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The Philosophy of The Mastermind -- How to Become One

Updated: May 29

A mysterious leader sitting at a desk.

The Mastermind: Leader, Planner, and Manipulator

The mastermind is a combination of a leader and a planner. Because masterminds are thinkers by nature, any philosopher who is also a talented leader can be a mastermind as well. In Hebrew, the term does not exist, and is often incorrectly translated as "genius." However, geniuses are not necessarily masterminds. They might be too incompetent and have poor leadership skills, to be considered masterminds.

(A genius in mathematics, for example, won't necessarily be a mastermind. They calculate, lecutre, etc., not necessarily make plans).

Masterminds never work alone. In fiction, they are often depicted as working in a "back-office" or "inner sanctum" of sorts, giving orders to their subordinates. If they have no direct subordinates, they will carry out their plans through manipulation. However, a mastermind can be both a manipulator and a direct leader.

Manipulation is relevant here because it is a tool that masterminds use to have power over others indirectly. They conceal their true intentions in order to achieve their goals. Power does not have to be concrete when it can be expressed through influence.

Overall, A mastermind is a strategic thinker who combines leadership skills with meticulous planning. They are the architects behind complex schemes, often wielding power through influence and manipulation.

Key Points:

  • Thinker and Leader: Masterminds excel at strategizing and possess strong leadership qualities.

  • Beyond Genius: While intelligence is important, a true mastermind goes beyond raw intellect. They need the ability to translate ideas into action.

  • Manipulation as a Tool: Masterminds often use manipulation to achieve their goals, concealing their true intentions to influence others indirectly.

  • Working in the Shadows: Though they may have direct subordinates, masterminds are often depicted as working behind the scenes, pulling the strings from a hidden "inner sanctum."

  • Hebrew Translation: The concept of a mastermind doesn't have a direct translation in Hebrew and is often mistakenly referred to as "genius."

The Architects of Influence I: Understanding the Capability

Often, masterminds are criminals, but one does not need to be a criminal in order to be a mastermind (and vice versa). Heads of criminal organizations, both in fiction and non-fiction, must be good masterminds in order to survive in their business and to avoid the law. A good example for that is Walter White from "Breaking Bad".

Outside of criminality, business owners, project managers, etc. can also be considered masterminds. This is especially true if they are good at their jobs. There is no mastermind who is not both a leader and a planner at the same time. Both of these skills are mental, and do not necessarily depend on the external world.

In other words, if a mastermind loses all of their power and influence, they can still be considered a mastermind if they have the potential to regain those resources. The same goes for their plans, if they fail constantly.

It is all, as the name suggests, within one's mind, that determines if it is capable enough, to be a mastermind. As you may clearly tell, it has nothing to do with the physical body (or at least, physical fitness/strength).

A mastermind does not need to be good at what they do in order to be considered a mastermind. It's just that it is within one's best interest, that they are to be good, and to improve. You can be bad at what you do and still be considered a mastermind, as long as you practice those skills regularly.

Whether or not you are good at fulfilling those roles is determined by your competence, which is evident by the success of your efforts.

Incompetence does not cancel your role. Incompetent masterminds in fiction include:

The Architects of Influence II: Understanding the Mentality

As a leader, you must make sure that your subordinates are organized in the best way possible in order to achieve the goals of the organization. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to leadership, but having charisma can help a lot in getting the most out of your followers. A charismatic individual is confident, assertive, and appealing. Charisma attracts people, and the way you behave determines your charisma.

Most of us are not masterminds simply because we are not natural leaders. You can be as intelligent as possible, but without the ability to plan and delegate tasks, you cannot be a mastermind. That's why masterminds never work entirely by themselves. They need interpersonal skills that not all highly intelligent people have. And people won't necessarily become leaders through learning or experience.

Without these skills, they will cooperate and lead others very poorly. Even if they are more withdrawn by nature, it is not the same for most of humanity. Leadership does not begin and end with a paycheck. It requires good social dynamics, loyalty, effective communication, and so on.

As an existentialist, I am also a leader. I strive to implement my own vision in this world, a vision that does not necessarily exist currently. In a world that I deem meaningless by default, I seek to work and make it meaningful in the eyes of as many people as possible. Why? Because meaning can and deserves to be created, and not only found.

I want people to believe in themselves! I want to inspire hope and motivation in their hearts! My power is just a means to an end. I also use it in my attempts to make philosophy not only a relevant field of study, but a profitable one.

Remember, a mastermind cannot be one without at least a single plan. And plans cannot exist without a purpose or goal in mind. Therefore, every mastermind works to achieve the purpose they set out for themselves to carry.

In a very partial way, every mastermind is therefore an existentialist. Because when you create a plan, you attribute meaning to reality. Otherwise, you wouldn't have come up with a plan, would you? The meaning you work for has yet to be present, hence why you work to create it.

There are other proficiencies required to be a mastermind, and they depend on the niche you're in. For example, a website manager might not need military expertise, and a modern-day warlord might not need to know how to play football.

Like with anything, it takes practice and is an ongoing effort to be a good mastermind. So be prepared to fail, even miserably. Suffer the consequences of your mistakes and learn from them. Learn from them so you can reduce the chances of failure in the future.

Try to be creative with your plans. Don't conform to the orthodox ways of life. Limiting yourself will only hinder your plans from becoming a reality. This is one of the many reasons I'm not fond of conformity for its own sake.

Don't be afraid of what others may think of you. You have a right to resist fear. If you will, you'll only harm your goals and put yourself in a corner. Instead, embrace your eccentricity as a means to an end. Remember, a mastermind tries to make whatever they have into something useful. This doesn't mean you have to see other people as tools on a chessboard, but I digress.

In the end, a mastermind is a universal businessman. They seek to do anything in their power to make their dreams come true. And you can't do that without coming up with plans and making sure they work.

Building Your Empire Through Collaboration

Since working entirely on your own can deliver poor results, you must reach out and make connections, to increase your chance of success. Only through cooperation can the chances of your success vastly increase. And theirs too, especially if you choose to join forces under a shared goal.

Make them stick with you in exchange for something valuable. Make them feel how great it is to be connected with a person such as yourself. And you'll get "bonus points" if you convince them that they won't necessarily get what they want/need without you.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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