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


Discover Each Man’s Thumbscrew

Everyone has a weakness, a gap in the castle wall. That weakness is usual y an insecurity, an uncontrollable emotion or need; it can also be a small secret pleasure. Either way, once found, it is a thumbscrew you can turn to your advantage.

A Stragic Plan of Action

We all have resistances. We live with a perpetual armour around ourselves to defend against change and the intrusive actions of friends and rivals. One of the most important things to realize about people is that they all have a weakness, some part of their psychological armor that will not resist, that will bend to your will, if you will find it and push on it. Some people wear their weaknesses openly, others disguise them. Those, who diguise them, are often the ones most effectively undone, through the chink in their armor.

A lion was chasing a chois through a valley. He had almost caught it, and with longing eyes was anticipating a certain and satisfying repast. It seemed as if it were utterly impossible for the victim to escape; for a deep ravine appeared to bar the way for both the hunter and the hunted. But the nimble chamois, gathering together all of its strength, shot like an arrow from a bow across the chasm, and stood on the rocky cliff of the other side. Our lion pulled up short. But at that moment, a friend of his happened to be near. That friend was the fox.
"What!" said he, "with your strength and agility, is it possible that you will yield to a feeble chamois? You have only to will and your will will work wonders. Though the abyss be deep, I am certain you will clear it. Surely, you can confide in my disinterested friendship, I would not expose your life to danger, if I were not so aware of your strength and dexterity."
The lion's blood ran hot and began to boil in his veins. He flung himself with all his might into space. But he could not clear the chasm; so down he tumbled and was killed by the fall. Then, what did his dear friend do? He cautiously made his way to the bottom of the ravine and seeing that the lion no longer needed flattery, nor obedience; he set to work and within a month had picked the bones clean.

In your planning, keep these principles in mind:

  • Pay attention to gestures and unconcious signals

    As Sigmund Freud remaked, "No mortal can keep a secret. If the lips are silent, he chatters with his fingertips; betrayal oozes out of him at every pore." This is a critical concept in the search gor a person's weakness. It is revealed by seemingly unimportant gestures and passing words.

    The key is not only for what you look but also where and how you look. Everyday conversation supplies the richest mine of weaknesses, so train yourself to listen.

    If yu suspect that someone has a particular sift spot, probe for it indirectly. Train your eye for details - how someone responds to service, what delights a person, the hidden messages in clothes. Find people's idols, the things they worship and will do anything to get. Perhaps, you can be the supplier of their fantasies. Since we all try to hide our weaknesses, there is little to be learned from conscious behavior. What oozes outside of conscious control is what you want to know.

  • Find the helpless child.

    Most weaknesses begin in childhood, before the self builds up compensatory defenses. Perhaps the child was indulged in a particular area, or perhaos a certain emotional need went unfulfilled. As he or she grows older the indulgence or the deficiency may be buried but it never disappears. Knowing about a childhood need gives you a powerful key to a person's weakness.

    One sign of this weakness is that when you touch on it, the person will often act childish. Be on the lookout for any behavior that should have been outgrown.

  • Look for contrasts.

    An overt trai often conceals its opposite. People who act aggressively are often the biggest cowards. The uptight are often screaming for adventure. By probing beyond appearances, you will often find people's weakness in the opposite of the qualities, which they reveal to you.

  • Fill the void.

  • Feed on uncontrollable emotions.

    The two main emotional voids to fill are insecurity and unhappiness. The insecure need any kind of social validation; as for the unhappy, look for the roots of the unhappiness. The insecure and the unhappy are the people least able to disguise there weaknesses. The ability to fill their emotional voids is a great source of power.

The uncontrollable emotion can be a paranoid fear - a fear disproportionate to the situation - or any base motive, such as lust, greed, vanity, or hatred. People in the grip of these emotions often can not control themselves and you can do the controlling for them.

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