Power begins with having a crystal-clear view of reality and what each and every person in your life is driven by. That will take a bit of a “wake-up” call, because we typically choose to be blind to such things as why people do what they do. For some reason, it just seems to be human nature to choose to take people at face value. Yes, that blindness is a choice. You might be wearing rose-colored glasses that are distorting your view of what’s really happening around you and to you.
So let’s “wake up” and get really clear and up-to-date about an element of society we don’t like to think about and wish didn’t exist. I’m talking about the people in your life who are negative and exploitive. They are obstacles to your success, happiness, security, and peace of mind. Once you “get” how they think, feel, and act, they become a puzzle that is easily solved.
There’s an old saying my football coaches used to tell us: “BS the fans, not the players!” I want you to become a player. I say “player” because so much of life is a competition. You may wish it wasn’t, but it is. It becomes pretty clear if you step back and evaluate it. You competed for your mate, your job, your social position, and your friends. You worked hard to create a family, make a home, and maybe build up a nice little “nest egg.” And now you have to fight to protect those things. It seems like we spend the first half of our lives trying to get ahead, creating some stability and building our success, and then we spend the second half just trying to keep people from taking it all away from us. And some of that fight is against people who aren’t like you. They will lie, cheat, steal, use and abuse. They will bully you, molest your children, steal your husband or wife, and take credit for your work. They will sabotage you at every turn. And by the way, they aren’t coming; they already here! They’re in your life and mine, maybe even in your own home or family.
My spiritual upbringing taught me to pray for the misguided people in my life, and I always have and always will, and I hope you do the same for those I your life. But (and this is a big but) praying for them does not mean that we – you and I – shouldn’t also protect ourselves and those we love from them. In fact, it’s our duty to self-protect because, true to their reptilian, nature, these people, like snakes, will inject their venom into us (if not destroy us) without flinching. We must open our eyes to the “games” they play and boldly confront this very negative and unsavory part of our world.
So, how do we refer to these people who cheat, exploit, use, and abuse? I think of them as BAITERs (for people who are “Backstabbers/Abusers/Imposters/Takers/Exploiters/Reckless).”
We are talking about people who believe the “means are justified by the end.” They are totally self-focused and results-oriented, and they are willing to do anything, absolutely anything, to achieve their goal, whatever it may be – a job, a promotion, money, a wife or husband (maybe even yours), attention, an escape from accountability, or anything else they desire. For most people, of course, “anything” may mean only hard work, smart work, dedication, and commitment. But for BAITERs, it may mean taking a darker approach, where they don’t try just to win, but to win at your expense, or where they use you as a stepping-stone or steal your place in the game.
This is an unpleasant picture, I know, but a realistic one nonetheless. These people don’t see the world the way you do. They do not have your standards for relationships. They lack empathy – the “fellow feeling” that enables human beings to appreciate and identify with another person’s emotions. They lack conscience. They lack the ability to feel remorse, and they selfishly and narcissistically pursue whatever their own egos demand. They are, consciously and subconsciously, unscrupulous. They use dirty tricks and under-handed politics. They exploit, abuse, lie, cheat and manipulate. They do not hesitate to commit any nefarious act that will take them closer to their goal. They are committed to win and to win at any cost – and that “cost” is often paid by you.
And the truth is that sometimes, you actually help them hurt you. If you’re like a lot of folks in this world, you’re probably not sure about exactly what it is that you deserve. Am I really worthy of the promotion? Do I really deserve such a great mate? Can I measure up when the pressure is on? Those doubts and questions and a thousand like them can make you tentative in stepping up and boldly claiming what you want. You might even freeze or “choke” under pressure, even if just for a fleeting moment. But it is that tentativeness, that moment of hesitation or doubt that your competition, particularly the BAITER, seizes upon to get an edge against you.
To me, integrity means doing the right thing even if nobody is watching. But for the BAITERs – the exploiters and the abusers – the fact that nobody is watching merely means it’s easier for them to operate. They don’t even bother trying to find reasons or to rationalize their attitude and moves; they are driven by blind ambition and a cutthroat mentality that they access without a second thought, and you lose.
If someone is deliberately causing you pain or harm or putting you at risk or wantonly disregarding your well-being, that person is most certainly a BAITER.
Am I saying you have to become like “them” to win or even survive? No, of course not, but you do have to plug in, engage, and stop letting them abuse you and your trust while you wish that things were different. You do have to play smarter, harder, and better. That means changing what you are doing and how you are thinking.
Modified excerpt from Life Code: The New Rules For Winning in the Real World by Dr. Phil McGraw (Bird Street Books, 2012). Read an excerpt.
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