Law 1 of 48 Laws of Power – Getting Started
Have you heard about how you should never outshine your master before? If so, I bet that you are familiar with the 48 Laws of Power (aff. link) book written by Robert Greene or at least heard about it from someone else. 48 Laws of Power Law 1 is “Never Outshine The Master”. There is a good reason for this and Law 1 reveals why it is important for you to never outshine your masters.
48 Laws of Power – Chapter 1
48 Laws of Power Chapter 1 explains that most humans are insecure. This means that you should not put your superior at work on the spot to feel inferior to you. This is because they may lash out at you or sabotage your career. Instead it tells you to flatter them and let them feel good about themselves. I will illustrate this with some never outshine the master examples.
Never Outshine the Master Examples
Many who work hard to get a higher standing in life feel like they are the King of their own world. Naturally they want this position to be secure and to feel superior to those around them. When they feel like you are threatening their position (even if you don’t intent to), they may start working against you.
An example of this could be having a manager at work who delegates work to you. You work on his tasks as good as possible thinking it will help you, only to find out that it did not. If your manager sees you doing these tasks too well, he might feel the threat of you replacing him someday. This would result in him starting to work against you or even trying to get rid of you.
Another pitfall to avoid is thinking that just because you are favored by your master, that you can do anything that you want. You must never forget that your position depends on your master. Let’s say that your manager takes you to meetings with other mangers because he likes you. At the meetings you find yourself hitting it off with the other managers and it they praise you for your work that they have heard of. This could trigger an alarm in your manager because as mentioned before, humans are insecure and fear replacement.
Something that you can do to combat this is to flatter your manage by giving some credit to him. Saying a simple “I couldn’t do it without my manager helping me with x or y” could go a long way to help you.
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Never Outshine the master – Social Dynamics
One more situation where you might not expect the rule to never outshine your master to apply is in social dynamics with friends.
Imagine you are new to a group of friends. In these cases your position is still relatively shaky and you could be rejected. What you typically want in such situations is to gain the friendship of the group.
So how does Law 1 apply here? If you are someone who has a strong, magnetic personality it might feel as a threat for the current group leader. The reason for this is that the group has an established hierarchy already and a new person could uproot that. If there is a chance for that, the leader could think of a plan in order to get you kicked out of the group for a petty reason.
Your solution to this problem would be to identify the group leader and to gain their favor. This would send a signal to the leader that you acknowledge the current hierarchy and have respect for it.
If after deliberate and sincere effort the leader still doesn’t like you, it is time to move on to another group. You wouldn’t want to waste your time on a group where you aren’t favorably looked upon anyway.
The key takeaway from this post is to never outshine people who are in a stronger position than you are. Whether it is at work, family gatherings or with your friends.
If you enjoyed this quick explanation of the 48 Laws of Power chapter 1, you might enjoy reading the rest of the book. You can get it through Amazon here (aff. link)
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