Law 30: Make Your Accomplishments Seem Effortless


Your actions must seem natural and executed with ease. All the toil and practice that go into them, and also all the clever tricks, must be concealed. When you act, act effortlessly, as if you could do much more. Avoid the temptation of revealing how hard you work—it only raises questions. Teach no one your tricks or they will be used against you.

You will often have to use tricks and ingenuity to create your effects, but your audience must never suspect the work or the thinking that has gone into them. Nature does not reveal its tricks, and what imitates nature by appearing effortless approximates nature's power.

Secret Practices Makes Perfect

  1. You must research and practice endlessly before appearing in public, onstage or anywhere else.
  2. Never expose the sweat and labor behind your poise. Some think such exposure will demonstrate their diligence and honesty, but it actually just makes them look weaker as if they weren't really up to the job.
  3. Keep your effort and your tricks to yourself and you seem to have the grace and ease of a god.

How is Your Sprezzfltura?

· The capacity to make the difficult seem easy.

  1. It is relevant to all forms of power, for power depends vitally on appearances and the illusions you create.
  2. Your public actions are like artworks: They must have visual appeal, must create anticipation, and even entertain.
  3. When you reveal the inner workings of your creation, you become just one more mortal among others.
  4. What is understandable is not awe-inspiring—we tell ourselves we could do as well if we had the money and time.
  5. Avoid the temptation of showing how clever you are—it is far cleverer to conceal the mechanisms of your cleverness.
  6. Do not give people ideas they can use against you because can’t see the advantages of keeping silent.
  7. Resist the temptation to we want your vanity gratified by having your hard work and cleverness applauded.
  8. Do not vie for sympathy for the hours it has taken to reach your point of artistry.
  9. Learn to control this propensity to blab, for its effect is often the opposite of what you expected.

Two Reminders1. The more mystery surrounds your actions, the more awesome your power seems. You appear to be the only one who can do what you do—and the appearance of having an exclusive gift is immensely powerful. 2. Finally, because you achieve your accomplishments with grace and ease, people believe that you could always do more if you tried harder. This elicits not only admiration but a touch of fear. Your powers are untapped—no one can fathom their limits.

Word to the WiseThere are also times when revealing the inner workings of your projects can prove worthwhile. It all depends on your audience's taste, and on the times in which you operate.As long as the partial disclosure of tricks and techniques is carefully planned, rather than the result of an uncontrollable need to blab, it is the ultimate in cleverness. It gives the audience the illusion of being superior and involved, even while much of what you do remains concealed from them.