“Divide and Conquer” Holds us Back – Instead Try “Connect and Advance”

by | Nov 29, 2016

Making connections is essential to success! Not only are connections with others vital, but so are connections within yourself.  These internal connections are made by becoming aware of your thoughts, feelings, and actions, including those that are holding you back from becoming your best “Self”.  This process is what I call “Connecting the Dots”.


The strategy of divide and conquer is the opposite of that.  Although divide and conquer is a well-known strategy in warfare and in the political context, it is also present in individuals and within personal relationships.  The original concept refers to preventing individuals and groups from uniting by fomenting discord among the people.  We have witnessed examples of this in modern history and politics i.e. them vs. us and democrats vs. republicans, etc. 


One of the ways I have seen this play out in individuals, is when a person (usually subconsciously) approaches their many personality traits with rigidity and fragmentation; for example: I am either good or bad, I am either kind or mean spirited instead of approaching him or her self as multifaceted.  Exploring and embracing our complexities are necessary steps for personal growth and success.


The idea of divide and conquer is also present in social relationships, one example is when we put others down.  Usually, when we act in a way that degrades others, it is because we feel unsatisfied, disappointed, angry, sad, shame, etc. about ourselves.  We may inadvertently, or at times consciously, dishonor others by: not giving credit or taking credit, criticizing, blaming, ignoring, etc. in a fruitless attempt to convert negative self-image and feelings into positive ones. 


One of the problems with belittling others is that even if you achieve a “good” feeling (about yourself) it will be temporary.  Once self-image is exclusively dependent on your perception of how you compare to others, you are committing to a cycle of negative thoughts, feelings, and actions.  This leads to unfavorable patterns within yourself, and with others, and furthermore to the general stifling of optimal progress for our community.  Some examples of divide and conquer in social relationships are when you:

  • Lie about a person to another.

  • Make up information to hurt someone else’s chances for a promotion, etc.

  • Attribute someone’s success exclusively to something other than his/her effort and skill, i.e. “she achieved it because her family helped her”.

  • When you like something someone else did (personally or professionally), and you choose not to support or promote because others’ success bothers you.

If you identify with any of this, you may be asking: So…what can I do to change this?

You can start by facing your negative thoughts (including negative self-image) and behaviors, as well as your strong emotions such as fear and shame, and choose to invest your energy and time in creating your best Self by following the “Connect and Advance”  recipe.


  • 1 *glass full of Those who have paved the way for you.  Express gratitude for their contribution to your foundation–it is a myth that individuals achieve success alone, someone and/or something helped. 


  • 1 *glass full of Those who love you.  Those whose presence makes you feel warm because they show you how loved you are.

  • 1 *glass full Those who inspire you.  Those who through their presence, words and actions act as a catalyst to your success.  Inspiration can be found everywhere once you are paying attention.

  • 1 *glass full of Those who celebrate you.  Those are the people who promote and support you and your projects.

  • 1 *glass full of Those committed to helping you succeed.  If you don’t have this “tribe” then work to build it!

  • 1 *glass full of Those you are committed to helping.  Pay it forward; One of the best ways to grow is to invest in others.

  • And *a dash of Those who criticize you, put you down, don’t help and instead discourage – even they are part of the recipe because they have shown you a recipe that you now know doesn’t work.  Be grateful for them, as they exist to challenge and help you become your greatest Self.

You were destined for success, no matter the setbacks, challenges, failures, losses, you can and will, overcome.  If you work hard and smart, surround yourself with like-minded individuals, appreciate your magnificence, actively express gratitude, and pay it forward, you are bound to make it and reach your highest potential!  You must learn to believe that all is possible, that your potential is limitless, learn to be humble, curious, learn to let go, and you must learn to let in.  Because as difficult as it is to let go, sometimes letting in the good intentions of others and blessings can be as daunting.  There’s power and strength in you and in others, let’s put these together and make it work.  Connect your dots! And work to “connect and advance” with others!


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