Law 30: Make Your Accomplishments Seem Effortless

The 48 Laws Of Power Summary Series


“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.”

This law intertwines with Law 3: Conceal Your Intentions and Law 4: Always Say Less Than Necessary. Concealing your intentions and saying less are methods to which you make your accomplishments seem effortless.

Observance Of The Law II

Most have heard of Harry Houdini the Hungarian-American illusionist and stunt performer. Houdini made “the impossible Possible”. Houdini once escaped from a pair of manacles billed as the strongest ever invented. They contained six sets of locks and nine tumblers in each cuff; a Birmingham maker had spent five years constructing them. Experts claimed they’d never seen something so intricate, yet Houdini was able to make the miraculous escape.

Harry Houdini

Over the years Houdini escaped from the chained carcass of an embalmed “sea monster” (a half octopus, half whale-like beast that had beached near Boston); he passed through brick walls, he wriggled free from straitjackets while dangling high in the air and he leaped into icy waters with his hands manacled and legs in chains.

“Throughout his career he said nothing about is methods, gave no clue to how he accomplished any of his tricks. He left his audiences and critics speculating his power enhanced by their struggles with the inexplicable.”


The effortlessness of Houdini’s escapes led many to believe he used cult forces and even magic. “Although we do not know for certain how Houdini accomplished many of his most ingenious escapes, one thing is clear: it was not the occult or any kind of magic, that give him his powers, but hard work and endless practice, all of which he carefully concealed from the world. Houdini never left anything to chance — day and night he studied the workings of locks, researched centuries-old sleight-of-hand tricks, pored over books on mechanics, whatever he could use. Every moment not spent researching he spent working his body, keeping himself exceptionally limber, and learning how to control his muscles and breathing”.

“As a person of power, you must research and practice endlessly before appearing in public, onstage or anywhere else. 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 the job. Keep your effort and your tricks to yourself and you seem to have the grace and ease of a god. One never see’s the source of a god’s power revealed; one only see’s it’s effects.”

Remember: Houdini was a performer, so he needed to make his actions seem effortless; it was one of the most important factors to his critical acclaim.

Keys To Power

Be like a flash of lighting.

When people observe the speed and ferocity of lightning flashing through the sky, they air awed by it’s sudden appearance; by it’s gracefulness and sublime power over life and death. “This remains the type of power we have always wanted to imitate. Through science and technology we have re-created the speed and power of nature, but something is missing: Our machines are noisy and jerky, they reveal their effort. Even the very best creations of technology cannot root out our admiration for things that move easily and effortlessly.”

“The power of children to bend us to their will comes from a kind of seductive charm that we feel in the presence of a creature less reflective and more graceful than we are. We cannot return to such a state, but if we can create the appearance of this kind of ease, we elicit in others the kind of primitive awe that nature has always evoked in humankind.”

Sometimes, hard labor and sweat can demonstrate an extreme lack of grace and cause some of it’s worth to be discounted. There’s a lot of value in being able to achieve and accomplish effortlessly. You create a seductive allure through the mystery of your accomplishments.

If exemplifying effortlessness means you can’t show your hard work, than I have contradicted this law many times. Unless you are trying to create the allure of a Houdini-type-performer, than it may not be necessary to follow this law so stringently. Hiding all your intentions and ‘behind the scenes’ is too extreme and impractical for many, on the other hand, mindlessly blabbing about all your “hard work”, exclaiming every move you plan to make usually is not be smart either. There’s a middle ground that only works for you — find it.

We want to be the professional athlete that is able to pull off amazing feats of greatness with grace and effortlessness while putting in the thousands of hours of work when no one is watching and the lights are off.

So many secretly yearn for their vanity to be gratified by others in an effort to boost their self esteem. Learn to control the propensity to let others dictate your self worth. Don’t allow other people’s praise OR disdain determine your self worth, actions or values.


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Originally Posted

Self reflective writings & book summaries on philosophy, psychology and human behaviour.

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