One of favorite books from the seventies is Winning Through Intimidation by Robert J Ringer. I also liked his other bestseller, Looking Out for #1. If you have read the books you know that they do not endorse selfishness or thoughtlessness towards others. In fact, they are quite the opposite.
Mr Ringer preaches that the path to success is in being prepared and ready to handle difficult situations as they come up. His story is not about how to intimidate others, but how to be organized and ready so you are not intimidated by others who practice intimidation as a way of getting what they want out of life.
I vividly recall his story of closing a deal that was about to go south because the client wanted a contract revised. He had his secretary there on the spot with her typewriter make the changes. And this was before word processors. He was prepared and he got the deal. He is also emphatic that people who practice intimidation forget about you when they get what they want.
The premise of Mr Ringer’s books and philosophy is that your happiness benefits others. If you are happy, you will be in a better position to help bring happiness into the lives of others. You are happy when you are confident and you are confident when you are prepared. So why not face reality and prepare yourself to deal with the intimidating people in life?
I have had my share of experiences dealing with people who practice intimidation. For some people it seems that life is made up of one adversarial confrontation after another. And they appear to thrive on it as if it were a game to them. I guess if you are competitive by nature then you just want to win, no matter what it does to others.
I abhor this selfish philosophy. Let me reiterate. Intimidation is not what Mr Ringer was teaching or continues to teach today. He wisely counseled that to win with people like that you simply need to be prepared to deal with them and anticipate what they will do. I don’t think of myself as a competitive person but I embraced the philosophy of being prepared long ago.
Let’s apply this to living in today’s world. If you believe in and stand up for principles that are true, you need to be prepared to defend them when attacked by those who do not value them. And attack them they will. As time goes by, what Latter-day Saints believe and practice will come under criticism, ridicule and condemnation by those who do not uphold the truth.
Will you be prepared when your beliefs and private religious practices come under attack? It may be subtle or it may be direct. It may come from a stranger but more likely from someone you know. You can safely use the media as a guide for what is being attacked – marriage, the family, and Christianity in any public display in America. Are you prepared to defend your faith?