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If you are new to this series, please read the introduction.


Enter Action with Boldness

If you are unsure of a course of action, do not attempt it. Your doubts and hesitations will infect your execution. Timidity is dangerous: Better to enter with boldness. Any mistakes you commit through audacity are easily corrected with more audacity. Everyone admires the bold; no one honors the timid.

Most of us are timid. We want to avoid tension and conflict and we want to be liked by all. We may contemplate a bold action but we rarely bring it to life. We are terrified of the consequences, of what others may think of us, of the hostility we may incur, if we go beyond our usual place.

But with those who have made an impression on your heart, I have noticed that you ae timid. This quality might affect a bourgeoise, but you must attack the heart of a woman of the world with other weapons... I tell you on behalf of women: there is not one of us, who does not prefer a little rough handling to too much consideration. Men lose through blundering more hearts than virtue saves. The more timidity a lover shows with us, the more it concerns our pride to goad him on; the more respect he has for our resistance, the more respect we demand of him. We would willingly say to you men: "Ah, in pity's name do not suppose us to e very virtuous; you are forcing us to have too much of it..."
We are continually struggling to hide the fact that we have permitted ourselves to be loved. Put a woman in a position to say that she has yielded only to a species of violence, or to surprise; persuade her that you do not undervalue her, and I will answer for her heart. .
A little more boldness on your part would put you both at your ease. Do you remember what M. de la Rochefoucauld told you lately: "A reasonable man in love may act like a madman, but he should not and can not act like an idiat."
Nonon de l'Enclos, 1623-1706'

Although we may diguise our timidity as concern for others, a desire not to hurt or offend them, in fact it is the opposite - we are really self-absorbed, worried about ourselves and how others perceive us. Boldness on the other hand, is outer-directed, and often makes people feel more at ease, since it is less self-conscious and less repressed. It never induces awkwardness or embarrassment. And so we admire the bold, and prefer to be arond them, because their self-confidence infects us and draws us outside our own realm of inwardness and reflection.

Few are born bold. Even Napoleon had to cultivate the habit on the battlefield, where he knew it was a matter of life and death. In social settings, he was awkward and timid, but he overcame this and practiced boldness in every part of his life because he saw its tremendous power, how it could literally enlarge a man ( especially one, who, like Napoleon, was conspicuously small).

You must practice and develop your boldness. You will often find uses for it. The best place to begin is often the delicate world of negotion, particularly those discussions, in which you are asked to set your own price. We often put ourselves down by asking too little. When Christopher Colombus proposed that the Spanish court finance his voyage to the Americas, he also made the insanely bold demand that he be called "Grand Admiral of the Ocean." The price he set was the price he received - he demanded to be treated with respect, and so he was. Henry Kissinger, also knew that in negotiation bold demands work better than starting off with piecemeal concessions and trying to meet the other person halfway. Set your value high, and then, set it higher.

People have a sixth sense for the weakness of others. If, in a first encounter, you demonstrate your willingness to compromise, back doan, and retreat, you bring out the lion even in people not necessarily bloodthirsty. Everything depends on perception, and once you are seen as the type of person, who quickly goes on the defensive, who is willing to negotiate and be amenable, you will be pushed around without mercy. It is always best, then, to create an impression with your first appearance, to enter action with boldness.

A bold move makes you appear larger and more powerful than you are. If it comes suddenly, witht he stealth and swiftness of a snake, it inspires that much more fear. By intimidating with a bold move, you establish a precedent: in every subsequent encounter, people will be on the defensive, in terror of your next strike.

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