Robert Greene: How To Seduce Anyone, Build Confidence & Become Powerful | E232Apr 02, 2023
some of the greatest
seducers who are not at all attractive what are the qualities of a great
seducer I am revealing things that I should not reveal Robert Greene is one of the best-selling authors in history, an internationally renowned expert on power strategies and making reference to songs by Jay-Z, Kanye West and Drake, written in six international bestsellers that have
becomelegendary, why did you write a book about seduction? Seduction is a high form of power. People will do whatever you want without even realizing that seduction is a mating ritual. You can't just swipe and get it, but thanks to all the dating apps, if you are able to understand the language of seduction, you will have much more power and success than
One thing about words is that people can lie, but the body. language, it doesn't lie, you master that language, you can start to decipher everything these people are giving you, it's about psychology and it's about how you behave, if you feel confident, it will radiate naturally through your gestures, but does What is true trust and how is it done?
building trust comes from you've talked about the topic of powers but in 2018 you had a stroke at that time it sounds like your power was taken away the left side of my body is paralyzed and that wasn't easy.
More Interesting Facts About,
robert greene how to seduce anyone build confidence become powerful e232...
I have to find a strategy to deal with all this. Please understand that the ability you now have to run, walk, and write may be taken away from you. It's miserable. Please don't take her for granted going into this episode. I wanted to thank you first of all for being part of this community. The team here at diver Co is now almost 30 people and that's literally because you watch and subscribe and leave comments and like the videos this show has been. able to grow and it is the greatest honor of my life to sit here with these incredible people and just selfishly ask them questions that I am pondering or worrying about in my life, but this is just the beginning of the day this year that we have big plans to scale this program to all corners of the world and diversify our selection of guests and that is enabled by you through one simple thing that you do, which is watch, so if there is anything you can do to help. this show and to help us continue doing what we do, just hit the subscribe button if you like this show if you like what we do here if you watch these episodes just hit the subscribe button to keep the world moving.
What do I need to know about you and your early years to understand the life you led on that journey you took and the person you became? Well, I grew up here in Los Angeles, not far from where we are in a neighborhood called Baldwin Hills and then we moved to another neighborhood a very pleasant childhood a middle class family my father was a salesman his whole life he worked for the same company for 40 years I just sold chemical supplies um and you know, my parents left me alone Basically, she was my sister, she almost raised me in a way and, you know, I had a very nice childhood, kind of abandoned, kind of introverted, the books They shaped me.
I became an avid reader at a young age, I didn't know what I wanted. To be a writer I got into drugs a lot, I'm afraid in high school because that was the time and place I went to school and in college I had great experiences. I remember very fondly even my experiences with drugs, although they did get a little depressing after a while, but it kind of shaped me in some way and you know, that was me growing up, you know, and if I had an attitude or a lens in which I looked at people from a distance as I always had been.
Obsessed with people who wore masks and the way I looked at them, even when I looked at my parents and their friends and said what was really going on behind their masks, that they were in all the nice social cities, what's behind that. it's really the human animal and these are the themes that made a big part of my growing up from what I read you had a lot of different jobs and a lot of different industries up until the time you wrote um. The first of his many books was called The 48 Laws of Power in 1998 and I was looking at all these different jobs he had had and they all seemed to be completely different from each other, so I tried to understand how he came to a point where you then wrote a book on the topic and theme of power.
Not having been, you know, a psychology graduate or apparently having worked in any industry related to human psychology, I found it very peculiar, yes, and also, I never had a lot of power up until that point, so it wasn't as if knew everything about being a leader or something. You know, a lot of things that happen in life are a kind of coincidence or chance, you don't necessarily plan it, which is When you look back, you can see a kind of strange plan like a Fate or fate, but at the time I didn't feel that he had all these different jobs, like you mentioned, some of them are completely unrelated.
You know, I worked in construction, I had a job in construction, I worked at the detective agency, I was a tour guide to help write an encyclopedia, I taught English in Spain, you know, over and over, over and over, but I was looking, I wanted to be a writer and a writer needs experiences. I was simply hungry for strange experiences. You know, I never stayed at any job. And when you're 37 38 years old, you know my parents are starting to worry about me. I'm starting to worry. About me, I'm getting a little depressed, I even have moments where suicidal thoughts float in my brain, like I'm very ambitious.
I know I could do something right, but I never got around to it, so here's the Serendipity part. I'm in Italy. for a job at one of my 80 different jobs and I met a man who is a book packager at this particular job we are in and he is Dutch. I'm not going to imitate him, but he asked me if I had any ideas for a book and, suddenly, all the painful experiences of my life working in Hollywood, everything I've worked for, all this weird politicking, all the manipulative games, all the garbage I had seen, I almost vomited and said: I know here we are, we are 20, this was 19, the 20th century back then, here we are at the end of the 20th century and people don't dress like they did in the Machiavelli days, true, they don't wear wigs and stuff, but it's the same damn thing.
They are the same bloody battles, the same manipulations, the same type of people who you know, do not reveal who they are and it is a timeless power game, just like Luis Xivari Borgia or the people, the CEOs of the late 20th century, he says . promotes this Timeless thing and as I tell him this his eyes light up, he's wow, this could be, this could really be a book and you know what he said look Robert, I'll pay you to live while you write half the book and then We will sell it and, as I told you before, I was desperate, it was my moment to get rich or die trying.
I returned to Los Angeles. I borrowed money from my parents because he was very poor and I wrote a treatment and he loved it. that the rest is history that's my long answer to your question that is so interesting it's crazy how in life things can come up with such a ton out of nowhere and you never know what that's going to be and I mean you say the rest it's history, give me an idea of the success of that book, the 48 laws of power, because I mean I've seen it everywhere since I've been looking at books, so what's the gimme to quantify the global?
The success of that book is quantified, yes, well, here in the US it has sold over 2 million copies, which is great and the strange thing is that it is now selling more than ever before, in other words , the percentage of books we have sold. Sales here in 2023 are higher than any previous period, so it's accelerating, which is crazy, you know, and even my English editors have the same thing, they're telling me the same things, so have accumulated. It started a little slowly. I mean, it had press, but it became a bit of a cult. I've had very little publicity in the mainstream media, which was important back then, it's not important anymore, thank God, but it was word of mouth, it's like you heard about this book, it's a bit obscure.
Blah blah blah blah, he appeared on some TV shows. There was this program, a reality show with boxers. I think it was called The Contender where the finalist held up a copy of the book and said this book helped me get to where I am now. and it sold like crazy, it went into the hip-hop mainstream, you know, Jay-Z was the first person I saw quoting the book in print and in a Playboy interview and then you know, 50 Cent and all that and Drake and all these people that really put it into the stratosphere, so it's slowly
becomesomething bigger and bigger and, um, I had no idea, you know, I thought it was a weird book and that it might be successful, but I had no idea about the journey. that I was about to undertake.
Starting out, it's strange that in the journey of writing this book your feelings towards the book have evolved or changed over time because society advances, you advance as an individual as a human being, you learn new things, you mature and then the book remains. over time not really um, my philosophy in life is to never look back, regret anything, you know, it's there, I did it, it came at a particular time in my life and in the Zeitgeist and things have changed a little bit, but That's how it went. It was a very serious effort trying to achieve something timeless.
Now yes, there is a dark side to this and maybe I already got over that and honestly did when I wrote my fourth mastery book. I was a little worried that young people were We came to think that the whole game of life is about political manipulation, so I wrote a book to counter that, but I think the book is true and it holds up, I think if I look at the business, what is happening in the business world. I think I hit the nail on the head about what happens in the dynamic and the power play.
You know, I wrote a book about human nature and the idea is that we formed hundreds of thousands of years ago in particular circumstances, our brains. we are connected in a certain way yes we are very sophisticated yes we have the internet yes I am here being interviewed by you on a podcast it is pretty crazy but we haven't fundamentally changed the same raw emotions of envy or aggression of you know worrying about our status, having to dress up. and seem holy and love that we don't have a shadow that we all have, none of that has changed, so yeah, I wouldn't write that book now because I'm in a different place in life and I understand it but I have it I don't I'm not ashamed I in no way maintain that and I think I touched something real what is in your definition what power is you know it was.
It's really compelling when you talk about the evolution of the evolutionary roots of power, but in its essence, what? what is power? It's not what you think it is. You don't know Vladimir Putin or the presidents or Biden or all these political figures and these big games. Power is a feeling it is essentially an emotion it is a human need and desire and really what power is is a feeling of understanding yourself and being able to control yourself so the way I see it I like it looking at it not through the lens of great power politics, but as an ordinary human being here in the United States or in England, the feeling that you have with your children, with your spouse, with your colleagues, with the people who work for you, the feeling that you have no control over what you can do.
Don't influence them with your ideas that you can't achieve; maybe you know how to soften some of their ugly behavior. If they have that, you can't get them interested in helping you with a project or whatever is most miserable. feel that a human being can draw from Malcolm X a quote that I love, which is that absolute power corrupts, but absolute powerlessness corrupts even more. I'm, I'm butchering it, but that was the gist of it, the feeling of powerlessness is actually more corrupting than the feeling of having a lot of power, that makes people become passive aggressive, play all kinds of strange games, negative games to get Power, you want to feel like you have some degree of control over the events in your life, over people, over your future. and that to me is what a power is right and some of that involves these games that I mentioned there and some of that goes beyond the 48 Laws of Power that I've tried to outline in my other books, but it's the sense that I am not helpless in this world.
I remember when I first entered the working world as a very naive college graduate with all these ideals and things I had read because I was studying literature and languages, man this is weird, people are playing all of these. kind of games, I mean, over my head, I made mistakes, I got fired for being, you also know, shameless for upstaging the teacher, it was painful, right, and learning you don't have to abuse the loss of power? I'm not advocating crushing your enemy. I totally hope I don't have enemies I need to crush. You just need to know these things so that when you enter the working world you are not naive, you are not stupid, you are notdo the same. of the mistakes I made you save yourself the pain you understand the most fundamental of human nature people have egos even your boss has an ego you think he or she doesn't understand it because they are
powerfulthey are even more insecure than other people, you need to be aware of these things so as not to make them feel insecure and suffer the consequences without realizing it, so, I don't know, that's my idea of power that I was trying to describe there in the way.
You describe that it is more of a kind of intrinsic perception of the Force of yourself when people think about power, they think about having control over others or their influence over others, but in a way you have turned it into an internal Force, yeah, well, if you can't control yourself. So you're in a lot of trouble in this world, right? Because when you're yourself doing things naturally, you're going to offend people. You learn early on that we are social animals. I have to adapt my behavior. Do you know if you continue? babbling about how you feel and think etc., and you just say the first thing that comes to mind, you will end up having a very, very short career, you will say things that will offend people. "You're going to make a fool of yourself, you'd be saying things you'll end up regretting, so you have no self-control, and if you see someone who has no self-control, that makes you look like yourself." You are not
powerfulif you can't control yourself, how can you control anything in your environment?
How can you be a leader? So you have to learn certain things about your nature, about who you are and not just being someone you have to You also adapt your appearances because, for better or worse, I believe in looking at the human animal without shame or embarrassment, just as we are right and Appearances matter, it is the animal part of our nature that we look at. We look, we judge people by how they are, how they appear, how they dress, their tone to express their body language, etc., it would be in an ideal world, we would not judge people by appearances, we only judge them by what is inside of them, yes.
I agree with that, but we are not ideal, we are not descended from angels, we are descended from primates, so you have to understand that appearances matter and this is part of the game, so you have to control your appearances a little. little you have to adapt it you have to be a little actor in this world again and again you know these are things that people don't like to admit about ourselves we like to think that we are much more we have much more idealistic than we are, these things really they don't matter in the end and I wish it were that way, but it's not, so I'm a little more realistic when it comes to things like that, but yeah, like you.
We were talking about this need to keep up appearances to a certain extent in order to survive and fit into the tribes we form in our lives. It made me think about how many guests I've had on this podcast that maybe work in entertainment. industry or other industries, yeah, you know they're famous and they report that keeping up appearances had a really detrimental impact on their happiness and life satisfaction because in some cases they know it meant they were doing a job as a presenter. and they always had to be happy when inside they didn't feel that and maybe the contrast of reality and um and perception caused them a lot of damage or they have built a life around things that don't interest them, I think you touched on. about some of that in Mastery, yeah, that's the question I have, what is keeping up appearances and the impact that has on your happiness, are you wearing a mask, and happiness, what's the relationship?
I talk about it in the 48 Laws of Power. where you have to play this game in life it's a scam to me it's a form of wisdom that used to exist like in the 18th century. I read a book that had a big impact on me many years ago called The Fall of Public Man by Richard Senator in which he described how life in a café in London in the 18th century or in France and he said back then that when you walked into the public arena or to your cafe you knew you were an actor and you left the house you were in. the mask and you had fun, you know, you knew it was fun, it was a game, you know, when you are a child you like to play, you like dressing up, you like to play your parents or a character you saw on television, it is part of being human .
In nature we like to play these games where the players are actors and he said in the 18th century that this was something natural in life, that when you entered the public sphere you knew you were an actor and then, when you returned home to your wife , your family or your husband or wherever you let the mask fall, you went, you breathe the relief of the Deep Side, go now, I can be who I am, and it wasn't a problem, it didn't create neurosis, it didn't create this like What's wrong with me? I don't know who I am anymore.
So, people now the problem is that we are not distanced from that social sphere and that is why we think that if we act, that is what we are, but it is not. It's just that that's part of being a social animal, it's playing a role, you know, I did a book with 50 Cent and he exemplifies a lot of that, he plays a role in life, you know, when I met him, I thought, uh oh, I was nice. of bullying I was a little afraid, you know, the bully, this is a guy when I met him, he was, you know, just a few years away from getting shot and all that and I met him and he was the nicest person, well, he was almost a little sweet, I'd hate if I said that word, but he was sweet, right, he was down to earth, he was very calm, etc., he's playing a role when he goes out and plays that person, he knows it, he knows it's As the. he doesn't take it seriously, you know he had a big problem with Kanye West when I was doing the book with him and then I met them both in Las Vegas when they were there for the awards, they were like best of friends, they were joking around, it was just a game that they were playing well, so what I tell people is that we are all actors, humans are born actors, we learn at a very young age to play that kind of game, sometimes it's fun to do it, you know? make him enjoy that part of life, but don't think that it doesn't confuse with who you are at your core, that's a kind of dance you're playing between those two things.
I understand what you're saying and a lot of it has to do with what you said in relation to Masters where people end up in a career that doesn't suit them and I think I understand what you mean or I look at presenters or people on the news and they have a smile and being as cheerful as a man, what a bummer I'd hate to be like that, you know, that's so fake, don't you feel like you don't want to take a shower after being so cheerful and talkative and everything? You know that, yes I get it, but if that's the profession you chose and you love it, then maybe you don't feel that way.
I couldn't do it personally, but you know, I think he's okay, think of yourself as an actor. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. The second very curious point that I discovered in your book was that it was number two. I'm talking about the 48 Laws of Power here, where it says: never trust your friends too much, learn to use enemies, yes, do you trust your friends? Well, everything in the book is in context, so when you take things out of context it's a little bit harder to understand and what I'm trying to say than what I'm talking about in the work world when you're in the social realm and one of The worst things people do is have a job and I've been guilty of it myself even after writing the damn book you're in the working world and you need to hire someone you need to find a colleague you need to find a partner or an employee your mind naturally gravitate towards a friend because they know you you trust them you have a relationship that you know and feel comfortable with them and it's a terrible mistake Many of the worst things that have happened in history are due to that same problem because, friends, there are all these emotions involved between people and those emotions confuse the issue, so what I'm talking about in that law is when you need to get results. you need to think when you have a job or something, you have to think in practical terms, not in terms of emotions, not in terms of friendship, etc., that's why you want to keep your work world separate, not the only thing in life is having to be friends and having nice things and everyone liking you, sometimes what matters is getting results and sometimes the best person to work with is not your friend because they don't have all these other things that we're talking about, in fact, a very powerful move is if there is an enemy out there someone you never got along with if you say if you go up to him and say let's bury the hatchet you know I have a job and I would really like you to work with me I know you are very smart that Because of the change of emotions, it is something very powerful where they are going.
Wow, yes, of course, that's great. I never expected that and they are all very motivated to prove now that they are worthy of your change. mental, so it's not about not trusting your friends in the realm of friendship in personal relationships, it's about being aware that the world of work is different from the realm of personal relationships. The other point I found really curious was 0.3 about hiding your intentions and Yes, I find it curious because I never really knew where to land on this when people ask me for advice on the topic of what part of your hand you should show, whether in In business or in life or whatever, there is a group of people who think that you should always keep everything you are doing and your intentions completely secret because then people could copy you or attack you in any way and then there is another school of thought that says that when you are
building something, when you are doing something when you have a mission, you should share it with as many people as possible because that will drive people to go on the journey with you and they will want to support you and help you, so when you read the point number. three about hiding your intentions I wanted to ask you what you think about which side you land on, well it all depends on the circumstances so laws should never apply to all situations so when it's with your own team and you. you're trying to inspire them and you're trying to give them a vision, you're trying to get them on your side, yeah, you share your vision with them, you share this is where the group is going, this is where I want things to be in three years.
Let's all come together, we are trying to do something very positive for the world, okay, here is my plan, but then there are circumstances where revealing everything that you are planning to do is actually very counterproductive, so the business world in The 21st century is extremely competitive, it's getting worse every day as more and more people enter the arena of power and I think it's a great thing where it used to be just a realm where only older white men had power and now it's the gates have opened up to everyone, the level of competitive competition is much more intense, particularly now, even with the Internet, you have rivals, you have competitors, even as we speak now, you may not be thinking about them, but they are.
They are going to steal your ideas, they are looking to take away your business, etc., etc., just be aware of that phenomenon and always saying what you plan to do is not always the smartest thing, sometimes if in a complicated situation, it misleads people, giving them a red herring and saying, I'm planning to do this, when you're actually planning to do it, it's a very powerful technique, it's deception, but all is fair in love, war and business. I'm afraid, so you know there are times when you don't want to put all your cards on the table, or you want to create a little bit of mystery so people don't know what you're doing. to do next and they're wondering what you're going to do next and while they're wondering what you're going to do next, they're kind of on their heels, what's Stephen planning next?
I really don't know, you know, it's a very powerful approach. There are other times, other experiences and moments in life when you want to reveal what you plan to do because there is a purpose behind it. just saying be aware don't just act in this world be aware have a strategic mindset sometimes hiding is what you need to do sometimes not hiding is what you need to do it's funny when we have this conversation about power and the Darkness and the Shadows that people have in them, I think a lot of people listen and it probably seems that way because I'm the one asking the questions, if I'm questioning the society that I'm not a part of, they'll think they couldn't possibly think that they don't play these games well, maybe you know, so that's the question I have is: have you ever met someone?
Do you think there is
anyoneout there who doesn't play power games? manipulation has shadows has darkness in them no I don't know, but in my War Book, I read the biography of Mahatma Gandhi, well, the Saint Louis figures in history, right, and I realized that Mahatma Gandhi was actually a brilliant strategist. Now I'm not saying his use of nonviolence. and Civil Disobedience didn't come from the heart, he didn't mean it, he didn't really believe in the peaceful method that he did, he was very sincere but he was very strategic about it and he planned a campaign for several years. campaigns like the Salt March in the 1920s, where I knew, for example, that the English public had a very liberal mentality, they had this idea of themselves as such, they were not colonialists, they were not imperialists, they were doing their best to heworld. and he deliberately had these marches that he knew they would be reading in their newspaper and seeing photographs of Indians being beaten by the English and their Indian officers in the streets of wherever that had a terrible impact on the public, he thought in terms of strategy.
Well, then there's Gandhi, then there's Martin Luther King, someone who I wrote a lot about about the laws of human nature, another great icon who I admire, who was actually inspired by Gandhi and had civil disobedience campaigns and there was a campaign that I think it was Montgomery or Selma Camp, which you remember which one he was getting fed up with, they weren't getting very far, Civil Rights was moving, they were reaching a stalemate and he was getting really frustrated and someone, an advisor approached him. and he said to him: look, us. We are going to have this massive march and I can get a lot of elementary and high school students to participate in this march because they believe in you and they are very fervent and I think it would be great and I would advise him.
Oh my God, you can't do that, you can't have put 13-year-olds at risk and Martin Luther King thought about Virgin and said no, let's go ahead and do it because damn, I want the American public to be sitting there. . all fat and looking at their televisions to see these brutal, you know, Paul Connor, the police chief, so I want to see these kids being doused with water and beaten and it's going to have an incredible impact. He was being strategic and his advisors were surprised by it, but it ended up proving to be one of the most important moments in the Civil Rights Movement, so here you have Gandhi and Martin Luther King.
I never will and Martin Luther King was an imperfect individual, as we know well, he had a private life that was not exactly the same as his public life. I don't judge him for that because he was a brilliant man and I admire him. I love him deeply. Reading his biography made me even admire him even more seeing that he had a human flaw on the outside. for him, but these are icons that we set up and they reveal what I'm talking about in human nature, you can't escape it, but yes, maybe there was some saint born in some century that I had never heard of and who maybe became pretty.
Far from everything I've talked about, but you know, you know, we all have this idea as in the laws of human nature. I write about irrationality. Envy. Let's say aggression or narcissism. Narcissism is good. Oh, they are narcissists. I'm not a narcissist, I'm not self-absorbed, but they are, yeah, I don't have any of those traits, damn, every human being has self-absorbed traits, we can't help it, we naturally think of ourselves first, yeah. There are people who are much deeper narcissists in life no doubt and there are toxic narcissists but we all have a touch of that.
I want you to be a little more humble in this world and not be so arrogant and don't think that somehow you are exempt from having a dark side that somehow you were born with a halo over your head that you were born different you don't have human nature that you are a holy person you much better get rid of your moral superiority because I find that deeply Offensive, we are all cut from the same cloth, we all have the same flaws and when you look at yourself and when I wrote the laws of human nature, I go Damn, Robert, you have a dark side, you're a narcissist, you know?
I had to accept my irrationality, my grandiosity, my aggressive instincts, but the only way to change yourself is to be aware that you have these problems. I have narcissistic tendencies now. I see everything well now when they shore up, they appear. Can. control it better I can say damn Robert you are too self-absorbed you think more about the other person but if you go through life thinking that I don't have any of these problems I am not a narcissist you will never be Having the awareness to stop the fact that you are actually a narcissist is objectively something good or bad because when you were, obviously, I know people are having something bad, it's a narcissist that causes a lot of damage and that's very true, but in the context of the human animal and why the human animal develops certain attributes and qualities to know, perhaps for your survival or your ability to remain within the social compact, is it just a consequence of being human to have these? like shadow traits and being coercive and manipulative, is it good or is it bad or is it neither, nor, nor, because it's just okay?
So with narcissism, for example, there is a reason why we are narcissistic, that's how I explained it in the book. It's not my own theory, it comes from some great psychologists like Kahoot, the origins of narcissism, so when you have to leave yourself, when your parents don't abandon you, but they don't pay as much attention to you as they used to. you are and you are three years old or four years old you don't remember it but it was very painful like oh they don't love me that much what's wrong with me right? You know I have to get that love and attention not just Naturally, I have to do things to earn it, etc., and what happens with a lot of people in that situation when you're a kid is I have to develop myself.
I have to be my own mother or my own father. I have to find a way. to love myself when something bad happens I have to withdraw inward and leave I'm really not that bad at all I'm actually a decent person I like my own tastes I like the clothes I wear etc etc you're developing the shreds of self-esteem and the people who never develop it because they were abused or they were abandoned or even if they were smothered they never developed that self-esteem and then what happens in life is when you don't develop that and you get old. and people attack you and yell at you or criticize you, you can't go back to that self-esteem, that love that you have, the only thing you know is to get angry so that they call you narcissistic rage and yell at people and say God.
Stay away from me, you're evil, etc, etc., right, and then the other problems evolve where the only way I don't have that internal self-esteem, the only way I get people to love me is by being incredibly dramatic and overly dramatic. , etc. etcetera etcetera and always making myself the center of attention that is what creates a deep narcissist that is their only way to get the love they need so children we all need that degree of self-esteem that anchors in our life so narcissism self-love It is not kind of bad, but what happens is that as you get older, if you get too deep into it, it becomes a problem and what I'm saying is that you need to take that self-love and it has a good function and slowly bring it out. as much as you can and become empathetic, loving and considerate for other people, that is your task as you get older in life, that is how I deal with all these flaws, you can't run away from them, you can't run away from your Shadow. you can make your dark side work you can make it positive, productive and healthy you can become a healthy narcissist, which is a name I use in the book you can use your dark side for positive purposes let's say you have a lot of anger inside you and I had a lot of anger when I was younger.
He was a very angry young man. I channel that into some kind of cause like and you know I have a lot of causes that I believe in very deeply and when I was younger, I would channel that energy into something productive and useful and put it into something that would help society that's using its side. dark for positive purposes because the dark side of human nature has a lot of creativity, it has a lot of creativity. The energy that an artist has must have a dark side. You use your dark side because all those dark emotions, all the people that shit on you in your life, they inspire you, they create your best work, don't run away from your shadow, don't run away.
From your narcissism, use it in a healthy way and recognize it. I think that's the hardest thing for people to do well. Yes, I think few people, including myself, have fully understood what their shadow is on their dark side. I mean doing this podcast. It's really helped me because I learn things from other people indirectly and then reflect on myself or keep a journal. It has helped me understand that, but that first step for someone to have the self-awareness to understand their dark side, I mean, there are even many people who confront their Dark Side would be so impactful on their self-esteem in a negative sense that They spend their lives building a wall to never get there.
I mean, there are some people that even mentioning something to them and they would trigger them, yeah, you know, we can all think of those people, we can all think of those people, that what's really interesting is the role that your early years play in your relationship. with power, because when I think about some of the nicest people, I don't know if this is just a general stereotype or a narrow observation that I've had, but some of the nicest people I've ever met in terms of being the opposite of whatever and toxic narcissists. He seems to have really comfortable, loving, safe, secure early experiences, and then generally speaking, in his opinion, it's a generalization, but there's some truth to it.
I mean, there are things called attachment theories, where psychologists have analyzed the type of attachment you had with your parents and they classified it in four different ways and there is the ideal, the best, where you have this mother and this father. incredibly loving and they are giving you unconditional love, but they also know how to give it to you. your independence, etc., is not very common, I don't know what the percentage would be, then there are levels and levels and then when you get to the fourth level, it's like abandonment, where either abusive and abandonment, where you basically leave the child alone , dont do it.
I don't pay attention to it and it's very paralyzing, but the thing is that children are much stronger than we think, they are very resilient, they have many resources, they will find their love, they will find a way to make up for it in some way and what is something very interesting when I was doing seduction in some of my other books and I look at people who were very charismatic like a Malcolm X or a Marilyn Monroe. I could go on and on and on. These are people who came from very, very bad families, right, they had no love.
Marilyn Monroe was an orphan essentially raised in an orphanage. You know, her whole life was I have to get people to love me. I need love so desperately and your way of doing it. It was literally making love to the camera, no one had ever done that before, you could feel that she needed it and it was so powerful that you felt it draw him to her, great charismatic individuals. John F. Kennedy is someone who had a lot of charisma. he came from a very bad childhood, true, his father was very bad to him, etc., some children in the worst circumstances end up bringing out the best in them, they have to find their way in life and some people who have it all don't They are doing very well. away because they don't know how to find things for themselves, then life is strange.
Some people who have wonderful childhoods do well. Some people have wonderful childhoods. They are spoiled and never learn to achieve things for themselves. And some people have the most horrible childhoods. how to be resourceful and and and and get what they need for themselves you mentioned seduction there The art of seduction Why did you write a book on the topic of seduction? Seduction is a high form of power because you make people feel pleasure. make them feel excited or interested in you and then their resistance to your ideas slowly decreases and you have the ability to influence them and move them in the direction you want if you yell at them, like we talked about you and your child. tell them to do this, make them resent it and for good reason, but if you are more subtle, if you are more seductive in your approach, if you are more indirect, people will do what you want or go in your direction without even realizing it.
So it was a subtopic in the 48 Laws of Power and so I was interested in the psychology of that and why some people are good at it and others are awkward about it, so when I finished the 48 Laws of Power I thought This would be a transition natural in the next book What are the qualities of a great Seducer? Well, I like to distinguish between cold seducers and warm seducers. A cold Seducer is something you don't want to be. That's the typical image we might have of a male Seducer but even of a female Seductress like the great established courtesy or they're just looking for money or men are just looking for sex that's not my ideal my ideal is a kind of back and forth quality where It is not domination, it is something like a game that you are playing, it is like a mating game, it is like a courtship ritual in which both parties seduce each other and therefore, what makes a great seducer is very simple.
I can sum it up very simply, you're outward-directed, so when you meet someone for the first time or you're on a date or whatever you're not having that internal monologue does she like me or does he like me? Am I dressed well? Am I saying stupid things? What I can do? impress them no, you turn it off and you're out or directed and you listen to them and you get into their spirit and you hear them say things that give you an idea of what they're missing in life. what they want, what their needs are, what makes them individuals, you are absorbing it, you are entering their spirit and then you can reflect it back to them, you can give them gifts, you can take them to places that show that you are We are attentive to them because if you look at how We are in our day to day life normally people never pay attention to us,They are always so absorbed that they never think about us.
I mean the moments when you get the feeling that people are really interested in who you are as an individual, it's pretty rare, if you give that feeling to someone, it's incredibly powerful because we all want to be validated we all want to be recognized so we do it. that the Seducer is not someone who is worried about himself and thinking that he is involved in the other person is absorbed like a sponge within his psychology within his world a lot of this is you know, it is very applicable to romance and dating, etc. ., fails for any reason.
It's not necessarily something I've read a lot about in your work, but it seems like dating, romance, and relationships have become much more complicated in the modern world than they are. it becomes much more difficult to seduce someone um what are someone's attributes so that is not good for seducing the anti-seducer has many qualities I have a whole chapter on the anti-seducer I try to define it uh there are several of them I can't I don't have them all memorized but one quality that is very anti-seductive is preaching and moralizing is like telling people oh that's wrong what you just said or your politics are ugly or that's not really you You're not really good at this or something like that.
Have moral superiority. A sense of sanctimonious prudery in a realm that should be about pleasure. Where should that kind of equality be? That kind of back-and-forth dining. Dynamic in which you are affirming your morals. superiority is deeply anti-seductive, the element of preaching to people not to be generous, and I mean, not just with money, money is important, but not to be generous with your spirit, right? You want to be open. , wants to give everything he can to people. another person of yours of your time of your money of your energy Etc so I'm all kind of tied up and I don't want to give I don't want to spend money I want to take you to the cheap place to eat I don't want to Not wanting to give you a lot of time is very, very anti-seductive when you talk ago a second of the person who goes that day and is thinking about themselves and what they know, what their hair looks like or whatever else I talked about with an insecure person is insecurity a seductive quality or is it an anti-seductive quality is it anti-seductive now There is a part of weakness that is seductive so I would say that vulnerability is seductive but insecurity is anti-seductive and there is a big difference why vulnerability attracts people to you because the meaning then yes I can define seduction in simple terms um most of the time we are closed to the influence of other people, particularly now that we have these walls up because life is hard, people come with their advertisements with their pleas with their desire for money with this than with that and all We have learned to be very defensive, right, and seduction is an openness, it is the opposite of that and you felt it when you were a child with your parents.
You were feeling very vulnerable and open and there was an element of your parents and the way they treated you that was very much like a seduction, so seduction is about being open to the other person to the extent that you might even fall in love. Falling under his spell and the feeling of letting go of your ego, letting go of your defensiveness and letting another person into your world is being seduced, requires vulnerability if you come across the typical scenarios of a man who is not vulnerable at all, It's so powerful. and he's in control and everything has no vulnerabilities it's terrifying, you know, for a woman it can be very scary like that, he's so strong, he's so invulnerable that there's something wrong with it, you know, maybe he's a serial killer, maybe he has skeletons in their closet, something is not right about that what seduces you about a puppy of a child of an animal is their vulnerability makes you want to hug them makes you want to help them correct the sense that if you came across a tiger that is there and that they don't need it, well that's not seductive, I mean, on your screen it is, but if they're there in your living room, that's not seductive, but that puppy is right Vulnerability, the feeling that someone needs protection or help brings out qualities in us. that normally we don't have that I think that allowing seduction that is being vulnerable that is to say I can be influenced by that other person I am open to their Spirit that is being vulnerable the word vulnerable I hate sounding like a teacher so excuse me on seduction, it comes from evil , the root means a mean wound, so you have a wound inside you and you need healing and the other person naturally wants to help you, but being insecure is the bad thing means that I am I am so self-absorbed that I am so worried about myself that I don't I can get through this and we've all had that experience when you meet someone and you can feel like you can smell their insecurity on them.
I'm not judging. them because we all have insecurities, it makes you feel insecure, it makes you feel a little uncomfortable, whereas if you meet someone who is not like that, who is confident, etc., it brings out that quality in you, so if you are on a date and There is someone who smells that kind of insecurity, it makes you uncomfortable and insecure, it creates some kind of problem, so that would be the difference between the two. There will be a lot of people listening to this who are single and ready to mingle. What advice would you give? you give them in terms of being great at dating, you've talked about the importance of vulnerability there and how that kind of connection between humans in a very innate way what else is great dating advice for single people? okay, there are several things, so first of all, we live in a culture where people think that no, you shouldn't have to work hard at something like love and romance, you should be who you are, man, I don't have. to make a rule I have to play a game that is manipulative no, sorry, love and romance is something that is almost biological if you look at animals and mating rituals, they are incredibly elaborate, seduction is a mating ritual , so the worst thing you can feel is that this person is not putting any effort into something, let's just say it's, uh, it's from the woman's point of view, this man just shows up wearing jeans and his usual sloppy attire , she doesn't comb her hair, etc., etc. he takes me to the pub for dinner on our first date you know he's not thinking about me he's not willing to put in the effort if he's not willing to put in the effort what will it be like in three months when he takes me completely for granted, which is what happens in a relationship. .
Am I not important enough?, while the ability to have a little bit of effort to think of it as a kind of theater and drama and that there is nothing wrong with it, so I'm I'm going to dress nice I'm going to just have to be elegant Just that I'll know I'll put some effort into my appearance I'll take it to a place that isn't, you know? I'm not talking about candles and roses and that kind of rubbish doesn't mean you can be creative, it might be somewhere that's unpleasant and on the wrong side of town, but it's different and attractive and you give it a little thought.
There's a reason you're taking her there. I have a friend who went on a date and came back from the date and was complaining because the person she went out with on that first date was using a phone and took him to a place where he had a valid discount code available and talk about anti-seduction , there you go, why is that anti-seductive? In that case, you could say that the man is a being that you know, economically intelligent, financially intelligent, that you know if you can't leave him. Drop your kind of tension when it comes to a woman, something's wrong with you man, just let yourself spend some extra money, spend the extra 10 quid you might need to spend to take you somewhere different, but that indicates a kind of cheapness . and it's not about money, it's about stinginess in your spirit, right, she's not worth it, you know, letting her go, okay, maybe you don't have that much, but my God, you have enough, you're not going to like it If you're so poor, then, then you know, it's okay. maybe, but probably not, you could afford it, show it means something to you.
Let seduction be a language, it is not a language of words, it is a language of gestures that we are paying attention to, we are paying attention to people's body language. You're paying attention to their actions and the things they never say, so when you indicate to them that discounts are so important to you that even on the first date you have to have a discount, you're indicating that there's something tight about you. your nature and it's not very nice to do this podcast and talk about topics like love and sex and dating and you know, dating apps, even one of the comments I saw quite frequently was from young men struggling to seduce a woman, yes or vice versa, specifically young men you know and then I read some statistics.
I think Scott Galloway came on the podcast and talked about how I'm going to destroy these numbers, but a staggering number of men haven't had sex and young men have. I haven't had sex in the last 12 months, um, and then when I looked at the comments section specifically on YouTube, I saw that that energy was reflected where it seemed like young men in particular were struggling to seduce a partner, a couple in the modern world. In his opinion, the world is that real. Is there something that has changed in society? It has always been like this.
Is there anything we can do if we are a young person who is struggling in the modern world because of the Internet and computers? and this and dating apps and well, I'm afraid a lot of that is internet porn, where you have this idea that you know sex is something that should be very easy and quick and that women should have that type of body . and physical, etc., etc., and that becomes your norm. Etc., that can be very damaging, but the idea that things should be easy and quick is very common and to win over someone like, oh, say you're a man, it's a woman who could. being reluctant to have sex for a good reason or reluctant to be in a relationship takes some effort it takes some thinking you can't just hack it right you can't just swipe and get it you can you can have sex over the internet but you're not you're going to understand That doesn't work that way in real life, it takes time, it takes patience, you know, and you're going to have to work and you're going to be rejected, being with people is a skill, being a social animal, although there is a part that is natural, if you spend all your time here, you're losing that skill of how to respond to people's body language.
You know half the point is that you're sitting in a bar across the street, let's say it's a woman and how she crosses her legs how she drinks her drink how she looks at you how she touches her hair she's pointing at things it's a language it's a beautiful language true you have to learn it and you're not going to learn it here because you can't it has to be in person it has to be skinned skin you have to have an idea of what other people think and feel and we are actually very good at what humans have, That's what makes us human, they are called mirror neurons.
I can feel what it is. going on in your mind I can read your body language you have to go out into the world and you have to physically be out there and try and try and try and have rejection and I know it sounds horrible but it's a skill in a way that you're learning to love, understanding and dealing with people and understanding that who they are and entering into their Spirit takes time, effort and patience, so young men need to realize that. If you think that everything has to be easy and quick, it will never work for you and I'm talking about the Hollywood actor Errol Flynn, who is perhaps numerically the greatest male seducer of all time because it is estimated that he has seduced nearly 3,000 women and died when I was 50 years old and if one day I did the math, how can that be? um and I tried to find out what his secret was and it was difficult to find out finally I found a book written by a woman who he had seduced another. actress and she said that he was so relaxed and so comfortable that it was like he was an animal type thing and then when I sat with him it was almost like I drank two martinis just sitting next to him her comfort and his security . and his
confidence, his relaxed attitude, just got me drunk, so feeling relaxed, feeling confident and not defensive and comfortable in your own skin is a very powerful seductive quality.
I mean, there are a lot of them, but that's one I would point out if you had ever figured out what. builds
confidenceyou were earlier talking about how children need to experience things first hand you can't just tell them you can't just tell someone, for example, to be confident, preaching doesn't seem to work, what is it in your opinion? That does build that right or you can't fake confidence either no, I remember we talked about rejection a second ago. I was rejected by almost every girl I pursued between the ages of 16 and I would say 22.
Really Yes, and you know what it was. I was faking confidence. Everything changed when I actually had a sense of self-confidence, but in the period when I was faking confidence, I was faking being confident. um, it was like they could. they could just read it, that's almost how I see the situation in retrospect, so I learned that you can't fake confidence, you can't pretend to be. It's because there are so many types of micro expressions that yes, thatthey seem to end up reading more like insecurity than confidence. But what is real trust and how is it built from your point of view?
Well, you've sort of answered your own question there. In a way, you know, fake lectures like bravery, truth, and you're faking it, and particularly women who have had to deal with this for millennia, they can smell it, they can feel it, they don't have to. It's not in your words, it's body language etc. Real confidence comes from real actions, real things that you've accomplished well, so you know when you're 22 or 21 it's hard to have that confidence because what is it? ? it's based on you know, maybe it's based on, okay, maybe you're very handsome, if you have that good luck and you can feel confident about it and you don't have to try so hard, okay, maybe that could work. or maybe you are very good at sports or maybe you are a very good dancer or you are a great singer but it is based on something real you have a skill you have something that separates you you have something that you can do that you can achieve because when you are 21 years old it is difficult to have those you know.
I look back at when I was that age. I had nothing, no wonder they rejected me. You know, so it comes from what you do in life. Okay, the best. The sense of confidence is actually creating things and being successful and achieving goals and achieving things and having a record of that, you know that and maybe what it entails is having some money, but it's not necessarily because you don't have to have a lot of money. . and you don't have to be handsome to seduce, that's a myth that I try to explode in The Art of Seduction.
Some of the greatest seducers, men and women, were not handsome at all. It's about psychology and how you behave, but. Confidence comes from what you can really do, not from what you feel or what you say well, but from how you feel, but the feeling is based on the things you can really do, the skills you have that set you apart and They make you feel really safe, you know? so body language, yeah, I find it fascinating that you know there are quotes and things that say 80 of our communication is non-verbal, etc., etc. Body language is very interesting to me because, again, I think it's one of the things that is incredibly difficult to understand. false, I was reading, you know, a couple of books, there was a phase when I was, I don't know, 20 years old, probably right after being rejected all the time when I was maybe 22, where I started reading books by pick-up artists and they would obsess over the issue of body language and one of the things they would say is and I was explaining this to my girlfriend a couple of weeks ago that when a man is less confident when he's desperate he does this thing called pecking at a nightclub where He'll like to lean in and shout in your ear and when he's more confident, he'll lean in and wait for you to lean in on little things like that, subtleties like that that we're intuitively reading and understanding. and communicate and etc., but someone who doesn't have the confidence probably isn't even aware that he does it when I reflect on my rejection phase.
I think my body language must have been exuding desperation and low status and low value. Dear, what do you think about body language? Well, in my last book, Human Nature, I wrote a whole chapter about it. I quoted the figure 95, but who knows what it really is. We evolved for hundreds of thousands of years before. Language existed properly and our early ancestors depended on the group for their survival and getting along and their powers came from observing other people and their body language could be read, so it's an ability that is connected to us, connected to our brains, it is a unique ability that humans have, it is that you do not learn that when you are a child when you are two years old you have it because your life depends on it you have to see what happens if your mother is loving you or is or your father is kind with you because if you don't, you know they could abandon you, your life depends on it, you're great at reading that and kids are incredibly adept at picking up on body language, so if someone is fake, if someone is an imposter, they hate being that. around children because children see through you know like you know a radar because they are so in tune with it.
You had that ability when you were very young but you lost it because you became so word-oriented and became so self-absorbed. that you are not paying attention, but it is extremely important, so the whole body is involved in it, so first you have to stop thinking so much about people's words because, unfortunately, the only thing that words have is that people can lie, they can say whatever they want. I want them to be able to say I love your script, it was fantastic. You were great in that movie. I thought you were a great senator. They can say anything to please, flatter and control you, but body language, man, doesn't lie well, so I talk in that book. about the eyes and the fake smile the fake smile is something you see every day but you're not paying attention it's like it's a little tight right it's like sure but a real smile the whole face perks up and there's a little wrinkled thing here how your face like you lights up and your eyes light up it's hard to even put it into words but it's there you can see it it's real it's not fake knowing the difference between a fake smile and a real one is really important in seduction in business or whatever whether it's knowing if someone is like yeah, I like that idea, you know they're not really saying it to please you, they actually hate your idea, you master that language, you can start to figure out everything that these people are.
By showing your face you can disguise it a little. The actors know this, but you know what you can't fake is your voice. If you're nervous, not even the best actors in the world can fake it. Your voice betrays so many things about you. It betrays your weakness. It betrays your lack of confidence. portrays the other quality Etc. right, so pay close attention to people's tone of voice, how fast they speak fast talkers are very nervous someone who has spoken I know I'm probably talking a little too fast, sorry , my mind races, so I usually can't do that.
I don't speak that fast, but you know, you speak slowly, you have a certain tone, you have a certain intonation that reveals confidence, okay, body language. posture you were talking about pecking right when you go and look at a gathering of people at a business meeting, you'll see all the employees leaning forward, nervous, and you'll see the boss leaning his arms back for us, like this. you know I'm the powerful one you come to me I'm the leader I'm the I'm the leader or she's a woman I don't need to be like that I'm like this body language reveals a lot about leadership qualities etc. etc., you know if you go you're at a party and you approach someone you are meeting for the first time and they are talking to you and you notice that their feet are away from you, that means they are not really interested, they are looking for any moment to try to walk away and escape, they don't like you a lot, while their feet are in front of you, they're engaged, they want to talk to you, that's right. a whole art that you can learn and you can sit there and you can read it and I talk about it.
I tell the story of the laws of human nature of a man named Milton Erickson, the founder of NLP and hypnotherapy, probably one of the most brilliant psychologists who ever lived. lived when Milton Erickson was approximately 19 years old he had polio almost died his entire body was paralyzed the only thing he could move the only muscle he could move with his eyes now imagine he was a young man with a very active mind he can't speak no can do nothing the only thing they can do is move their eyes a little he was so bored can you imagine how bored you would be so you can't read you can't do anything people would come?
Upon visiting, all they could do was look at them and study them. He became the greatest reader of body language ever seen in human history. People said he had almost had extrasensory perception. He could read everything about who they were simply because he ended up recovering. He became a psychologist because his life depended on developing this skill. He was going to die of sheer boredom if he didn't learn to read body language. He mastered that language the same way someone might master French and it is an incredibly powerful instrument. language which I can't emphasize enough, you know we can learn body language language and I'm sure that will help, but it's something as complex as VAR, there's like a thousand things with my body language at all times, like how I'm talking to my eyes, why where I'm looking, my posture, my arms, like, am I crossing my arms, am I crossing my legs, all these things?
So the challenge of mastering all of that feels a little overwhelming, am I right in assuming? The easiest challenge to master is, in fact, just like my sense of self, very well expressed because you know that if you feel confident, if you feel safe, if you are not completely introverted, insecure and worried about yourself, this will radiate naturally through your gestures. yeah, you don't have to sit there and pay attention to your fingers, your arm, your ears, your eyes, it's just there, it's natural, so yeah, that's the solution, so the two parts of the game is your own language body, keep in mind that people are judging you for that right and you cannot, as you say, be monitoring everything or you will go crazy and look very strange, so the best solution is to feel certain things that are going to radiate and not give in. the fake smile but when you're really happy just show it and show your emotions that way and the other side, which is more, I think what's really important is learning other people's body language and that can come from studying and it's something much more logical that you have to constantly think about everything you will do in your next book that I have here dominion why did you write a book called dominion?
Well, to be honest with you, the idea came up, it was around 2010-2009. I was getting a little worried that people who read my books, particularly young men who read power and seduction, would cut off, think that's all I need. in life, man, I just need to be a manipulator, I just need to play political games, that's what success is all about and I was worried. You know that if you don't understand how to do something what will be the future of humanity are bridges that are simply going to fall our hotel is going to collapse people no longer know how to do things we don't know how to use our hands correctly, so that being able to be good with people is extremely important as a social animal, but maybe higher up in the hierarchy is being able to do things so that you can have great skill and be able to create something and know how to master a subject and, you know, build something that can last, that's really important and I feel like, as young people, this was in 2010, imagine, now they had this idea that everything is quick and easy because they can click, click, click and It occurs to you that everything in the Life should be like this, that we are moving away from the human brain, how the human brain operates, because the human brain requires time, if you know how the human brain operates, we have what are called neural pathways and every time you repeat something, it becomes it creates a neural pathway, it gets stronger and stronger and stronger, that's why we get addicted to things, but it's also why we develop skills, so if I'm sitting there shooting free throws day after day, my brain is wiring it up. is to learn it is to learn that motor skill that thing of the mind of the hand and it is getting better and better at that it takes time, it takes repetition to build those Paths and I explain in Mastery that the proverbial ten thousand hours are reached that some people Today Nowadays there are disputes, so it's just a number, it's not a fact, you've spent so much time learning something, there are so many Paths, it's like this incredible inner landscape with all these connections in your brain and now you can be creative, now you can. invent things that no one has ever thought of you can play chess at a higher level you can be Pelé in football or Lionel Messi making passes that no one has ever seen before because you don't have to think well, you don't have to do it Think more your body just does what who wants to imagine twenty thousand hours, which is possible only that people sometimes stop in certain fields you are almost like a genius, you are almost like a superhuman, right, if you are someone who is so locked into the Internet to get things instantly You can't go over a hundred hours, let alone ten thousand, you're never going to develop skills and you're going to find life very, very difficult for yourself, so I wrote the book because I was actually deeply concerned that we were losing a part of how it operates. the human brain something Elemental part of our wisdom The interesting line between that and the topic we have discussed in Power and Seduction is that learning to master something builds that sense of self-esteem and Confidence that we are looking for to be good at the previous topics mentioned, but on the topic of um Mastery, the first chapter of this book and really the first question that a lot of people ask is this question about how to find your passion and me.
I have always had a difficult relationship with this question because sometimes it assumes that there is one of them andthat you have to go look for it somewhere in the first chapter of your book you talk about discovering your life's task, why is it important? Is finding your passion the same as finding? your life's task is the same, no, I just recorded this yesterday, uh, on my own podcast, I ranted about how it's not about passion, it's not about finding your passion, I actually don't like that word passion, I'm embarrassed because if you think about it, the passion to succeed in anything requires time, effort, boredom and tedium, so let's say a simple example: you are learning to play the piano, when you first sit down at the piano, you have than playing these really insipid tunes.
How boring you have to learn you know um. I forgot what they call it finger exercises and scales on any instrument, you have to learn scales etc, it's tedious man, if you think it has to be passion, forget it, you'll never get far. the excitement comes after a year of playing the piano and you get better and better at it and now it starts to be fun then 10 years is more fun than 20 years it's fantastic you know no, I'm not trying to name it falls here, but the other Last night I had dinner with Stevie Wonder, it was the most incredible thing I have ever seen in my life, he is absolutely.
I wish I had interviewed him from my book talking about Genius, you know, and he's blind, obviously, everyone knows that, but I was watching him. act for us were, they prevented him from recording studio. I was watching him play the piano and he's blind, right, and he's improvising and it's absolutely brilliant and amazing as I watch this, I think I can see the thousands of hours he's put in just playing these keyboards and knowing where the keys are, you know, It was just mind blowing, how incredible it was, that's the power that the human brain naturally has through hours and hours and hours of effort, that's how it works.
So you know, he didn't get there because it was passion, he got there because he was a child prodigy at the age of 11. He got signed to a contract with Motown Records and he was playing that when he was a kid hour after hour. Hour after hour he loved the piano, but it wasn't like every time he sat down he had to have a passion for it, he had the patience to put up with all the boring stuff, okay, so you want to find out what they were meant for that you have a connection. with what you love right when you're a kid, hopefully, or when you're 18, 19, 20, that's the best time to figure it out.
Okay, it's up to you and it doesn't have to be anything high-sounding or worthwhile, you know, as an intellectual, you could be great with your hands, you could be great with your body, you could be great with images and visuals, you could be great. with words, you could be great in many different areas, okay? Everyone is the same, everyone is great, when you were a child you were a natural, so there is a book that I always recommend to people called The Five Frames of the Mind, by Howard Gardner, in which he talks about the five forms of intelligence that they have. humans in every brain. genetically it is connected in one direction or another you want to know that you want to feel it inside you it is like a feeling it is not something intellectual that you feel when you do sports which is good it is something natural it is what I am destined for when you are involved with words like I was When I was eight years old, you felt good, it felt like a natural fit.
I have to go down this path when you're three or four years old and it's music like Stevie Wonder. and you're hearing this in your head wow, that's it for me, okay, you feel it, you feel this connection right now, fast forward to when you're 18 or 19 and you have to choose a career. Well then I call your 20's the most important phase of your life that will make or break you in some ways if you spend your 20's trying to learn skills in something that you connect with deeply at that time things will happen to you.
When you reach 30, you discover your life's task. It may not be something that specific to me. It was writing words, but I didn't know what to write. I tried novels. I tried journalism. I tried theater. I tried screenwriting, but you know. It gives you a direction and you try and you try and you try and you know that's what you were meant for, that's what you were destined for, you feel connected to it, you feel love for it and so when the time comes to do the tedious things , you can do them because you know that in the end you will get rewards, you will get better and better, and the connection is so deep that not doing it would be miserable, so you can't think about them. everything in life has to be pleasurable and it has to be passionate there is going to be boredom there is going to be tedium how do I handle it you have to feel a love greater than simply pleasure or passion it has to be something very deep inside you that not doing it will make you feel deeply and happy for me if I didn't write or were a writer.
I don't think I'd be alive right now. I would have been so miserable and so alienated from who I am, so that's what's going to get you through that's what the task of life is when you think about that in the book you talk about the first phase, which is, you know your learning. on your journey to mastery, when you're in that learning phase, you know when you're maybe at the beginning of your career you're at the beginning of your path to becoming the pianist, the violinist, the podcaster, the entrepreneur, whatever they may be. the most important things you should select when it comes to the job you take, the people around you.
Sort of like if there's a 23-year-old listening to this, who's an apprentice at a flower shop making flour bouquets and they're offered five different jobs in the floristry industry, which one should they consider? They are in the first steps of their learning very easy question to answer thank you um you want to look for the job that offers you the most learning possibilities so if you are going to go to a flower shop where there is only one other person The person there is like an entrepreneur who started this and you will be like his right hand man or woman, and you will learn, and the salary is half of what you could get in this very fancy place you could work. the shop in some department store where they would pay you three times as much, take the job that pays one third, where you will learn more, you will learn about the business, you will learn from scratch and you will notice that there will be a level of excitement where you know we may not survive a few more months.
We have to work hard. We have to be motivated. We are all on the same page. At 23, they take the job with the biggest salary and that is a mistake because if you like a big company you are kind of lost, you don't have as much responsibility, suddenly you have to deal with all the political games of '48. Laws of Power are not you are paying attention you are not developing skills as much you don't have as much responsibility take the job that has half the salary but you are responsible you are going to be learning and it depends on that it is the most important thing you can do when you are at that point in your life you say there is three steps in that learning deep observation is that what you mean when you say deep observation you mean being able to observe the work that happens.
Do you want to say something else? Well, it means it also means that most people when they start a job have their first impulses. I have to impress people. I have to like them. That is that inner direction that is so deadly and seductive. and it is deadly in life you want to be outward directed you want to observe the codes and conventions of your field the social codes you know what is acceptable behavior what is unacceptable behavior the skills involved the various heuristics the various things you have to learn that create skills you want to be a sponge that absorbs what is happening around you what are the things you need to learn what are the valuable skills what are the things that are not valuable what are the people you should avoid who are the people you need to emulate you are a laser, you are just observing everything around you and you don't worry about yourself, that's the right thing to do, that's a deep observation, you talked about skills, that's all very well there, seeing skills and knowing which skills are important, but acquire them. skills is point two when you are in that learning phase in acquiring life skills and this applies to what you are saying with working in a florist shop next to the entrepreneur that you are going to be hands-on with.
What I'm going to do, which also relates to what you said before about parents and children, like putting them in situations where they can do things, yeah, a lot of jobs don't offer the difficulty of the challenge. right, Hamilton, that's what we call learning by doing and you see that some things influence how the human brain operates. Is that what you want. I would give the image in the introduction to master sorry for the alliteration here, but the brain. it has a grain that you want to work on that grain you don't want to work against the grain because it's counterproductive and one of the grains of the brain I'm sorry is learning by doing when you know flashback 300,000 years ago and we're Sitting there we're making tools with bones, with wood, etc., the way the skill was passed on to other people and didn't die with one generation was when you watch this person making the tool and then you watch them and learn and imitate them, moving forward to the medieval period In Europe, where they had apprentices, apprenticeship schools, seven years, you're learning bricklaying, you're learning carpentry, you're learning whatever for seven years, you're sitting there watching someone do things and you're doing it that's how the brain operates you learn. doing not thinking not thinking oh this is how things fit together more you know with mortars etc etc I'm not doing it with my hands the human the brain and the Hand have the most connection of any part of our body because much of our power as species depended on our hands, we don't have much of that anymore, but learning by doing things with your hands or doing things is how the brain is wired, so you want to follow that flow, so you want to do things that you want to do, things that you want to learn through action, not just a bunch of words, and you know, as you may already know, the show is not sponsored by Airbnb.
I can't count how many times. Airbnb has saved me when I travel the world, whether recently when I went to the jungle in Bali or when I stay here in the UK or go to do business in the US, but I can also think about that. Many times I have stayed in a host's home on Airbnb and sat there wondering if my home could be Airbnb too, and if it could be, how much could I earn? Turns out you could be sitting in an Airbnb Gold. mine without even knowing it, maybe you have a spare room in your house that your friends stay in from time to time, you could Airbnb that space and make a significant amount of money instead of leaving it empty, those in-laws, that guest house, that annex where your parents sometimes stay, you could use Airbnb and make some extra income for yourself, whether you can use some extra money to cover some bills or for something a little more fun, your house could be worth a little more than you think and you can discover the answer to that question by visiting airbnb.co.uk.
Introduce one of the things you referenced at the beginning of this conversation. I think maybe even off camera it was in 2018 that you had a stroke and that changed your life. In a very fundamental way, can you tell me what happened and what it was like? How did it change you? Well, it was a terrifying experience. You know I was in a coma. I came out of it and suddenly I'm a very physical person. Sports were a big part of my life I swam very long distances. I love mountain biking. I was doing all kinds of hiking.
It was extremely important to me. Every day I did something physical to distract myself. Suddenly, it was taken away from me. I, the left side of my body is basically paralyzed. I have no control over it to this day. I still have problems with him. I can not swim. I can't ride a mountain bike. I can not walk. I can't take my mind. Can't. I think while I go for a walk I can't write for a cyclist That's not very fun I had to deal with crap I've never had to deal with in my life I had it pretty easy compared to this I had to learn new life skills when I already I'm 62 years old, you know, it's something easy.
I don't want to complain or complain because people deal with worse things all the time, a lot of people get cancer, etc., but anyone who has had a stroke knows what I'm talking about. It's very difficult because you can practice and practice and practice and practicing hours and hours of therapy. I do more than an hour of therapy every day and you hardly notice any results. Frustration takes you 10 minutes to tie. your shoes you can't fasten your thing you have to get other people to do that it's hard to cut food you have to be patient you have to accept this you have to find another way to love your life to accept these things that I took for granted before and I tell people.
Now I look out the window where I'm writing and I see people walking their dogs and I put on their shoes and I say God, that must be great just walking your dog down the street, what a pleasant thing, they don't realize, you take it for granted. sitting now, please don't take it for granted, understand that theability that you have now to run, walk your dog, swim, write, they can take that away from you and just appreciate your life, what you have, because the things that I love were taken away from me and I wish they hadn't been, that's how I have had them. to adapt, you know, when something like that happens in life, when you're the victim of a tragedy, a case, a circumstance or something that happens, there's often a degree of injustice around it, when I read about that incident in 2018 I read that it was a bee sting that caused a clot that caused the stroke, yes I know I actually think it's a wasp, but if that wasp had been like moving the wind a little different and it would move this way.
This way I may not have had a stroke, you know, but I can tell you this. In May of that year, the stroke was in August. In May, I finished the laws of human nature, which took me five years and when I finished. In that book I felt like I was on the verge of death. I was so exhausted. I was so exhausted. You know, my wife was very worried about me because she saw me very emaciated. I slowly recovered, but then in July I went to New York and I forgot my blood pressure medication that I was taking, so my blood pressure was starting to go up and then I came back to Los Angeles and I walked through this park and the bee, The wasp stung me here and my whole chest turned red and it was like the most unbearable thing.
Feeling like this I went to the hospital and they gave me this medicine called Prednisone to relieve the itching. Prednisone increases blood pressure and when I ended up having the stroke, the blood clot was right where the wasp sting was, so the neurologist said it was probably all of this. The cholesterol was released by those drugs, by that wasp that was here and that's where the blood clot occurred, okay, but there were all these other circumstances that led to kind of a perfect storm and maybe if I hadn't gotten that sting of WASP. It would have happened four months later under different circumstances and I would have died because what happened was I was driving my car when I had the stroke, my wife was in the other seat and she saw something really strange on my face.
I did not realize. If she made me pull over on the side of the road 90 of the time I'm alone I'm swimming I'm walking I'm driving it could have happened four months from now she wouldn't be there I'd be dead right now so I can't really think in terms of oh , if that wasp had been deflected, it would be a good feeling, but it's too painful for me to imagine. I like to think that luckily someone was there and saved my life because I could have done it. Alright, it happened within four months because my body was worn out and something much worse could have happened than that journey you described of having to rebuild, relearn, and redesign your life.
We've talked a lot about the topic of power in This conversation at the time it sounds like to some extent your power has been taken away from you, you know, um, you learn like at least for me when I was looking at people. I look at people differently after my stroke, I had more empathy for them. I'm normally an empathetic person, but I was looking at people during the pandemic who were covered for a long time, who were having strokes or who were going through terrible circumstances, or when I look at disabled people because I'm essentially disabled, I understand them now.
Me and also. The other thing is that when I look at people who are really poor, who are struggling in life, they feel really dependent and helpless. I felt like physically I don't feel that way materially because I don't have that problem anymore, thank God, but I do. More empathy I understand it not in an intellectual way but in a visceral physical way that feeling of I don't know where my food comes from I don't know what is going to happen the next day I am weak I am dependent I am helpless, it is miserable. In a way I understood that feeling now on a different level on a level that affected me personally and it is very different than being affected in an intellectual way by the phases of that journey to where you are today the first time. phase after the incident, you wake up, you realize that your life has changed, what is happening in your psychology, what is happening in your mind, you talked about helplessness and to be honest, what happened to me was right after , there was a level of excitement in my mind I kept thinking well in three months I will do it again I will be in six months I will be swimming in a year I will walk again I fooled myself I was not aware of how difficult it was The process was and then, six months, eight months out of the year, when I realized I was wrong, that's when the depression hit and that's when it really started to hit me.
I thought I would come back here. I'm four years later, that's what I thought. I would go back to my life, but I don't know, so that was the hardest struggle, it was actually a year there and there's a phase where you get stuck where you're not progressing anymore, that's the worst part. Now I'm making progress again because I have a great therapist, but I had to deal with really bad depression about a year and a half later, when I started, I realized this is my life, I'll always have this funny arm that leans down. I'm going to walk like this.
I never expected this in my life, so I had to deal with it and I had to find a way to not let it get me down. other pleasures and joys of life etc that I have, how do you find a way to not let this get you down? Now I'm thinking about the people who are listening to this who might be struggling with their own subjective struggles in the life they've had. have lost their job know that they have a disability, whatever it is, what are the successful strategies that they have implemented to try to stay.
I maintain that peace of mind, well, I don't know. How much of this is applicable because I am in a phase of life where I have no material concerns? You know, and I could have had some kind of stroke where my physical element wouldn't have been affected but my brain would have been damaged, which is another part that would have been worse because I wouldn't have been able to write another book and I have a very active mind. um so for me being able to write another book is my salvation so when it's three in the afternoon when I start writing it's the happiest moment of my life I feel at peace I've gone back to my job and I love my job and I love what I do I write about it it saved me a lot I do meditation I have been Meditating now for about 12 years I think more than that every morning it is a ritual.
I have to meditate if I don't something is wrong and I have never missed a day I can honestly say and it just calms me down. It gives me strength all day long so I get up at seven you know the sun usually comes out because it's Los Angeles and um I'll go it's the morning I greet the morning I'm greeting the sun it's like I'm like I'm someone from long ago four thousand years in a tribe Here is the sun. It's a miracle there even is something like this. The birds sing. I'm looking at the ivy.
The sky is blue. Calm down, intrusive. Negative thoughts start to appear in my mind You didn't do this You have a podcast today at two o'clock Robert you want to do this that and the other I would get rid of them I'm going to calm down, put that away, concentrate and It has helped me enormously, the other The thing is to always keep in mind that there are people who have it worse than you, so I don't want to feel sorry. I don't like the feeling of feeling sorry for myself, in fact, sometimes I turn it around. and I look at that person walking the dog or running, they go, I actually feel sorry for you because you are not aware of how precarious life is, you are not aware of how this can be taken away from you, you are not aware of how precious it is to just be I live and just see the sky and the birds like that I feel better than you in a way I turned it around I don't want to feel sorry for myself things are people who have it worse I read in the newspaper all the time, you know, cancer, you're in Ukraine or I was dealing a lot with people in Iran right now what they're dealing with.
I don't have to deal with that kind of crap like being in Iran and dealing with that daily life, how horrible, you know, these are thoughts that take you out of the moment where you feel sorry for yourself and you're grateful for certain things, so Those are some of the strategies I've had to create for myself. I find it like this. I guess it's very powerful to hear those strategies because we all get caught up in a narrow perspective and our own subjective feelings that we're suffering or that life is against us and so that haunts us in so many ways, since you had a stroke. brain in 2018.
Is there anything else you learned about the nature of Happiness from that incident that you may not have known before that incident? I don't fully understand now the things I heard you talk about are the importance of a sense of purpose, how perspective and gratitude are critical to feelings of happiness, but are there any other observations you've had? I'm just saying this on my own. Selfish perspective because first I want to know well I don't want to give the impression that I have it all figured out so I'm a work in progress. I have moments where I get so frustrated it's almost like I have Tourette's syndrome.
I can't tell, I'm still four years in and my arm is still like this and I still can't brush my teeth if I want to. I get very frustrated, so I'm getting better, but it's still a work in progress. I don't want to give the impression that I've somehow mastered this because it has mastered me. I have a long way to go but I'm improving a lot. Much better at this day by day. um, you know. I don't know, I think I've touched on everything just in the sense of what about the connection, you talked about your wife, yeah, he helped me a lot.
God bless her soul, she had to take care of me, you know? and I was. Someone who has always made me proud to be independent. He was trapped. That was another thing that was taken away from me. I was traveling all over the world doing book tours, going to book festivals, doing interviews, doing consulting in several different countries. I could still travel, but it required a lot more, so I lost my independence. I had to have someone help me with food every day. I need them to do things for me and I feel really bad because you know she's been put in that position, but she's been very kind about it and understands that she has a lot of empathy because she knows what I've lost, so having someone in your life, If I was alone, I couldn't deal with it, man, I wouldn't have been able to deal with it, it would have just been too much for me.
For me it would have been too depressing, that depression that sucks after a year would have leveled me out, but I couldn't have done it, like that. that that's an incredibly important aspect, just appreciating the little things in life, you know, it's a cliché and I. I hate saying clichés, but you know, I have that feeling almost every day where I look at someone and say, man, that must be it. I'm like riding a bike and I see someone sitting in a park reading a book on a bench. And gosh, it's very fun to be able to do that, I can't do it anymore, but I put myself in his body.
The little things in life that you take for granted, some are filled with so much happiness and It's a joy that you're not thinking about whether that person sitting on a bench reading that book just realized what this person passing by is thinking. , maybe I wouldn't take it for granted, so some of those little things that you don't think about have an incredible effect. It's important at least for me to have lost them, so I don't know if I wish I had something better, but no, I think I can only come from my own experience. I can't make it up.
Your books tend to focus on the nature of the human condition, how we are as humans, for better or worse, and it was interesting because, as you talked about various topics, when you talked about seduction and the complete loss of power and dominance, it was a part. from me, that's what you know, that started to feel a little, I don't know, feel the darkness that is innate within humans, a little too much, maybe that we are a little too artificial, manipulative, conniving and whatever else , me too. I was thinking: Do I really like humans? You know I'm one of them.
No. I am very conscious of trying to separate myself. I listen to people do interviews when they talk about society and I always think that you are the society. I am. I am human, I am all the things you have described in many ways, but your journey of learning about humans and human nature has made you personally more loving toward humans, more optimistic about the human race, or made you the complete opposite. Honestly, maybe it's more loving, but it hasn't made me more optimistic. Well, you know, there are so many things that seem to be going wrong in the world today.
Now it turns out that the form of meditation that I do is Zen meditation and in Zen meditation there is this idea of what is called Tathagata, which means it was another name for Buddha and it means things as they are and one thing that you meditate on is that The world is good, bad, ugly, evil or unfair, it is simply things that are just the way the world is, this is the karmic chain, the wheel of Dharma that has been running for thousands of years, it is simply the state of things, it is that you are discriminating your mind it is your mind that creates all these things let go of that and you will be able to connect to the way the world is withoutjudge it and it becomes a very beautiful place and then part of me wants to think that this is how things are, but part of me says this is not good the way things are and I hope they change, so knowing human nature and Knowing how human nature tends to twist things, every time we invent a new technology, it could be the telephone, it could be television, it could be the Internet, it could be a cryptocurrency or it could be you.
I know that AI tends to twist, obscure, degrade and pervert anything that was once perhaps beautiful or interesting. I am worried about the future, so I became pessimistic and I am worried, but I always think that there is hope with young people. and here I am saying another cliché. I'm going to shoot myself after this interview, but I feel like when I was young I was angry about things I didn't like, like the world was: Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher and Yuppies and ugly, you know, values that I didn't have and I thought that something was wrong.
I was angry and wanted to change it. Young people are still like that and I think a lot of young people from generation Z or whatever it is. Call them, I don't know yet, they are growing up in a world that is not healthy, that is not right and when you are young you have all this energy, all this physicality and you don't like it. I don't feel comfortable in that and I know that many young people don't feel comfortable and at some point they will rebel and say I'm tired of all this virtuality, I want something real.
I want some, I want real experiences, that spirit of rebellion that I see seeds and signs of gives me hope and I hope it continues because I remember I had a dream once, probably the most memorable dream I've ever had, it was maybe about 15 years ago . more or less and I dreamed that I was there in the year 2072 or something like that. I was walking through the year 2072. It was the streets of New York. He was saying, "Wow, everyone looks so happy that humans finally figured out how to make it right in this world." They figured out how to do what matters There's hope in this world that was my moment in that dream This is always stuck in me Maybe that will happen Maybe I don't know I'm not Nostradamus but you know This is what I struggle with, what I struggle with , part of me is pessimistic and part of me looks for Seeds of Hope, particularly in young people, and I really want them to discover that because my generation, previous generations, we have ruined this world with a lot of things.
They are not good at the moment and I hope that the spirit of rebellion, that young energy, comes and kicks the Apple card and says: "to hell with all this, we want a different world." We have a closing tradition on this podcast where the last guest asks a question. a question for the next guest who doesn't know who they are going to ask it for and the question that is left for you to answer is in adult life, when were you happiest and why? and then in parentheses it says: are you like this now and if?
Not because well, I have to say that the happiest moment of my life came at that decisive moment when I was approximately 38 years old and they gave me the opportunity to write the 48 Laws of Power and it came out and my life had changed and that's why the contrast . from being in a small apartment, quite poor, quite desperate, where people were starting to worry about me and suddenly things fell into place and I was having fun and I was having all these adventures and I had a reasonable amount of money without money, the change was so radical. and so dramatic that it was extremely exciting, you know, and it was almost like a drug effect, it was quite intoxicating.
I don't have that now because it was 25 years ago and I'm still coming out of it and the euphoria is gone but I can remember in my body how depressed I was and that feeling and I never lose it. I am very grateful for what I have because I know that it could have been very different so I still feel that initial happiness because I know that if you are successful when you are 24 years old you are not prepared for it, you do not realize how evanescent it can be, so how important it is. I never had that because I struggled for so long and so many years. bad jobs, so the happiness and euphoria are not the same, they don't have the same intensity, but I keep riding that wave because I know where I was before it happened and it's been an incredible ride.
You know my wife, she's been there. With this she says: Can you believe you were having dinner with Stevie Wonder when you were 12? You told me Robert, that was the first album you bought was Intervisions and what did you tell yourself when you were 12? This is what is happening. Wow, I would have gone crazy. It has been an incredible journey. I can't, I can't complain. They took my complaint card away in 1998 when I published that book, so I still feel like I'm still there. feeling the last vestiges of that euphoria from back then, Robert, thank you, thank you very much.
I have been a tremendous admirer of your work for what seems like an eternity in my life and your wisdom, your willingness to confront. Difficult topic that many people would avoid because there is darkness in many of the topics that you have written about in some of your books, but it is very, it is very humanly important, as you say, objectively neutral darkness that just is and that you face that over and over again. again and your work makes it one of the most important jobs that I think anyone could do because it's the work that many of us avoid, but your vulnerability and openness today has also been like a shot in my butt in terms of gratitude and the importance of perception when it comes to our happiness and our sense of self, so thank you very much.
I really enjoyed this conversation more than I could put into words. Thank you very much Stephen, it was a great interview. He was telling me that I've done thousands of these podcasts and I know I can say I've done my ten thousand hours. I can tell a great interviewer from a mediocre interview and you. You're in that Elite category, wow, because you ask really great questions and you're a great listener and it's been a lot of fun, so thank you very much. I appreciate that the opportunity means a lot to me. Thank you Robert. Okay, you're welcome.
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