“We are subject to forces from deep within us that drive our behavior and that operate below the level of our awareness.” -Robert Greene, The Laws of Human Nature
There are no “new” fundamentals.
In the words of best-selling author Jim Rohn, “Truth is not new.”
Contrary to popular belief, there are fundamental laws that determine much of your life: your performance, energy, relationships, health, and success.
If you follow these laws, odds are you’ll naturally achieve success, even attract it.
But if you break these laws, it’s very likely you’ll end up broken, empty, and unfulfilled — even if you do manage to achieve your goals.
Nearly a century ago, the great American author Frank Crane wrote in his book, The Business of Life, “Any human being that will observe the laws of life as carefully as a successful business observe the laws of business will come to that inward poise and triumph which is life’s happiest crown.”
Many people don’t follow these laws at all. They seek to take shortcuts and circumvent the process. Their useless attempts to succeed outside the law will ultimately end in failure. Sad as that is, it’s good news for the rest of us. We can succeed where most have failed. We can achieve what most others won’t.
If you want what no one else has, you must do what no one else does. Or, as my colleague Srinivas Rao wrote: “If you want to live an extraordinary life, you have to give up many things that are part of a normal one.”
If you want to live an extraordinary life, it’s time to upgrade your mindset.
Rise Above the Rest By Admitting Your Faults
I used to think that if I wanted to be the best “__________” (writer, basketball player, husband, Settlers of Catan player, etc.), I needed to be about perfect, and I embraced my pursuit og near-perfection.
The result was always the same: frustration, exhaustion, and emptiness.
I’ve learned I can’t be a perfect husband, writer, basketball player, or anything. Far from it. When I try, I just tire myself out and feel terrible from the constant failure. I especially tried this with girlfriends and romance; I declared I would do anything, and be whatever my partner needed me to be so that we could have a near-perfect relationship. I never could, and I’d end up angry and resentful.
In his new book The Laws of Human Nature, Greene advises readers to understand how irrational, narcissistic, and biased we can be, and almost always are. If we pretend we aren’t, we’ll just remain in mediocrity. But if we admit it…we cut loose the weight and can soar to new heights.
It’s why I failed for so many years as a writer before I finally got the hang of it — I wrote about me, me, me. It was humbling to learn that, the truth is, my readers don’t really care about me…they care about what I can give them and how I can help them. My narcissism and pride prevented me from seeing that.
Admit your faults. Embrace them. Then, take action. Do as best as you can. In the words of author Ryan Holiday: “Ignore what other people are doing. Ignore what’s going on around you. There is no competition. There is no objective benchmark to hit. There is simply the best you can do — that’s all that matters.”
You’re not that great. But that’s OK. Neither am I. But we can do great things by forgetting our silly pride and moving to help others. That’s where success and fulfillment start to come in: by selflessly serving others.
“If you want a billion dollars, help a billion people,” said uber-successful entrepreneur Peter Diamandis. Or as my favorite author of all time C.S. Lewis wrote: “Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”
How To Truly Influence People and Develop Key Relationships
“Influence over people and the power that it brings is gained in the opposite way that you might imagine. Normally we try to charm people with our ideas, showing ourselves off in the best light. But the royal road to influence and power is to go the opposite direction: put the focus on others.” -Robert Greene
Deep down, people don’t really care about you — your accomplishments, your record, your numbers.
They care about how you can help them. And they won’t even listen to you unless they feel that you actually care about them.
Another great lesson I’ve learned so far from The Laws of Human Nature is this: let others be the star of the show. That’s what truly influences people and actually creates a lasting relationships — not a transactional one, but a relationship based on trust and respect.
When I was just starting out writing, I wrote about myself constantly. I mean, I’m great, right? People should know I’m great.
Of course, nobody read. I’d reach out to every blogger, podcaster, and website I could think of, listing all my (mostly exaggerated) accolades as a writer, and how they should post my guest pitch. No on responded, for years.
It wasn’t until I started focusing my message on others that things changed. When I focused on my readers, the numbers took care of themselves. I also paired that with doing dozens of informational interviews where I’d take interesting people out to coffee, shut up, and listen to their wisdom.
Do you want to truly influence others?
Do you want to actually have a relationship with your role models?
Focus on them. Don’t hype yourself up or indulge in self-absorbed talk; focus on them, and the influence and relationships will follow.
“Change Your Circumstance By Changing Your Attitude”
You attract what you are.
You find what you search for. If you’re always looking for the bad, the unfair, the I-knew-it-was-too-good-to-be-true, make no mistake:
You’ll always find it.
Anton Checkhov, considered to be one of the greatest short story fiction writers in history, had a rough upbringing.
Born in rural poverty, his father beat him and his 5 siblings constantly, forcing them to work day and night in the family-owned grocery store. It got so cold, the ink in Checkhov’s pens would constantly freeze, making it impossible to do his schoolwork.
Checkhov’s father eventually spent the grocery store into bankruptcy, abandoning the rest of the family to go live with Checkhov’s older brothers. His brothers would send him letters, telling how terrible and awful their father was, and probably always will be.
Checkhov had a choice — he could commiserate and join in, embracing his terrible circumstances and his lot in life. But he didn’t. “Why do you refer to yourself as my ‘worthless, insignificant little brother?’ Don’t you know where you should be aware of your worthlessness? Before God, perhaps…but not before people. Among people you should be aware of your worth.” Even Checkhov was surprised at his kind tone.
Checkhov realized his father’s terrible cycle — born a lowly serf and beaten by his father, he employed the same behavior with his children. Checkhov saw this cycle, and chose to broke it. He adopted a new attitude, and went on to become a world-famous writer.
The rest of the story is outlined in The Laws of Human Nature. I can relate to Checkhov’s story; there are similar truths and cycles in my family history. Fathers and relatives have carried dysfunction to children for generations. I could’ve continued the cycle, but didn’t. I went to therapy, counseling, and chose a new life for my wife and future kids.
This isn’t some feel-good story; Checkhov felt tremendous pain and hurt from being abandoned by his father.
But Checkhov turned tragedy into triumph, a common behavior of many of the world’s most successful, influential people throughout history.
If you want to change your circumstances, change your attitude first. External changes are always preceded by internal decisions; results come after action.
Change your attitude, change your life.
There are ancient laws and fundamentals that, if followed, can bring wonderful abundance and success to your life.
You don’t need to follow these rules to get success. There will always be lucky people who are blessed with fortune without earning it.
But in his book The Richest Man in Babylon, George Clason wrote how unearned gold either makes wanton spenders who develop insatiable tastes, or hoarding misers who know they don’t possess the ability to replace it.
Instead of ignoring the fundamental laws of success and behavior — like most people do — choose to utilize them to your advantage.
Rise above the rest of the pack admitting that you’re not that great — but you’re working on it. Share what you’ve learned so far. Report back from enemy territory, as Stephen King wrote, and tell us what you learned.
Truly influence people by giving, not using them for selfish gain. Listen to them. Serve them. Nobody cares about you — they care about how you can help their life. So help them.
Finally: upgrade your attitude. A bad attitude basically guarantees you’ll never achieve true success. But if you want to change your circumstances, change your attitude first.
(P.S. This post contained some Amazon Affiliate links to help pay for how ridiculously expensive rent in L.A is)
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If You Can Master These Ancient Laws About Yourself, You’ll Become Unstoppable was originally published in The Mission on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
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Author: Anthony Moore