The Cruel Bargain: The Steep and Exacting Price You Will Pay for Power


I usually don’t have trouble falling asleep. Ever since I was little, whenever I plopped my head onto the feather-soft pillow, I would fall asleep instantaneously. It’s a blessing, because that means I don’t have a care in the world. (The only time I cannot fall asleep is when I have something awesome planned for the next day — like a new video game. Instead of resting, I keep thinking how cool the game is gonna be.)

These days … I’m not so lucky. I no longer fall asleep so quickly. And no, it is not because I have a new video game. I quit wasting time for several years already.

I’m afraid that the reason for my pseudo-insomnia is not so fun and lighthearted. Instead, it is quite grave and could alter the course of my future.

If you have been following along with my site, you should notice one overarching theme: amassing power. My life revolves around control — being the top dog.

But there is a cost for being at the top. Before you make your journey towards power, let’s take a look at price of admission and determine if you’re willing to pay it.

Price #1 – Peerlessness

If you’re like me and thirst for power, you are already different than most of your peers. That is why you dedicate your life to getting rich, to mastering a needed skill, to become persuasive, and to become a force to be reckoned with.

The average person does not strive for power. Thus, he is content with mediocrity.

And that is why you cannot relate to the average person. How could you explain color to someone who has never seen? How could you explain music to someone who has never heard? How could you explain aroma to someone who has never smelled?

You can’t. And in many ways, when you try to be the best, you can’t share your journey and struggles with most people. Maybe you’ve tried in the past. You’ve tried to share about your life. About your dreams and hopes. But as you talk, they look at you with a blank stare. They just don’t understand. How could they, especially if they never went through what you are going through? They’re too busy fussing over the newest TV programs and too occupied with the trivial things in life.

And that is when you realize … few will ever understand you. Even fewer will ever walk in your path. You must travel the narrow road to power — all by your lonesome self. This is the curse of peerlessness.

Price #2 – Friendlessness

With enough determination and perseverance, you will reach the end of the road and you will arrive at your destination. You will have power. You will have success. You will have wealth.

But there is one thing you won’t have: a true friendship.

Lemme tell you a story to drive the point.

I travel around the world. And I gotta tell ya … the US is a wealthy country. Even its poor get access to food, shelter, and healthcare. It’s not like that in some parts of the world — where the poor have absolutely nothing.

There is one major difference between people in a first-world country (such as the US) and people in a third-world country (such as Guatemala): the ability to form friendships.

I’ve lived in the US for pretty the majority of my life. In years here, I have only a few true friends — I can count them with only one hand. I define true friends as people I can trust my life with. These people will look out for me, even at their expense..

But I have a million acquaintances. There are the people who will show up if there is something in it for them. Fun. Food. And Fcuk. I cannot count on them to watch my back. I cannot count of them to be selfless.

I’ve spent one month in Guatemala. Just one month. And in that short span of them, I met 4 people that could have turned into true friends. How do I differentiate between true and false? By the way they act.

3 of my Guatemalan friends spent their time and money to personally drive me and two of my American friends around Guatemala City. We got to see the sights, visit the malls, and do what tourists people do. They took time off to do this. One of them was even pregnant. They didn’t ask for anything in return. They could have seen us as an opportunity to exploit — to make some quick cash — but they didn’t.

When they visited us in La Antigua, they brought pupusas (a local delicacy) with them. They didn’t have to. But they wanted to. They wanted to make sure we tried out the local street food before we left. And in return, since they’ve done so much for us, I took them out my favorite joint and got them toritos — cheeseburgers with eggs, topped with a bunch of vegetables. They absolutely loved it.

As for my fourth Guatemalan friend, she shared her food with me ever since our first encounter. She cooked for me. She arranged trips where I could see the beautiful, but far away sites. She got me little gifts. And she did not even ask for a thing in return. Since she worked in a rural, run-down clinic, I gave her a few US hundred dollars to better supply the clinic.

Just writing about the experience brings back the memories …

The sad thing is that I will rarely, if ever, experience unselfishness like this in the US. It will be hard to have true friends.


My guess is because US is so much wealthier than Guatemala. (And remember, wealth is a form of power.) People in first-world countries are so focused with having money, possession, and entertainment … they are willing to sacrifice friendships for that. People in third-world countries have nothing. Thus, they focus on relationships. So whatever they have, they give.

I absolutely believe that the love of money and power corrupts the soul. Having money and power is no problem. But loving them is.

There are two questions I have when I walk the narrow road to power:

  1. Do I love money and power? Will my soul become corrupted? Or are money and power means to an end — to have freedom and to express myself like an artist?
  2. Will people befriend me because they like me? Or will they do so because they like the perks of being near me?

I don’t know if I’ll ever know the answer to my questions — those that my Guatemalan friends won’t have to worry about.

Although having true friends is harder for the rich and powerful, don’t just think the problem is limited to them. It very well pertains to the average American as well. It is hard to find someone who genuinely cares about you. Sometimes, you can’t even count on your own family members. I have seen families torn apart — brothers against sisters — for only a little bit of money. The dad died and left a pittance for inheritance. And for that pittance, each sibling has cut ties with each other. They got a little bit more money, but they are now a broken family.

That is your sad fate if you love money and power. Your soul becomes corrupted. Your relationships are broken. Your only console is money and things, which will never love you back. This is the curse of friendlessness.

That is why if you have a true friend, never trade him for money and power. True relationships are the most important treasures in the world. Everything else is easily replaceable.

Price #3 – Lovelessness

Anytime I think about love, I think about the song from Blessid Union Of Souls, called Hey Leonardo (She Likes Me for Me).

I absolutely love the chorus:

She likes me for me …

It must be awesome to find a girl who loves you for you. But for the rich and power man, it is hard. Sure, you can find lots of girl who want to be with you. But do they want you for you? Or do they want you for the benefits of being with you?

If your looks fade …

If your wit and humor lose their luster …

If your money is gone …

If you are powerless …

If you have absolutely nothing …

Will your girl still stay with you? Would you bet your money and your children on it (by marrying her)?

As for me, girls who love me for me is just a dream. I’ve had girls in the past and present who are crazy for me, but I just cannot tell if they like me for me. Therefore, when I have nothing left to offer, I don’t know if they still stay. That is why I won’t get married, because I will not bet my money and my future children on it.

There is a term to explain this: Briffault’s Law.

The female, not the male, determines all the conditions of the animal family. Where the female can derive no benefit from association with the male, no such association takes place. – Robert Briffault

I’m sure that there are women who are exceptions to Briffault’s Law, who will stay loyal to you no matter what. But how do you find her? When you find someone who loves you, how do you know she won’t change? I don’t have an answer. I doubt if anyone really knows. That is why everlasting love is so precious. And yet, it is so rare — it may as well be a fairy tale.

That is why it may be wiser to focus your efforts on what you do know for certain, such as accumulating power and wealth, than to gamble for true love.

To make sure you do not stray from your narrow path to power, you may have to encase your heart in a wall of ice. That means you cannot show your vulnerabilities. You cannot show who you truly are. Day in and day out, strive for excellence.

When you reach the end of the road, you will have a lot of girls clamoring to be with you. And you can make them stay as long as you have something to offer. But the catch is … you won’t know if they truly love you. This is the curse of lovelessness.

Wolf vs. Sheep

What do you choose?

To have power, you must pay such a hefty and exacting price. Are you willing to pay?

Enjoyed the article? Then get e-mail updates. FREE!


  1. The path to power is a lonely one but its a path everyone wants to go but few are willing to follow on. For me the the price i had to pay and still paying is price #1 and Price #2. I was never much for having friends as i was always by myself. Yes i had acquaintances but when pushed come to shove if i needed them to step in to help they would most likely not b able to help. Sitting here i think the only person who i can say I’m extremely close with is with my spouse. The rest is just distractions.

    My life keeps moving all the time and if they don’t hold on they get left behind. Yes i know its wrong to do that but i believe that i have to live my life then follow a plan i wrote down for the things i wanted to do i’m doing now. I traveled to parts of Europe, Middle East as well as the Caribbean went to college and served my country and was involved in Desert Storm. Seeing the world for what it is and yes people are different and treat you a lot better than they do here!

    At work my power literally envelopes everyone! Yes i know i sound a bit arrogant but You see i practice my craft everyday for years and as time passes i get more and more better at my craft. Computer breaks down call Jose, Copy machine is acting up call Jose, Laptop in the brink call Jose! I’m always on those people’s minds everyday and when i show up i can see the look of happiness and relief. Sometimes i sit down and try to show them how to do it for themselves because I’m big on self reliance and i like to involve myself with like minded people. Unfortunately all i get are blank stares and they turn pale. i just let them be if they are comfortable not knowing then the better for me!

    What annoys me are the majority of people who would much rather live on their knees and not stand up and take charge of their lives. I understand the fear because int he beginning i was in the same place its scary when you make a mistake and have no one to blame but yourself! Still that is the price i had to pay and got the emotional scars to show it.

    I try Alex to teach these people but they just either do not want to see or do not see it all. That is okay as it only makes me more powerful. Now i understand when they say the phrase “It’s lonely at the top!”

    Great Post Alex!

    • Great response, Jose.

      It is lonely at the top. But our sacrifices will pay off. That is why guys like us will enjoy most of the rewards.

      Keep on hustling!

      • Maybe there’s such a thing as optimal power? As in enough money and power to live freely? I used to think private jet lifestyles were the way to go, but too much wealth is a problem also. More like a bell curve when it comes to happiness.

        The other thing is that power by its very nature is exclusive, if everyone’s powerful no one is. So mediocrity will always happen one way or another.

        Guess it boils down to getting enough wealth and power to express yourself freely (that could still be millions) but not necessarily more. Some rich and famous people are not really free on closer inspection.

        • Alex Ding says:

          You’re onto something there. A lot of time, money is not the end objective. Freedom and power are.

          But to get freedom and power, you do need a certain amount of money or ingenuity …. most than what most people have.

          That makes you better than most people already. So do people like you for you? Or do they like you for what you have and what you can do (for them)?

          This article is my preliminary thoughts on love, and I may expand upon it in the future.

  2. Joe,
    Very interesting about Briffault’s Law. Never heard of it before, but definitely rings true.

    I second what you’re saying about peerlessness.


  3. What if you were to get a friend or a girlfriend/wife before having anything?

    • Alex Ding says:

      If she wanted you before you were successful, there is a higher chance she wanted you for who you are. Or … that you were the best she could get at the time.


  1. The Price of Power says:

    […] That is your sad fate if you love money and power. Your soul becomes corrupted. Your relationships a… […]

  2. Alex’s Story (Part 1): God Gave Me My Desires and They Were Meaningless — Alex Ding says:

    […] 2014. Fifteen minutes into the walk, a feeling of immense loneliness suddenly wrapped around me. I had a feeling this day would come, but I didn’t know how painful it would be and how quickly it would arrive. I thought to […]

Speak Your Mind