Week 6 – Tests, Allies, Enemies
James Bond meets the villain for the first time, provokes him, and mayhem ensues. Indiana Jones takes Marion to meet Sallah and brawl with the Nazis in
Cairo in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Ripley rescues Hicks, Vasquez, and Hudson from the aliens in the atmosphere processing station in Aliens.
At this point in the Hero’s Journey, the Hero meets the villain, recruits allies, and tests his or her abilities against enemies (and sometimes friends).
It is business as usual for the Hero and forms the bulk of the narrative in an epic story. This is ordinary life in an extraordinary world of adventure and
it is where you are headed on your Hero’s Journey.
It’s all about who you know in more ways than one. It goes without saying that having contacts is invaluable for business. However, in order to prosper,
it’s necessary to cultivate more than just acquaintances and colleagues. You need to create deep relationships. I’m a loner by nature and need time on my
own to recharge, but I also need friends and family to rejoin once I’ve had some solitude. It may bring back the message of love, peace and happiness from
the 60’s, but other people are the reason we’re here, and the better your relationships, the better your life.
Networking is the term used to describe relationship development, and it has acquired a self-involved undertone as it brings to mind a slick operator in a
suit handing out business cards. However, it’s still important to meet others and develop relationships, and the best way to do this is to share. Be
generous with your time, your money, your favours, and your contacts, and you’ll find that these things will be returned with interest, like a karmic bank
account. Volunteering is a great way to start. In the same way, don’t be afraid of asking for favours, as the same rules apply. You’ll have an opportunity
in the future to return the gesture. This is the true meaning of networking, creating a framework of support that grows over time.
In all your interactions, communicate honestly and act with integrity. Integrity is the heart of living a heroic life, and is simply doing the right thing.
Integrity means that your actions are consistent with your stated values and you do what you say you’re going to do. Nothing will have more impact on
building great relationships and living the Hero’s Journey than this.
Great relationships start with putting yourself out there. It can be fearsome to meet a group of new people or introduce yourself to someone you’d like to
know, and it helps to reframe the interaction before it starts. Instead thinking about what you can get out of the relationship, reverse it. Think about
the value you can bring to the other person. By taking the focus off of what you want and putting it on the needs of the other person, you do a number of
good things. You disengage your ego, you don’t appear selfish, and you become genuinely interested in learning about the other person so you can discover
how you can help them. Paradoxically, you’re much more likely to get something out of this interaction than you would if you went in thinking of your own
At the same time, it helps to be (or at least appear) confident when meeting people. See Week 3 for more on this, but here are a few additional
- Relax. Make sure you’re comfortable, take up lots of room, and breathe. Even if you’re not relaxed, assume the body language of someone who is (see the
Body Language section below).
- Keep your own frame. In any interpersonal interaction, someone controls the frame. This means that they are setting the rules for the interaction and
superimpose their “reality” on the other(s). This may include setting and changing conversation topics, making decisions about activities, or directing the
attention of the group. Keep your center. Talk about what you want; do what you want. Don’t allow yourself to become a pawn in a social game. Be a player.
- When you’re about to meet new people, remind yourself that you don’t have any idea what you’re doing. Make yourself laugh at your limited social skills
and remember you have nothing to lose. This will remove the pressure and put you in the right mood.
- Meet a new person every day and plan to fail spectacularly at it. This will remove the fear of meeting new people and the pressure of succeeding at it.
You’ll find you still succeed more than you fail.
- If someone keeps you waiting, make sure you have something to do. It shows that your time is valuable and you’re not put out by the wait.
- Take risks. Approach people you’d never normally approach. Babble incoherently if necessary and then analyze after the fact to improve your interactions.
Keep in mind that failure is your friend (see Week 8).
- Most importantly, treat people with respect. Respect for others implies self-respect.
The study of body language has become one of my favourite subjects. Body language is all around us, yet we often understand only a fraction. Lie to Me, a television program about a body language expert who solves crimes by uncovering deception, illustrates that understanding body
language has many useful benefits. Like most of the other subjects in this program, entire books have been written on the subject. As usual, I’ll present
the essentials and the most practical applications:
- Open up your own body language. Don’t cross anything – your arms or your legs. Crossing a body part is an indication that a person is stressed, angry,
distrustful, defensive, or uncomfortable. Holding your arms or legs across your body sends the same message. Stop crossing anything and start noticing this
behaviour in others. This tip alone can make a huge difference in how you get along with people.
- When shaking hands, look the person in the eye, keep your palm perpendicular to the ground and match the grip strength of the other person. A palm-down
handshake is given by someone who is seeking dominance and control.
- Lean back when you’re interacting with others. It makes you appear more relaxed and less like you want something.
- Try not to hold your hands behind your head. It’s a play for status.
- If you put your arms behind your back, hold your hands together. If you hold higher on your arm or elbow, it’s a sign of anxiety.
- Touching the mouth, nose, eye, ear or neck can be a sign of deception. A hand holding the head up is a sign of boredom, and chin stroking is a sign of
- Hold eye contact for approximately 70% of the time. Gaze around the triangle formed by the eyes and nose. Be sure to keep your chin up.
- Nod your head slowly while people are talking to you. They will see it as a positive sign.
- When you gesture, keep your fingers together and below your neck.
- Pupil dilation is a sign of attraction, and eyebrow flashing (up and down quickly) lets people know you like them.
- Smile lots and show your teeth. If you can, make others laugh. It’s one of the best ways to create a connection. Another is to subtly duplicate someone’s
- Slow down in social situations. Instead of moving quickly and awkwardly when you feel uncomfortable, go into slo-mo mode and let the situation dictate
what you need to do.
The best book I’ve found about body language is The Definitive Book of Body Language by Allan and Barbara Pease. Highly recommended for more
detail about this remarkable subject.
It’s said that a person can be judged not by their friends but by their enemies. Sherlock Holmes had Moriarty, Luke Skywalker had Darth Vader, and James
Bond had Blofeld. In the same way that light must have dark, health must have illness, and Yin must have Yang, a Hero must have a Villain. It may be a
challenge such as an addiction, a weakness, or an ordeal instead of a person; nonetheless the enemy is the entity that forges the Hero’s character.
However, even though everyone should have an enemy for the sake of personal growth, it is part of the Hero’s Journey to confront and defeat their nemesis.
Face the challenge, replace the addiction, or eliminate the weakness and you’ll find that your ability to handle adversity will grow, along with your
strength and confidence. If your enemy is a person, your goal should be to confront them when necessary and resolve your differences. If that isn’t
possible, stand up to them if you can, avoid them if you can’t. Keep in mind that in the movies, James Bond spends most of his time running away from his
enemies. He still persists until he finds a way to resolve the conflict and succeed at his mission. Your strategy should be the same. As you become more
formidable, though, you’ll find that the quality and power of your enemies will increase as well. This is natural and confirms that you’re making progress
on your Hero’s Journey.
Week 6 Exercises and Resources
- Continue your weekly meditations. Once a day this week, listen to Week 6 - Tests Allies Enemies.
Continue meditating for the rest of this course and beyond.
- Do a big favour for someone this week and expect nothing in return. Note what happens and how it feels.
- In the movie Fight Club, Brad Pitt’s character told the members of the fight club to “get in a fight and lose.” This is essentially the
exercise. Go meet someone new (preferably someone you’re afraid to approach) and fail spectacularly (although it’s okay to succeed, too.)
- Exercise 2 in Week 3 had you noticing body language. Now that you have more skills, start to experiment with your own body language. For example, don’t
cross your arms or legs – then cross them all the time. Notice the difference in how you feel and how others react to you.
- Confront an enemy and resolve your conflict. If it’s a person, communicate honestly and find a solution. If that isn’t possible, state your terms and
leave. If it’s a challenge, figure out how you’ll overcome it and then put your strategy into action.
The James Bond Movies
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Lie to Me
The Definitive Book of Body Language
by Allan and Barbara Pease