Chase Hughes (@thechasehughes) is the top behavior profiler in the United States and author of The Ellipsis Manual: Analysis and Engineering of Human Behavior.

What We Discuss with Chase Hughes:

  • Why authority is a weightier force for influence than any social skill in the book.
  • What you can do to bolster your own authority — and resist manipulation by the authority of others.
  • The five factors that measure your ability to persuade and influence on a level that surpasses mere inspiration.
  • Why your patterns of behavior that happen even when no one is looking can make or break your life’s outcomes.
  • Top authority killers and how to avoid them.
  • And much more…
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While a rebellious John Mellencamp once bragged openly about his Sisyphean conflict with an always-prevailing authority, research suggests that most of us are wired to obey those we consider to be authoritative even when doing so goes against everything for which we think we stand.

In other words, you can learn and master all the social skills you can fit in your own personal psychological arsenal, but being perceived as an authority figure is ultimately the most powerful force for influence there is. Joining us to explain how we can use this knowledge to our advantage is The Ellipsis Manual: Analysis and Engineering of Human Behavior author Chase Hughes. Listen, learn, and enjoy!

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In the 1960s, Yale psychologist Stanley Milgram famously conducted a series of experiments that measured just how far participants would go when instructed by an authority figure to inflict a test subject with gradually increasing electric shocks.

The test subject was an actor and the electric shocks weren’t real, but the participants didn’t know this. On an alarmingly consistent basis, participants would eventually administer what they believed to be a fatal dose of electricity to these subjects when the authority figure present — usually just some guy in a lab coat — ordered them to do so.

“What persuasion skill — what influence skill — has that kind of power?” asks Chase Hughes, author of The Ellipsis Manual: Analysis and Engineering of Human Behavior. “Everybody talks about, ‘Oh, you need to be better at persuasion; you’d be better at learning influence skills,’ but there’s no persuasion skill that can allow you to just talk a stranger into committing murder in half an hour!”

From the outside, it’s easy to self-righteously insist we’d be among the very tiny minority of people who wouldn’t be coerced into zapping an unfortunate unknown into oblivion on the orders of another — albeit authoritatively dressed — stranger. But it seems human beings are evolutionarily hard-wired to obey authority.

The price for defying a prehistoric despot in the tiny tribal communities that eventually coalesced into civilizations was likely death or exile, so our ancestors were the ones who fell in line. Simply put, we’re the direct descendants of people who were good at following orders; we’re genetically predisposed to do what we’re told. And while this may have served us well as a survival mechanism in the past, it can be used by those in the know to manipulate us into operating counter to our best intentions. But the good news is that once you listen to this episode, you’ll be in the know and better able to resist such manipulation.

Five Factors That Activate Followership

When we want to assess our own handle on authority, Chase gives us these five factors that comprise the Hughes Authority Self-Assessment Matrix — give yourself a grade from one to five for each item (five being the best) using this PDF as a guideline.

  • Confidence: “Action without reservation is the best definition I’ve ever heard,” says Chase. “This takes time to develop, but in the end, it’s only a matter of trusting yourself.
  • Discipline: “Discipline is a visible quality,” Chase says. “Make small deprivations and build the muscle.”
  • Leadership: “This is the trait that’s most important,” Chase says. “Leadership means your behavior alone creates followership.”
  • Gratitude: “Not only is this contagious, it’s visible,” says Chase.
  • Enjoyment: “Just being in a good mood is contagious and magnetic,” says Chase.

Five Zones of Life Mastery for Authority Development

These five zones were developed by Chase and his team over 17 years of training thousands of high-level people in developing authority as rapidly as possible. Chase stresses that they should be done in order.

  1. Environment: “Mastering your environment first is the gateway to the rest of the zones,” says Chase. “Keep your life, car, house, and everything organized for a month. Develop the habits that get your environment under your complete control.
  2. Time: “Become the master of your time,” Chase says. “I’m not a self-help speaker, and I’m not a time management guru, but if there’s one critical point I could impart to your listeners right now, it would be this: the single failure point of almost everyone when it comes to mastering your time is assigning equal weight to the tasks that come up in your life. Plan ahead, however you do it. Don’t become obsessed with perfection, or what system you need to use to manage your time. Find something and use it.”
  3. Appearance: “The way you look and carry yourself is so vitally important,” says Chase. “It’s one of the critical tripwires we just talked about. In a tenth of a second, people will decide whether or not you are someone they need to listen to or not; a large majority of this unconscious decision will be based on how you look. Not only your appearance, but your carriage and demeanor.”
  4. Social: “Get training on social skills,” Chase says. “Learn the art of small talk, talk to strangers, learn how to turn on the chemicals in people. Rapport is just a matter of whether you can create serotonin and dopamine.”
  5. Financial: “Take control of your finances,” says Chase. “Go see a counselor or financial advisor. Bad news doesn’t get better with time. Get it handled and the small unconscious signals your body was sending out will disappear. You’ll have more fluid behavior just knowing your finances are at least heading in the right direction.”

The 34 Things That Kill Your Authority

  1. Negativity
  2. Putting others down
  3. Anger
  4. Lack of self control
  5. Poor hygiene
  6. Appearing rushed or overwhelmed
  7. Rapid bodily movements
  8. Rapid speech
  9. Hurried pace
  10. Poor posture
  11. Short-fused personality
  12. Rapid blink rate
  13. Frequent adjustments in clothing or posture
  14. Hand-to-face gestures
  15. Lack of genuine interest in others
  16. Speaking loudly
  17. Aggressive behavior
  18. Behavior intended to attract attention
  19. Loud or obnoxious clothing
  20. Scattered attention span
  21. Discomfort or aggression when confronted or complimented
  22. Excessive jewelry
  23. Over-apologizing
  24. Social anxiety
  25. Fear of being interrupted
  26. Fear of confrontation
  27. Complaining or seeking pity
  28. Excess criticism of environment or others
  29. Bragging
  30. Bullying
  31. Blaming
  32. Selfishness
  33. Dishonesty
  34. Conformity of behavior or opinion

Listen to this episode in its entirety to learn more about how Chase went from being a teenager with social anxiety to the top behavior profiler in the United States, numerous studies supporting the very human desire to appease authority (even at the expense of other survival mechanisms), the tripwires in our brains that trigger obedient behavior and identify someone as an authority, how the way we behave even when we’re not being watched has an effect on everything we do, how we can assess and increase where we stand authoritatively, why most of us could go for a surgical removal of our filler vocabulary to be seen as authorities, and much more.


If you enjoyed this session with Chase Hughes, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:

Click here to thank Chase Hughes at Twitter!

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