LAW #15 — Crush Your Enemy Totally

I’ll get back to what happened next on my personal journey. Right now, I’m jumping forward. The truth is I have been pouring myself into things and not getting the desirable results. For the past decade I have been a part of or hosted so many charity events, yet I still don’t have the giant social media following that a person who has done what I have done should have.I make beautiful works of art, and I have a dedicated following of people who love and admire my work, yet I’m still a struggling artist.

All that needs to change. When you don’t attain the results you want from your efforts, the only solution is to find out why; to learn the things you don’t know. Our tech-driven world changes so fast, with literally no evolutionary time to adjust to the changes. That requires, to survive, we must become forever students. Luckily, I have always found great joy in that.

My weaknesses are in the world of business. I need to know more about power.

So I’m reading, “The 48 Laws of Power”. I heard about this book when Trump defied all odds on his road to political power. Each morning I read a chapter. It’s that kind of book. You need to let the chapters seep in before you replace them with a new chapter. And the examples are filled with interesting snippets of history, so it’s a good read.

Today’s chapter is “Crush your Enemy Totally.” Let me begin by saying that, on first impulse, I don’t like many of these “laws”. I see them as deceptive and against so much of what I believe in. But like so many things, there is room for interpretation, and they have proven to work. Bloody societies used them in bloody ways. We live in a different world, where our weapons are wits, intelligence and integrity. So I’m attempting to understand the laws as applied to life today.

One example in this chapter told the story of Wu Chao, a beautiful and goal-oriented young concubine in seventh century China.

First she became the emperor’s favorite. Then, with an eye on the future, she seduced his son (at the royal urinal, of all places!) That backfired, because, when dad died and son took the throne, he did with Wu what was done with all royal concubines when the emperor died — her head was shaven and she was sent to a convent to live out the rest of her days.

Wu wouldn’t have that. She befriended the new emperor’s wife, charmed the emperor and managed to get a royal edict that put her back into the royal harem. From there she would work her way to the ultimate seat of power. The emperor’s wife was having trouble conceiving. Knowing this, Wu got pregnant, had a kid and smothered it, making it look like the jealous wife did it. The wife was executed and Wu became wife. It went on from there. She poisoned a young concubine who she thought might threaten her position, then she killed her heir-apparent son, exiled another son, leaving her weakest son as Emperor, and she ruled through him. This continued for a 42 year reign!

My first response — what a horrible woman! Yet she was considered one of China’s most able and effective rulers, and she did defy all odds. Here is what I recognize in her as great. Wu was clever, with personal power and confidence, and never naive. She knew that any hesitation, any momentary weakness, would spell her end. She had to crush those who wanted to kill her or be killed herself. I don’t admire how she did it, but she did live in bloody times where killing was what you did.

Our world does not physically kill for power. We negotiate, manipulate and strategize. How do you do that and stay true to yourself? I don’t want power if it means doing things that go against my code of ethics. So what can I take away from all this? First and foremost — DON’T BE NAIVE! Second, when facing a person who wants to rise above you at all cost, crushing you in the process, in your struggles with him / her, STAY TRUE TO YOURSELF!!

I think some politicians and business people who follow this rule, understand it too literally. They see you as weak if you don’t show strength — which is true. But how do they define strength? Is it defined as the guy with the biggest stick? Or the person who comes up with the smartest plan, then quietly, patiently, tenaciously lets it unfold to its desired end? .I like version #2, subtle but effective, with less collateral damage, and it makes you stronger because you found a way to be true to yourself.

Personal integrity is where all confidence comes from.

It’s all about being loyal to yourself and to your world. It’s what fuels your tenacity and makes you bold and brave. It’s having a personal set of rights & wrongs, and being true to that. Your integrity will slay your enemy. It will allow you to be in present time and aware, clear-headed, powerful, so that you can see the moves of your enemy and then connivingly counter them and with ease.

Naivety comes from not being present, from not looking honestly at what is before you. It’s like being pretty and thinking that is enough. Pretty young people out there, never be just pretty! For pretty will fade, and if there is nothing left behind it, you will end up crushed by the next version of pretty. I know so many pretty girls that enjoyed all of the gifts their beauty gave them. Then they hit 40. With no skills but to seduce, they became hookers! So enjoy pretty, get the mo  st out of those God-given gifts, build fine memories, but also be smart and become something more.