Law 3: Conceal your Intentions


48 Laws of Power

The lessons    Law 1    Law 2   Law 3

The Judgment goes thus:

Keep people off-balance and in the dark by never revealing the purpose behind your actions. If they have no clue what you are up to, they cannot prepare a defense. Guide them far enough down the wrong path, envelop them in enough smoke, and by the time they realize your intentions, it will be too late.

People that reveal too much die too early. Powerful people are not known by a number of words, but by the weight of their actions’. Most people are known to be open books. They say what and how they feel, and they consistently reveal their intentions and plans. Several reasons could have caused this. First, we naturally love to talk about ourselves, feelings, and plans for the future. It takes extra effort for us to bridle our tongue and regulate what we reveal to people about ourselves.

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Also, many feel being honest makes them win people’s hearts so they can think they are good in nature. Well, you may not be able to influence what people feel about you, as they always choose what to believe. Even, your honesty can offend people; you rather say what people want to hear than telling them the bitter truth. Further, when you reveal so much about yourself, you expose yourself and become more predictable. People will stop respecting or fearing you, and you can hardly get power in such a way.

You remember the story of Joseph in the bible, he could have achieved his goal and destiny early enough, however, revealing too much delayed his shine. He was even lucky enough; he could have been killed and his destiny goes back to where it comes from. Sometimes, we wish people see our future and destiny and tell us, but God most times doesn’t allow that, because of our unbridled and overrunning tongue

The bible says, ‘A man’s enemies are the people of his own house’. Such was also applicable to Joseph. His own blood brothers were his number one enemy. However, if they never knew anything about him and his future, they might see no need to delay his journey. Learn to conceal your intentions and plans if you want to get to your destination early enough.

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Emperor Selassie, the former leader of ancient Ethiopia had a very long reign because no one could figure him out. Ethiopians, along with their leaders are known to be fierce, however, Selassie’s case was different. This simple reason was responsible for his long reign. Selassie is a gentle and peace-loving man. He behaves as if he isn’t angry and there is no problem, but he cunningly deletes his enemy. The most gentle people are the most dangerous people. They hardly talk; when others are talking, they are observing. They keep things in their mind and strikes when no one is paying attention.

The last words of Balcha of Sidamo when he is about to enter the monastery says, ‘do not underestimate the power of Tafari. He creeps like a mouse but he has jaws like a lion’. Tafari is also known as Haile Selassie. He is well respected and feared. He draws awe to himself, so gentle and loving, but deadly. He crawls like a mouse but could devour you. More reason why you should fear people that say so little. If you think the deceivers are the colorful folds who mislead with elaborate lies and tall tales, then you are greatly mistaken. Actually, the best deceivers are the bland and the inconspicuous front that draw no attention to themselves.

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Most effective smokescreens used by the deceivers are noble gestures. People feel noble gestures are genuine, thinking it is pleasant to do good. But people do not try to see deceit in gestures. Sometimes, people do good based on their good nature, however, many good gestures are not genuine. They are only beds on swords. You may not be oversensitive to people that are good to you, but be very careful of every good gesture.

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‘It takes patience and humility to dull your brilliant colors, to hide yourself. Don’t despair to wear a bland mask, it is your unpredictability that draws people to you and makes you a person of power’. When you are unpredictable and unreadable, people are attracted to you. When people don’t know your intentions, when they can’t read you or don’t know what next you can do, they patiently wait for you, instead of chasing you. 

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Since they don’t know your desires or what you wish to become, they see you as no competition to their goals, they see no need to go after your life. However when you reveal your goals, then they see you as a threat and have a thousand reasons why they should hunt you down before getting what they also want.

Finally, conceal your purpose and hide your progress. Don’t disclose the extent of your plans until there is no more opposition; until the combat is over. Always learn to win the victory before you declare any war.

The lessons    Law 1     Law 2   Law 3

Credit: Robert Greene

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  1. Hmm, it is well. Nice write up. But some people do fall into the hands of those that will help them after revealing their intentions? There is still a saying that said something shared is something that is being solved? But the best thing is to be prayerful, careful and watchful. There are something's that you don't need to tell people at all you just need to go to God alone, while some you will need the help of man. I stand to be corrected o, if needed. Thank you. Once again, I love your write up is really blessing me..