Perhaps what he feels is pressure to compete. As Bailey says of his martial-arts practice, "When you fight, if you're not willing to go all the way, you're going to get broken. All the other guy wants to do is rip your head off. You have to flip the switch and say, 'Just fuck it. Just do it. You're a fighter. You're a fighter.' " For the alpha dogs of the universe, enrolling in social-dynamics training might be analogous to top-tier athletes turning to steroids.
Bailey says the influences in his life that often overpowered his ability to compete were a motivating factor in seeking out The Art of Charm. "I'm the baby in my family. I have a really strong older sister and a dominant father. I take after my mom, who's mellow and relaxed. I was coddled. I was the prince." The Art of Charm's boot camp, Bailey says, helped him shed his timid side. Another Art of Charm alum, Jake Clark, concurs. Clark looks like a model but in fact makes his living working with Fortune 500 companies, helping them to manage risk. And yet, before training with The Art of Charm, he was crippled by shyness. "Everyone can improve," he says. Since working with Harbinger, he claims that his self-confidence has skyrocketed, that he's climbed a few rungs on the corporate ladder, and that he's begun dating a woman he's known for over a decade, who he never before had the courage to ask out.
"Guys come out of our program and they're cool," Harbinger says. "We make cool guys."
Which would make more sense if he weren't talking about good-looking guys with great jobs—men who seemed pretty cool to begin with. Rather than playing to insecurities, the program seems to rely on a sense of entitlement: Men who appear to have it all believe they should have it all—including unyielding self-confidence and all the rewards it bestows. When it doesn't come naturally, they pay social-dynamics gurus like Harbinger to cultivate it for them.
So it's not exactly surprising that, post-boot camp, clients' vision of success looks a lot like Jordan Harbinger. A number of Art of Charm alumni now sport faux-hawks. Some spout—almost verbatim—Harbinger's philosophies.
When Martin Ward finishes his boot camp, he flies to Vancouver and immediately puts his new outlook to work. Upon seeing a pretty girl walking down the street carrying a MacBook in her bag, he stops her and engages her in conversation about computers. He gets her number and lines up a date.
This time, because he feels less anxious, he twitches less and he doesn't worry about whether or not he's being used for his money. "This problem was a thing I generated in my head. I was using it to stay in my comfort zone, so I didn't have to approach girls," Ward says. "I'm not overly concerned about it anymore. I think of money as something I have, not something I am. So I don't want people liking me for my money. But I can use it indirectly to help me, by taking programs like The Art of Charm, for example."
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