! I would rather be spinning and helping my mother like any good Catholic girl. But if God, the saints, and the angels say you need to save the country instead, you can’t just ignore them, am I right, boys? Which probably seemed reasonably plausible to them, especially since Joan must have practically glowed in the dark with glamour.

The two soldiers convinced the captain to give Joan a second audience. This is where Joan says to the captain, “Oh by the way, while there’s no logical reason a farm girl should know this and this battle is happening in a place very far from here, let me give you an unlikely prediction about how this is going roll.” Joan then correctly predicts the outcome of the Battle of Rouvray. After her prediction is confirmed by messengers, the captain decides he doesn’t have much to lose at this point, so he suggests to Joan that she wear men’s clothing to keep her from being raped on the road and sends her off to meet Charles with a small escort.

She eventually makes her way to court and is granted an audience with the would-be king. It is likely that Charles is persuaded to give Joan a chance due to predictions she made to him privately, but it was his mother-in-law, Yolande of Aragon, who financed Joan’s campaign and confirmed her virginity and her title as “the Maiden.”

Joan was then sent to the ongoing battle in Orléans where she took an arrow in the neck and survived. Once Joan arrived and the French were offensive in battle, the English retreated. This persuaded the Duke of Alençon to accept Joan’s advice, which assisted him in winning the battle in Jargeau. Troyes was taken in a bloodless siege and shortly after that, Charles was crowned. Joan never participated in active battle herself; instead she carried her banner for her army.

Eventually, Joan was captured by the Burgundians and held by Joan of Luxembourg’s family. The countess and her ladies were immediately won over by Joan’s charm; they treated her well, though she was not the easiest of prisoners to hold on to. At one point, she swan dived out of her tower into the moat to attempt to escape. Soon after that, she was sold into English custody. Though Joan was imperative to Charles’s rise to kingship and the support he received, he chose not to exchange her for an English prisoner of comparable worth and instead accepted approximately the equivalent of USD $100,000 for her.

It’s hard to say what Joan’s emotional state was at this point. Any nineteen-year-old would be worn down by constant interrogation and terrible living conditions. Joan was likely even more dispirited by not being permitted to attend church, make confession, or speak to a priest. While she remained stubbornly loyal to Charles, he was now doing the royal equivalent of refusing to acknowledge her because she was no longer one of the popular girls in school. She had taken an arrow to the neck, a sword wound to the thigh, and injury from her leap, none of which could be putting her in the most lucid state of mind.

She signed a confession to appease her French/English-sympathizing inquisitors, and from there had a lifetime of imprisonment to look forward to that likely included moldy food and water, diseased bedding, and attempting to avoid being raped by her jailors. Who knows what actually happened to make Joan “relapse” into cross-dressing (which was deemed perfectly acceptable by everyone until she became a liability), maybe her voices told her, “It’s not going to get better from here, sister. Let’s peace out.” Maybe she had no other option. Maybe she wasn’t really looking forward to twenty-ish years living like this. But she did put on men’s clothing, which was her official crime, though she was accused of Witchcraft as well and was swiftly sent to the stake.

Lessons from Joan

If an illiterate, fifteen-year-old medieval farm girl without means or familial influence could make her way to the royal court and get an unlikely candidate crowned as king using only her natural glamour and the strength of her conviction, what Great Work couldn’t you accomplish? Joan may not have had strong alliances with powerful women when she started her quest, but once her glamour helped her gain their support, she was unstoppable.

Empathy Is Not Optional in Glamour

When working with others, empathy is very important to accomplishing your Great Work, but it is not everything. You need both glamour and empathy to be an unstoppable force. Put simply, empathy is what you do, and glamour is what you are. In Hinduism, the god Shiva is being and the goddess Parvati is doing. If you are too much of being, while you may achieve enlightenment, you may also amble aimlessly through the cremation grounds smoking pot for an eternity. If you are too much of doing, you may get as much done as Martha Stewart but you may get caught up in laundry instead of enlightenment. Shiva and Parvati are married, symbolizing the unity of male (passive) energy and female (active) energy of the universe. When they are fused together, they form the deity Ardhanarishvara, who is both fierce and gentle as well as loving and destructive—all of the universe’s possibilities in one balanced being.

Empathy is the starting place for the active part of glamour. Essentially, empathy is when you catch what someone else is feeling and you feel it yourself. For most people this is an automatic reaction. A loved one feels sad, so you feel sad in return. At this level, empathy is called affective empathy. If you can understand what someone is going through (loss of a parent, job loss, divorce, et cetera) because you’ve experienced it yourself, you are engaging in experiential empathy. Cognitive empathy is when you find how the other person feels about a situation by actively engaging with them through listening and asking questions. Finally, imaginative empathy is when you imagine yourself as the other person and figure out how you would react in their situation.

If empathy is not a skill that comes easily to you, don’t despair. While it is important, it’s not an exact science and has its own limitations. You won’t always imagine how the other person is feeling correctly. Something that makes you feel angry if it happened to you may make the other person feel scared or sad. Empathy alone is unlikely to inspire you to help the other person. While you may feel happy, sad, or another emotion in that moment with the other party, you may then go about your day as you usually would without doing anything to help the other party. Even if you don’t feel empathy for another person’s situation, you may feel inclined to help her because you feel it’s the right thing to do. There’s also generally an unconscious human bias to want to help people we find adorable or attractive versus people who we don’t find to be either.

You can utilize empathy and its limitations in pushing your revolution forward. First, let’s work on our active listening skills. In the words of the immortal Judge Judy, God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason. Do you talk a whole lot? Start by shutting up. This is infinitely harder than it sounds, as someone who often can’t shut up.

Do you have trouble knowing what to say? You need to start asking questions and showing the other party that you are listening and not secretly a houseplant by actively engaging. If you don’t know what to say, ask something like, “How did that make you feel?” Once a feeling that you can relate to is expressed, say something along the line of “I would feel the same way because of … (whatever reason you would feel the same way).”

People Like People Who Listen and Water Is Also Wet

Not talking/actually talking is the first step here, but it gets more complex. You need to also treat the other party like she is the most important person on the planet. This is generally relatively easy when you like the other party but becomes significantly more difficult when you do not. Guess whose help you will more likely need in forwarding your Great Work? Correct.

Start this process by being completely present with the other party. Don’t daydream and wander off in your mind while she’s talking—find something interesting about what she’s saying and ask questions to learn more or comment in ways that indicate that you are actively engaging. Checking your cellphone (unless you are expecting an actual emergency call/text) is the fastest way to say that you are checked out. It doesn’t matter if the other person is, the other person is (probably) not plotting a tiny revolution … you are. At the same time, it’s a delicate balance between interested and inquisitor.

As someone who tends more toward inquisitor than interested, I can understand the difficulty there. You aren’t trying to shake a confession out of the other party (in most cases), you are attempting to build a genuine connection with them. A genuine connection is what’s going to make the other party go the extra mile past making vague interested-in-you noises and into offering actual assistance with your Great Work.

This is where it is far more important to be a genuine human instead of trying to mimic a sociopath. After all of this heady talk about choosing your choice about your moral compass, this statement sounds suspiciously like me telling you what to do. Hear me out. You can of course choose to be a sociopath, but frankly you’re not going to be very good at it. Can you generally tell when someone is really interested in what you are saying instead of just phoning it in? Can you usually tell when someone is genuinely passionate about something instead of putting on a show? Most other people can too, so it’s not really a great approach. While you may have a more ambiguous moral compass, genuineness is a really important aspect of glamour.

Once Upon a Time

Let’s consider some traditional faery lore as faeries as known for performing glamour magic. Many kinds of faeries, such as sluagh, pixies, redcaps, and their assorted dark-side-of-the-year brethren, don’t really have a human sense of morality. They were spirits of the restless dead, inclined to drown passersby, and they painted their caps red with blood. They were also full of glamour, even with this mortally suspect sense of morality. Unseelie faeries could lure you to your death, keep you captive for days in Faerylands only to shove you back to the mortal world where ten years have passed, and exercise their power to make you do all kinds of things that you shouldn’t be doing. But in most faery folklore, faeries couldn’t tell lies.

It didn’t matter if they were good (seelie) faeries (who were also plenty terrifying, especially if they felt slighted) or bad (unseelie) faeries. They could not lie. Oh, they could skirt the truth, they could change the subject until you forgot what you were asking, they could decline to answer your questions, they could get clever and phrase it as a riddle, but they couldn’t lie. How could that much glamour work if it was tied to a complete falsehood? It couldn’t, which is why faeries traditionally can’t lie. There would be nothing for their magic to stick to if they could. There has to be that core of genuineness that comes from their inability to lie for their glamour magic to build off of.

If glamour is supposed to be about what is interesting and intriguing about you, how would a complicated web of lies (the first definition of glamour) help you achieve your Great Work? How could you truly build connections to other people if it’s all a lie?

If you think about popular fictional examples of sociopaths, they always have someone who they have a genuine connection to: Hannibal Lecter to Clarice Starling, Sherlock Holmes to John Watson, time lords to their companions, and so on. What makes them glamorous in part to the reader is imagining that you could be that one special person that your sociopath has chosen to have a genuine relationship with, or conversely, that you would have that one special person whose life would essentially revolve around you. Even in those stories, having a genuine connection is an important aspect of the tale. Think about beneficial situations that have popped up over the course of your life. While a few of them may have arisen solely from luck, most of them have come from genuine connections you’ve formed with others.

You Need to Connect with People Who Hate Your Face

When dealing with enemies and frenemies, find genuine points to connect with. Finding common ground can make both yourself and the other person see each other differently, especially if most of your dislike for each other comes from the rumor mill and other people’s opinions.

There are going to be times where you have to work with people who don’t like you and/or whom you dislike, but remember our earlier discussion about Margaret Beaufort and Elizabeth Woodville, working together clandestinely to marry their children to start the Tudor reign. They founded a dynasty together and are well-documented in how much they hated each other’s faces.

When you are making connections with people you cannot stand for whatever reason, finding some tiny piece of them that you can stand is the quickest way to a genuine, sincere connection. Maybe you both have Pomeranians, maybe you both are on Paleo diets, maybe you both like Danielle Steele novels, whatever. When you can start to actually care about this other person in some tiny sort of way, that’s when it is more likely that they will care about your dog and pony show in return. If you can establish a surface connection, you may find it easier to establish deeper, sincere connections that start to take root between the two of you. Maybe you were the same age when you both lost your fathers, maybe you both have kids with special needs, or maybe you’ve both been through a divorce. Shared experiences and genuinely connecting about them together makes these roots begin to sprout green shoots. Maybe you’ll find you were mistaken in your previous impression or maybe you will simply find yourself more tempered in your feelings. When you can open yourself to the experience without expectation (which is much easier said than done), new bonds can be formed.

At the same time, being completely naïve and believing that everyone is good all the time and no one has an agenda of their own will get you into trouble. Everyone has an agenda; you do, I do, your friends do, your parents do, your coworkers do, your lovers do, your enemies and frenemies do, your goddesses and spirits do, everyone. Sometimes it is in your best interest, sometimes it’s what they believe is in your best interest, sometimes it is unabashedly not in your best interest at all. All of these outcomes are possible from all of the parties listed for different events that come along. No one acts one way all the time, including you. The more you can be aware of this and see what other people’s agendas are and accept this about others, the more you will be able to have a clear view about others and be able to work with them.

Other people’s agendas don’t make them evil or toxic or any other exciting words per se, it just means they have a plan for their Great Work too, which you may or may not like and agree with. If you can see a place where your Great Work can fit together with their Great Work, you will be able to work together. It doesn’t have to be the whole puzzle fitting together seamlessly, just one piece of yours and one pieces of theirs that can click into place together.

Remember details about the other party as best you can: what they get from Starbucks, the names of the people in their families, their interests, foods they can’t stand, political beliefs, religious beliefs, music they like, as much as you can remember. If you are a diehard liberal and the other party is an extreme conservative, don’t pretend to be conservative. The truth will come out in this social media heyday we’re all having together. Instead, remember not to talk about politics. If the conversation turns political, gracefully change the subject to a more neutral topic that allows you to connect. Like most of the skills discussed in this book, this will take practice. You may want to deliberately put yourself in situations you know will make your blood boil (political conversations in the break room, disagreeable family members at dinner, Internet-based discussions) and figure out how you will either change the topic completely, or keep the conversation productive and neutral.

From a magical standpoint, when you make a genuine connection with the other party, you are forming a delicate bond between the collective energetic threads that reside in each of you. The more threads you can gently pull loose from the other person and tie to yours, the more likely they will be to help you achieve your Great Work. The more sincere this connection is, the stronger the tied threads are. This is why genuine connection is stressed over play-acting. From a Witchcraft standpoint, you will have a much stronger position if your energetic bond with the other party is robust. Glamour magic may not care about mimicry versus sincerity, but that won’t suddenly make an insecure bond sturdy.

Most of Us Are Not Naturally Talented

People with a lot of natural glamour have an easy unconscious way of accomplishing this. We don’t have that luxury, so it’s going to be very awkward until you get better at forming these connections from practice. Think about people you know in your real life whom everyone automatically immediately likes. What do those people do that you do not do that you can work on? Again, concentrate on personal growth versus mimicry.

Jow is one of those completely annoying people whom 90 percent of the populace immediately loves and wants to befriend. He is so accustomed to being immediately showered with praise, affection, and adoration that if he meets anyone who dares to be part of that other 10 percent, he will instantly launch a one-person campaign for their fondness until they have fallen prey to his inherent easygoing glamour.

I am not one of those spoiled children of the universe. I have too many sharp edges, am too overtly motivated, and too clearly expect you to be as well; I seem standoffish, I talk too fast, I don’t listen incredibly well, I tend to wool-gather or check my phone the second you cease to be interesting to me, I don’t wear jeans or T-shirts, and if you meet me in person first and have not read my blog, I do not seem like someone who is very relatable. All of my Myers-Brigg ENFJ traits are immediately noticeable to new people who are less ambitious and promptly feel intimidated to whatever degree their internal world dictates and generally want to flee or not directly interact with me.

If they have similar ENFJ traits that are prominent, there will be sniffing and testing in a first meeting instead. Jow finds simply witnessing the sniffing and testing incredibly stressful and anxiety-producing, but I find it significantly less taxing than dealing with someone who clearly is afraid of me to some degree.

I couldn’t be Jow even if I wanted to be; I will never smell like he does on an energetic level. I won’t be easygoing, I won’t be incredibly interested in your problems simply because you are vomiting them up in front of me; I am not invested in you immediately wanting to be my BFF.

I can, however, turn down the intensity and turn up my natural impishness, I can not be a jerk who punches out on other people and focus on the conversation at hand, I can consciously slow down my speech. These are all things I can do and have worked on for first impression purposes. What can you work on to make a better impression?

In learning to connect with other people, be sure to make mental notes about the other party. Can you tell when the other person is genuinely laughing? Can you tell when the other person is sincere? If the other party is naturally very glamorous, in many instances you will instinctively want to make their words and actions match up, even when they do not. Watch the other person carefully.

Does the way the other person perceive herself align with her actions? For example, does the other party think of herself as very charitable but you have never seen or heard of her volunteering or writing a check to charity? In most cases, it’s not your place to correct how the person sees himself versus how he actually acts. He will likely continue to see himself as he had previously and see you as wrong for pointing out otherwise. This will in turn make him see you less favorably unless you are close friends, family, lovers, or allies and it’s been already established that this kind of critique is welcome. It is far more important for you to mentally note these inaccuracies as they may come into play as you move pieces around the chess board to achieve your Great Work.

Multitasking Is Challenging Even for Prophets

In the Book of Judges and the Midrash, Deborah was your modern twelfth-century BCE career woman who juggled marriage and leadership over Israel as well as a demanding relationship with Yahweh as a prophet. In between these duties, she found time to discuss uprising tactics with the commander of her army, Barak, as the Canaanites had been busily oppressing Deborah’s people for the last twenty years. During one of their rebellion study sessions, Deborah suggests to Barak that he should pull together ten thousand-ish soldiers to let loose the hounds of war on the Canaanites while she rides out to take care of the head of the Canaanite army, Sisera, and then there will be peace in Israel again.

There is a long pause while Barak gives Deborah the girl, you are hella crazy look and then tells Deborah that he would prefer if she came and helped round up the troops because convincing farmers to go to war and that they will actually come home is arduous work that is better suited to a judge. Deborah shrugs and basically says, “If that’s what you want, loser. FYI, according to Yahweh, a woman is going to take Sisera’s punk ass down, and you will always be remembered as a loser, loser.” Always willing to let her underlings have a learning experience, she rides out to gather troops with Barak and launches a surprise attack on the Canaanites. The battle goes according to Deborah’s prophecy, and the Canaanite army is completely destroyed.

Meanwhile, Sisera and Jael both independently see the writing on the wall that the tides would be turning. Jael was a Kenite, making her people neutral to both the Israelites and the Canaanites. Sisera sees his army getting slaughtered and hits the road, heading for the Kenite encampment. Jael is at home in her tent while her husband is out hunting, playing cards with the guys, or whatever men in 1100 BCE did during some unknown point in the day. Women were generally in charge of setting up the household, carting knickknacks from place to place, arranging the furniture, putting the tents up, and taking them down, so Jael is kicking back, putting Post-it notes on her IKEA catalog on how to better organize migrant living or whatever women did unsupervised during an undisclosed time of day.

Sisera comes rushing to Jael’s tent and lets himself in, despite her husband not being home, and demands that she hide him from the Israelites. Also, how about a glass of water? Jael makes some casual flirty conversation to figure out what the hell is going on and learns that the Canaanites were just soundly trounced and the Israelites were looking for Sisera. While there is no way to know what Jael was considering while she popped open a bottle of milk and poured it into her best dish for Sisera, it was likely something along the lines of, “Well. I can hope that Heber gets his ass home before Sisera decides to be terrible, or I can make a command decision to curry favor with the new head Israelite chick in charge and take care of the problem myself.”

All of the flirting and milk after losing a major battle has Sisera tuckered out. He starts yawning and rubbing his eyes like a sleepy toddler and Jael tucks him under a blanket and he falls asleep, feeling secure that since all of his demands have been met and then some, his important dude privilege will keep him safe and sound.

Jael finds her mallet and an extra stake in one of her bags and slithers over to where Sisera is sound asleep and drives the stake into his head so hard she nails him to the ground. Eventually, Deborah rolls into town with Barak and Jael is all, “Hey girl, I got something for you.” Deborah mouths “I told you so, loser” to Barak. Deborah judges Israel until she dies forty years later, and Jael is given a place of honor both during her lifetime and in the Song of Deborah, which is one of the oldest pieces of song/poetry to have survived.

Lessons from Deb and Jael

The lesson here is that you need to learn to be able to change as your situation changes, and you need to be able to make a very good educated guess as to what your opponents will do. Game theory is used in economics, politics, animal studies, and psychology among others to assess why a person or animal would make the decision they made in an interaction such as in actual game play, a social exchange, or dispute over resources.

In actual practice, rarely are two players evenly matched. It is unlikely that when you are dealing with other people to accomplish your Great Work that your intellect, size, appearance, success, strength, and income bracket are going to be exactly matched.

As we’ve discussed at length, you are likely the disadvantaged party in this particular interaction. The other party has something you want to assist you in accomplishing your Great Work, whether it’s money, power, influence, prestige, or a really good discount at your favorite store.

A Game Theory Primer

What would be the payoff (benefit) for the other party to choose to assist you in your Great Work? Assessing motivation will assist you in deciding how to appeal to the other party for help. Will she like having a protégé, making your success a part of her success? Does he get a sense of satisfaction in knowing that he helped “fix” you? Does the other person value herself as being thought of as a charitable person? Have you helped him out of a jam and the assistance he will give you will render you both even in his eyes? Does she like to have others indebted to her? Does he like to be thought of as a martyr of kindness? Does she think that your success could be of use to her later if fortune’s wheel suddenly turns against her?

You already know what your payoff from this exchange will be. In order to further entice the other party to aid you, it’s important to understand what their payoff is too. You can use your glamour to subtly influence the other person if you can accurately gauge what his payoff will be. As previously stated, coming from a place of sincerity is what’s going to get you somewhere. If your future success would be of interest to the other party, after making your petition to her, you could say something like, “It would mean so much to me to have you involved with this project. And who knows? If this goes the way I hope it will, I will be able to help you (because the discount at the shop got me an interview at a great company that’s hiring in your field/because your sponsorship got this artistic project funded which gained media attention and I will mention your name everywhere/by getting you season tickets to the opera as a thank-you for introducing us).”

Very generally speaking, game theory dictates that people are divided into two groups: let’s call them angels and demons. An angel will want there to be peace and fairness and would prefer to avoid violence to hold on to whatever is important to him. A demon will want whatever she wants, regardless of the wishes and well-being of others and will be willing to be aggressive to get what she wants and may use violence to get it. An angel may try to use reasoning with the demon to be non-violent and to respect her wishes, which may work. The demon may decide to take the angel’s views into consideration to suit the demon’s purposes, but the demon may not and instead may be willing to kill the angel for her own means.

As we have previously discussed, people are rarely so conveniently defined. Someone may be an angel in most aspects of life but be willing to use demon tactics in a few particular areas, and vice versa. Let’s discuss an example. Rachel thinks it’s wrong to steal but she is hungry and has no prospects for assistance to obtain food or money. Monica also thinks it’s wrong to steal, and she owns a bakery. The laws in her town say that she must throw away all of her unsold food at the end of the day. Rachel doesn’t want to steal, but she knows that she will soon starve to death if she doesn’t eat. She could choose to ask Monica to give her leftover food at the end of the night, explaining she is starving and cannot get work (an angel strategy), she could ask Monica for a job in exchange for money or goods (an angel strategy), she could steal goods or money from Monica’s shop (a demon strategy), or she could steal out of Monica’s dumpster at the end of the night (a demon strategy). If any of these strategies work for her, Rachel’s payoff is that she does not have to starve. Monica could be moved to give Rachel food or a job at the end of the night, which would give her the payoff that Monica feels she’s a good person because she gave Rachel food or an opportunity. She could allow Rachel to steal from her, and the payoff for Monica would be to not feel guilty about putting Rachel in prison and not having to deal with closing the shop to go to court. She could disallow Rachel to steal from her by prosecuting Rachel in court, which would give Monica the payoff of setting an example in the community not to steal from her, ensuring her profit margin stays positive.

Rachel may choose which strategy she decides to use with Monica based on what she knows about Monica from her own experiences and the experiences of those she knows in the community. If she knows Monica to be charitable through her work in the community, she may ask Monica for a job or leftover food. If she knows Monica to not be charitable, she may take her chances and steal. If Monica is known for prosecuting thieves in her store, Rachel may decide not to steal from her and choose to steal from someone else. Rachel may also choose to employ what is known as a mixed strategy in which she is first an angel (Rachel asks for a job and Monica gives it to her) and then a demon (even though Monica gave her a job, Rachel still steals from her anyway).

Game theory gives you an opportunity to logically look at a situation that may be helpful if the stakes are high or if your emotions are running hot about your current place in your Great Work. You won’t know what the other party will chose ultimately and you likely won’t know why they chose what they chose either, besides your speculation and the data you’ve acquired through your personal experiences and the experiences of others. However, if you can account for most of the probable outcomes and have a plan for each, it will help you to be more successful in your Great Work. Bear in mind, you are not omniscient. You will get taken by surprise by the other party when he does something you could not conceive of him doing. At that point, all you can do is try to make a decision based on the information you’ve previously gathered and the outcomes that you saw as possibilities and to attempt to turn up your glamour to recover as quickly as possible.

Should you look at every social interaction through these lenses? You can, that doesn’t mean you should. If for no other reason than it sounds completely exhausting to go through all of this mental gymnastics simply to choose between The Hills and Sex in the City and pizza or Chinese takeout with a friend or a lover. However, when working toward your Great Work, game theory is one more weapon you have to use in conjunction with your glamour.

Optional Social Experiment No. 3

Objective: Learn to accept assistance from others gracefully.

If you are someone who has trouble accepting help from others, you are going to have a lot of difficulty getting your battle started. Spend some time journaling about why you have difficulty accepting help from others, and then spend a day deliberately putting yourself in situations where you are forced to accept help from others, ideally a combination of strangers, acquaintances/coworkers, and loved ones. It does not have to be big asks from everyone. It can be as simple as accepting a literal door being opened for you. When you accept the help, look the other person in the eye, smile, and graciously say, “Thank you. I appreciate it.”