Stir up waters

composure

In adversity, always maintain your composure and dignity

Anger and emotion are strategically counterproductive. You must always stay calm and objective. But if you can make your enemies and rivals angry while staying calm yourself, you gain a decided advantage. Put your rivals and enemies off-balance: Find their chink in their vanity through which you can rattle them and you hold the strings.

If possible, no animosity should be felt for anyone. To speak angrily to a person, to show your hatred by what you say or by the way you look, is an unnecessary, dangerous, foolish, ridiculous, vulgar proceeding. Anger or hatred should never be shown otherwise than in what you do; and feelings will be all the more effective in action, in so far as you avoid the exhibition of them in any other way.

Maintain composure and dignity

What a pity it is to see a great man display such bad manners. This is the problem with the angry response. At first it may strike fear and terror, but only in some, and as the days pass and the storm clears, other responses emerge, embarrassment and uneasiness about the shouter’s capacity for going out of control, and resentment of what has been said. Losing your temper, you always make unfair and exaggerated accusations.

To show your frustration is to show that you have lost your power to shape events; it is the helpless action of the child who resorts to a hysterical fit to get his way. The successful and powerful never reveal this kind of weakness. Tantrums neither intimidate nor inspire loyalty. They only create doubts and uneasiness about your power. Exposing your weakness, these stormy eruptions often herald a fall.

Maintain control

You want to expose your rivals and enemies, draw them out, get under their skin and push them into action before they are ready. Always see several moves ahead, think everything out ahead making sure the actions of your rivals and enemies will come to nothing, and that you can use these actions against them.

When the waters are still, your opponents have the time and space to plot actions that they will initiate and control. So, stir the waters, force the fish to the surface, get your rivals and enemies to act before they are ready, steal the initiative. The best way to do this is to play on uncontrollable emotions such as pride, vanity, love and hate. The angrier your enemies and rivals become, the less control they have.

Avoid looking ridiculous

Never launch an army out of anger, never start a war out of wrath; angry people usually end up looking ridiculous, for their response seems out of proportion to what occasioned it. They have taken things too seriously, exaggerating the hurt or insult that has been done to them. They are so sensitive to slight that it becomes comical how much they take personally. More comical still is their belief that their outbursts signify power. Understand this: Petulance is not power; it is a sign of helplessness. People may temporarily be cowed by your tantrums, but in the end, they lose respect for you. They also realize they can easily undermine you, that they can easily undermine anyone with so little self-control.

The answer, however, is not to repress our angry or emotional responses. For repression drains us of energy and pushes us into strange behavior. Instead we have to change our perspective: We have to realize that nothing in the social realm, and in the game of success and power, is personal. If a person explodes with anger at you, you must remind yourself that it is not exclusively directed at you. The cause is much larger, goes way back in time, involves dozens of prior hurts, and is actually not worth the bother to understand. Instead of seeing it as a personal grudge, look at the emotional outburst as a disguised power move, and attempt to control or punish you cloaked in the form of hurt feelings and anger.

This shift of perspective will let you play the game of success and power with more clarity and energy. Instead of ever reacting, and becoming ensnared in people’s emotions, you will turn their loss of control to your advantage: You keep your head while they are losing theirs.

Anger only cuts off our options, and the powerful and successful cannot thrive without options. Once you train yourself not to take matters personally, and to control your emotional responses, you will have placed yourself in a position of tremendous power: Now you can play with emotional responses of other people. Stir the insecure into action by impugning their manhood, and by dangling the prospect of an easy victory before their faces. Reveal an apparent weakness to lure your enemies and rivals into action. Then you can beat them with ease. With the arrogant too you can appear weaker than you are, taunting them into a rash action.

In the face of a hot-headed enemy or rival, an excellent response is often no response. Nothing is as infuriating as a man who keeps his cool while others are losing theirs. If it will work to your advantage to unsettle people, affect the aristocratic, bored pose, neither mocking nor triumphant but simply indifferent. This will light their fuse. When they embarrass themselves with a temper tantrum, you will have gained several victories, one of them being that in the face of their childishness you have maintained your dignity and composure.

Study the enemy beforehand

When playing with people’s emotions you have to be careful. Study the enemy beforehand: Some fish are best left at the bottom of the pond. You can bait the powerful and get them to commit and divide their forces, but test the waters first. Find the gap in their strength. If there is no gap, if they are impossibly strong, you have nothing to gain and everything to lose by provoking them. Choose carefully whom you bait, and never stir up the sharks.

Understand and remember: There are times when a well-timed burst of anger can do you good, but your anger must be manufactured and under your control. Then you can determine exactly how and on whom it will fall. Never stir up reactions that will work against you in the long run. Use your thunderbolts rarely, to make them the more intimidating and meaningful. Whether purposefully staged or not, if your outburst come too often, they will lose their power.

JMD

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

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