Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Laws of Power: Law 1

Never Outshine the Master

Always make those above you feel comfortably superior. In your desire to please and impress them, do not go too far in displaying your talents or you might accomplish the opposite - inspire fear and insecurity.

Make your masters appear more brilliant than they are and you will attain the heights of power.

Unfortunately (fortunate for the blog, unfortunate for the chap that got the boot )I was recently able to see this law in action. At work we had what we called Black Thursday two weeks ago. 6 people were laid off from our company. One person in particular, had only been there for a short period of time. I remember during his first month, he kept saying how his boss sucked, and how he was going to have that job. I advised him to play it cool, and to do a good job at making his boss look good. This advice fell on deaf ears. Every opportunity that he had he let people know that he was after his boss' job. Well, his boss knew too, and now he's out of a job.

When you have a superior above you that is not as good as you are, when you showcase your talents to loudly you drum up insecurities. When you direct your talents into making him or her look better you become a necessity. They know that they need you to reach a certain level of success. Without you they can not continue to achieve the same levels so you have created job security. If you try to outshine them, and they feel overly threatened you have achieved the opposite.

More from Robert Greene:
You can not worry About upsetting every person you come across but you can be selectively cruel. If your superior is a falling star, there is nothing to fear from out shining him. Gauge his strength. If he is weak, discreetly hasten his downfall: Out do, out charm, outsmart him at key moments. If he is very weak and ready to fall, let nature take its course. Bide your time and be patient.

The key there is "at Key Moments". Every opportunity is not the right one. But you must be ready at the key moment. You don't know when that moment will occur so you must be ready at all times. Everyday you must be at the top of your game. Then there will be that key moment, in that one meeting with the right audience, that your boss will stumble. You will be there with the charm, grace and knowledge that the right people will notice that your boss never possessed. This will start the investigation of your boss' past successes and his potential in the future. Was this a result of you or him? After, the key moments will come more frequently. Your rise to the top will be emanate.


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