Robert Greene quotes page 3
Related to mastering your emotions is the ability to distance yourself from the present
moment and think objectively about the past and the future. Like Janus, the double faced
Roman deity and guardian of all gates and doorways, you must be able to look in both
directions at once.
Outwardly, you must seem to respect the niceties, but inwardly, unless you are a fool, you
learn quickly to be prudent, and to do as Napoleon advised: Place your hand inside a velvet
If the world is like a giant scheming court and we are trapped inside it, there is no use in
trying to opt out of the game. That will only render you powerless, and powerlessness will
make you miserable. Instead of struggling against the inevitable, instead of arguing and
whining and feeling guilty, it is far better to excel at power.
As a leader you may imagine that constant diligence, and the appearance of working harder
than anyone else, signify power. Actually, though, they have the opposite effect: They imply
weakness. Why are you working so hard? Perhaps you are incompetent, and have to put in
extra effort just to keep up; perhaps you are one of those people who does not know how to
delegate, and has to meddle in everything. The truly powerful, on the other hand, seem
never to be in a hurry or overburdened. While others work their fingers to their bone, they
take their leisure.
A Chinese proverb compares friends to the jaws and teeth of of a dangerous animal; if you
are not careful, you will find them chewing you up.
The opposite sex is a strange country we can never know, and this excites us, creates the
proper sexual tension. But it is also a source of annoyance and frustration. Men do not
understand how women think, and vice versa; each tries to make the other act more like a
member of their own sex.
The Crown. Place it upon your head and you assume a different post - tranquil yet radiating
assurance. Never show doubt, never lose your dignity beneath the crown, or it will not fit. It
will seem to be destined for one more worthy. Do not wait for a coronation; the greatest
emporers crown themselves.
Remember: Seduction is a game of attention, of slowly filling the other person's mind with
The Sun. It can only be appreciated by its absence. The longer the days of rain, the more
the sun is craved. But too many hot days and the sun overwhelms. Learn to keep yourself
obscure and make people demand your return.