How to Become Powerful (Part 3)

power

It is 30 A.D. You’re headed to Galilee — northern Israel. You’ve traveled very far from your home town. But there is someone that you’re just dying to meet. People call him a teacher. Others call him a prophet. Some say he is John the Baptist. Some also say he is Elijah. Most importantly, you’ve heard that he does miracles. He can heal the sick … and therefore, he can heal you.

You travel for three days, to reach a region known as Galilee. This place is unlike your home. Rocky peaks lay in the horizon. The temperature is cooler. Flowers, bushes, and grass cover the ground. Well, this is a good change from dirt, sand, and the scorching sun.

Once you reach the nearest city, you ask around, “Excuse me, sir. Have you heard anything about the great teacher? Or the great prophet? Some say that he can do miracles.”

The townsfolk points you to the hillside in the distance. “Follow this road and you should see a crowd. Others are looking for him as well.”

You make your way towards the up-slope. After walking for 30 minutes, you spot a huge sea of people in the distance.

This must be the right place. You keep on walking closer and closer to the congregation. You think to yourself, “With all these people here, how will I ever get close to the great teacher?”

You’ll figure that out later. First, you need to rest your weary legs. You pick an empty spot on the fringe and sit down. At least your clothes won’t get too dirty. Thank God for the grass.

And then you hear, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven …”

***

By 2012 A.D., a third of the world is Christian. That is 2.2 billion people at this very second. If you include people from the past and the future, Jesus’ teachings have touched the lives of many billions more. Even 2,000 years after his death, he is still revered. Many think he is God. At the very least, a very influential man. The son of a humble carpenter is the most powerful person who has ever walked the Earth.

And here’s how he did it …

The Gervais Principle

I thought I knew everything there was to know about acquiring power. I’ve even neatly summarized my wisdom into two parts:

In part 1, I urged you to become self-reliant and self-confident. Doing so gave you control over yourself. It gave you freedom.

In part 2, I urged you to amass money & assets, skills, affiliation, force, persuasion, and law. Doing so gave you control over others.

But how do you explain why some people skyrocket into the stratosphere of the powerful, leapfrogging those who are already in power? It did not only happen 2,000 years ago with Jesus. It happens even today! How do Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of Google, become two of the richest people in the world in only a decade? How does Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, do the same?

The easy answer is that they have the skills to provide immense value to society. Therefore, they were richly rewarded.

But think about it … Do Larry, Sergey, and Mark really have more skills than top programmers? I really doubt it. I’m sure another group of programmers could create the exact replica of Google and Facebook. However, the copycats wouldn’t do as well.

So what do the founders have that other top programmers don’t?

I couldn’t quite pinpoint the answer … until a few days ago. (By the time I published this, a few days is now a few months.)

I somehow stumbled across Venkatesh Rao’s masterpiece, The Gervais Principle. He analyzed the power structure of corporations, based on the hit TV series, The Office. What could a theory based on fiction teach me? Surprisingly, a whole lot.

The first thing that jumped out at me was Hugh MacLeod’s company hierarchy picture:

MacLeod's company hierarchy

You have the few sociopaths sitting pretty at the top. They are the ones who have control. They are the ones who reap the most rewards. They are commonly found in the upper class.

The clueless middle are … well, in the middle. They do ok for themselves. That is because they have traded control for financial stability. They are merely puppets for the sociopaths. Their main use is to buffer the sociopaths from the losers. They are commonly found in the middle class.

And lastly, all the losers are stuck at the bottom. They get nothing. But if they’re smart, they’ll try to do nothing either. Why do you think the average minimum-wage worker is as dumb as a rock? There is a Russian joke that aptly describes the losers: So long as the bosses pretend to pay us, we will pretend to work. They are commonly found in the lower class.

MacLeod’s company hierarchy pretty much describes almost anything that involves people. Corporations. Government. Military. Education. Sports. Medicine. Religion. Whatever.

Look at the American government, for instance. You have the general population at the bottom. This includes the poor and also the suckers taxpayers. The federal workers are at the middle. And then the politicians and deep-pocketed power players at the top.

Another example is the higher education system — colleges and universities. You have all the suckers students at the bottom, mortgaging their lives away for a pieces of fancy paper. The professors and school administrators are at the middle. And the presidents and their cronies are at the top.

If you look at any powerful person, you will notice one thing: he sits on top of some kind of hierarchy. And once he has control, he’ll do anything he can to keep it. That is why Google and Facebook keep on changing their policies. That is why there is less and less privacy if you use their services. All these changes are made for the top dogs’ benefit.

So who in their right minds would want to be a loser? Wouldn’t everyone choose to be a winner?

Why Would Anyone Choose to Be a Loser?

When I say loser, I do not specifically mean those who suck at life. The term “loser” is merely a label for those at the bottom.

In the same way, when I say sociopath, I don’t mean someone who is evil, cunning, and self-serving. Sure, some of those people exist at the top. But there are also good, smart, and altruistic people with power. The term “sociopath” is a label for the guy (or girl) at the top.

The question remains … Why would anyone willingly be on the bottom of a hierarchy? Why let someone else profit off of your hard work? Why give up power? Why give up freedom?

The initial and semi-complete answer has to do with the 6 ways of control:

  1. money & assets

  2. skills

  3. affiliation

  4. force

  5. persuasion

  6. law

Through those 6 ways, those on top control those on the bottom.

But the 6 ways of control don’t explain why most people will voluntarily remain at the bottom. Once the sociopath lessens its grip, wouldn’t the losers flee? Not necessarily.

For example, let’s exam our country’s beloved higher education system — colleges and universities. Every year, it gets increasingly more and more expensive. For decades, the real salary a new college graduate earns stays the same.

tuition vs. income

A monkey could see that deal that is getting worse and worse. Those who graduate from private colleges are sometimes worse off than a minimum-wage earning, high school dropout.

And yet, expensive private schools like Duke and Drexel have no problem attracting students. According to the US government, enrollment increased 11% between 1990 and 2000. It increased 37% between 2000 and 2010.

Why is this the case? The only things these schools offer is hope — not a guarantee — but just a hope of a better life down the road. And as you can clearly see, the hope does not match actual data.

Why do losers remain at the bottom …

Why do people flock to colleges even though they’re getting a bad deal …

Because that is their reality.

They go to elementary school. They go to high school. And they go to college. That is what “successful” people do (in their mind). That is what has been done in the past. And that is what they’ll do. (Just 100 years ago, hardly anyone went to college. And now, almost everyone wants to go. Kudos for the sociopaths who were able to brainwash the mass.)

And as a result, because there are so many “losers,” those who sit on the top benefit immensely.

So basically, the last key to power — immense power is the ability to create reality. If you can create reality, if you can warp other people’s mind and perception, you will have immense power.

That is why Jesus, the son of a humble carpenter, is the most powerful man to walk the Earth.

2.2 billion people think he is God. They worship him. They live their lives according to his teachings. They teach his philosophies. They kill for him. They die for him. His words live on, even though he’s isn’t here (in a physical sense).

Jesus created reality — the Christian religion. He started with an idea … with mere words. From there, his followers did the rest. Now there are churches, concerts, TV programs, books, and whatnot all relating to the Christian faith. In the end, you have a thriving system to propagate the religion.

Larry and Sergey created reality — Google. (20 years ago, there was no such thing as Google.) The founders also started with an idea — to make a better search engine. From there, it progressed to a system. With every year, the system kept increasing and kept improving. This resulted in more users, more losers. More workers, more cluelesses. All along the way, the sociopaths are laughing their way to the bank.

Remember … The key to unlimited power is the ability to create reality. To do so … start with an idea and then build a system to spread the idea.

The 2 Ways to the Top

If you want to become the leader, there are two ways for you to do so:

1. The hard way (by following the well-traveled road)

2. The easy way (by blazing your own trail)

(Hard and easy is from the perspective of “little” people like you and me. We don’t have the connections. We don’t have the resources. All we have is determination, perseverance, and grit.)

The Hard Way

The hard way to great power is to plug into an existing system. Then you work your way up and ascend the ranks. Most people do this in school and at work. They work hard and conform.

If you want to be President of the United States, you will most likely have to plug yourself into the government. You will work your way up from mayor to senator to presidential candidate. Along the way, you’ll have to raise funds and kiss babies. You’ll have to give nice speeches and pretend you care for the average person.

When you have enough people backing you and when you have enough money, you try your luck. Hopefully, you win the election.

But wait, that is not all. Besides the “plug and rise,” you will have to meet a certain criteria. (We can’t let any ol’ person be President, even if he paid his dues. Right?)

Are you born in the United States?

Are you at least 35 years old?

Have you lived in the United States for at least 14 years?

If not, you cannot be President. No ifs, ands, or buts.

Why do they have these rules? Why not 40 years old instead of 35 years old? Or even 30 years old? Why not 24 years in the US instead of 14 years? Or even 4 years? Beats me. The price you pay for being a part of the system is adhering to rules — even if they make no sense.

To determine if the hard way is the right choice, you gotta look at the risks and benefits:

Risks

There is a very good chance you’ll never make it to the top. If you examine MacLeod’s hierarchy picture, there is only so much room for leaders. You’re definitely not the only guy with the bright idea of being top dog. Therefore, the competition will be very, very fierce.

You’ll see the worst in people. Sometimes, you may have to do really bad things to get ahead. If you’re not willing to be evil, someone else will.

When you think of a CEO, do you think of a fresh-faced kid straight out of school or a guy with a receding hairline? Most likely, you think of the older guy. So even if you make it to the top, it may take you years to do so. You’ll have to spend years in loserville and in cluelessville.

And once you get to the top, your power is limited. Look at the President. His power has already been clearly established. There are checks and balances to make sure he doesn’t turn into a dictator.

Benefits

The main benefit is guaranteed power — as long as you remain on the top. Many people have bought into the system and have adopted the underlying idea as reality. That means there are a whole lotta losers and cluelesses. That is why people dutifully pay their taxes. And that is why high school graduates enter college without a second thought. Once something has been accepted as reality, people will follow the system like good, little sheep. If there are a lotta sheep at the bottom, there are a lotta meat for the wolves at the top.

The Easy Way

Since the chance that you’ll become top dog in an already established system is slim to none, you’ll have to do things differently.

Lemme clarify with a personal scenario …

If I wanted to become President, there is no way for me to do so. I’m not born in the US. I’m younger than 35 years. As a result, even if I tried my best at the “plug and rise” method, I’ll never make it. The hard way of ascending up the US government system is closed off to me for good.

So if my goal is to control the US, I will have to do it another way. And that is where the easy way comes in. I can go around the existing system, by creating one of my own. I can create a multi-billion dollar corporation. Or a new religion. Or a militant group — such as a drug cartel.

(Unfortunately, it is not my goal to control the US. Therefore, you’re stuck with the current government for who knows how long.)

The easy way is creating a new reality. Circumvent around what already exists. Not only is the easy way more accessible, it is also much faster. How else did you think the founder of Google and Facebook become one of the richest people in only 10 years?

Again, with all things, there are risks and benefits.

Risks

The main risk is that people may not adopt your idea. If you try to establish yourself as god, most people would laugh and point you towards the asylum. Without the losers and the cluelesses, there is no use being at the top. That is the problem that all entrepreneurs, innovators, and forward-thinkers have. How can you get people trust you, adopt your idea, and buy into your system?

Benefits

The easy way is accessible to all, and is the fastest way to power, money, fame, sex, and whatnot.

However, most people are afraid of change. They are afraid to fail. Thus, most people won’t have to the guts to create a new reality. There are more people trying to fight their way up an existing system than to create a whole new system from scratch. Which means…

There is a lot less competition for you.

And because a new idea and a new system could be anything, the power you can achieve is theoretically unlimited.

Personally, the easy way is the only way that makes sense.

The Root of Unlimited Power: Creativity

It seems simple enough. To create a new reality, all you need to do is to:

  1. Create a new idea.

  2. Get enough people to accept your idea. Have losers and cluelesses to fill up the bottom.

  3. Establish a system to perpetuate and scale your idea.

  4. Sit on top of the whole system, and grow in power.

To make this all work …

First, you need self-reliance and self-confidence (as mentioned in Part I). These give you the ability to reject the current reality.

Next, you need ways to control people (as mentioned in Part II). These give you the ability to bring people into your reality.

Finally, you need a new reality — a new idea and new system (as mentioned here in Part III). This is only possible with creativity. You must disengage your mind from what is currently present. And focus on what can be — what can exist. Your creativity will determine how well the people adopt your reality as their own.

If you master all 3 parts, unlimited powers are yours for the taking.

This is what Jesus did. This is what the founders of Google and Facebook did. And this is what you can do too.

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Comments

  1. Justus the gifted says:

    Alex, your style of writing is magnificent. The words speaks directly to the soul. Discovering your blog is one of the best things that has happened to me especially in our contemporary time where wasting time on facebook and other social network is the order of the day. Thanks a million times amigo.

    • Alex Ding says:

      Hey Justus,

      Your words are like music to my ears. A large part of why I keep on writing is for people like you — the people who will wake up and change the world.

  2. Jesus dude, you’re killing it.

    I’m…aghast, really. Too many echoes here of voices I’ve heard clawing at my ears for years. WE need to talk, this has gone on long enough.

  3. First, I’m going to have to agree with Justus The Gifted in that your posts are always inspiring to me! It makes my mind fill up with ideas and opinions about things, which is why i always come here.
    Second, I think also those on the bottom of the triangle stay at the bottom is because of conditioning. Being told that you will never rise and become anything or do anything meaningful with their life is the order of the day. Why they do not have the desire to move up or progress is beyond me.
    I work for the Corporate world and yes it is very “HARD” to gain power this way as you will have to jump through hoops and run around obstacles that are put there for you. I was offered a Management position and i thought to myself finally they recognized my hard work and skills! This was opportunity was offered to me on August of last year and to this day nothing has happened. I float in limbo! I have decided that it is not going to happen so back to clueless town i go!
    Then i have found a way to create reality on my own and found this way a lot EASIER than the plug in power structure already in place. I blog and now i focus on this new way and little by little it has been working for me. I’m learning along the way and its much better! I do not know if its creating reality for other people i guess we shall see!

    Again Alex fantastic post!

    • Alex Ding says:

      Jose,

      I am pleased that you keep on coming back. Your comments really uplift me.

      What you are going through on your job is very typical of the “plug and play” method. You’re at the whims of those above you. Next time during your review, you may want to bring up that management position that was promised.

  4. Alex, a badass post once again. Really digging this lately.

    Climbing the corporate ladder often involves sitting around waiting for the top guy to drop off the branch. My last job had a handful of guys vying for a promotion, and their only hope was if he cacked it. Sadly, praying he would have a heart attack didn’t work, so they’re sitting around patiently waiting for him to retire or someshit.

    My last job wouldnt give me a promotion because I hadnt been there for 4 years yet, even if I happened to be over qualified for the position too. Plugging into an existing system does suck.

    Keep it coming A.

    • Alex Ding says:

      Thanks, Hugo.

      I wrote this article a while back and I remember it took me like 2 whole days to write it. It was brutal but the end result speaks for itself.

      And it isn’t likely that the incumbents would give up their position any time soon. Some of them old-timers probably don’t have enough to retire on.

      That is why I am all about carving your own path. Enough is enough.

  5. Great post alex.
    I wonder why is it that women line up and go gaga for Justin Bieber,One direction,and Co.

    But not so for guys like Jack Dorsey,David Karp,Kevin Systrom and the rest?

    • Alex Ding says:

      Thanks, Anon.

      Women go crazy for JB and Co. because that’s what they know and that’s what their friends are going crazy about. (They’re herd creatures.)

      Seriously, I’ve never heard of the other guys you’ve mentioned. Maybe I need to get out more.

  6. I guess what I meant is why do women go for JB and Co.But not so for successful businessmen,inventors,astronauts and the like?
    And was it always like that?

    Oh they are the creators of twitter,tumblr,and instagram respectively.

    • Alex Ding says:

      It is all about popularity. A lot girls know about JB and Co. But not many of them know about CEOs and inventors. But if any of the girls found out that the guys are worth millions or billions of dollars, they would go for them in an instant.

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