The Dangerous Side Of Tom Cruise’s Charisma

The Dangerous Side Of Tom Cruise’s Charisma


Tom Cruise is known as one of the most charismatic celebrities in Hollywood. When Rolling Stone writer and author Neil Strauss met him, he described him as the perfect specimen who has a natural ability to remain dominant in any social situation without seeming to exert any effort. And as amazing as that sounds, that kind of superhuman charisma does have a dangerous downside and it’s both of those things that we’re going to explore in this video — the specific behaviors that make Tom Cruise such a dominant social force and the potential cost of being so charismatic. Let’s begin with the charismatic habits. First off, Tom Cruise commands the physical space around him. He spreads out over podiums, and kicks his feet up on couches and he’s got no problem touching objects that most people feel belong to someone else. …coming back from the airplane and it was also cold in the airplane. So it’s freezing up there when I was doing it and I’m wearing a suit like, you know, Cary Grant, North by Northwest. So you’re not wearing… like, not wearing your North Face Jacket. No, I’m not wearing my North Face Jacket and everything and I said, “Man, it’s cold.” Tom is also very comfortable touching the people around him. How are you? Good. How are you? Good to see you. Good to see you. You look real good. So do you. I got a little crush on you. You don’t mind it, do you? No. It was worth the trip. Thank you. This was worth the trip. Ah, my god. This kind of touching can be called physical expansion and it’s a subtle way of claiming territory. When we touch something, we sub-communicate, “I have implicit permission to do this.” It’s why you might feel uncomfortable when entering someone else’s house for the first time or even on a first date — you’re not yet sure if touching is appropriate. Tom Cruise, though, quickly sorts that out by touching the people and the objects around him though it’s important to note that he does it in a non-aggressive way. He’s not taking your desk or manhandling you — he’s simply resting his hand on the desk or giving you a hug. And he does it with a huge genuine smile on his face which is more likely to be perceived as a friendly kind of dominance. In fact, he smiles hugely all the time. You played hockey, right? Right. I used to live in Canada for a little bit so I played Ice hockey. You got canadians here? Yeah. Yeah, they’ve got it. Tom has all the hallmarks of a genuine smile and this is key because if he simply showed his teeth while touching as often as he does, it would feel very aggressive. Now, I’ve reviewed this in other videos but in terms of those signs of a genuine smile, there are three key points — first, he has that wide grin that goes back instead of up; second, a relaxed lower jaw that creates space between his teeth; and third, tension that creates a narrowing of the eyes. All three of these line up to make us feel that genuine smile which becomes infectious. I’m going to link to the other video that discusses this at length if you’re interested. But if you combine all of this with the physical expansion, you get someone who is taking command of a room but in a way that doesn’t create resistance — it’s a very powerful combo. But it’s not just the smile that makes Tom come across as so likable. When he’s speaking to someone, he’s very likely to refer to them by name, repeatedly. Just watch. Matt… I’m living my life. I’m just living my life, Matt. I have never worried, Matt, about what other people think. In life, when… it just happens, Matt. Isn’t that enough? Matt, you have to understand this. I previously mentioned repeating someone’s name as a good tool to remember that name but saying someone’s name in conversation also personalizes what you’re saying to them. It grabs their attention because when we hear our own name, we immediately perk up. You can use this when telling longer stories to keep people hooked the whole time and also to let them know that you’ve taken the time to remember their name in the first place which is not all that common nowadays. But it’s not just those names that keep people hooked on what Tom is saying. He has a very particular way of engaging people with his eye contact. Watch how he pauses what he says but does not pause the eye contact. …so it is and he does seem like a different guy. Yeah but it’s still… they’ll still write. But you got to understand, all that stuff would… they’d still write it — they’d still talk about it. …not even your own faith. I find that appalling when people who don’t know what they’re talking about… say things like that. These little pauses are times when most people would normally check out from listening to what you’re saying. After all, you stop speaking and basically let them go. But Tom Cruise doesn’t let go. He keeps you paying rapt attention with the intensity of his gaze and because you’re paying rapt attention to, essentially, silence, you get more drawn into what he says next. He’ll also lean in when he’s speaking which creates the same effect of demanding your attention non-verbally. …these are films that I… I tease him because I say, you know, “I know your movies better than you.” …you know, you’re a father, I’m a father, I always wanted to be a father. …you know, when you first held your child’s, you’re like, “Wow.” …and psychiatric abuses of electric-shocking people… okay? …against their will, of drugging children with them not knowing the effects of these drugs… Do you know what Adderall is? Do you know Ritalin? This highlights a key charisma point that permeates everything Tom Cruise does — strong sub-communication. Now, sub-communication is basically what the nonverbal cues and any interaction are saying and oftentimes the sub-communication is weak and will betray a person’s true feelings the same way a nervous speaker undercuts their message with a quivering voice — essentially, they’re saying, “I don’t feel comfortable.” But in Tom’s case every single sub-communication is saying, “This is important for you to hear.” This allows him to slow down a speaking cadence and really get people drawn into what he’s saying. Another important sub-communication has to do with voice tonality. Tom has a very decisive tone when he speaks. Listen to the downward inflection as he speaks about his feelings in this next clip. I think it’s… I feel… you know how I feel? I feel privileged — that’s how I feel. I feel I live a privileged life. Note that he doesn’t say, “I live a privileged life,” which has a more humble and less commanding connotation. Now, there are certainly times where you’re going to want to use that upward inflection — for instance, questions — but I’ll leave all of that discussion for another video because they can get kind of complex. Suffice to say, Tom Cruise’s heavy use of that downward inflection at the end of his sentences makes him sound committed to the things that he says. And again, his sub-communication is, “I stand behind what I am saying 100% regardless of what you may think.” His word choice reflects that same idea. In fact, “absolutely” appears to be one of his favorite words. Is there a belief in God or a higher power? Yeah, absolutely. Would you say that this is the script that changed the trajectory of your life? Oh, absolutely. Abolutely, without a doubt. Add all of this up and you have one of the most congruent charismatic personalities that I’ve ever covered on this channel. Tom Cruise appears to have no self-doubt — he is convinced that he is right. And that is his power but also the dangerous side because when you’re convinced that you’re right, you forfeit the ability to change your views. Sure, it helps you with ignoring the haters and the naysayers but it also makes you ignore valuable negative feedback. And I struggled with how to present this because as someone who loves philosophy, one of the tenets is always being open to revising and changing your beliefs. But when it comes to charisma, being convinced of your beliefs is what creates power. In fact, rather than gather factual evidence, many people just make up their mind about an issue by judging which side has the most conviction and Tom Cruise certainly has conviction. Just listen. I think it’s, uh… I think it’s appalling. I think it’s appalling that they’re still burning synagogues in France. I think it’s appalling how certain Muslims are being treated. I think it’s absolutely appalling when we talk about freedom of speech and human rights. I think it’s appalling that they electric-shock people. I think it’s appalling that they drug children. So what do you do? On the one hand, you want to be open to revising your beliefs so you need to have some doubt. On the other hand, steadfast conviction is a huge piece of being charismatic and a persuasive individual. Now I’ll be honest, I don’t have a short answer for resolving this contradiction. For the purposes of this video though, two things are clear. First, Tom Cruise’s conviction and charisma have been massive contributors to his success. And second, they were also a massive contributor to his public implosion a few years ago as he seemingly lost the ability to consider how he was appearing from other people’s perspective. …being a scientologist, when you drive past an accident, it’s not like anyone else. As your drive past, you know you have to do something about it because you know you’re the only one that can really help. Have you ever felt this way before? (audience cheers) …once told Seventeen magazine. Yes! (Oprah laughs) (audience cheers) Here’s the problem — you don’t know the history of psychiatry. I do. That said, in his recent interviews, Tom seems to have mellowed quite a bit while retaining a different kind of charisma and if you want, I can make another video about that and dive further into the problem of philosophical self-doubt versus charismatic conviction. For now, though play with those sub-communications. See how adjusting your body language, your eye contact, and your tonality affects the responses from the people around you. It can be alarming to see just how much of communication is occurring under the surface. Also, I’ve got some very cool stuff to mention before closing this out. First is that with the release of Game of Thrones season 7 which I cannot wait, I’m going to be doing more character breakdowns so let me know in the comments if there’s a character that you would like to see covered. Second is that after being inspired by Gary Vaynerchuk’s account, I am going to be posting some behind the scenes content to Instagram so if you’re interested in that, go ahead and follow me on my personal account or on the Charisma on Command account and I’ll have links to both of those on the screen and in the description. And by far the biggest news is that I’ve decided to start a Patreon. Now this is something that I resisted for a long time because I didn’t feel like I need it personally but I want to make more videos and I want to make better videos and in order to do that, the biggest thing that I am missing is a team. Now I’ve been extremely lucky up until now — I’ve had great volunteers, people who have literally volunteered their time for free to do video editing and animations but what happens is that they always have to defer to their real jobs and that’s what’s created some delays in releasing videos in the past. So if I want to get back to twice and even three times a week with new videos, I’m going to have to hire my editor full-time, Andre. You’re amazing. I love you. I would love to hire an animator and ideally, I could get a cameraman so we can do some more in-person charisma demonstrations. In order to do that, I’m going to need to pay these people. So whether or not you decide to support us on Patreon, I just have to say thank you so much for watching our videos — it’s the sheer fact that you do that that allows Charisma on Command to exist in the first place and if you would like to continue to support us through Patreon, I’ve set up a link where you can help us to grow our team. I’ve also tried to make some very interesting exclusive cool perks including private Q&A sessions where I can answer all your questions as well as private in-person meetups so if your justed in that and a bunch more, go ahead and click that Patreon link. Anyways, thank you so much for the support, I hope that you enjoyed this video, and I will see you in the next one.

8 thoughts on “The Dangerous Side Of Tom Cruise’s Charisma

  1. Charlie and Ben will be in the comments section to answer questions for the first hour after uploading our videos! Hit that notification bell! 😀

  2. Like your videos in general and this one too. Don’t agree that you can determine a world class actor’s philosophic spectrum based on how they appear in front of a camera. General Patton once said (paraphrased), it matters whether a leader knows if he is acting — because leading by example is so basic to charisma. You are unlikely to know the personal struggles of Tom Cruise and so your judgement passed is poorly substantiated. But I will say I enjoy your videos, keep them coming!

  3. Cruise should play the life story of L. Ron Hubbard. He'd be great! He would have to get his bottom teeth pulled out and replaced with black licorice but that would be a small matter in order to play LRH.
    Les Grossman could play Hubbard's psychiatrist.

  4. You people, do you really think that you worth better than Tom Cruise by judging him or insulting him ?!! That is lowness and perversion You should put your own house in order.

  5. Tom cruise is dominant ONLY in controlled environments. Pit him in the streets of chicago to fend for himself I guarantee you he will not be the alpha

  6. @ 9:01 during Matt Lauer’s infamously awkward interview of Tom Cruise on June 23, 2005, Matt Lauer was shown squirming in his seat and nervously crossing his legs hiding his genitals while Tom Cruise was manspeading and speaking with conviction.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *