Once you understand the code, you understand why people do what they do

Interview with Clotaire Rapaille:

What are codes?

Once you understand the code, you understand why people do what they do. For example, the code for the French — once you understand the code, you may understand why [French president Jacques] Chirac reacted this way to Bush, because for the French, the code is “to think.” That’s it: to think. “I think, therefore I am” — not “I do,” “I think.” The French believe [that they are] the only thinkers of the world and that they think for the rest of the world. They believe that Americans never think; they just do things without knowing why. And so in this situation, where Bush say[s], “Let’s do it,” the French say, “No, wait, think; we need to think.”

Now, what you have to understand about the French culture is “to think” is enough. You don’t need to do anything with your thinking. The French philosopher would say, “I think, therefore I am,” where in America you have Nextel, this campaign, fantastic, “I do, therefore I am,” not “I think.” I think they’re right on target with the American code.

An example of how he helped Folgers crack the ‘code’ for coffee:

Now, the limit of what I do versus other marketing research is once I discover the code of coffee, [it’s] done; I cannot do it twice. I’ve done coffee for Folgers. Folgers owns it; it has been using it for 12 years. I can’t do coffee again. It’s done. It’s a discovery, and once you get the code, suddenly everything starts making sense, and now we understand why the Americans behave like this. Now we understand why coffee this way works and coffee this way doesn’t work. I understand why a small $29,000 Cadillac cannot sell. I understand why — because it’s off code.

How does Folgers go about owning it?

That’s a very interesting question, because at the beginning they told me: “Coffee is a commodity. How can we own something that the others do not own?” My experience is that when there is a code, it’s more complex than that. There is a code and a consistency checklist. Everything has to be on code. Everything you do should reinforce the code; not just the packaging or the communication should be on code. The leaflet, the brochures, everything should be on code. And if you are the first one to position yourself like that, knowing all the different aspects, you have a competitive edge. They might try to copy, but they don’t know the formula; they don’t know the code behind it.

For example, aroma is number one. Why? Because we imprint the aroma first, not the taste. Aroma is imprinted at a very early age, when you are around 2. Ah, and it means home, mother, feeding you, love and so on. A large majority, 90-something percent of Americans, love the aroma of coffee. Only 47 percent like the taste.
I don’t know if you remember this commercial, but it was really on code. You have a young guy coming from the Army in a uniform. Mother is upstairs asleep. He goes directly to the kitchen, “Psssst,” open the coffee, and the smell — you know, because we designed the packaging to make sure that you smelled it right away. He prepares coffee; coffee goes up; the smell goes upstairs; the mother is asleep; she wakes up; she smiles. And we know the word she is going to say, because the code for aroma is “home.” So she is going to say, “Oh, he is home.” She rushed down the stairs, hugged the boy. I mean, we tested it. At P&G they test everything 400 times. People were crying. Why? Because we got the logic of emotion right.

On Jeeps:

When I worked with Chrysler, for example, we discovered that Jeeps should not have square headlights. That’s a very practical thing: no square headlights. Why? I don’t want to go into anything secret, but let’s suppose the code for a Jeep is an animal like a horse. You don’t see a horse with square eyes. The Jeep people didn’t say that; they said, “Yes, I want round headlights, like a face.” And we use the face of the Jeep with the grille as a logo for Jeep. So when I discovered that, that was like a very reptilian dimension. And since then, no Jeep Wranglers have square headlights.

What is the difference between good and bad marketing research? It works. Good marketing research works. When we say it works, it means that marketers understand the real need of the customers — sometimes unspoken — and they deliver. Right now you have a whole industry — the airline industry — that doesn’t understand at all their customers. They’re making big, big mistake. They still don’t understand. Why? Because they have marketing research that goes to the people and says: “What do you want? Do you want cheaper or more expensive?” And of course people say cheaper. So they say, “You see, they want cheaper, so we’re going to give them cheaper airlines, cheaper, cheaper.” Now this is how, in terms of reptilian, [cheaper is interpreted]: “I can’t breathe; I can’t move; they don’t feed me.” This is awful, right? So I’m not flying anymore. I drive my car. Why? Because they’ve not taken care of my reptilian. And then emotionally they treat me like, you know, [I’m] checking [into] a high-security prison.


How can I decode this kind of behavior which is not a word? My theory is very simple: The reptilian always wins. I don’t care what you’re going to tell me intellectually. I don’t care. Give me the reptilian. Why? Because the reptilian always wins.

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Make your life a book of stories

James Altucher:

How do I know what I should do?

Whatever area you feel like reading 500 books about. Go to the bookstore and find it. If you get bored three months later go back to the bookstore.

It’s ok to get disillusioned. That’s what failure is about. Success is better than failure but the biggest lessons are found in failure.

When you make mistakes fast, your brain learns. But when you get stuck, with no ideas, and no health, and nothing to push you forward. You atrophy.

Changing fast, creates more intersections, makes you the best in the world at those intersections.

Very important: There’s no rush. You will reinvent yourself many times in an interesting life. You will fail to reinvent many times. That’s fun also.

Many reinventions makes your life a book of stories instead of a textbook.

Some people want the story of their life to be a textbook. For better worse, mine is a book of stories.

That’s why reinvention happens every day.

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Where Does the Energy Want to Flow?

Steve Pavlina:

Simply using this model of energy flows has been super helpful on my path of growth. It’s helped me in pretty much every area of life. In fact, I often write articles by asking myself: Where does the energy want to flow today? When energy (especially creative energy) is flowing nicely through my life, I can co-create with it. I can summon and ride waves of inspiration instead of having to push myself. The energy carries me forward much of the time.

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Doing the Work

Steve Pavlina:

One of my key takeaways was an unspoken one – that if people want to transform their lives, it begins with taking 100% personal responsibility for doing the work. No one else can do the transformation for you, even someone you think may have caused or contributed to the harm you endured. That was a key theme I saw elsewhere in the conference too: We all have to do our own inner work, and if we don’t step up, no one is coming to rescue us. One reason people do psychedelics is that they really want to transform their lives, and they’ve often tried many other approaches before landing in psychedelic land.

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Graduating to Bigger Challenges

Steve Pavlina:

When you finally figure out your solution to the enjoyable work plus abundant income puzzle, what will that do for your tribe? Answer that question, and you’ll have some semblance of a purpose. Then if you work more directly on that purpose instead of staying stuck on the individual level of your personal needs and desires, you’ll really have something that can get you into the greater social flows.

The game doesn’t end there though. It’s not nirvana. You’ll simply graduate to other problems and challenges, but they’ll be more interesting than figuring out how to pay your bills. In fact, another really good source of motivation is to actually want to graduate to bigger and more interesting problems.

The problems I get to tackle today are harder than the ones I had to deal with when I was struggling financially. What kept me stuck was the framing that I needed to solve or escape my problems, so I could have an easier and more peaceful life. What helped me progress was accepting that I want to keep learning and growing, so of course I must keep progressing to harder problems. Life doesn’t get easier per se, but it can become more rewarding and inspiring. And on some level, it does feel easier when you invite more social support by setting goals that will be good for other people, not just for yourself.

How many more times do you need to iterate through your problems at the individual level before you’re ready to serve and participate in the social flows of the tribe?

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Be Deeply Curious

Dr. Roland Griffiths:

We’ve now treated hundreds of participants with psychedelics and before sessions, one of the key things that we teach them is that upon taking a psychedelic, there’s going to be an explosion of interior experiences. What we ask them to do is be with those experiences — be interested and curious. You don’t have to figure anything out. You’re going to have guides, and we’re going to create this safety container around you.

But here’s the trick: These are not necessarily feel-good experiences.

People can have experiences in which they feel like they come to this beautiful understanding of who they are and what the world is, but people can also have frightening experiences. The preparation we give for these experiences is to stay with them, be curious and recognize the ephemeral nature of them. If you do that, you’re going to find that they change.

The metaphor we use is, imagine that you’re confronted with the most frightening demon you can imagine. It’s made by you, for you, to scare you. I’ll say: “There’s nothing in consciousness that can hurt you. So what you want to do is be deeply curious and, if anything, approach it.” If your natural tendency is to run, it can chase you for the entire session. But if you can see it as an appearance of mind, then you go, “Oh, that’s scary, but yeah, I’m going to investigate that.”


Because there’s something about the nature of these experiences under these certain conditions that produce remarkable experiences of interconnectedness of all things. At the deepest level, if we recognize we’re all in this together, then we have the kernel of what I suspect is most religious traditions and impulses and that is realizing that the Golden Rule makes a lot of sense.


Why would evolution waste its precious energy on our having interior experiences at all? I don’t get that. To me, it’s a very precious mystery, and that mystery, if you want to put it in religious terms, is God. It’s the unknowable. It’s unfathomable. I don’t believe in God as conceptualized within different religious traditions, but the mystery thing is something that strikes me as undeniable.


I want everyone to appreciate the joy and wonder of every single moment of their lives. We should be astonished that we are here when we look around at the exquisite wonder and beauty of everything. I think everyone has a sense of that already. It’s leaning into that more fully. There is a reason every day to celebrate that we’re alive, that we have another day to explore whatever this gift is of being conscious, of being aware, of being aware that we are aware. That’s the deep mystery that I keep talking about. That’s to be celebrated!

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Shadow Work

Neville Goddess:

People eschewing shadow work, I wish you nothing but the best. There is literally no way around this stuff. You can’t imagine it away, you can’t affirm it away, it resides in you until you make the connection and deal with it. You will go through life blind to the fact that what you feel isn’t what you think it is, or about what you think it is, making decisions and taking actions from that confused mental place, believing that one thing is causing another, just fumbling in the absolute dark while things you don’t have the courage to understand operate you. It’s the nature of the computer, that much is obvious.

All “shadow work” is being willing to understand the things that are operating you without you realizing it and being willing to see them for what they are: mistakes. Errors. Childlike judgment. Decisions and beliefs made from a place of pain and misunderstanding. That’s literally it. What caused this? And what did I decide about it that is creating my reality that isn’t working for me right now. Or what did I fail to grieve? That is what the current thing is for me. “Put on a strong face, don’t let them know they hurt you, and MOVE ON.” – the problem is you carry that with you and make decisions from it, thinking that is just you and your choices.

Sometimes it is just allowing yourself to feel the grief and realizing that the fortifications you’ve built up because of that really aren’t necessary anymore. We draw weird conclusions about how to handle things as kids, young adults, adults operating from a “lower” mindset. That’s all it is.

Every time something is released you are broadcasting a higher frequency, as Esther says. You get freer and freer. You cross one more thing off the list, you kick one more bag of slimy garbage off of your ability to just be happy, secure and safe.

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Steve Jobs & Emotional Intelligence

Justin Bariso on Steve Jobs and Andy Grove:

Jobs then wrote Grove directly, calling the engineer’s email “extremely arrogant” and labeling his (and Intel’s) understanding of computer graphics architecture as “dismal.”

And here is where it really gets interesting.

Just one day later, Grove responded to Jobs. Grove’s email is a master class in communication, persuasion, and emotional intelligence, and it shows why Grove proved to be a mentor for Jobs for much of his life.

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Risk it

Steve Pavlina:

I’ve seen time and time again that the ideas that felt risky or edgy to me were often those that produced the most value for people. The articles that I was most hesitant to publish were frequently the most impactful. I’ve enjoyed a delightful lifestyle thanks to the simple, repeated act of sharing honestly.


Bounce over to the circles where mutual alignment is strong. Bounce out where resonance is weak.

It’s often the case that you must bounce out of a mismatch before you’ll even perceive the possibility of a match. That’s because if you’re in a mismatched situation, you’re actually repelling matches, usually before you can even perceive them.

You can also apply this advice to relationships. Think of your best relationships as being anti-fragile. You can express the full range of your personality without holding back, and you’ll still be loved. Imagine getting involved with someone new with the attitude of sharing everything about yourself that’s you think will induce someone to reject you. Anyone who makes it through is likely to be a strong match.

So share the ideas and express the aspects of your personality that you hallucinate will get you fired, rejected, or cast out. That will help you discover where you’re most appreciated and where you can push your talents and develop your ideas even further.

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“Here I am within you.”

Walter Russell:

Many have asked if I could more specifically direct them how to kindle that spark of inner fire which illumines the way to one’s self. That I cannot do. I can merely point the way and tell you of its existence. You must then find it for yourself.

The only way you can find it is through being alone with your thoughts at sufficiently long intervals to give that inner voice within you a chance to cry out in distinguishable language to you, ‘Here I am within you.’ That is the silent voice, the voice of nature, which speaks to everyone who will listen.

Lock yourself up in your room or go out in the woods where you can be alone. When you are alone the universe talks to you in flashes of inspiration. You will find that you will suddenly know things which you never knew before. All knowledge exists in the God-Mind and is extended into this electrical universe of creative expression through desire. Knowledge is yours for the asking. You have but to plug into it. You do not have to learn anything; in fact, all you have to do is recollect it, or recognize it, for you already have it as your inheritance.


Seek to be alone much to commune with Nature and be thus inspired by her mighty whisperings within your consciousness. Nature is a most jealous god, for she will not whisper her inspiring revelations to you unless you are absolutely alone with her.

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