Wednesday

Money, Sex and ...

POWER


In this world system it really isn’t about the former two items above. What it all boils down to in the end is power. Power will attract both money and sex. This is not to say that the object of power is either of those things. However, as power increases, it’s like a magnetic pull, it can’t be helped; those two entities will surely rear their heads.

Some people would say that money is power. Others would say that sex is. I both agree and disagree, because I tend to look at power as an element all its own. Power has structure. Power has rules, and if you follow the rules, you’ll maintain whatever level of power you have. If you break the rules, you will not only lose your power, but you’ll also pay a price. Some may ask, “What if I don’t want to play the game of power?” and to those I’d say, “You are already playing, you are probably just on the wrong end of the game. Denying that the game exists likely means that you my friend are being “defeated” on some level, and you obviously don’t have much power at all.” We all play the game, whether we like it or not. The best thing to do is to learn the rules of the game so you can minimize the negative impact that comes from transgressing the law.

I’ve always been a “hood” type brother, just more of a “Robin Hood”, so get comfortable, pull up a chair and come back weekly as we break down the irrefutable Laws of Power. Our guiding text will be The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene.




Any man who tries to be good all the time is bound to come to ruin among the great number who are not good. Hence a prince who wants to keep his authority must learn how not to be good, and use that knowledge, or refrain from using it, as necessity requires.

THE PRINCE, Niccolo’ Machiavelli, 1469- 1527


As I read the manual I’m often reminded of times that I have either seen the power of a law in motion through actions of my own or via someone I came into contact with. I have also witnessed first hand the negative impact of violating these laws. I would like to think that I’m pretty “up” on how to maneuver in a variety of circles, yet when I came upon rule #1, I realized that I had broken it on more than one occasion.


Rule #1

Never Outshine The Master


Always make those above you feel comfortably superior. In your desire to please and impress them, do not go too far in displaying your talents or you might accomplish the opposite - inspire fear and insecurity. Make your masters appear more brilliant than they are and you will attain the heights of power.



I was always told to do my best. Be two to three times better than the man/woman next to you if possible, especially if I’m the sole minority in a setting. So, I have always set out to “kick butt and take names” but one particular time early in my adulthood this strategy backfired. At the time, I had taken a part time job during the holidays in the retail sector. Part of my pay was built on commission so needless to say, I was “shaking hands and kissing babies” to make sure that my checks would be fat. I had bills to pay. The manager of the store was quite pleased with my performance, but there was a problem on one of the days that I arrived. The manager pulled me into the back to commend me on my sales numbers, but asked if I wouldn’t mind swinging her some sales, her numbers were a bit on the low side that week and she needed a little help. My response came in a facial expression that read like the 80’s music commercial where the guy says “No my brother, you have to get your own.” I begrudgingly threw her a couple of sales, keeping the better ones for myself, but she already knew my heart.

The end of the season arrives and I was the #2 sales guy overall, second to an Italian cat who had a regular customer base that he had built for about a year or more. I was looking to stay on the rest of the year based on what the manager told me upon hiring, “if you do a good job, we’ll look at hiring you on permanently after the holidays,” but I was let go. Supposedly the sales forecast didn’t warrant keeping any of the temporary help. That was fine, although I didn’t totally believe it. I figured she was still salty about my not dumping my money into her lap. It was cool, I had made some friends in some neighboring stores, so I put in for positions in stores that were actively hiring and still I came up with nothing.

I knew one of the brothers who worked as an assistant manager in the shoe store next door and I asked him what was up. Why couldn’t I get on? I never was late at the other store, I had great sales, and I worked extra shifts. The reason, he said and I can still hear the words now almost 20 years later. “Kathy,” not her real name, “said you weren’t a team player.”

It took me a while to find a job. Not to mention, this was the only mall in the college town of Gainesville, FL so most of the managers were friendly with each other. I got iced out because I broke the first law of power, Never Outshine the Master. In this instance, the manager reminded me who really had the power.

What are your thoughts regarding the 1st Law?

23 comments:

Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

preach - u need a collection plate. Im down with Robin too. Good look folk.

bbgcmac said...

Brotha,

This cat was hipping me to this book a few weeks ago. Awesome piece of literature huh? I was trippin cause I seem to have broken most of them at one time or another. Its almost like Sun Zu's The Art of War. Its basically a lesson in human nature, psychology and politics. Juxtapose these very true principles and that of our generally passive Christian behavioral teachings, we "lawbreakers" find ourselves playing by a different set of rules... Ya dig? They get us on the moral tip - on the righteous tip - our concious being the gatekeeper of determining what we will and will not do - such as doing a good job or trying to be a good person. Ice T has a book called, "The Ice Opinion" and he basically says the same. In life you are either a Pimp or a Ho. Whether he was doing dirt or playin a dirt sweeper by doing Law and Order - he was pimpin the system either way. He subscribes to the Five Percenters way of thinking too. This is a facinating and painful topic for me - because I believe we have to be true to ourselves to be sure - but we also need a true assessment of ourselves AND our surroundings so that we can maximize our abilities and possiblities. I hope that makes sense. Bring it on Rich!

Verbal Vixen (T Caldwell) said...

That is a great story you shared, Rich. I have broken this rule a couple of times myself and had mixed results. I think that it is a good rule in general, but I don't feel comfortable ever saying "never". Sometimes, it does make sense for you to outshine the master - particularly if the current master is not worthy of their position and/or you are close to becoming the master yourself.

Anyways - I enjoyed this post, I look forward to hearing about more of the laws of power, and I just may end up picking up this book myself.

Shai said...

I agree with Vixen, I would not use never. Sounds almost like a slave mentality to not outshine the master. Yuck!

I have read excerpts of this book. It was not my cup of tea. I am interested in your take on what you read.

Good post.

UnKnownDiva said...

hey rich...i found your page thru ms shai ^ and i had to comment on this post cuz i'm definitely on the "wrong" side of power and have refused to play the game thus far but reading this post makes me want to get the book and try to incorporate some of those "laws" into my life (especially since i showed one of my bosses up the other day and she's not speaking to me).
anyhow, i look foward to reading your take on the rest of the book

CapCity said...

BBGCMAC - i'm finally learning to understand when my Daddy told me the EXACT same thing u said:"we also need a true assessment of ourselves AND our surroundings so that we can maximize our abilities and possiblities." My Daddy ALWAYS urged us to do our best, be realistic in your goals and to KNOW your environment! Not necessarily to "keep us in a place" - but if you're not aware of the "ways the winds blow" it can be vicious as we butt our heads against "walls".

Good stuff, Bruh Rich. I found a "cheat sheet"/condensed version online... for those of us who want to prepare for ya;-)

Shai said...

@Cap: Thanksf or the "cheat sheet". By reading Law #1 it makes more sense.

Rich said...

I was going to add the text found in the "cheat sheet" but I didn't want to infringe on Mr. Greene's copyright. It definitely sets the law up for you pretty well.

Rich said...

@verbal vixen - you will learn as we cover more that there is a time to take out the master, but timing is everything.

The book goes into detail on how to use the laws to your benefit as well.

CapCity said...

Rich - since the cheat sheet is set up by a university i think it's a learning tool - as it is here, too! we're not profiting from it...or IZ we? ;-)

DreamCop08 said...

RICH THAT WAS SOME REAL STUFF YOU HAVE WROTE. I DEFINITELY HAVE BROKEN RULE NUMBER ONE. *HINT HINT*

BUT ANYWAY I FEEL EXACTLY WHAT YOU ARE SAYING AS FAR AS RULE NUMBER ONE.

THANKS FOR THE WONDERFUL ADVISE YOU LEFT ON MY PAGE. I LET MY ANGER GET THE BEST OF ME AND LASH OUT WHICH ISNT COOL. HAPPY YOU TOLD ME I NEED TO CHILL OUT, WHERE AS EVERYONE WOULD HAVE EGGED ME ON.

THANKS I CAN RESPECT YOU SO MUCH FOR THAT ADVISE.

Rich said...

@CapCity -- not this time sugar, not this time. In that case, I'll make sure I add them.

Mizrepresent said...

I loved it the first rule, and i am so looking forward to this series, heck i'm going to get the book. It's time to change the game. I'm tired of getting played! Thanks Bruh Rich, you are opening my eyes to new possibilities!

bbgcmac said...

capacity ~ did your dad say these exact words? i am askin cause i was comin off the top of the dome -making an observation based on the thoughts triggered inside from Rich's post. i was talkin and writing at the same time. if he did then its just good confirmation that spirit is spirit and that wisdom is wisdom - makes me feel i may be on to something!

CapCity said...

bbgcmac - uh, u testin' my memory reserves now ...but it SHO' was close - as your words struck a mighty chord! i would say spirit to spirit & wisdom's flowin' thru ya ... yea, i'd say you're onto some good things;-)!

~ CAPCity (as in CAPital City ... the NATION's CapCity ...which does have the capAcity to produce some good thangs;-)

Aunt Jackie said...

Rule #1 seems to be number one for a reason. As a young woman I was taught that when it comes to a man, I would have to learn to lead from the back...that phrase baffled me for years until I realized that when one is aware of their true inner power, that light shining is more than enough. Knowing your personal power prevents the ego from taking over and it's more often than not the ego that wants us to outshine the "master".

I work in tv production and we have to work as a team which means more often than not someone on top is taking credit for what's being done on the bottom. It is what is, and it only makes me work harder to get to the top...

Lovebabz said...

Ahh I used this book for my college students to give them a sense of what to expect when they step into the "real world" There a great many books on this subject that are worth reading.

I am looking forward to your series.

Shai said...

I guess the first law is rubbing me wrong because right now SO many things are changing in my current workplace. The "Master" in charge of this division is tripping seriously, folks are jumping ship. I am working on my jumping too.

Funny, even if anyone outshined him he would still look down at them like whatever. This game is tired and I am annoyed right now. I was a good team player who know wants to say f it. *sigh*

CapCity said...

What isn't said in THIS rule is that a good "master" knows how to pacify their underlings & encourage them to keep GIVING their best with a few trinkets/likker/etc. In order for the boss to keep lookin' good - they've got to keep a good team undah them. sometimes that's done by force & sometimes by seduction. maybe that'll be covered later - i haven't "read ahead". LOL!

i also like this book b'cuz he references SO MANY other great books on Power!

luving this discussion - putting this into ACTION by REAL folk - not just rhetoric! like Aunt Jackie said: I wanna get to the top! And i need books/discussions like this to learn how to STAY there!

Rich said...

@shai - unless he has a "hold" card on someone above him, he will likely get relieved of his power soon. there are so many levels to Power, it is hard to master them all, but it does provide you with insight on folks and why they are tripping at times.

Don said...

same book i am reading. good book. it sells. lol.

Tony OH said...

The sad part is people don't know what they're really asking for when you achieve power by these means... Be Careful what you ask for... Be very Careful!

Opinionated Diva said...

I agree with the rule and the reasoning behind it completely makes sense.

I would say for myself, that I'm probably on the wrong end of the whole power game...and I'm OK with that...for now.

Karma will catch up with "Kathy"...what she did was really effed up.