Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Friday, September 18, 2020

The 48 Laws of Power, #34: Be Royal in your own Fashion

One of my favorite books on strategy is The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene and Joost Elffers.  Where The Art of War, by Sun Tzu is written as an overview of the whole topic of strategy, seeking to provide an overall understanding of the subject; and The 36 Strategies tries to impart the knack of strategic thinking through 36 maxims related to well known Chinese folk stories, Mr. Greene focuses on how we influence and manipulate one another, ie "power".

Mr. Greene draws from both Eastern and Western history and literature as his source material. Sun Tzu and Machiavelli as cited as much as wonderful stories of famous con men. 

Each of the 48 Laws carries many examples, along with counter examples where it is appropriate that they be noted, and even reversals.

It is a very thorough study of the subject and the hardback version is beautifully produced.

One of the things I admire about Greene is that he not only studied strategy, he applied what he learned to his own situation and prospered.

Today we have #34: Be Royal in your Own Fashion

Act like royalty, and people will treat you as if you were royal, conferring on you status, respect, and power.

The crown creates an aura of power and entitlement that emanates from a king. Create such an aura for yourself by acting as if you’re destined for great things. Your supreme confidence and belief in yourself will radiate power the same way a crown does. Act like a king to be treated like one.

According to Law 34 of the 48 Laws of Power, this kind of self-confidence is contagious — others will believe it, and you can ask for and receive what you want. Your belief in yourself will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Children charm adults this way when they confidently and happily ask for what they want — and adults enjoy indulging them. 

Be sure to act differently — people have expectations for how a king should act, and you must meet them in order to be treated like a king. One of the most important is to act differently — separate yourself — from those around you.

One way to set yourself apart is to always act with great dignity, or regal bearing. (Don’t confuse this with arrogance, which is a sign of insecurity.) Be royal in your own fashion.
Ethiopian ruler Haile Selassie came from a noble family, but wasn’t expected to ever ascend to the throne. However, as a young man his dignity, calmness, and self-confidence gave him a royal bearing that was soon noticed by the king, and he rose in the ranks. Selassie knew to act like a king to be treated like one.

Along with developing your inner confidence and strength, Law 34 of the 48 Laws of Power gives you several outward strategies to act like a king.
  • Make an over-the-top demand: Demand a high price and stand firm, as Columbus did in requesting funding and prestigious titles for his explorations from Spain’s Queen Isabella. You’re signaling your worth, and your superior will respect you even if she turns you down. That respect likely will pay dividends later.
  • Elevate yourself by going after the highest-ranking person. When you take on a strong opponent, you’re seen as her equal.
  • Give a gift to your superior or patron. This establishes your equality with the person above you. You’ll also get what you want in return without begging, which would make you seem small.

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