An article over at CNBC.com is detailing something that many of you have likely suspected for a while now.
Namely, that super-successful person in your circle of friends…may well be a little psycho.
Like, really a psycho.
As the CNBC piece points out, psychopathy is a mental disorder that is inherited. While there are numerous characteristics of a psychopath, some of the better known include an elaborate perception of one’s self-worth; the constant craving for stimulation; impulsiveness; the masterful ability to manipulate; the ability to exude great charm; and an acute lack of any remorse.
Dr. Igor Galynker, a professor of psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine in New York City, says of psychopaths, “We promote them, we elect them, and sometimes, a lot of people feel comfortable when people like that are in charge of our lives.”
According to Jon Ronson, author of The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry, roughly 1 percent of the population are psychopaths, whereas about 4 percent of business leaders and CEOs are psychopaths.
Galynker says that those who are more empathetic in the workplace are at a distinct competitive disadvantage, because their tendency to care about others can negatively impact their ability to make decisions that may be best for the business…but not for the individuals. As he puts it, “Empathy can interfere with you doing your job quite a bit. And in the competitive workplace, empathy is discouraged because it may interfere with what you need to do for work.”
So, is there anything a “regular person” can do to professionally achieve in at least somewhat the same way as their psychopathic counterparts?
“You want to be able to understand what character traits make people successful, whether psychopathic or not, and then you want to use them hopefully in a moral or ethical fashion, so you don't step on people in the process," says Galynker.
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