The title alone should set off your curiosity sensors. Why wouldn’t it? It gives a refreshing new look on personal development while summing up everyone’s true villainous desire:
To have more influence and power in life.
Maybe you’ve heard the stories (or experienced it yourself) where a guy with below-average looks and average intelligence can walk into a room and own it — people flock to him. But what creates this influential force that fills the room? The quick answer is charisma and influence.
In Ben Settle’s book, he takes an uncommon approach to show you what it takes to harness the power of charisma. He uses “the villain” to make his point. Who better to drive his message than the most influential and powerful characters in life?
There are 10 qualities (that all villains have) that can better your charisma and turn you into a more influential person.
Why charisma and why the villain?
Because if you can master charisma (and not fake it) the world will hand you anything. It’s a weapon that villains wielded for centuries to implement mass influence on the world.
Use it wisely.
1. A man without a mission is like a man without testicles.
Your mission is everything. If you don’t have a mission, then you’re just aimlessly wandering through life with no purpose.
Watch any famous villain like the Joker, Lex Luther, or Dr. Evil, and they all have a burning desire to accomplish their crazy goal. The only thing that stops them is death. When Deathstroke (from Arrow) was finally captured and jailed, he still made it his mission in life to bring grief to the Green Arrow.
But what is a mission?
It can be any dream, big goal/vision in life. And this is your clearly defined mission, not someone else’s.
Maybe it’s to be a top jazz guitarist, to build a multimillion dollar company, to quit your job and work from home, to be a founder of a church or charity, to find the right woman to marry, or to be the best cook in California.
Whatever it is, let’s be honest.
Will you upset people? Yes.
Will you have challenges? Absolutely.
Will you have setback? Most definitely.
Will you feel like quitting sometimes? Affirmative.
Whatever your mission is, make it top priority in life. Don’t let anyone deter you from your mission, or persuade you to change it, put it to the side, or convince you that it’s stupid — Your mission and the tasks at hand are your daily priority. Once you define your mission and put it into drive everyday, you’ll instantly have this charismatic glow.
2. Annihilate Your Neediness
Neediness can kill your charisma.
What does a needy person look like?
- Always checking their phone to see if they got a response.
- Afraid of not being liked.
- Talks too much when trying to persuade someone.
- Has trouble saying no.
- Apologizes all the time.
This quality alone can kill your success. But there is hope. You can nip this ugly behavior with constant conscious effort. Start by caring less about other people.
- Put your goals, interests, and desires before everyone else.
- Disappear from your social circle.
- Position yourself as the person on top of the mountain that’s hard to get to.
To become a villain of mass influence you need to remove yourself from the masses. Yes, this sounds jerkish, but the most notorious villains never had a need to be around people.
Secondly, stop seeking approval from others that don’t matter. A villain doesn’t seek approval. When they have an idea or goal, they do it. Same goes with you. Stop “needing” to ask others if your decisions are good decisions.
However, know that elimination of “neediness” takes time. It takes constant conscious effort to analyze and correct your actions until it becomes habit and you’ve morphed into one who others need instead.
3. Selfishly Pay Yourself first
“Ten percent of everything you earn is yours to keep” — taken from the book, “The Richest Man In Babylon,” this advice is for every future villain (or hero 😉 ).
Financial independence is crucial for influence. It’s difficult to fake your charisma if you’re worried about money all the time. Someone who’s financially independent is naturally more influential — they have more money for heists, plans, henchman, and missions.
To eliminate your desperate neediness for money, the next step is actually very simple. Just take 10% of your income (before you pay any bills) and keep that for yourself. And that money is not to be touched for purposes other than investments and/or your business (or your mission if you don’t have any business goals).
No matter what, take your 10%, This is where you put you and your mission first before anyone else.
Why should you take care of those credit card companies first, or the landlord? Or the banks? Take care of yourself first, and if you need money to pay the bills than you will find it somehow by taking up side jobs, selling, or working more hours.
Second, pay yourself first in “time” as well. The first hour of your day belongs to you.
- To work on your own projects.
- Your products/ services.
- Your personal development.
- Your education.
Time and money are the villain’s most valuable resources. So selfishly take your share before the other sharks take it.
Your first hour of the day belongs to you. Not your clients and not your employer. Instead, devote your morning to personal development, getting more clients, improving your business, or selling your own products.
No matter how busy you get or how many deadlines there are, be selfish and work on your own mission/business. Time is extremely valuable (all influential villains know this), so be selfish and take your lot.
Start today and be a master of time and money.
4. Secure Your “Screw You Fund”
A screw-you fund is six months to a year of income set aside. If you never touch it, it’s done its job.
And Why do you need a screw-you fund?
What better way to eliminate neediness then to have a large stash of your own cash. A pile of dough that keeps us away from the crappy clients and the bad deals, and protects us when shit hits the fan (a “leave-the-country-tonight” stash) .
Keep it somewhere that’s easy to get to and risk-free. Like a CD account.
Just having tens of thousands of dollars (that you don’t need) sitting somewhere automatically grants you some confidence. And confidence leads to charisma.
So now that your money and time are going to you first, your screw you fund is secured, and your financial neediness down the drain.
5. Ruthlessly Knock People Off Their Pedestals
Our journey into a villain’s world leads us to our next skill, to put nothing on a pedestal above your mission.
Too many people have fallen victim to others looking down on them. That’s because when you place anyone on a higher pedestal (your boss, clients, wife, mentor) they have no choice but to look down on you.
You should already know that villains never put anyone on a pedestal. If someone things you’re weak, wave goodbye to that relationship.
Keep in mind, that this isn’t permission to be a jerk to people. Don’t belittle people. Don’t mistreat people. This is personal development book. Not jerk development.
6. Execute Your Inner Nice Guy with Extreme Prejudice
Let’s face it, because you’re a nice person, people step all over you.
The kind of nice we’re talking about is the kind that allows people to take from you willingly. The kind that brings down your price when people ask. The kind that has you bending over backwards for people who don’t deserve it or who don’t give anything in return, and you do it all for the sake of being nice.
This type of “niceness” is destructive.
So how do you kill your inner nice guy?
- Set up boundaries/standards that are not to be broken.
- Be selfish.
- If you’re good at something don’t give it away for free.
- Get rid of low-class-jackass people from your life. They are toxic.
- Don’t give anything to someone trying to harm you in any way, shape, or form.
- Don’t put anyone on a pedestal.
The only reason why you even allow this kind of “niceness” to come out is because you’re afraid to upset people. And you’re afraid to upset people because you want to be liked. So then, you bend your own rules and standards, you drop important tasks for someone else, and you lose your integrity.
Screw all that…
Stuff that nice guy in a dungeon. Being nice only gets you preyed on by thieves, passed up for promotions, beaten in business, and dumped.
Ironically, when you’re not “nice,” when you don’t seek out “likes,” people end up respecting you.
7. Stake & Behead the Time Vampires
There are those in life who’ll constantly waste your time. You don’t realize who they are now, but they’re there. Remember, time is precious, and the more time you waste, the less time you’ll have to reach your mission.
These people who suck the time and energy from you are called Time Vampires. They come in different forms and these time sucking beasts (friends and family) are robbing you of the most precious commodity on earth: time.
Be the villain and don’t let them even nibble on you. If you try and play the nice guy, they’ll only take advantage and continuously tap into your jugular.
There are many types of vampires like the “Debating Dracula”, “Phone Calling Count”, “Always-Late Lestat”, “Nagging Nosferatu” and many more. But the bottom line is, these festering blood suckers only want one thing: your time. And they don’t stop using you as a tap source.
So, what do you do about them?
Don’t invite them in and ignore them.
Sounds harsh, I know. Some of them may be your dearest friends or family. So, look at it this way: If they already know your time is important but they insist on piercing into you when they don’t need to, then they’re just plain vampires that don’t really care about you and your mission.
8. Villains Never Lose Sleep Over the Opinions of Sheep.
Do you think influential people like Howard Stern, Vladimir Putin, Trump, Obama, or The Joker care about the opinions of the masses?
They don’t. And neither did General Douglas Macarthur when he ignored (but patiently listened to) the disagreements from President Truman’s most trusted “Yes” men and gave the commander-in-chief an ultimatum: either he gets what he wants, or they find a new commander.
When you know you’re right, you know you’re right. And when you’re not afraid to lose everything (regardless of what others are saying) you gain confidence that only charismatic and influential people in life have.
Who are these “sheep” that I’m referring to; the kind of sheep who spout out opinions that make most people toss and turn at night?
- Social media
- Even family
Opinions are as valuable as dung; it’s the most abundant commodity on Earth yet people are flocking to one another waiting to give their “valuable” opinion.
So go after your mission without hesitation and ignore the opinions. Only pick advisors who have achieved what you’re trying to achieve and ignore the others.
Giving ear to what others say will only make you think twice about your decisions and your goals. It will make you fear failure (a common destructive trait in the masses).
So, pony up. Ignore them. And don’t worry about hurting people’s feelings on the way. Because what’s more important, your success or someone else opinions?
9. Patience: A Super Villain’s Deadliest Weapon
“The Count of Monte Cristo” is a must-see for any aspiring villain. That’s because Edmund Dante is the perfect example of a person with unbelievable charisma and influence.
The important lesson of patience starts with Dante’s 13-year imprisonment on an island where only the ashamed prisoners go. They’re fed slope once a day. They’re kept in a 10’x10’ stone windowless room, never let out except once a year on their anniversary to be whipped and reminded of how many years they’ve been there.
However, those 13 years weren’t for nothing.
Long story short, Dante spent those 13 years training and planning his revenge. After his escape, he transformed from complete despair (woman taken from him, best friend betrayed him, falsely imprisoned) into a cunning, wealthy, and patient villain.
That’s 13 years he waited to get out and seek his revenge. Most people quit after 1.
That 13-year chastening led him to be:
- Loyal to true friends
- A lethal fighter
- Not “needy” (able to ignore the charms of beautiful women to focus on his mission)
- In control of emotions (he harnessed his anger towards executing his goals)
But the most important trait of em’ all…. Patience.
Patience to wait for the perfect time to escape prison.
Patience to find henchmen.
Patience to carefully plan and execute his mission like a chess game; putting all the pieces in place to take out everyone who screwed him. Learn patience (careful you don’t use this as an excuse for in-action). Nurture it. Strengthen it. Be conscious of it always.
10. Be the Joker
The book ends with the most influential and villainous character of them all… the Joker from Batman.
Regardless of what source he came from (films, comics, cartoon show), he was perhaps the most well-known and feared villain, and he displayed all the traits that make up an influential person. But don’t take this out of context… this doesn’t mean that you must be a psychopath, murderer, or evil to be influential.
However, the Joker is a prime example of someone with adversaries who can’t keep up with and can’t figure out his next move. Someone whose henchmen never betray him. And someone who always accomplishes his mission (except killing Batman). And there’s one trait that allows him to have such influence.
Impact in every plan. Impact in every action. Impact in every word. What does the Joker do to have impact?
- Everything he does is unforgettable (to burning a ceiling-high pile of cash, to blowing up a boat with hundreds of people).
- He never bores you (with his “peacock” attire, his wittiness, and unpredictability).
- His pursuit of excellence (knows that the city needs better criminals and then does something about it).
- And his fearlessness (willing to let a flip of a quarter determine his death or not).
These characteristics plus more (he’s dangerous, reaches for higher goals, changes plans on a dime, strategic) are what make people submit to YOUR mission because of the impact you have.
Bottom line is…
Have impact in all things you do.
Looks and size have nothing to do with how much influence and success you have. It’s impact.
Practice being impactful along with the other characteristics (patience, not swayed by opinions, time well managed and guarded, eliminating “niceness”, placing no one else but your mission on a pedestal, building your financial security, removing “neediness”, and always focusing on the mission, and you’ll be on your way to acquiring your desires.
Interested in reading the whole book?
P.S. This post wasn’t written by me, but a good friend of mine, Paul DoCampo, who’s a major badass at pretty much everything entrepreneurial. If you’re interested in writing about a book you’ve read, let me know. I’d love to chat.