I see you have decided to invest a good portion of your time learning human psychology and how to leverage it to your advantage. This is a step in the right direction as this investment of yours will pay off in the years to come.
Many at the age you are at are busy jerking their time and vitality off to social media, making the big tech oligarchs richer than they actually should be; and then there’s you – making the effort to learn something about yourself, others and how to make the most out of this world.
In this article, we will explore first, of the forty eight laws of power, in great detail. Take your time and read at your own pace, this isn’t a marathon – it is a journey.
So let’s jump right into it, now shall we?
What Do Schools Teach Us?
Or it would be more accurate to ask, what do schools condition us to believe?
They teach us that to excel, is to be great, and to show off that you have excelled, is to be greater. They teach us that all you have to do to be successful is pay attention in class, be obedient, don’t break any rules and show off your achievements.
And it does make you successful – within the confines of the classroom that is.
Class toppers are often held up as an example for others to follow, and this encourages them to flaunt their achievements in every conceivable instance, instead of keeping it under wraps, like you are supposed to at the workplace unless you like the idea of painting a target on your back.
It Is In Our Blood To Be Selfish
People are selfish, which is why they don’t want to see others make progress they themselves aren’t making. It hurts their pride to see someone get ahead in life; something that you can instinctively relate to, as everyone is selfish by design hence can relate to that feeling of inferiority.
But we make that fundamental mistake we have been conditioned to perform from school.
So far, there are no educational institutions other than the institutions where you have to play the game – that teach you anything about the game that is played there.
Most learn by exposing themself to the environment, get burned, get resentful, envious and sometimes nihilistic, before learning to thrive in said environment.
I am offering you an alternative; learn to play, before playing to win.
Robert Greene has worked tirelessly to compile a massive repository of historical lessons to drive certain points home, but if you don’t wish to purchase his book, then you can read what I have gleaned from his book.
Given below is the FIRST LAW.
First Law – Never Outshine the Master
People are generally insecure no matter what their designation. If you project yourself under a good light and cloud your master’s radiance, he will unleash his fury on you. You will become a thorn on his side and he will do everything in his power to get rid of you.
Everyone has insecurities, even those in power. Also, people holding high positions have a lot to lose, which is why they almost always go on the offense.
When you display your talents, it naturally stirs up envy and resentment.
Of course, life isn’t supposed to be spent worrying about others, and what they think about you, but with those above you, it would be wise to pay attention and act accordingly.
Those in positions of power wish to retain those positions of power for as long as they possibly can.
They want to feel secure and are always wary about those around him.
The consequences of offending petty individuals are mostly petty themselves, but the same cannot be said for those in positions of power, because petty people are never crowned.
Back To School (Yes, I’m a Little Obsessed)
Schools condition us to flaunt our results, which is why there is this misconception that employing this same tactic will have the exact same effect outside in the real world.
Flaunting your grades will get your teachers to like and praise you instead of seeing you as someone that ought to be expelled because you aren’t a threat to his or her career.
You will always be a student at school.
The teacher isn’t risking anything by you showing off your achievements, or by holding you up as an example for others to follow.
Bottomline is, this delusional thought will continue to persist, until you end up getting battered like I did after entering the corporate arena.
It would be wise to camouflage yourself as someone totally mesmerized by the master’s ability to perform his duty, the way he executes them and butter him up from time to time to show him that you are on his side and willing to fight for him.
Feign interest, but don’t overdo it unless you want your master to become suspicious. Excessive display of loyalty can also sabotage your reputation both among your masters and your peers.
Why Harbor Such a Toxic Mentality?
This mode of thinking isn’t toxic, it is the way humans function, hence a law.
Animals kill each other for survival, either to satiate hunger or to protect their territory. This is cruel, but it is reality – hence a law.
Power remains with those capable enough to handle and execute them – and execute them they will, if you make the mistake of assuming they will reward you for your display of skills.
Working hard and hoping for the best may impress your superiors, but that alone isn’t going to get you promoted, because you are unaware of the laws that govern those transactions.
In office environments, the smarter employees who are incredibly good at their job make sure there is an enormous dependency on them – which they use as a leverage to get what they want.
You have to threaten your bosses professionally to get ahead, by subtly hinting that you will resign if you don’t get what you want. This only works if you are keenly aware of what is required, and what the flaws of the current system you are working in, are.
I’ve seen that happen, and the ones who accomplished this feat were one of the most craftiest individuals I’ve ever come across.
Read This Few More Times
You won’t win any affection from those who view you as a threat to their position and legacy. To them, merely achieving a superior position won’t cut it – they also wish to feel superior as well.
You will either outshine by deliberate action – from the mistaken assumption that doing so will elevate your status and bring you the recognition you deserve, or naturally outperform them through pure talent.
If you are more charismatic and witty, deliberately downplay your talents, and find ways to make it seem as though it is the master that is coming up with all that witty humor and insights.
Charisma comes naturally to some, while others struggle to socialize. Not everyone knows how to banter with the crowd, and this can lead to resentment from those on top who view your ability as a threat.
If you are smarter than your master then appear dumb and naïve. Make mistakes that don’t damage your reputation in the long run and ask for the master’s assistance. This will make him feel like he is in control and that he is needed which is a powerful ego boost.
Also, in case your attempts at charming your superiors work out smoothly and you get what you want, keep in mind never take your position for granted. History is rife with favorites who fell out of favor for getting too comfortable. Everyday is war – to prove your allegiance to those who bestowed that power upon you.
All of that being said, you have to keep in mind that not everything has to be taken literally and applied in every circumstance.
You have to be smart about it.
Power always slips through and eventually finds itself in the possession of another entity, for such is the nature of power.
If your master is showing signs of decline, that is your time to outshine him and take over. He had no qualms doing so during his ascent to power so nor should you.
That is how you acquire power – by biding your time and making calculated moves without empathizing with the opponent. This is why most high positions are almost always filled with psychopaths.
Corporate environments are conducive to such individuals, as it requires a mentality that is divorced from the one we are conditioned to operate on a daily basis.
Divorce your emotions while at work.
Pitching in to help someone out of sympathy, who the master has deemed unworthy, will mark you as unworthy as well.
You work for pay.
You offer your services in exchange for cash.
Nail that into your head, and you are good.
Such is the environment outside, and it’s only when you are willing to inject a bit of Machiavellianism into your conduct that you see power accumulate in your hands.