Otto von Bismarck was feeling frustrated. Despite having almost singlehandedly transformed his country into a dominant European power as Minister President of the State of Prussia, the central mission of his life was still out of his grasp.

While von Bismarck had been working to create a united German nation for years, the people of the twenty-seven states of Central Europe were simply too far apart in terms of culture to consider joining together--especially with the militaristic Prussians at the helm. It was a problem for which he could not see a solution.

And then it hit him. He would start a war.

Von Bismarck knew there was nothing quite like a war to unify people. But while he realized it was the answer he had been looking for, there was still one question remaining.

Which enemy should he choose?

The Most Successful People Pick the Right Enemies

There is all kinds of advice available about how begin your day to optimize your success. Meditate. Write. Generate ideas. Drink coffee with butter. While many of these tips are, in fact, useful, they are not what separate the Steve Jobses of the world from the Joe Schmoes.

Real Masters of the Universe wake up every morning thinking about who or what their latest enemy is or is going to be. Otto von Bismarck certainly fit this category.

In his most challenging moment, he made the decision to rally the diverse German states around a common hatred of France. He doctored up a note that implied that the King of Prussia had insulted French dignitaries and arranged for it to be published. When the French declared war in response, he was easily able to get the other German states to come to Prussia's defense. After all, despite the differences the various Germans had with each other, they were nothing when compared to their alien neighbors.

The outcome was the Franco-Prussian war, decisive victory, and a fierce newfound pride around their common purpose and heritage. It wasn't long before there was a brand new country on the map--the unified nation of Germany.

How You Can Use This Technique to Your Advantage

Human beings are wired to focus far more on threats than on opportunities. As such, France was the perfect enemy to unify the German people around. They were historically powerful and aggressive, which meant that a victory against them would be something of which to be proud. They were on Germany's border, which meant they were dangerous. And they represented the past, which meant that the new nation of Germany could, in contrast, represent the future.

This strategy was the same one Steve Jobs used to position the Mac as the scrappy, creative alternative to the stodgy Microsoft behemoth. It was what gave Sixties rock manager Andrew Loog Oldham the idea to market the Rolling Stones as the rebellious anti-Beatles. And it is the reason Coke and Pepsi will never stop demonizing one another.

Whether it is your clients, employers, or team members, people need something to be against as much as they need something to be for. If you can get in the habit of waking up every morning obsessed with who or what your latest enemy is going to be, you will never want for followers or customers.

To discover more success secrets from history's greatest promoters, propagandists, and con artists, check out more articles from the Hype Men series here.