Seek first to be wise and then, through wisdom, access power.
Wisdom refers to the capacity to identify what to avoid, what to do, and how to do it. Power refers to the capacity to reliably produce a specific result quickly and with minimal investment of resources. Note that power without wisdom can be extremely dangerous.
Many people have been encouraged to seek various forms of power and to neglect or ignore wisdom. Who benefits from the social reality of a massive competition for power? Who benefits from a hysterical contempt for the pursuit of wisdom?
Obviously, those who are already wise might seek to further concentrate wisdom within their social environment. Ideally, a social context of ridiculing curiosity, skepticism, and wisdom can produce the maximum concentration of wisdom within a small group.
On Social competition …,
Critics of social competition will predictably condemn particular forms of social competition or even the reality of social competition in general. If a critic observes two animals competing socially, then the critic may label the animals as stupid or repulsive or disturbing or shameful. Oddly enough, if the critic is passionately hysterical, they may be socially competing for your attention by ridiculing the competitive methods of the two animals. The critic may be competing against the animals for your attention and for your approval or agreement.
Power: Wealth, violence, & propaganda
Power includes not only the power to produce results for oneself, but also the power to influence others. A very common method of influencing others is through offers of money or other rewards. However, if the roots of a tree are disturbing the foundations of a building, offering the tree food will not stop the roots. Instead, violence can be done to end the threat presented by the roots.
Tools like saws, axes, ropes, or poisons can be useful for killing the roots or at least removing them. Money or other forms of social rewards are also tools that can be used to attract allies to assist in the performance of the task.
Further, some humans may be so desperate for social validation that they will invest their time simply in exchange for a few words of gratitude. Their self-image maybe so compromised that they seek social validation in order to cope with their shame and their anxiety about hiding their shame. They want to be accepted by those people that they think of as socially powerful. The more confident that someone is about being able to demonstrate competence and value, the less likely they are to be concerned about reputations, recommendations, and references.