The cognitive strategy of underplaying your perceived level of understanding and awareness to heighten your position against opponents.

“Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent’s fate.”     -Sun Tzu

Stealth cognizance, aka subversive intelligence, is a method of playing dumb, average, neutral or less-experienced with specificity of purpose to gain an advantage in any interpersonal situation.

Remaining relatively quiet, listening to everything, minimally reacting, understanding their reasoning, never opposing, observing their reactions, calculating your own conclusions, countering with your thoughts…

…then striking with finesse and power.

This art of communication and perception can be utilized in all aspects of both social and professional capacities involving people – for life and work.

Broadcasting your intelligence or knowledge rarely serves any advantage other than the ego. It’s almost always better to be underestimated than to be accurately evaluated or worse, overestimated.

“Pretend inferiority and encourage his arrogance.”     -Sun Tzu

Stealth cognizance is a means to have more control over another by showing less direction, being in a stronger position by appearing weaker than you actually are and taking everything in before acting.

Underestimating your own abilities is also tactical, aware that you’re not infallible and the person(s) you’re interacting with could be faster and smarter.



Creating a powerful but false sense of superiority and security that can be exploited for a tactical response, to procure information or to accurately size them up.

“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.”     -Sun Tzu

The Tactical Art of Stealth Cognizance.

[The featured photo was taken on Charles Bridge in Prague of the Czech Republic.]

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  1. Jine Niner Reply

    I like this. It makes damn sense and I’m going to try to be more stealthy with my thoughts. Especially the bit about how its better to be underestimated, now that you’ve mentioned it seems so obvious.

  2. Hi my Friend, sorry for my English,
    I’m Pablo,an your Italian fan!
    I love your Blogg andyour photos,why don’t post any you tube videos !
    Thanks,bye Bye and Ciao.!

  3. Not Sun Tzu Reply

    But what about life?
    I mean there is a reason why recognition is ever seeked in every culture. How whould you gain oportunities and letting people see your potential? How would you find level-headed people? How could you make your “roaring” voice be heard by being silent?.
    By going stealth you risk being underestimated and you wouldn’t be trusted with responsabilities. Sun Tzu wasn’t acounting team based work beacause potential allies wouldn’t risk working with you for their own sake.
    My guess would be that higher tactical skills rely on knowing when to use tactical cognizance as well as skill boasting correctly.-

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