What exactly does it take to be a great and powerful leader? One who holds respect and immense influence? When looking throughout the history of humankind, you will notice patterns — commonalities shared amongst all those steering the reins and guiding the masses. The level of intellect that most leaders hold — I say most because not all leaders attained such a title as a result of their sole efforts — is superior to most of the remaining world.
Their psyches tend to be incredibly complex and are riddled with egotistic self-created truths alongside strong beliefs on the reality of the world. However, intellect and belief in one’s abilities is not enough. There is a certain superiority felt by those who seek the position of leader. These types of people don’t so much want to lead as they feel that they were meant to lead — that they were meant to show the rest of the world how things should be done. They believe themselves to have understood the world better than others and feel it is their purpose in life to share their newly discovered ‘truth.’ To use the term loosely, leaders are, more often than not, psychos.
This is not to say that all leaders suffer from a mental disorder — although some arguably do. The fact is that not all psychopaths suffer from severe disorders nor do they resort to murder and mutilation. The psyches and mental workings of both serial killers and some of the top CEOs in the world are extraordinarily similar.
Being a CEO or in a position of true power requires certain skills and abilities that psychopaths exhibit with ease. Making objective, clinical decisions entirely void of emotion, planning meticulously and in great detail, being patient, restless and confident, having a need to be in control… are all characteristics that psychopaths and prominent leaders share. Some of the most attractive positions for psychopaths are: lawyer, surgeon, journalist, police officer, chef and — topping the list — CEO.
I have to say that I myself was not surprised when I came across these statistics… then again, I can’t be the only one who considered whether or not they would be capable of taking a life if the necessity would arise. Out of the six positions that I named, I considered exploring four of them before settling on the frontrunner. What does that say about me?
While being in possession of such attributes goes beyond simple practice, it is possible to hone in on these particular skills and develop them. So which skills are fundamental to those leading the world and those killing others for pleasure? For starters, they both maintain immense focus for long periods of time.
Serial killers and leaders sleep, eat and breathe their work. They focus in on a particular goal or problem and do not let go of it until they have accomplished what they set out to accomplish, until they have found a solution to their predicament. For those in positions of power — whether it be over a company, country or over a half beaten-to-death body with a blade firmly pressed against the carotid artery — this focus more often than not crosses the line over to obsession.
Obsession is a dangerous thing, but it does get the job done. In lighter amounts, obsession takes the form of passion; where the line between passion and obsession is drawn is difficult to say. But as long as you are obsessing over your career rather than obsessing over the children at the playground, then you should be safe.
Psychopaths have the ability to separate themselves and their actions from their emotions. Having the ability to rape and murder or, as in the case of some leaders, commence mass genocide, requires viewing things, situations and people as nothing more than lifeless objects. It requires taking control and believing that the only outcome that matters is the outcome that results from your own hands.
You do because you understand that you have to — that it must be done. You know what you want, or rather what you feel that you need, and you take all necessary steps without blinking an eye. You don’t make room for emotions because whether or not someone gets hurt or screwed along the way does not matter to you; it’s not important.
What’s important is you having your desired effect and attaining that which you wish. What happens as a result of your actions, you deem to be acceptable collateral damage. Ever heard someone exclaim that this or that CEO or that lawyer is a heartless, soulless bastard? Well, there you go.
Detail is of greatest importance when trying to accomplish something significant. I grew up in the restaurant business and have managed a handful of restaurants. For any manager, the most important person to be able to get along with is the chef. Why? Because more often than not, they are out of their f*cking minds. I’m not talking about cooks — I’m talking about chefs.
If you take a peek into the kitchen of any 3-star and up restaurant in NYC, you are bound to see one person orchestrating the entire line, screaming, swearing and throwing sh*t. A chef’s goal is to prepare amazing food for the customers, the more prestigious the restaurant, the more important the clientele. Top chefs and critics eat at restaurants with kitchens run by other top chefs. This means that the executive chef and his work are constantly under scrutiny and that their reputations are always being put on the line.
For this reason, every little detail of the dish has to be perfect — not just the taste, but also the plating, the garnishes and even the direction the plate is facing once it hits the table. The chef has all of these details on his mind every second that he is in the kitchen. Having such focus on detail is no simple task and requires an above average mental capacity and processing speed.
Emphasis on detail and a hunger for power makes a great serial killer — or leader, whichever. Finding loopholes, strategizing methods of attack, planning plans B and C, planning escape routes, directing and delegating, having a level of control over others all make for great leaders, great surgeons, great chefs, great entrepreneurs and great murderers and/or criminals.
The line between philanthropic leader and psychopath is so thin that it’s possible for some to bobble between the two, never fully settling in on one life and battling both sides for the majority of their existence. The true difference is in the upbringing — in the nurturing. Evil is not born, but created. The mind is such a beautiful thing because it is both hardware and software — it functions as both a tool as well as gives us direction in life.
I strongly believe that the same person could be either the most beloved leader of his generation or the most feared and hated serial killer, all depending on how he was raised. Strong, intelligent minds process information differently than others — but it’s the information processed at the earliest of ages that set the precedence for either a hero or a monster.
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