Social Kinetic Energy & The Roseto Mystery (From Outliers)
I was waiting at the pharmacy at the local market today and a thought struck me like a hard rock thrown at my head. The idea was “Social Kinetic Energy”. I define it as the level of interactivity between individuals within a community (usually a town, city, or family).
I believe that the more interactions a person makes with someone, the more likely they are to be happy. This is because they are in touch with the world, the society around them. For example, working at the Guess! retail store has forced me to become more social, and greet all the customer that come in. Whether or not I am having a bad day, the very role of my job in greeting people makes me more social, and more happy. Imagine yourself in your daily life. Are you someone who interacts with a lot of people during the day? Or do you feel alone as you go about your day? Are the guy who people come to at work to chat about life or ask for help? Don’t these people seem to hold more power at work too, even if their positions do not have as much authority? Even leaders are more open and more aware of what is going on when they interact with more people.
Charlie Brigante says, “When you can’t see the angles no more, you in trouble” – this is particularly true because the wider a net you cast socially, the more you know and the more your feel connected with your community.
We know that women pickup on this “social value” theory, in that if you are a bartender or owner of a restaurant, people are always reacting to you because they want something from you (drinks, tables, etc). In these micro-social environments, the girls will sleep with the bartender or the manager because of his perceived social value.
I call these interactions social kinetic energy. That is, the energy that we feel when we’re socially connecting with the world around us. This is a powerful feeling and instead of taking away energy, it adds life and mana into the mana pool. You feel less tired and more alive. In other countries around the world, people understand this. Look at the slums of India or the Favelas in Brazil – people are poor and life can be hard, but the buzzing energy of the place is unexpected. Families living together, people stopping on the street to talk to one another. I believe that in order to become a true life artist, you have to build a lifestyle that involves a strong social kinetic energy momentum with the people you choose to have in your life. A perfect example of this is Hugh Hefner, who has built his own pirate empire in his Playboy mansion.
This idea also extends to others who are negative social influences. The more negative influences you have, the more you may hate the world. For example, the beggar who keeps getting rejected by passerbys for money. However I do believe that if you went up and talked to 100 people, you will find that most of them are nice people at the core. We know this because of the countless cold approaches we have done as PUAs.
Social kinetic energy is also only as effective as the people you interact with, and our core inner charm, to some degree. For example, if a hot blonde teacher is living in a school district, she may feel fulfilled with her job, but inside, she wants to meet people that are more like her. Maybe she has dreams of becoming a model, or meeting a more fashionable man in a bigger city instead of married men in the suburbs. Kinetic energy is most effective when it is being exchanged of people who are important to you (i.e. family) and people who reflect relevant social value to you. Think about Hugh Hefner. He has his brother by his side. His servants. Mary. His wife down the street. The playmates in the playmate house. “The Playboy Family is huge.” A man who truly has built his own social domain, now gets to enjoy it and lives a very fulfilling life.
The right social environment+ a healthy level of social kinetic energy means, I believe, a fulfilling life. As we search for these things in our capitalistic culture, never forget that. I am reminded of a this story about the people of Roseto from Outliers: The Story of Success:
Roseto Valfortore lies one hundred miles southeast of Rome in the Apennine foothills of the Italian province of Foggia…In January of 1882 a group of eleven Rosetans – ten men and one boy — set sail for New York. They spent their first night in America sleeping on the floor of a tavern on Mulberry Street, in Manhattan’s Little Italy… The Rosetans began buying land on a rocky hillside connected to Bangor by a steep, rutted wagon path….
Wolf was a physician. He studied digestion and the stomach and taught in the medical school at the University of Oklahoma. He spent his summers on a farm in Pennsylvania, not far form Roseto… We invited the whole town of Roseto to be tested (for high cholesterol heart attacks)
The results were astonishing. In Roseto, virtually no one under fifty-five had died of a a heart attack or showed any signs of heart disease. For men over sixty-give, the death rate from heart disease in Roseto was roughly half that of the United States as a whole….
There was no suicide, no alcoholism, no drug addiction, and very little crime. They didn’t have anyone on welfare. They we looked at peptic ulcers. They didn’t’ have any of those either. These people were dying of old age. That’s it.
So, what happened exactly? Why were these people living longer and happier than those with more money or more technology?
What Wolfe began to realize was that the secret of Roseto wasn’t diet or exercise or genes or location. It had to be Roseto itself…
As Bruhn and Wolf walked around the town, they figured out why. They looked at how the Rosetans visited one another, stopping to chat in Italian on the street, say, or cooking for one another in their backwards. They learned about the extended family clans that underlay the town’s social structure. They saw how many homes had three generations living under one roof and how much respect grandparents commanded. They went to mass at Our Lady of Mount Carmel and saws the unifying and calming effect of the church. They counted twenty-two separate civic organizations in a town of just under two thousand poeple. They picked up on the particular egalitarian ethos of the community, which discouraged the wealthy from flaunting their success and helped the unsuccessful obscure their failures.
In transplanting the paesani culture of southern Italy to the hills of eastern Pennsylvania, the Rosetans had created a powerful, protective social structure capable of insulating them from the pressures of the modern world. The Rosetans were healthy because of where they were from, because of the world they had created for themselves in their tiny little town in the hills.
“I remember going to Roseto for the first time, and you’d see three-generational family meals, all the bakeries, the people waling up and down the street, sitting on their porches talking to each other, the blouse mills where the women worked during the day, while the men worked in the slate quarries,” Bruhn said. “It was magical.”
No one [in the medical community] was used to thinking about healthy in terms of community.
Wolf and Bruhn had to convince the medical establishment to think about health and heart attacks in an entirely new way: they had to get them to realize that they wouldn’t be able to understand why someone was healthy if all they did was think about an individual’s personal choices or actions in isolate. They had to look beyond the individual. They had to understand the culture he or she was a part of, and who their friends and families were, and what town their families came from. They had to appreciate the idea that the values of the world we inhabit and the people we surround ourselves with have a profound effect on who we are.”
I believe the same philosophy here applies to pickup. Nevermind looking at a newbie at night game approach after approach (although this is sometimes helpful, over focus on it and you end up being a social robot). On too many nights I have seen guys with no game getting blowout after blowout or mediocre success and flake numbers. I then turn to see “naturals” who are getting girls left and right. It was nothing to do with the mechanics of their approach. Their problems originate from their inner game, their lifestyle and their understanding of who they are in this world.
To become a master PUA, to me, is in some ways to become a man with a fulfilling life. Let us go beyond “pickup artists”. Let us become Life Artists and be happy not just with girls, but with our own lives.
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