Tony Montana Teaches How to Get Power (Scarface)

how to dominate like tony montana

If you are wondering how to get power QUICK, you have come to the right place.

This article will answer that question with a case study of Tony Montana a character in the movie Scarface.

Albeit Tony Montana is a fictional character, his ascension to power is not unlike many turbo-charged power grabs which happen in real life, from business to criminal organizations, to gangs.

In that sense, Scarfaces makes for an extremely interesting analysis while providing me with all the video material to make my points even clearer.

tony montana picture with quote from scarface

1. Be Bold

Boldness is a crucial characteristic to skyrocket upward and gain power quickly.

Timid men hem and haw and they miss all the chances for quick ascension. Sure, they might slowly and steadily get there, and that approach might be even advantageous in many cases, but they don’t go up as quickly as Tony Montana does.

You can clearly see the difference in mindset here between Tony and his appeased bosses:

In the case of Tony Montana that boldness often becomes impulsivity, as he acts and reacts too quickly and hastily.

1.2 Be Ballsy

Balls, courage, and daredevil are a subset of boldness.

You can hardly be bold without being courageous. And if you’re afraid, sometimes you must force yourself to act anyway.

There are many instances in which Tony Montana’s display of fearlessness allowed him to move ahead quicker.
This example is particularly interesting from a power perspective because it allows him to go from defensive to aggressive:

2. Always Be Leading

If you want to get power without waiting, you gotta lead to the top because nobody will carry you there.

Tony Montana always takes the lead.

He walks in first, he speaks first, he jumps on the deal and opportunity and he takes responsibility (“I go on the streets for you, one milli here, on milli there.. ).

Tony Montana is a man of action.
But notice that he still expects his partners to do the menial tasks for him. That’s a hallmark of power: don’t do for yourself what you can let others do for you.

scarface power quote

3. Be Ruthless

People are not going to make way for you and many are not going to be happy about you overtaking them.

At times, you’ll need to be ruthless.

In the criminal world, ruthlessness might as well be a necessity to go up very quickly (but it can also help in business).

Tony Montana is plenty ruthless.

At times, he has trouble containing his mean streak with the people dearest to him as well.

Unluckily, ruthlessness and intimidatory tactics are not confined to the criminal world and they can provide an edge in business and politics as well.

Donald Trump is ruthless, and many sociopaths that climb to the top are ruthless, if you read the book Bad Blood Elizabeth Holmes, was mean and ruthless and Albert “chainsaw” Dunlap was ruthless, with some sources describing him as a psychopath.

These guys all crashed and burned and Trump is possibly in the process of crashing and burning, but before burning, they burned plenty of people along the way.

And that is one of the reasons why I always repeat that if you want to be good, you have to learn to be bad first.

This world needs fundamentally good people who know how to be bad.

I started ThePowerMoves and this channel in the hope that more people will receive this message and join the “be bad to be a good movement”.

Anyway, let’s move on.

4. Be (Street) Smart

Whenever you see someone going to the top, rarely it’s a case of violence and terror alone.
To become a linchpin, you almost always need some skills and intellectual abilities as well.

Obviously, Tony Montana wasn’t book smart and while he might not have been the smartest criminal ever, he was far from stupid.

There are several scenes that show us how is able to see the power moves much more clearly than the people around him:

And this other scene shows us how Tony has a much better sense of his own value.
Again, compare the different attitude of Tony to his friend Manny:

In this other scene Tony Montana shows a great understanding of human psychology and leverage.

Omar wanted to get the money and the coke from Tony to look good on the big boss.
but by holding both money and cocaine, Tony knows he’s got the leverage to go straight to the big boss Frank.
Stupid people let themselves be exploited. Smart ones know when they have the power to back up their big demands.

Finally, most low-level criminals and most non-criminal poor people as well, behave more like animals when it comes to impulse control and immediate gratification.
They see something they like it, they take it, they eat, they drink, they spend it, and tomorrow… Well, we’ll see about tomorrow.
To better understand this phenomenon that differentiates successful people from non-successful ones, also read The Marshmallow Test.

There is one crucial moment in Scarface where Tony Montana shows he can take a loss today in exchange for a bigger gain tomorrow.

Many violent men with no brains here would have taken the money here, partied, and felt they had “hit big”.
Not Tony Montana.
He’s in to go to the top.

5. Have Boundless Ambition

You don’t reach the top without ambition and without a strong drive.

Self-help is a huge industry, and it’s very helpful, yet there is only ONE major element that stands above all else to achieve high levels of success. And that is drive and ambition.

And if you want to skyrocket to the top quickly, then you need boundless ambition.

6. Be Hungry For Success

What’s the difference between boundless ambition and drive for success?

Well, there are many ways of being driven. Some men get sidetracked in their life by pursuing lots of short-term sexual adventures.

But while men who reach the top can also enjoy women and other passions on the side, they are usually driven first and foremost by winning, money, or dominating their field of choice.

You can see here the difference between Tony and a few other characters in Scarface:

The higher your drive and the fewer distraction you have, the more you can achieve.
This is why the MGTOW movement in many ways, makes sense. And that’s why monk mode can be a life-changer.

If you want to fuel your growth and success though, even better than pretending there are no sexual distractions, is to leverage your sexual drive for non-sexual achievements.
This is what in Napoleon Hill refers to as “Sex Transmutation” in Think and Grow Rich.

7. Have a Sense of Entitlement

There is also another important trait that many individuals with boundless drive and ambition possess, and that is an exaggerated sense of entitlement.

A sense of entitlement without skills and hard work is an extremely negative trait that just by itself dooms men and women to be low-quality individuals.
Get rid of your sense of entitlement unless your skills and hard work match your entitlement or, even better, far exceed it.

But when it’s coupled with skills, bold actions, and relentlessness, then a sense of entitlement is crucial to gain power and skyrocket to success.

5.2. Despise Your Boss

People with boundless ambition and a sense of entitlement also often have authority issues.

And if you want to get power as soon as possible, that’s not a bad thing. You just need to keep it under wrap until you have enough power to overthrow him.
If you do it too early though, like Robert Greene says in The 48 Laws of Power, you’re toast (see here an example of out-dominating the boss).

If you’re the boss, watch out. Overly ambitious individuals will often work to undermine you (see Berlusconi’s example here).

Scarface was obviously going to be a bad “employee” for any boss.
And this is what Frank never realized. Albeit it was rather obvious.
Frank was really bad at reading and understanding people, and he paid the ultimate price for it.


Should you then be more like Scarface?

Well, it’s not up to me to tell you how you should you be, but also consider the downsides:

1. It’s a Big Gamble

This is not literal gambling but bold action often ends up being the equivalent of gambling.

Don’t think that because Scarface was successful then it was necessarily “worth the risk”, that’s the idiotic way of assessing risk.
You assess risk not by looking at single instances, but by looking at the most realistic probability distribution you can find.

And a more realistic probability distribution is something like this:

And for every ultra-bold man who makes it to the top, there are probably 10 or so who died trying.
In the case of the criminal world, that might as well be literally drying.
Even for those who get on top, rapid growth too often does not equate with staying power.

Think about many histories of explosive growth to the top.
Scarface is a fictional character.
But George Jung, El Chapo, Pablo Escobar, and similar, are not. Like Scarface, they have all been immensely successful… Until they weren’t anymore and died prematurely.

Take Pablo Escobar, the most famous of them all.
He ended up killed like a stray animal, a fugitive in poor and tattered clothes, and with policemen taking pictures next to his lifeless body.

That same hot-headedness and boldness allow for skyrocketing growth but also often set the stage for the undoing of too hot-headed individuals.
A gambler’s attitude can get you lots of power very quickly. But rarely allows you to keep that power.
It’s inherent in the mathematical properties of gambling: it doesn’t do well in the long run.

The smartest ones instead change their attitude once on top and move from a meathead to a quieter, more calculative style.
Or they might completely change their business model, like 50 Cent has done for example.

2. The Hunger Stems From Sense of Inferiority

The drive that Tony Montana shows is partially fueled by a sense of inferiority.

Tim Grover in Relentless says that most overachievers are driven by a dark side.
That dark side can be insecurity and a constant need to make up for what you perceive is a shortcoming of yours.

We see several instances in which Tony Montana clearly shows a sense of inferiority.

For example, he seems to have a problem with rich white men, which is a feeling that I have also seen, several times, in some immigrants or minorities:

Some psychologists even speculate that modern Islamic terrorism is partially driven by a feeling of inferiority, and I believe there is a lot of truth in that.

Being driven is simply a trait. It’s not necessarily good per and it’s not necessarily bad per se.
However, when that drive comes from a sense of inferiority or hatred, then it usually makes for a poorer quality of life and for poorer mental health.

A sense of inferiority is also a thumbscrew that allows people to easily manipulate you.

And that is exactly what happens to Scarface in his relationship.

Manipulation: Techniques, Strategies, & Ethics

3. Relationship Muppet

Highly driven men with a feeling of inferiority have an emotional hole that never gets filled. They have a constant need of proving themselves to themselves and to the world (see: David Goggins).

One way of proving themselves to the world is through a so-called trophy wife.
These men wish they could exert control over their women, but Smart and manipulative women feel the deep insecurity and use it as a thumbscrew to keep their men emotionally dependent.

The result is a constant tug of war and a highly unfulfilling relationship where, most of the time, she ends up controlling the relationship and exerting most of the influence.

Watch this example and notice how she is the one who wields soft power in the relationship:

Also, read:


Ultimately, getting power and skyrocketing upwards the way Tony Montana did is more of an exception than a rule.

You might still be successful doing it, but he’s still not the type of person that most people would look up to.

He was not a good role model and he was a poor leader by almost all accounts. Even in his own relationship Tony Montana was not a leader.

In this regard, I see a lot of parallels with Donald Trump.

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