Saturday, September 26, 2009


Strategy isn’t mysterious. And it isn’t just for politics or business or war. Strategy is nothing more or less than the art and science of getting what you want. In that sense, we are all inveterate strategists. Fortunately, most of us don’t want much. We want to have satisfying relationships with family and friends, to make ends meet, to have fun from time to time. Even in those mundane circumstances, however, we’re still strategizing, still trying to figure out how to get mom to back off or our girlfriend to give us more sex or our boss to give us a raise. We’re all, consciously or more often than not unconsciously, trying to get other people to give us what we want. Or put another way, we’re all after power of one sort or the other. We’re all strategizing whether we want to admit it or not.

Here are a few pointers I’ve found helpful in strategizing. First, decide what it is you want and why. Knowing why you want what you want could prove illuminating. You might even realize you don't want what you thought you wanted after all, which brings me to the second pointer. Decide if what you want is worth the price you’ll have to pay to get it, because nothing is free, not even love.

Third, and this pointer is for the empaths reading this, you must find a way to manage your emotions, especially guilt and fear. If you have to do something society tells you is "wrong," then so be it. Don’t waste your limited time wrestling with your conscience. Fear can be a powerful motivator, but it can also hamper your ability to act, and it can cloud your judgment if you don’t know how to see fear for what it is and deal with it. This point can be expanded to cover emotions in general. Being overwhelmed by emotion is very often an impediment to effective strategizing.

Fourth, assess your resources. What resources can you use to accomplish your goal? And I’m not just talking about money. Intelligence, good looks, talents and so on are all resources.

Fifth, assess the context. What’s the historical and/or psychological background, if you will? What are the ‘political’ circumstances? And if you think this doesn’t apply to areas like romance, think again. In the case of romance, knowing your target’s psychological background, for instance, can play a critical role in determining how you’re going to seduce them. And politics, practically speaking, is just another word for strategizing, which boils down to people trying to get what they want. So you can see how this could apply to relationships. How do the people around you play politics, or attempt to get what they want? What games do they play or what tactics do they consistently employ? That knowledge can prove useful in your own strategizing.

Sixth, remember that our goals very often revolve around people. You need to be able to manage them, to push and pull them in the directions you want them to go in. This is why the sociopath’s innate ability to read others is advantageous. For instance, pretending to have suffered the same kinds of wounds is often an effective way to find out where another person’s buttons are, which comes in handy when you need to push them.

Seventh, pick your battles. Knowing what you want and why will clarify which battles you want to fight and which you want to avoid. The above is only a beginning. There are a variety of sources you can mine that will help you become successful strategists, from Epictetus to Machiavelli, from Sun Tzu to Robert Greene.

Why would anyone want to become good at getting what they want? The answer is simple: death. All of us, the sociopath and the saint alike, must die. Life is short and often hard. Go after what you want and don’t stop until you get it.


  1. "Just do it" isn't logical, M.E. It doesn't matter whether you play games, or whether you're controlled by your instincts, there is no point. The fact that we're all going to die is just a reminder of how pointless everything is.

  2. "The fact that we're all going to die is just a reminder of how pointless everything is."

    You provide the point anon. That's how it works. Once you provide the point, "just doing it" makes sense.

    Then again, by your definition, your comment was pointless, wasn't it?

  3. Well Anon, if that's how you feel . . . 'just do it'. Be "logical" and end it all :)

  4. Anonymous stop crying. Nobody feels sorry for you. Your existance does serve no purpose. Your comments on here serve no purpose either. JUST DO IT *******

  5. On the article: Excellent article. I like the way this blog is going. Success is about obtaining your goals. Only someone who takes calculated risks will obtain their dreams. People spend too much time on consequences and guilt and not enough time thinking on risk and how to minimize it in order to accomplish what the set out to do. Do what it takes.

  6. Pager

    What was the point of the last comment you made here? Was that point worth the breaths you put into it? If so, tell me why.

  7. I tried to dumb it down enough for you, but I guess it's still too hard for you understand. I guess Ill never make a good special ed teacher.

  8. Omg lol! You people are hilarious!

  9. We're all going to die, ergo all we have is life and its experiences. Ergo the only thing that matters is that we enjoy it. If building a pointless legacy makes you happy, do it. If scamming people makes you happy, do it. If picking flowers and giving them to cancer patients makes you happy, do it. Allowing your existential retardation to destroy the only thing you have in this universe is illogical and stupid.


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