- Deflection is rooted in detachment. Study the mechanics of detachment (minimizing plans, putting things into context, making your opinions seem insignificant) and motivate others to detach from wanting to know your plans.
- Expose what is not important to you or your plans in order to fulfill people’s desires to know while distracting them from the full story.
- Argue / make points for opinions which go against your true opinion on the matter.
- Don’t defend anything when talking about potential plans. The things you defend unveil your position.
- Make them think they’re presenting good ideas. Doing so makes people believe that you have nothing better.
Why One Feels the Need to Keep Their Plans Hidden
Certain situations in life call for the concealment of your future plans. Your goals can stem from maintaining a sense of mystique behind the announcement of a certain product, to surprising friends with a party they weren’t expecting.
Concealing your plans effectively can keep you a step ahead of competition, who falters under the pressure of revealing their exciting news. The information you gather on your competitors whilst concealing your own can arm you to continuously come out on top.
Concealment and deflection are skills which depend on quick analysis being done on the fly. That analysis however, can be enhanced with a mixture of continuous repetition along with a methodological framework to follow.
In an effort to aid the process of concealment and deflection, this article is written to be a framework to remember and follow.
This is written for those who think strategically about the information they publicize to the world. This article makes the assumption that certain pieces of information are worth protecting. The second assumption at play, is that concealment and deflection entail the utilization of tools which are amoral (neither good nor bad) in their nature.
To Deflect Is to Detach
The people most skilled at the art of deflecting are those who’ve mastered the act of detachment. In knowing the mechanics behind detaching yourself from your good ideas for example, you automatically arm yourself with an ability to deflect from those same ideas.
Detaching from anything (both physical or mental) enables you to see things which were in the shadows of what you detached from. Only once you detach from something would you be able to observe it in an unbiased fashion.
Remember, detaching involves ridding yourself of both positive and negative intuitions you have about that particular thing. Detachment thereby, severs any and all relationships you have with the particular things / ideas you detach yourself from.
Detachment Relates to Deflection in the Following Ways:
When you deflect from a particular topic at hand, the goal is not to bring attention to the opposite thing in relation to what you’re deflecting from. The better goal is to bring attention to the state of detaching from the topic which others inquire into.
As the individual deflecting, your primary focus should be to package the lessons of detachment into the conversation you’re having with individuals who inquire into your specified plans.
By being a provider / facilitator of detachment, you’d be opening up the slot for a new topic to be selected. Rather than deflecting to another topic yourself, you’d just detach from the topic at hand and enable your counterpart to elect a new topic to discuss.
Deflection thereby, is predicated on assigning your audience to do some work for you. By not forcing a topic to deflect to, you’ll provide them the choice of topic. In having that autonomy, those we’re speaking to seem to enjoy playing the role of selecting what to deflect the conversation to themselves.
Your attempts to deflect wouldn’t seem obvious if you simply detach and allow others to select what to point the mirror of deflection toward.
What Deflection From Ideas Looks Like:
Detachment from ideas will first serve to diminish their significance by placing them into the context of the world around them. Your own detachment from your plans involves observing them from afar and questioning whether or not taking the steps laid out is optimally planned.
When others inquire into your plans, your detachment will look like disinterest to a person who looks on. However, the goal here would be to simply transfer that level of disinterest to them.
Do so by refraining from providing answers with any finality to them. Don’t lie, but simply express the extent of the complexities which you have to consider in order to formulate a final plan. Voice the pros and cons, voice your sense of uncertainty, and pull the grand scale of things into the picture.
Explain that though the decision / plan you’re about to make and execute seems like a big deal, you’ll forget about in a year or two. Explain that you don’t want to overthink anything beforehand, and that you’ll make a final decision when the time’s appropriate. Diminish its importance, and detach from its consequence.
A simple example of the method:
“Are you planning on sending any job applications this weekend? I hate this place man; we need to get out of here.”
“If we were looking from the outside in, this place would seem great, so I need to be sure the next place would be an improvement.”
The topic in the example above is specifically the act of sending job applications on the weekend. In your attempts to not answer that question, you’d need to detach yourself from the desire to send out job applications and communicate that detachment to the person asking you the question.
Know What’s Worth Exposing, As Exposing Something Is Key
If you’ve ever played a video game with any sort of element of stealth included in the experience, you’ll be familiar with a certain act of distraction. Often times in stealth video games, the player has the option to throw something in an effort to distract the characters actively looking for them.
Exposing an insignificant portion of your future plans is similar to the act of distracting someone in a stealthy situation thereby aiding your escape from their search efforts.
Be tuned into what about your future plans is insignificant enough to publicize to those inquiring into the whole package.
Rather than telling someone that you’ve zeroed in on a couple of perfect houses that you’d like to place a bid on for example, tell them you’ve been searching. Since your revelation of searching for a new house would be enough information to keep them satisfied, you’d escape from being asked questions about the particulars of the houses, prices, and locations you’re dealing with at the moment.
The reason why exposing something is key in concealing your grander plans is simply due to the act of satisfying those you’re speaking with as well as distracting them from what’s behind the curtain.
Debunk Your Ideas: Adopt the Opposite Opinion
As people inquire into the personal and professional plans you’ve made, they wouldn’t be privy to all the internal battles and decisions you had to make prior to settling on the plan at hand. They’d want to know the final result of your analysis to either judge, observe, or perhaps use against you.
As you express a noncommittal attitude toward your plans in an effort to deflect, and expose particulars which aren’t important, you can effectively muddy the waters a little bit more.
While eliciting that feeling of objective noncommittment, start raising good points which go against what you’ve decided as your final plan.
Dig back into your analysis of the plans which interest the people you’re speaking with. Where there any difficult decisions you have to make? What were the points of contention?
As you attempt to deflect by exhibiting a sense of detachment from the plans and outcomes, you can voice the points which contended with your plan.
Voice the arguments against how you’ve finalized your plans without giving your position away to the listener. Make those who listen to you feel as though you’re genuinely considering the points which oppose what you actually settled on.
This method works well to conceal things you don’t want the audience to know because it tests out their reactions to things you’ve deemed unworthy of doing.
Their thoughts on the arguments you make for something which goes against your final plan can provide a lot of information to you about their goals. You’d be able to predict how they’d react to what you’ve in fact planned by voicing the points which oppose that plan.
This method would not include the act of lying because you’d simply voice the arguments you had with yourself when making the plans in question.
Think of this stage as simply rewinding your decision making process and letting an outsider in.
For instance, though you may be planning on sending one hundred job applications out this weekend, you can make a case for why the current job is not that bad to those who ask if you’re planning to leave.
In an effort to decide whether you want to leave this job, you’d have naturally analyzed the pros and cons to yourself. Voicing those pros and cons to those who inquire into your plans does well to test for their reactions along with concealing what you’re planning next.
Don’t Defend Anything
As you detach, expose things which are worth exposing, then make a case for the opinion opposite to yours, your audience will inevitably voice their thoughts. Since they wouldn’t know what you’re planning on doing in the context of the conversation at hand, they’d be susceptible to making comments which hurt your pride surrounding the plans you’ve made.
A common fault of many who attempt to conceal their schemes is their act of defending ideas which support their confidential plans.
For instance, you may be seriously thinking about buying an electric car but don’t want to tell your friends about that plan. As the conversation about cars comes up, though you’d not have told them about your plans, your act of being a cheerleader for electric cars can give away your position on the matter.
By unveiling your position for or against a particular idea, you make it one step easier for others to triangulate your precise plans.
Unveiling one’s position on a stance is seldom done by advocating for things they like about that stance. The pitfall many fall through, is defending others’ critiques of the positions they align themselves with.
Remember, what you defend will point toward what you value. By knowing what you hold in high regard, others can make educated guesses as to what you’re planning to do next.
Listen to Their Ideas As If They’re Good
Much like not defending anything others critique about the plans they don’t yet know about, you should also make their ideas seem good even if they’re not.
You’ll make it seem as though people’s opinions are leading the race of formulating into a tangible plan when you listen to them attentively. Make these people feel as if they’re voicing ideas you’ve not yet heard or considered. Since they’d not know about the plans you’ve made, they’d feel as though their ideas on the topic at hand are better than they are.
You give people the confidence in thinking that you don’t have any ideas which are better when you make them feel that their opinions are good ones, If you were to contend with people’s ideas after you’ve successfully deflected from unveiling your own, they’d look to you to provide better ones. You’ll feel a pressure to disclose the truth when you’re challenged to provide a better idea after they voice theirs.