Psychopaths And What We Can Learn From Them
When we think of “Psychopaths” or the term “Psychopathy”, the things that tend to jump into our mind are those of manipulators, terrorists, psychotic serial killers, the coldblooded murderers portrayed in horror movies or the sort of nightly creatures that crawl in the worst of nightmares; definitely not someone you would ever want to cross path with. The reality is, however, psychopaths are more common than you think, making up roughly of about 1 percent of all human population, it is plausible to say that we are practically swimming in “Psychopaths”. If that is so, how could we be possibly living so blissfully in utter peace and tranquility like we are now? The truth is our conception of what “psychopathy” actually is, is albeit, only true to a certain degree, for not all psychopaths are mindless killers, nor committers of heinous crime, most live a normal life, have proper human relationships, hold down stable jobs and startlingly more often than not, are highly successful individuals, with the statistic of at least 21 percent of all CEOs being psychopaths and many more working and specializing in medical and law fields, due to the interesting traits that come with their psychopathic nature. The 3 main traits that enable them to attain such great achievement while being able to blend in so seamlessly into our society, are their superficial charm, callousness, and ability to work under stress which if carefully studied can be put to use for the greater good, both socially and personally. First and foremost, psychopaths are incredibly successful for their well-known captivating superficial charm that has the ability to lure everyone around them into becoming oblivious puppets that are mindlessly trusting of them. Outwardly, these creatures appeal to us in the rawest of humane sense possible for they appear to be immensely capable, confident, charismatic and powerful yet, warm, compassionate and welcoming to all. However, as previously stated, it is all but skin deep.
Studies have shown that psychopaths are born without a wide range of humane emotion such as empathy, the ability to understand and feel others’ pain, and deep emotional attachment due to a part of their brains, the amygdala, the region that regulate said emotions being visibly smaller than normal human’s for about 18 percent, making them unable to process these fundamental emotions. In addition, they have a higher level of testosterone which makes them more innately aggressive than normal people, giving them a heightened sense of self-grandiosity, hence their bottomless confidence that is borderline on narcissism. To make up for their emotional deficiency, they would then spend their time observing those around them in order to imitate and mimic, which in turn, sharpen their wit and make their emotional intelligence sky rocket, enabling them to read people like a book despite not having any humane emotions themselves and able to infiltrate into any social hierarchy with ease. They then use this mask of impeccable personality of theirs to persuade and make people do their bidding and behave in ways that is favorable to the psychopaths themselves. These skills set, however, is only horrible when used to the extreme, like exploiting people for example, but extremely useful when used moderately and properly especially in sale or in a working environment. They are great sale-people due to their persuasive skills and a perfect team player when it comes to team work for they charm people in, make them feel safe and understood while knowing exactly what their teammates need and what need to be done for the team to reach their goal in the most efficient way possible. Secondly, and without a doubt, psychopaths are extremely calloused creatures. They are not plagued by emotions which is unlike most of us who tend to let our emotions and those of the people around us run wild and interfere with our decision making. Their ways of making decisions is cold, detached and backed by logic in the purest form possible, making them the best candidates for jobs in business and higher position like CEOs, leaders, politicians, all jobs that are required to make tough and harsh decisions with little regard to emotions, be it internal or external. Take Steve Jobs for example, who, of course, was not a psychopath but he possessed this “leader” trait. He could not be careless about what people thought of him, got himself ganged up against and fired from his own company until he was hired back in. If this had happened to anyone with high emotional sensitivity and feeling of betrayal, this would have become very ugly and we would not know when we would be able to have all these smartphones like nowadays. But fortunately for us, He was Steve and he just went back to work. This be said, though we can never be, nor should we ever be, entirely detached of all emotions for these are the things that make us “human”; we should, however, learn to distance our decision making from our own and others’ internal turmoil. Because in the end, most of these emotions are simply a distraction that could stop us from making the right and meaningful decision.
Last but by no mean least, psychopaths’ best last trait is their ability to work under extreme stress. A study by O’Leary, Loney, & Eckel (2007) showed that the human stress hormone known as cortisol which is released when the body is under stress, mentally or physically, is found to be less responsive in psychopathic individuals. To them, stress is a state of emotions, triggered by fear, insecurity and doubt, always present but so heavily muted that they do not pay any mind to them. In short, they simply see the problem, know that it needs to be tackled down, tackle the problem and move on without being in the slightest bit “stressed out” by that occasion. For this one reason, they do their job well and systematically better than those who are constantly plagued with mundane emotion such as fear, worry etc. What we can learn from this is simply to fear and worry a bit less because in the end, what needs to be done still needs to be done. The quicker, these emotions are dealt with, the quicker we would be able act and the happier we would be going toward our end-goal.
In conclusion, psychopaths have advantageous traits that give them the high probability of succeeding in today society which are known to be their superficial charm, callousness and ability to work under stress. While we should never ever strive to be like psychopaths who care about nothing but getting ahead in life, disregarding everyone around them, they still have traits that are learnable and can prove to be useful when practice properly and moderately like the ability to observe and relate to people’s emotions, mental toughness and fearlessness in decision making that could be used to enrich our own life and others around us. </p>