Leadership

Cultivate An Air Of Unpredictability: A state of Terror

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“Humans are creatures of habit with an insatiable need to see familiarity in other people’s actions. Your predictability gives them a sense of control. Turn the tables: Be deliberately unpredictable. Behavior that seems to have no consistency or purpose will keep them off- balance and they will wear themselves out trying to explain your moves. Taken to an extreme, this strategy can intimidate and terrorize.”

Greene likens this law a lot to the game of chess. The beauty about the game of chess is that you don’t know what your opponent is going to do next. It’s inherently unpredictable.

Professional players will try and predict their opponents’ next move and make an educated decision based on their analysis. Not knowing what’s going to happen next is synonymous of life. Not knowing what another’s next move creates, as this law states, “a state of terror”. Resulting in the combination of uncertainty, confusion and mystery.

This gives opportunists the upper hand because if another doesn’t know what you’re going to do next, you hold the cards and you can make the offensive move first. To win this game of life you have to be supremely patient; you must also possess enough foresight to plan ahead. The game is built on patterns. These patterns and sequences have been played before and will be played again, only this time, with slight alterations.

Keys To Power

One of the reasons humans are at the top of the food chain is because of the conscious control we have over our thoughts and actions. We possess the ability to express self-awareness.

Understand: “A person of power instills a kind of fear by deliberately unsettling those around him to keep the initiative on his side. You sometimes need to strike without warning to make others tremble when they least expect it.”

“People are always trying to read the motives behind your actions and to use your predictability against you. Throw in a completely inexplicable move and you put them on the defensive.”

Example, let’s say you’ve maintained a habit within your relationship where the two of you have habituated yourselves to doing the same thing every week — you’ve become predictable.

By “throwing in a completely inexplicable move” you can create spontaneity, excitement, and passion by stepping away from the same old habit and doing something you’ve never done before. This is how I interpret, “keep others in a suspended state of terror” — it can be a positive terror that can elicit excitement. Yet another reason how cultivating an air of unpredictability can work in so many varying ways.

“The habit of assuming that a person’s behavior will fit its previous patterns is so strong that not even Ali’s announcement of a strategy change was enough to upset it. Foreman walked into a trap — the trap he had been told to expect.”

Though there is another side of unpredictability:

“Too much unpredictability will be seen as a sign of indecisiveness, or even of some more serious psychic problem. Patterns are powerful, and you can terrify people by disrupting them. Such power should only be used judiciously.”

To reiterate, this cannot only be used to “terrify” but it can be used for positive things like creating energy, excitement, and passion by doing things you’ve never done before.