Thursday, September 4, 2008

Law of Power 3: Conceal Your Intentions

It will be infinitely easier for your enemies to thwart your plans when they know what you're up to. So plant fake clues, cover your scent with red herrings, hide your motives with false sincerity and you will have them exactly where you want them to be and in the end achieve your goals.

The third law of power discusses the various ways on how you can conceal your intentions. one way is by sending mixed signals; confuse your enemies or your target/s with decoys or by being ambiguous and unpredictable. Do the things they'd least expect you to do and when they think they've got you figured out, do something unexpected and contrary to what they think you are or up to. This was the advice of the infamous courtesan Ninon de Lanclos to a young marquis who was pursuing a beautiful countess. Bysending mixed, ambiguous signals instead of outrightly confessing his love would the marquis catch the countess' interest. All went well for the young nobleman until he violated Lanclos' instructions and revealed his true feelings to the countess right away. the countess then lost all interest in him and even felt used and embarrassed.

Another way of hiding your intentions is by pretending to support something which is against your beliefs, principles, goals and motives. Back this up with false sincerity. This was the technique Otto von Bismarck used in attaining the position of Prussia's premier and achieving waht he wanted for his country. Bismarck was for the war against Austria but, seeing that Prussia's armies were still incapable of defeating the enemy, he preetnded to be against it, an action which shocked many becaue they thought he would support it, and persuaded the king not to send Prussia's troops into battle. The King was grateful to him for this and raised Bismarck to a position where he could strengthen and ready Prussia's armies for the war. When he finally led Prussia to war against Austria, his country brought home the victory, he had succeeded and had won the favor of many.

Another way of disguisisng one's actions is through the use of smoke screens--something you can hide behin and use to direct your opponent's attention away from your intentions and motives. This was what the infamous conman Joseph "Yellow Kid" Weil used in deceiving a wealthy businessman. A smoke screen is one of the main keys of deception.

Also, in deceiving someone and concealing your intentions, play on human nature. People instinctively trust appearances. Try to look and act like someone they can trust becuase, ovce they do, they will be honest with you about everything. Thus can you discern their purposes, motives, personality, character, flaws, strengths and weaknesses. Most people think they can win the favor of others by being completely honest. Take advantage of this. Do not atttract attention to yourself. Appear as bland and as uninteresting as possible. Your enemies will take you for granted and they won't see you as a threat. Be like a wolf in sheep's clothing; appear meek and mild and then attack at the right moment, when your opponents have set their defenses down. This is how the Ethiopian warlord Haile Selassie made a powerful enemy surrender to him.

Always remember to never cause any suspision amongst your foes. Strike when and where they least expect it.

Janna AmigoII AB Lit (Eng)Hi18 N

33 comments:

Miguel Rojas said...

Another great example for this law is Hannibal's very very brilliant war tactics, which were based on unpredictability and deception, which worked beautifully for him to beat the Romans. :D

Miguel Antonio Rojas
Hi18O

maiki Abello said...

Have you noticed that when some big scandal happens in the Philippines, a few days after, another thing happens and everyone forgets about the one before. Like with the ZTE scandal, there were trials going on then suddenly it all stopped because the news was focused on something else. Our attention was diverted. No one even remembered the ZTE scandal anymore. I think this law is what is being used.

Unknown said...

I agree with Miguel. Hannibal's double envelopment tactic is a very good example of a deceptive and misleading tactic. Despite being up against a greater number of Roman soldiers, Hannibal was able to succeed in Cannae.

Because of the battle formation they had, they were able to trick the Romans into thinking they were retreating, when in fact, they were actually giving others an opening to easily trap and slaughter the Carthaginians. The Romans were tricked into moving forward and allowing themselves to be surrounded by Hannibal's forces.

Patty Geollegue
Hi18- N

Joselle Feliciano said...

To gain power, concealing your intentions is very important. This is because it gives you an edge over your rivals since they would not know what your next move will be. If they have no knowledge of your plans, they will try to impede your advances towards the goal which you outwardly present interest in. This leaves you free to progress your true intentions.


Joselle R. Feliciano
Hi18 Sec N

Anonymous said...

Concealing intentions might cause events either way. For enemies' matters, it's good. But don't estimate the power of information and maybe your allies will get to know you're sending the wrong information and may brand you a liar.

Don Faylon
Hi18N

Niko Falcon said...

I believe in this rule on a certain level. I agree with all your methods except for one.

"Another way of hiding your intentions is by pretending to support something which is against your beliefs, principles, goals and motives. Back this up with false sincerity"

First of all, I agree with this method on the grounds that it is only something to be used for a very short period of time. Consider it a "quick fix" if you will. The reason to why I don't believe that it should be used for a long period of time, is that one may lose his/her identity, and what is power if you don't have an identity.

This is why I disagree with the method mentioned above. To step backwards momentarily to let the enemy get ahead so you can pounce on him is one thing. But to step back with your values, morals and dignity left behind is not worth the move.

This is the problem with 'concealing your intentions', it is an act of cowardice, which pays off. Why is it cowardly? Well simply because you are afraid to show your true intentions and will resort to hiding or trickery to keep it hidden. With that said, it still pays off. Like kicking someone in the back of the knee while in a soccer match. It is a dirty business.

So, if you are already in a dirty business. The only thing you will have left is that speck of dignity and values. It is indeed rather contradictory that you are trying to keep your values while being someone different. The best way to explain this would be by using an example that is still fresh in our minds; Hannibal. Hannibal as said by Miguel resorted to deception. He had to get his hands dirty and there is cowardice in his tactics (other would beg to differ and call it all genius). Well after a successful deception, Hinnibal stuck to his true self and gave the Roman officers he killed a proper burials. He was not consumed by the trickery and deception and was able to perform the small act and go back to who he truly is.

This is why this law should be used as a sidearm. It cannot be a primary weapon which you lug around all the time, for if you do it will consume you and instead of walking around with an M15 you have a pathetic little pistol. "The Truth is Out There" -Xfiles. One cannot and should not wear a mask forever.

Niko Falcon
Hi18-N

duey.guison said...

Well the idea of concealing intentions can be both useful and not useful.

Useful in the sense that it can be used to divert people's attention to other matters.

At the same time, it can be not useful if you use it towards your allies. How can your allies help you if you can't even reveal to them your plans? Concealing your plans to allies will just make you look like you do not trust anyone, which in my opinion is wrong.

With this law, this is useful ONLY towards enemies and not useful towards allies.

Duey T. Guison
Hi18N

Dexter Tanengsy said...

Unless your enemies would think that you are a threat to them, you are kept alive. As the law states, try to give off mix signals. Send them on a wild goose chase while you strengthen your army. Let them think that your incapable of toppling them down and they won't bother you. It's all in the act of covering and manipulating your foe. Then to capture victory, strike when they least expect it.

Dexter Tanengsy, Hi18-N

alex salaveria said...

This law is very effective when you know little about your enemy. Your deceptions may force your enemy's weakness to appear. You talk to them casually, but actually your trying to find out or you're trying to get them to spill their secrets without them noticing.

Your enemy would underestimate you and would not prepare, therefore you would have more time to plan your tactics because the enemy is just relaxing.

However, this law could also be used against you. Your enemy could do what you do and conceal their intentions very good as well.

Alex Salaveria
HI18-N

Marcy Leonora V. Pilar said...

In "pretending to support something which is against your beliefs, principles, goals and motives", I agree that one may lose his/her identity in the process. As Nico said, one must be careful enough to notice when the fake identity is already beginning to consume/take over one's real self. In assuming a fake form, it is vital that one remembers that he/she is only acting or playing a role; the difficulty only comes when one gets to know more of the other side. The tendency here is for one to open up his/her mind instead of keeping it closed.
However, it should be realized that one's capacity for self-determination should not be a hindrance to the actualization of one's identity. As long as it's you who's making, determining the choices, the real you still stays intact. Remember to stick to who you are, and make decisions that are in accordance with who you are.
One may be hiding beneath a mask, yes, but that'd be in line with cultivating an air of unpredictability (Law 17), not for fear of backfiring or revealing who one's true self is. Hiding cannot be brought about by cowardice all the time. However, it still remains true that one cannot hide forever.

Marcy Pilar
Hi 18 N
LAW 25

Cooky Araneta said...

When your intentions are to gain power, yes, you must conceal your intentions-- that is if you know that it goes against what the majority or those involved think or want. I think any sensible person would know that if you let your enemy know what you're REALLY up to, then that would spoil any plan you have of attacking them. Simply because they know how to prepare for it and answer it. So when you meet face to face, most likely your plan will backfire.

The thing with hiding your intentions though, is that in some way or another, eventually, they'll come out. You can put on a mask, but somehow and sometime, people will discover the real face behind it. You shouldn't always hide your real intentions, because then people will know you're hiding again and will find ways to discover what they really are. And then you're busted.

All in all, I still believe in being real, but I guess sometimes, you have to conceal. (wow, it rhymes.) Sadly, though it is the truth, if you want power, you sometimes have to play it dirty.

Unknown said...

I agree with Alex. By concealing your intentions and casually chatting with your enemy, you may be able to gain some vital information. In a sense, you would be applying Law 33, discovering your enemy's thumbscrew.

The problem however is if your enemy already has information about you. The concealment of your intentions would be useless since he or she already knows how you behave otherwise. The key to applying this law is to use it before the enemy gets a clue.

Marvin Velasco
Hi18 N

Unknown said...

This is also another law which illustrates how Scipio was able to gain the friendship and alliance with Celtiberians, when he was able to win the gratitude of Aluccius. He had his betrothed as a prisoner, and set a ransom for her. Treating her well, Allucius was very grateful with Scipio and the Romans' kindness. Scipio gave the ransom to the couple as a wedding gift, and soon after, overcome with joy and gratitude, Allucius returned with 1400 men to serve in the Roman army.

Scipio concealed his real intentions of wanting to gain soldiers and the favor of the Celtiberians. He showed his merciful and generous side in order to make them think that the Romans were very good men and should be supported. Again, a play on psychology. Hiding the true nature of one's actions actually makes these actions more successful in the end.

Scipio was able to manipulate them into supplying the Roman Army with more men, and at the same time, gain their trust and their admiration. They made themselves look good, and they were rewarded for it.

Marian Janelle C. Aliwalas
HI 18 N

janna_amigo said...

i agree with you, niko and marcy, that in concealing one's intetentions, one must be careful not to lose his identity. there's this thing in acting we call "controlled obsession." When a good actor takes on a role on stage, he completely transforms into his character, forgetting himself and acting and reacting the way his character would. in this sense, the actor becomes "obsessed" with his character's person, allowing it to consume him. However, like i said, this obsession must be controlled; the second the actor steps off the stage or off screen, he takes off this false identity like a mask and goes back to being his normal self. I believe this is what Heath Ledger failed to do when he took on the role of the Joker in Dark Knght. this principle applies in carrying out the 3rd law of power; one must be a good actor, meaning you can play a role in deceiving others but still be yourself and retain your personal beliefs. :)

Anonymous said...

For me, this law can only be effective if executed perfectly, which is difficult to achieve. If you're going to pretend to be weak, show no inconsistencies because your actions can easily be counteracted by efficient intelligence gathering and logic. So if you're faced with a seemingly weak opponent, don't be complacent and attack him without researching or thinking first. Find inconsistencies in your opponent's actions; search for loopholes, know him; because you don't know if there are camouflaged tanks waiting for you as you chase on that retreating, injured soldier.

Anonymous said...

^ Patrick Reyes Hi18O ^

MiRz Reyes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ninefingertips said...

Yeah, there are a lot of dangers to this law. like what patrick said. it is very difficult to maintain, in a sense, you have to be able to monitor the actions and intentions of everyone else. it would require quite a lot of planning. Your display of false actions could actually lead you to your own downfall. But all said, it is a particularly powerful law to abide in. A person who can hide his true intentions is virtually unstoppable, he can do much good and wreak much havoc. No one may oppose him because he can make sure that no one thinks he ought to be opposed.

:D

katherine conde said...

I guess concealing your intentions (or trying to conceal them) may result to two things. The first one is, as you hide your intentions and keeping your enemies in the dark not knowing what you’re up to, they wouldn’t be able to prepare for defense. If this is the case, you have a greater chance of winning and overthrowing your enemies.
But then, it is kind of natural for everyone to think that his enemies are creating a sort of smoke to deceive or mislead him of their plans. What if all of us think this way? Wouldn’t that make everything turn around for you? What if your enemy, thinking that you have sneaky plans, would prepare even more? It could be, that you’ll be the one caught in surprise and be defeated.
Katherine Conde
Hi18 O

camille martinez said...

Hey! This reminds me of poker (even though i never play the game). Remember Maverick? I don't recall the exact details, but by holding her breath, Annabelle reveals a lot her cards. She ends up losing.

The Pincer tactic is amazing. There is really no practical way to counter it once the enemy has you in their lap.

alan mamonluk said...

I think that this power is good but not the greatest law among the 48. I say it's good coz its leaves others to wonder what you're up to next. It gives you the air of unpredictability. One of the most powerful elements in battle is the element of surprise.

Alan Mamonluk
Hi18-O

katherine conde said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
think politics said...

nice one camille TOP GUN s always the best. anyway like wat any smart and sane leader would do keep ones mouth shut. and keep iit that way until one has decided to relenquish power.

think politics said...

by d way vince sueltosaid the comment above........

joanne atienza said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
joanne atienza said...

Yes, concealing intentions are exemplified best through Hannibal and Scipio.

What Mariel had just illustrated was a tactic also used by Hannibal when he released Italian prisoners and put ransom on Romans. This was Hannibal's way to CATCH for allies as those people would think how "good" he was in releasing them. It was also intended (discreetly) to collect funds from the enemy itself to continue the war.

Thus, concealing intentions would really be efficient to pursue a plan of dominance. Well, working silently could scare a lot of people then... ssshhh.

:Joanne Atienza N

Nathan De Leon said...

Luring one's enemy with a false sense of security has been around for so long.

We find another perfect example in Judges 4:17-23 of the OT. In this passage, Sisera, the commander of a Canaanite army, was fleeing a rout by Israelite soldiers, and proceeded to the tent of a supposed ally, Heber the Kenite. Heber's wife, Jael, accomodated him warmly upon entry, giving him milk and covered him up so that he could recuperate. As Sisera slept, Jael quietly took a tent peg and hammered it through his temple straight into the ground.

The army, as prophesied, was delivered into the hands of a woman, who took up the appearance of a nurturing hostess in order to eliminate the head of Israel's enemy.

Tomato Soup Lover said...

Concealing your intentions give you the upper hand in almost all stuations. As what had been written earlier, tactics of Hannibal exemplified this strategy. Goes to show, you have to be cunning (along with many other traits) to have power.

Marie Dacquel
Hi18-O

Pauline Purugganan said...

I love this law! Concealing your intentions would not only surprise your opponents. It could also in effect make them respect you even more! Why so? It would take a great deal of effort to keep this to yourself until actually getting what you wanted in the first place.

I think this is why Hannibal became very much respected by the Romans. He just never failed to surprise them.

Unknown said...

i think an alternative approach to this law is possible; by intentionally revealing your intentions, you can actually conceal it at the same time. think of it this way, you have 2 plans, A and B. you intentionally reveal plan A to your enemy. this will make your enemy prepare for plan A. but then this creates the perfect oppurtunity for you to use plan B since your enemy will expect you to use plan A; hence a surprise attack. in other words, you reveal a fake plan or a decoy to conceal your real plan and use it as a surprise. however you must also be aware of being not too obvoius when showing your decoy otherwise the enemy see through it. this law is very interesting because you can apply its inverse and will have the result as the original

princess joan said...

Like Pauline, I also like this law. In any battle, or even in business, you always have to conceal your intentions. You don't make yourself too predictable. As much as possible, you need to distract them from planning an attack against you that's why you don't show them what you're up to. I guess, the only thing that might be a hindrance to this law is greed and lack of patience. One must have enough discipline to be able to keep his thoughts in his mind until he knows when to spill it out.

Joan Medalla
Hi18 N

Dino said...

Sincerity could be man's greatest sin when it comes to leadership. It is better to conceal your thoughts and plans all to yourself and in so doing, make yourself more mysterious.

Like Miguel has noted, hannibal chose to play on man's natural fear of the unknown (literally, the unknown alps) to defeat his enemy.

mooky12 said...

Warlord ..pretty stupid not to identify a great King as such. And not a warlord.