Sometimes, honesty and good intentions are just not cutting it! Working together to find a win-win arrangement is a good interpersonal paradigm to start with, but it is very idealistic and doesn’t work all the time. Everybody has their own agenda, and given this highly competitive world we now live in, they will sooner or later bump into yours.
Don’t take it personally, conflict of interests, battle for position or just plain social hostility are part of life!
Let’s not blind ourselves to the fact that the human species is a very aggressive one. Deep down, hostility is in every one of us. Even though it is not often apparent in our peaceful modern society, people are now channelling their aggressive nature into more slippery and camouflaged forms of behaviour, and therefore it is important to open our eyes on the fact that out there, right now, there are people working against us; they are our enemies.
In this game of power, it is only natural to work towards protecting and advancing yourself even if sometimes you need to push people out of your way.
Break the rules
Society teaches us to follow a code of conduct; I’m not talking about the law here, but I’m talking about those unwritten social rules that dictate what kind of behaviours are good and acceptable.
Of course, the elite that shapes our society to their way of thinking are not interested to face a warrior nation in which anybody could end up treating their power. They condition us to be submissive, work together, be fair, honest and fit in. All the opposite of what they do but anyway … we tend to go with the flow in this more than ever passive culture, but the reality is that if we want to get ahead and pick a fair portion of the pie for ourselves, we will need to break those social rules and do the unconceivable; we must engage and manipulate those who are in the way in a cold and strategic manner.
If you plan on peace, you will only get walked in the face
Out of fear, our first instinct is often to try and avoid conflict, but when we avoid conflict or we submit ourselves to people who invade our turf, we don’t really buy ourselves peace but, in fact, we encourage them to go further and take more from us for their own agenda.
That’s how life works; people will take what they can from you. If they feel that you’re the kind of guy that do compromise, would not fight or could submit to their request, they will push more and more until they simply abuse you.
Sometimes this process happens very openly, but most of the time it is very subtle.
Once in a while, you must be bad
Climbing the ladder of power in whatever sphere of life you come from or simply dealing with your ex-wife can all become a rough game. You just can’t be naïve and wait for people to do the right thing!
Hey Joe, you’re a good guy and you did a great work, so here is your promotion buddy!
You must do what is required to take what you need, position yourself at the right spot and you should feel no guilt about it! You will have to make some noise, use deception or hurt a few people’s feelings in your way and expect others to do the same to you.
“For those of us climbing to the top of the food chain, there can be no mercy. There is but one rule: hunt or be hunted.” – Frank Underwood character in House of Card
That is how the game is played, that is human nature at work!
Again, don’t take it personally, see it as a game where you can allow yourself to have a good night sleep!
I know they didn’t mention any of that when you were at school, but the truth is when you face indifference or opposition in real life, it’s time to be bad! Don’t worry about them disliking you. They are probably too focused on themselves to think much about you anyway!
Look for an opportunity or a weakness; be bold and make your move!
Sometime, if the game is set up in a way that gives all the power to the wrong group of individuals, thus blocking you the way, you might have to discreetly make sure that the situation evolves to another level where their scheme becomes obsolete, the power hierarchy reorganised, allowing your “friends” to take power.
When you resort to aggression, stay cool, don’t get emotionally engaged; remember: it’s a game so plan your strategy and move your pieces on the board.
You push your own agenda, and they are in the way; bottom line is: they need to submit or move away, consciously or not!
This guilt, fear or shyness that you feel when you’re about to make a move come from the fact that you have been conditioned to be submissive, to perceive power as a negative thing. It is not only counter-productive and irrational, but it also prevents you from asserting power for yourself.
It might displease some people but you need to send a clear message:
Here is the limit you cannot cross; now, I’m going that way so move out or be ready to fight; and if you choose to fight, be ready to get hit.
You will find that most people, out of fear of conflict, will just take the easy choice and move out of your way!
Moreover, a good fight once in a while will keep you sharp and help you get rid of this problematic confrontation anxiety.
It’s a little bit like when you practice martial art, at first you lack the confidence in your fighting capabilities, that’s why you got involved in martial arts in the first place; but then, at one point, you kind of hope someone will provoke you, so you can try your new skills. But then, what happens is nobody ever bugs you any-more. Well, aggressors will not challenge you simply because they know they might lose the fight!
“Si vis pacem, para bellum – Latin adage for “If you want peace, prepare for war.”
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