Babies normally get their own way and very young children struggle to keep it that way. Most kids, though, gradually learn to consider the needs and feelings of others in order to function within society. We call this “growing up” and collectively, “civilization”.
A few, however, never grow up, and like infants, spend their entire lives trying to bend the universe to their will. Their mantra is “Nobody else matters but me”.
It’s not easy getting your own way all the time, because society imposes a bunch of “stupid rules”. These rules call for courtesy, integrity, and consideration for others. You and I might think these rules are sensible and necessary, even character-forming, but to the full-on narcissist these are weaknesses and obstacles to “success”. So, if you insist on getting your own way all the time, you need to ignore these rules, work around them, or even hijack them for your own purposes.
If you are one of those special few who believe it is your right to get everything you want, all the time, let me propose some helpful guidelines:
1. If you have any scruples, leave them at the door. They’re for weaklings and losers.
2. This is no game. This is all about “winning”, every time, all the time. There is no “time out”.
3. Whatever it takes, crush all opposition. There’s only one winner, and that must be you. Make it very personal and teach opponents a lesson they’ll never forget.
4. Build yourself a base of loyal-to-the-death followers. Here’s how: First, identify a demographic which will be putty in your hands. Find groups who demonstrably like “big man” leadership and accept as gospel all kinds of stuff which won’t hold up to intellectual or moral scrutiny. Now convince them that they’re special, that their cause is righteous (but threatened) and that you are their champion. Tell them what they want to hear, not what they need to hear. Stir up their emotions, not their intellects. Be their star, keep them entertained and talking about you. As much as possible, deliver for them, as long as it costs you little or nothing.
5. Talk fast. Never allow time for analysis. Pump up emotion all the time, because emotion invariably clouds reason.
6. Truth is what you need it to be and should never be allowed to get in the way of winning.
7. If anybody challenges you or asks for proof of what you are saying, just refuse. Go ballistic. Eventually most of them will give up. If they don’t, create a distraction or attack the questioner, painting them as an enemy of your followers. There’s a win in that.
8. Ultimately, if you don’t get your way, remember what your Mommy taught you: tantrums work.
Glad to be of help.
(On the advice of my "editorial board", I want to be clear that I don't support, or even like, the kind of people described here. However, there are many useful communication and life lessons to be learned, even if the lessons are "don't do this!".)
Norman Bowley is a communicator by passion, a lawyer and educator by profession. Thirty-six years of legal practice after ten years as an educator have equipped Norm to teach professionals how to communicate effectively and with power.