Faint gibbering heard from somewhere near the restricted stacks
Tag Archives: success
The A∴A∴ possesses the secrets of success; it makes no secret of its knowledge, and if its secrets are not everywhere known and practised, it is because the abuses connected with the name of occult science disincline official investigators to examine the evidence at their disposal.
I sailed for Ceylon, chiefly because I had said I would go, certainly not in the hope of assistance from Allan. Perhaps because I had found my feet, he was, as will appear, allowed to guide them, in what seemed at first sight a new Path. I had got to learn that all roads lead to Rome. It is proper, more, it is prudent, more yet, it is educative, for the aspirant to pursue all possible Ways to Wisdom. Thus he broadens the base of his Pyramid, thus he diminishes the probability of missing the method which happens to suit him best, thus he insures against the obsession that the goat-track of his own success in the One Highway for all men, and thus he discounts the disappointment of discovering that he is not the Utter, the Unique, when it becomes plain that Magick, mysticism, and the mathematics are triplets, and that the Himalayan Brotherhood is to be found in Brixton.
I first read this book at the tender age of six or so. I knew it was supposed to be funny, because the way I had found it was by browsing the humor shelves of the public library. (At six I was already exploring out well beyond the confines of the library’s juvenile sections.) It probably had a salutary effect on me, in terms of making the gamesmanship in which it purports to offer instruction seem utterly repellent, albeit curiously arresting.
Potter often describes the complex and antagonistic relationship among the three factors of sportsmanship (constructive sociability in the game context), skill (mastery of game-specific processes and contents), and gamesmanship (exploitation of socio-psychological factors to defeat opponents). In fact, gamesmanship turns out to be not so much about the “art of winning” (note the sparse and apologetic chapter on “Winmanship”), but the art of precipitating losses in rivals.
Some of the best bits of the book are the elaborate (and often pointless) diagrams, and the end-matter: especially “A Queer Match” in the “Gamesmanania” section (105-107). Appendix II, a “Note on Etiquette” betrays the essentially esoteric character of gamesmanship, which may account for the fascination it once exercised over me.
One of the most powerful life skills, and one of the most important to hone and develop for both professional and personal success, is creating clear outcomes. This is not as self-evident as it may sound. We need to constantly define (and redefine) what we’re trying to accomplish on many different levels, and consistently reallocate resources toward getting these tasks complete as effectively and efficiently as possible.
“In the first place, the wretches in power, when they get a perfectly competent author—say a novelist of great repute—will not trust him at all. The great writer’s story has always been a ‘movie’—on the screen of the author’s mind. It was complete in every picture before he ever put pen to paper. But the producing wretches do not know that. They do not realize that he has done the thing right. They do not even realize this in the case of a famous novel—or play—where a long success has proved it.” [via]
“It never disappeared completely. In fact, that experiment showed me that I was on the wrong track. Success lay not in an optical disappearance, but in the power of fascination. ‘Having eyes, they see not.'” [via, also]