It’s time for a Charisma deep dive!

Let’s start at the surface

Think about the most powerfully charismatic person you’ve ever met. Now imagine where you were as they spun their magical web. Picture the sights and hear the sounds. Recall the feeling of the fabric or wind on your skin and the smells in the air. Now last, but not least, feel in your muscles, your bones, your deepest being, the state of being you inhabited. Now hold that feeling for about 10 seconds or as long as you can.

Time to go deeper

Most advice on how to get more charisma merely talks about traits of people with charisma. It doesn’t actually tell you how to be charismatic. There’s a problem with that — if you can’t explain how something works, you can’t get more of it. I previously shared my ground-breaking definition of charisma that reveals how it is actually generated. Here it is again:

Charisma is the ability to sense and ultimately deliver, exactly what is needed from an emotional perspective in a given moment.

Joe Kwon

Now rewind a bit and remember the emotion you were feeling just before the uber charismatic person entered the scene. Contrast it to the feeling you ended up with after. Try to recall how they connected with you and figuratively held your hand as you were transported to that final, wonderful destination.

Ask yourself, what emotional need did that person help fill?

Here are a few that are V.A.R.I. important to most people. Maybe it was one of these?

Everybody wants to be Validated.
Everybody want to be Appreciated.
Everybody wants to be Respected.
Everybody wants to be Included.

Or maybe it was another emotion?

Try to name it and work backwards to see how they helped move you from point A to point B.

A bit deeper still

Now that you have a good sense of the emotion linked to the charismatic experience, consider other times you’ve felt the same way. Perhaps you were so absorbed in a task you executed it almost unconsciously. Maybe it was while watching an amazing performance or listening to incredible music.

Remember the lightness, the unparalleled focus, and how for a moment, time seemed to stand still. Recall the sheer bliss you felt before it faded away like so much smoke.

On the deepest level, at our core, we all want the same thing. We all want freedom from pain. I’m not referring to physical pain or psychological pain. What I’m talking about is the universal pain of feeling alone and separated from the world. The challenge is this deep, primal yearning cannot be meaningfully satisfied by possessions or accomplishments.

What is possible is to escape this pain during those moments when we feel connected to life, to others, to the universe — for ease of reference I’ll call this Oneness. It’s important to clarify that Oneness is not an emotion or feeling. Rather, Oneness is a state of being. There are many other terms that point to the same thing — in sports being in the Zone, martial art’s Mushin (no-mind), Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi‘s the Flow, or even Bruce Leroy’s the Glow.

I AM the Shogun of Harlem!

Sho-nuff, from The Last Dragon (1985)

Consider how the things that hold our attention or may become addictive offer temporary glimpses into this state of Oneness. Extreme work or leisure activities, intoxicating substances, eating, drinking and all manner of hedonistic pleasures — these all have some element of simulating or substituting for this elusive state of being. Perhaps that is why we keep going back to them and “let the chips fall where they may!”

Note: I’m focused on Charisma in this article I’m so not going to pull on this string anymore, but if you are interested in exploring the Oneness aspect further, here are my absolute favorite books on the topic. In no particular order:

  • The Untethered Soul, Michael A. Singer
  • The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle
  • The Power of Myth, Joseph Campbell
  • Aware, Dr. Daniel Siegel, M.D.

Further still, to the root of Charisma

In the same way, people who offer others glimpses or windows into the state of Oneness — we consider them the most powerfully charismatic. Think of the most cherished religious and political leaders, performers and athletes, teachers and writers — they all help us tap into that state.

There is a crucial mistake we must avoid here. It’s critical to understand one thing.

No one, no matter how powerfully charismatic they are, can actually create the state of Oneness for you.

This is so important I’ll state it one more time. No one can single-handedly take you to a state of Oneness or activate it for you.

In reality, what is happening is they are very good at creating the conditions or showing you the signposts to help you access that state yourself. You generate this state internally and have to ultimately move yourself there. Think about the last time you tried to cheer up a friend who wasn’t ready to be cheered up. It. Doesn’t. Work.

Our final Charisma destination

From a Charisma standpoint here is the deepest learning.

When you make it easier for a person to access a state of Oneness, by either removing obstacles or creating the optimal conditions, you will be at your most powerfully charismatic.

At its fundamental core, Charisma is not about behaviors and traits that people find irresistible and thus, gravitate towards. To be powerfully charismatic, you don’t need to learn and memorize a daunting inventory of skills and techniques.

In essence, Charisma is all about getting to and helping others get to a state of Oneness. The better your ability to do this, the more charismatic you will be. Nothing else matters. The concept is simple, but the execution is difficult. I’ll share my thoughts on how knowing this can help Unlock Your Charisma in future articles. Thanks for reading!

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