As a long time Robert Greene fan, I was surprised but not shocked to hear he teamed up with 50 cent to pen a book. And what a book it is. He always steps outside the norm and encourages others to do the same.
The 50th Law: A source of inspiration, motivation, and unforgettable thoughts on wellness…and control.
Certain excerpts made me feel like Greene and Jackson were speaking directly to me. The shyness excerpt, for example…
For those of you in the US, enjoy your holiday off! I’m working (writing) today 😉 If you’ve read The 50th Law, I’d love to hear your thoughts or favorite parts. Cheers.
“As a child you paid extra close attention to what they said about you, modeling your behavior to win their approval and love. You closely monitored their body language to see what they liked and didn’t like. Much of this had a tremendous impact on your evolution. If, for example, they commented about your shyness, it could easily strengthen any tendencies you had in that direction. You suddenly became aware of your own awkwardness and it stuck inside you. If they had said something different, trying to encourage you in your social skills and draw you out, it might have had a much different impact. Either way, shyness is a fluid quality—it fluctuates according to the situation and the people you are around. It should never be felt as a set personality trait. And yet these judgments from parents, friends, and teachers are given inordinate weight and become internalized.
Many of these criticisms and opinions are not objective at all. People want to see certain qualities in you. They project onto you their own fears and fantasies. They want you to fit a conventional pattern; it is frustrating and often frightening for people to think they cannot figure someone out. Behavior that is considered abnormal or different, which may very well be coming from somewhere deep within you, is actively discouraged.”
“…you could easily rebel and rediscover your individuality. You could stop deriving your sense of identity and self-worth from others. You could experiment and push past the limits people have set for you. You could take action that is different from what they expect. But that is to incur a risk. You are being unconventional, perhaps a bit strange in the eyes of those who know you. You could fail in this action and be ridiculed. Conforming to people’s expectations is safer and more comfortable, even if doing so makes you feel miserable and confined. In essence, you are afraid of yourself and what you could become.
There is another, fearless way of approaching your life. It begins by untying yourself from the opinions of others. This is not as easy as it sounds. You are breaking a lifelong habit of continually referring to other people when measuring your value. You must experiment and feel the sensation of not concerning yourself with what others think or expect of you…You drown out their voices that often translate into doubts inside you. Instead of focusing on the limits you have internalized you think of the potential you have for new and different behavior. Your personality can be altered and shaped by your conscious decision to do so.”
Robert Greene and Curtis Jackson, The 50th Law