Men · Mindset

Notes on Wrath of Man (II): Hiding your Power Level

When you watch Wrath of Man the first time, you may be surprised that the main protagonist downplays his abilities. There is some foreshadowing as well. For instance, he ends up passing some skill test at exactly 70%, which is the minimum required. Later on, though, we learn that he is a highly trained killer that (spoiler alert) infiltrated a security company due to seeking revenge. I think there is a more important lesson, though, that goes beyond the rather simplistic motivation of the main character in this movie.

I have memories of downright ludicrous status jockeying in high school and at university. Oftentimes people who were not performing at the highest level were the most obnoxious. Your first temptation may be to put them in their place, but normally there is no need to. It is better to just ignore them. In fact, oftentimes it is helpful if your competition underestimates you. If people think that they are superior to you, they conversely do not view you as a threat. Thus, you will probably get along better with them.

At some point, however, people may accuse of “sandbagging”, i.e. deliberately downplaying your abilities or achievements. To this, you can truthfully respond that people never properly asked you about the issue in question. This goes well with the idea of “ghosting”. If you are seen as a relatively non-descript character, you’ll get through life quite easily. (Article continues below.)

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There are other problems with status-jockeying, some of which can even get you in deep trouble. For instance, if you are a bit of a loudmouth, give lavish tips and drive a fancy car, you may attract the wrong kind of attention. By this I don’t necessarily mean that you will get shanked after leaving the restaurant, albeit your behavior would hardly make this less likely. Instead, a subset of women will notice the big target that you painted on your back, tell you everything you want to hear, and happily get knocked up by you. The net result is that you will pay child support and on top, in the worst case, alimony for about two decades. For this you don’t need to be a movie star or the CEO of a hot startup. Men much further down the rungs have found themselves in this situation. A particular devious aspect of child support is that it scales with your income. Thus, it is probably no surprise to you that some women in their late 20s or early 30s chase after incoming medical students because in that case, a nice payday is only a matter of time.

The “hiding your power level” meme is a bit of a joke, i.e. the context is normally to hide that you have certain interests in order to not provoke a negative reaction from society. Yet, you probably want to also avoid getting an excessively positive reaction, such as a chick during a one-night stand asking if you would like to date her, after she learns what you do for a living. By trying hard to impress others, I don’t think you can benefit in any way. To people much higher on the totem pole, your behavior would be laughable, people of the same socio-economic status would consider your behavior distasteful, and those below you in status you would normally not care about anyway, so why bother?

I think if you need to impress women with money and status in order to get laid, you are already screwed. She would fuck a Chad with little money over you any day of the week, and she would not scheme to get money out of him either. Of course, if a financially Chad is playing his cards right, he’d just give evasive answers when the question what he does for a living comes up. Anyway, the bottom line is that trying to impress others is bizarre. If you still do it, think about what it actually gets you in return.

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