Dr. Isaiah Hankel | Black Hole Focus (Episode 284)

“Paradoxes are powerful. The main paradox when it comes to being charismatic that you want to create, is to create the paradox of strength and warmth .” -Isaiah Hankel

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Most people believe charisma is something you’ve either got or you don’t — that you’re somehow born with it. Not so, according to our guest for episode 284.

Dr. Isaiah Hankel is an author, biotech consultant, and successful owner of three multi-national businesses. He’s worked with clients such as Amgen, Pfizer, and Roche, and he’s presented at such esteemed academic institutions as Harvard, Stanford, Oxford, Cambridge, and The Curie Institute.


Isaiah Hankel has a Ph.D. in Anatomy and Cell Biology but at one point he was a sheep farmer! He was also diagnosed with ADD and ADHD and he struggled through much of his academic career. It was that struggle which helped him understand how to focus in a way that allows him to create dozens of entrepreneurial endeavors, build thriving relationships and travel the world as a speaker and author.

Today he combines what’s he has learned from his sheep, his academic studies and his entrepreneurial life to speak to audiences around the world on focus, purpose and other topics, like charisma.

That’s one of the topics we touch on: the actual science behind charisma: what makes one person interesting and another person forgettable. He says the charisma that makes one person interesting can actually be scientifically proven because it can be broken down into components and studied. He gives us the 7 components of charisma and the studies behind each!

The finer details of this show include:

  • What is the skillset that 60% of job applicants lack?
  • True or false: there’s a small “brain” in your gut?
  • The best and worst days to ask for a raise, according to studies.
  • What trick can you use if you find your mind drifting while talking to someone?
  • People are 90% more likely to get this after a raise, what is it?
  • And so much more!

One of the key components of charisma we talk about at length is being present. And we don’t mean “I’m one with the Earth now” or creepy, scary tool guy present! The kind of present we mean is showing up to give another person or a project our undivided attention and focus to effectively create partnerships, relationships, and the business results we want.

We go into the other six components of charisma (expressiveness, sensitivity, self-control, clarity, mystery, and paradox) in detail too. We discuss what each component means, the scientific studies behind the importance of each component and tools to begin practicing today.

One of the fundamental takeaways to get from Isaiah is that charisma and the ability to influence others is knowing when and what is best for the other person, not just yourself.

We went on to talk about other aspects of emotional intelligence and sensitivity, one of the components of charisma. For example, Isaiah also tells us why reading fiction material actually increases emotional intelligence. He points out which types of fiction do this the best, so you can take action on this nugget now.

Other actionable content Isaiah shares is willpower depletion and how to rule your emotions with an iron fist.

On the topic of willpower depletion, Isaiah gives us two scientific studies that prove we have a finite amount of willpower we can use throughout the day and how stress and worry actually deplete those levels and lower performance.

On ruling your emotions with an iron fist, he shares how we can stay even-keeled no matter what emotions we’re feeling or their intensity levels. By simply doing the opposite of what we’re feeling we can balance our emotions out. He also gives us a specific question we can ask ourselves to rule our emotions with an iron fist — both awesome nuggets you can use right now!

Dr. Hankel really was a fascinating guest; clearly he’s got the charisma thing down because I will remember this episode for a long, long time! I think you’ll get a ton of actionable items out of this interview, so I hope you enjoy it.

AJ Harbinger - author of 1161 posts on The Art of Charm

AJ Harbinger is one of the world’s top relationship development experts. His company, The Art of Charm, is a leading training facility for top performers that want to overcome social anxiety, develop social capital and build relationships of the highest quality. Raised by a single father, AJ felt a strong desire to learn about relationships and the elements that make them successful. However, this interest went largely untapped for many years. Following the path set out for him by his family, AJ studied biology in college and went on to pursue a Ph.D. in Cancer Biology at the University of Michigan. It was at this time that he began to feel immense pressure from the cancer lab he worked in and began to explore other outlets for expression. It was at this point that The Art of Charm Podcast was born.

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