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Whether you care to admit it or not, you have a little bit of each of them inside of you. Each one of us is driven at times, or is forced to reach into our darker recesses, to tap into the not so bright, warm and fuzzy personalities that we all have deep down.

Just a forewarning before you read this, please don’t misconstrue the following information as me encouraging these negative characteristics in order to achieve in life. I’m simply stating that we all have a bit of each of these in us and are able to tap into them more from a mental standpoint very sparingly from time to time when necessary, be it to boost confidence, work around a situation or to battle a dark triad personality. I’m definitely not encouraging one to outwardly use these against another in order to take advantage, deceive or overpower.

These are known as the Dark Triad Personalities. They consist of Machiavellianism, narcissism and psychopathy. I’m sure as you’re reading this, you’re immediately thinking of the extreme negative connotations each of these words has. And I won’t argue, they ARE typically associated with negative characteristics of arrogance, power and control.

However, anyone that has ever gone to great lengths to accomplish, create or reach a pinnacle of high performance or accomplishment has had to tap into these characteristics and qualities at times. Not to say they have used them for evil or negative purposes against others by any means, but they have definitely dug deep into their souls to pull the driving forces from each of these personalities that can take somebody to the next level.

Machiavellianism – Named after Renaissance philosopher and author of The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli, Machiavellianism is most commonly associated with manipulation, deception and exploitation of others in order to get ahead and achieve goals.

Narcissism – Originating from Greek mythology and the character Narcissus, who fell in love with himself after seeing a reflection in a water pool, Narcissism is defined as vanity or egotistical admiration and behavior favoring one’s own self-image and attributes.

Psychopathy – Often extremely difficult to spot because of its deep innate qualities, those with Psychopathy lack conscience, care and empathy for others, making them volatile and often criminal.

When thinking of your most famous leaders and performers in history, there are ones that you associate with positivity and great accomplishments to better this world, as well as those that used their dark triad personality(ies) for horrific or negative purposes. What you maybe don’t realize, however, is that leaders on both sides of the coin tapped into these to drive and push them further and higher.

Think of Steve Jobs with Apple. He change technology in the world forever. Do you think that guy didn’t have some personal narcissistic qualities that drove him? Yes, he made the world a better place and wanted to help others with his inventions, but if you’ve ever read about him or his book, he would definitely rank high within the narcissistic category. Think about the level of narcissism needed to keep the world’s top athletes at a high level of confidence and achievement…

How about the great emperors of the Roman empire? Their lust for control and dominance would rank extremely high within the Machiavellianism scale. And how about your top coaches? Nick Saban, anyone???

And what about some of the greatest inventors or artists in history? Don’t think they had some psychopathic qualities? Guess again…

To put it simply, when pushing and climbing to reach a higher level, you WILL be forced to tap into these personalities that can drive you even further. Not to say you will use them for negative purposes, or to argue that they don’t need to be very carefully harnessed and controlled, but one must be extremely self-aware when these qualities start to rear their heads so that you can harness only the positives from them. And if not carefully balanced with the Light Triad Personalities, the Dark Triad will ultimately lead to one’s downfall.

Interested in seeing where you fall within each category??? TAKE THE QUIZ! If you’re a highly self-aware, high achieving and driven person, I’ll bet you won’t be surprised by where you fall…