The new ruler must determine all the injuries that he will need to inflict. He must inflict them once and for all. – Niccolò Machiavelli
What does that mean?
This is the classic “pull off the bandage” issue. Do you pull it off quickly and get it over with, or do you pull a little bit at a time, and take a while to complete the painful task.
As this was advice for a new ruler, and the task was dealing with the leadership and structure of the subjugated people, the advice was to tear it off quickly.
This makes sense, as people will react badly to being injured (be it pride, physical, emotional, or financial). However, there’s little as irritating as something that keeps poking you, even if no individual poke does much damage. Eventually, it becomes infuriating, and a significant response comes out.
Conversely, the advice says to do it all at once, and they will get over it nearly as quickly, and you can start rebuilding relationships once the worst of the injuries have healed. That’s not possible in the “pull it off slowly” scenario, as you are constantly re-injuring them, and making them mad.
Why is reconciliation important?
The underlying principle of this quote is to find the path that allows the new ruler to most quickly reconcile with the population and their remaining leaders. This mending of the fences is best done quickly and as early as possible.
Yes, doing injury to them immediately after defeating them makes it harder to reconcile immediately, but it will be quicker than annoying them a little over and over. Eventually, they will be unable to contain themselves.
But reconciling with others after a conflict is important. Whether it’s a Prince capturing a nearby town to add to their sphere of influence, a parent dealing with an unruly teen, or a boss dealing with an employee, constant nagging (or injury) won’t do much besides continue to anger them.
Once the hurt has been reduced by some amount, reconciliation can begin. This is important if the relationship is ever to recover. Whether it’s a business relationship, a political relationship, or a family relationship, it won’t get better if you keep compounding the injury, or adding more.
Where can I apply this in my life?
Consider for a moment some of the relationships you used to have, but don’t any more. How many of them are because of repeated injury to your pride, pocket book, or some other aspect of your life? Or was it the other way around? Most people I have known have experience with this quote in some way, shape, or form.
While very few of us are likely to take over a nearby town and need to bend the people to your will, I believe this quote has a place in every day life, as illustrated by the prior examples. When there is bad news or some unpleasantness to be done, gather it all together, do it once and be done with it.
While future conditions may require a separate and unrelated interaction of the injurious kind, the prior event is completely behind you. I believe the worst thing you can do for reconciliation is to constantly bring up past incidents. It just makes the other person think there is no escape from the never-ending barrage of injury, and makes reconciliation nearly impossible.
Take a moment and consider what examples you may have found in your life (or in the lives of others, if you have been so fortunate or skilled to have avoided this). How might things have turned out if the advice of this quote had been followed? I imagine in some cases it might not have mattered, but in others it may well have turned out significantly differently, right?
Now take a moment or two and consider what areas of your life this quote might apply. Are there situations that are ongoing or are going to happen in the near future where this quote might be of some use? Consider how you might apply the lessons of this quote and your experience to those situations.
Also consider how you might apply this quote if you are on the receiving end, that is someone else holds some power over you, and they keep on poking you, repeatedly injuring you. Do you discuss the situation with them, do you find a way to gain some distance (physically, emotionally, chronologically, or in whatever manner might be most appropriate), or is there some other manner that might be more proper?
It’s no secret, there are people with power over you, and you have power over others. How are you going to treat them, and how will you allow them to treat you? The quote specifies one method to minimize the pain and get things back to normal as quickly as possible. But life isn’t one size fits all. What will you do the next time you are in this position?
From: Twitter, @waleadegbe
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/n/niccolomac129859.html
Photo by Jim Linwood