Make Other People Come To You — Use Bait If Necessary
“When you force the other person to act, you are the one in control. It is always better to make your opponent come to you, abandoning his own plans in the process. Lure him with fabulous gains–then attack. You hold the cards.”
Personal Reflection: This law reminds me of one of my subconscious mannerisms. In this law, I am usually the opponent when it comes to this law’s description. If you want me to come to you for some kind of event or function, usually its friendly terms instead of attack/defense/opposition sort of scenarios, you must entice me. What do I have to gain from it? Usually in this regard, I am very easy to please but if there is not much incentive, then I usually stick to my own plans. Other than that, it is a general good rule to make others come to you, and with regards to power, this makes perfect sense. You always want to be the one with options.
Get Others To Do The Work For You, But Always Take The Credit
“Use the wisdom, knowledge, and legwork of other people to further your own cause. Not only will such assistance save you valuable time and energy, it will give you a godlike aura of efficiency and speed. In the end your helpers will be forgotten and you will be remembered. Never do yourself what others can do for you.”
Personal Reflection: This is excellent advice that can be taken in two ways. One is a lazy-inspired approach to where you might apply in a team environment by putting the work load on others and then basking in the credit once it is complete. This happens in academia with everyone so its nothing to feel bad about, but when it comes to other projects you can easily do, go ahead and take initiative to balance out the karma that came from the lazy projects. Also the other approach is more along the lines of utility. For a concrete example, I had to do a client-server programming project in my Operating Systems course with a teammate. We could have learned a new language and do everything by hand but we were hard pressed on time in another class and so we used the work that was done by some random programmer in terms of a client-server framework so instead of building everything from the ground up, we utilized the functions that came with the framework library given to us in a different class and just modified it to fit our needs. No stress and made quick work of it, whereas others struggled. We used what was already there and took the credit when we slightly modified it for our game, easy peasy. Also, don’t be stubborn and try to bullrush a task when you have friends/family that have prior knowledge and can help you accelerate accomplishing the task. This law aides the good ol’ saying of “Work Smart, Not Hard.”
Court Attention At All Cost
“Everything is judged by its appearance; what is unseen counts for nothing. Never let yourself get lost in the crowd, then, or buried in oblivion. Stand out. Be conspicuous, at all cost. Make yourself a magnet of attention by appearing larger, more colorful, more mysterious than the bland and timid masses.”
Personal Reflection: The observation of this law was, and still is, a major power play used frequently by the current President of the United States, Donald Trump. Watching him do this and manipulate the media so easily was part of the magnetic attraction for my observation. A brief note for sure and I only use this law in the past in my most desperate moves for attention. I prefer to be in the shadows but be alert. Too much attention can be a bad thing, but its all relative to whatever the current situation is with any one of us.
So Much Depends On Reputation – Guard It With Your Life
“Reputation is the cornerstone of power. Through reputation alone you can intimidate and win; once it slips, however, you are vulnerable, and will be attacked on all sides. Make your reputation unassailable. Always be alert to potential attacks and thwart them before they happen. Meanwhile, learn to destroy your enemies by opening holes in their own reputation. Then stand aside and let public opinion hang them. “
Personal Reflection: This is one of the quintessential laws of power in my mind, and one I have used very recently. Instead of getting directly in the middle of a conflict in which I have a stake in both sides, I pointed out a flaw in the aggressor’s reputation for all their extended family to exploit and hang around their neck, like an albatross. The results afterward? A much more pleasant person to deal with and plus, my reputation took no hit whatsoever because I kept my mouth mostly shut except when necessary. Even with that, I restricted my words. Keep this law above in mind, friends. It will serve you well as it did me.
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. Even if you are saying something banal, it will seem original if you make it vague, open-ended, and sphinx-like. Powerful people impress and intimidate by saying less. The more you say, the more likely you are to say something foolish.”
Personal Reflection: Not much other to say than that I am not that great at mastering this law yet, but a lot of what I say goes toward one of the laws upcoming about creating attention. Sometimes, in order to enforce one of these laws, you have to break another one of these. It’s an odd phenomena and I guess it just goes to show that you should pick and choose based on the situation and which law helps better your advancement. Some are different than others. Also, I was right about my last reflection. Turns out the Trump-Russia narrative was fake, which I had a strong feeling toward all along. Any average person in the middle knows that the Democrats are great at blaming anyone but themselves.
Conceal Your Intentions
“Keep people off-balance and in the dark by never revealing the purpose behind your actions. If they have no clue what you are up to, they cannot prepare a defense. Guide them far enough down the wrong path, envelope them in enough smoke, and by the time they realize your intentions, it will be too late.”
Personal reflection: Subterfuge is key in this lesson. It was ironic that I did the reading on this law earlier this week because we can see a prime example of this in the current American political theater. We have one side that is playing hard into the narrative that President Trump has deep connections with the Russian leadership. On the other hand, we have the other side playing hard into the narrative that former President Obama, presumably his staff more-so than him, used surveillance and monitored Trump and/or his staff in order to find anything that could swing the election, presumably. One of these stories is a fantastic red herring and a smokescreen in hopes that the real story of these two does not have major ramifications. At this point, I do not know which is real and which is the smokescreen since both are missing a key piece of the puzzle to verify/deny but eventually, soon most likely, we will know which has the greater proportion of truth. It seems like one makes more sense based on my mental filter of “the more that it takes to explain a theory, the more likely it is not totally true.” I am interested to find out. This is a real world example of using a smokescreen and red herring to sway things one way or another. Just as a note, I probably won’t type personal reflections for every one of these laws. I also do not want to delve into the examples the book uses because I think it is a fantastic book and Mr. Greene deserves the honor of explaining his laws instead of a random 20 something year old interpreting it his own way solely.
Never put too much trust in friends, learn how to use enemies
“Be wary of friends- they will betray you more quickly, for they are easily aroused to envy. They also become spoiled and tyrannical. But hire a former enemy and he will be more loyal than a friend, because he has more to prove. In fact, you have more to fear from friends than from enemies. If you have no enemies, find a way to make them.”
Personal reflection: Friends are an interesting paradigm. Robert Greene’s book goes in depth in clarifying and explaining each law and it is fun to see how each reflects in history. I have always had this idea in my head that if I ever were to become a politician, Lord help us all, I would probably have one of my biggest political foes on my staff when the results were all said and done. This play worked very well on House of Cards….for a while. Ironically, his wife is now the one going against him. Anyway, its odd on how friends can be so amazing and supportive and interesting while you have them at arms reach. Once time and distance increases between you and them, a natural change occurs. Some friends turn into Old Friends, whom are worthy of keeping close; however, others turn into Distant Friends, and those are the ones that are the most variable in terms of bond over time. We see many historical figures pamper their friends while they are in high positions of power, only to be stabbed in the back by the same sharp knife they gifted the friend long ago. Again, its an interesting paradigm and the next few laws are going to really strike a chord with me. More reflections to come.