A long time ago there was a great diplomat who was unjustly cast out, doomed to exile.
This man was brilliant.
He was only 29 years old when he became a top diplomat in the Florentine republic.
Everyone was shocked at how such a young man could climb to one of the highest posts. Especially since he never had worked in the public office before.
For 14 years he served his duties. He traveled all over Europe and spoke with rulers of all kinds.
But in 1512… the Florentine republic collapsed.
The Medici family took over Florence and turned it into their kingdom. And every single person who had worked for the republic was removed from power.
Our hero also lost his job. But not only that:
A list of names got in the hands of the Medici family.
A list of people who allegedly had conspired against them. Our hero’s name was on it, so he got sent to prison and tortured for 22 days. But he wouldn’t confess one thing, maybe because he played no part in a conspiracy at all.
Eventually, he got sent to exile in his family home. South of the Florentine city walls.
Living in exile was tedious. And our hero had become mad. He was mad about politics. In a letter to his friends, he wrote that he had to talk about it. Nothing else mattered.
That’s when he picked up his pen and wrote something that changed Western civilization for centuries to come.
What was it?
Some say he wrote a failed job application to escape his exile and get a new position from the Medici…
Some say he wrote a How-To guide for rulers…
And some say he wrote a How-To guide for how the people could protect themselves against the rulers… That he wrote it to get vengeance on the people who had wronged him.
He wrote The Prince.
Our hero’s name was Niccoló Machiavelli, and he wrote The Prince – a book shorter than 100 pages that would lay the foundation of political science.
The Medici family had tortured and taken everything from Machiavelli. His calling. His pride. And most important of all, they took away the Florentine republic which Machiavelli had dedicated his life to.
But for some reason… Niccoló dedicated The Prince to Lorenzo de’ Medici, the new tyrant of Florence.
The Prince was supposed to provide Lorenzo some knowledge on how to rule. After all, Machiavelli had served a very long time for the republic.
But in truth… I believe Niccoló’s real intention behind the book was to:
1. Sabotage for the Medici family, by giving them bad advice.
2. Expose the ways of bad rulers. To catch a criminal, you have to know how criminals think. Same goes for politics. To protect yourself from tyranny and evil rulers, you have to know how they think.
Machiavelli was not an evil, power-hungry weasel. He was a republican who advocated democracy back in the 16th century!
Ironically, what he wrote in The Prince resulted in the negative term machiavellian.
But know that he didn’t advocate Machiavellism. He wanted to expose it.
Here are 10 things you need to learn from Machiavelli:
1. Don’t linger on your words.
The Prince is Machiavelli’s most read work even though he’s written great works like Discourses On Livy — which I’m plowing through right now.
One reason for that is that it’s the easiest to read. The sentences are short. He uses clear and simple language. Metaphors are used to explain concepts.
Machiavelli begins The Prince by writing that it won’t have swelling or magnificent words. He wanted the book to be honored by its content or not at all.
People read your writings to hear your message. Communicate that message and don’t waste time sounding like an intellectual.
2. Honor what you have (a case against progressivism)
People always want change. You know the saying, “the grass is always greener”.
We all want more money, a more beautiful woman and a better car. Not only that, but we often want a new leader or political system.
Take US politics today for example. Millennials are butthurt over their low wages and student debt. Of course, they salivate over people like Bernie Sanders who promise them socialism. It’s not the solution that will help them, but they are just so desperate for a change.
But if Sanders would take the office and introduce socialism to the US, the same millennials would realize their situation got thousands of times worse.
Out of the ashes and into the fire.
For men change their rulers willingly, hoping to better themselves, and this hope induces them to take up arms against him who rules: wherein they are deceived, because they afterward find by experience they have gone from bad to worse.
3. Immigration is warfare.
Machiavelli tells us that rulers use colonization to gain and maintain power over a region.
A leader sends people to a foreign area and gives them land and resources taken from native citizens.
In doing so, he only provokes the people he steals from. But they will be poor, scattered and weakened.
The rest of the people will be either loyal to the leader. Because he has given them what they own. Or they stay silent in fear of sharing fate with those who were ravaged.
“A prince does not spend much on colonies, for with little or no expense he can send them out and keep them there, and he offends a minority only of the citizens from whom he takes lands and houses to give them to the new inhabitants; and those whom he offends, remaining poor and scattered, are never able to injure him; whilst the rest being uninjured are easily kept quiet, and at the same time are anxious not to err for fear it should happen to them as it has to those who have been despoiled.“
Although colonization is rare today, we see parallels in immigration. The elite replaces the original people, who are a threat to their power, with new populations. They give the new people land, houses, and money obtained from the original population.
They hope to groom a population of drones that are completely dependent on the government — and lack any power to stand up against it.
4. Learn how to spot trouble in its wake… or you’ll have much greater problems in the future.
Let’s say you’re born with a genetic defect that increases your risk of heart disease.
If you’re smart, you care about your health and regularly get blood work done. Because of that, you one day see that your blood cholesterol is out of whack. You got to do something about it.
And luckily, it’s quite easy. You clean up your diet, start doing some cardio and take some Cardarine to improve your blood lipids.
Wham. Two months later your blood work looks perfect. And as long as you keep up the good work, your cardiovascular system will remain healthy. You just did something that added 20 years to your life.
You detected a problem in its infancy — and because of that, it was quite easy to fix.
But what if you hadn’t?
Maybe you’d drop dead from a heart attack one day. Like lightning from a blue sky.
Or maybe you’d get a heart attack that puts you in the emergency. The doctors say your veins are clogged up like hell and things are serious. Things need to be fixed ASAP, or you won’t live to see your family next Christmas.
5. You can’t avoid war. Only defer it to your disadvantage.
The Romans, foreseeing troubles, dealt with them at once, and, even to avoid a war, would not let them come to a head, for they knew that war is not to be avoided, but is only put off to the advantage of others.
There is no avoiding war; it can only be postponed to the advantage of others.
When you know that war is inevitable, don’t avoid or postpone it. Deal with it at once.
If you don’t… the threat will only grow stronger. So will your disadvantage. It’s just like with a band-aid. There’s no point in waiting. Rip it off and get it over with at once.
This also ties in with the previous point. Be quick to detect problems, and immediately take action.
Often we want to bury our heads in the sand and refuse to acknowledge the problematic elephant in the room. But that never works. Just kill it off right away.
6. Don’t trust mercenaries.
When Machiavelli lived, the states of Italy were constantly at war with each other. At the time, their armies heavily relied on mercenaries — soldiers from the Balkans who fought for money.
Back when he served as a diplomat for the Florentine republic, he worked to lower Florence’s dependence on mercenaries.
He believed mercenaries only care about their pay. They will not take the kind of risks that win the battle, in fear of damaging themselves.
A bad mercenary is obviously useless. But a good one is even worse. A successful group of mercenaries doesn’t need its employer if it is more powerful than its supposed superior.
This explains the violent betrayals that characterized mercenary relations with clients in Italy. Neither side trusted the other.
Machiavelli believed that citizens with a real attachment to their home country will be more motivated to defend it and thus make much better soldiers.
How does this apply to us in today’s day and age? Mercenary armies aren’t popular today.
DON’T TRUST SOMEONE WITHOUT SKIN IN THE GAME!
7. The ends justifies the means.
But if you’re about to do something bad, do it quickly in one day instead of a long period.
8. Easy come, easy go.
If something comes to you with little effort, you’ll be at risk of losing it as easily.
But if it requires great effort and skill, what made you climb to your position helps you maintain it.
9. Luck and skill are not the same
If someone wins the Powerball and becomes a millionaire, you don’t think they’re a skilled businessman.
It was all luck that made them rich.
Likewise, luck can play a major role in other areas as well. If you’ve been in business before, you know that luck is more important than most people think.
10. Atheism is downfall
At Machiavelli previously taught us, it’s wise to detect signs of a problem before they’ve had time to develop.
Sadly, we’ve failed to do so in this regard:
There is no surer sign of decay in a country than to see the rites of religion held in contempt.
Our civilization has become more and more atheistic during the last century. Coincidentally, we’ve begun to see human fecies, violence and other barbarious things more often on the street as well.
11. Don’t half ass
Either treat people well… or completely destroy them.
If you like people, or at least don’t have a problem with them, you should always be polite and kind. Why wouldn’t you?
But if you don’t like people… you shouldn’t go for mediocrity.
Either show love to people or annihilate them.
12. Every prince must master the art of war.
And just like every prince need to master the art of war… you need to master the arts required to get you a desired place.
Hear me out:
Loads of people dream of being millionaires.
But all they do is play the Powerball and sit on their asses, waiting for fortune to knock on their door!
Every millionaire must master the art of business.
Every musician must master the art of music.
What art do you need to master?
13. Learn from the great men in history
A wise man ought always to follow the paths beaten by great men, and to imitate those who have been supreme, so that if his ability does not equal theirs, at least it will savour of it.
Every generation believes it’s hot shit. That it’s new, different and unique.
Every generation believes it’s the pinnacle of human intelligence. They imagine that for the first time in history, they will solve all riddles, learn all truths and become gods on earth.
Every generation laughs at the hard-earned experience and wisdom of those who came before.
But there is nothing new under the sun.
Every problem… every goal you have… has been had by other men. And they either failed, or succeeded, in dealing with it. No matter what their outcomes were, you can learn from them to get better chances yourself.
… to exercise the intellect the prince should read histories, and study there the actions of illustrious men, to see how they have borne themselves in war, to examine the causes of their victories and defeat, so as to avoid the latter and imitate the former.
14. Don’t let the good times kill you
A wise prince ought to observe some such rules, and never in peaceful times stand idle, but increase his resources with industry in such a way that they may be available to him in adversity, so that if fortune changes it may find him prepared to resist her blows.
It’s easy to let your guard down when all is well. When you make money, it’s easy to go on spending sprees and live for the day. But when you don’t make money… you sure wish you’d have saved some more of it.
15. Focus on reality instead of the ideal
So many people are caught up in how things should be.
Right-wingers shouldn’t be censored on social media! Boo-hoo!
Shut up. Today’s mainstream social media is going censor you no matter what. So instead of running to whine wherever you can, you might as well focus in the stone-cold truth.
Yeah, internet platforms are censoring us. So we’ll build our own!
There is such a gap between how one lives and how one should live that he who neglects what is being done for what should be done will learn his destruction rather than his preservation.
Don’t let the world happen to you. Let you happen to the world.
16. Accepting reality is not inherently evil.
In The Prince, Machiavelli describes the ways leaders act to gain and maintain control.
Some of them are evil. Some of them good.
This has led to the belief that Machiavelli encourages you to be an evil, conniving weasel. This isn’t true. He only focuses on the reality of power, instead of the ideals, and describes them.
Evil or not, what you think of his work is only a reflection of yourself.
What’s wrong with adopting the strategies and tactics of evil people, if you use them for good?
There’s nothing wrong with being ambition, wanting to achieve your goals and putting in the work to get there. I give you permission to do so.
Calculate your actions in a careful manner. Use your mind. Study other people’s feedback to your actions. If you refuse to do so, you’ll remain a harmless, defenseless sheep. And someone else will inevitably take their shot at becoming the top wolf instead.
Don’t be a victim. The end justifies the means. Be a bad guy to do good.
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