I first read Robert Greene’s 48 Laws Of Power back in 2021. After reading it, I was, in equal parts, fascinated and shocked.
There’s no doubt that Greene has written a masterpiece. Deep thought and extensive research has gone into this work. Robert Green’s insights into what it takes to attain power are razor sharp, revealing how famous figures from the past were able to climb the greasy ladder and exert their influence on those beneath them.
But so what?
Does possessing power equate to living a good life or becoming a good person?
Instead of making friends, you’ll acquire people you can use. Instead of living a carefree, happy life, you’ll constantly be looking over your shoulder and worrying about whether someone is going to take your spot.
That was my initial opinion of the 48 Laws Of Power. However, with time, a deeper appreciation of the book has grown.
I’m now able to separate some of the more morally questionable laws from the outstanding insights into human nature.
Furthermore, after dipping back into the book for the second time, I’ve noticed how useful it is for creators (writers, youtubers, entrepreneurs, coaches, singers, musicians, influencers) who are aiming to build an audience for their work.
There are 4 laws in particular, which I’ll reveal and explain below, that provide you with all the information you need to grow your following to the level where you can get paid to do the work you love.
Study them carefully and incorporate them into your business and life.
Stand out. Make yourself a magnet for attention by appearing larger, more colourful, more mysterious than the bland and timid masses.
– Robert Greene
Robert Greene believes there’s no such thing as bad publicity. Any kind of attention, whether negative or positive, is better than being ignored.
To make this point, he uses the example of 19th century showman PT Barnum. Barnum used to write scathing, anonymous attacks on his own circus show and then submit them to the local papers.
Barnum understood the importance of getting attention. Even if his circus was being decried, IT WAS IN THE PAPER. That’s all that mattered. People’s curiosity would be piqued by reports of the outrageous acts and want to see if the show was as crass as it was portrayed.
How can YOU gain attention for your books, music, YouTube channel, podcast or product?
Greene offers an interesting insight.
He suggests that something about your style of dress, or a personality quirk, or a catchphrase, should be affected and enhanced.
Some quick examples spring to mind.
The thought of copying one of these approaches may seem daunting but that’s the point. As Greene writes, you have to appear larger and more colourful than the “bland and timid masses.”
Of course, don’t do this in a cringey way. You’re not going to don an eye patch unless you run YouTube channel that focuses on 17th century pirates.
Instead, listen to Greene’s guidance,
Society craves larger than life figures, people who stand above the general mediocrity. Never be afraid, then, of the qualities that set you apart and draw attention to you.
Adherence to this law is about having the courage to be yourself. In a society where we’re always being told to play it safe and “fit in,” you must be brave enough to let the world see who you really are.
Accentuate your quirks. Give free reign to your individuality through your dress, the things you say and the way you behave. Not only will you gain attention, you’ll enjoy the freedom gained from being authentic.
Robert Greene points out that, “In your quest for power, you will constantly find yourself in the position of asking for help from those more powerful than you.”
Very few, if any, people make it on their own. Don’t delude yourself into thinking you’ll be the exception.
It’s more than likely you’ll need to build relationships with various kingmakers who can give you access to a wider audience.
Greene warns against appealing to a kingmaker’s sense of justice, expecting them to help because of the righteousness of your cause.
They don’t care about how hard you’ve tried or how many years you’ve put into your project. Instead, they want to know what you can do for them.
Dale Carnegie echoes this sentiment in his book, How To Win Friends and Influence People. Principle 3 states, “Arouse in the other person an eager want.”
When approaching or making an offer to a kingmaker, think about how you can help them. How are THEY going to benefit by what you have to offer?
Apply this law to your marketing as well.
Your website, your leaflets and the landing pages for the products you’re selling, should all be about how you can help your customer and clients meet their needs.
People don’t want to believe that years and years of hard work and effort is the answer to their problems. Instead, they want to be sold a fantasy.
Although all of these promises are see through, they often seduce audiences because most people want to avoid the harsh realities of life.
Pay attention to this flaw in human nature and start to think about what fantasy you can offer.
All of these fantasies carry a tremendous appeal. People will be drawn to them and won’t question their, somewhat, dubious claims because they’re so desperate to believe that such an outcome could be true.
Furthermore, a fantasy doesn’t have to be a lie. Sure, it has to be fantastical to seduce an audience but you can attempt to deliver on your promises as best you can.
Offer the stars and people might just settle for a trip into space.
This law is about self-belief.
Do you believe you’re destined for something amazing? Can you look in the mirror and see greatness?
Robert Greene uses the example of Christopher Columbus to highlight the importance of acting like a king.
He points out that Columbus knew very little about navigation, couldn’t work a quadrant and had never led a group of men. Furthermore, when appealing to the queen of Spain for the funds to discover a quicker trade route to India by travelling west, his proposal had no clear plan for achieving the objective. However, what he did have was a cast iron belief in himself and his mission, so much so he fabricated an aristocratic lineage in order to impress the royal court of Spain.
Bemused by Columbus’s bearing, Queen Isabella rationalised that there must be something about this man, and his bold claims, and agreed to fund his expedition. The rest is history.
Robert Greene instructs you to be, “overcome by your self-belief.”
Have no doubt in your mind that you are the person you say you are and can do the things you claim. Let it radiate out of you. Be so convinced that people can’t help but be won over.
Living with this level of self-belief plays a psychological trick on the people around you. Because you set such a high price on yourself, people will rationalise that you must have a reason for being so confident. As a result, they’ll follow you and purchase your products and services.
Act like a King to be treated like one!
If you want to discover a passion you can make a living from and overcome the fears that are holding you back, check out my free course 30 Days to Escape The System. Click here to get the course right now! (You’ll find the tips on developing belief and self-confidence fascinating!)
(Image taken from Goodreads)