CONCEAL YOUR INTENTIONS
"Keep people off-balance and in the dark by never revealing the purpose behind your actions. If they have no clue what you are up to, they cannot prepare a defense. Guide them far enough down the wrong path, envelop them in enough smoke, and by the time they realize your intentions, it will be too late. "
Ok, this one is pretty deep. Remember these tactics are to be used to gain power, not friends. Many of these laws are deceptive and manipulative but good. You can even see how on shows like "The Apprentice" and "Survivor" these laws are keys to success.
The first part of this law involves putting forth false intentions.
USE DECOYED OBJECTS OF DESIRE AND RED HERRINGS TO THROW PEOPLE OFF THE SCENT
Robert Green says, "Use false sincerity, send ambiguous signals, set up misleading objects of desire. Unable to distinguish the genuine from the false they cannot pick out your real goal".
In business, when talking with people I try to figure out their intentions before I think about what they are actually saying. Their intentions often gives true meaning to what and why they are telling me certain things. In turn, I assume that people are doing the same to me.
I have a slight advantage in this because I do not fit the mold very easily. I am not an easy read by anyone and my motives are very hard to decipher. I have a small select group of "friends" that I am open with, and everyone else can kiss my ass.
More from Robert Greene:
"Most people are open books. They say what they feel, blurt out their opinions at every opportunity, and constantly reveal their plans and intentions. They do this for several reasons. First, it is easy and natural to always want to talk about one's feelings and plans for the future. It takes effort to control your tongue and monitor what you reveal. Second many believe that by being honest and open they are winning people’s hearts and showing their good nature. "
I fight the urge to belt out plans and actions by confiding in close friends. You want to shout out every moment that you are going to rule the world but by being "unabashedly open you make yourself predictable and familiar". It is almost impossible to respect or fear you, and power will not accrue to a person who cannot inspire such emotions.
I have seen this first hand at my job. We had a high ranking official that was so predictable. He was so emotional that he could not possibly conceal his plans and his hatred toward me and other high ranking officials, allowing his every move to be countered until his demotion.
That's right, I don't play at work. I will take you down!
Another tactic mentioned by Robert Green is false intentions. "Hide your intentions not by closing up (with the risk of appearing secretive, and making people suspicious) but talking endlessly about your desires and goals- just not your real ones. You will kill three birds with one stone: You appear friendly, open and trusting; you conceal your intentions; and you send your rivals on time-consuming wild-goose chases."
Part 2 to follow.