ASA 27 | Practical Knowledge


When we mention kindness, people often think of others right away that sometimes we forget one of the most important people in our lives—ourselves. Benevolence can also be self-serving instead of being self-sacrificing. Host Alex Mandossian talks about the importance of being self-serving and how it can affect those people around you. Business doesn’t always have to be mind games. Dwelling in the spiritual space might be that breakthrough you’re looking for. He explores the different spiritual laws and it’s direct effect on the improvement of your business that will ultimately lead to success.

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Power of Practical Knowledge

A Professor And A Boatman

There was once a professor and a boatman. The professor approached this local boatman who agreed to row the professor downstream. The exchange was a small sum of money. It was a rowboat.

The professor decided to show off his intelligence to the boatman while they were in the boat. The professor had high education and many degrees, he started to test the simple boatman almost arrogantly. He had picked up a stone from the riverbank.

As the boatman was rowing, he showed the stone to the boatman and said, “Boatman, do you know what this is?” The boatman said, “Yes, that’s a rock.” He said, “Do you understand geology?” The second question the boatman didn’t know and he felt bad about his ignorance. He looked at the professor and he said, “No.” The professor said, “I’m afraid 25% of your life is gone.” The boatman was surprised because he didn’t expect this from a client who he was simply rowing down the river.

He kept rowing. The professor put his hands up and said, “Keep rowing, just go.” Not respecting the poor boatman. I bet you know some professors like that or maybe some friends or family who act like the professor. He was showing off his knowledge so I guess the professor felt good about himself.

As they were going downriver, the river current started to get stronger. The professor picked up a leaf from the water and he said, “Boatman, do you understand botany?” The boatman looked at him and he said, “No.” The professor said, “I’m afraid 50% of your life is gone.” The boatman felt bad. 50% of his life is gone since he doesn’t know geology or botany. He wished he went to school.

The professor motioned on again with an attitude and almost condescendingly, “Row onward, go.” The professor didn’t even notice the current was swaying the boat back and forth. It was getting a little bit rough.

All the professor was interested in was stumping the simple boatman. He didn’t even realize it was getting a little dangerous and the boat was swaying almost violently. As they’re moving down fast, they’re going side to side. The boatman is trying not to lose control. The professor points at a mountain range and says, “Boatman.” The boatman looked up and said, “What do you need from me?” The professor said, “Have you ever studied geography?”

The boatman replied, “No.” The professor said, “I’m afraid now 75% of your life is gone.” The boatman is trying to get downriver. He’s got 25% of his life left according to the professor because of his ignorance. The river is raging torrent and the boatman losses control of the little rowboat. It crashes into a huge boulder and begins to sink.

They both went into the water and they’re gasping for air. The current is a torrent. The boatman looks at the professor and says, “Professor, do you know how to swim?” The professor looked back, his eyebrows went up and he says, “No, I don’t.” The boatman replies, “I’m afraid 100% of your life is gone.” Like the river, we are living in times of rapid and evolutionary change.

[bctt tweet=”We are living in times of rapid and evolutionary change. It’s almost revolutionary.” username=”AlexMandossian”]

It’s almost revolutionary, with technology, changes, family values, habits, and all the news that’s happening around us. Is the river getting slower or is it speeding up? In my experience, the river is speeding up. That includes the information coming my way and all the people who have access to me. Are the strategies to become an ethical influencer or even grow your business is becoming more predictable or less predictable?

If you’re anything like me, it’s less predictable than it was for me. Years ago, it was predictable. I would have a million-dollar launch twice a year and it was almost effortless because no one was doing it. Creating a million-dollar launch with all the launches that are happening is a lot more difficult. You’ve got to be better at what you do. You have to be more focused.

The Power Of Practical Knowledge

The topic and the title of this episode is the Power of Practical Knowledge. If you get caught in theory, you’re going to get in trouble. You have to focus on practice like the boatman. The professor was theoretical. He taught geology, botany, geography and I’m sure a lot of other things. It wasn’t about specifics. They’re specific in general knowledge.

That’s different. You can have specific knowledge about theory, but it’s still not going to assist when it comes to getting what you want in business in the real world. You have to be able to manage uncertainties.

People ask me on stage, “Alex, what is the most valuable skill that you have?” My response is, “Managing uncertainty, knowing that I don’t know what’s going to happen.” Even though I know a lot about a lot, all I can focus on is taking what I’m learning and bridging the learning-doing gap.

That’s what I want you to do with this episode and all the other episodes with All Selling Aside. That’s why I want you to refer other people to All Selling Aside on iTunes. It’s not just so I can get more subscriptions, reviews or ratings. It’s because it’s easier to study this material which is 25 years of my knowledge and know-how. Millions of dollars in advertising and hundreds of millions spent for my clients and compressing it to 25-minute segments.

Managing uncertainty can be as easy as reading All Selling Aside and whatever other shows that you enjoy. What took a decade to change in the past now takes sometimes days. A million-dollar business can be bankrupt almost overnight. They can be obsolete. Small companies can be worldwide market leaders in a few years and be bought for billions. Think Silicon Valley, Instagram, WhatsApp, YouTube. YouTube goes back many years, but that was the first billion-dollar purchase that I remember.

These are scary times, but I’d like you to think of them as exciting times especially when it comes to ethical influence. Nothing is more important than ethically influencing others to build your relationship capital, to generate more sales, to build more client, and prospecting leads. It’s not a question about productivity, which is maximum results and minimum time.

It’s about priority. Know the difference between what’s important to grow your business and what’s urgent to work your business, and then doing what’s important first. Many times, you’ll get a call that’s a distraction. I’d rather you not take the call and focus on the business building effort. Focus on what’s important versus urgent. Are you doing things that are urgent or important? I bet you’re doing things that are urgent.

ASA 27 | Practical Knowledge

Practical Knowledge: The most valuable skill you can have is managing uncertainty knowing that you don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow.


Practical Knowledge

If you had three days to live, you would do things that were important to you. I bet it wouldn’t even be business-related. Knowledge has no power if it’s not practical knowledge. The professor found that out just before he drowned.

Practical knowledge is where all the power is. The boatman knew because he knew how to row and swim. He was a simple man. He safely swam to the river shore and he applied practical knowledge. If you’re going to drown, you’re going to apply what you know.

Many times in business, if you have practical knowledge and you don’t apply it, then that practical knowledge is impotent. It doesn’t have any potency. That’s where commitment comes in. The passion that you have about a business, the people that you serve, or the people who work with you is about theory. It’s about knowledge that’s theoretical and it’s overrated. You could be passionate about being a thought leader, but what does that mean?

You could be passionate about being a bestselling author, what does that mean? You could be passionate about being a great coach or consultant, what does that mean? How do you address that? Having passion doesn’t move the needle. It’s just fuel to get you going. It’s commitment that makes things practical.

Commitment means putting it into practice every day given all the micro-decisions that you could make. Removing what’s urgent and doing what’s important by applying practical knowledge is what moves the needle.

You probably have 200 little micro-decisions every single day. Some support you, some don’t. They’re invisible many times like, “Should I work out right now? What should I put my mouth? What should I eat?” You have these decisions that you make and over time, they determine your destiny. I don’t want to get too theoretical so I’ll give you some examples.

Practical knowledge is more profitable than theoretical knowledge, which why practical knowledge has more power. Here’s what practical knowledge looks like for me. Let’s take the theoretical concept of negotiation theory. You know that negotiation is important and that you want to be a negotiator.

Let’s say that you even believe that negotiation is a learnable skill. “You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate,” said one of my mentors. You focus on the power of negotiation, you read a book about it and it’s like having a car without keys. You’re looking at it, it looks great, it could even be a sports car or luxury car you’ve always wanted, but no keys means no movement.

Practical knowledge is finding the keys so that you can apply. A key is simple. You don’t have to be a world-class racecar driver. Having practical knowledge about negotiation is simply having a few templates.

[bctt tweet=”Knowledge has no power if it’s not practical knowledge. Practical knowledge is where all the power is.” username=”AlexMandossian”]

The Seven-Word Template: “Is That The Best You Can Do?”

I teach an entire course on negotiation. I teach a five-day event where negotiation is the focus of an entire day. I’ll give you some examples of what practical knowledge looks like. I call them templates where you can apply them daily. Let’s say that you want to negotiate something and you see a price. It could be on a car. That’s not too hard to negotiate, everyone does that.

Here is a seven-word template I’ve used for the past 25 years. I’ve stopped counting, but I’ve saved over $2.4 million whether it’s from buying homes, cars, appliance, luggage, and the food at restaurants. I ask the question all the time and I feel great about it because it’s polite. Here’s some practical knowledge of negotiation if you want to know. It would make you a better ethical influencer. When you save a dollar, you keep a dollar.

When you make a dollar, you probably keep about $0.20 to $0.25 if you have a good business after taxes, expenses and everything else. I get excited about saving dollars because it’s 100% mine. Here’s the seven-word template. You get the price, you see it and you ask the human being who you are trying to ethically influence, “Is that the best you can do?” That’s it and then you shut up.

If you want to start the conversation, here’s another template. This comes from a good friend of mine and mentor, T. Harv Eker. His question is ironically seven words as well. I didn’t start using this until I learned it. His template is, “What’s the least you can live with?” Someone is trying to sell you a ticket to a ball game. You start it with, “What’s the least you can live with?”

You want to combine that, now you have practical power. You get a price and you pause. It’s a little bit theater with negotiation, put some drama into it and then you ask, “Is that the best you can do?” That’s like a double whammy. Doing it once, and you get a no or yes is not going to have a big impact. If you do it every single time and you don’t take the price for what is seen on a price tag, it would have a huge impact on your life. It’s a great way to live.

This is a great example of how to put theory into practical and profitable practice. Let’s take another example, copywriting. You want to be a better copywriter, but you don’t think you’re a good writer.

From a 30,000-foot view, just like a map, you probably tell yourself, “I can’t do it. I don’t know how to write headlines. I don’t know where to start. I’m looking at a blank page, but I know copywriting is important.” That theory is important because other people are good at it.

What if you took the map, which is theory and you put it into practice, which is the territory. The map and the territory are different. You probably heard that. If you haven’t, if you ever had a map and you’re in the middle of a desert, jungle or mountains, you know that, “Where am I on this map?” The map and the territory are different. A good example of how to turn the map into the territory and how you can become a world-class copywriter.

It’s by modeling 27 proven headline templates that I have plucked from history over the past hundred years. Human behavior hasn’t changed in thousands of years. These templates are in different categories of products. There are 27 types of templates meaning they’re different types of headlines and they’re applied. I give examples of three different types from each template, so 27 times 3, that’s what you’re getting on two pages.

ASA 27 | Practical Knowledge

Practical Knowledge: Consistency is what eliminates discipline. You will only need discipline when you’re starting a new habit.


I’m going to give to you as a gift because I think more people ought to learn how to write headlines. I think in headlines. That’s at You can become a practical, powerful, profitable, and better copywriter because you’ve turned the map into the territory. You’ve turned theory into practice.

Example three is marketing. Learning the art and science of marketing is what stumps most people I come across. That’s what I’m good at so I’m shocked when it stumps them. It’s the single most important thing in building your business. If you outsource it without learning it, you’re in big trouble. What’s the one thing that works in marketing? Build on that. What’s the one technique? Go to techniques two, three, four and five.

If you want to be a coach, a mentor, thought leader, author, or speaker and you want to be known, have a weekly show on iTunes or on Facebook Live. Commit to it for at least three months. That’s thirteen weeks. It’s a season. If it’s good for winter, spring, summer or autumn, it’s good enough for you.

I asked one of my $30,000 clients. Her name is Shalani. She lives in Thailand. I said, “Commit to it for 52 weeks.” She did. She took a couple of weeks off when she went on vacation. She has all this content that she did on Facebook Live in an area called emotional freedom technique which is tapping. She is building a membership site and she built a following.

Acquiring practical knowledge requires consistent practice. Consistency is what eliminates discipline. You will only need discipline when you’re starting a new habit. The first few weeks are hard. After a while, it’s like breathing. It feels unnatural not to do the show after you’ve done maybe five or six of them. That’s what you’ve got to get to, that consistency. The commitment becomes easier.

The Alexism

The Alexism for this episode is to focus on “Taking action because results are none of your business.” What does that mean? Take action. If you get the wrong result, take another action. The result doesn’t mean it’s going to be a perfect result and the one that you expected.

It’s none of your business why the result isn’t working. Change your action through consistency and time. I’ve given you three examples, negotiation, copywriting and marketing. Practice will make permanent. I don’t know who first said that but I love that. It doesn’t make perfect. The easiest habit of all is to go from poor to great in 30 days as a writer or as a copywriter.

How would you like to go from a poor copywriter to a great copywriter in less than 30 days? Do you want a recipe? You do this daily and you do it half an hour a day. I did it every single day for five years. I attribute my writing skills to this one simple habit. I put my smartphone to a 30-minute countdown timer and then I handwrite world-class ads. Most of mine are written in the Gary Halbert tradition.

I do it five days a week so I don’t even do it every single day. After 30 days, you’ll be brainwashed to think like that copywriter, to feel what that copywriter felt when he or she wrote those words. This is the final draft that you’re writing. It’s not the first draft. All you do is copywrite. That’s why they call it, copywriting. That will put this permanent practice into motion where you have practical knowledge and theory is becoming practice.

[bctt tweet=”Having passion doesn’t move the needle. It’s commitment that makes things practical.” username=”AlexMandossian”]

I hope you learned a lot because it’s important as a root to your future as an ethical influencer. Theoretical knowledge is important, but it’s what you learned in school. It’s nice but it’s impractical to make a profit. Practical knowledge is more profitable than theoretical knowledge. We have a lot academics who are broke. Number two, applying your practical knowledge like I want you to do with All Selling Aside. It’s easy and fun.

Application means putting theory into practice. I gave you examples of that and I gave you a great resource, Even if you don’t want to be a copywriter, the psychology behind those headlines are powerful. Check it out and you’ll see. Finally, the key to practice is consistency. Practice doesn’t make perfect, it makes permanent. If you can schedule a time to practice, like world-class athletes and musicians, your life will change.

Discipline is what’s required at the beginning of a habit. After you have a habit that’s engaged and in full force, you don’t need discipline anymore. You need discipline to break that habit. You need discipline to break good eating habits into bad eating habits. It takes discipline to turn bad eating habits into good ones.

These principles and insights can only work for you if you work them and put them into practice. I want you to go to Type in your single biggest takeaway or the a-ha moment you experience in this episode. You can do it in the review section and iTunes will ask you to rate the episode. I hope I’ve earned five stars from you. Please apply what you learned there.

If you’ve already done this, I’ll ask you to put it on an index card. Store that index card so you can have an abundance of index cards from All Selling Aside. This is a public service. This is free. I’m doing it almost as a legacy with 25 years of experience put into 25 minutes of know-how. It would mean a lot to me. I appreciate a five-star review. It will take three minutes, but what you declare could prove to be a lifetime of learning.

I’ve got one more gift in honor of this 27th episode. On iTunes, the numbers are in reverse. Episode one is at the bottom and this episode is much closer to the top. You’ll get a complimentary copy of my book that’s titled Alexisms: Useful Life Lessons from a Recovering Serial Entrepreneur. You can instantly download it at You can also get it on Amazon, but it will cost you between $15 and $20.

This is the show dedicated to making ethical influence within your reach so that you can achieve and even exceed your sales and marketing potential. Please do whatever it takes to join me again because our next topic is going to be the Power of Delayed Gratification. I encourage you to invite a friend because delayed gratification is where most people fall apart in business. They want instant gratification, but there is power in delayed gratification. That topic will be in episode 28.

Invite a friend, bring a study companion. It’s more fun to bring people and study together. I can’t wait to connect with you then. I hope you refer more people to this show. I appreciate you honoring this episode. I can’t wait for our path to cross again. All good wishes.

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