A recent study reveals that people who exhibit manipulative, narcissistic and/or antisocial behavior are more likely to climb the corporate ladder. In other words, nice guys finish last and assholes will be your boss. Pretty accurate, right?
The article goes on to break down each of what is referred to as the “dark triad,” but none of that really matters. What it really comes down to is two things: self-esteem and confidence…a lot of it.
From my own personal experience and observations, I have found that an abundance of confidence and self-esteem is what leads to success in all facets of life, not just one’s career. Often times, having a highly favorable opinion of yourself is confused with narcissism and just plain being an asshole. Introverts—the opposite of the “dark triad”—are quietly* envious of the extroverts that tend to excel. I know. I’m one of them.
Here’s a personal anecdote:
I was once offered a radio job in Lansing, Mich. They wanted me to do everything: creative director, traffic/weather, on-air personality, news, ad sales, programming, etc. I have almost no experience doing any of that. Being someone with no confidence and self-esteem, I informed the program director that I may not be able to perform the tasks immediately, but with some training, I’m the man. They turned me down. Out of hindsight, I should have said (and felt), “I can do all of that! I’m your man!” But I didn’t. Someone with high self-esteem and confidence would have. They excel while I remain grounded.
That doesn’t make them a narcissist. It’s not manipulative if the person honestly believes they can do the tasks, even with no experience. And why should someone have empathy for someone who may deserve the job more? It’s a dog-eat-dog world.
The average person is somewhere between an introvert and extrovert. They engage with people, but not excessively. They feel good about themselves, but not in love with themselves. This is why the average person stays average in their careers. They are active enough to get out of entry-level positions, but not active enough to get beyond middle management.
And here’s the worst part…
Personality is consistent and enduring. Meaning, whoever you are is who you are likely to remain. Introverts rarely become extroverts and vice versa. There is a reason why most successful people were well on their way to success well before the age of 30: they had “it.” Conversely, most people who don’t achieve success by 40 probably will not. They do not have “it,” and it cannot exactly be acquired.
Some successful people are assholes, others are salt of the Earth. Some are manipulative narcissists, some are not. But ALL successful people have plenty of confidence and self-esteem. THAT’S the secret to success.
It’s too late for you, but you can raise your children to love themselves (if they’re young enough).
* by definition, that’s the only way they can be envious. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯