The Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox Cabane
One Line Summary
Any chode can learn to become charismatic
Why it’s Awesome
If you’ve never studied the art of increasing your personal magnetism, or charisma, this book will be a major eye opener for you. Olivia Fox Cabane is an extremely successful charisma coach (www.foxcabane.com) who brings to all the strategies she charges clients hundreds of thousands of dollars for.
The Charisma Myth immediately dispels the common myths around charismatic people and then provides extremely practical steps for how to cultivate these abilities for yourself. Let’s run through some of the myths:
Myth: Charismatic people are born that way. It can’t be learned.
Fact: Charisma is a skill that is learned, practiced and can atrophy.
Myth: The best way to learn charisma is to study techniques to get people to like you.
Fact: Specific techniques are useful. However, without the necessary right mindsets, these techniques will often fall flat
Myth: Charismatic = likeable
Fact: Often a charismatic person is well liked. But the real three defining characteristics of a charismatic person are warmth, power and presence.
Myth: Once you are charismatic, your life will be easy
Fact: It’s lonely at the top. A charismatic person will have to learn to handle their new status
Alright that’s enough the of Myth / Fact format. It’s starting to bore me.
Essentially, if you read this book you will have a very clear idea of what a charismatic person should look like. From there, Cabane is going to give you tips and exercises to put this into practice. But that’s not where the magic happens.
The magic that happens with a book like this comes from utilizing your Reticular Activating System (RAS). Because you now have a very clear idea of “what” a charismatic person should look like, your RAS is going to start noticing all the things people do and don’t do in real life that make them charismatic. And slowly your brain will start to integrate and adopt the right behaviors yourself.
Trust that your brain will figure it out. It’s going to feel awkward at first. But the fastest way to become more charismatic will come from taking things too far and then pulling back.
For example, if you feel you need to add more Power to your personality, spend some time being over the top authoritative to people. You will learn where the line actually is and what you can get away with. Just don’t be an idiot and do this at someplace like you’re job where you will be fired. Go to a bar or something. You can blame it on being drunk.
Why Does It Suck
Cabane talks little about the biggest piece to becoming charismatic, and that is dealing with your identity.
Your identity, or mental self-image, is who you believe yourself to be. People will cling to these identities for dear life, something I will talk about in other reviews. So the hardest thing about someone going from uncharismatic to charismatic is not learning some techniques. It’s not even understanding the right charismatic mindsets. It’s the willingness to give up your current identity.
That may sound trivial. But I’ve been attempting this very thing for years now, and I can tell you it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. You have to be willing to lose friends, family members and old beliefs.
Until that happens, nothing happens.
The other problem with this book is Cabane’s lack of understanding with how visualizations work. Visualization can be very powerful but a large part of the benefits of visualization require an internal alignment in your belief structure. You have to BELIEVE what you are visualizing really already happened. Cabane ignores this part, assuming anyone can visualize a scenario and immediately experience a boost in charisma.
The Wrap Up
I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone who is looking to improve their charisma. It doesn’t matter if you already consider yourself someone with good social skills or if this is a new area. Everyone can grow in this area because charisma potential is unlimited.
If you’re new, you’ll get a solid base understand of charisma and a good pointer of where to go. If you consider yourself intermediate, you’ll get those pieces to take you to that consistent charismatic level. If you’re advanced, the little subtle nuances that take you from great to outstanding will become obvious.
I was already familiar with a lot of the content in the charisma myth. So I can’t say this book blew my mind. However most people are unlikely to have such in depth study of social dynamics as I have. Even two years ago I would not have understood probably the vast majority of what was in this book. So it’s no fault of the book, just the mental place in which I read it from.
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