I’m a product of the 90’s, and I owe a lot of my sense of humor to The State. The cast was a bunch of young NYU students, the funny theater kids. They had a wicked sense of humor and pierced through the mainstream with satires of Hallmark sentiment and “very special episodes” of lame sitcoms. The cast went on to make a couple of movies, Wet Hot American Summer (satire of 80’s teen movies) and They Came Together (satire of You’ve Got Mail-era romantic comedies).

The way they build up sand castles and then destroy them is satisfying, but when I thought about what it took for them to so effectively construct the pacing, music, and cinematography I realized that the work really reflects a profound appreciation for the genres they purport to make fun of. These are really odes to their favorite films.

Satire is mimetic. You can’t really do a good impression without internalizing that person’s worldview. The only way to conquer is to let go and give in. See how Abraham Lincoln applied this, as recited in The 48 Laws of Power:

In a speech Abraham Lincoln delivered at the height of the Civil War, he referred to the Southerners as fellow human beings who were in error. An elderly lady chastised him for not calling them irreconcilable enemies who must be destroyed. “Why, madam,” Lincoln replied, “do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?

”Once you see mimesis you see it everywhere. I just finished Never Split The Difference, which does a great job of showing how to use mirroring in conversation to elicit more engagement. It’s a simple trick, you just repeat the last handful of words someone uses. It’s hard to even notice it’s being used on you, and it may even have the same effect regardless (like the study that showed people responded about as strongly to praise even knowing it was automatically generated by a computer).

Negotiation is a martial art, and martial arts teach that resisting destroys the energy between you and your opponent, and channeling that energy is more powerful.

Procrastination is a form of resistance. What are you opposing? What is that telling you? How can you flow with it and channel it?