One dark day you may be tempted to share your weakness with someone to try and gain his or her sympathy or respect. If you are serious about success and power that is the worst thing you can do. Never publicize your weakness in an attempt to gain sympathy or respect. You will likely only gain pity and you will have given your enemies the information they need to vanquish you.
Nobody Respects Weakness
Publicizing your weakness is never going to lead others to respect you. People do not respect weakness. In the realm of power there are only three reactions to weakness:
- People will use your weakness against you
- People will believe you are less powerful than they thought
- People will pity you
Publicizing your weakness comes across as a ploy for sympathy. It rarely gets you sympathy and never gains you respect. People respect success and power. They respect boldness and they respect action. Nobody respects weakness. People know they are weak. They want to respect someone better than them. Publicizing your weakness erodes respect.
Sympathy is Not a Source of Power
Unlike respect, it is possible to gain sympathy by sharing your weaknesses. But, sympathy is not a source of power. When people give you sympathy it does not make you stronger or more influential. Often when you think people are giving you sympathy, they are really giving you pity. Pity and sympathy both result in people thinking less of you.
Nobody wants a weak leader. Nobody wants to see that a hero is vulnerable. People want to win, and if they cannot win, they want you to win for them. When you share your weaknesses you take away their dreams of victory. They see that you are just like them, and will no longer respect or follow you with the same devotion.
Respect and Power are Gained Through Inspiration and Domination
Ultimately there are only two ways to gain respect and power: inspiration and domination. Sharing your weaknesses does not inspire anyone. People are not motivated to rally to your cause because you are sensitive. Weakness is not inspiring. For most people it is deeply unsettling.
Weakness does not inspire the fear you need to dominate your enemies. If your enemies believe you have a major weakness they will not yield to you. They will fight you. They will be more driven to keep you from seizing power because they will view you as being unworthy of power.
In the jungles of Africa the gorillas live in highly hierarchical societies. Elaborate rituals govern the power between the male members of the troop. The subservient males must make a dramatic showing of their most vulnerable parts of their body to the dominant male. If the troop member refuses the dominant male must beat the other male into submission.
We are primates just like the gorillas. When we publicize our weakness we are signaling to our tribe that we are not dominant. We are asking to become subservient to a more powerful member.
If you intend to dominate don’t publicize your weakness in the hopes of gaining respect or sympathy. In the end all you will get to become is a servant to someone more powerful.