We have grown and adapted as tribal creatures. Like all social species, our brains are hardwired for functioning within a specific hierarchy. Even dating back to early human history, somebody had to be in charge. Society has always needed structure and organization and it has to come from someone else. It is unavoidable. Even a gaggle of anarchists will still look to someone in their group to set the tone as they smash their way through a downtown core. This is the concept of status, and a central theme in my training. Why? Because throughout history, it’s the people who stand up and lead groups who get access to the best of everything – food, shelter, mates – and the same is true today.
So how do you get others to follow?
Look People In The Eyes
Your body language plays a big role in establishing your status within the social hierarchy, especially your eye contact skills. Eye contact is one of the first and most prominent status cues. Centuries ago, even looking the wrong person in the eye could get somebody thrown to the lions. One of the first places where low-status intentions manifest is in a lack of eye contact with other people during direct communications. Weak eye contact mostly denotes weakness. Strong eye contact denotes fearlessness and strength. Use eye contact to your advantage as a way to address a person and set the tone of the conversation on your terms.
Eye contact is important to all animals because it’s one of the clearest points where the fight or flight response kicks in. Let’s look at wolves as an example. The alpha male gets the first access to the kill, the water and most importantly, the mates. This is because all the female wolves want to mate with the highest status wolf because it gives their offspring the highest likelihood of survival.
Now imagine every time the alpha is challenged he has to fight. The number 2 wolf loses but ends up taking a bite out of the alpha’s ear. Then another wolf comes calling for a fight and again, the alpha wins but his leg gets sliced open. By the time the fourth wolf comes around, the alpha is weak and number 4 gets to take the top spot, including the opportunity to continue the pack’s genetic line with his offspring. This is not good for the wolf pack as a whole, because the offspring is now a product of the weakest wolf, putting the pack’s chances of survival in jeopardy. Thankfully this isn’t what usually happens. In reality, the wolves make eye contact and the less dominant wolf feels the flight response kick in and decides it’s not worth it.
Are you using eye contact to establish that you’re the leader of the pack? How do you feel when you maintain it for longer than you’re used to? For the purpose of social training, let’s call it flight or flirt. Do you find yourself getting uncomfortable and look away? Or do you hold your ground? The way you approach eye contact during communication says a lot about your status. Strong eye contact raises it, and lack of eye contact lowers it. Think about that next time you have a conversation with someone and see if you can push yourself outside your comfort zone.
Here’s looking at you,
Devon OB Ash
The course with Devon opened my eyes to the myriad opportunities out there. Moreover, it helped me in becoming the best variation of myself. Now I am living my life exactly how I always wanted. It was the best decision I’ve ever made !! Thanks a ton Devon !!!
— Jessica R.