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Law 38: Think As You Like But Behave Like Others

In the image: Jack Ma, or Ma Yun, is a Chinese business magnate, investor and philanthropist. He is the co-founder and former executive chairman of Alibaba Group, a multinational technology conglomerate. Ma is a strong proponent of an open and market-driven economy. Wikipedia

If you make a show of going against the times, flaunting your unconventional ideas and unorthodox ways, people will think that you only want attention and that you look down upon them. They will find a way to punish you for making them feel inferior. It is far safer to blend in and nurture the common touch. Share your originality only with tolerant friends and those who are sure to appreciate your uniqueness.

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Keys To Power

  • We all tell lies and hide our true feelings, for complete free expression is a social impossibility.
  • There are people who see such restraints as an intolerable infringement on their freedom, and who have a need to prove the superiority of their values and beliefs.
  • In the end, their arguments convince only a few and offend a great deal more. The reason arguments do not work is that most people hold their ideas and values without thinking about them.
  • Wise and clever people learn early on that they can display conventional behaviour and mouth conventional ideas without having to believe in them.
  • They get to be left alone to have the thoughts they want to have, and to express them to the people they want to express them to, without suffering isolation or ostracism.
  • The logical extension of this practice is the invaluable ability to be all things to all people. People will swallow the bait because it flatters them to believe that you share their ideas.

Reversal

  • The only time worth standing out is when you already stand out — when you have achieved an unshakable position of power, and can display your difference from others as a sign of the distance between you.
  • There is always a place for the gadfly, the person who successfully defies custom and mocks what has grown lifeless in a culture.

Example

478 B.C the fearless and experienced warrior Pausinias and his Greek troops captured part of the Persian empire. Being the overseer of these lands went to his head and he began acting rather strangely, even for Pausinias. He spoke ill of his own people. Feeling and showing superiority breeds hate. His god-complex and constant need to stand out had him killed in the end.

You want to fit in, whether you share common beliefs or not. Being better or different in any way just causes trouble through other people’s envy and disdain. They’ll ostracize you from the group and slander your reputation. How much money do you make? About 70% of whatever they make.

About The Book

The 48 Laws of Power (1998) is a non-fiction book by American author Robert Greene. The book is a bestseller, selling over 1.2 million copies in the United States.

Buy The 48 Laws of Power or Listen to it for FREE on Audible