The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene book review: Part VI

Change is inevitable. Power is based on how well we can handle these changes while weakness is concluded from how poor we handle them. People believe that holding on to traditional beliefs plus remaining rigid to outdated philosophies will create power but quite the opposite. Let us think of a hard-rigid branch, it is much easier to break than a flexible branch. The flexible branch adjusts with the bend which assists in keeping it intact. We must take this approach when it comes to our business, relationships, careers or in our life. Moving with the times increases our power, for we can fill the generation gaps by playing to the young and the old, but if we continue to be one sided and inflexible we bare the potential of breaking, snapping or plainly being not able to adapt ourselves to the new times, technology and changes that will be presented to us. Understand in the game of power, you are not only fighting against, mindsets, circumstances, yourself and other people; you are most importantly fighting against time.

Article 1: Law 1-8

Article 2: Law 9-16

Article 3: Law 17-24

Article 4: Law 25-32

Article 5: Law 33-40

Article 6: Law 41-48

Law 41: Avoid stepping into a great man’s shoes

In the classic book by Napoleon Hill “Think and Grow Rich,” the author emphasizes the notion that most sons do not equal or surpass the accomplishments of their fathers. I believe the cause stands from a violation of this Law. When you are pursuing success, admiration or even wealth, it is not in our best interest to follow in a great man’s footsteps. Everything you do will be seen as a copy while the original will always stay in the hearts of the clients, the audience or the group. I have seen this law be violated many times and each time the same outcome, they never live up to the original in the minds of the group, in turn they never reach the same type of praise or acclaimed. When the original comes out first, they are viewed as more powerful and unique. The one courageous enough to be a trailblazer, while the one or ones that come up behind will always be seen as a trail follower. They will always be compared. Similar to a music album, they usually always like the first more than the second, because the first was raw and pure while the second seems more water down and desperate. Ones putting their heart and soul in it while the other is searching for a hit single.

The only way to offset this predicament is not to try to follow someone’s particular path but the blaze your own. Means of accomplishing this method is:

1. Never let the past outshine the present: By disdaining the ways of the past you place more power on what is presently occurring, plus what the future may hold. Make the past seem obsolete while emphasizing the great potential of the upcoming days that will bring advantages to your audience, your clients or your customers. Play the generational game, show people what outstanding wonders are coming which will trump the past accomplishments of any other, even the ones you are descendants from.

2. Don’t follow the past: Create something new and unique from the original or just plain go with something that is in an entirely different industry. By separating yourself from the original you can make your own name in the game, by looking, feeling and approaching things so massively different, that people do not recognize the original in anything that you are doing. Do this until people even forget that you are even related to the original.

3. Don’t rest on your laurels: Even if you have done something outstanding that has separated you from the great person’s shadow, never rest on that. Their legend will always be a cloud covering your sunshine of power, so you must keep it going and changing. Many young men or women who are offspring of great people tend to be more fearful of spending an inheritance or taking a risk with the capital that their ancestors or parents have acquired. This is a mistake. You must be bold and treat the money as if it was your own. Be dominant in your space as if you were the first to do it and refrain from talking about the original as much as possible. Make your name through your own blood, sweat, and tears and they will forget the original but remember you!

Law 42: Strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter

“A house divided cannot stand,” is an amazing quote from the Good Book, which emphasizes the power of unity and the destruction of division. A team, a group, a family, a household, a nation or a cabinet that is all on the same page moving toward a common goal will surely reach their lofty ambitions, but one that is not, even if only one piece is out of alignment will crumble in defeat. This is paramount in the pursuit of power, you must all, the keyword is all, be together because it takes only is one member to ruin the entire mission. Unfortunately, in the workplace, in the army, in the community or in your crew usually lies one cancer whose motives are to take what you have built down by constant complaining, gossip, negative energy, lying or a basic bad attitude. You must remove this ailment from your group or it will slowly corrupt the rest of your troops which will result in them turning on you. This cannot happen, find the infiltrator and remove them immediately from the team you are trying to keep aligned.

The point being is you must remove all rotten apples from the patch, so if there is an individual in your camp who is resentful of your power or has ill feelings about you because of a past altercation or who is whispering to the other members about you. Someone spreading slanderous rumors or even placing a negative image about you in their mind, take them out swiftly. The longer they stay on your team the more damage they can potentially do. It is usually the strong personality that is constantly blabbing about how bad things are can infect the entire group with their venomous words, especially if other members of the group look up to this individual and see him or her as a leader. Once you get rid of the member who is stirring up the pot the rest of the group will fall back in line. Take heed to this warning, because it is the one you leave around too long that will be the one who will take you down the quickest.

Law 43: Work on the hearts and minds of others

My mentor Les Brown once said to me, “People don’t care about you until they see how much you care about them.” If you are on the journey to success you must appeal to people's emotional hearts and minds. People will forget about you unless you can make them feel something emotionally. Psychologists say that moments usually only store itself in the mind if the experience created heightened emotions. The reason most companies or business owners fail to connect with their audiences or potential clients is because they fail to connect emotionally.

When you are attuned with other individuals’ emotional side, you have broken through barriers which make others soften to you plus be more willing to listen to your sales pitch. What you are providing to them that will help them fix an emotional conundrum? As a speaker, if you can speak to people's hearts, they will follow you forever. You can gain many allies with this strategy. It will help you gain your ends while gathering tons of fans and admires in the process.

Do not make the mistake of believing if you are a leader that has people's minds that you have their hearts. Individuals will have an uprising against a leader who has established only a superficial rule but will remain loyal to the ones they are emotionally invested in. The problem is most people get arrogant in their success. Feeling like it will go on infinitely so why bother caring about what others care about? This is a grave miscalculation. Hence the history of revolts, domestic terrorist or even just the office staff going on strike. You must love your followers and in return they will love you!

Law 44: Disarm and infuriate with the mirror effect

This technique has been used by salesmen for decades and is even taught by world renowned motivational speaker Tony Robbins on how to build rapport with someone you don’t know but desire to know. The mirror techniques allow us to disarm, lower barriers and connect with strangers instantly on an intimate level. It will seem as if you see the world as they do, even if that it is a fabrication. This is also helpful when being interrogated, asked questions that you rather not answer or to hide your true intentions from inquiring minds. Using this technique will match your persona into a reflection of the other person which can be extremely seductive to some and a complete annoyance to others depending on who they are and how the technique is done. The author breaks down the different ways of using this strategy and to whom to use it against.

1. Neutralizing effect: In many cases, people will come to you with their problems, issues and conditions but truly do not want to fix them, just vent. Be careful not to solicit advice to this person because this could make them angry and feel that you are not listening to their points of view. By using the mirror technique and mimicking their views you shield your own opinions by agreeing with them. This will make them feel comfortable belly aching to you plus glad that someone agrees with them. Long story short, just nod your head in agreement and let them complain.

2. The Narcissist Effect: People that love themselves will love you when you mirror their views, their ideas, their concepts of reality and especially your love for them. When you seem to be a “mind twin,” if you will, you become extremely attractive to this type of person or people that feel that they can do no wrong and their views are usually right. When you can give them what they love the most, which is themselves, they will follow your brand until the end of time.

3. The Moral Effect: The moral effect is for those who would like to prove a point or give people a taste of their own medicine. Many people can dish but cannot take. When you give them back what they gave you, it gives them (A.) A moment to reflect their own morals or (B.) Make them extremely angry. Either way, you have shown them a glimpse into the mirror which is always a cause for growth in one’s spirit or digress into angry which will eventually show them the errors of their way in time. Use this effect with caution since it is such an emotional technique.

4. The Hallucinatory Effect: This is the art of faking your sincerity as you mimic others views and culture. In order words, mimicking another's love or passions but not really feeling the same way in return. The point is that many people will not give you the time of day unless you can make some emotional connection with them so by pretending to see things the same way, even if you don’t, will move you up the ladder with them far quicker than if you let them know how you really feel.

In any event, using the mirror technique must always be used with the utmost prudence. If people realized that you are just copying them but do not really share their views, they will become enraged, turning on you or seeking vengeance. You must try to see others' point of views, attempt to adopt or at best try to understand them. This will make a more authentic mirror, but if you are completely faking, let them never find out. Lastly, be the chameleon in your surroundings, try to blend in because at the end of the day, most people always believe that what they do or say is the best which makes everyone else's ideas, views and opinions false.

Law 45: Preach the need for change, but never reform too much at once

One of the best books I have ever read is Dr. Spencer Johnson’s Who Moved My Cheese. It is a fable about people’s reluctance to change even if the change will be more beneficial and remaining with the same mindset will be detrimental. We have seen industries completely wiped out because of companies’ inability to adjust with the times, causing a new technology or business model to wipe them out. Do not be like them. Change with the times while knowing most people will not desire to move. If you are going to advocate change do it strategically, in a way that seems gradual while still holding on to the old traditions. You can do this by paying homage or showing respect to the previous ways while introducing the change as a gentle improvement of the past. If the old ways are shunned, people tend to shun you plus if the change is thrown on the group too quickly, they will become fearful and do their best to get rid of you in a hurry.

Be wary of this Law, approach with caution and take gentle steps. Why? Unfortunately, if you are the leader of the new regime and things do not go according to plan, the person in charge will become the scapegoat which will make them revolt or plead to the powers above, to get rid, fire or in the past behead you. The point is most people like talking about change but very few are actually willing to take steps to do so, plus resent the people or persons who has initiated it. Individuals are creatures of habit, so to switch those habits can make a group, a company or even an industry extremely fearful of the future. The best way to get these men and women on your side is to make a grand spectacle of the past, display how much you love the old traditions while emphasizing how great things will advance once some very slight improvements are made. Ego and fear are monsters, do not feed them by implementing to much future, too much new age, too much technology or they will rebel and come after you.

Law 46: Never appear too perfect

“Envy creates silent enemies,” stated the author. Silent enemies are the worst enemies to have because you don’t even know they exist. They can be your co-workers slithering around waiting for the moment to strike, they could be friends that you’ve known for years, all of a sudden are gazing at you with disdain or even could be a spouse that is resentful of your success. It is unfortunate, but history has shown us things like this happen time and time again. When you seem to have too much success, people begin to want to tear it down, as they feel it is a reflection of their failures. This gathers indignation which will cause them to want to get rid of you or at least dim your light. Some people cannot help but seem too perfect, they can be naturally talented, heavenly good looks, smarts without effort or even because they grew up in a happy home, either way you must find a way not to let your natural or even gain abilities cause envy in the hearts of those around you.

In order to shed some of your perfection or excess success, say or do things that makes you seem more normal or not as perfect by (1). Exposing your flaws to other people. For example, if you are overly good looking, discuss how you are a terrible reader, or if you are extremely wealthy, explain how much of a large responsibility it is on your shoulder and how hard it is to maintain this type of lifestyle. In any case, make it seem like your great success is a burden, even if you do not really feel this way. It is just a strategy to dim your light so others do not get blinded by it. When you are able to expose your flaws, burp in public or be slightly unrefined, it makes you appear more human and approachable, which will lesson any jealousy that you may inadvertently create. (2). Downplay your success, show humility by not consistently bragging or exposing how successful you are. People don’t need to know what kind of car you drive, how much your home cost or how much you made this year, unless this is stated in a strategic way to inspire. Other than that, it just reflects boasting about one's accomplishments. Tell people that your success was luck, even though it was caused by hard work and perseverance. Most people don’t care how you got it; they are mostly concerned that you got it.

There are several cases, where hiding your success, your good looks, your talents, your skills, your smarts or your abilities will not be feasible. In these cases, you must watch the envy of others. Feel out their jealousy to discover who maybe or potentially a silent enemy. Once you find the culprit, stay away from them, drop them from your group or find a way to get them on your side, because when a silent enemy finally strikes, you’ll never see it coming. The author illustrates several ways to spot the silent enemy in your camp, plotting to take or destroy what you have worked so hard to obtain.

1. Extra praise: People that show too much praise could be buttering up your toast to lull you into a false sense of security so you are unaware of what they are really thinking about you. They could be feeding your ego and vanity just to later give you false information that could embarrass you or cause your downfall.

2. Slick comments: People who constantly have something negative, nitpicky or demeaning to say. Claiming that they are your friends but instead of encouraging you, they use their status as your confidant to throw shots your way. Saying things like, “I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” or “If you really want to wear that dress that is fine,” or even, “You only have that because of them.” They are slowly trying to break you down bit by bit.

3. Hypercritical: You can never do anything right in the eyes of these people. Everything you do is flawed, even if you have found some success, they will always bring up your past, the times that you failed. Will talk about your weight, will talk about your clothes or will just let you know that you are not good enough. They project their shortcomings on to you so they can have power over you or that you don’t discover your own power and escape from their grasp.

Law 47: Do not go past the mark you aimed for; in victory know when to stop

Success could be the biggest enemy of success, which sounds like a paradox but if we examine deeply, we will gather how true this statement really is. When someone wins on a consistent basis, they start to create this erroneous idea that they are unstoppable. They can do no wrong or that they are masters of the Universe, but all this does is gives us a false sense of our abilities which will cause us to make blunders later on. We must not let success go to our heads but stay even keel and hungry for a different success in something that we have not mastered yet. When we become to enamored by our achievements we tend to rest on our laurels, become arrogant which will cause us to become sloppy in our executions. If we have mastered an industry, a skill, a subject or even finally got the mate of our dreams, we must continue to strive to improve elsewhere in our lives, because the adage is this, “If you are not moving forward, you are moving backwards.”

We must always control are emotions. This week’s victory does not equate to next week's challenges. If we always stay vigilant, we never let opponents, silent enemies, competition or failure sneak up on us. We sit in a state of awareness that decries we have been successful but there's always a new challenge to face. This will keep us striving for new adventures while keeping us humble. Always remain humble while taking advice from advisors in whatever avenue you are pursuing but never reach the height that you refrain from listening, believing in your own hype. No matter the fan fair or the haters, never give too much stock in people praise or their criticism. Remain steadfast in your journey. Lastly, if you reach the goal you set out, create a new goal, never go past the goal you aimed for. You may think since you reach 1000 employees, you can easily reach 10,000. This could destroy your business. If you have reached the goal, make others but don’t torpedo yourself to keep achieving and end up bankrupt.

Law 48: Assume formlessness

The only thing consistent in the world is change. With this reasoning, we must always remain adaptable and fluid, not cementing ourselves to one way of thinking or one type of dogma. We must constantly be reading, learning and listening to new ideas because the times are constantly shifting and molding. Once, I meant an old Taxi driver who was upset by the approach of Uber, he said all they did was take jobs, but did not realize, Uber has made commuting easier and more affordable. Instead of adapting to the change, even joining Uber he planted his feet into the ground, stubbornly to the unemployment line. We must always be adaptable or better yet expect changes to come because they consistently do.

The author geniusly stated, “As you get older, you must rely even less on the past.” The methods that were good 10 years ago have become laughable today, technology is being produced at an all-time rate with inventions and innovations popping up daily, so if you become rigid to a certain way of being you will be crushed by the waves of change.

Most companies are unwilling to adjust that is why most companies fail while the intelligent CEOs always adopts and moves with the times because their customers are doing the same. When you are able to be fluid, no one could ever pin you down to a certain idea or process. This will help you move into different circles and create different types of allies. The point being is never become predictable, it is boring, unattractive and highly dangerous to your business, your relationships and your client base. Be the foreman of change, while everyone is too fearful to adjust, you will dominate and be known as an innovator.

Thank you for being a part of the Power of Self Book Club! Reviewed by Rich Fontaine. If you are interested in this book, click the link below and order a copy today! If you order directly from my website I will throw in my highlighted notes and specialty bookmarks for Free! Plus a chance to be in our exclusive business mastermind group for free! Seats are limited.

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