403 – Robert Greene: The Laws of Human Nature (Why We Are The Way We Are)

We don’t walk around thinking, “My boss is acting.” “My wife is acting.” “My kids are acting.”

But they are. Whether they know it not.

“Everyone has a character,” Robert Greene said on my podcast. “We have qualities that are deeply ingrained in us. Based on our genetics. Based on our childhood and our parents.”

And this causes patterns in our lives. “Weird patterns that we repeat over and over again.”

I’ll give you an example.

Let’s say I keep going broke (this is a true story). But if I figure out WHY I keep going broke, I can avoid it. I went broke for two reasons:

  1. I had a scarcity complex. I could have millions in the bank and think I was broke.
  2. I thought I was the smartest person on the planet. Because my business was doing well. Then I sold it. So I thought my success equaled some higher intelligence. I was wrong. Once I learned I could be stupid and successful, I stopped making dumb decisions.

Knowing your patterns is a type of freedom. But Robert went further than just knowing his own patterns.

He wanted to know all of human nature’s patterns. So he studied it, broke it down and put it into this new book,  “The Laws of Human Nature”.

“You want to be able to judge people’s character by seeing their patterns,” he said. “Not by looking at their resume or their charming smile or everything that they try and show you. Look at their past and their patterns and they will reveal their underlying character.”

This book will teach you how to be an x-ray machine. And I know I’ll be recommending this book for the rest of my life. And I’m evening giving away copies right now.

So here’s what he taught me. And I’m sure I’ll end up doing a Part Two for this because I’m on my third re-read of this book.

 

1. EVERYONE IS ACTING

“When we were children, we learned how to act. We learned how to smile. We learned how to cry extra hard to get what we wanted from our parents. We’re trained from early on to be actors.”

And it’s non-stop. “We’re continually acting,” he said.

So it’s no wonder we’re tired all the time. Everyday, we wake up and try to be ourselves.

But we’re acting, conforming and playing by other people’s rules. Rules from school, the adults we grew up with, our social circles, etc.

And the influences keep changing.

TV becomes YouTube. Anyone can be “media.” Radio becomes podcasts. The news becomes Twitter and so on.

And that’s just today’s influences. People are designing tomorrow’s influences everyday.  

2. DON’T DENY IT

“The worst thing is to be in denial,” Robert said. “That’s what I’m trying to hit you over the head with in this book.”

Acting = human nature.

“You’ll naturally go, ‘Oh, I’m not like that. I do what I want to do. I don’t listen to other people. I’m independent.’ Well, hell you’re not,” Robert said. “You’re much more of a conformist than you realize. Because that is human nature. You are not immune to this no matter what you tell yourself.”

 

3. KNOW YOUR NATURE (AND OTHER’S)

Robert gave me some examples.

He said, “The ability to judge people’s character is one of the most important skills you can have. It will stop you from choosing the worst kind of romantic partner that will make your life miserable. It will prevent you from hiring people who are charming but slackers or who are out to steal your company from you.”

“Okay, so what’s the first step?” I asked.

“You have to be aware, first of all, that you are conforming, that you are influenced by what other people are doing and saying before you can begin to cut that off.”

 

4. ADMIT IT

So, to recap, first you have to become aware. Then get out of denial. Then admit it.

“You are not a rational human being,” he said. “Admit it.

And he breaks down all the signs of irrational behavior in his book.

“If you realize that you are not rational, that you are largely governed by emotions, you can now begin to divorce emotions from your decisions. And opinions slowly become rational. But your denial is a big problem in all of these elements in human nature. So you are a conformist. When you admit that and realize it now you can begin to work in the opposite direction.”

 

5. DON’T BE EMBARRASSED.

Most of us are bad at judging people because of two things:

1. We don’t know our own characters.

– If we don’t know who we’re playing then how can we expect to understand who anyone else is?

2. We don’t know we’re acting. (That’s actually #1.)

– There’s all this pressure to be your authentic self. So if we admit we’re acting, it’s embarrassing.

But when you realize it’s natural and just part of human nature, you’re free.


These lessons all came from just ONE of the laws in Robert’s book.

He goes into:

“The Law of Aimlessness” / how someone finds their sense of purpose

Robert says, “There’s a voice saying, ‘This is where you should be. This is who you are.’ And as we get older we lose touch with that. We listen to our parents. We listen to the culture at large. And suddenly, we’re 30, 40 years old and we’re a lawyer or we’re in some job that we don’t really connect to. And we’re down sized. And we feel like we’re at a loss. We’re aimless. We don’t know where to go.”

“So what do you do if you’ve lost touch with that voice?”

“You need to reconnect to who you are. You need to look at the things that excite you the most. I call them primal inclinations. It may not be so simple. It may not be so simple as saying, ‘golf.’”

Robert knew when he was 8 years old that he loved writing. But he could never figure out what to write. He started with journalism. Then he tried novels. Then plays and movie scripts. “I could basically say I was a failure in all of those arenas because they weren’t connecting to something meaningful to me. It wasn’t who I was.”

Finally, someone suggested “Why don’t you do a book?”

Now he’s a bestselling author. “So the lesson there is, I kept trying my hand at things that excited me but weren’t quite right until I found the right thing. So you need to experiment. You need to look at what excites you and try your hand at it. If you’re 45 years old and you suddenly lost your job, you’re not in the position to experiment a lot. So what I advise is take the skills you have and apply them in a direction that suits you more.”

He told me about “The Law of Covetousness,” which is about learning how to be desirable.

And “The Law of Fickleness” where Robert teaches you the steps to develop inner authority.

And so on.


There are only certain books that make me feel like I’m getting smarter. I could feel my IQ go up reading this book.

And I want you to have this feeling. Because it’s actually part of full-body health. To feel like you’re improving even if it’s just 1% a day.

So I’m giving away copies of this book. All the details are on my Instagram. And I hope you get one.

Maybe you’ll get the signed copy.

 

  • Excellent James. Ditto on the scarcity mindset thingee. I clung to it for years. Now I release with joy. Life is easier if you nudge into your fears, and own your life.

  • Marco

    AWESOME – hearing Robert Greene is like listening to a wise and caring uncle, thank-you for this great interview.

    • Brenda B. Hedlund

      We all have ambitions to complete having said that we somewhere get disoriented in this today’s fast paced modern society. Let’s acquire your goals come true by helping out to earn atleast $28000 regular monthly. On-line venture that works to meet your needs and earns for you. It gives you convenience to work wherever and drive everyday living in your own way. This gives liberty to spend your time with all your family members and choice to meet all your dreams. It surely is hard to depend upon it because its high giving yet its absolutely true. It is certainly not useless or scam but a good chance to simply turn your living the way you hoped. Home based and make lots of money. Give it a go and make that try really worth >>>> https://sowsesit.tumblr.com

    • Sharon J. Watson

      I am obtaining $49000 per month by freelancing from comfort of my house and you can also do the same. In office workplace job you dont have that freedom that you really need, so company job really sucks. But in Web-based earning, you have the freedom to enjoy your time with your family and friends any time you want and also go on trip abroad together with them any month you want. Here’s the easiest method to start https://finitethut.tumblr.com

    • Marilyn P. Cunningham

      I am getting $30000 per month you could also do the same. In office workplace job you dont have that freedom which you deserve, so office job really sucks. However in Web-based income, you have the financial freedom to enjoy your time with your family members at any time you wish and go on family holiday with them any month you choose. Read more on following page https://pullday.tumblr.com

    • Lily R. Johnston

      I am earning $24000 monthly you could also do the same. In office job you dont get that freedom that you really need, therefore office job seriously sucks. However in On-line earning, you have got the financial freedom to enjoy your time with your family and friends anytime you wish and also go on trip with them any month you choose. Here’s the proper way to start TAILBOTH.TUMBLR.COM

    • Rebecca H. Robles

      I am obtaining $27000 each and every month and you can also do the same. In company work you dont get that freedom that you really need, therefore office job really sucks. But in Internet income, you will have the freedom to enjoy your time with family and friends at any time you like and go on family holiday together with them any month you prefer. Here’s the best method to start https://dogtilly.tumblr.com

  • I’m a big fan of Robert Greene’s work. Thanks for interviewing him!

    • Judith T. Callahan

      I am being paid $52000 each month you could also do the same. In company work you dont have that freedom which you desire, therefore company job really sucks. On the other hand in Online earning, you have the financial freedom to enjoy your time with your family at any time you desire and also go on vacation along with them any month you wish. Here’s the process to start https://kisssee.tumblr.com

    • Marcy S. Ball

      I generally generate nearly $20,000-$21,000 monthly on the net. I got rid of my job after working for the same corporation for a long time. I wanted trustworthy income. I was not interested in the “get rich overnight” packages you see all over the net. Those all are type of ponzi sort of multi level marketing systems in which you have to initially get interested customers and then sell something to friends and relatives or anybody to make sure they will be in your team. Working on line has many benefits like I am always home with the little ones and also enjoy lots of free time with my family members in various beautiful beaches of the world. Here Is what I do> https://isoneter.tumblr.com