What a [Dictator] Can Teach You About Being Yourself

Nearing the end of our series on “What [Villains] Can Teach You About Being Yourself”.  And today we continue with dudes who ruin generations of people with their oppression, and murder, and theft:  Dictators.

being yourselfSo what can a dictator teach you about being yourself?  More than the UN would probably ever admit…

Except obviously you wouldn’t think so.


Cause dictators suck.

Cause in a world that only ever trends towards freedom – of information, and opportunity, and choice in life – these douches hold tightly to the past.  They use every and all means – of the people’s land, money, and resources – to oppress, and control, and hold power over those who’ve likely only ever felt powerless.

They imprison those who speak out, and silence those who speak up.

They coerce those who act out, and kill those who rise up.

They invent enemies and single-out groups, to place blame upon them for the hardships they caused and the problems they invented.

They take power in the name of people’s desire for freedom and opportunity, and give them neither.

They prey on the weakness and ignorance of their countrymen; to take from them all they have and all they ever hope to have, to pay off their cronies, and fund their lavish lifestyles, and those of their bratty kids – as their countrymen starve, or live without jobs, chances, or hope.

These are the opposite of respectable human beings.


…imagine the gall these dudes must have to even attempt the coups or revolutions necessary to give them power.

Imagine the fearlessness and determination.

Imagine the fucking balls it takes – to walk into a room of of the most powerful men in your country and say: “I’m in charge now”; to step before the people and say: “You follow me now”; to tell the man who rules the nation and controls the military and the money: “You are henceforth banished and relieved of your duties”.

“I’m President”.

“I’m General”.

“I’m King now”.

Vladimir Lenin ordered the deposition of the Russian Provisional Government from a women’s college.

Idi Amin sealed off the airport when the Ugandan Prime Minister flew to Singapore for a conference.

Muammar Gaddafi (pictured above) was a Colonel when he overthrew Libyan King Idris.  A fucking colonel.

These dudes risked their lives, and those of all who followed them.  They risked the success of their cause, and their beliefs, for the slim chance that they may yet realize them.  They toppled a government when most try to reform it.  They took control of a nation when most only ever attempt to improve it.

But – more than anything – they were willing to take advantage of an opportunity while opportunity existed; to lead in a time of uncertainty and unrest, a time of revolution – where so many wanna be a part, but no one is willing to be the face.

Because it’s the leader that takes the biggest risk; the leader that accepts the most danger, and shoulders the heaviest burden.

It’s the leaders of these revolutions that become the biggest targets to the very men they’ve pledged to defeat – the very same who also possess every ability and desire to end them.

What they did after…

…was horrible, and contemptible, and cowardly.  But what they did that day they stole power, and those days and months before it, was something else.

Cause they risked themselves.  They jeopardized themselves.  They led others when doing so was indeed the most dangerous thing imaginable.

And every day after, they lived and worked as if all they had done, and all they continued to demand and order, was not only required, but expected.

That of course people would follow them.

That of course their view was the best and right view.

That all they said, and did, and done was obviously the right thing because they did it.  And the opinions and beliefs and ideas of others meant nothing, so long as their lungs still breathed and their hearts still beat.

Some serious self-confidence.

Some serious self-belief.

Some serious self-delusion even.

And so what can a dictator teach you about being yourself?

That in times of struggle, and fear, and uncertainty it’s those who lead that gain.  It’s those with the ability, and foresight, and audacity to risk their head who win so much more.

That it’s those who believe they’re the best – who believe they’re deserving of power – who inevitably earn it.

That it’s those with the courage to lead, that end up leading anything – for years, for decades, for generations.

Because the great many of us aren’t like that, aren’t leaders, wouldn’t risk that.  Because most would – even in a revolution – rather remain a faceless, nameless person in a crowd, than be pointed out, called out, singled out.

But those who achieve in life are those willing to step forward when everyone else toes the line; those willing to speak their mind when everyone else looks around silently; those willing to lead when others will only follow.

I’m almost positive none of us will ever become dictators (I still have slight hopes for myself), but if we’re ever to become our best and truest selves we have to be willing to be as dictators are – leaders.

We have to be able to be the first to speak up.  The first to stand up.  The first to march.

We have to be willing to risk that our revolution is a solo revolution; that with our opinions, and beliefs, and personality, we are The Only.

Cause who gives a shit?

Cause being yourself means being willing to do so despite the opinions and actions of others.  It means being yourself though others may say “Fuck you.  We like someone else.  We prefer someone else.  We choose someone else.”

Let them.

It happens to every dictator in time too.

But at least we won’t end up in a noose…


Share and comment below.  Be a leader.


4 Responses to What a [Dictator] Can Teach You About Being Yourself

  1. downfromtheledge says:

    This series of posts reminds me of this quote:

    “Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.”

    It’s talking about something else, but in a way, very much the same. Think of the people with the biggest egos, the most charisma, who convey the most power — by no means always great, wonderful, deserving human beings who earned all they have….but they BELIEVE they are the shit. And that’s all that counts.

    Then there’s the rest of us: good people, decent people, deserving – by all accounts should be brimming with confidence – yet half of us don’t believe we’re entitled to the space we take up in the world.

    All kind of backwards, methinks.

    • Adam Austyn says:

      I dunno. Good people have these qualities for sure, though not as easily demonstrable maybe. But these dudes definitely take a gift and “use it for evil”, right? Cause if they didn’t have these qualities, we obviously would have never heard of them at all…

  2. downfromtheledge says:

    Well, we’re also talking about psychopaths and personality disordered individuals in some of these examples, so it may be less of a gift than a lack of empathy or conscience. But for comparison’s sake, to look at simply the traits and how we use the power we’re given, I think definitely people can use the influence of their leadership in either direction: to help or harm.

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