Kevin Hogan

International Speaker

Latest Articles:  Stopping the Black Swan Can You Become a New Person?

Stop You and Your Friends from Screwing You Over

Fact One: You are a True, Proven, Real Life Winner. No B.S.

Fact Two: You are a True, Proven, Real Life Loser. No B.S.

Fact Three: You and Your Friends will screw you (yourself) over and ironically often do it unwittingly.


  1. If you use your phone to text it’s easy to figure out why people get upset with you…and you them.
  2. You find out why, at times, you find yourself cringing at what has just come out of your own mouth!
  3. You will find out why, at times, you allow people to be bored to tears with your conversation.
  4. You find out how the goals of YOU, YOUR Nonconscious and YOUR Friends drive all of these behaviors.
  5. If you think this is going to be a short sound byte article written for dummies, forget it. I’ll send you a URL for learning A, B, C’s. This is the real thing…

Take 15 minutes and go, “Now I get it ……. Wow!”

First Impressions

When you first meet someone, you are, for the most part, consciously thinking about everything you say. It takes effort which is generally felt as stress in the body.

You’re hospitable.

“Would you like some coffee?”

Placating …

And you are probably placating.

“Oh, that is so cool you work for the government, what are your future plans?”

But once you get to know someone, your nonconscious takes over communication.

vs. The Nonconscious Response

“Yeah, good luck with that project.”
“Just keep telling yourself that.”
“… how stupid are you?”
“You think you’re good lookin? You look in the mirror much?”

You look back and think why would YOU have said that …

What WERE YOU thinking?

The answer: You weren’t.

And in a very real way, you aren’t (necessarily) at fault.

Your Nonconscious Mind literally runs your show most of the time.

Men and Women in Conversation

When you talk with women about other women, in a deserted room with no voice recorders or cameras, you usually hear something like this:

Women tend to backbite their friends, gossip when they feel superior or the need to lower someone to make themselves feel better.

Meanwhile, ask men about similar issues/”gossip?”

Men don’t really talk about other men in the way women talk about women. Men tend to be short, sweet and to the point:

“Oh he’s an idiot…let’s watch football.”

With men, discussion about someone’s love life, interests in eternal life, the sex life, the other person’s kids…is rare.

Men don’t say, “and man she is smart. She has Bachelor’s from the U of M. Helluva cook and a great Mom.”

They say, “she’s one good looking girl.” And they will have brief positive quips about their kids. “Yeah, he’s made first team,” but grades? Not often.

Women will often rip apart their friend(ships) at a moment’s notice, without further thought to the future value of the relationship.

Women are far more likely to be part of a #cancelculture than men. Men aren’t going to say, “yeah he hurt my feelings and he’s an ass, I’m taking him off my friends list.”

Ah…so I’m saying men are so much better?

LOL (That’s so cute.)

No…broadly speaking, men don’t rip apart their friendships at half the speed women do. Men have their own specialization of sabotage…

In fact as the man tells the other guy what a jerk he is, you can predictably calculate that they will have a beer in 10 minutes, 10 hours or a week.  It takes a lot for men to stay upset with other men for long. Obviously it happens. And men do get upset with the ex, on average, but they really couldn’t care less about the ongoing saga of Bill, Ted or Jane.

The Male Self Sabotage

In order to understand how men screw up, take one step back.

Men are sometimes billboards for stupidity.

If you figure half of women are in the top 50% of women as far as beauty and you realize that about 40% of women have sent a photo of themselves to someone else that would have an “R” rating on it, no one is going to complain.

If you figure that 90% of men would love to be harassed by their 10th grade teacher, you’d be right if you guessed it’s considered desirable instead of disgusting. This is a very unpopular for people to have. Which of course is why I’m going to share my own Mom’s experience.

That said, I asked my Mom once, “What if a guy sexually harassed you? What would you do?” She was 100% straight up as she always was. “If I liked him, I’d smile, if I didn’t I slap him in the face and then put my finger there.” My Mom…was mostly a single Mom until I was 16 so she had to be the man and woman and everything in our world. (Family of 7 with TWO hospital beds) stuffed in a 600 square foot home. Cool huh?)

Mom taught me, “I don’t care what they say Kevy (tell no one she called me Kevy) you will open their door for them and they expect you to be a gentleman and treat them with respect and appreciation.”

She wasn’t a feminist, but she was a democrat. She never went to church but told me to go. I learned to be a man. I never had a woman or any of the two dozen plus girls I dated the last couple years complain about having the door opened, me paying for dinner, making dinner or anything else for that matter. They all wanted to be treated like women and not men. That’s a small sample size and a millenial demographic. Mileage can differ for others.

No one said the rules are the real rules or that the real rules matter when they are convenient.

“You kids will always be gentlemen. If you ever strike a woman and I’ll kill you.” We all believed her. She was very congruent in her communication. To this day we’ve all self sabotaged, but never with a girl.

I’ve never met a man who hadn’t had something thrown at him or been struck by a woman. I’ve met a lot of men whose Mother was like mine and would have killed her son for such a behavior.

That was my Mom. There ARE different rules for men and women in my mind because all of the boys in our family were drilled and then had it drilled in our minds that, that, was the ONLY option.

So, I never hit a woman…. that’s not a popular discussion because everything is supposed to be the same for everyone, and its not, but for me…never, ever… no way. She’d take me to her eternal resting place if I did.

My Mom was not your typical woman at the communication level though she was like a lot of women at the behavioral level. In other words she wanted to be treated with respect and appreciation. She didn’t want to be treated equally. Hell no. She was special, unique, valuable, sharp as a tack and spoke with crystal clear clarity. Never once did someone say, “what do you mean?” It was always clear. Women do this all better than men in general.

But there are massive divides between perceptions of behaviors that men and women perform.

You are reading this in some country or another which if you were in Italy, I promise the women laying in the buff by the pool wouldn’t faze you in any way.

Same behavior at the Holiday Inn in Orlando and people will freak out.

There is no right answer. There is simply the non-sabotage answer which is, be appropriate to the current contextual and cultural situation.

One night in spring 2019 I was at Ciao Bella in Edina, on a dinner date. She (millenial) was in a soft pink, almost gown-like dress. Could have been in a beauty contest. She got a sext from her ex. She said, “a…hole”  showed me the picture and said “that’s what an “a..” looks like and then she turned her phone face down on the table.  Now, had I DONE THAT…. yeah you get it. We went out for another month before we tired of each other…

Men just don’t get that when it comes to themselves, there are different cultural rules for the genders. They don’t get that there are different interpretations…but ask the guy if the action would be OK for his buddy and he’d tell his buddy, “Don’t be a moron.”

THIS is how men are incredibly stupid. They really don’t see “men and women are the same” as being political. They start to believe it. That’s a fundamental error in the observation of reality.

For the moment, in the world of “Social Media,” “Sexting” and hidden video cameras everywhere in every room, at every turn…men will continue to jump off the building. They will pay a price in the court of public opinion. Women do the same thing, no harm comes, and I suspect it never will as long as they are applauded each and every time, without exception.

Deep down in the prefrontal cortex, men aren’t THAT stupid. They simply don’t take consequences of culture and context…into consideration as often as they should.

“Self” Interest

Why is it that YOU are SO careful when first meeting a future friend or partner, then later you feel comfortable poking fun at them?

You are a naturally competitive creature. You have to be. You’ve evolved to be PRECISELY competitive.

You compete to win and your brain knows it will get rewards if it wins.

The sperm that cracked the egg is YOU. The other billion lost the race. YOU got the prize and you have competed against life, the weather, opponents, the law and everything else to get to today.

When people tell me they aren’t competitive, I smile inside…

People really are stupid, and I’ve spent my life fixing that one person at a time.

It’s not possible, at least in contexts that are important to them, to NOT be competitive.

You want your friends to succeed…but do you really want them to succeed as MUCH as you do?

The research here as it is with differences in men and women in private communication is very similar to stereotype vs. political baloney.

Most people would rather earn half as much money and live in a community of other lower income people than earn twice as much, live a fairly wealthy life yet be the least successful in the community.


I “guide” an Inner Circle of successful people. It’s in my best interest to help people succeed to a degree greater than I have. I’m constantly thinking, DO IT, GET IT IN GEAR. DO NOT WIMP OUT. MAKE IT HAPPEN.

But what if the relationship was different? What if I wasn’t mentoring, coaching, or consulting. What if I was simply a good friend? Would I be as excited for their million dollar deal?

Truth be told?

I don’t know…but I doubt it. Or I’d be happy for them but wish I’d have done the same thing? I don’t factually know…but human nature says, it’s OK for you to make a lot of money and be successful as long as it’s less than me.

In general, it’s accurate to say that people want other people they like to be almost as well off (or as poor) as they are themselves.

Are there saints who wish you well?

Yes, but I bet you induced that altruism, didn’t you?

LEGEND POINT: If you’re up for a promotion at work, along with a friend/coworker, even if you like them and wish them the best, you are programmed to be a goal-oriented individual.

LEGEND POINT: You’re programmed for survival of the fittest. Even if you are not consciously aware of your actions, you will still actively pursue being the best or most comfortable and free from danger.

Survival of the Fittest says, you WALK RIGHT HERE:


Then when they follow the behaviors that get them the fittest, reward them. When they screw up, walk out.

Train people with simple behaviors.

Everything you do is towards your goals.

When people think about goals, they think of things they want, places they want to go, things they want to do, people they want to be with.

Yes, those are goals. Those are also a very tiny percentage of the goals your nonconscious brain operates to gain.


Can you have goals you’re not even aware of? Certainly, and you DO…

Nonconscious Goals – the Goals You Never Heard Of

The vast majority of your goals are not even considered…thought of…pondered…you aren’t conscious of them. They are the guidance system of your nonconscious brain and they make you tick. They move you over here and then over there.

The fact is you have no real idea what the goals of your nonconscious self are. For that, you’d have to log behavioral actions all day long to see what you actually do vs. what you THINK you should be doing or WISH you could have.

Both conscious and nonconscious goals color how you perceive and interact with the world.

LEGEND POINT: Goal directed behavior, conscious or non, tends to be selfish.

And Selfish is NOT (necessarily) a bad word. Just as you are competitive by nature, you are selfish by nature and if you weren’t, you’d have been dead long ago.

Evolutionary psychology tells you that you are (almost) always looking out for number one.

Nonconscious goals direct behavior It’s true.
It’s gotta be that way or you probably won’t survive.
You’d be a terrible friend, parent, lover, boss, salesperson, investor, if you didn’t survive.

Every move you make in life is acting toward one ultimate goal: to pass on our genes.


Genes don’t have brains. They are preprogrammed code. They direct your behavior. They move you in directions to perform actions that will cause you and your line to survive. But they don’t think.


They don’t think, “ah she can’t have a baby, pick a different woman to mate with bub.”

They don’t think, “you’re gay so you need to mate with someone of the opposite sex.”

No, no, no.

It’s code. It’s not thought. It’s code.

Here’s what CODE means:

Turn the car on, tie a brick to the accelerator.
(Get out of the way.)
It’s moving forward.

That’s one line of code in your genes….and there are a lot more “lines.” (Later)

That sperm had the accelerator to the metal and beat a billion buddies to the egg. It’s in the code and the fittest one wins and the rest lose. Period.

So you will naturally do things to fulfill your needs, as well as your kin’s. You look for fertility in mates and you protect your children.

I Scratch Your Back

When you act for other people, you usually expect something in return, or to feel better about the extent of our own altruistic tendencies. Keep this in mind when you receive a favor. Even though your coworker or friend may not consciously ‘want’ something in return, they may unconsciously ‘expect’ something later.

Rule: When someone is good to you, reciprocate. I didn’t call it the “principle” of reciprocity. That was Cialdini. His point was, it generally is effective in inducing reciprocity. My point in the Law of Reciprocity was that it is compelling to complete the cycle and is generally destructive to the relationship if it is not completed.

And then things shifted but didn’t completely change, about 7 years ago.

Again, I invested about 2000 hours in time with millenial girls. Simple dating. I had been married. I had a serious relationship. Now the remaining space was flexibility. Figure 30 girls, and maybe 100 of their friends depending on the time spent with entity. That’s a lot of millenials but a small sample size biased by my experience. Nevertheless….

The rule of reciprocity is REAL for Generation X, Boomers.

The rule of reciprocity is NOT real for Millenials. It is an idea. Some adhere. Some don’t. It’s not a law, rule or principle.

When I would talk with girls and girlfriends and friends of those I would date over 3o months, I asked about two principles of persuasion I saw violated again and again. Scarcity and reciprocity. MOST millenials simply laughed.

The world IS changing.  The “original six principles” are down to four. So I spent my days in those 30 months UPDATING REAL LIFE PERSUASION while others copied one of my heroes early work and went broke trying to live by his principles. It’s a different world.

That’s why persuasion and influence must be constantly researched and updated.

You aren’t living in the world of 1989. It’s 2021 and data from 1980 is… often but not always… antiquated.

It goes further.

Gen X mothers will tell you they don’t keep score. That changed too…. Their millenial children do and it changes behavior THINK ABOUT IT.

Scarcity and Reciprocity are now ideas with BIG BOUNDARIES by generation. Millenials DO keep score. Gen X parents didn’t want them too. But they do.

Relationships cause some turmoil for goal fulfillment…

…but I married the right millenial…

Partners and Outcomes

Your desired outcomes are constantly influenced by the people you surround your Self with. When friends or partners have similar goals, both are raising children, both losing weight, they often actively facilitate each other’s performance in relation to these goals.

This pursuit could be through active behaviors together, feeling closer to each other, or having a greater sense of understanding for the other person. This lessens conflict and reinforces pleasant interactions.

Partners with similar outcomes are also more likely to have similar interests, which is a predictor for happy relationships. However, when friends or partners have dissimilar goals, each party may serve as a barrier to the other’s achievement.

Partners who are less like each other tend to have goals that are not compatible, increasing the likelihood that one’s goals will impede the other’s. When they do not have respect for each other’s goals, they may be less efficient both in their goals and in their relationship.

Dissimilar goals predict conflict and avoidance in relationships. Though friends or romantic partners may not have similar goals at first, they may develop similar goals later in a relationship. Religion, values, desire for children, and ambition are examples of potential conflicting goals. Keep this in mind when looking for or choosing a mate.

Already have one?

Be aware of the differences of your long-term goals.

Instead of avoiding communication or confrontation about particular issues, talking with them about how you can make your goals more compatible with each other will typically work wonders.

But…it’s not all paradise in the “we’ll make it together department.”

When you believe someone close to you is trying to control you or push a goal onto you, you tend to rebel against their desires and pick a goal inconsistent with those expectations.

I’ve experienced this in many ways.

In retrospect, it’s all easy to see.

Because I really do care about friends and family, I really hit hard on my admonition to buy Gold back in 2006/2007/2008/2009. To my irritation, a number of these people who were/are close to me simply ignored my direction and bought real estate, a house for themselves or used a Financial Planner (which is precisely the kind of stuff I warned could get them in trouble (if the advisors were “traditional” in approach).

Now this is not everyone. Every day I get email from people who bought as much gold as they could get their hands on and they made a ton of money in the last 5 years. Nothing makes me happier. Gold has tripled in value (and then some) while everyone else in the world lost their nest eggs.

So why did this happen?

Obviously there were competing brains at work in the Selves of some friends and family!

Consciously or not, they didn’t listen to someone who lives and breathes the psychology of human interactions and economics. And then, of course….they aren’t angry at themselves right? Guess who?


What is the ONE thing humans rebel against consistently? …

Give me Freedom….

Humans do not like to be or feel constrained by others.

You enjoy your independence and freedom. However if you believe someone wants the best for you, you often conform to their wishes and react as they would want you to in a situation, as long as it benefits you in the process.

If you have a secure relationship with your romantic partner, you are more likely to pursue goals that will please the partner or impress them.

Legend Point: These goals can be actively pursued unconsciously, primed by the mere thought of your partner. ALWAYS be aware of how the people closest to you impact your behavior.

Legend Point: Once you react to a situation in a certain way, this way of reacting becomes easier to retrieve unconsciously in memory when you are in this situation again.

When a smoker experiences stress, they automatically feel like reaching for a cigarette.

When a child irritates a mother, she may instantly cry, “just…go to your room!”

When a partner feels insulted, they may have developed the urge to hammer on their partner, regardless of intent.

When a coworker gets an award for their performance and you don’t, you suddenly feel the competitive need to one up or downgrade them, even though they deserved the recognition.

QUESTION: Do you notice repetition in any of your behaviors around certain people?

Any social allergies (irritations) to anyone’s bad habits?

Do you ever react in ways you find yourself questioning later?

If you can replace the actions you dislike with other behaviors, you will soon be able to rewire your brain into how you want to act in these situations. Of course, you may have the occasional Freudian slip, but these can be unavoidable.

A Secret to Re-wiring Your Brain…

Chris Janizewski and Juiano Laran did an interesting study that gives insight about self control.

They had participants perform a task, with a bowl of truffles next to them. They were either told they could have no truffles, one truffle, or any amount they would like. After the task, they were given the choice of a granola bar (healthy choice) or a cookie (unhealthy choice) on the way out.

When goals are fulfilled They found that once you give in to one little desire, you are more likely to continue and indulge even more. People that had one truffle could not resist more pleasure. 61% of subjects chose to continue their pleasure and have a cookie.

However, if people were allowed to have their fill of truffles, then they chose the granola bar. A whopping 71% of these participants chose the granola bar.

Legend Point: This shows you that once you reach a goal, you turn it off to pursue another.

Legend Point: Once you lose that 20 pounds, you stop, and then go after another goal, like eating more!

You pursue one goal consciously at a time. When working toward one goal, you block out information regarding other goals.

Too often, individuals pursuing a goal will make progress towards it, then stop pursuing the goal, justifying that sufficient progress was made. Typically you think one way, but act in others.

This is one reason why people are never very good at identifying their partner’s preferences for things.

People that restrained themselves with the truffles continued to make healthy decisions, until they were PRAISED for eating healthy.

Boom, OFF switch.

Healthy goal fulfilled, pleasure goal activated!

Therefore: Know your weaknesses. Self-discipline takes time to grow. Unless that one truffle is being seen as the big reward, people are bound to eat more truffles. Self-monitor your progress toward your goals.

ALWAYS be aware of your own “goal light switch.”

DETERMINE WHEN doing what FEELS LIKE “enough” is really insignificant. AND GET BACK ON TARGET.

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Author of The Psychology of Persuasion, Irresistible Attraction, and The Science of Influence, Dr. Kevin Hogan is trusted by organizations, both large and small, to help them help their people reach their personal peak performance and maximize influence in selling and marketing. Kevin is an internationally admired keynote speaker and corporate thought leader. In Coffee with Kevin Hogan, he shares his research, observations, and how you can apply them in your life – both in business and at home.

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