Law 25: Recreate Yourself


Do not accept the roles that society foists on you. Re-create yourself by forging a new identity, one that commands attention and never bores the audience. Be the master of your own image rather than letting others define it for you. Incorporate dramatic devices into your public gestures and actions—your power will be enhanced and your character will seem larger than life.

3 Ways to Be The Consummate Chameleon

1. You must learn to enlarge your actions through dramatic techniques such as surprise, suspense, the creation of sympathy, and symbolic identification.
2. You must be constantly aware of your audience—of what will please them and what will bore them.
3. You must arrange to place yourself at the center, to command attention, and never to be upstaged at any cost.

Because of his own obsessive interest in drama, Julius Caesar was perhaps the first public figure to understand the vital link between power and theater. He sublimated this interest by making himself an actor and director on the world stage. Even while dying, he kept his sense of drama. Drawing the top of his gown over his face, he let go of the clothes lower part so that it draped his legs, allowing him to the covered and decent. According to the Roman historian Suetonius, his final words to his old friend Brutus, who was about to deliver a second blow, were in Greek, and as if rehearsed for the end of a play: "You too, my child?"

Understand this: The world wants to assign you a role in life. And once you accept that role you are doomed. Your power is limited to the tiny amount allotted to the role you have selected or have been forced to assume. An actor, on the other hand, plays many roles. Enjoy that protean power, and if it is beyond you, at least forge a new identity, one of your own making, one that has had no boundaries assigned to it by an envious and resentful world. This act of defiance is Promethean: It makes you responsible for your own creation.

Your new identity will protect you from the world precisely because it is not "you"; it is a costume you put on and take off. You need not take it personally. And your new identity sets you apart, gives you theatrical presence. Those in the back rows can see you and hear you. Those in the front rows marvel at your audacity.

The Promethean task of the powerful is to take control of the process, to stop allowing others that ability to limit and mold them. Remake yourself into a character of power. Working on your-self like clay should be one of your greatest and most pleasurable life tasks. It makes you in essence an artist— an artist creating yourself. In fact, the idea of self-creation comes from the world of art.

Steps in the process of self-creation is

1. You must be Self-consciousness
Being aware of yourself as an actor and taking control of your appearance and emotions.

2. You must learn self-control.
Adopt the plasticity of the actor, who can mold his or her face to the emotion required.

3. Creation of a memorable character
A character that compels attention, that stands out above the other players on the stage.

Good drama, however, needs more than an interesting appearance, or a single stand-out moment. Drama takes place over time—it is an unfolding event. Rhythm and timing are critical. One of the most important elements in the rhythm of drama is suspense.

The key to keeping the audience on the edge of their seats is letting events unfold slowly then speeding them up at the right moment, according to a pattern and tempo that you control.

Besides covering a multitude of sins, good drama can also confuse and deceive your enemy. Other dramatic effects for your repertoire include the beau geste, an action at a climactic moment that symbolizes your triumph or your boldness. You must also appreciate the importance of stage entrances and exits.

Remember that overacting can be counterproductive—it is another way of spending too much effort trying to attract attention. It is less what you do that matters, clearly, than how you do it—your gracefulness and imposing stillness on the social stage count for more than overdoing your part and moving around too much.

Finally: Learn to play many roles, to be whatever the moment requires. Adapt your mask to the situation—be protean in the faces you wear.