Being Nice is your Vice
I am going to point out an inconvenient detail to you. The Wicked Wins!
This should not come as a shock. Look around you, most successful people have a sort of, what we say, ‘dark past’, some ‘secrets that are better left buried’, a tale of a ‘wronged friend’, cunning manipulation and sorts.
We all are blinded by the sugar-coated truths — cosmetics that tell us we can be fairer, sweetened drinks and donuts that we think are happiness; heck, we actually prefer to take medicines that are sweet in taste, when actually we want to be able to concentrate on our health.
Think about it yourself, why is the world so obsessed with Facebook and Twitter and Instagram? They are making millions by exploiting a very simple, basic human instinct — ‘our need for validations’, the need to be told that we are looking good, are doing awesome and living a great life — all measured by the number of ‘Likes’ and ‘re-tweets’ we garner.
Why then it should come as a surprise, that, while most are mindlessly trying getting validations, other badass doers out there are busy exploiting this very weakness to earn millions if not billions and building their own empires. Pick up any book on increasing your influence and the number one advice you get is: know what the other person wants and manipulate him/her accordingly.
This is not a new insight or my invention, I am much naive in that respect. What I am trying to share is an age old thought about how the world rewards those, who we generally might call bad, wicked and cunning.
Machiavelli, a 16th century Florentine political thinker, points out that the wicked have an upper hand over the nice people because they are willing to go above and beyond the stated rules of goodness and act with complete self-interest, manipulate others to meet their own ends. They can twist facts and will not be held back by any ‘principles’ or ‘morals’. They know how to use honeyed words, charm you and make you do their bidding.
Why then, will they not succeed? Look at Mark Zuckerberg, or the great King Ashoka. Whenever you analyse their past, their rise to power, you’ll find that they are exceptionally good at furthering their cause by acting cunningly, seducing others to fulfil their goals and be ruthless to whoever stands in their way — even if that person is their kin.
( King Ashoka got rid of the legitimate heir to the throne by tricking him into entering a pit filled with live coals. Read about him on Wikipedia here.)
Take a deep look at yourself, know why you failed. Was it because you were too good? Too generous? Machiavelli doesn’t want us to be cruel — rather, he probes us to learn from those who know more than us — ‘Our Enemies’.