If you value power and status at any level, you will eventually have to bring down a powerful person. Sometimes you can go around such people but sometimes they won’t move and they are in your way. This article is meant as a jumping off point for you to learn how to beat them.
It is impossible to give a hyper specific set of steps that will be the same for any situation, so we are going to give 7 that are going to apply well to many situations.
1 Self Awareness – The most important step in any competitive journey is to better understand yourself. Don’t think you can skim over this step and be successful at the top levels. All the skills you will develop in step 2 will require that you can clearly see the world for the way it is in order to apply the techniques to their maximum effectiveness. There are a few ways you can improve self awareness.
First you should take a look at your mindset. Mindset is important because if you have one of the fatally negative mindsets, it will become your Achilles heel. For example, narcissism will blind you from the way reality actually is because narcissism seeks confirmation of your greatness instead of honesty about your weaknesses.
Next try figuring out what you want in life. Frankle said people can endure almost anything if they have a clear why. Don’t go looking to others for your why. Look internally an decide what makes life worthwhile for you. Maybe it is creating art, it could be serving other people, it could be competing against the best in a sport or craft. Find this thing and it will drive you through when times get tough.
You can also take a look at your shadow side. Your shadow side is made up of all the things you don’t like about yourself. Find ways to stop repressing those things and you will find more confidence, clarity, and purpose in life.
2 Develop Skills – There are some basic skills that will help you win in any socially competitive environment. Most important would be understanding people. Personality theory and value theory are two scientific areas that will help you do this. Personality theory helps you understand and predict behavior. Value theory helps you see what people want in life.
Next you should develop the ability to build social alliances and persuade. This starts with understanding the basic motivator for all humans, WIIFM. Make friends and influence people by complying with this principle.
After you have developed those skills, consider learning about manipulation. Manipulation is useful to understand even if you don’t plan on using it. Understanding it can help you protect yourself. Manipulation is also useful when you end up needing to compete with people for the top spot.
3 Research & Analysis – Once you have a clear understanding of what you want to accomplish and you have the necessary skills, you can start preparing to climb. Determine who is in your way and what you can do to go around them or through them.
At this stage, what you are looking for is an accurate assessment of the landscape. Study the person’s strengths and weaknesses. What makes them emotional? What traps might they fall for? What is their momentum? Personality profile them and the people who increase their power. Research their online presence. Look for potential allies who share your interests and might be willing to attack this person with you.
Most important is your ability to match up a person’s weakness, with an unmet desire in the environment, with one of your strengths. For example, maybe the person has lots of money, which seems like a strength. But they have a weakness of poor social skills. Then you notice that there is some resentment towards them in your social group or workplace. These all represent different levels of momentum on your ‘chess board.’ How can you use these things to your advantage? Where can you do the most damage with the least work or exposure?
Remember the quote from Chuck Rhoades, “A good matador doesn’t try to kill a fresh bull. You wait until he’s been stuck a few times.”
In this situation the right move seems to be to drum but resentment towards the person. Frame them as elite. Make others believe the person thinks they are superior. But you also need to think of possible reprisals. If they find out what you are doing, what can they respond with? What can they take from you? Figure out your own weaknesses in this situation and then find ways to mitigate those risks. If you could potentially get fired, brush up your resume and start slowly interviewing.
4 Preliminary Setup – In this step you will begin moving the chess pieces. This includes building friendships, starting to frame the person in a certain way and seeing how people react, testing your theories about what people are persuaded by, minimizing attack vectors, and developing other points of leverage based on your research.
5 Confrontation – If you have done everything correctly up until this step, the confrontation or instantiation of your plan will happen naturally. Remember, this is the point of no return, so once you attack, make sure you are ready.
If you take our example of the person above, perhaps you were going to attack by focusing on their poor social skills and the resentment. Maybe you will make them snap and attack someone a few times, hurting their social support. Then you can challenging the person openly on group projects or important discussions. If everything goes well, people will begin to see you as the new leader and the other person as the scapegoat for the group’s issues.
6 Aftermath – The aftermath is in some situations just as important. Studies of chimps show the ones who stay in power the longest are well socialized and capable of brutality. Don’t be the person who comes to power quickly and then loses it because you were too stingy to share the rewards with others. Think of sharing the rewards of power with others as an investment in your long term rein. This can be as simple as letting other people make decisions or giving loyal followers important positions of their own.
Don’t start a campaign to bring down a powerful person with out an end game on how you will hold power. Keep in mind that if you can’t turn some of the old leader’s associates with bribes and rewards, you might have to follow Robert Greene’s advice and destroy them completely.