Mickey Koss is a West Point graduate with a degree in economics. He spent four years in the Infantry before transitioning to the Finance Corps.
Whether you like it or not, being a part of this nascent community puts you in a very small minority of the global population. With the technology’s potential to fundamentally change the world, whether you like it or not, you’ve been drafted into a leadership role. The importance of leadership cannot be overstated, and much like battlefield leadership, I view Bitcoin leadership as a responsibility and moral imperative.
The U.S. Army has a pretty good definition of leadership in their FM (field manual) 6-22. In essence, it states that leaders are those who “provide purpose, direction, motivation and vision” to those who serve underneath them. I think that the “Bitcoin-famous” Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson would agree that everyone is already seeking purpose. You just have to find it in order to address the direction and motivation pieces of the puzzle. Get this right and you can change someone’s life. Get this wrong and they may be turned off from bitcoin forever.
Whether it be meme stocks seeking to short squeeze hedge funds, environmentalism or social justice groups, they all have one common theme; people coming together in search of collective meaning. I see them as organic attempts to build communities; opportunities for people to participate in something meaningful, something bigger than themselves and something that they think can make a difference in the world.
Bitcoin can satisfy all of these needs — asymmetric returns, community, financial progress, environmental improvement, advancement of social goals and equality. Individuals just need a little guidance; a little leadership if you will.
Perhaps the most important skill of a good leader in the Army is a counterintuitive one; listening. The best leaders are only decisive when the situation requires it, which is almost never. Overbearing leaders run the risk of pigeonholing their staff or subordinates’ thinking patterns, resulting in suboptimal solutions. Similarly, overbearing Bitcoiners may go a little off the rails on their orange-pilling pitch, turning people off to the life raft they may desperately need.
Perhaps the most potent orange-pilling technique that I’ve found is to actually listen more and talk less. In doing so, you will be better able to assess peoples’ needs and interests, narrowing down the scope of your discussion, and reducing the risk of alienation. Everyone isn’t necessarily a hardcore libertarian freedom maximalist and that’s okay. It doesn’t mean that bitcoin isn’t for them. You just have to uncover their motivations. You have to lead them.
Reflective Listening As An Orange-Pilling Technique
During my grad school program, I was afforded the opportunity to also complete a Certificate in Advanced Study in Conflict and Collaboration. This was perhaps the most useful piece of the entire experience. One of the most useful skills we learned was called ”reflective listening,” which is in essence, listening between the lines and reflecting to the speaker clarifying questions to not only show you are actually listening, but to also gain a deeper understanding of what they are trying to communicate.1
If you want to up your orange-pilling game you need to learn how to talk less, at least at first. You need to understand where people are coming from to determine the best route to lead them down the orange brick road to freedom. You need to learn how to listen better.
As an example conversation:
“Mickey, can we talk sometime soon? I’ve been looking into AMC and Gamestop and wanted to hear your thoughts.”
“Sounds like you’re interested in asymmetric return opportunities for your money. I’d love to talk AMC and Gamestop and also share some things with you that I’ve been working on recently, specifically in the bitcoin space.”
Bitcoiners are a hopeful and excited bunch. When Bitcoiners see a small window of opportunity and aggressively conduct an information penetration attack in order to try and release the pressure valve of thoughts that have been building up over days, weeks or months. It may be fun, it may feel good, but more often than not we’re just annoying people, pissing them off, or confusing them — or even shoving them further away from the financial lifeboat that is bitcoin.
The conversation I cited earlier which began with the Wall Street Bets short squeeze plays ended up being one of my most successful orange-pilling moments. The person that reached out to me was actually one of my old commanders, my former boss, from when I was a young lieutenant. One of the reasons it worked so well was first and foremost because I listened first and talked second. And secondly, because he trusted me. It’s hard to orange-pill a random person on the street that you don’t even know. Why should they listen to you? That’s crazy.
Furthermore, just because I view orange-pilling as a moral imperative does not mean that I insert the topic into every conversation that I have. Frontal attacks rarely pan out and will likely do more harm than good. No agenda is the name of the game and it takes a degree of improvisation, which requires work in and of itself. A strong improvisational skill requires proof of work to do well; if you don’t understand bitcoin enough then you’ll never be able to help others do the same.
So here are a few pointers to help keep your relationships intact and your orange pill game strong:
- Match your conversation partner’s energy and pacing:
If they’re barely there and you’re talking a million words a minute, maybe it’s not the best time for this. Conversely, if they’re passionately pouring their heart out about their concerns for the environment and energy usage, you should do your best to match their intensity to at least communicate interest.
- Ask open-ended questions to ensure understanding and keep the momentum going:
“You have no right to judge my energy usage” is probably not a great response to environmental concerns. Try asking open-ended questions instead: “What if the world contained abundant, clean energy that was nearly free; how would that affect your view of the network’s electric consumption?” Asking others open-ended questions not only allows you to glean a deeper understanding of someone else’s viewpoint, it also prevents you from going on the attack and raising their defenses. The goal is to keep the conversation going, not to prove a point or dunk on them.
- Approach conversations with Intellectual curiosity:
If you’ve ever listened to Jordan Peterson speak to others you may notice long pauses between statements or questions. This is because Peterson is actually listening, and actually thinking about how to respond. Embrace the silence, listen intently and respond thoughtfully. It’s kind of amazing when and how you can insert bitcoin into conversations. Make it a game. How seamlessly can I sprinkle this into the point where it’s barely noticeable. Soon enough they’ll be coming to you.
Jumping On The Life Raft
If bitcoin truly is the life raft that can save humanity from fiat and authoritarian hell, then why would you not want to help lead as many people into a brighter future with you? Accept the responsibility and help create the future you want to see.
1. How To Practice Reflective Listening (With Tips and Examples) | Indeed.com
This is a guest post by Mickey Koss. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.