I think what you are calling "manipulation" is what psychologists call EQ, or your Emotional Quotient. They say that's actually a much better predictor of success (however you define success) than IQ.
The better you are at controlling and channeling your emotional reaction to things, the more other people find you likable and easy to get along with. That in turn leads to you being offered more opportunities than, say, the sour, emotionally unbalanced person who is frequently having crying fits or throwing temper tantrums. It's not really about manipulation in the sense that you are "tricking" people into giving you what you want against their will.
Interesting comments. When you mention high EQ but with no rules or boundaries, I immediately thought of a serial killer like Ted Bundy. He was supposedly very charming, a trait which he used to lure in his victims.
Being happy doesn't mean you're manipulating anything. You're just happy with whatever situation or circumstances you're in.
Happy people are normally easy going people who are able to enjoy what life has to offer ..whether they create it or not.
I think you're overthinking the whole thing.
I don't play games .. maybe that's why I am happy most of the time.
I'm not the one talking in circles .. seems like you're on the high horse.
i agree with Lukisod....ignorance is bliss.....those that know all the details are the ones that realize how close to being over thrown they really are.