How successful would you be if you weren’t afraid?
~ Shavon Ethridge
It’s a midday lunch among friends. A thirty-first milestone birthday, with mine creeping just around the corner. With more than fifteen years of friendship under our belts, we begin discussing our lives without the blahzay blahzay lead up. These guys are some of my closest brothers, closer than my biological. We talk for several hours in what seems like a half hour. We converse about all things and I realize that these conversations don’t happen nearly enough. I leave with a sense that people’s varying degrees of problems are all relative. I work diligently to reach my zenith and hope to perfect the man who some patient, compassionate woman would share her world with.
As previously mentioned, thirty-one is knocking on the door. I don’t feel my age, I actually feel as flexible as my twenty-five self with a sharper brain to boot. I don’t really do the new year’s resolutions thing, but on my birthday I do outline where I want to see myself one year later. I have attained my wildest dreams in my thirtieth year and found someone who could potentially be someone special.
The majority of my thirties have been spent attempting to complete the ’48 Laws of Power’, a book I would herald as the best text I’ve read. This book took upwards of eight months to read and apply. Anyone who knows me, knows that I don’t like to touch the same paper twice. In my ever-increasing thirst for knowledge, I like to devour a book, reflect and repeat. This book didn’t allow me that opportunity. I had to seriously take a look at things I was doing, what I wasn’t doing and what I needed to be doing. This book doubled as a history teacher and parable simultaneously.
Transgression of the Law
Prior to reading this piece, know that some of the laws will disturb you. They will downright sicken you. The danger is ignoring these teachings. Throwing the book aside as drivel will be to your detriment. I have to admit that my personality thrives on using my brain to deduct issues and my heart to feel out a situation. When someone says ‘strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter’ (Law 42) or ‘crush your enemy totally’ (Law 15), you may think to yourself “this is ugly”. You’re not alone in this train of thought. My mentality doesn’t shine light on at least one-third of this material, the huge division is that I understand others do think this way. The kicker with this book is that it speaks volumes about people’s nature. This fact may upset you, turn you off or make you cynical. I choose to use the information as armour to understand the people I’m dealing with day-to-day. Considering that my nature is jovial, I think it pertinent to guard myself against people who would take advantage of me. The kicker is to maintain your sense of self without being jaded after realizing some people use you as a pawn to attain the power they need.
Observance of the Law
I was unaware I subconsciously used power play tactics. I now understand the reasoning behind some of the things I do (Enter action with boldness – Law 28). Things that were foreign to me are now a part of my being (Assume formlessness – Law 48). I get it! Reading this allowed me to understand the code. You see things in a new light and your ability to judge a person’s character is much more fine tuned. Recognizing a person’s nature early can prevent you from suffering later on.
Keys to Power
The biggest tool garnered from this book is that fear is the greatest weapon in creating inertia. Enter into action with boldness, planning all the way to the end, mastering the art of timing, all of these and more can be used to benefit your life. While the examples from history are many and the maxims are weighty, it’s a necessary read for anyone interested in learning the inner workings of people’s minds. It could be children vying for position on the playground or two colleagues duking it out for a promotion, this reading explains many tactics used in the game of life. My most important takeaway is Law 48, be formless. This doesn’t mean be spineless, it means be adaptable. Some things I feel strongly about, most others I’m indifferent to, for the things I don’t have a particular opinion on – I try. This works twofold, one, I’ll form an opinion and two, I’m trying something new.
Understand that this book isn’t a tool to take advantage of people. This is a tool for understanding and broadening your own mind. It’s easy to apply the lessons to illicit what you want, but I suppose this speaks to the nature of people. How good is your nature?
Carpe Diem Que