How The Psychology of Guile Will Win Your War In Life

Dr. Conor Hogan Ph.D.
5 min readNov 18, 2021


Working hard doesn’t always get you what you deserve because others will spite you along the way but if you tap into your creativity that’s where you`ll find your just rewards

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

There are many honest beings on planet earth but then there are dishonest ones too.

Such is the story of life.

One such creature is the male callipterus fish. And when he seeks to attract a mate he works hard to do so. In his mind, he has to show that he has more than other male fish who may be competing against him and he does this by collecting shells.

One shell at a time he lifts them with his mouth and stacks them in a pile at the foot of the ocean.

He wants to have a large stack of shells so a prospective female will come along and be impressed. And although he is determined to work hard he has other things against him than his lack of limbs to lift with.

Because he has competition.

And too often there are other male fish pinching his shells from the pile just as his stack is growing. As he turns his back to head away from the stack to get the next shell another male fish will pinch one shell from his stack and use it to build theirs instead.

So even though he works hard behind his back someone is benefiting from all of his toils.

Although, from a human point of view, this is fascinating to learn and even more amazing to watch for an honest person the process it’s also quite tough to accept.

Because it doesn’t seem fair.

But then, the same happens in the human world. Because we often watch movies with two guys competing for the same girl and although we want the good guy to get her, a bold trick by the other guy wins her over in the end.

And the girl is impressed by what she initially sees and never knows the truth of it all.

Yet this happens in many other areas of life too. Like when people are competing for the same job or a promotion. Because that’s when some people put their head down and work hard to impress and others stop working but are intent on stealing from others or breaking down their great work for their benefit.

That’s human nature.

Photo by Julien Riedel on Unsplash

For there are those that build and those that are intent on tearing things down. Some are here to create and some survive by destroying. Either way, there is a place for both types.

And as unfair as it seems there is only one winner in the end.

So it’s important to know how to get out on the right side of it all. For if you`re the honest type who works hard, puts your head down, builds, and then expects things to happen as a result you could be rewarded in the end. Yet if you’re the one that steals from that type of person and relies on their hard toil you can surely benefit from the outcome without all the stress of planning and doing the hard work.

So which is the best way to be?

Well, the first guy has to be industrious, hard-working, and see an opportunity when it arises but the second guy doesn’t have these attributes. He lacks these abilities. But instead, he waits and watches for the opportunity that the honest one gives so he can take advantage of his talent and benefit from all his efficiency and productivity without having to have his overall ability. In doing so, he is benefiting himself whilst also depleting his competition.

At first glance, it seems best to be the second guy.

And in the short term, the second guy will often win out. But, in reality, he is unable to think about the longer term. Because all he does is copy what the first guy thinks of initially doing.

So essentially, the thief can’t exist without the person who thinks creatively and does the hard work to earn what he deserves in the first place. In that way, there is no long-term benefit for the thief because although he can steal his wrongful portion, he relies on off what the honest guy does to survive.

In this way, he’ll win the battle but not the war.

So once the good guy realizes his good work can be scuppered in this way he can use his creative ability to beat his sly competitor at their own game. For if they rely on his hard work in the first place all he needs to do is supply them with what they think is a good product but is in fact a smokescreen that bides his time as a distraction to his better product or service.

In the case of the callipterus fish, he’d stack only some of his shells in the way of the dishonest fish and not show his full hand to them at all.

And for hard-working humans have to use their creative minds to come up with ways to fend off their opposition and cut off their supply chain so they can victor in the end.

So if you`ve been thwarted in the past by badness that lurks around every corner, know that you`re not the only one and all you have to do is keep on being creative and working hard.

Photo by Júnior Ferreira on Unsplash

But next time keep your eyes open, watch your back, and know that your actions will not only make you lead but can stifle your competition once you accept you have the creative spark that not many others have the decency to develop for the bigger goal in the end.

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Dr. Conor Hogan Ph.D.

Forbes, INC. & Entrepreneur Magazines, CBS, & NBC Featured, Dr. Conor Is The No. 1 Best Selling Author of The Gym Upstairs