Developing Presence, Determination,  & Grit through Focus


Question from Steve:

Hi Cameron

I really enjoy your articles and posts on your website- unlike most everyone else is the “industry” you write very well, without a lot of hype, hooks buzzwords and catchwords, you are the most common sense straightforward “normal behavior” guy I have come across.

I have a question (suggestion perhaps for one of your articles)- in the movie “The Professional”  (Natalie Portman/Jean Reno) Gary Oldman plays Stansfield, a psycho DEA agent.  His character has this incredible screen presence and power over everyone he comes into contact with, like he can just totally dominate anyone or any situation no matter how charged.  It seems to me like Stansfield knows he has this power and is aware when he uses it.

Could you explain what this is, where it comes from, and how does a man develop this for himself (to use in a positive way)?




Hey Steve,

Thanks for the good words

It’s been a few years since I’ve seen “The Professional”, but I do remember the character played by Gary Oldman.



Much of The “Stansfield” character ‘s influence comes through physical intimidation.  It’s not something that’s applicable.  Ever seen Joe Pesci in Goodfellas or Casino?  Why he is character influential?  Because he intimidates them with physical harm.  I wish there was something fantastical or spiritual about it, but there really isn’t.

Now, a person can possess a certain charisma that influence those around him.  I wrote an extensive article on that.  You can read it here: How to develop Charisma.

Clearly that is different than intimidating physical harm.  Now, the type of presence of power you’re seeking  comes from Strength.  Well, I wrote an article on that as well:

What is Strength? How do you develop it?

(I get to boast here: Isn’t this blog awesome?? It actually ties together.)

If you combine the information contained in those two articles, you have your answer.  But to review a few things without rewriting the entire articles again, I’d say, to have that sort of power:

You need inner strength which stems from having a strong identity and strong beliefs.  More so, you ought to have a sense of purpose that is usually well defined through tangible and measurable goals.

So let’s here is an analogy and role-play with me for a minute.  Humor me please:

Let’s say you’re in Los Angeles and someone told you if you were able to make it to San Francisco within 14 hours, and not a minute late, you’d get a suitcase filled with a 2 million dollars cash. (Tax free.  They cleared it with the IRS apparently.)

Now given that it’s a 6 to 7 hour drive without traffic, you have plenty of time to make it there, even if you hit a couple of bumps on the road.  Got all that?

Now you have a tangible goal and a sense of purpose.  You are focused on the task, and can’t allow for distractions.   You won’t allow distractions because you can’t afford to.  How would your behavior be different?

Think about the details of it.  This is important.  In those instances, your behavior would be somewhat representative of the character you mentioned in your question.

As an example, let’s say someone you know, a friend of a friend, requires 30 minute of your time to tell you about his latest greatest “Multi-level marketing” venture.  You know the pyramid schemes, where you gotta find 5 victims to sell something to, and then they each have to find 5 other dickheads and pretty soon, you’ll all be rolling in the money.

(Yes, I’ve been duped into going to these meetings where they tied to convince me what a grand opportunity I’d been presented.)

But the question is: How do you deal with that dude knowing you can’t be a minute late to SF to get that briefcase.

Here is the kicker:

Many  people you and I casually know wouldn’t make it during that 14-hour window.  I Know that sounds weird, but I firmly believe this.  It’s a seemingly simple task.  Get in the friggin’ car and start driving.  How hard can that be? If you need to borrow a car, do so.  Ditch work, or quit if you have to.

Simple, isn’t it?

But lack of car or having to work won’t be the reasons people don’t make it.  It’ll be a myriad of excuses that would boggle the mind and I’d be wasting my time sitting here trying to think of them.

Now, you may say it’s unrealistic to have that laser focus every single day,.

What you can have are big goals, and smaller goals on the way to achieving the bigger ones.

This doesn’t have to do with specific dating tactics, but your question regarding presence.

By the way, this answer seems so easy, and it is when you look at it from the right context.  Implementation of it takes time, and has to be accomplished gradually in steps.  One weekend at any seminar will not do it, I don’t care whose seminar, Tony Robbins, guru zorcna, or whoever.

That brings me to another aspect of self-help.  There is only so much advice you can take.  In the scenario I presented above,  would you spend 2 hours first reading some Eckhart Tolle before you started driving SF? Seriously, would ya?

You probably arrange for reliable transportation, (1972 Ford Pinto is out),  get a stack of maps, and a GPS system to top it off, maybe pick the brains of a few pals who have made the trip before and then hit the road.

There is a lesson to be learned there:

Get the info you need to start, and hit the road.  Start doing it.


So many times we get lost in the bullshit.  Distractions come from all sorts of angles and you waste time, seemingly unconcerned, indifferent, and lackadaisical.  If you could somewhat focus on where you’re going, then imagine the possibilities of discoveries along the way.  And on the way there, you just might develop the passion and presence of Stansfield-character you sought.