There is a tendency amongst authors writing about “success” as well as entrepreneurs, small business owners and CEO’s telling their success stories to be warm ‘n fuzzy and present classically popular ideas palatable to the largest number of people. To say that nice guys win. That having a positive attitude and drawing little smiley faces above the i’s you dot will not only endear you to people but actually attract prosperity.

In truth, there is little evidence of this. None of it is harmful in moderation, but it conceals fundamental truth about ultra-high achievers: they tend to be tough, intolerant, hard-driving, demanding, competitive people often viewed as difficult, mean and ruthless by others. And they tend to have a profound sense of superiority usually viewed as arrogance. It sometimes gets them in trouble, but it is also an essential factor in their success.

Quoting a Forbes reporter:

Donald Trump has a dim view of the world. To the real estate mogul and TV star most people are either “enemies”, “bastards”, “sleazebags”, or “stone-cold losers.”

Bill Harrison recently gave me a phenomenal book by one of the richest Europeans you’ve probably never heard of, Felix Dennis, “How To Be Rich”, which has much to say about this, and should be read by anybody who thinks they sincerely want to be rich. (It’s also a fun read.)

These individuals who raise themselves to great wealth and power exhibit messianic beliefs from the beginning.

Gene Landrum writes about this extensively in his must-read books on the high achiever’s psyche. He cites countless examples; one, Napoleon being told by his mother while still in the cradle that he was born to rule the world.

Andrew Carnegie spoke of having a sense of enormous superiority over ordinary men. In the book “The Alexander Complex: The Dreams That Drive Great Businessmen”, its author notes that great business empiricists believe in the grip of a vision. Because they are convinced they can change the world, they often do.

With this sense of superiority comes the unavoidable conviction that most others are profoundly inferior. These individuals see themselves as strong and disciplined, others as weak and undisciplined; themselves as independent and in control, as kings, others as dependent and in need of constant supervision, as pawns to be moved about as necessary.

These individuals have a centric vision, demanding that the world revolve around them. They see their rightful place as atop the hierarchical pyramids because of their superior studiousness, tough-mindedness, discipline, determination and resilience. (NOT superior intelligence, as Dennis points out, and as I have frequently stated.) While they may say that there”s nothing significantly different between them and other men on the street, because humble plays well, they privately know the opposite to be true, and have disdain for all those who could but don”t.

Further, these people take (legal) advantage when and where they can.

Sam Walton cultivated an image as the folksy fellow in the battered pick-up truck, but Andy Griffith he was not. Walton’s success formula focused on minimized labor costs, grinding vendors down on price repeatedly, and forcing manufacture of most goods overseas. Wal-Mart has always been run with an iron fist: wage caps; extensive electronic surveillance of employee phone calls and workplaces; prohibition of purchasing agents accepting so much as a cup of coffee from a vendor; an internal security force investigating every deviation of company policy.

NIKE founder Phil Knight made his fortune in shoes by paying Indonesian factory workers less than a dollar a day – eventually admitting that his company had become synonymous with slave wages.

Bill Gates an elephant eagerly stomping mice.

Opportunism, even predatory opportunism is heavily in play. One rich client of mine, I won’t name, recently told me gleefully that economic slump in his industry prompted him to open up his piggybank, because it was the ideal time to steal the competitors best employees and advertise more aggressively than ever to build market share. Rockefeller famously said, I buy when there is blood in the streets.

Is there enough blood in the streets to prompt you to take action today?

GKIC Palm Beach serves small business owners in and around Palm Beach, FL, Boca Raton, FL and Fort Lauderdale, FL