Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Laws IV

I thought I would never finish this! Here is the last segment of my 48 Laws of Power review.

Law 37
Create Compelling Spectacles
Striking imagery and grand symbolic gestures create the aura of power – everyone responds to them.  Stage spectacles for those around you, then full of arresting visuals and radiant symbols that heighten your presence.  Dazzled by appearances, no one will notice what you are really doing.

I accomplish much by having a mean walk indeed.

Law 38
Think as you like but Behave like others
If you make a show of going against the times, flaunting your unconventional ideas and unorthodox ways, people will think that you only want attention and that you look down upon them.  They will find a way to punish you for making them feel inferior.  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.

Weird. Strange. Odd. "Special". These are the pet names I've been called by people who didn't understand my unconventional [yet genius] way of thinking. I learned quickly that if you are the slightest bit different, some will never let you forget it, and a rare few will see the beauty in it. What's hilarious to me is that I know I'm not the weird one. This law is kind of interesting because I found that I unconsciously began to follow it. After a few rounds of commonfolk not getting my jokes or following my train of thought, I decided to limit my genius to the people I knew would understand... my friends and my blog readers. You can share your originality with whomever you like, but I hope you also like feeling awkward and explaining yourself.

Law 39
Stir up Waters to Catch Fish
Anger and emotion are strategically counterproductive.  You must always stay calm and objective.  But if you can make your enemies angry while staying calm yourself, you gain a decided advantage.  Put your enemies’ off-balance: Find the chink in their vanity through which you can rattle them and you hold the strings. 

I am G at this, it's kind of disgusting. It's easy for me to make others upset because I pretty much have my PhD in human behavior and psychology. It's fairly easy for me to figure out what makes someone tick, and it's even easier to figure out what their insecurities and pushable buttons are. The other key to rattling people is truly not giving a fuck about them. There are 8 million people in my city of choice alone, and I have a little over two hundred "friends" on Facebook. Do the math baby. If someone hasn't wowed me, I'm certainly not tripping over myself trying to keep them around. Harsh but delightfully true.

 Law 40
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.

Free lunch tastes good to the broke man because it's free, but it tastes bland to the rich man because he knows he can buy better. Being generous is great but unless you like getting hit up for money all the time, it can backfire. Now if you like doling out cash on a consistent whim... please call me. Anyways, I think this law is more geared toward business. Favors and deals in business are tricky. You can pay someone or have a friend give you what you need, but with the paid employee you know you'll have the job done well in a timely manner... your friend might not be as pressed and might even do a sloppy job. So yeah, there are no cutting corners with excellence.

Law 41
Avoid Stepping into a Great Man’s Shoes
What happens first always appears better and more original than what comes after.  If you succeed a great man or have a famous parent, you will have to accomplish double their achievements to outshine them.  Do not get lost in their shadow, or stuck in a past not of your own making:  Establish your own name and identity by changing course.  Slay the overbearing father, disparage his legacy, and gain power by shining in your own way.

This is what the Gaga naysayers accuse her of - being a tired copycat, a no talent lame, a disgrace, another saccharine blond poptart. Realistically, there's nothing new under the sun... so duh she'll remind you of someone. [Also, her naysayers are probably the most unoriginal people to walk the face of the earth that's why they're sitting around bitching instead of doing something major themselves BUT I DIGRESS.] She has carved her own niche because she arrived in her own space in time. She can sang, she can play piano and most importantly she has heart and pure fucking ambition. She was not discovered on her front stoop [Rosario Dawson] and didn't even have connections [The Smith children and the woman I love to hate: Gwyneth Paltrow]. She worked her ass off from the sweaty bottom to the glittering top, and now that she's hit the first pinnacle of her success, she is immensely grateful for it. She has sold approximately five million thirteen million albums worldwide and has been nominated for 195 awards [of which she won 87] in 2.5 years. Nowadays, when do you see that?! [Can I also mention that she was invited by Anna Wintour to play at the Met Costume Institute Gala on the condition that she not swear during her performance. She gets on stage, sits in front of her piano and says "I'll do my fucking best." I can't even tell you how much I love her.]

Law 42
Strike the Shepherd and the Sheep will scatter
Trouble can often be traced to a single strong individual – the stirrer, the arrogant underling, the poisoned of goodwill.  If you allow such people room to operate, others will succumb to their influence.  Do not wait for the troubles they cause to multiply, do not try to negotiate with them – they are irredeemable.  Neutralize their influence by isolating or banishing them.  Strike at the source of the trouble and the sheep will scatter.

Take down Goliath and you can bet no one will want to test you afterward.

Law 43

Work on the Hearts and Minds of Others
Coercion creates a reaction that will eventually work against you.  You must seduce others into wanting to move in your direction.  A person you have seduced becomes your loyal pawn.  And the way to seduce others is to operate on their individual psychologies and weaknesses.  Soften up the resistant by working on their emotions, playing on what they hold dear and what they fear.  Ignore the hearts and minds of others and they will grow to hate you. 

The word seduction stems from Latin and literally means "to lead astray". I feel like seduction often has a negative connotation, since it seems closely linked with manipulation and dishonesty in our minds. Depending on your end goal, I sway on this. But I will say, true seduction takes a cunning and adept master.

Law 44
Disarm and Infuriate with the Mirror Effect
The mirror reflects reality, but it is also the perfect tool for deception: When you mirror your enemies, doing exactly as they do, they cannot figure out your strategy.  The Mirror Effect mocks and humiliates them, making them overreact.  By holding up a mirror to their psyches, you seduce them with the illusion that you share their values; by holding up a mirror to their actions, you teach them a lesson.  Few can resist the power of Mirror Effect. 

Mimicking a person's behavior back to them is useful in getting people to realize what they've done wrong. When someone says "I haven't heard from you in a while" you can easily retort "Well I haven't heard from you either!" People will soon realize that they don't like the taste of their own medicine.

Law 45
Preach the Need for Change, but Never Reform too much at Once
Everyone understands the need for change in the abstract, but on the day-to-day level people are creatures of habit.  Too much innovation is traumatic, and will lead to revolt.  If you are new to a position of power, or an outsider trying to build a power base, make a show of respecting the old way of doing things.  If change is necessary, make it feel like a gentle improvement on the past.

I agree with this. Make changes and moves forward a gradual effort. You'll lower the chance of a revolt and you'll get more people to back you up. Too many sudden changes and you will have people in shock and feeling as if they're inoperable.

Law 46
Never appear too perfect
Appearing better than others is always dangerous, but most dangerous of all is to appear to have no faults or weaknesses.  Envy creates silent enemies.  It is smart to occasionally display defects, and admit to harmless vices, in order to deflect envy and appear more human and approachable.  Only gods and the dead can seem perfect with impunity.

Perceived perfection brings out envy in people because it's what we all unconsciously or consciously strive for. If you appear to have what many want, people will become admiring of and obsessed with you, all the while secretly hoping for your downfall. It's best to be relatable and approachable while doling out subtle reminders that you are still a level above them.

Law 47
Do not go Past the Mark you Aimed for; In Victory, Learn when to Stop
The moment of victory is often the moment of greatest peril.  In the heat of victory, arrogance and overconfidence can push you past the goal you had aimed for, and by going too far, you make more enemies than you defeat.  Do not allow success to go to your head.  There is no substitute for strategy and careful planning.  Set a goal, and when you reach it, stop.

I agree. Reach a goal, claim a victory, enjoy it, honor it, celebrate it and then move on. Rehashing an old achievement relentlessly makes it seem as if it's the best and only thing you've accomplished in your life. Set a new goal, knock it out of the park, and celebrate again. Rinse and repeat.

Law 48
Assume Formlessness
By taking a shape, by having a visible plan, you open yourself to attack.  Instead of taking a form for your enemy to grasp, keep yourself adaptable and on the move.  Accept the fact that nothing is certain and no law is fixed.  The best way to protect yourself is to be as fluid and formless as water; never bet on stability or lasting order.  Everything changes.

Everything changes. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. And such is life.

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Be succinct and keep it classy :)