Do You Have To Lie To Get Ahead?

Or to put it another way, are you better off telling people what they want to hear?

Trump tells his acolytes there’s gonna be a border wall that Mexico will pay for.

Bernie tells his believers that college is gonna be free.

Neither will happen.

But neither will get elected. The true winners don’t hit the long ball, don’t promise the fantastical, they titillate your inner soul with the possible.

And then you fall for it, and then you get screwed.

The truth in this life is that there are leaders and followers, and I’m not sure one can become the other. I’m also not sure if you’re born that way. But I do know the winners are charismatic people who charm you into believing they’ll deliver what you want. So you follow them and support them and even give them the benefit of the doubt until…you’ve been screwed over too many times and cry foul, but the truth is the leader then has a whole new group of followers who believe.

Because they want to. Otherwise life would be too tragic, if you had no hope, if you didn’t think things could get better. That’s what Maria Konnikova posits in her book

“The Confidence Game: Why We Fall For It Every Time.”

Not that everybody leading a corporation is a con man.

Then again, corporations are not the only organizations where this applies. Ever hear the coach or manager of a sports team say they suck, that they cannot win? Not if he wants to keep his job. But eventually, when results falter, that person is bounced and a new one comes in with the same mantra.

Which happens at the company too. But in many companies the CEO controls the board, it’s all groupthink all the time. Only in America can a CEO underperform yet still get his bonus.

But that’s what the underclass is reacting to, and everybody from the middle on down is now part of the underclass, they believe the game is rigged.

And it is. Dishonesty reigns. Lying, cheating, fudging… That’s what the winners do.

They also take the reins, like a basketball player with a hot hand they want the ball, they don’t shy away from risk, they want to be in control, they want to take the shot.

Is there room for honesty?

That’s what Trump and Sanders are depending on. Before he blew himself up honesty was Trump’s calling card, saying the unsayable. And Sanders may not have gone for shock effect, but unlike the Donald Bernie was consistent, he’d been saying the same things decade after decade.

But Bernie can’t win because the game is rigged. First the debates were on Saturdays, when no one was watching, so he couldn’t get traction. Then, he hit the superdelegate wall.

Meanwhile, the press didn’t cover him because common wisdom was that he had no chance. Bernie had not cultivated the media powers-that-be, it hurt him.

But the Donald knew how to use the media to his advantage, that’s what powered his campaign.

And one could be frustrated, or one could lead too.

But the common man does not want to, does not want the scrutiny and the pressure, does not want the risk.

There are those who can accept the spotlight and those who cannot.

And the winners of the game bask in it.

It’s no different from Kanye West telling us he’s a winner ad infinitum. We start to believe it. With the endless coverage of his antics West appears the most powerful musician on the planet, one who can lie with impunity. Didn’t he say “Pablo” would never be available on Apple?


But we give him a pass, because we love the theatre, and most people don’t care anyway.

So if you want to win, you can’t do it without friends. And the way you make friends is to be entertaining and the way you get them to do what you want is by promising them promotions and money, finding their soft spot and playing to it. Meanwhile, you’re constantly foraging for new believers to replace the old ones who fall off. And if you’re all truth all the time, you’re doomed. But give people hope of a better life and you can win.

Don’t blame me, I’m just the messenger.

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