“The people who are trying to make this world worse aren’t taking a day off. How can I?"
Bob Marley, when asked why he performed at a free concert just two days after getting shot.
Mentor X1 once told me:
If you want to learn the best strategies… Strategies you know works and gets results… Watch what the bad guys are doing.
Study their tactics, how they make decisions, all their planning, what they say outwardly… and what they actually do behind the scenes.
I did and I still do today…
Evil has a ruthless, efficient practicality that’s unparalleled.
They have their goals, they plan meticulously… and they take choreographed steps that would make a director of musicals jealous.
It makes sense.
Evil never sleeps, and they nearly always hire the smartest guys in the room.
Since then, I’ve developed an interesting collection of documents you’re probably not supposed to have on your hard drive.
- I have a 318-page cache of communications between Roger Ailes and the Nixon team during his election campaign… documents that would seed Mr. Ailes’ idea for Fox News later.
- I have a copy of the original book Scientologists use to study sales.
- I have screenshots of leaked WWE training documents for their announcers.
(Okay, the last one isn’t evil. They’re silly and fun and they produced The Rock. Nothing that made The Rock could be evil, right?)
But the theme and story is the same across the board here.
They. Don’t. Sleep.
If they do, it’s with one eye open.
They’re planning every step, detail and contingency.
They’re not thinking years ahead… but generations ahead and how to plant their kids into seats of power…
They’re orchestrating everything down to what words their people are allowed to say or not…
They’re buying off scientists and manipulating the research to “prove” their products are good for you… when they’re clearly not…
(To this day, the cigarette industry still works damn hard to prove smoking isn’t bad for you…)
They’re so good at brainwashing people, their subjects deny they were ever influenced by said evil even in the face of overwhelming evidence.
Evil Has Its Shit Together
Now, there are two lessons I want to share with you here.
First, we must recognize that “evil people" do exist in this world.
This isn’t fear mongering. It’s reality.
It’s one of the most important lessons we teach here in The Cave.
It’s the core reason we’re against most self-help and spiritual teachings online… the ones that encourage you to live in an isolated bubble and visualize yourself to wealth abundance, true love, and success.
*cough cough* Law of Attraction *cough*
In fact, Joshua and I are, amongst many other things… working on a course aptly named, “Defense Against the Dark Arts"2.
We want everyone inside The Cave to be aware of their tricks. We want everyone to have counterspells3 countermoves ready.
Because when you’re keenly aware of their tactics … you see through their smoke and mirrors… and their magic stops working.
What’s more, if you want to play on the world stage in any way, shape, or form…
You better know how to navigate your interactions with them… because, frankly, they’re everywhere.
From low level con artists and passive flakes, to psychopaths in seats of power.
Knowing they exist and how to deal with them is just a part of business, community-building or whatever “big thing" you’re trying to do.
Heck, if you have any loved ones close to you in your life, I believe it’s your responsibility to be aware of the Dark Arts and be able to protect them… or even teach them how to defend themselves.4
Now with that said…
Maybe You Should Be A Little “Evil" Too
Let’s be clear here…
Strategies, tactics, planning, orchestration and meticulous training docs are tools.
They’re neutral. Anyone can use them.
In fact, anyone who wants to do anything “big" with their life, organization, community or business should.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with backing up your work with scientific research. Just be prepared to pivot if it doesn’t support your premise. (Basically, don’t obfuscate, lie or exaggerate).
There’s nothing inherently wrong with creating a style guide and internal language for your tribe, community or business. Joshua and I have one too. It’s wonderful for shorthand communication.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with planning out your venture to last 100… 300… even 1,000 years into the future. Several Japanese businesses have been around for over a thousand years!!
There’s nothing wrong with orchestrating your events, experiences and your conversations with people either.
You ever been to Disneyland? Every little thing that happens while you’re there was planned meticulously to give you the most magical experience possible.
And there’s definitely nothing wrong with picking up some good old fashioned sales skills.
It is our responsibility to persuade, inspire, empower, rally and encourage the ones we love to do something that benefits them.
The real question is…
When is a strategy “good" or “evil"?
I think it starts with intention.
I think something is “evil" when strategies are used to accomplish a goal that clearly requires you to outright lie to, manipulate or hurt people… or convince people to do something that would hurt them in ways they can’t see yet.
A lot of what happened in the past few years are clear examples of this. Brexit. Fake News. Hydraulic fracking.5
When you have to systematically lie to people, over and over again, in order to achieve your aims… uh, something’s not right.
So let’s get back to how you can use these strategies without slipping into the dark side.
I think we can start with The Cave’s first axiom: Start at Zen Zero
Once we’ve cleared away our biases, prejudices, false narratives, past hurts and lies we tell ourselves…
We can start asking if what we intend to do is a good idea.
Will it serve others? Will it make me happy? Will I be able to execute it? Will it actually make me money… if that’s the goal? Will it actually feed my passion… if that’s the goal? Will it make my loved ones happy… and if not, how do I manage that? Will it hurt others? Will I do anything it takes or do I have boundaries? Will it be worth the cost?
Whatever your criteria is… you can ask it from a clear space.
It’s important you act and do so starting from a “clean place".
Because no matter what you do in life, there’s always going to be a cost. You’re going to affect others. You don’t work in a vacuum.
And systems and strategies amplify and speed up your work. So you better be clear that’s what you really want.
And when people start questioning you, start doubting you, start arguing with you… start digging dirt up on you and throwing your own shit in your face…
You will have a strong, solid foundation to backup, counteract and defend yourself.
If you’ve accepted who you are, your past, your mistakes, your history… and you can walk into the fire clean and free… you’re virtually untouchable.
You’re like Kobe Bryant not flinching (at all) when Matt Barnes tries (and fails) to psych you out.
You’ve played out all the scenarios in your head and you’ve accepted the consequences for each of them.
It shows you cared. It shows you thought about how your actions would affect others.
You’ve weighed the pros and cons before you stepped on the gas pedal.
You’re using strategies with a clear conscience.
Are We Jammin’ Now?
So back to my quote.
Bob Marley once played a free concert for 80,000 people two days after he got shot.
The intentions of the would be assassins are debated to this day… but the leading theory is it was political.
But that’s not why I want to share this story.
It’s the fact that Bob Marley had a choice to cancel the concert after this.
Two whole days to make this choice.
His wife was shot in the head. His manager got it even worse: five gunshot wounds. (Both survived)…
And in spite of this brush with death…
While his bandmates went in hiding…
Bob Marley didn’t cancel.
He showed up.
He played the concert with a bullet lodged in his right bicep.6
The doctors had offered to remove it, but it would’ve caused his hand to lose functionality.
In other words, Bob Marley would have to stop playing music.
So naturally, he chose to keep the bullet where it was.
And it stayed there until the day he died.7.
Later, when he was asked why he played the concert even after getting shot, he replied:
“The people who are trying to make this world worse aren’t taking a day off. How can I?”
And I think… Bob Marley made this decision from a clean place.
He knew what he stood for and he knew his intention and purpose.
I don’t know how else you could explain the calm, equanimity, and courage in which someone can act like this in the face of danger…
So let me ask you this…
What’s the one thing in your life you’d never take days off for?Bob Marley picture by Ueli Frey, via Wikimedia Commons
“Mentor X” is someone I worked closely with between 2010-2014. A lot of what The Cave is about is due to his teachings. ↩︎
Please don’t tell J.K. Rowling. We don’t want to pay her royalties. ↩︎
Like when Harry founded Dumbledore’s Army. (Seriously, don’t let J.K. know, OK?) ↩︎
Well, technically, it’s still there I guess. ↩︎