Law 6: Court Attention at all Cost


48 Laws of Power

The lessons    Law 1    Law 2   Law 3   Law 4   Law 5   Law 6

Everything is judged by appearance; what we don’t see is nothing. Never be allowed to be lost in the crowd or buried in oblivion. Always stand out. Make yourself a magnet of attention; always appear larger, more colorful, more mysterious than the crowd.

The major way to draw attention to oneself is to do something unforgettable, sometimes controversial. Nobody knows you until you are somebody. It’s either you create a problem or solve a problem if you want to be known. Nobody remembers the second position, the first position takes all the glory. If you want to record your name in time, on people’s minds, if you want to be part of history, then do something new.

A name without fame is like fire without flame. How else does a snake manifest its presence than biting or how does a scorpion register its presence than stinging. People can only know you for something good or something bad; however, to be known, you must do one of the two. You discover the most-watched videos on social sites are awkward things. If you want people to watch you or notice you, then start a drama that is unusual. If you want to draw the crowd, then you have to do something different and off.

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Normally, people are attracted to unusual things. Humans have the tendency to be sensitive to things that are weird. When you do new things, people come to you. Once you get their attention, it’s up to you to sustain it. And how do you sustain it, by being consistent. You don’t stop doing the weird things, else, people will leave and go to the new or weird things. When you are rising through the rank, always try to catch people’s attention to yourself, and that is how you build a fan base.

Burning more brightly than the people around you is a skill no one is born with. Learn to court attention just like the lodestone attracts iron. At the start of your career, your name must be attached to a reputation, quality or image, that separates you from other people. The image can be a way of dressing or some types of clothes, a personality that amuses people, or the thing you think people hate or dislike. In fact, people only pretend to hate, they actually don’t. While they loathe it in public, they love it in private. And once you establish your image, then you have an appearance and a place in the sky for your star.

Let’s learn some lessons from the story of Nicola Tesla and Thomas Edison, the great scientists. Edison always wanted to remain in the public eye at any cost so as to make money. To display his discoveries in electricity, he would do dazzling experiments. He would even talk of future inventions that are fantastic, like robots, machines, even though telling them he wasn’t going to waste his energy. All of these he does to crave more attention than his rival Nikola Tesla, even though the latter was perceived to be more brilliant. 

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In 1915, there was a rumor that both Edison and Tesla would be joint recipients of the year’s Nobel Prize in physics. Eventually, the prize was given to English physicists. But how? It was discovered that the award committee met with Edison, and told him he would be sharing the award with Tesla but he rejected the offer. He thought if he accepted it with Tesla, then Tesla will get the world's attention. He, therefore, rejected just for his rival not to be popular.

Therefore, if you eventually get into the limelight, ensure you keep renewing it by changing methods, else, the people will be bored, get tired, and search for a new star. You, therefore, need vigilance and creativity. Learn from Pablo Picasso. Once people start to get bored with a particular art of his, he would change the method and do paintings that people do not imagine or expect. Pablo Picasso believes that it is better to create something that is ugly and disturbing than to let his fans and followers be too familiar with his work. When you become too predictable, then people feel more superior than you. But when you do things that are beyond their expectations, then you gain their respect and hold down their attention.

Never make it too clear what you are doing or what you plan to do. Don’t show all your cards. When you are full of mystery, people become anticipated and always look forward to what you want to do next. Mysterious people put others in an inferior position. Great leaders are unpredictable, always creating an aura of mystery to draw attention to themselves. ‘The dance of the veils – the veils envelop the dancer. What they reveal causes excitement; what they conceal heightens interest. The essence of mystery’.

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But remember, as you grow and attract people, never offend or challenge the reputation of those above you, because you will seem desperate. Always know when to draw attention, and when to withdraw. Do not appear too greedy to get attention, because it may look like insecurity, and insecurity drives power away. Know that there are times you should not be at the center of attention. If you are in the comity of those above you, kings, queens, presidents, please don’t compete, just bow and retreat to their shadows.

The lessons    Law 1    Law 2   Law 3   Law 4   Law 5   Law 6

credit: Robert Greene

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