If you look at the field of alternate psychology, there is an area of personality traits called the Dark Triad. It contains three different “negative” personality traits: narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy. The tests for this are all over the internet so it is easy to find and take one, which I recommend to anyone who wants to improve themselves.
When I took one for the first time, I scored exceptionally high on the Machiavellian end (between 60-70). All this means is: “Machiavellianism in psychology refers to a personality trait which sees a person so focused on their own interests they will manipulate, deceive, and exploit others to achieve their goals.”. This is something I am exceptionally good at. I was low on the other two. Once I did the research (https://psychcentral.com/lib/machiavellianism-cognition-and-emotion-understanding-how-the-machiavellian-thinks-feels-and-thrives/) into what causes this trait to come out, it made a lot of sense.
If you were bullied as a child, this tends to cause either complete loss of self-esteem or the ability to use traits of power to defend themselves. Since I was a small child and teenager, I learned to use my brain to manipulate social situations effectively. This is a strong indicator of Machiavellianism. You are not a sociopath or completely devoid of morals – you just have an alternate way of looking at things.
One thing any person can do to improve themselves is to take a close look at their true personality and use it to their benefit, especially once they are an adult.
The point of this post is that this type of thing (just like ADD) doesn’t need to be a deficit. In fact, it can be something that you can use to your advantage and here’s a few ways I have been successful at it:
Turn Your Emotions Off
People with this personality trait tend to be very cold emotionally. In certain situations, this is a benefit in that you can calmly assess a situation and not react with emotion. For example, you just found your LTR cheating? Pack her stuff calmly and throw her out. Getting confronted by an aggressive douche? You can easily chuckle and come up with a way to diffuse the situation or just walk away.
It’s easy to brush off conflict in a social or work situation. When your partner needs a rock, you can just stand there stoically and support them without having to worry about them seeing you being emotional. If there is a tough decision to be made at work, it is much easier to evaluate. I have found that this trait along with reading about stoicism has helped greatly when stressful situations come up.
When my oldest daughter broke her arm, it was easy for me to contain any panic, take her to the hospital and deal with the situation calmly, which really helped her through the process. In any leadership scenario you are at an advantage because you can think and not react based on emotion.
Use People To Your Advantage
People with this trait manipulate and deceive to get what they want. As a person with this trait I don’t see this as a negative thing. Throughout my life I’ve learned to be everyone’s friend even if I don’t like them at all because every person can be an asset at some point. In the workplace this type of behaviour is essential. I used to refer to it as “chameleon mode” because I could get along with the 50 year old secretary just as easily as the 19 year old intern.
What this gives you is the ability to get things you need from people. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve gotten preferred treatment and been promoted or put into a better situation at work simply because I can manipulate people. Now that I work for myself, when I need something I can simply ask whomever I know that has that specific skill and receive what I need without an issue.
Achieving a Long Term Goal
What some men today tend to do is only look towards next weekend or next month at the outset. Being more Machiavellian allows you to formulate goals based only on your desires – not limiting your beliefs based on what you think might be possible based on your upbringing. It also allows you to take off the social and emotional filters when thinking about a long-term plan, which is essential for success in business. The reality is that you’re going to have to step on some people if you want to rise up in life.
Developing a plan is much easier when you are focused mostly on yourself and not worried about the people that you will encounter along the way. While you don’t want to make enemies of anyone, strategically working around (and sometimes going over) people is easier when you have the Machiavellian mindset. This allows you to plan years ahead of the game and go around or over personal barriers that others might have a problem with ethically.
Often with my business I make effective but difficult decisions (Years ago while running a gym I once fired 8 people within a span of two weeks, completely decimating my department) and some people see them as ruthless and say things like “you can’t do that!”. My immediate response is “why can’t I?”. To achieve the long-term goal, the Machiavellian person will do what they need to. The term it is much easier to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission often applies. However, the true Machiavellian doesn’t even need to beg for forgiveness.
Now, before you all go off and start acting like assholes, the true Machiavellian can achieve all of this while still being friends with everyone. You won’t find many people who have a poor opinion of me, in fact if you asked pretty much anyone in my life they would likely say I’m a great guy. However, I have no trouble manipulating things behind the scenes to achieve what I want without anyone knowing.
Following the 48 Laws of Power is essential for this type of personality to work well with others. Many of them apply to the Machiavellian personality, most notably Numbers 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 14, 19, 24, 29, 31, 35, 38, 43 and 47.
I could cite several recent examples of how I used this personally, but the point of this article is to show you that something perceived as a weakness by many need not be – you just have to learn how to use it effectively. I hope it helps some of you.