Law 16: Use Absence To Increase Respect And Honour

In the image: Theresa Mary, Lady May is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party from 2016 to 2019. May served as Home Secretary from 2010 to 2016 and has been Member of Parliament for Maidenhead in Berkshire since 1997.

Too much circulation makes the price go down: the more you are seen and heard from, the more common you appear. If you are already established in a group, temporary withdrawal from it will make you more talked about, even more admired. You must learn when to leave. Create value through scarcity.

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Keys To Power

  • A strong presence will draw power and attention to you. But a point is inevitably reached where too much presence creates the opposite effect: the more you are seen and heard from, the more your value degrades.
  • At the right moment, you must learn to withdraw yourself before they unconsciously push you away. It is a game of hide-and-seek.
  • The moment you allow yourself to be treated like anyone else, it is too late — you are swallowed and digested. To prevent this, you need to starve the other person of your absence. Force their respect by threatening them with the possibility that they will lose you for good; create a pattern of absence and presence.
  • Extend the law of scarcity to your own skills. Make what you are offering the world rare and hard to find, and you instantly increase its value.

Reversal

  • This law only applies once a certain level of power has been attained.
  • Leave too early and you do not increase your respect, you are simply forgotten.
  • In the beginning, make yourself omnipresent. Only what is seen, appreciated and loved will be missed in its absence.

Example

In the image: The Caravan of Dreams by Idries Shah

A man said to a Dervish: “Why do I not see you more often?” The Dervish replied, “Because the words ‘Why have you not been to see me?’ are sweeter to my ear than the words ‘Why have you come again?'” – Mulla Jami, quoted in Idries Shah’s Caravan of Dreams, 1968 

Give people time to miss you by robbing them of your presence. It’s when we lose something, that we discover how valuable it had been to us. On your return, you will be appreciated all the more.

About The Book

The 48 Laws of Power (1998) is a non-fiction book by American author Robert Greene. The book is a bestseller, selling over 1.2 million copies in the United States.

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