April 1, 2023
Once you read this 21 Laws of Power you will realize that you are already doing some of them without you knowing it. It is very interesting and Powerful!

HALF a millennium ago, Florentine philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli tried to codify “the nature of power”. His scholarly thesis ‘Il Principe-The Prince‘ – was subsequently denounced as the devil’s work. 

Some of the contents were quite disturbing. However, some laws are extremely useful and I present them here.

1. Always say less than necessary

When you are trying to impress people with words, the more you say, the more common you appear, and the less in control. Powerful people impress and intimidate by saying less. The more you say, the more likely you are to say something foolish. Be careful with your sarcasm: The momentary satisfaction you gain with your biting words will be outweighed by the price you pay.

2. So much depends on reputation – guard it with your Life

Always be alert to potential attacks and thwart them before they happen. Make your reputation simple and base it on one sterling quality – efficiency, say. Once it is solid, do not let yourself get angry or defensive at the slanderous comments of your enemies – that reveals insecurity, not confidence in your reputation…

3. Court attention at all costs

Everything is judged by its appearance; what is unseen counts for nothing. Stand out. Make yourself a magnet of attention by appearing larger, more colorful, and more mysterious than the bland and timid masses.

Understand: People feel superior to the person whose actions they can predict. If you show them who is in control by playing against their expectations, you gain both their respect and tighten your hold on their fleeting attention.

4. Win through your actions, never through your arguments

It is much more powerful to get others to agree with you through your actions, without saying a word. Demonstrate, do not explicate. Never argue. In society nothing must be discussed; give only results.

5. Infection : Avoid the unhappy and unlucky

You may feel you are helping the drowning man but you are only precipitating your own disaster. Associate with the happy and fortunate. If you are miserly, associate with the generous. If you are gloomy, gravitate to the cheerful. If you are prone to isolation, force yourself to befriend the gregarious.

6. Use absence to increase respect and honor

The more you are seen and heard from, the more common you appear. If you are already established in a group, temporary withdrawal from it will make you more talked about, even more admired. You must learn when to leave. Create value through scarcity.

Another, more everyday side of this law, but one that demonstrates its truth even further, is the law of scarcity in the science of economics. By withdrawing something from the market, you create instant value.

7. Do not Commit to anyone

It is the fool who always rushes to take sides. Do not commit to any side or cause but yourself. Desire is like a virus: If we see that someone is desired by other people, we tend to find the person desirable too.

People will try all kinds of underhanded methods to get you to commit. They will give you gifts; shower you with favors, all to put you under obligation. Encourage the attention, stimulate their interest, but do not commit at any cost.

Commitment to one side deprives you of the advantage of time and the luxury of waiting. Let others fall in love with this group or that; for your part don’t rush in, don’t lose your head.

8. Re-create yourself

Be the master of your own image rather than letting others define it for you. The first step in the process of self-creation is self-consciousness – being aware of yourself as an actor and taking control of your appearance and emotions. The bad actor is the one who is always sincere. Those who cry in public may temporarily elicit sympathy, but sympathy soon turns to scorn and irritation at their self – obsessiveness.

Remember that overacting can be counterproductive – it is another way of spending too much effort trying to attract attention. It less matters what you do, clearly, than how you do it – your gracefulness and imposing stillness on the social stage count for more than over-doing your part and moving around too much.

Finally: Learn to play many roles, to be whatever the moment requires. 

9. Keep your hands clean

You must seem a paragon of efficiency and civility: your hands are never soiled by mistakes and nasty deeds. People of power, however, are undone not by the mistake they make, but by the way they deal with them. Excuses and apologies are much too blunt tools for this delicate operation. The mistake does not vanish with an apology; it deepens and festers.

All men make mistakes, but the wise conceal the blunders they have made, while fools make them public. Reputation depends on what is hidden than on what is seen.

10. Enter action with boldness

If you are unsure of a course of action, do not attempt it. Your doubts and hesitations will infect your execution. Timidity is dangerous: We are really self-absorbed, worried about ourselves and how others perceive us. Boldness, on the other hand, is outer-directed, and often makes people feel more at ease, since it is less self-conscious and less repressed. It never induces awkwardness or embarrassment. And so we admire the bold, and prefer to be around them, because their self-confidence infects us and draws us outside our own realm of inwardness and reflection. Better to enter with boldness.

You must practice and develop your boldness. You will often find uses for it. The best place to begin is often the delicate world of negotiation, particularly those discussions in which you are asked to set your own price. If, in a first encounter, you demonstrate your willingness to compromise, back down, and retreat, you bring out the lion in even in people who are not necessarily bloodthirsty.

A bold move makes you seem larger and more powerful than you are. 

11. Plan all the way to the End

Plan in detail before you act – do not let vague plans lead you into trouble. Will this have intended consequences? Ask yourself. Unhappy endings are much more common than happy ones – do not be swayed by the happy ending in your mind. When you see several steps ahead, and plan your moves all the way to the end, you will no longer be tempted by emotion or by the desire to improvise. Your clarity will rid you of the anxiety and vagueness that are the primary reasons why so many fail to conclude their actions successfully. You see the ending and tolerate no deviation.

12. Make your accomplishments seem effortless

Your actions must seem natural and executed with ease. All the toil and practice that go into them, and also all the clever tricks, must be concealed. When you act, act effortlessly, as if you could do much more. Avoid the temptation of revealing how hard you work – it only raises questions. Teach no one tricks and they will be used against you. Learn to control this propensity to blab, for its effect is often the opposite of what you expected. 

13. Be Royal in your own Fashion: Act like a King to be treated like one

Appearing Vulgar or common will make people disrespect you. By acting regally and confident of your powers, you make yourself seem destined to wear a crown. The strategy of crown is based on a simple chain and effect: If we believe we are destined for great things, our belief will radiate outward, just as a crown creates an aura around a king. This outward radiance will infect the people around us, who will think we must have reasons to feel so confident.

One way to emphasize your difference is to always act with dignity, no matter the circumstance.  Be sublime in your deeds, lofty in your thoughts; and in all your doings show that you deserve to be a king.

Regal bearing should not be confused with arrogance. Arrogance may seem the king’s entitlement, but in fact it betrays insecurity. It is the very opposite of a royal demeanor.

Dignity, in fact, is invariably the mask to assume under difficult circumstances: it is as if nothing can affect you, and you have all the time in the world to respond. This is an extremely powerful pose.

14. Master the art of timing

Never seem to be in a hurry – hurrying betrays a lack of control over yourself, and over time. Always seem patient, as if you know everything will come to you eventually. I earn to stand back when time is not yet ripe, and to strike fiercely when it has reached fruition. The time of a child is long and slow, with vast expanses; the time of an adult whizzes by frighteningly fast. Time, then, depends on perception, which, we know, can be willfully altered. 

15. Disdain things you cannot have: Ignoring them is the best revenge

You need to turn your back on what you want, show your contempt and disdain. This will drive your targets crazy. They will respond with a desire of their own, which is simply to have an effect on you – perhaps to posses you, perhaps to hurt you. If they want to posses you, you have successfully completed the first step of seduction. If they want to hurt you, you have unsettled them and made them play by your rules.

If choosing to ignore enhances your power, it follows that the opposite approach – commitment and engagement – often weakens you.

If there is something you want but you cannot have: An infinitely more powerful tactic is to act as if it never really interested you in the first place.

Second, when you are attacked by an inferior, deflect people’s attention by making it clear that the attack has not even registered. Look away, or answer sweetly, showing how little the attack concerns you. Similarly, when you yourself have committed a blunder, the best response is often to make less of your mistake by treating it lightly.

16. Create compelling Spectacles

Striking imagery and grand symbolic gestures create the aura of power – everyone responds to them. Dazzled by appearances, no one will notice what you are really doing. Words put you on the defensive. If you have to explain yourself your power is already in question. People love what is grand, spectacular, and larger than life. The visual is the easiest route to their hearts.

17. Think as you like but Behave like others

It is far safer to blend in and nurture the common touch. Share your originality only with tolerant friends and those who are sure to appreciate your uniqueness.

18. Stir up waters to catch fish

Petulance is not power, it is the sign of helplessness. Anger only cuts off our options and the powerful cannot thrive without options. If your opponent is of a hot temper, try to irritate him. If he is arrogant, try to encourage his egotism. One who is skilled at making the enemy move does so by creating a situation according to which the enemy will act; he entices the enemy with something he is certain to take.

19. Despise the Free Lunch

What is offered for free is dangerous – it usually involves either a trick or a hidden obligation. What has worth is worth paying for. By paying your own way you stay clear of gratitude, guilt, and deceit. It is also often wise to pay the full price – there is no cutting corners with excellence. Be lavish with your money and keep it circulating, for generosity is a sign and a magnet for power. There is a popular saying in Japan that goes, “Tada yori takai mono wa nai,” meaning: “Nothing is more costly than something given free of charge.”

20. Never appear too Perfect

It is smart to occasionally display defects, and admit to harmless vices, in order to deflect envy and appear more human and approachable. 

21. Assume Formlessness

The formlessness of Power is more like that of water, or mercury, taking the form of whatever is around it. Changing constantly, it is never predictable. The first psychological requirement of formlessness is to train yourself to take nothing personally. Never show any defensiveness. As you get older, you must rely even less on the past. Be vigilant lest the form your character has taken makes you seem a relic.

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