Last year, I read The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene and it completely changed the way I viewed myself and others.
I was tired of being a pushover and didn’t understand why I attracted this type of behavior. I learned that being respected is much more valuable than being liked. So, I started to look for books that covered self-respect and harnessing my power.
To give you a little snippet of this book and convince you to read it, here are 5 laws that have changed my life:
Law 39: Think as you like but behave like others
If you make a show of going against the times, flaunting your unconventional ideas and unorthodox ways, people will think that you only want attention and that you look down upon them. They will find a way to punish you for making them feel inferior. It is far safer to blend in and nurture the common touch. Share your originality only with tolerant friends and those who are sure to appreciate your uniqueness.Greene
I used to enthusiastically share my new ideas to friends and family. I thought that letting them know the new skills or ideas I discovered would excite them as much as it did for me.
But later on, I learned that a lot of people resented me for sharing financial advice or new ways to organize their room.
Instead of seeing what I did as a kind gesture, they thought I looked down at them. Although this hurt, I quickly learned to keep a lot of new discoveries to myself.
Instead of sharing ideas to people who won’t like them, find a community that’ll appreciate them.
Law 21: Play a sucker to catch a sucker — seem dumber than your mark
No one likes feeling stupider than the next person. The trick, then, is to make your victims feel smart — and not just smart, but smarter than you are. Once convinced of this, they will never suspect that you make have ulterior motives.Greene
I’ve noticed that we as humans love to feel useful. We love to share things we know because it makes us feel useful.
When I started my job as a teacher of a daycare center, a lot of teachers reached out to share what they knew. Instead of saying, “I know that,” or “Thank you, but I can figure it out myself,” I listened to them and thanked them for their help.
Thanks to this, the teachers love my attitude and are more than happy to help me when I needed it.
Also, people respect you if you don’t advertise yourself as a know-it-all. When others know that you’re smart but never admit it, they’re more comfortable talking to you.
Law 1: Never outshine the master
Always make those above you feel comfortably superior. In your desire to please or impress them, do not go too far in displaying your talents or you might accomplish the opposite — inspire fear and insecurity. Make your masters appear more brilliant than they are and you will attain the heights of power.Greene
Never, and I mean never, outshine your superiors. If anyone praises you for your skills, always refer them to the person who taught you.
Be comfortable not being the center of attention. Always let others who’ve paved your way have it. If not, the long-term effect is disastrous.
Law 4: Always say less than necessary
When you are trying to impress people with words, the more you say, the more common you appear, and the less in control. Even if you are saying something banal, it will seem original if you make it vague, open-ended, and sphinxlike. Powerful people impress and intimidate by saying less. The more you say, the more likely you are to say something foolish.Greene
I used to think that to impress my friends, I had to talk a lot. I talked to fill awkward silences, shared all the funny stories I could think of, and even told a few white lies to enhance a story.
Soon, I learned that people spoke over me during conversations, ignored what I had to say, or worse, told me they heard my story before. Instead of gaining respect for saying too much, I was losing it.
But when I said less, people paid more attention, even if I didn’t have the best punchline.
Think about it. Why do we always think that those who say less are mysterious and cool? We always wonder what they’d have to say and always encourage them to speak. That’s because their air of mystery keeps us interested.
Law 34: Be royal in your own fashion: Act like a king to be treated like one
The way you carry yourself will often determine how you are treated. In the long run, appearing vulgar or common will make people disrespect you. For a king respects himself and inspires the same sentiment in others. By acting regally and confident in your powers, you make yourself seem destined to wear a crown.Greene
Growing up, I thought that dressing down and making deprecating jokes would make me more likable.
I never bought nice things for myself, such as jewelry or makeup. Never took care of my appearance or the things I owned.
As I got older, I learned that whether I liked it or not, people won’t respect me if I put no effort into my appearance.
Once I started wearing makeup every day, the way others saw me changed drastically. Many people complimented the way I looked and even told me they admired how I took care of myself every day.
Now, I don’t have to lift a finger to let others know I respect myself. All they have to do is see the way I present myself.
I would love to share so much more — I’m not doing the book justice.
If you’re struggling to take control of your life, I definitely recommend reading this book. Always re-read when you feel your power slipping.
What lesson did you learn that harnessed your power? Leave a comment below.