Law 36: Disdain things you cannot have, Ignoring them is the best revenge

By acknowledging a petty problem you give it existence and credibility. The more attention you pay an enemy, the stronger you make him; and a small mistake is often made worse and more visible when you try to fix it. It is sometimes best to leave things alone. If there is something you want but cannot have, show contempt for it. The less interest you reveal, the more superior you seem.

Make the Right Choices

  1. You choose to let things bother you.
    · You choose not to notice the irritating offender.
  2. The most powerful move is to consider the matter trivial and unworthy of your interest.
    · What you do not react to cannot drag you down in a futile engagement.
  3. Your pride is not involved.
    · The best lesson you can teach an irritating gnat is to consign it to oblivion by ignoring it.
  4. If it is impossible to ignore then conspire in secret to do away with it.
    · Never inadvertently draw attention to the bothersome insect that will go away on its own.
  5. If you waste time and energy in such entanglements, it is your own fault.
    · Learn to play the card of disdain and turn your back on what cannot harm you in the long run.

When you pay attention to a person, the two of you become partners of sorts, each moving in step to the actions and reactions of the other. In the process you lose your initiative. It is a dynamic of all interactions: By acknowledging other people, even if only to fight with them, you open yourself to their influence.By ignoring people you cancel them out. This unsettles and infuriates them—but since they have no dealings with you, there is nothing they can do.

The Offensive Aspect of the Law: Playing the card of contempt is immensely powerful for it lets you determine the conditions of the conflict. The war is waged on your terms.

This Is The Ultimate Power Pose: You are the king or queen and you ignore what offends you. Watch how this tactic infuriates people—half of what they do is to get your attention, and when you withhold it from them, they flounder in frustration.

Desire Often Creates Paradoxical Effects: The more you want something, the more you chase after it, the more it eludes you. The more interest you show, the more you repel the object of your desire. This is because your interest is too strong—it makes people awkward, even fearful. Uncontrollable desire makes you seem weak, unworthy, pathetic.· You need to turn your back on what you want, show your contempt and disdain. This is the kind of powerful response that will drive your targets crazy. They will respond with a desire of their own, which is simply to have an effect on you—perhaps to possess you, perhaps to hurt you. If they want to possess you, you have successfully completed the first step of seduction. If they want to hurt you, you have unsettled them and made them play by your rules· If choosing to ignore enhances your power, it follows that the opposite approach—commitment and engagement—often weakens you. By paying undue attention to a puny enemy, you look puny, and the longer it takes you to crush such an enemy, the larger the enemy seems.

Remember: The powerful responses to nagging, petty annoyances and irritations are contempt and disdain. Never show that something has affected you, or that you are offended—that only shows you have acknowledged a problem. Contempt is a dish that is best served cold and without affectation.

Two Strategies to Execute

The Sour-Grapes Approach: If there is something you want but that you realize you cannot have, the worst thing you can do is draw attention to your disappointment by complaining about it. An infinitely more powerful tactic is to act as if it never really interested you in the first place.

The Treating it Lightly Approach: When you are attacked by an inferior, deflect people's attention by making it clear that the attack has not even registered. Look away, or answer sweetly, showing how little the attack concerns you. Similarly, when you yourself have committed a blunder, the best response is often to make less of your mistake by treating it lightly.

WARNINGDevelop the skill of sensing problems when they are still small and taking care of them before they become intractable. Learn to distinguish between the potentially disastrous and the mildly irritating, the nuisance that will quietly go away on its own. In either case, though, never completely take your eye off it. As long as it is alive it can smolder and spark into life.