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Never Outshine the Master

Always make those above you 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.

Everyone has insecurities. When you show yourself to the world and display your talents, you naturally stir up all sorts of resentment, envy and other manifestattions of insecurity. This is to be expected. You can not spend your life worrying about the feelings of others. With those above you, however, you must take a different approach: When it comes to power, outshining the master is the worst mistake of all.

Those who attain high standing in life are like the kings and queens of old: They want to feel secure in their positions and superior to those around them in intelligence, wit, and charm. It is a deadly but common error to believe that by displaying your talents, you are winning the master's attention. He may feign appreciation but at the first opportunity, he will replace you with someone less intelligent, less attractive, less threatening.

You must realize that you may inadvertently outshine the master simply by being yourself. There are masters who are more insecure than others, monstrously insecure. You may naturally outshine them by your charm and grace. If you can not prevent yourself from being charming, you must avoid such monsters of vanity, or find a way to mute your good qualities when in their presence.

The stars in the sky: There can only be one sun at a time. Never obscure the sunlight, or rival the sun's brilliance but rather fade into the sky and find ways to heighten the master star's intensity.

Never imagine that because the master loves you, you can do anything you want. Favorites fall out of favor by taking their status for granted and for outshining the master.

Knowing the dangers of outshining the master is to your advantage. You must flatter and puff up your master. Overt flattery can be effective but it has its limits; it is too direct and obvious and looks bad to others. Discreet flattery is more effective and more powerful. If you are more intelligent than your master, for example, seem the opposite. Make him appear more intelligent than you. Act naive. Make it seem that you need his advice or expertise. Commit harmless mistakes that will not harm you in the long run but will give you the chance to ask for his help. Masters adore such requests. A master who can not bestow upon you the gifts of his experience, may direct rancor and ill will at you instead.

Avoid outshining the master. All superiority is odious, but the superiority of a subject over a master is not only stupid, but fatal. This is a lesson that the stars in the sky teach us - they may be related to the sun and just as brilliant, but they never appear equal in her company.

If your ideas are more creative than your master's, ascribe them to him, in as public a manner as possible. Make it clear that your advice is merely an echo of his advice.

If you are naturally more sociable and generous than your master, be careful not to be the cloud that blocks his radiance from others. He must appear as the sun around which everything revolves, radiating power and brilliance, the center of attention.

In all of these cases, it is not a weakness to disguise your strengths, if, in the end, they lead to power. By letting others outshine you, you remain in control instead of being a victim of their insecurities. This will all be useful on the day you decide to raise above your inferior status. If you can make your master shine in the eyes of others, you will be promoted instantly.

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