#48-laws-of-power #Be-Royal-in-your-own-Fashion #keys-to-power #law-34 #robert-greene
As children, we start our lives with great exuberance, expecting and demanding everything from the world. This generally carries over into our first forays into society, as we begin our careers. But as we grow older the rebuffs and failures we experience set up boundaries that only get firmer with time. Coming to expect less from the world, we accept limitations that are really self-imposed. We start to bow and scrape and apologize for even die simplest of requests. The solution to such a shrinking of horizons is to deliberately force ourselves in the opposite direction—to downplay the failures and ignore the limitations, to make ourselves demand and expect as much as the child. To accomplish this, we must use a particular strategy upon ourselves. Call it the Strategy ofthe Crown.
The Strategy of the Crown is based on a simple chain of cause and effect: If we believe we are destined for great things, our beliefwill radiate outward, just as a crown creates an aura around a king. This outward radiance will infect the people around us, who will think we must have reasons to feel so confident. People who wear crowns seem to feel no inner sense ofthe limits to what they can ask for or what they can accomplish. This too radiates outward. Limits and boundaries disappear. Use the Strategy of the Crown and you will be surprised how often it bears fruit. Take as an example those happy children who ask for whatever they want, and get it Their high expectations are their charm Adults enjoy granting their wishes—just as Isabella enjoyed granting the wishes of Columbus.
Throughout history, people of undistinguished birth—the Theodoras of Byzantium, the Columbuses, the Beethovens, the Disraelis—have managed to work the Strategy ofthe Crown, believing so firmly in their own greatness that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The trick is simple: Be overcome by your self-belief. Even while you know you are practicing a kind of deception on yourself, act like a king. You are likely to be treated as one.
The crown may separate you from other people, but it is up to you to make that separation real: You have to act differently, demonstrating your distance from those around you. One way to emphasize your difference is to always act with dignity, no matter the circumstance. Louis-Philippe gave no sense of being different from other people—he was the banker king. And the moment his subjects threatened him, he caved in. Everyone sensed this and pounced. Lacking regal dignity and firmness of purpose, Louis-Philippe seemed an impostor, and the crown was easily toppled from his head.
Regal bearing should not be confused with arrogance. Arrogance may seem the king’s entitlement, but in fact it betrays insecurity. It is the very opposite of a royal demeanor.
Haile Selassie, ruler of Ethiopia for forty or so years beginning in 1930, was once a young man named lij Tafari. He came from a noble family, but there was no real chance ofhim coming to power, for he was far down the line of succession from the king then on the throne, Menelik II. Nevertheless, from an early age he exhibited a self-confidence and a royal bearing that surprised everyone around him.
At the age of fourteen, Tafari went to live at the court, where he immediately impressed Menelik and became his favorite. Tafari’s grace under fire, his patience, and his calm self-assurance fascinated the king. The other young nobles, arrogant, blustery, and envious, would push this slight, bookish teenager around. But he never got angry—that would have been a sign of insecurity, to which he would not stoop. There were already people around him who felt he would someday rise to the top, for he acted as if he were already there.
Years later, in 1936, when the Italian Fascists had taken over Ethiopia and Tafari, now called Haile Selassie, was in exile, he addressed the League ofNations to plead his country’s case. The Italians in the audience heckled him with vulgar abuse, but he maintained his dignified pose, as if completely unaffected. This elevated him while making his opponents look even uglier. Dignity, in feet, is invariably the mask to assume under difficult circumstances: It is as if nothing can affect you, and you have all the time in the world to respond. This is an extremely powerful pose.
A royal demeanor has other uses. Con artists have long known the value of an aristocratic front; it either disarms people and makes them less suspicious, or else it intimidates them and puts them on the defensive—and as Count Victor Lustig knew, once you put a sucker on the defensive he is doomed. The con man Yellow Kid Weil, too, would often assume the trappings ofa man ofwealth, along with the nonchalance that goes with them Alluding to some magical method of making money, he would stand aloof, like a king, exuding confidence as if he really were fabulously rich. The suckers would beg to be in on the con, to have a chance at the wealth that he so clearly displayed.
Finally, to reinforce the inner psychological tricks involved in projecting a royal demeanor, there are outward strategies to help you create the effect. First, the Columbus Strategy: Always make a bold demand. Set your price high and do not waver. Second, in a dignified way, go after the highest person in the building. This immediately puts you on the same plane as the chief executive you are attacking. It is the David and Goliath Strategy: By choosing a great opponent, you create the appearance of greatness.
Third, give a gift of some sort to those above you. This is the strategy of those who have a patron: By giving your patron a gift, you are essentially saying that the two of you are equal. It is the old con game ofgiving so that you can take. When the Renaissance writer Pietro Aretino wanted the Duke of Mantua as his next patron, he knew that ifhe was slavish and sycophantic, the duke would think him unworthy; so he approached the duke with gifts, in this case paintings by the writer’s good friend Titian. Accepting the gifts created a kind of equality between duke and writer: The duke was put at ease by the feeling that he was dealing with a man of his own aristocratic stamp. He funded Aretino generously. The gift strategy is subtle and brilliant because you do not beg: You ask for help in a dignified way that implies equality between two people, one ofwhomjust happens to have more money.
Remember: It is up to you to set your own price. Ask for less and that is just what you will get. Ask for more, however, and you send a signal that you are worth a king’s ransom Even those who turn you down respect you for your confidence, and that respect will eventually pay offin ways you cannot imagine.
Image: The Crown. Place it upon your head and you assume a different pose—tranquil yet radiating assurance. Never show doubt, never lose your dignity beneath
the crown, or it will not fit. It will seem to be destined for one more worthy. Do not wait for a coronation; the great
est emperors crown themselves.
Authority: Everyone should be royal after his own fashion. Let all your actions, even though they are not those of a king, be, in their own sphere, worthy of one. Be sublime in your deeds, lofty in your thoughts; and in all your doings show that you deserve to be a king even though you are not one in reality. (Baltasar Gracian, 1601-1658)