The Laws of Human Nature Summary – An average person lives around 80 years in the developed world. That looks like a long time at first glance, but it’s nothing. Life on earth started 3.6 Billion years ago. In comparison, your life looks smaller than an atom. You are not even guaranteed to live 80 years.
You are born, you learn how to walk and talk, you grow up and develop a personality till you hit 18. You get into college, graduate, and your real-life starts there. From the moment you are 22 or 23 till the time you hit 65 is your real-life because, after 65, life isn’t as great as it could be since most people after 65 develop a lot of disabilities.
Your health is going to deteriorate. You cant walk, think or live properly. So while you are in your best years, the question is, how are you spending that time? Are you simply working in a 9-5 job that you hate and waiting for the weekends to finally enjoy life? If you are 25, you have got 2085 weeks left or 40 years. When you count it that way, life isn’t as long as we are led to believe. But the problem is that most people don’t take the best advantage out of it because we are not taught how to live. We go to school and college. We are taught math, physics, chemistry but not life.
One of the best books that can teach you how to take the best advantage out of your life is the laws of human nature by Robert Greene. It’s a masterpiece and unique of its kind.
So here are the 5 most important lessons out of this book that people often learn too late in life. If you are ready, give this video thumbs and let’s dive in.
The Laws of Human Nature Summary By Robert Greene
1. The law of Compulsive Behaviour
You cannot survive in this world alone and definitely can’t accomplish great things without people. People usually present themselves as nice, charming, and hardworking. Don’t let that image distract you from who they really are. Otherwise, you will waste years of your valuable time. People’s character is formed in their earliest years and by their daily habits.
It is what compels them to repeat certain actions in their lives and fall into negative patterns. Look closely at such patterns and remember that people never do something just once. If someone is late to a meeting a few times, for example, they probably always miss deadlines. Just take a look at yourself, you keep repeating the same mistakes over and over, and other people are no different.
Gauge the relative strength of their character by how well they handle adversity, their ability to adapt and work with other people, their patience, and their ability to learn. Always gravitate toward those who display signs of strength and avoid the many toxic types out there.
2. The Law of Short-sightedness
We are marked by a continual desire to possess what we don’t have. As soon as we get something we want, we want something else, a phenomenon that’s known as the grass-is-always-greener syndrome. And even though getting what we want is never satisfying, we still pursue our next want, hoping that one will make us happy. Once we get it, we immediately get bored of it.
Take an example of a relationship. Once you spend some time with your partner, you get bored of her or him so you start looking up to other people. We chose the perfect man or woman and end up alone. There is nobody perfect. Instead, come to terms with the flaws of your partner and accept or even find charm in their weaknesses. Learn the art of compromise. Make the most out of what you have. On the other side, become an object of desire. Learn how to create a mystery around you.
Use strategic absence to make people desire your return, to want to possess you. Letting people know all your likes and dislikes, fears and loves and believing that people should love you for who you are is a mistake because what people really want is their fantasies to be stimulated, but if you become too familiar, there is no mystery and room for imagination. Know when and how to withdraw. Be a little cold and never be needy or never be too obvious with your opinions, feelings, values, or tastes. Let others create a picture of you in their imagination.
3. See through people’s masks
People are like the moon; they only show you one of their sides. People wear masks that show them in the best possible light, especially on social media. Presenting a completely different image than who they really are. They say the right things, smile, and seem interested in our ideas. Politicians are a perfect example of that. However, the reality is that we all wear masks.
Fortunately, the mask has cracks on it. People continuously leak out their true feeling and unconscious desires in the non-verbal queues they cannot completely control, such as facial expression, vocal inflection, tension in the body, and nervous gestures. They present their authentic self especially when they are angry and under pressure when they lose control over their true feelings. If we take their appearances for reality, we will never get what we want.
For example, if someone likes you and is comfortable around you, they will stand closer to you, and not be protective of their body parts by folding their arms. In their tone of voice, you can sense playfulness or a high-pitched sound. If they are indifferent and uninterested, you’ll hear a more monotonous, quiet tone. If someone has deeper feelings for you, such as love, their pupils would dilate and their eyes would widen, a rush of blood to their face will animate them, their lips will seem full and exposed. On the other hand, since appearances are what people judge you by, you must learn how to present the best front and play your role to maximum effect.
4. The law of irrationality
We like to think of ourselves in control of our fate, consciously planning the course of our lives as best as we can. But you are deeply unaware of how your emotions dominate you. They make you look for evidence that proves what you already want to believe. They make you see what you want to see, depending on your mood. And this disconnection from reality is the source of your bad decisions that ruin your life.
For example, to convince ourselves that we came to our ideas and opinions rationally, we go and search for evidence that supports our point of view, but because we unconsciously want to please ourselves, we look for evidence that proves that we want to believe. This is known as confirmation bias. It’s also clear when people are asking for advice. If people find your advice counter to what they think, they will find ways to dismiss your advice. On the internet, it’s easy to find studies that confirm two entirely opposite opinions.
So, don’t simply believe people just because they have supplied evidence but rather examine the evidence yourself with as much skepticism as you can. Or the Halo effect. People who are good-looking generally seem trustworthy. If a person is successful, they are probably ethical, conscious, and deserving of their good fortune. This hides the fact that many people who have built massive fortunes had done that through less moral actions, which they cleverly hide from view.
Or We are tempted to look for explanations for everything. For example, after the 2008 financial crash, people blamed greedy banks, bad regulators, a broken system, etc… but in reality, it was just millions of people making bad investment decisions. There is no explanation other than many people behaving irrationally. There were many people who warned that the crash would happen, but people simply didn’t listen. Rational people learn from their mistakes, they adjust their strategy when it fails, and they constantly achieve victories across their life. Irrational people repeat the same mistakes, always finding excuses for their behavior, and never trying to look for the root of their problems.
5. Transform self-love into empathy
From the moment we are born, we humans feel a never-ending need for attention. We are social animals to the core. Our survival and happiness depend on the bonds we form with others. If people do not pay attention to us, we cannot connect to them at any level. Some of this is purely physical. But this need is also deeply psychological. Through the quality of attention we receive from others, we feel recognized and appreciated for who we are. Our sense of self-worth depends on this. Because this is so important to the human-animal, people will do almost anything to get attention, including committing a crime or attempting suicide. Look behind any action, and you will see this need as the primary motivation.
In trying to satisfy our hunger for attention, we face a problem.
There is so much of it to go around. In the family, we have to complete with our siblings or with classmates at school or with colleagues at work. Since people crave so much attention, you can exploit this human weakness in your favor. Don’t assume you already understand people. Each new person you meet is like a new country with new treasures for you to explore. It’s not easy to explore other people’s thoughts, but feelings and moods are much more visible and easier to read.
Pay attention to the body language and the tone of voice. Instead of judging people and jumping to conclusions, try to look at the things they have done from their perspective. Being emphatic is a long process that requires a great amount of time and patience.
But in the long run, it’s a skill that will help to connect with others on a much deeper level.
These are just some of the ideas from Robert green’s book, the laws of human nature. It’s definitely one of the best books I have ever laid my hands on. I will leave an affiliate link in the description. It is definitely worth your time.