48 Laws Of Power: Law #48 Assume Formlessness

Law 48: Assume formlessness

  •      By having a visible plan you open yourself to attack.
  •      Stay adaptable and on the move
  •      Accept that nothing is certain and no law fixed
  •      Everything changes and never bet on it

I think an important idea to grasp is that water, while formless, never loses its intrinsic nature. When you know exactly who you are and what you’re about, it doesn’t matter what form you take. This law isn’t about being a chameleon. Bruce Lee once said “You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.”

SUR

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48 Laws Of Power: Law #47 Do Not Go Past The Mark You Aimed For; In Victory Know When to Stop

Law 47: Do not go past the mark you aimed for; in victory know when to stop

  •      When going to far in victory, you make more enemies
  •      Set a goal, achieve it, then stop

“Done is better than perfect”

If you can get something functional and off the ground… a new product… training materials… delivering something on time… etc… it builds your credibility step by step.

Its like a game of poker… when you do something good you earn a few chips… make a minor mistake you lose a few chips… do a project well and your boss speaks well, win a lot of chips… piss of the wrong person lose a lot of chips.

If you do one project and focus on ONLY that project and make it perfect in 10x the amount of time you could do 4-6 good enough projects you will only win the same amount of chips as the guy who did that same project “Good Enough.”

The point is that all business is personal. It is perception. By going from one project to another in a company and having them be “Good Enough” and working within the needed specs you will be seen as a “go to” guy to get it done. After the project is launched you can polish out anything while in progress.

Building a mountain of poker chips (perception of effectiveness & corporate citizenship) with co-workers and superiors will open doors for you. If you do a epic f’k up you can go “all in”, shove your stack and have others speak up that you are worth saving.

SUR

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48 Laws Of Power: Law #46 Never Appear Too Perfect

Law 46: Never appear too perfect

  •      Its dangerous to appear like you have no thoughts
  •      Its ok to admit to small defects

Human perfection is only an illusion.

The more one tries to ‘appear’ to be, the harsher the scrutiny becomes also. The expectation and the disappointment, the pressure.

This is mentioned in “How to Win Friends and Influence People“.

“If we know we are going to be rebuked anyhow, isn’t it far better to beat the other person to it and do it ourselves? Isn’t it much easier to listen to self-criticism than to bear condemnation from alien lips? ”

Similar solid advice when on an interview, you will almost always be asked what your weaknesses are. “None” is the wrong answer. The correct answer is to, readily admit your faults in areas that don’t matter. It will make you more approachable without making you look bad.

SUR

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Law 46

48 Laws Of Power: Law #45 Preach The Need For Change, But Never Reform Too Much At Once

Law 45: Preach the need for change, but never reform too much at once

  •      Everyone wants change but too much is traumatic
  •      When new to power show you respect old ways
  •      Make change feel like a gentle improvement on the past

Don’t expect that reinventing yourself will happen effortlessly like flipping a light switch. Take baby steps. One day at a time. Attempt managable changes and observe the results. If you fail, try again. Learn from your mistakes. Build on your successes. This is not to say radical change is impossible. Only that gradual improvement is more likely to succeed and failures will be less traumatic. Swallowing the Red Pill is already a huge paradigm shift, and challenges will come to you unbidden: life, death, marriage, divorce.

So, look at your life as a work in progress. Have attainable goals that lead to big milestones. Whether your need is to eat healthier, or lift more in the gym, or overcome an addicition, or manage your money. Whatever it is, small improvements will add up to big changes in the future. Patience, perseverance, and consistency are your watchwords. Eschew instant gratification culture. Avoid immediate rewards with delayed payment. True self-improvement doesn’t happen all at once, and it doesn’t happen overnight. Anyone who tells you differently is selling you a bill of goods.

SUR

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48 Laws Of Power: Law #44 Disarm & Infuriate With The Mirror Effect

Law 44: Disarm and infuriate with the mirror effect

  •      When you mirror exactly what your enemies do, they cannot figure out your strategy
  •      The mirror effect mocks and humiliates them, making them overreact
  •      Hold a mirror to their psyches and you’ll seduce them and they’ll think they share your values
  •      Mirror their actions and they learn lessons

I always felt this law kind of overlapped a lot with the other laws. At least in the way I interpreted it. I figured the law means to mirror what others are currently saying/doing so that they feel that you are “one of the group.” Other laws that touch on this include:

  • Pose as a friend, work as a spy
  • Think as you like, but behave like others
  • Never outshine the master
  • Always say less than necessary

The other way I’ve heard this law interpreted is to “mirror” your opponent to mock them. Obviously this causes them to get angry and lose frame. A powerful way to discredit your opponent.

SUR

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48 Laws Of Power: Law #43 Work On The Hearts & Minds Of Others

Law 43: Work on the hearts and minds of others

  •      Coercion will work against you
  •      Seduce others into wanting to move in your direction
  •      Seduce others by operating on their individual psychologies and weaknesses
  •      Soften them by working their emotions and what they fear
  •      Ignore the hearts and minds and they will grow to hate you

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.

A way to do this is just to listen. Sit with others and get them to open up with you. Don’t be a conversational narcissist. All humans struggle with this because when we hear someone mention they like Disney land or sports cars or yoga. We run it through our own filter, “what do I know about yoga.” Then we steer the conversation towards ourselves. Instead of doing this run the conversation through a filter of the other persons, emotions, motivations and character traits. Example:

Girl: “I love yoga”

Guy: “Awesome, you must be dedicated to learn all those different moves.”

Girl: “I went to Disney land with my niece last week and had a blast:

Guy: “I bet your niece really had fun with you and made you feel like a great aunt. That’s generous of you to take time out of your week to do that.”

SUR

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48 Laws Of Power: Law #42 Strike The Shepherd & The Sheep Will Scatter

Law 42: Strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter

  •      Trouble can be traced to a single individual
  •      These people will influence others
  •      Do not negotiate but banish them
  •      Strike at the source of the trouble

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.

What can we learn from this law?

  • Within any group, trouble can be traced to a single source, the unhappy, chronically unsatisfied one who stirs up dissension and infects the group. Recognize troublemakers by their complaining nature. Separate him from the group.

Remove toxic people from your life.

  • In every group power is concentrated in the hands of one or two people. Human nature shows people will orbit around a single strong personality.

Most of the people are sheeps, waiting for their shepherd to lead them down the path.

SUR

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