Is Being Cunning Good or Bad? Exploring the Pros and Cons

It can involve strategic thinking, quick decision making, and an acute sense of observation. In the right hands, cunning can be a powerful tool for problem-solving, negotiation, and achieving success in challenging circumstances. On the other hand, when used in a deceitful or malicious way, cunning can lead to unethical or harmful behavior and damage trust in relationships.

Why Is Being Cunning Important?

It involves being smart, strategic, and resourceful in your actions and decisions, always considering the consequences and thinking outside the box to achieve your goals. Whether you’re looking to succeed in your career, navigate complex relationships, or simply survive in a harsh world, being cunning can give you a crucial edge over your competitors and adversaries.

Cunning people are often able to read people and situations accurately, using their insights to tailor their behavior and manipulate others to their advantage. They know how to play the game, using charm, manipulation, or coercion as needed to get what they want. They’re skilled at sensing weaknesses in others and exploiting them to their benefit, while avoiding traps and pitfalls that could threaten their success.

Of course, being cunning also has it’s downsides. It can be seen as deceitful or unethical, especially if you’re manipulating or taking advantage of others for your own gain. It can also be exhausting, requiring constant vigilance and calculation to stay ahead of the game. And if you rely too heavily on cunning, you risk losing touch with your values and becoming cold and calculating, losing touch with the warmth and empathy that make us human.

So hone your skills, stay focused, and be smart in your actions and decisions, and you too can be a master of cunning.

The Differences Between Being Cunning and Being Manipulative

  • Cunning: Possessing or showing skill in achieving one’s ends by deceit or evasion.
  • Manipulative: Characterized by unscrupulous control of a situation or person.
  • Cunning is often associated with intelligence and wit, whereas manipulative is often associated with negative intentions and manipulation of others.
  • Both involve the ability to influence others, but cunning may be used for positive outcomes while manipulative is often used for personal gain at the expense of others.
  • Cunning can be seen as a positive trait in certain contexts, such as strategic decision making, while manipulative behavior is generally viewed negatively and can damage relationships.

When it comes to achieving one’s goals, some people may resort to cunning tactics. A cunning person is someone who’s clever and deceptive in their approach, willing to use manipulation and trickery to get what they want. However, it’s important to note that being cunning doesn’t necessarily mean being untrustworthy or malicious – rather, it’s a quality that can be used for both good and bad purposes. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what makes someone cunning and explore some of the traits that define this particular type of individual.

What Are the Qualities of a Cunning Person?

One of the key qualities of a cunning person is their ability to think quickly on their feet. They’re able to come up with clever, often unexpected solutions to problems, making them difficult to pin down or predict. They’re also highly skilled at reading their opponents, gauging their motives and intentions, and anticipating their next move. This allows them to stay one step ahead, gaining the upper hand in any situation.

Craftiness is yet another characteristic of a cunning person. They’re masters of deception, able to use their wit and intelligence to create elaborate schemes and elaborate traps. They’re also skilled at faking emotions and manipulating others feelings to achieve their goals. They’re well-versed in the art of lying, using half-truths, evasion, and omission to deceive those around them.

Finally, a cunning person is always aware of the bigger picture. They’re strategic thinkers, able to see the long-term consequences of their actions and decisions. At the same time, they’re also highly adaptable, able to pivot quickly in response to changing circumstances. They aren’t afraid to make tough choices, even if it means sacrificing short-term gains for long-term success. Above all, they’re committed to achieving their goals, no matter what it takes.

How to Recognize a Cunning Person in a Professional or Personal Setting

  • They’re manipulative and use others for their own gain
  • They tend to be good at lying and can be very convincing
  • They lack empathy and don’t care about how their actions affect others
  • They often have an ulterior motive for their actions
  • They may try to undermine others to make themselves look better
  • They can be charming and charismatic, but it’s often a facade
  • They may be quick to take credit for others’ work
  • They often have a sense of entitlement and believe they deserve special treatment
  • They may try to intimidate or bully others to get what they want
  • They can be very difficult to confront or hold accountable for their actions

The ability to be cunning has been valued throughout history, as it involves using one’s intelligence to achieve desired outcomes. Sly and devious behavior can often be associated with cunning, but it can also refer to clever planning and resourcefulness. Being cunning can be both an asset and a danger, as it depends on the intentions of the person utilizing it.

What Is the Function of Cunning?

The function of cunning can’t be undermined as it plays a significant role in achieving ones goals. It involves the use of clever tactics, strategies, and plans to outsmart others and get what one wants. Cunning people are often seen as smart and resourceful individuals who’re capable of achieving their desired outcomes through careful planning and execution.

Cunning plans and ploys are also often used in the business world to gain a competitive advantage over rival companies. Companies that are successful in the long run are those that can outwit and outsmart their competitors by developing innovative products or services, effective marketing strategies, and creating strong brand identities. These strategies often involve making some tough decisions to stay ahead of the curve and beat the competition.

Cunning is also an important trait in politics, where politicians use clever tactics and strategies to influence and manipulate voters. The use of cunning tactics can be seen in political advertising, where candidates use persuasive messaging to sway voters to their side.

It’s fascinating to think about the traits and behaviors that make someone cunning. People who possess this quality have a unique ability to navigate complex situations and achieve their goals, often through clever manipulation or deception. But what does it look like in practice? Let’s explore an example of a cunning person and how they might operate in the real world.

What Is an Example of a Cunning Person?

When we hear the word “cunning”, we often associate it with deceit or trickery. However, being cunning doesn’t necessarily mean being dishonest or immoral. It simply means being clever and strategic in achieving ones goals. A cunning person is someone who can outsmart their opponents or navigate complex situations with ease.

One classic example of a cunning person is Odysseus from Homers epic poem, The Odyssey. Throughout the story, Odysseus proves himself to be extremely cunning, employing various tactics to outsmart his enemies and overcome obstacles. He invented the Trojan horse to win the Trojan War, used his wits to outsmart the Cyclops, and disguised himself as a beggar to trick the suitors who were vying for his wifes hand in marriage.

Another example of a cunning person is Sherlock Holmes, the famous detective created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Holmes is known for his superior intellect and deductive reasoning skills, which allow him to solve even the most complex and baffling cases. He often plays mind games with his adversaries, using his wit and cunning to unravel their plots and schemes.

In business and politics, cunning is also a valuable asset. Successful entrepreneurs and politicians are often master strategists who can anticipate their opponents moves and plan accordingly. They may use charm, manipulation, or other tactics to gain advantage and achieve their goals. Some have even gone down in history as legendary cunning operators, such as Machiavelli.

It requires intelligence, resourcefulness, and a willingness to think outside the box. However, like any skill, it must be used wisely and with integrity. When wielded for good, cunning can help us achieve great things and overcome even the most formidable challenges.

Source: What’s the difference between a cunning person and …


Like any trait, it depends on how it’s used. When employed in a positive manner, being cunning can mean being resourceful, clever, and strategic in achieving one's goals. Ultimately, it’s up to the individual to decide how they choose to use their cunning and whether it aligns with their own moral code. As with any human characteristic, it’s important to remember that the context and intent behind actions matter just as much as the actions themselves.