Here are the sixteen laws of psychological power that can help create an edge over your competition and increase your odds of success in life inspired by Robert Greene’s book The 48 Laws of Power.
1. Stand out from the competition
The first thing you must overcome to win is being unknown and blending in with the crowd. The first step to gain a psychological edge and some level of power over competitors is to become known for something, be unique, be so good they can’t ignore you. You must find your edge in the industry, career, business, or sport you compete in.
2. Hide your intentions
Don’t give away your plans, goals, and strategy to those you are competing with. It’s easier to accomplish your goals against competitors when only you know what they are ultimately. Leave everyone guessing at what your game is and targets are, they will be easier to win that way.
3. Don’t argue, take action instead
Let your actions speak for you, don’t waste time and energy in arguments that serve no purpose. Don’t lower yourself to argue with people, arguing itself shows you respect your opponent and their opinions. Action speaks louder than words for both you and your opponent. Let your actions speak for you. Watch what people do, not what they say. Action is truth, arguments are just words.
4. Use your words carefully
Choose your words carefully as tools of psychological power. Use words to inspire people to listen to you, warn people not to challenge you, or motivate people to support your cause. Don’t waste your words, use them as tools to achieve your goals both with others and to speak your own truth.
5. Show confidence
If you don’t show confidence in yourself you can’t expect anyone else to believe in you. You must walk, talk, and behave confidently to believe in yourself and have an edge over those who doubt their self. A psychological edge starts with faith in yourself and your process. Few have this confidence but will follow those who do.
6. Know your enemies
Know your enemies as well as they know themselves. Know their strengths and weaknesses to better compete at their own game.
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” – Sun Tzu
7. People have mostly selfish motives
Understand that incentives primarily drive people’s actions. You can understand what people will do based on their own self interest, motivation, and desires.
“Show me the incentive, I’ll show you the outcome.” Charlie Munger
8 Say no to almost everything
You can put the highest value on your time, energy, and attention when you say no to almost everything. You can gain a lot of respect by making yourself a rare commodity when people value you.
“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.” Warren Buffett
9. Stay mysterious
Don’t show all your strengths, abilities, and weaknesses publicly, keep people guessing. The less you tell and show the more people will want to know about you. Overexposure can hurt your brand, limit your interactions.
10. Support your mentors, spouses, and bosses
If you’re an employee be your bosses biggest fan and advocate.
If you’re being mentored be the biggest fan of your mentor.
If you’re married be the president of your spouse’s fan club.
Write great reviews for books by your favorite authors.
Give your biggest support to those higher up than you to gain favor and get them to notice you.
11. Stay focused
Focus your time, energy, and attention on achieving your goals not those of other people.
Focus on your own goals or you will become a part of someone else’s goal.
“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” —Jim Rohn
12. Double down on your edge
When you focus on your strengths and bet on doing what you’re best at, your probabilities of success are much higher. You both create a psychological edge for yourself and over others when you bet on your own best skills and abilities. It makes life much easier to compete at what you’re best at.
“When you are good at something, never do it for free.” – The Joker
13. Don’t try to fill big shoes
Don’t try to be like someone else, and don’t try to fill a legend’s shoes by following in their footsteps. By your own person, find your own way, and create your own mission in life. Copying someone else or filling the position of a legend after they leave a job can set you up for failure through comparison.
14. Avoid anger
Anger is an energizing emotion that is meant to give you the ability to defend your boundaries in life. Anger is rarely useful outside of physical threats and should be set aside in favor of calm calculation and reason. Displaying anger will instill fear with people on your team and create a negative environment. Anger can look weak to your adversaries. Self-control looks more powerful than anger in business and life.
15. The calm rush
Time is a source of psychological power. People who can be both productive and calm show a level of power over both their environment and emotions. Calmness is the psychological power to stay in control of your own time and priorities and not allow other people’s emergencies to interfere with your own schedule and process.
16. Calculate value
It’s a psychological power to calculate the value of everything in your life to determine if they are worth your time, energy, and money. This goes for services, food, employees, products, and even if your job is worth it.
This applies to whether you get the value for your cost of living where you live and the value for your tax expenses to your local and national government. Calculating value allows you to make rational and intelligent investments of your time, energy, and money. This can be a huge psychological edge over those that put no thought into cost versus value in all areas of their life.
Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.” Warren Buffett