Robert Greene ON: The Laws of Mastery, Power and Human Nature & Harnessing Your Dark Side For Good | Transcription

Transcription for the video titled "Robert Greene ON: The Laws of Mastery, Power and Human Nature & Harnessing Your Dark Side For Good".


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Intro (00:00)

When you're excited about a project, when you feel alive and energized, then time is a much different experience than when you're bored. So you can create your relationship to time, right? So I'm not ready. Well, there's a strategy for that. You should always take action a little bit before you were ready, is the advice I give. Several months before you're ready, go ahead and do it. Try it because you're gonna rise to the occasion. - Hey everyone, welcome back to On Purpose, the number one health podcast in the world, thanks to each and every single one of you who come back every week to listen, learn and grow. Now you know that the podcast is just an excuse for me to reach out to amazing people, incredible minds, and the people that I wanna sit down with the most and pick their brain. And today's guest is someone that I've wanted to do that with for a long, long time. I remember reading his books years ago. We've been in touch for quite some time to try and get this scheduled. And today I'm so grateful because he's made the effort to be here physically present with us in the studio. He's none other than Robert Greene, the author of some of my favorite books. We have the Laws of Human Nature. His new book, that's out right now, called The Daily Laws, I highly recommend that you go and grab your copy. And of course, the greatest one of all time, in my opinion, the 48 Laws of Power. So we're gonna be diving into these three books today and Robert himself. And I hope that you'll all be making notes. This is one that you want your notebook out for. It's one that you wanna get your pen and pencil out for. And I'm so grateful. Robert, thank you so much for being here. - Thank you so much for having me, Jay, my pleasure. - No, it's an honor to have you here, honestly. - I didn't look forward to it. - Me too, me too. So I mean, I'll tell everyone the story. Me and Robert were about to record three or four months back. And we both had a friendly conversation. And I think you were asking me where I live. And I was saying, I live in LA. And I live in Hollywood. And you were saying you live in Los Feliz. And we were like, well, we're like 15 minutes away. And so we said, let's do it in person. And I'm so happy that we made that possible. And all the effort you took to be here. So thank you. - Yeah, my pleasure. I love getting out of the house. So it's actually fun for me. - Amazing. Well, your work is legendary. It's, to say it's a best-selling book or anything is an understatement. Your work has impacted the way people think and live and make decisions. And people look to your books as law books and textbooks. They don't see them as just story books or a quick read. They're reference books almost. And I guess my biggest question to start off is where did your obsession with power come from?

Discussion On Power And Influence

Figuring people out is a form of power (02:47)

- You know, I guess is you'd have to go back to my early childhood. Maybe, you know, I felt as a child, a little bit helpless around my parents in some ways. I was a very sensitive boy. I still have that issue. They were great parents, but they weren't the most overtly affectionate. And so I was always kind of wondering and observing them and trying to be careful around them. I didn't do anything to upset them. So I became kind of an observer of people. And my main thing was as sort of a protective device to not be heard and to be able to have a degree of control over the people around me. So I didn't feel like I was, you know, gonna get yelled at or something like that. And then as I entered the work world, you know, I kind of, it was sort of a rude awakening for me because I had studied, you know, literature and languages. My major was ancient Greek and, you know, things that are completely impractical in this world. And then I entered the work world with all of my dreams, my illusions, my fancias. And it's like slapped in the face. This is not what I expected. I had many different jobs. I lived in New York. I did journalism. Then I lived in Europe. I traveled around 'cause I couldn't really find out what I wanted to do, I worked in a hotel in Paris. I taught English in Barcelona. I did construction work, increase on an island, increase. I worked in television company in London. You name it, I did it. And I had all kinds of bosses. I saw all kinds of power games and manipulations going on. And so taking that knowledge from my childhood of observing people, seeing how they operate, seeing what's really going on behind their minds 'cause people wear masks. They don't tell you what they're thinking. They don't want to admit that they want power, that they want to control you or manipulate you in some way. And so I was always kind of a decipher of people and what their real thoughts were. And to me, figuring people out is a form of power. And then I worked in Hollywood, which is kind of the ultimate power environment. Because nobody in Hollywood wants to admit that their goal is power. They want to make it all worry about art, we're about creativity, liberal causes blah, blah, blah. But really they wanted power. It was the most power hungry environment I had ever witnessed. I observed a kind of a double-faced thing, quality going on. On the one hand, they would present this front to their employees, to everyone else. But really they were practicing all of these games, these kind of power games going on. And so that's what sort of inspired my first book, The 48 Laws of Power. Because my sympathies are more on the side of the underdog. I don't have a sympathy for a Hollywood executive for Michael Ovett, it's for a CEO of a company. I have sympathy for the poor guy like myself who is thrown into these environments, doesn't understand it, is a bit naive, right? Doesn't know the rules of power that these generally white men, at least at the back and that era seem to know instinctively. And so I wanted to like reveal to everyone what goes on behind closed doors, the real games of power that people play. So it's not that I'm obsessed with it, but I feel like people like myself are often too naive. They don't understand what they're about to get into. They don't understand how rough and brutal the world can be. And I actually wanted to kind of help them and reveal the kinds of things that I learned the hard way. - I love that learning journey because so much of what we seek are the gifts and gaps from our parents. You know, whether they give us a gift and we chase that gift or they have a gap in their parenting, we try and fill that gap. And it's amazing how everything seems to really, really stem from that. Where, how do you define power in the way you guide people in this book towards power? Because I think power has changed, power has shifted, its meaning has evolved. And I wanted to know what you define as power.

The misconception of having power (07:01)

- Well, people have this misconception of power. I think it has to do with CEOs and presidents and it's kind of ugly and dirty. I have a much different conception of it. It's something that has to do with your daily life. Now, I have the idea that much in our lives, we cannot control. You can throw a number out, 95%. You can't control disease. You can't control the people that you meet. It's by chance that you met your wife and you fell in love and you ended up marrying her. You kind of fall into jobs. There's much in life that is way beyond your control, but there's a margin that you can control, right? And it's mostly about your relationships. It has to do with your children, your spouse, your partners, your colleagues that work your bosses. And the feeling that you have no control over them, that they can do whatever they want, that you have an idea and you want to sell it to them or you want somebody to stop their annoying behavior and you have can't control them. They're completely oblivious. They won't listen to anything you say. It's to me the worst feeling for a human being to have, right? We're animals that need that sense of, I can influence my environment. I can influence the people around me. And the sense of helplessness is a very, very primal feeling. It's like when you take an animal, and if you have dogs or cats and you put them on their belly, they feel exposed, they feel terrified, and that's when they attack you. Well, that position is like being on our belly. I can't control my teenage son using the drugs. My husband or my wife isn't listening to me. My boss is doing, you know, you want the ability to be able to at least defend yourself or to have some influence or power over them. It's a small margin because there's much you can't control, but to the degree that you can have some of that power and you can, and then there's one other aspect. Probably the most important aspect that I'm forgetting here is power over yourself, self mastery, right? Because a lot of the problems that you have in life, you can't really control yourself. You're subject to all these emotions, these moods, these things that grab you, that obsess you, your mind has these recurrent thoughts. You have no self control and it drives you crazy. You have a habit you want to get rid of. You take some program, some class, and three months later, you're back at it. Ah, you know, what is it? So the sense that you can control yourself to a degree and the sense that you can have some influence over people is power and the more you have it, the greater the feeling you have because you can avoid that helplessness that makes all of us kind of crazy. - Yeah, I really love how you grounded that definition of power and self mastery because that seems to be where everything else loses control. You know, it's like if we're out of control, then everything seems out of control. And so so much of our lust or envy or greed or anger has the ability to distract and derail us completely when there's no self power. - Right. - And why do you think it is? You mentioned it, why do you think it is that we all have, and I can relate to this, and I think, you know, when you refer to yourself as someone who struggled and, you know, couldn't figure it out and was surprised by what happened. And, you know, I would say the same, that, you know, I grew up being bullied for being overweight, and I was one of few Indian people in my entire area that I grew up in in London. - But we're in London. - I was in North London, so majority area of Tottenham and would grow in-- - Tottenham, sure. - Yeah, which are not considered South Asian areas generally. And when I look back at that time in my life, I also feel like I, at one point in my life, was an underdog. And why do you think it is that so many underdogs have such a negative view of power?

Nobody thinks of power in a positive sense (10:55)

I feel like so many people today, whether they consider themselves underdogs or not, when we think of words like power or influence, we think of them as negative things. We think of them as being, as you said, like dirty or toxic or plagued. Why is that? And how do you healthily transform your belief around power? - Well, that was sort of what I wrote the book about, but a lot of it comes from our culture, which I think plays a very often a very negative role in our lives. It teaches us the wrong kinds of lessons. And so back in the days when it was television now, it's whatever you watch and whatever medium, all of the villains in the world were these power, hungry people in black coats with cars, with the windows kind of blacked out and doing all sorts of evil, ugly things. That's what we think of as power. It's like a cultural trope that we've all digested, this kind of Machiavelli in character who's out to kind of destroy people. Nobody thinks of power in a positive sense. And it's maddening, it drives me crazy. It's incredibly hypocritical. When self-help books are written and they're trying to say that power or ambition or influence are ugly things, when the writer himself or herself is actually a very powerful person who has influence, who has control. It's awful, it drove me crazy. It's why I wrote the book. So I try and tell people, look, who's one of the great saints that we hold up in our culture? Mahatma Gandhi, right? I certainly venerate him. He's an amazing person. And I read very deeply about Gandhi. And I wrote about him in my third book, The Strategies of War. And his goal was to throw the English out of India so they could finally experience independence because the people had been subjugated for so long that they had forgotten what it meant to be human in a way, right? A very noble goal. But he realized quickly on how difficult it would be. So he had to be strategic. And so he had things like the salt march where he very much plotted in advance that he knew using his method of civil disobedience where once the police came out, you were not to fight, you were to accept them. If they beat you, you accepted it. You never fought, no violence. But he knew that back in the day before television that the media, the newspapers would cover their English babbies or whomever they were beating these people up. And it would play horribly in England because people in England thought that they were very liberal and open-minded, that they weren't these horrifying imperialists. He was strategic. He knew that he had to get maximum publicity for very ugly confrontations. Years later, Martin Luther King, another icon who also practiced civil disobedience did utilize the same tactics in his campaigns in Selma and Montgomery at one point. It was very controversial. He had children of the ages 13, 14 involved in this march and that they would get beaten up. People were in his group cast gated for this. How could you be like that? He knew that that would play on television now to the white audiences around America. They'd be horrified. If you want power in this world, if you are fighting for a cause, if you want some kind of justice, you have to be strategic. You have to think like that. You have to think in terms of power. People just don't give themselves up. If we have the Me Too movement now, men are not just going to give up all their control in a place like Hollywood. You have to hit them. You have to be strong. You have to be forceful. It's a power game. And I can't stand people who are naive, who think that just being self-conscious is going to get what they want in life. If you're going to fight for something, you have to be able to meet the enemy on their terms of power. So that's sort of how I like to explain to you. There's nothing unhealthy about Gandhi or MLK as far as I know. Yeah, no, thank you so much for sharing that perspective. I definitely feel very aligned with that. I've often said to people when people have asked me, like, Jay, how have you created what you've created or how are you building your work and businesses? And I've always said that to me, sincerity and strategy have to go together. Sure. That data and intuition have to go together. Like, you can't have one or the other. And so to only be sincere and loving and compassionate and kind, well, actually, a lot may not happen. And to only be strategic and influential and powerful, you may end up losing your soul. Lose your soul. Well, beautifully said. Like, you lose your soul. But when you have two together, and it is a fine balance, and it is a... You're always juggling both, and you don't get the perfect amount. You're always in percentages and proportions. But the idea that you can't ignore this side, there's a beautiful quote you reminded me of from Martin Luther King, where he said, "Those who love peace need to learn to organize themselves, as well as those who love war." Right. And I think that's what... That's beautiful. Yeah, and I think that's what we're saying. And that's what I saw when I first started to share the messages. I'd learned from living as a monk, and the Vedas and that tradition, for me it was, if I'm not strategic about this, or if I'm not focused or organized about this, then I might as well give up now. Yeah. Because it's not going to spread itself. No. And so I'm really happy to hear your perspective on that.

The person who talks less usually has the most influence (16:32)

How do the laws become things that you use versus getting lost in what we just sort of losing your soul in power now driving you? Because I almost feel like when you start using the laws, you end up feeling a sense of power, and then that power can consume you often, it can become toxic. Some people start that way, they start with an agenda, and they utilize the powers wrongly. But what to speak of someone who starts off in a more noble cause, but then now the laws are using them versus them using the laws? We have to understand there's an offensive and a defensive side to the laws. Okay. And I always tell people who have these kind of compunctions about crush your enemy. Totally. I don't want to do that. Neither do I. Okay. So if you're reading a law and it kind of triggers this, ah, I can't do that. Then it's not something you should do anyway. It's going to, it's not going to fit your way of doing it. You have a certain style, a certain belief system, certain values. I'm not telling you to go outside your values. But look at that law, which is probably the ugliest in the whole book. Crush your enemy totally. And understand that in the business world, that law prevails 95% of the time. When a company like Google or any tech company has an enemy, their goal is to get rid of them completely, to buy them out. So they have no competitors, right? Look at Amazon, but even smaller businesses dealing with rivals. It's a dynamic in the business world. So you need to be aware of it and not be naive. You don't have to practice it, but you need to be aware of it. Other laws are just simply trying to show you what, you know, we're animals that kind of base our opinions a lot on what we see and perceive. We don't often think too deeply. We kind of take people based on their appearances. So there's a law of power and they're called always say less than necessary. Very kind of common sense law. And the idea is that if you're in a meeting with people, that man or woman who talks less generally has an aura of power, particularly a boss. They seem enigmatic, mysterious. And when they do something, say something, everybody's hanging on their words. What does that mean? But say, whereas people who talk a lot give the impression that they're weak. They signal weakness. They can't control themselves. So they can't control themselves. How can they control anything in the business world, right? So we sense that in people. So be aware of that. You're probably talking too much in a lot of circumstances. And maybe you can control that. And so this is kind of a way of defending yourself in an environment where people will tend to see you as weak if you can't have any self-controlled, right? So there are, if you see that a law that's ugly that makes you skin crawl, you don't want to do it. I have no problem with that. I, there are a lot of laws. I don't practice in there. But you need to be aware of them. You need to be aware that other people are practicing them so that you don't become their victim. Then there are other laws that, yes, you should practice, right? Like appealing to people's self-interest when you're trying to influence them or despise the free lunch where you learn to pay for things and be generous with your time and your money for people. So it depends on the law. But I hate it when people say, oh, what an evil book. Those are people who haven't read it because half the laws or more than half have nothing evil about them. And the other half are about opening your eyes. I never say you have to practice this. I'm just making you aware of reality of what goes on in the world. Is it possible to, and I agree with you fully, I think if you read the book, you can't see it as an evil book or a controlling or manipulative book at all. You know, that's, and you can tell clearly it's not your intention. It's not who you are. Like, and that's what I want to ask you.

The people without self control are often greedy (20:24)

How much of a role does intention play in some of this work? Because I wonder if you thought about that when you were writing it, do you think about it now in terms of how your intention fits in with a law? Or your reason why you're doing it, the cause behind the law that you're using. Does that impact or affect the quality of the effectiveness of the law? Does it make a lot work better? Does it have any power? Does intention have any power? You mean if your intention is for something good or for something evil? Correct, correct. Well, it depends. Unfortunately, in the world today, and you know, I've had this experience and we read about it in the news, a lot of people who have a dark side who we might consider rather immoral in their behavior get pretty damn far, right? Yeah. And they use these laws and they don't pay any consequences. So there's no kind of ultimate justice in this world, although there might be in a religious sense, I don't deny that at all. But in a secular world, there's no consequences to pay for it. So people, if they have a lot, they do crush your enemy totally, and that's their goal, they might end up being even better at it than somebody who doesn't really want to go there, but then it kind of tries it half heartedly, right? So I'm not here to say that justice and goodness always prevails. But the people who have those kind of intentions, the true sharks in the world, they don't need my book, right? They know it. It's in their DNA. They grew up at the age of five or six, seven. It's already been implanted in them. And I write about that in my last book, The Laws of Human Nature. You can see that in certain people at a very early age. The great therapist, psychoanalyst Melanie Klein, identified the greedy baby at the age of six months. Wow. That was already sucking so hard on the mother's breast. And she saw that this type of baby turned into the type that was actually very aggressive in life. So it's inbred very early on. People like that have patterns of behavior. They cannot control. But those people with those kind of intentions who are very manipulative, I believe very firmly, they don't get, ultimately they hit a wall. They piss so many people off. They don't know the soft side of power. They have no self-control because all they know is grab, grab, grab, push, push, push. They don't know when to yield. They don't know when to step back, right? They've only learned one way. And so that becomes their downfall. What I'm hearing from you is that the intention, it's in one sense, could weaken it if it wasn't used effectively. But you're also saying that if someone does have a positive intention or a good intention, then it is likely that they may be happier with that power to some degree. Definitely. Oh, definitely. And I think that's what I find so fascinating. I see what you mean. Yeah. Right? Yeah, it's the relationship. I guess we both know a lot of powerful people who would consider themselves to be not happy. And I ask myself, then, what is the role of power in the world? Because I feel like a lot of people in your situation, when they didn't feel any power at home, or they didn't feel a sense of significance at home, often power or significance become pursuits for pleasure and for happiness. But power doesn't lead to happiness.

Learn the art of insinuation and persuasion (23:51)

What does power lead to? Well, I'm not sure I completely agree with that. Oh, okay. Because under the way I've defined power, where you feel like, okay, so let's say you have a spouse who has a very annoying pattern of behavior, all right? And in my books, I train you, being direct and yelling at them never works. Yeah. Never works. You have to learn the art of insinuation of persuasion, which often is stepping back, which often involves teaching them a lesson, mirroring their behavior, right? And so your intention is not ugly or bad. It's that you can't live with this person unless they alter their behavior, right? And so you think about it, you strategize a little bit, you take some steps and it works. Yes. All right. I understand. Yes. So in a relationship, often that can spell into some degree of power, or let's say you're in a nasty divorce case and there's a child involved and your emotions are to screw that man or woman who is so mean to you and you're going to have this nasty fight and then you realize, oh my God, this child that I love is really going to suffer from it. And then you step back and you go, no, I have to not just react. It's going to lead to an ugly recycle of battles. I need to be a little bit more strategic about this. I need to pursue this in a softer way, right? And so you end up feeling better about yourself. So I'm not saying all of the laws are going to make you feel better about yourself, but the degree that you can control your environment, where you're not helpless at work or in a relationship with your children will give you a degree of happiness. It won't fulfill you the way maybe that's the difference here. It will give you a sense of satisfaction. It will relieve that anxiety. It won't make you fulfilled the way your career will if it's done properly. But it will help you lose that continual gnawing anxiety that you can't change people, that you can't change yourself. So I do think there is an element of happiness, however you want to - Yeah, no. - Involve with power. No, and I think that's why going back to your definition of power. And that's why I asked you that early on, that's exactly it. That when I was referring to my point, I was saying that when people have a negative intention and their definition of power is warped, then power can end up feeling just satisfying when you get there because it didn't really get you what you wanted. Right, right. Because you couldn't force someone to love you or you couldn't force this person. But actually when it was done in the way you're saying, like when you realize that actually if I don't exert this power, I'm actually using this power to save this situation, to enable this situation to improve. Right. I think that's what I was pointing to. And so yeah, we're on the same page. There's a couple of laws that I love that I wanted to pick out for you. So to just mention a bit, because I think these are really, really interesting. So this one is Law 29, plan all the way to the end. Right. And I wanted to ask you how one actually does that. I know you took one in the book, which I want to say for people, but for today's conversation, I'd love to do, how do you plan to the end when sometimes it's really hard to know what's next and what the end is? And I think so many people today are in jobs for less time, they're moving quicker, there's so many more opportunities, new technologies.

What does it mean to plan the end? (27:14)

How do we, what does it mean to plan to the end? Well, it's a thought process. So as you, as you, what point out well enough that things come up that you can't foresee circumstances, things change and the ending that you plan for doesn't happen the way you want it to, that's fine. But to the degree that you go through a mental process and you think about the ending and you have a goal in mind, you're going to be much more effective in life. So when something comes up, you're planning to go here and it forces you that way, you're better prepared to take that circumstance and maybe veer a little closer to the point that you want. Right. So people, the main point of that law is that we are all go around with these dreams and these thoughts and these plans that are so vague. I'm going to write a book. I'm going to direct a movie. I'm going to start a tech startup that's going to make billions of dollars, blah, blah, blah. And then we maybe go through a kind of half-hearted process. Yeah, my book's going to be about this. Yeah, my business will be about that. Right. And then you don't really plan deeply enough. You don't think because your plans are infected with wishes. Yeah. Right. Yeah. And to me, the kind of the model of that is the invasion of Iraq by all of these extremely prudent strategic men like Dick Cheney, et cetera, they thought that we would be greeted as liberators with people with flowers in their hand and then lo and behold, whoa, this nasty, nasty war in which hundreds of thousands of people have killed in suit. They didn't realize that their plans were infected with their dreams, with what I call the rosy scenario. So when you're going to go sell this movie that you want to, you're imagining that people already love it. You've already convinced yourself, but you don't realize that people are cold or indifferent. So if you plan to the end, you think about the goal, you think about the other people, you think about steps A, B, C, D, E to get there, you're more concrete. And then when things come up, as Mike Tyson said, everyone has a plan until you get hit in the face. Right. Okay. You get hit in the face. Yeah. All right. I got to change my plan a little bit. Yeah. You're able to adapt. But if you're not thinking clearly about the end, you're in deep, deep, doo-doo. Yes. That book will never get written. Or if you did start it, no one's going to be interested in it, et cetera. You have to plan more deeply. And the closer you can visualize the ending and be realistic, the greater your chances of success, that's sort of the meaning behind that. Yeah. No, that's, that makes complete sense. And I think we've almost lost that ability today. I mean, I, yeah, I rarely hear that. And that's why I wanted to pick that one because I feel like today, and I guess I could see you nodding for anyone who's not watching the podcast right now. I'm seeing Rob. Yeah. It's the idea. We've lost that today. There's so much of like, oh, well, just try this for a second and try this for a moment and give this a go. And it's almost like when you don't, you're so right, not only do you not get it done, I feel like the hurdles seem much bigger. Yeah. Because you just didn't comprehend them. Right. Right. But today when people, people would argue, and that's what I'm intrigued, I would love to your opinion. A lot of people would say, but Robert, if I comprehend them, then I just get disentused or I get, I feel limited and I just feel like it's overwhelming. It's discouraged. Discouraged. That's what I was looking for. Yes. Discouraged. I feel so discouraged and overwhelmed. And it's too much for me. So how do you think about the end, but avoid that feeling? Well, I guess you don't, you can't avoid that feeling, but you work through it. Well, I mean, do you want just the dream? Do you just want the vision of the great thing you're going to achieve, or do you want the reality? Right. And so, you know, if you're going to, let's say you're, you want to write a book. I know that's very lazy of me because that's what I do. Well, I'm writing my second book right now, so this will be very helpful for me. Okay. All right. It's a pretty enormous thing usually. I mean, if you're, if you're somewhat ambitious, right? Yeah. And it's going to involve a lot of work and thinking and planning, right? But if you overdo the thinking, if you think about it, every little thing is planned ahead of time. Then the process kind of loses its joy and its excitement. It seems over planned, right? But you want to have a vision, whenever I start a book, I have an overall vision of what I want the reader to feel from it, what I want them to learn from it, right? Okay. And so then I plot very carefully the ways to get there. But yeah, it's going to take three or four years. Yeah. It's overwhelming. Yeah. It's daunting. So what you do is you back off and you create little micro goals. So I have, I'm planning all the way to the end means to the end of July, right? Yes. Yes. I'm going to plan to the end of July and by July 31st, I am going to have written 10 pages. I'm going to have done this chapter. I'm done this research. Then maybe if it's, then it doesn't seem quite so daunting. And then you can maybe extend it out a few more months and lo and behold, the little baby steps you take, you're suddenly halfway there. Wow. It's really not as difficult as I thought. So you break it down. People, it just drives me crazy. Can only think in terms of black and white. Plan all the way to the end. Oh, think about that. No, it's planning all the steps along the way. Yeah. There's a balance involved, right? So if you do these little baby steps and you give yourself goals, you know, if you have to work on your own, you're starting your own boss. It's mad me because nobody's pushing you. You have to create continual deadlines. I do this to myself. By this date, I have to have this much written, right? And it kind of engages your spirit. It gets your emotions going. It ricks you realize you have a deadline. You have to get there and it energizes you. Whereas that vague feeling of, oh, I want to write a book. Okay, blah, blah, blah. It's actually more daunting is less energy involved because you never feel like that. I call it in my war book, Death Crown Strategy. When an army's back is against a mountain or the ocean, they fight like hell to get out of it because there's desperate and it's either win or die. You have to have that approach with your book or something. If I don't get this done by July 31, I'm in trouble. I better hurry up and do it. So break it down and don't always every single day think of, oh, my God, it's going to take so many years, etc. That's in the back of your head. You have a vision, but you have other little ends that you're continually planning towards. Yes, yes, absolutely. And I think that's the challenge, right? Like when you're writing the page, you're thinking about the book. And when you're writing about a chapter, you're thinking about the book launch. And it's like you're thinking about something way bigger than what you actually have to do right now, but it's the what you do right now that's going to get that bigger thing. And I think if all you did was wake up and say, I just have to write a page today, which is that microstep you're speaking of, then I don't think I have to write a book. Writing a book is daunting and overwhelming, but writing a page or writing a paragraph if that's where you're at, like wherever you're at, a line. You know, like that's if that's the case, that baby step is what you want to wake up and fixate. And I think it's the same with, yeah, with anything, whether you're launching a podcast, whether you again, I'm being lazy, whether you're launching a, like you said, launching a company, whether you're, you know, whether you're starting a new brand or whatever, maybe the problem is we're thinking that I need to do this. I need to do that thing on the front cover of Forbes magazine. And it's like, that's not what you're doing. Like, this is what you're doing, right? Yeah. I mean, people who are great craftsmen. And I had a book called mastery, yes, which I discussed the process of creating something. If you look at crafts, people, somebody's building a house or an architect, they can't sit there and just suddenly have it happen. They have to go brick by brick by brick. They have to lay a foundation. They have to focus on the foundation, etc, etc. But at the same time, they have an overall vision of what the house will look like. So if you're only focused on the day to day, it loses a little bit of spirit. So you need to allow yourself a little bit of dreaming. I dream all the time. I'm being interviewed by Jay Shetty while I'm writing the book. You know, I'm having, I'm on the cover of some other Mac Great magazine, whatever, you know, you're a lot, a lot of yourself to have it because it gives you kind of energy. So you need both again. You need both. You need a balance. But a little bit more towards the micro ends and then occasionally, ah, yeah, when it's finished, I'm going to have this. It'll be wonderful. Because that'll keep your energy up. Got it. Yeah. I kind of agree with you more. The other one I wanted to pick out. I mean, there's obviously as everyone knows, there's this 48 to pick out. So I'm only picking two. And we've spoken about a few of them, but you have to get the book to read about the rest of them. We have master the art of timing. I find that one fascinating too, because I think today, we're living at a time when people either think it's too late. It's too early. I'm not sure. It's not my time. These are the, you know, these are the things I see on social media. These are the things I see people express. How do you master the art of timing? What does that mean?

How do you master the art of timing? (36:51)

Well, in an abstract philosophical sense, let's pull back a second. Time is a human construct. Time does not exist. In the universe, it's eternal. There's no clocks. There's no beginning or end. It's just one massive thing of time that goes on forever, right? We humans have created time. So it's subjective. It's psychological. So you know the experience that when you were a child, a year seemed like a million years. Oh my God. Now a year goes like that. It's subjective, right? So you have to understand that first. Okay. So when you're excited about a project, when you feel alive and energized, then time is a much different experience than when you're bored. So you can create your relationship to time, right? So I'm not ready. Well, there's a strategy for that. You should always take action a little bit before you were ready as the advice I give. So if you're not ready and it's really a huge task, okay, maybe wait a little bit, take steps to get closer to being ready. But several months before you're ready, go ahead and do it. Try it because you're going to rise to the occasion. If you feel like you're almost ready and then you start, you go, but I better work harder because I know that I can do this whereas if you think I can never do it, you'll just give up. You don't want to give up, right? So I have in the book many examples of people who forced time. I call it forcing time. So I talk about Julius Caesar and the famous Crossing the Rubicon, right? He had an army of only like 5,000 and facing Pompeii, his arch enemy, who had an army of hundreds of thousands. And to cross the river means he's starting a war. And everyone's saying, it's insane. Don't do it. You'll never make it. And he goes, the die is cast and he crossed the Rubicon. The war was on. And he knew that doing that, he would have to think every moment, give it every all of his intense thinking and you have to reach the conclusion. And he ended up pulling off one of the greatest military victories in history. Look at Barack Obama, a senator who'd only been in office for one term. It's 2007 or so. And he decides to run for president. Everyone thinks you're insane. You're not ready for it. No one's going to believe it. You're not, you don't have enough weight behind you. He goes, doing this step will force me to work harder to gain that energy. Yes, if he was a state representative, it wouldn't have been time to force it and try and make it happen. But he'd already had enough preparation, just enough that he knew if he took that step, something would happen. The energy, the excitement, people would catch it. It would be infectious. And it would work and look what it did for him. So you can be over ready. You should always take action just a little bit before you think that you're ready for it. And then the other thing is to realize that with time is that you want to feel like you're in control of the time that you have. So I call it a live time versus dead time. Dead time is where you work for other people. You have no control of it. Your time is not your own. It's their time. They possess you. You're almost literally their slave. And a live time is that your own, you're your master of it. You control it. So when you work for yourself, which I think is the best position in the world to be, and although it's not for everybody, you kind of control your own time, every moment is alive. It's precious, right? So for me, I practice this in my meditation, in my daily life, particularly since I almost lost my life a couple years ago, is every moment is so valuable to me. That time, I could be dead tomorrow. And you have to think that way. And if you think that your time is limited, that you have things to accomplish, business to start, books to write, podcasts to start, right? You're going to force yourself. You're going to find the energy. If you realize your time is short, you have to kind of force it in a way and not be sitting back on your heels and continuing waiting. So I tell people, if you have a dream, maybe stop waiting so much. Maybe throw yourself across that river and go and take the action. And if you fail, you will have learned 80,000 times more than you would have learned in business school. You start that tech startup. It fails. Don't worry about your reputation. You learn the incredible things in it. So don't be afraid of failure and be willing to always kind of force the time. That's where one of the art of it. Yeah, no, that's really well articulated and explained what changed your you mentioned there. What changed for you between knowing time was limited and then experiencing it and actually feeling with it. Like, because I think that's there's, I guess there's very few people who have that experience because for some people, it literally ends up being the end from a physical standpoint. But to almost have yeah, what does that feel like? Because I think you're someone who already knew that. You knew that you lived like that. You wrote this book like you already live like time is limited. I have to write books. You write phenomenal books and lots of them. Yeah, what changed? What changed in that knowing that theoretical. You talk about my stroke? Yes. Yes. Yes. Sorry. I'm trying to be cryptic.

The story of the checkered shirt (42:25)

So you see the shirt that I'm wearing? Yeah. Do you see kind of a weird little jagged line across? I see it. Okay. Well, this is the shirt that I was wearing when I had my stroke. Oh, I and I was with my wife who were driving home and she saw, whoa, Robert, your face is all weird. You're slurring. She was freaking out. She said, pull over. That's the last thing I remember. I went unconscious and the ambulance came and they took scissors and they cut the shirt right around there. They ripped it off me. They threw it in a bag. Then they like put something into help give oxygen to my brain because it stopped going flowing to my brain. So months later, I asked my wife, whatever happened to that shirt, I loved it because she'd given it to me like two months before for my birthday. I love that shirt. She told me the story and I was, oh man. And then finally, I said, can you like sew it together again? Because she's a good sewer. She said, yeah, okay. And so she did. And so I wear it and it reminds me because when I was this close to dying, there was a feeling inside that I had, right? It was a feeling that I, it's weird. It was almost a taste in my mouth and there was a feeling in my bones, a kind of a softness like I was melting from the inside out. And I could literally feel myself moving away from life in that moment just before I went unconscious, right? So reminding of it with things like, so now when I wear this shirt, it's like a memento mori. I can re-experience that feeling. And it's so ironic because two months before I wrote the last chapter of human nature about confronting your mortality, it's not the same. It's abstract. This is visceral. This is real. And people who've had much more powerful near-death experiences than I am know that you don't emerge from that ever the same. It changes you, right? So now, it was an intellectual concept. So now when I hear the birds chirping, I look out my window, the sun is shining. I almost want to cry. I'm here to see it. And I came that close to never seeing it again, you know, or people are irritating me. No, I could be dead and they don't hear it. I love them and I can overlook them because they're also mortal. They're also good to die. They also have fears. It's just changes you emotionally from the inside out. So how can people do that, who haven't experienced death? It's not easy. But you have to make the leap from an intellectual abstract concept to something visceral and emotional, right? So even before my stroke, I meditate every morning. I would always have a practice of meditating on that moment when I'm going to die. I imagine myself, it's an afternoon, the sun is shining, and this is my last day on earth. And I can even make myself kind of cry as I do that. And I would make myself, it's something real. Because we go around and we live in a culture where death has no meaning. We don't see the food that we're eating, the animals being killed, people die in hospitals, cloistered away. Whereas our ancestors, they saw it on the street, they saw the animals being killed. It had a presence. You live in this abstract world where nothing is real, where your mortality is just like something you don't even process. Get over that, jump over that and make that leap, make it something emotional and visceral. It's not gloomy, it's not more, but it's liberating. Because when you think about your death and it becomes real, you realize, I don't have this much time. I better work harder. I better appreciate the people in my life. I better love them more. I better appreciate every moment that I'm alive. And it just opens you up in so many ways. So it's one thing to have in intellectual, so it's another thing to make it more visceral. And that's what I'm kind of advocating. That's why I love that's a beautiful transition into the new book that's called The Daily Laws, because that's a daily habit. That's the only to make that law feel real. You need to practice it daily, especially if you've not had a near-death experience. And I know that I've practiced that death meditation often in my life when I don't do it every day, I do it more when I'm making a big decision. It really helps me make big decisions. I remember when I was working in the corporate world, but really wanted to be doing what I do today and sitting there and asking myself, like, how will I feel about this on my deathbed? That's very interesting. I never thought that's very... Yeah, I was like, if I stay in the corporate world, how will I feel about this when I'm 80 or 90 or 100 or whatever. That's a brain strategy. Yeah, and then how will I feel about this if I tried and failed and how will I feel about it if I tried and it works? Yeah, I love it. And every part of me was just like, you have to try this. Like, even if it fails, you'll be so upset at yourself for being 90 and about to die and you didn't try. And so I love that. And that's why I love the fact that you've taken out the daily laws. What have been some of your daily life changes since the moment you told us about that beautiful meditation? Have there been other things, obviously, looking at the birds with the sun? What else has changed daily for you, I wonder?

Having empathy for others (47:46)

Well, a bit of humility. Wow. So, first of all, I look at people now who are old or who have a disability. And I understand them on a much deeper level. I have much greater empathy for people, not just with a disability, but people who've lost their job, who are poor, who have no control over their lives. I have greater empathy for them because in the months afterwards, I had no control over my body. I couldn't walk. I still walk in a very kind of wonky way, right? I was dependent on other people. It's dependent on my wife. I was dependent on healthcare caregivers, on therapists, et cetera. And that feeling of dependence is not something I like because I saw I like somebody who really values independence. So, I had to deal with myself. I had to get over my kind of radical individualism, my radical sense of being totally independent because I was dependent on other people. And I really could empathize with others who have that feeling of dependency. It's not a good feeling. You have to come. You have to learn to accept it in some way, and it's not easy. And so, I learned that there were some negative qualities that I had, that I had to confront, like my impatience. Yeah, whenever I had a problem or a health issue, I would push past it, man. Okay, I broke my leg. Well, I'm going to do therapy. So, in two months, I'm going to be out and I did it, right? It doesn't work for this. You can't push past your way. My brain was damaged. I can't push past it. I have to accept it. And that's not easy for someone who's used to just pushing past things like that. So, I had to deal with qualities that aren't really to me very good. Like, I think patience is a good thing. I think it's a virtue, and I think it's positive. And being able to accept certain things you can't control. So, I had to learn certain things about myself. I had to learn that some of the ideas I had were intellectual, where I do have empathy for people. But it wasn't as visceral as it is now, you know? And then on a day-to-day basis, I've had to like control my impatience. And my wife can attest, I often lose it. So, I'm no saint and I don't pretend to be. There'll be days where I'm like, "God damn it, I can't pick up my toothbrushes driving me crazy." Other days, it's like, "Come on, you can do it's okay. Calm yourself down. Things are okay, right? Everything's going to be all right." So, I've had to deal with my own issues on a very visceral real level and deal with them in a way I've never had to do before. So, it's an ongoing process. Yeah, that's such a special answer. Thank you for sharing that. Like, to get into your head with what it feels like and humility is such an incredible quality and the hardest to learn and the most painful to go through. And I remember when we were talking about sickness and health. And as young monks, one of our duties or roles would be to take elderly monks to the hospital when they had to get checked. And it was part of that routine to make you see that because we were like 21 years old and thought we were superhuman because we were like, "Ah, sleep, who needs to sleep? Ah, you know, like, eat food, who needs food?" And you thought so highly of yourself only to realize that you were just lucky because of your age. It was just the age of the body that you were winning on. It wasn't anything else. It wasn't that you were more self-mastered or disciplined. And being humbled in that way was such a you know, to witness what you're saying. Like all of these things have been hidden in society. They're invisible. Yeah. And when pain becomes invisible, we become worse at dealing with it. Exactly. That's what we become immune to. We never see it. So how do we know how to do with it? And so I'm grateful that you're sharing so authentically your pain and what you're going through because you know, it'd be very easy for you to say, "Oh yeah, I'm just living all my messages." And you know, all of us fail to live our own like, as in it's not fail, it's just hard. Yeah. You know, I think about it. So with the daily laws, you've got 366 meditations. You said you meditate daily. What's been your daily meditation practice? And does it change?

Zen Buddhism meditation (52:07)

Does it stay the same? Oh, I have a very boring daily meditation practice. I just... I want to hear it. I do Zen Buddhism. Yes. Okay, I've been doing it now for 11 years every single morning. I can remember the day I started. And it's basically actually you sit on it. It's called Zazen. You sit on these pillows and you're trying to empty your mind. Right? And you know, you have a process. You learn things from masters. I've gone to a Zen center here in Los Angeles. I read a lot of books, but it's a completely non-intellectual process. Right? You can't think your way to enlightenment. It will never happen. And that's the problem I have and everybody has. Oh, this is what I need to do. You can't do it. It's like this paradox. They describe it in Zen as this red hot ball that you have swallowed and you can't get rid of it. You can't throw it up. It's there. It's stuck inside. The paradox is thinking won't get it through there. So how do I get there? So I'm not going to reveal the whole thing, but I have things called a koan, which is like a little parable and it's a very famous koan in Buddhism. Basically, it says this one monk asks a Zen master, "Does a dog have Buddha nature?" And the monk and the master replies, "Muh." And "muh" in Japanese means nothing or no, but it really means nothing. That's like, "Whoa, it's nothing." In other words, you can't answer the question. Yes and no have no meaning, right? Because in Buddhism, there is no discrimination. The discriminating mind is the ultimate form of samsara. So you need to get rid of that and meditate on "muh." So for five years now, I've been meditating on "muh," only "muh." What does it mean? And you have no idea the richness that will flow from one little syllable like that and meditating it on every day. So my meditation is not exciting. It's not variety. It's the same thing every day, right? And there are steps I involved in it. It's a physical, emotional process less than an intellectual one, but that's to give you an idea about it. Yeah, no, it's beautiful to hear about it. Yeah, I love the idea of, I remember the monks that I used to live with would always say that, you know, this, whatever you call it, enlightenment or revelation, whatever word you want to give it, it's something that's received, not achieved. It would always repeat that to us. It's received, not achieved. And you know, as we're all trying to achieve it, like I want to have it and I'm going to find it, what do I do, whatever to think. And just knowing that it was received gave me so much liberation in and of itself, knowing that it would be received, you know, as I continue the path. And it would be revealed as well as I continue. So no, thank you for sure. I love it. I love hearing about people's daily meditation practices. I wanted to pick out a couple of the daily laws, because what this book beautifully does for everyone is it literally goes through every day of the year, so you can open it out on that day. Why do you think it was important to do that? Why was it important to have something for July 1st?

What gets you what you want is your daily habits (55:29)

Or, you know, why was it important to have August 20th or whatever it may be? Well, we talked about a little bit earlier about having micro goals. So we're all have ambitions. We all have dreams and goals and desires that we want. And our culture fills us with these kind of vague hopes and dreams. I'm going to be this. I'm going to be that. But really what gets you to where you want our habits, our daily habits, there are negative habits that you can't get rid of, smoking, drinking, you know, online porn, whatever your daily habit is, you can't get rid of it. But there are other habits that like discipline, like working every day, like taking steps to get reach your goals that are immensely liberating. And you can get rid of your bad habits through developing positive habits, right? So the goal here is to focus less on the giant dreams and on the everyday process of changing your thinking. You know, I spend a lot of time thinking about how does change occur within a person, right? Yeah, me too. Yeah. Because we all experience from ourselves, the change rarely happens quickly as we like. We step back, we revert to our old habits, etc. What involves what kind of consciousness do we have to go through the steps to literally change our way of thinking? It requires hitting at the roots of things. It requires how you think every single day about simple basic things in your life, right? It's not grand dreams. It's the day to day thoughts that consume you, that obsess you, right? So that's what the book is about. Every day is a meditation and it's kind of structured in the beginning to help you go through your career, mostly things from mastery about finding your life's purpose, your life, what I call your life's task and how to achieve, you know, a level of mastery in whatever you do. Then I kind of take you through the 48 Laws of Power and dealing with toxic people, which we inevitably have. You're never going to go through life without facing toxic negative people and how you deal with them. It takes you through how to have influence and be able to persuade people. Finally, it ends with learning about human nature, etc. The last month of December is inspired by the book that I'm currently writing about the sublime, about opening your eyes to the insanity of just being alive right now in this world that we live in. So that's kind of the process. It goes every day focusing your mind on a thought that hopefully we'll plant little seeds inside of you. Let's talk about the heart of that, the middle of that, which was like dealing with toxic people. That's actually a question I get asked so often. I'm glad I get to defer to you in this scenario and put you to the task. But the idea of like, people, I hear this all the time, Jay, I'm stuck in a toxic family, my workplace is toxic.

Analysis Of Toxicity And Adaptability

The most toxic people are of narcissistic characteristics (58:32)

I, and some people are honest enough to say, Jay, I'm, my mind is just toxic. It's not even other people. Where do you start? Where do you guide people in that journey? Yeah, it's obviously something I've been thinking about and dealing with my whole life, particularly in all my different jobs. I'd had a lot of bosses that we would qualify as the psychotic boss, or no matter what you do that never pleases them kind of thing. And the best lesson of all, so we can say the different kinds of toxic type of people, most often there of the narcissistic variety, there are people who are grandiose, there are people who are aggressive, passive aggressive, who feel a lot of envy. There's like deep rooted insecurities on and on there many types. But the main thing that you want in lot to develop in life is the ability to detect them before you get involved with them. Because the way toxic people have learned, they've learned strategies since they were six or seven years old, how to get power. And they embroil you in dramas. They get into your emotions, right? They entangled themselves in your life. They don't come at you saying, I'm toxic. I'm a narcissist. Get away from me. They know how to appear charming. They know how to be interested in you. They know how to be moderately pleasing, etc. They can be, they can even be charismatic. You get involved with them. And then it starts to come out and it's too late because you're emotionally entangled with them. They've got their roots inside of you and you're sucked into their dramas. And it's really hard to get out, particularly in an intimate relationship. That's the worst of all. The best thing you want to develop in life is the radar to detect them before you get involved with them. And it requires a change in how you perceive people. So it doesn't mean, I don't want people to become paranoid thinking everybody out there that I'm dealing with could be toxic because it's only like 5% of the population or whatever. It's truly like that. But you want to be able to see the signs beforehand, right? And you don't want to judge people based on their words, based on their charming personality, based on their glittering resume. You want to be able to judge their character. What's deep, deep inside of them, right? The things that they are not so visible at first glance, right? So you have to train how you think about people. You have to observe their patterns in life before you met them. If this person you're about to get involved in a relationship tells you, all of my wives and girlfriends in the past, they were just such blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And then you hear that they only lasted a year or so. And it was always their fault. Your antenna should go up. Something is wrong here. This person isn't revealing the truth. This is probably coming from something within. In my 48 Laws of Power, I talk about infection, where there are people who have an infecting power on you. They've surrounded by all kinds of drama. They continually present themselves as the victim of other people. Whereas in fact, they're the ones that constantly draw this drama to them because that's how they survive. And you're going to find yourself involved with them. And it's going to be horrible to get out of the relationship. You're going to feel guilty. So develop the power to recognize them before you get involved. And I have in the Laws of Human Nature, tons of advice about that. Paying attention to people's nonverbal cues to a narcissist tends to have a very animated face, but a kind of a deadness in their eyes. They're kind of listening to you, but you can hear that they're actually thinking about themselves or they're not really connecting to you through the eyes. The face is alive, but the eyes are dead. There are signs, nonverbal cues that will show you that you're dealing with someone who's not, I hate the words like sociopathic, psychopathic, but who is generally very self-directed. The other thing I have to say is it's easy to judge and say, "Oh, the narcissist that talks to people," but we all have these qualities. We all have narcissistic qualities. We all can be passive aggressive. Some of it you can recognize in yourself and there are ways to get out of it. But the main thing is to not get involved with these people. If you're involved, let's say you have a spouse or whatever, the best power you can get is the ability to withdraw your emotions from the moment. God knows that is not easy. It's a day-to-day thing. It's a daily process where you have to tell yourself these little kind of scripts that you tell yourself. It's not me. It has nothing to do with me. It's not personal. They have issues from early childhood that have given them these toxic patterns in life. They're trying to make me feel guilty, but it's nothing to do with me. It's not personal over and over and over and over again, every single time. You have the ability to detach yourself emotionally from them on a daily basis. If you're in a job and you have a toxic colleague or a toxic boss, if you can get away from them, if you can quit your job, if you can move to another part of the office, do it because it's worth it. It's not worth collecting $10,000 extra dollars a year with this boss because it's going to damage you emotionally. It's going to take you years to recover. Three years with a toxic boss, you may never recover. If you can, quit the job. No job is worth that kind of abuse. It's going to hurt you. It's going to damage you in the same in a relationship as well. If you can't get out, you have to develop a habit of detachment and not taking things personally. Oddly enough, when people sense that in you like a toxic person, senses that they can't push your buttons, it has a powerful effect on them. I'm not saying it's going to cure them, but they thrive on the ability to push your buttons to see you getting upset and angry just makes them so excited in a perverted way. The fact that you're not taking it personally, that you've calm, that you're centered, that you're thinking to yourself, it's not personal, it's not personal, it's going to have a powerful effect on them. It may not end the dynamic, but it will have more of an effect that you want than constantly falling for their employees and their games are getting emotionally sucked into their dramas. Yeah, it's almost like you see the magic trick, right? Or you're seeing the puppet strings. Yeah. And you go, "I'm going to cut these strings off now." And that's, like you're saying, it doesn't necessarily solve it, but that person's well aware now that that's not going to work on you. Right, right. And you're so right that that reactivity we have with people that, it's like they want that drama, they seek that drama because that's what gives them their sense of significance. And so you're right that it may not stop that, but it definitely makes them think and it definitely makes them check themselves in question. They're used to getting away with things, they're used to people not seeing through them. And just repeat to yourself, talks with people do not announce themselves, they do not wear little horns on their head saying, "I'm, I'm sadevelish," or whatever, they disguise it. So a person who was overly charming on that first encounter, who's so nice, who's listening to you, who wants to help you and please you, that's not natural because we've all developed the habit of being slightly wary of strangers. And I've learned through my consulting work and my own experience that that person who's trying too hard on the first encounter, they're generally hiding something, they're generally conceding intentions that they don't want to give out, right. Their method of throwing dust in your eyes is to appear the opposite of what they are and you're going to fall for that. So when people try too hard with one quality or reveal too much of a single quality, they're often concealing the opposite to be aware of that as well. Yeah, and that's what you're saying, like it's so hard to know whether someone is a god in a gender or someone who's just truly nice, like it becomes hard to, it becomes hard to suggest. I remember when there was someone I was building a relationship with and I said to them, I was like, you know, I just really got along with them and they talk about this all the time now. And I said something like, you know, I think I think we'd be really good friends. And they said that they'd never heard anyone say that to them because it just seemed so like lame to some degree to say that to someone. But I've always lived that way. So I've always been someone who like, I will tell you exactly what I'm thinking right now. And I will in that sense, not exactly what I'm thinking right now, but exactly what I'm feeling in a relationship. I've always enjoyed communicating because I saw people communicate so badly about who they wanted to be friends with and spend time with. I was just like, I want to tell this person that I want to spend time with them. And if they don't want to spend time with me, I want to hear it now too, because I don't want to go home thinking about. And that's how I was when I started dating. It was like, if I was attracted to someone, I would always tell them because I actually preferred the failure, then the idea of them not knowing and us missing out on an opportunity to have a relationship. So I guess my question is, is there a way of knowing if there's some sincerity or is that just an energetic, intuitive thing that comes with time?

It doesn’t to be a little bit wary of someone (01:08:15)

You know, this is why I have a chapter on non-viral communication and laws of human nature. We have an animal part of us, right? Where we feel certain things about people on that first encounter or second encounter that's not rational, that's intuitive. And then we don't trust it. Yes. Right? And often it happens in a microsecond, in a flash. You meet somebody and you sense a chemistry or something a little bit wrong, right? Okay. But with you, if I met somebody like you who seems very genuine and sincere and I can read it in your face and I feel it, I don't need to be wary. But particularly with women dealing with men, because quite frankly, the more dangerous toxic type will be men. Right. Right. Right. Go to go to go to go to. Women will often have an intuition, a sense of something isn't quite right, but they don't trust it and they go on. But we all have that feeling. Trust it. And you could be wrong, but it doesn't hurt to be a little bit wary of someone. It doesn't mean if someone is being like you friendly, I want to be your friend, that you have to go running away immediately. It just means maybe there's an ulterior motive here. I'm reading body language that tells me, no, that there's sincere. I can let down my guard, but there'll be a tiny percentage of me, which in the days to come wants to see what's real. If they true it, yes, which is bad. Because there are people like it's a classic case of envy, where a person who is envious of you, becomes your friend. That's where most envy relationships occur is between friends, right? And they make a point of being your friend. They're very friendly. They love you. They want to help you. They want to assist you. Wow. This is great. Because we never get enough of that in life. And then six months down the road, they start turning against you, they're doing things that completely confuse you. Now, probably in your first encounters, you could have detected something about them already. But people can be tricky. So with you, I would sense a complete sincerity and I would let down my guard. But there are other people that you have to be a little bit wary of. It doesn't mean that you've cut off contact, but you have a little bit of distance. And the moment you see behavior that kind of contradicts that initial impression, whoa, all right? And maybe you don't become afraid. You don't get involved with them. Yeah. Because getting involved with a person like that is going to cost you a lot in the end. Yeah, I can agree more. In that place, the business, love, relationships, and I've made mistakes with you fall in love too fast. In each scenario, you're moving so fast and so quick and you're involved with someone before you even know it. And you never get a chance to say, "Oh, do I notice something on tour about this person?" And so, no, I'm with you. What are the things that Robert, we talked about, people not having power, not understanding power, developing power. I guess one of the things that you believe destroy someone's power by themselves. So I don't mean things like reputation and envious people. And what are the ways we destroy our own power?

Inability to adapt to circumstances destroy our own power (01:11:40)

Generally, by not having the ability to adapt to circumstances, okay? So you go through life and if you're successful or have some success, you kind of depend on certain skills, certain strategies that get you where you want to be. And then you find yourself in a position that's new and circumstances that are new and you keep doing the same thing over again. And it doesn't work. And you get angry and you get frustrated and you blame other people. This guy's not listening to me. This isn't working. It's because you're not adapting, right? So you need to have this. It's a kind of a zen or it's Asian strategy mindset of every circumstance is different. You have to have a sense of flow. Every thing that you encounter, every problem is new. What worked in the past won't work again. I need to adapt. I need to be able to flow and be fluid and adaptable. That's the main thing that trips people up. It's the wall they continually hit. And I've seen it time and again in business with CEOs, I was on the board of directors of a publicly traded company. And people who are very powerful get to a position by being very aggressive, by being very charming, by being blah, blah, blah. And then they reach a managerial level where they have a huge company and those skills don't apply anymore. And they keep trying to push those same buttons and it gets them in trouble and they hit a wall. So your ability to adapt and alter your thinking, depending on your circumstances, will make you not hit those walls. I think that's the main thing. And then the other thing that happens is grandiosity kicks in. I have a chapter in human nature about grandiosity. And basically what happens is success is very, very dangerous. Success is much more dangerous than failure. Failure makes you look at yourself. When I failed with my body and my after my stroke, I had to look at my own limitations. Whereas success is like a drug. It's like a continual hit of Coke or whatever. Wow, I'm a god. People love me. Everything I say is wonderful. Everyone's going around thinking, God, you're so great, Robert. One, you edit it up and slowly your feet, reason, look higher and higher off the ground. You lose contact with reality and boom, you fall down because you don't realize that success often has a great degree of luck. You're discounting the luck involved. You're discounting the role of other people that helped you to get there. You think it's all about you, right? So you take actions that aren't calibrated to reality because you think you have the Midas touch and you don't. So those are some of the main barriers to power, I think. Yeah, those are great answers. There's a absolutely brilliant, I loved what you said earlier about thinking everything. Every situation is new, having fresh eyes and fresh ears to look at a problem, to hear a problem. And you reminded me of a beautiful Zen story. I'm sure you know it. I'll do the quick version, but the idea of the person who wants to cross a river, so they build a raft. The raft helps them cross the river. Now they carry the raft wherever they go and now they come up to a wooded forest and they're trying to get the through and the raft won't let them get through. And they realize they have to let go of the raft if they want to go through the forest. Yeah, I never thought that's great. Yeah, the idea that you get so attached to this raft saved my life. I have to keep it on with forever, right? Yeah. And you know, I can relate to so much of that in my life. I often feel that I allow myself to go through a renewal and almost, and I don't like the word rebranding because it seems so external. It's almost like what is the word for an internal rebrand? But it's like the idea of I allow myself to just be like, "Who do I want to be at this stage in my life?" And what do I truly want to dedicate my life to and this time in my life to? And I feel like I'm at that stage right now in my life. And because I've far superseded things that I thought I would have done. And now I need and want to create the next challenge and the next, you know, I'm looking forward to something that's big and... That's very healthy. That's good. Yeah, looking what's that next big thing that's going to make me learn new skills and what is the thing that I want to learn in order to, you know. And so I'm there right now. And when you were saying that I was nodding along and laughing because I can just so relate to that. And thankfully because of good mentors and coaches, you know, it's... I'm always am using success to look inward too as opposed to only failure. And of course there's plenty of failure in success too. So you're always doing both. But the idea is to always look inward. And so yeah, I'm just... I'm actually just sharing that with you because I could relate to it so strongly. Well, you know, the temptation I had after the success of my first book, the 48 Laws, was to kind of keep repeating it.

With success, you become conservative (01:16:49)

To do a 48 Laws of Power number two, which is what a lot of writers end up doing because they're worried about taking on something different. They've kind of created their audience. They better just sort of keep to it. With success, you become conservative. I better just do what's working, right? And then the times change. There's a zeitgeist. There's a spirit of the times. People have moved on, but you haven't. And your 48 Laws of Power number two won't work. So you need to change. And I do that with every book that I write. Each book has to be different, has to reflect the spirit of the times, has to be a challenge. I have to learn new skills. I have to go outside of my comfort zone. So I think that's sort of a similar thing. Yeah, definitely. And I think I saw that because I look, again, what we were talking about earlier, when you study the people you admire in any field or the companies or whatever it may be, you see that constant renewal. And initially, it's very uncomfortable for the audience as well. It's uncomfortable for the community because they're not used to changing, and they're not used to seeing people grow in that way. And I think that discomfort is both on the behalf of the individual who's trying to grow and be more of themselves. And it's there for the community too. But it gives birth to something phenomenal like you're saying. The conservative approach would have never got you there. And so I love that idea. And yeah, it's been a fun time for me trying to figure out. I'm always enjoying feeling like I'm at the beginning of my journey again. Wow. And there's some joy in that. That's really great. Yeah, there's some sacredness and specialness of like, oh, I forgot how this felt, you know, you have to write a book on that. That's your book. That's your next book. I'm writing my next one already. So this one may have to be later done. That's super free because I'd read that book tomorrow. That's great idea. Wow. Well, well, yeah, we'll have to, we'll have to share notes and collaborate on that because I was saying offline, I want to share this with me and Robert, we're talking about this offline, but I want to share it with you is the idea of, you know, I'm really enjoying this conversation with Robert because we're almost toggling between the binary and finding the gray and Robert's fantastic at getting, and that's what I enjoyed talking to you about so much. You're so fantastic at getting into these subtle nuances because we, you know, all of us try and be like, should we do this or should we do this? Like, is this the answer? Is this the answer? What's the number one thing? And it's, you know, all of that stuff just sounds good, but it doesn't mean anything. And I feel like today we've really, you know, dove into some of those in-betweens and nuances. So I wanted to share, thank you for doing that. You've been getting us that way. Robert, I want to ask you, is there anything that you feel you haven't shared or someone that's on your mind or intuitively in your heart?

People’s mind is locked in the conventional view of the world (01:19:40)

They're like, Jay, I have to share this on your podcast or anything right now that's calling you. Well, the book that I'm working on, The Law of the Sublime, which is taking a long time, is probably going to be three years away or so, maybe more. So it's almost a little bit too much to tease people with now. But it's something that's very important to me because back in 2005, 2006, I had meant to write a book on the sublime. It's a concept that fascinates me. And I got derailed by other projects. I did a book with 50 cent. I did mastery to human nature. And then I had my stroke. And the last chapter of the human nature is about the sublime about confronting mortality. And so I go, this is the time to write this book because it means so much to me. And it's been brewing in me for 16 years. So there's something very, you know, personal about it. And the idea is, I think a problem that a lot of people face today is that their minds are locked. They have only one way of thinking about things. They've become so conventional. And I know it's something, I'm not being judgment because I have the same problem. So rigid about this is the way the world is, is how things have to be. This is how my life has to be. This is what meaning is, this is where value is in life. And I compare it to like a circle. And being a social animal, our thoughts have to sort of stay within this circle of what ideas are accepted, of what behaviors accepted, what conventions and codes there are. And the sublime is what lies just outside that circle. What isn't really something you're supposed to think is something supposed to do isn't a behavior or a value necessarily or encouraged to have. But when your mind touches it, tickles it a little bit, like, whoa, it jolts you alive. There's another way of thinking. There's another way of being in this world. How exciting, right? And that's what makes people search for transcendental experiences. What Maslow called peak experiences. That's why they climb mountains and almost get close to death and falling because it gives them that jolt of being alive. It shakes them up. And so the ultimate thing outside that circle is death itself. It's the ultimate unknown, right? And the word sublime means up to the threshold of a door. And that door is the door to death itself. And so when you peek at it and you look at it, that's the ultimate in a sublime thought, right? Okay. So that's side of the model. But I have these different categories. And I want to make you the reader aware that you take so much for granted. And I don't want this to be in a Pollyanna Shui because the sublime has an element of terror, darkness and fear involved because death is the is the paradigm here. But you don't realize in your day to day life, I've just written these first two chapters and they're in the daily laws. So you'll see about them. I've given you some excerpts from the new book. But it's insane that you live in a world and the way it is right now. If you study the history of the cosmos and how unlikely it is that the earth ended up being the way it is and how rare it is that there may not be life on other planets if there is the rarity of the life that we know of, the animals, the evolution, the technology that we have. And then if you look at the course of evolution and how improbable it is that humans ever evolved, even existed, if an asteroid hadn't hit the planet, 60 some million years ago, dinosaurs would still be around on and on and on, multiplied by the 70,000 generations of Homo sapiens have preceded you. If one of, so let's say your parents had never met, you would not be here, Jay. You'd maybe be combined in something else. Okay. And think of the narrow possibility that your parents hadn't met. Multiply that by 70,000 other generations trailing all the way to the first Homo sapiens. It's astronomical. The odds that you exist, that you're breathing, that you're looking at a world with plants and animals, etc. is staggering. And you never think about it. So I'm trying to make you think about things that you never think about in this book. And I want you to completely alter and make that going beyond the circle sort of more of a daily occurrence for you. So that's what's on my mind a lot. Yeah, I love that. Well, I look forward to that. I purposely didn't dive into it too much because I know we need to wait for it. And I hope we get to have another conversation when that comes out. But no, we look forward to that. And I can agree with you more. The inconceivable is, it's such a beautiful meditation in and of itself to meditate on the inconceivable nature of where we are and what's possible and what's around us. And it needs to be part of our daily life for that entrance into the splendor and how sublime it can be. So, yeah, I love that. And we look forward to that. Robert, we end every on purpose interview with the final five.

Final Thoughts From Robert

Robert on Final Five (01:25:00)

These are the fast five rapid fire rounds. So answers have to be one word to one sentence maximum. I may go off on a tangent, but let's see. So, Robert Green, these are your final five. The first question is, what is the best advice you've ever received? I remember years ago, my brother-in-law said something about learning to watch the grass grow. Basically, the idea of things only happen over time. And I was 21 at the time and I wasn't listening. And I've learned since then that the most beautiful things occur slowly and with patience. And if you can sit there and watch the grass grow, that's pretty great. That's beautiful. What's the worst advice you've received? You need to capitalize on the 48 laws of power and make a lot of money, which I ignored. That's brilliant. That's a great answer. That's a great answer. Third question, what's your current purpose? I have certain books I want to write that are very mean a lot to me. I want to create them before I die because I know that my life is short. I mean, I'd have as much time as I want. So that's to realize all the books that I wanted to write. Question number four is, what's something that other people value that you don't? It's going to sound not right, but I'll say it anyway. It's money. I mean, I have, it's easy for me to say because I have enough of it and I'm comfortable, but it's never been my goal. It's never ruled my life. Doing what I want to do, all that money means to me is freedom to do what I want to do. I never focus on what I can do to increase my bank account. So I don't really value it. And it drives my mother crazy, for instance. Thank you for sharing that. I love that. And question number five, if you could create one law in the world that everyone had to follow, what would it be? Be yourself. Be as weird as you want to be. Stop listening to other people and doing what they tell you. Just follow what your soul tells you, what makes you different, and be weird. We need more weird people, more individuals who are unique, who create art and businesses that reflect themselves. So just be you, be weird. Let a thousand flowers bloom as they used to say in China. That's beautiful. Robert Green, everyone, on On Purpose, make sure you go and follow Robert across social media. And we'll have the links to all of Robert's books. In all the descriptions, the daily laws is out as you're listening to this episode. And of course, the 48 Laws of Power and the Laws of Human Nature, Mastery and Robert's other books are available too. Robert, I want to thank you for just being such a wonderful guest on the show. For making the effort, just for those of you who don't know, Robert has traveled here to be here with us in the studio despite all the physical challenges that he faces on a daily basis. And I really want to honor you for that. And thank you for that. It's a real show of your effort and love for what you do. And I don't take you for granted. I really value it. So thank you so much for inviting me here, Jay. It was definitely worth the trip out of my house. So I really, really enjoyed it. Amazing. Thank you. If you want even more videos just like this one, make sure you subscribe and click on the boxes over here. I'm also excited to let you know that you can now get my book Think Like A Monk from ThinkLikeA Monk Check below in the description to make sure you order today.

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