What can we learn about human nature and the way the world works from reading history? ;This has …
• Seduction: is a very social game of getting outside of yourself and listening to other people. It’s about absorbing their energy and getting inside their world. We live in times where people are just so damn self-absorbed that they’re not able to muster up the energy to look away from their smartphone and their own problems to look inside another person.
A great seducer is able to create moments. Now, they can’t be happening all the time because it’s too much. You have to time it, have to calibrate it, space it out a bit. There have to be surprises. There have to be moments where the other person sees you do something that they didn’t expect.
Seduction involves a degree of surprise, which is generally the first thing that disappears after you’ve been in a relationship, and why there’s no more seducing that goes on. Everything is familiar and you’re no longer surprised by the other person.
Great seducers orchestrate surprise and never let the relationship become too familiar and boring.
There’s the obvious direct form of getting power (using violent force), which is you go kill somebody or you rob someone, which exists more in the past. But since we’re social animals and live in large groups, in most cases you can’t be obvious and direct in how you get what you want. People will resent you, they’ll think you’re a monster or you’re just way too aggressive. So people learned to be indirect. And that’s where deception comes in.
A lot of it has to do with how easily we judge things by appearances. If someone appears to be saintly, if someone appears to be nice, well, then that’s who they are, that’s who they must be. Our first reaction isn’t to tell ourselves, ‘Well, maybe that person who seems so nice, he or she’s actually playing a game, they’re wearing a mask. They’re doing it for a reason.’ It’s very hard for us to think like that in those terms. We’re very gullible.
Once you can fake honesty (to play a role); you can start acting.
It’s a path. It’s never the case that you wake up and know ‘This is exactly what I have to do.’ You try things out, some things work, some things don’t work. You find your way by actively going in a direction. Eventually, something clicks. ‘Ah, this feels right, I’m going to pursue it.’ And that’s how you know.
An apprenticeship in the old days was about seven to ten years, and that’s pretty much how it is now, because that’s how long it takes to become extremely skilled at what you do. I want you to think of those years after you finish your schooling as your apprenticeship.
It’s a self-directed time of diving into your subject where you focus on learning above all else, and gain the fundamental skills.
Don’t take the job that offers you the most money. You’re after learning. You’re after skills. If you take that one idea, and you carve it into your brain, it’ll change every decision that you end up making when you’re young. Learning is what’s going to make you a master. By your early 30s, if you play it right, you’re going to be able to write your own ticket because you have the kind of skills that are so necessary in this world.
We live in a time of opportunity where mastery is more possible than ever because of the amount of information that we have available to us. What it took Leonardo da Vinci 10 years to learn about human anatomy, we could learn in five minutes on the Internet.
At the same time, the world we live in actually makes it harder because there are so many distractions. It’s so hard to focus and so hard to be patient.
You might think, ‘Well, that’s not possible anymore.’ Who’s the master that we venerate the most in our contemporary times? I would have to say it’s Steve Jobs. This was a man who believed 3,000% in the power of Focus. He would disappear, go into his office, meditate, close the door, no one could come in and see him. He would think deeply on whatever problem it was he was trying to attack.
What happens to people is, as you get older, you start getting conventional. We get tired, we get conservative. It’s so much easier to just apply rules and procedures and formulas that we’ve learned. You don’t have to try something different which is risky and people might criticize you for it.
It’s so much easier just to settle in and do what everyone else is doing. They don’t enter the next phase towards mastery, which is the creative phase.
– Robert Greene is The New York Times bestselling author; 48 Laws of Power, The Art of Seduction, The 33 Strategies of War, The 50th Law and Mastery.