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Ruthlessness: Eat Or Get Eaten

There are people we know we shouldn’t mess with or push to the limit, and there are some we pick on just for the fun of it. There are those you cant possibly upset and those you can fail without fear of repercussions. There are those you always meet on time, pay on time, deliver to on time, and those you don’t give a damn about because, well, they have no value to you.

Now if you want to be the guy or girl who everyone takes for granted, who earns as much respect and fear as the neighbor’s little kid, then read no further because you are not cut for real life, you are not cut for success and sure as hell not cut for power. But if you are an individual who wants to cut through the crap and get work done instead of wasting time asking people again and again to deliver, or standing alone in the room waiting for people, who where supposed to be there 10 min ago, then this is for you!

 “And the butchery begins”

Don’t fool yourself thinking that people around you are all saints waiting to see how they can help. People are driven by either incentives, or fears, these are our basic animalistic drives for survival, and as humans, we will always prioritize our self-interest over the public good. If your colleague can become the next CEO by screwing you over, then he most probably will. If your friends decide you are becoming too much of a liability when they go out to drink and have fun, they will cut you out. You see people will only carry through if it is beneficial for them. And if someone ever does you a favor, expect it to come back later biting you in the ass. Now coming back to the idea of incentives and fear, we cannot always afford giving away things to keep people in check. You can’t always pay extra to have them show up on time, because that’s what they are supposed to do in the first place, and every dime that goes their way is a dime out of your pocket. Now, this doesn’t only happen in the workplace, this happens in college, in relationships, friendships and all sort of interactions, and the sooner you learn how to deal with it, the better. Let me walk you through the basics of ruthlessness as learnt from Francis Underwood.

The nature of promises is that they remain immune to changing circumstances

Promises. Yes, we all have a hard time with them. “She promised she will vote for me”, “he promised to submit the file on time”, “he promised not to tell them”. You see, promises are one thing, reality is another. People who promised you something are not necessarily going to be the same people when the time comes to hold onto their promise. If they think they can just promise now and get out of an awkward or tough situation, they will no matter what, and chances are that they will just go about their life and forget what they promised in the first place. People promise to get out from a situation and buy time knowing that they will be better off later and not compelled to stick to their word. The only way you can make sure people will stick to their promises is to show them that the alternative to them breaking their assurance is going to be disastrous. Always make sure that you have the upper hand, that you have a plan B for those who play you up, that you can destroy them in cases they don’t deliver. Don’t be forgiving; once you say it’s ok the first time, you are giving them a free pass to do it again. Not only that, but you are also signaling to others that it’s ok to cross you, that it’s ok to promise you one thing and later tell you that circumstances changed so you can’t stick to your word. If you have the chance to, make an example of someone who failed you. He said he will put that report first time in the morning on your desk but didn’t deliver? Then cut him out, fire him, take him out of the deal, show him and people around that you have a problem with mediocrity and false promises, that you don’t tolerate being told one thing and getting something else. Next time someone promises he will get you that file the next hour, be sure he will hand it to you 10 minutes sooner because he knows that the alternative is not that appealing.

I have zero tolerance for betrayal

You are sitting in the boardroom, 12 faces with blank stares looking all tense. It’s a confidence vote, your ass is on the line, but you are confident because your associates and friends said they got your back and will vote to keep you in that chair. Hands start rising and before you realize it you’re already being called former chairman. What happened? Betrayal, your friends went for the front-runner, they voted for the guy who bought them with the larger bonus. See, this situation can happen during a board meeting, but it can as well happen in our everyday life. Your friends bail out on you, your buddies sell you short, your partner stabs you in the back. Now betrayal usually happens when people think that you’re finished, that once you are backstabbed your only option left is the garbage bin. People will weigh the pros and cons of supporting you, and if they are better off kicking you to the wolves, then god bless, because they’d rather be on the bright side.

The trick to save yourself form these situations? Make sure they understand that leaving your ranks will have far more terrible consequences than anything. They have to understand that if they don’t show up for you, you will dedicate your life to haunt them down, that you will dedicate every second of your remaining life to break them to pieces. Make it clear that you going down means the whole goddamn boat will sink, that you won’t be going to hell without bringing everyone down with you. If you are ruthless, chances are people don’t want to have you as their enemy. If you feel there is a faint smell of blood, don’t wait and take action right away. You caught someone plotting behind your back, don’t say it’s fine if they tear up and promise never to do it again. Strike hard and fast, and make sure everyone knows. Never tolerate betrayal or insubordination, because it’s usually the first crack in the building that leads to the total collapse.

In this life, what you see is a bunch of buildings, people, cars, smiles and order, but the truth is, life is a jungle full of wolves, there is chaos, fake smiles and a lot of tension in the air. You either eat or get eaten; there is no third option. If you’re not going up the ranks, then you are sinking down to the bottom. Never accept mediocrity, never tolerate disobedience, and if people don’t live up to your standards, don’t lower them, just look for someone else who can deliver. It’s good to be forgiving and soft, it’s good if you want to settle for average and have patience for disappointments, but if you are determined to make it to the top, then you’ll have to be radical in the way you deal with indiscipline and unfaithfulness. Always have a plan B, always have an exit strategy, and always hold your enemies and friends at close proximity. There will come a time where you will have to make a decision, take action, and if that day comes and you’re not ready, then congratulations you’ve just been served on someone’s plate, but if you are fully equipped and ready to deal with the situation firmly, then god have mercy on the person who crossed your path.

Photo Credit: Netflix, House of Cards