Master the art of concealing your intentions and you will always have the upper hand
While re-creating yourself, reinventing yourself, if at any point in the deception you practice people have the slightest suspicion as to your intentions, all is lost. Do not give anyone the chance to sense what you are really up to.
Throw people off the scent
Throw people of the scent by dragging red herrings across the path. Use false sincerity, send ambiguous signals, set up misleading objects of desire. Everything in deception depends on suggestion. You cannot announce your intentions or reveal them directly in words. Instead, you must throw your targets off scent. To surrender to your guidance, they must be appropriately confused. You have to scramble your signals, appear interested in another project or venture, then hint at being interested at the actual target, then feign indifference, on and on. Such patterns not only confuse, they excite.
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 believe that by being open and honest they are winning people’s hearts and showing their good nature. Believe me, they are greatly deluded. Honesty is actually, as I soon learned it in life, a blunt instrument which bloodies more than it cuts. Most of the time, your honesty is likely to offend people; it is much more prudent to tailor your words, telling people what they want to hear rather than the coarse and ugly truth of what you feel or think, and that they want or prefer to ignore. More important, by being unabashedly open, you make yourself so predictable and familiar that it is almost impossible to respect or fear you, and power will not accrue to a person who cannot inspire such emotions.
If you yearn for power, quickly lay honesty aside, and train yourself in the art of concealing your intentions. Master the art and you will always have the upper hand. Basic to an ability to conceal one’s intention is a simple truth about human nature: Our first instinct is to always trust appearances. We cannot go around doubting the reality of what we see and ear. This makes it relatively easy to conceal one’s intention. Simply dangle an object you seem to desire, a goal you seem to aim for, in front of people’s eye and they will take the appearance for reality. Once their eyes focus on the decoy, they will fail to notice what you are really up to. In deception, set up conflicting signals, such as desire and indifference, and you not only throw them off the scent, you inflame their desire to possess you.
A tactic that is often effective is setting up a red herring that is to appear to support an idea or cause that is actually contrary to your own sentiments. Most people will believe you have experienced a change of heart, since it is so unusual to play so lightly with something as emotional as one’s opinions and values. The same applies for any decoyed object of desire: seem to want something in which you are actually not at all interested and your enemies and targets will be thrown off the scent, making all kinds of errors in their calculations.
Use this tactic in the following manner: Hide your intentions not by closing up, but by 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.
Another powerful tool of throwing people off the scent is false sincerity. People easily mistake sincerity for honesty. Their first instinct is to trust appearances, and since they value honesty and want to believe in the honesty of those around them, they will rarely doubt you or see through your act. Seeming to believe what you say gives your words great weight. However, it is important not to go too far in this area. Sincerity is a tricky tool: Appear over passionate and you raise suspicions; be measured and believable.
To make your false sincerity an effective weapon in concealing your intentions, espouse a belief in honesty and forthrightness as important social values. Do it as publicly as possible. Emphasize your position by occasionally divulging some heartfelt thought, one that is actually meaningless or irrelevant to your final goal, of course. This feigned confidence would then elicit a real confidence on the other’s person part.
The best deceivers do everything they can to cloak their roguish qualities. They cultivate an air of honesty in one area to disguise their dishonesty in others. Honesty is merely another decoy in their arsenal of weapons.
Use smoke screens to disguise your actions
The familiar, inconspicuous front is the perfect smoke screen. Approach your mark with an idea that seems ordinary enough, a business deal, financial intrigue. Your mark’s mind is distracted, his or her suspicions allayed. That is when you gently guide your mark onto the second path, the slippery slope down which he or she slides helplessly into your trap.
The paranoid and wary are often the easiest to deceive. Win their trust in one area and you have a smoke screen that blinds their view in another, letting you creep up and level them with a devastating blow. A helpful or apparently honest gesture, or one that implies the other person’s superiority, these are perfect diversionary devices. Properly set up, the smoke screen is a weapon of great power.
If you believe that deceivers are colorful folks who mislead with elaborate lies and tall tales, you are greatly mistaken. The best deceivers utilize a bland an inconspicuous front that calls no attention to themselves. They know that extravagant words and gestures immediately raise suspicion. Instead, they envelop their mark in the familiar, the banal, the harmless. Once you have lulled your marks’ attention with the familiar, they will not notice the deception perpetrated behind their backs. People can only focus on one thing at the time. The grayer and more uniform the smoke in your smoke screen, the better it conceals your intentions.
The simplest form of smoke screen is the facial expression. Behind a bland, unreadable exterior, all sorts of mayhem can be planned, without detection.
One of the most effective smoke screens is the noble gesture. People want to believe apparently noble gestures are genuine. They rarely notice how deceptive these gestures can be.
Another effective smoke screen is the pattern, the establishment of a series of actions that seduce the victim into believing you will continue in the same way. The pattern is powerful in that it deceives the other person into expecting the opposite of what you are really doing.
Another psychological weakness on which to construct a smoke screen is the tendency to mistake appearances for reality, the feeling that if someone seems to belong to your group, their belonging must be real. This habit makes a seamless blend a very effective front. The trick is simple: You simply blend in with those around you.
Conceal your purpose and hide your progress; win the victory before you declare the war.
One last word
No smoke screen, red herring, false sincerity, or any other diversionary device will succeed in concealing your intentions if you already have an established reputation for deception. And as you get older and achieve success, it often becomes increasingly difficult to disguise your always possible cunning. Everyone knows you practice deception; persist in playing naive and you run the risk of seeming the rankest hypocrite, which will severely limit your room to maneuver. In such cases, it is better to own up to appear the honest rogue, or, better, the repentant rogue. Not only will you be admired for your frankness, but most wonderful and strange of all, you will be able to continue your stratagems.
Finally, although it is wiser to divert attention from your purposes by presenting a bland, familiar exterior, there are times when the colorful, conspicuous gesture is the right diversionary tactic.
Spectacle and entertainment, clearly, are excellent devices to conceal your intentions, but they cannot be used indefinitely. Powerful people with bland exteriors, on the other hand, can practice their deceptions throughout their lifetimes. Their act never wears thin, and rarely causes suspicion. The colorful smoke screen should be used cautiously, then, and only when the occasion is right.
Owner of Bunkumless.com and King Global Earth and Environmental Sciences Corporation, JMD, a former attorney, is a Columnist for The Futurist Daily News and editor of the Social and Political Blog JMDlive.com Follow JMD @ jmdlive