MORE IDEAS FROM THEBOOK
Do not accept the roles that society foists on you. Re-create yourself by forging a new identity, one that commands attention and never bores the audience. Be the master of your own image rather than letting others define it for you.
People who wear their hearts on their sleeves out society are tiresome and embarrassing. Their sincerity notwithstanding, it is hard to take them seriously. Those who cry in public may temporarily elicit sympathy, but sympathy soon turns to scorn and irritation at their self-obsessiveness-they are crying to get attention, we feel, and a malicious part of us wants to deny them the satisfaction.
The Promethean task of the powerful powerful is to take control of the process, to stop allowing others that ability to limit and mold them. Remake yourself into a character of power. Working on yourself like clay should be one of your greatest and pleasurable life tasks.
The first step in the process of self-creation is self-consciousness-being aware of yourself as an actor and taking control of your appearance and emotions. As Diderot said, the bad actor is the one who is always sincere.
The character you seem to have been born with is not necessarily who you are: beyond the characteristics you have inherited, your parents, your friends, and your peers have helped to shape your personality.
Create a memorable character that compels attention, that stands out above the other players on the stage. This was the game Abraham Lincoln played. The homespun, common country man, he knew, was a kind of president that America had never had, but would delight in electing. Although many of these qualities came naturally to him, he played them up-the hat and clothes, the beards. (No president before him had worn a beard.)
Lincoln was also the first president to use photographs to spread his image, helping to create the icon of the "homesun president."
Good actors control themselves better. They can play sincere and heartfelt, can affect a tear and a compassionate look at will, but they don't have to feel it. They externalize emotion in a form that others can understand. Method acting is fatal in the real world.
"Know how to be all things to all men. A discreet Proteus-a scholar among scholars, a saint among saints. That is the art of winning over everyone, for like attracts like. Take note of temperaments and adapt yourself to that of each person you meet-follow the lead of the serious and jovial in turn, changing your mood discreetly."
Always make those above you feel comfortably superior. In your desire to please or impress them, do not go too far in displaying your talents or you might accomplish the opposite. Make your masters appear more brilliant than they are and you will attain the heights of power.
Sun Tzu, the legendary military strategist, preferred to win without fighting or, at the very least, to win the easiest battles first.
The teachings of Sun Tzu extend far beyond the field of battle because they are focused on finding the easiest way to achieve a specific goal.
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