Recently, I was talking with my woman about the infamous Myers-Briggs personality test.
Which, despite its flaws, has some extremely profitable business applications.
Anyway, while talking she made an off-hand remark that reminded me of why I so coldly and ruthlessly blacklist and cut people out of my business, as well as why certain people in general frustrate the hell out of me through no fault of their own.
What did she say?
“Most people are S’s.”
S’s are the opposite of N’s in the Myers-Briggs.
They are people who simply cannot wrap their heads around any concept, idea, or possibility in a forward-thinking way.
It has nothing to do with intelligence or experience, either.
They simply aren’t “wired” for forward or big picture thinking.
Take, for example, a story the great Ken McCarthy talked about in his magnificent “System Club Letters” book. Back in the early to mid 1990’s, when a lot of “name” gurus were still figuring out what they wanted to be when they grow up… he sold an 8-page newspaper called “The Internet Gazette”, that had a circulation of 25,000 people.
And, one of the articles was about internet video.
The multi-media expert he hired couldn’t understand why Ken wanted to write about that.
“You want me to write about THAT? Why? No one can do it.”
“But someday people will be able to and when they can it will be the most powerful thing on the Internet. Let’s be ready.”
Back then, it took a half hour to download even a 4mb clip. It was agonizingly slow. And S’s — like the reporter I am guessing was, or at least sounded like he was — simply could not understand the reality that it wouldn’t always be that way, despite intellectually knowing the speed and rate at which technology was growing. But Ken, being an especially strong N (I don’t see how he couldn’t be knowing what I know of him), not only saw it, but I suspect was often frustrated with all the S’s in silicon valley who didn’t even see what he clearly saw with things like click-thrus being a way to measure response online (which even Time Magazine credits Ken with discovering). Yes, my fine feathered little pigeon… Ken “saw” the potential of videos, webinars, livestreams, etc almost 20 years before they became mainstream, as well as social media, too, as he was preaching community-building long before blogging was fashionable or before Facebook was even a brain fart.
Take Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street, as another example of S’ery.
He is a very strong S in the movie.
And, like a lot of S’s, incredibly good at one-on-one sales.
Since he was (mostly) in the here & now, he wasn’t always trying to guess what a prospect was thinking or going to say so much as dealing with what is. But, when he tried to be forward thinking — timing his drug consumption, writing manipulative sales scripts, and constantly dreaming up more money-schemes, for example — he ended up self sabotaging himself and landing on the FBI’s radar.
That is the plight of the S:
Great at “here & now” tasks – like selling, negotiation, etc.
But almost no foresight.
Or thinking ahead.
Or being able to fully comprehend the future consequences of their current actions or inactions, even if they want to and intellectually know they should.
Again, it’s not an intelligence thing.
It’s simply how an S sees the world.
Which brings me to the point of this whole sha-bang:
I always knew there were certain people who were horrible customers for what I sell and teach. I could not pin-point it, but I knew, at a gut-level, there were certain people who just irritated the hell out of me whenever I did coaching, consulting, or client work.
Those people were always, without exception, S’s.
And, it’s why I now spend as much time turning the really “hyper” versions of them (not all of them) away as I do on selling the people (mostly N’s) who do make great customers.
My worldview is totally different than an S’s.
And, they make decisions that make zero sense whatsoever to me.
Like, for example, this guy who subscribed to “Email Players”, made a lot of money (by his own admission) for the two or three months he was on it… but then said, “I am two issues behind, OMG, I have to cancel!”
To an S reading this, that kind of thinking probably makes perfect sense.
But to an N such as your faithful storyteller?
Why would you stop investing in something making you money?
Why not just read those two issues, apply, make more money, rinse and repeat?
Same with certain freelancers who subscribe, use my methods to acquire clients that pay them tens of thousands of dollars in fees… far dwarfing the $3.23 per day investment… using the info to write emails that makes their clients (and themselves) lots of money and fees, and even makes them look like heroes… but then have one “bad” month and, “OMG! I have to cancel!” even while they slurp down a $8.00 pumpkin spice latte from Soybucks each day that costs almost triple what the newsletter that has been consistently making them money does.
That is hyper-S behavior at its core.
And to an N reading it, it probably sounds almost like I am exaggerating.
But this is simply a hyper-S’s worldview.
Now, people should absolutely run their business however it makes sense to them.
They live in a free society and can do whatever they want, but it’s always amusing how offended and shocked they get when I don’t let them return if they quit Email Players and try to come back. My policy is simple: as soon as you leave, you are dead to me. We will never do business again — in any capacity whatsoever — and you can go live your life and I will live mine, and everyone is grinning and all is well. In fact, whenever someone leaves, that “spot” is always filled – often that exact same day – with someone more passionate, more serious, and more intense about succeeding than the person leaving. It’s such a reliably consistent phenomenon, it’s practically a law of nature.
But, an S will read the above and won’t be able to fully understand it.
To them, turning away business is probably crazy.
It’s just not their worldview to think past the moment.
To many S’s, uncle elBenbo sounds like a raving nutcase who hates money, is overly paranoid, imposes too stringent of standards on his customers, and needs to “just relax, man…” While to an N like me, the really out of control hyper S’s (like the examples above) are basically adult children drooling on the carpet shooting marbles & watching Sesame Street while we’re working towards the next big thing not even on anyone else’s radar, yet.
None of this is to say Ns are better than S’s or vice versa.
We each have our “shadow sides.”
And I would even say S’s are probably much happier overall.
They certainly enjoy life more.
But here’s the rub:
While S’s are by no means “bad” people, they tend to make bad customers for me.
And the reason why is, everything I teach and do is future-paced, requires thinking & problem solving vs swiping & deploying, and involves sometimes thinking 3, 4, 5 or more steps ahead. Yet, I have found the average S can’t fathom why they’d even want to pay for a newsletter a second month when they “made money” with the one issue they got, think they magically know everything now because they read a book, and the mere idea of that one issue compounding on the information in future issues — and with future issues having even more ways to make sales with email — being something they just can’t wrap their thinking around.
It’s simply not their reality.
So that’s the bad news for any S’s who still – even after this – want to learn my vile ways.
The good news?
As long as you are aware of your shadow side, you can combat it, “will” yourself not to succumb to it, and actually make out even better than N’s do… since you’ll be able to use the best of both worlds with just a little self-awareness.
When I say “combat” your shadow side, think of it this way:
My dog Zoe is 13 or 14 years old.
Loooong in the tooth.
As an N, without combating my natural inclination towards all-things future… all I’ll think about is how she’s that much closer to joining the choir invisible. Instead of living in the moment and enjoying time with her, I’m basically morbidly contemplating when the end will happen. That’s my shadow side I have to combat via sheer force of will. On the other hand, an S at the mercy of his or her shadow side would barely even be aware of how old the dog is, and keep running her on the beach like she is still a puppy every day until she croaked from mere exhaustion.
So it is in business.
If my woman is right, then most people are S’s.
That means, chances are, YOU are an S.
And if you are, simply be better than your S, Chuckles.
If you subscribe to “Email Players” that means using that nature to your advantage. I have many S customers who have been with me for years. And I know they are S’s because they tell me, “Ben, I have to keep subscribing to keep myself accountable and on track.”
I didn’t really understand what they were saying at first.
Why would anyone need to be kept accountable?
My worldview is, people are accountable to me, not the other way around.
But, to an S, they need that structure.
Which is why the self-aware ones tend to be extremely successful with the information, just as someone who is self-aware enough to hire a physical trainer each month to stay accountable and combat their own S shadow side can be extremely fit and in shape compared to N’s constantly thinking about what they’ll do when they leave the gym, when they should be focused on working out.
I’m at 1800 words here.
So I will just leave you with this:
I purposely & aggressively try to turn off shadow side S’s who are at the mercy of their dopamine addictions and goldfish-like grasp of long term business planning.
I cannot help them, and they just waste their money with me.
If that’s you, save your money.
Go buy an endless string of one-off eBooks or download free pdfs, or whatever works.
The goo-roo casino will be happy to have you.
If, on the other hand, you want to use your S to make your business bigger, better, and more secure… then the May “Email Players” issue has a lot of great info in it that both N’s and S’s can use.
But, a warning:
Just like this month’s April issue sailed right over certain S’s heads even while completely and radically changing the thinking of many N’s to the point where a few have told me – practically word-for-word – they can’t sleep due to all the new ideas it gave them for their business… the upcoming May issue has a huge swath of info that will go right over most S’s heads, too, especially a hyper S who thinks like the two examples I mentioned earlier. Specifically, I am referring to the info on customer “curation” inside the May issue.
It doesn’t talk about this S and N topic at all.
But if anything, the curating info is a way for N’s to grow their businesses by aggressively repelling away hyper, “shadow-side” S customers who are shooting marbles while drooling on the carpet, while attracting more of the high-quality customers who use and benefit from what you sell.
Whatever the case, the deadline to get it approaches.
Here’s the link: