The essence of deception is distraction. Distracting the people you want to deceive gives you the time and space to do something they will not notice. An act of kindness, generosity, or honesty is often the most powerful form of distraction disarms people’s attention and suspicions. People turns into children eagerly lapping up any kind of affectionate gesture. This is what I call “giving before you take”. The giving makes it hard for people to notice the taking. This is a strategy with infinite practical uses. Brazenly taking something from someone is dangerous, even for the powerful. The victim of the taking may plot revenge. It is also dangerous to simply ask for what you need, no matter how politely you do it: Unless people see some gain for themselves, they may come to resent your neediness. Learn to give before you take. It softens the ground, takes the bite out of future request, or simply create distractions. The giving can take many forms: An actual gift, a generous act, a kind favor, an “honest” admission, whatever it takes.
Selective honesty is best employed on your first encounter with someone. A first impression lasts a long time. If someone believes you are honest at the start of your relationship, it will take a lot to convince them otherwise. And this gives you plenty of room to maneuver. A single act of honesty is often not enough. What is important is a reputation for honesty built on a series of act. These can be quite inconsequential. Once your reputation for honesty is established, as with first impressions, it is hard to shake.
Honesty is one of the best ways to disarm the wary, but it is not the only one. Any kind of noble, apparently selfless act will serve you. The best such act is one of generosity. Few people can resist a gift, even from the most hardened enemy. Generosity is often the perfect way to disarm people. A gift brings out the child in us, instantly lowering our defenses. Although we often view other people’s actions in the most cynical light, we rarely see the Machiavellian element of a gift, which quite often hides ulterior motives. A gift is the perfect object in which to hide a deceptive move.
Selective kindness should also be part of your arsenal of deception. By playing on people’s emotions, calculated acts of kindness can turn anyone into a gullible child. As with any emotional approach, this strategy must be practiced with caution: If people see through it, their disappointed feelings of gratitude and warmth will become the most violent hatred and distrust. Unless you can make the gesture seem sincere and heartfelt, do not play with fire.
When you have a history of deceit behind you, no amount of honesty, generosity or kindness will fool people. Any such act will only call attention to itself. Once people have come to see you as deceitful, to act honest all of a sudden is simply suspicious. In these cases, it is better to play the rogue. Nothing in the realm of success and power is set in stone. Overt deceptiveness will sometimes cover your tracks, even making you admired for the honesty of your dishonesty.
When we feel helpless, we feel miserable. For most of us, the feeling of having no power, no control over people and events of our life is unbearable.
I do not know anyone who would want to have less power, less control over the events, people and circumstances of their life. Everyone, admittedly or not, without exception, consciously or unconsciously, wants more power, more control over the events, circumstances and outcomes of his or her life. However, in today’s chaotic world and fast changing times, it is dangerous to appear, to be perceived as too power hungry. It is dangerous, even suicidal to be too openly overt with our power moves.
In today’s chaotic world and rapidly changing times, for anyone wanting to score big, for anyone wanting to build the life of his or her life, to live the life of his or her dreams, one has to seem fair and decent, fair and civilized. One need to be subtle, congenial yet cunning, egalitarian yet devious. In today’s chaotic world and rapidly changing times, while appearing to be the very paragon of elegance excellence, in the subtlest of ways possible, one has to outwit and thwart his or her opponents, everyone standing in his or her way.
In today’s chaotic world and rapidly changing times, in his or her quest for control over people, events, circumstances and outcomes of his or her life, all your power moves are to be made indirect. Instead of using coercion or outright treachery, one has to get his or her way through seduction, charm, deception using subtle strategies and, more importantly, always planning several moves ahead. When necessary to stab someone in the back, you have to do it with a velvet glove on your hand and the sweetest of smiles on your face. Life today is a never-ending game that requires constant vigilance and tactical thinking. Life today, contrary to the old times, the ancient times, is an endless civilized war.
Erroneously and hopelessly, in today’s chaotic world and rapidly changing times, everything must appear civilized, decent, democratic, fair and politically correct. But for anyone playing according to these rules too strictly, taking them too literally, more than often, one will be crushed by those around him or her who are not so foolish and reckless. It is my experience that any man who tries to be good at all time is bound to come to ruin among the great number who are not so good and do not give a damn about decency, inequality, democracy, and justice for all. It is my experience that any man who tries to be good at all time is bound to come to ruin among the great number who are not so good and only care about one thing: Themselves. Today’s society likes to envision itself to be the pinnacle of refinement but, underneath its glittering surface, a cauldron of dark emotions, greed, envy, lust, hatred, boils and simmers.
To thrive and even survive in today’s chaotic world and rapidly changing times, in a society that likes to imagine itself to be the pinnacle of fairness and enlightenment, while appearing to respect the niceties of a politically correct world, unless he or her is a fool, one has to be prudent, master the arts of indirection, learn to seduce, learn to charm, deceive and subtly outmanoeuver whoever may stand in his or her way. To thrive and even survive in today’s chaotic world and rapidly changing times, in a society that likes to imagine itself to be the pinnacle of fairness and enlightenment, one has to quickly learn to masterfully play the infinite game of life, the infinite game of success and power: Making people, institution and organization bend to your will without realizing what happened and what you have done. To thrive and even survive in today’s chaotic world and rapidly changing times, in a society that likes to imagine itself to be the pinnacle of fairness and enlightenment, one has to quickly learn to masterfully play all the power games of the infinite game of life, the infinite game of success and power. Doing so, if you play the game masterfully, elegantly and artistically, nobody will ever resent, resist or oppose you in your quest for success and power, in your quest for more control over the events, people and circumstances of your life, in your quest to life the life of your dreams.
To some, this notion of consciously playing power games, no matter how indirect and justified they may be, may seem evil, immoral and asocial. Mistakenly believing that it is possible, instead to play an infinite game, to play a finite game by behaving in ways that have nothing to do with power. Beware of such people! While expressing their anti-power-games opinion and resentment against everyone playing such games as outwardly as possible, they are often among the most adept players at the game of power. Under the cover of morality, equality, fairness and social justice, they use power strategies to cleverly disguise the nature of the manipulation involved. As an example, they will often display their weakness, their lack of control over the circumstances of life, the fact that they are part of an oppressed minority as a kind of moral virtue. Complaining, demonstrating, manifesting, revendicating, making a show of one’s weakness is actually a very effective subtle and deceptive strategy in the game of power. This is in no way opting out of the game of power. On the contrary!
Another strategy of the self-proclaimed communal and ethical non-players is to demand equality for all and everyone in every area of life. For these self-proclaimed egalitarian non-players, whatever their origins, their environment, their gender, confusion of gender, status and strength, abilities or absence of abilities, whatever the circumstances, they wrongly believe and promote the idea that everyone must be treated alike. They ignore the fact that treating everyone equally means only one thing: Ignoring their differences, elevating the less skillful and suppressing those who excel. The result: A morally depraved and diminished society! Again, for too many of those self-proclaimed social and moral non-players demanding equality for everyone, they all are simply deploying another power strategy: Redistributing people’s rewards in a way that they wish to determine themselves.
Another way of avoiding playing the game of power, opting out of the game of power, would be perfect honesty and straightforwardness. But again, it is my personal experience that, more than often, being perfectly honest would, and do, inevitably hurt and insult a great many people, too many people, and some of them will, and do, choose to retaliate and injure you in return. It is also my experience that no one will, and no one does, see your honest statement as completely objective and free of some personal self-interest and motivation. And, in the majority of the cases, they would be right. In truth, as a matter of fact, the use perfect honesty and straightforwardness is nothing else than a power strategy intended to convince people of one’s noble, good-hearted, selfless character. Perfect honesty and straightforwardness are nothing else than a subtle form of coercion, a form of persuasion nonetheless.
Finally, for most of those self-proclaimed social and moral non-players of the game of power, more than often, to protect themselves from the accusation that they are after power, they will affect an air, an aura of total naïveté. Beware! More than often, the appearance of naïveté can be a very effective way of deceit and, even genuine total naïveté is not free of the snares of the game of power: Genuinely innocent people may still be playing for power and are often horribly effective at the game. Once again, beware! More than often, those who make a show or display innocence may later reveal to be the least innocent of all. You can recognize these so-called non-players by the way they flaunt all around their moral qualities, their piety, their exquisite sense of justice. More than often, distracting us from their power plays with their air of moral superiority, these self-proclaimed social and moral nonplayers are merely throwing dust in our eyes. If you observe them closely, you will see and soon realize that, in fact, they are often the ones most skillful at indirect manipulation.
Today, in these chaotic and fast changing times, the world is every day, more and more, becoming like a giant scheming court in which, like it or not, we are trapped in. Like it or not, believe it or not, there is no use in trying to opt out of the game: That will only render you, render one powerless and miserable, and if one is already powerless and miserable, it will only render him or her even more powerless and miserable. Instead of struggling against the inevitable, instead of arguing and whining and feeling guilty, it is far better, for anyone who wants to thrive and even survive in this world, to excel at the game of life, to excel at the infinite game of life, to excel in the infinite game of success and power. In fact, the better you are at dealing with success and power, the better friend, lover, husband, wife, and person you become. By doing so, by becoming a source of pleasure to them you make others feel better about themselves and they will grow dependent on your abilities and desirous of your presence. If the game of life, the infinite game of life, the infinite game of success and power is inescapable, better to be an artist at mastering the game than a denier or an ignorant bungler