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  • Writer's pictureLaurent Notin

The Personal, Professional, and Entrepreneurial Costs of Manipulation

Updated: Jan 25

This interview is a transcript from Inter:views, Cracking The Entrepreneurship Code, with Noah Revoy, a personal and business relationship strategist. It has been edited for length and clarity.

Noah Revoy, Manipulation Specialist

The root problem of every personal and professional relationship is manipulation. It is also a vice that is deeply rooted in the business world. Most entrepreneurs manipulate their customers to push sales, which is why most fail within the first three years. It is, therefore, essential to learning how to make rational decisions that are not manipulative if you want to stay long in the game because your business is only as good as its name in the market.

Manipulation is the easiest way to destroy your reputation.

Join this conversation with Noah Revoy as he shares the effects of manipulation and how to

know when we have crossed the line. Know the tips for approaching a manipulator as an

entrepreneur. It is both an art and a skill that you must master. Noah Revoy is a personal

and business relationship strategist who teaches individuals and organizations how to

identify and resist manipulation. Noah mentors couples, professionals, founders, executives,

and investors to build a sustainable, win-win relationship


Tell us about your journey.

Well, I started out when I was a child. I was encouraged to be a minister. I was taught all kinds of techniques for listening to people and helping them with their problems. It was focused on helping them with spiritual problems. But very often, all of the issues in our life come back to some sort of problem of the human spirit. I had this tremendous foundation in teaching and working with people in what is essentially a coach.

Minister is essentially a coach for your spiritual needs, but they often touch into everything relationships, marriage, people's problems in their businesses, and everything you end up working with people doing, accompanying them along that journey as they grow. And because many members of my family were ministers, and these types of people surrounded us, I had this experience that other kids didn't get.

By the time I was 15, I was assigned to minister to people who were at the bottom of society's rungs, street people, prostitutes, drug addicts, criminals, and these types. So I was spending a lot of time dealing with people who had made every mistake possible and had had every bad thing happen to them possible. I really had a deep interest and a deep care and concern for them to find out what it was that got them to where they were and how, if possible, they could turn their lives around. I put a lot of effort into these 100s of hours, 1000s of hours of reading, and practical experience, in the trenches, so to speak, with these people. I learned a lot of what later became my coaching skills in dealing with these people and helping them succeed.

It's kind of funny because, on the one hand, I'm helping the people at the bottom of society, and on another day, I'll be helping someone who's a multimillionaire who has business questions and has run huge, colossal IT companies. So the dichotomy of that gave me a different perspective.

I could see that the problems were mostly the same, just at different scales. The deeper issues of the society of communication, relationships, and manipulation exist everywhere. What we're trying to do is to help people to become immune to the root causes. Whether at the bottom of society or the top, they're still going to benefit from what they're learning.

You mentioned that the problems are the same regardless of where you are in this society. Can you give us some examples of typical problems you have encountered?

For example, you will have a person who is really down and out. They believe that not only are they a wrong person at their core root, and this is not necessarily true. There are horrible people, but they're a tiny minority. Mostly these people will believe that they're not worthy, and therefore they don't invest in themselves to improve their lives. They have this constant feeling of imposter syndrome, even though they're at the very bottom of society.

And then I'll talk to someone who is a CEO of a big major corporation, has excellent decision-making skills, and knows who everyone looks up to and everyone loves. But he still thinks that no one wants to spend time with him. He's an intrusion into everyone else's life. It's the same feeling scaled differently.

Yes, the imposter syndrome. It's always there, isn't it?

There's the way the brain is constructed; this is a very rough description. But it's enough for most people's use. There's the part of the back of the brain that is instinct. It's like survival instinct, a lizard brain. And there's a part in the middle that has emotions. And there's a part

in the front, the neocortex, which regulates the other functions. It's where the

higher thinking processes happen, and for many of us, if we have a problem, for example, with weight gain, the little lizard brain in the back is saying we could be starving tomorrow, that or eat all the food we can find. Then the part in the middle says, I get a lot of emotional joy from eating. I love that chocolate cake. I should eat the whole thing. And then the neocortex in the front says, I know we love eating. But the reality is, we have plenty of food, we're not starving, and everything is good; you need to interrupt that signal and say we'll eat some cake; we're not gonna eat all the cake because there will be long-term consequences.

What happens when we get tired is the part of the front is the part that stops working first, and it just works its way back through the brain because we need the lizard brain to survive. So that can work when we're almost dead, we can be half in a coma, and the lizard brain will still work to keep us alive. This is because our body chooses to die slowly rather than die quickly if it has to make that choice.

Many of these things that are difficult now in an environment with plenty were necessary survival strategies when we had a challenging environment where it was physically difficult to survive. We're working against 1000s and 1000s of years of evolution and human nature. We have to learn how to control that.

It's the same reason why we shouldn't be making long-term decisions when we're exhausted because we're making them not with the neocortex but with something more profound in the brain.

That doesn't mean the decision will be wrong. What it means is the decision is not logical. And so if it's right, it’s more by chance than anything.

Let's talk about manipulation; you wrote a book about it. What is it exactly?

Manipulation is emotional and social warfare. It's a tool by which people create false debt. So they make it as if you owe them something.

That's not necessarily financial; that could be: do you owe them obedience? Do you owe them loyalty? As I said, it's a false debt. Because if you have an absolute obligation, you don't need manipulation to let the person know about that. You can be completely honest with them and open. But if you want to manufacture a debt, you can get something for nothing.

The exciting thing is this is not always malicious. I mean, that sounds terrible, waging warfare against someone. But it's not always malicious. Many people are manipulative because they have needs they don't know how to meet. They're afraid that if they don't do something, no one's going to meet their needs, no one's going to love them, no one's going to support them, and no one's going to agree with their ideas in a meeting. They're gonna get fired because they're gonna get replaced, their job will be outsourced whatever it is, and they're afraid. They're acting from a position of fear.

People who are afraid are much more dangerous often than people who are actually malicious because you can reason with a rational, malicious person. You can set boundaries, and you can prevent them from harming you very hard vs. with a person who's afraid because they're not acting from a rational place; they're acting from this strong survival emotion. They're acting from their lizard brain. What they'll do is they'll try to manipulate you, and they're looking for something