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Robert Greene Quotes

Robert Greene

Robert Greene quotes: cold-blooded quotes from author Robert Greene.

“Eventually, the time that was not spent on learning skills will catch up with you, and the fall will be painful.”

“Train yourself to take nothing personally.”

“An emotional response to a situation is the single greatest barrier to power, a mistake that will cost you a lot more than any temporary satisfaction you might gain by expressing your feelings.”

“Be the master of your own image rather than letting others define it for you.  Incorporate dramatic devices into your public gestures and actions  –  your power will be enhanced and your character will seem larger than life.”

“Learn to destroy your enemies by opening holes in their own reputations.  Then stand aside and let public opinion hang them.”

“The truth is often avoided because it is ugly and unpleasant.  Never appeal to truth and reality unless you are prepared for the anger that comes from disenchantment.  Life is so harsh and distressing that people who can manufacture romance or conjure up fantasy are like oases in the desert: everyone flocks to them.  There is great power in tapping into the fantasies of the masses.”

“If we play by the rules too strictly, if we take them too literally, we are crushed by those around us who are not so foolish.”

“Imagine yourself years in the future looking back at the work you have done.  From that future vantage point, the extra months and years you devoted to the process will not seem painful at all.  It is an illusion of the present that will vanish.”

“You think you are rational, but you are not.  Rationality is not a power you are born with, but one you acquire through training and practice.”

“Half of your mastery of power comes from what you do not do, what you do not allow yourself to get dragged into.”

“When you are weaker, never fight for honor’s sake; choose surrender instead.  Surrender gives you time to recover, time to torment and irritate your conqueror, time to wait for his power to wane.  Do not give him the satisfaction of fighting and defeating you  – surrender first.  By turning the other cheek you infuriate and unsettle him.  Make surrender a tool of power.”

“Your fear of death is holding you back.  Overcoming it is the ultimate freedom.”

“The way you carry yourself will often determine how you are treated: in the long run, appearing vulgar or common will make people disrespect you.  For a king respects himself and inspires the same sentiment in others.  By acting regally and confident of your powers, you make yourself seem destined to wear a crown.”

“Don’t abandon the skills and experience you have gained; find a new way to apply them.”

“A major source of our misery is that we don’t understand people.  People can’t be reduced to an algorithm.  You can’t figure them out with your smartphone.”

“It is the fool who always rushes to take sides.  Do not commit to any side or cause but yourself.  By maintaining your independence, you become the master of others – playing people against one another, making them pursue you.”

“The person in control is often not the king or queen; it is someone behind the scenes – a favorite, a husband or wife, even a court fool.”

“Anger and emotion are strategically counterproductive.  You must always stay calm and objective.  But if you can make your enemies angry while staying calm yourself you gain a decided advantage.  Put your enemies off-balance: find the chink in their vanity through which you can rattle them and you hold the strings.”

“So much depends on reputation – guard it with your life.”

“The world is dangerous and enemies are everywhere – everyone has to protect themselves.  A fortress seems the safest.  But isolation exposes you to more dangers than it protects you from  –  it cuts you off from valuable information, it makes you conspicuous and an easy target.  Better to circulate among people, find allies, mingle.  You are shielded from your enemies by the crowd.”

“Understand that half the game is keeping quiet, and carefully watching those around you.”

“Absence and presence have very primal effects on us.  Too much presence suffocates; a degree of absence spurs our interest.  We are marked by the continual desire to possess what we do not have – the object projected by our fantasies.”

“Master the art of timing.”

“Many believe that by being honest and open they are winning people’s hearts and showing their good nature.  They are greatly deluded.”

“Never seem to be in a hurry – hurrying betrays a lack of control over yourself, and over time.  Always seem patient, as if you know that everything will come to you eventually.  Become a detective of the right moment; sniff out the spirit of the times, the trends that will carry you to power.  Learn to stand back when the time is not yet ripe, and to strike fiercely when it has reached fruition.”

“You can be brilliant at hacking computers or whatever, but if you’re terrible with people your life is going to be hell.”

“Striking imagery and grand symbolic gestures create the aura of power – everyone responds to them.  Stage the spectacles for those around you, full of arresting visuals and radiant symbols that heighten your presence.  Dazzled by appearances, no one will notice what you are really doing.”

“Win through your actions; never through argument.”

“Your fears are a kind of prison that confines you within a limited range of action.”

“The less you fear, the more power you will have and the more fully you will live.”

“Emotions cloud reason, and if you cannot see the situation clearly, you cannot prepare for and respond to it with any degree of control.”

“Knowing why people do what they do is the most important tool we can possess, without which our other talents can only take us so far.”

“Rely too much on other people’s ideas and you end up taking a form not of your own making.”

“Change is slow and gradual.  It requires hard work, a bit of luck, a fair amount of self-sacrifice, and a lot of patience.”

“Demonstrate, do not explicate.”

“Be royal in your own fashion – act like a king to be treated like one.”

“The less you say, the less risk you run of saying something foolish, even dangerous.”

“If you make a show of going against the times, flaunting your unconventional ideas and unorthodox ways, people will think that you only want attention and that you look down upon them.  They will find a way to punish you for making them feel inferior.  It is far safer to blend in and nurture the common touch.  Share your originality only with tolerant friends and those who are sure to appreciate your uniqueness.”

“Learn to give before you take.  It softens the ground, takes the bite out of a future request, or simply creates a distraction.”

“If you are unsure of a course of action, do not attempt it.  Your doubts and hesitations will infect your execution.  Timidity is dangerous: better to enter with boldness.  Any mistakes you commit through audacity are easily corrected with more audacity.  Everyone admires the bold; no one honors the timid.”

“Those who make a show or display of innocence are the least innocent of all.”

“Humans are extremely susceptible to the moods, emotions, and even the ways of thinking of those with whom they spend their time.”

“Everyone has a weakness, a gap in the castle wall.  That weakness is usually insecurity, an uncontrollable emotion or need; it can also be a small secret pleasure.  Either way, once found, it is a thumbscrew you can turn to your advantage.”

“There is nothing to be gained by associating with those who infect you with their misery.”

“Through Nietzsche, I discovered amor fati.  I just fell in love with the concept because the power that you can have in life of accepting your fate is so immense that it’s almost hard to fathom.  You feel that everything happens for a purpose, and that it is up to you to make this purpose something positive and active.”

“Crush your enemy totally.”

“You must seem a paragon of civility and efficiency: your hands are never soiled by mistakes and nasty deeds.  Maintain such a spotless appearance by using others as scapegoats and cat’s paws to disguise your involvement.”

“Necessity rules the world.  People rarely act unless compelled to.”

“The best deceptions are the ones that seem to give the other person a choice: your victims feel they are in control, but are actually your puppets.  Give people options that come out in your favor whichever one they choose.  Force them to make choices between the lesser of two evils, both of which serve your purpose.  Put them on the horns of a dilemma: they are gored wherever they turn.”

“Always say less than necessary.”

“What is offered for free is dangerous – it usually involves either a trick or a hidden obligation.  What has worth is worth paying for.”

“In general, always make people believe they are smarter and more sophisticated than you are.”

“Your actions must seem natural and executed with ease.  All the toil and practice that go into them, and also all the clever tricks, must be concealed.  When you act, act effortlessly, as if you could do much more.  Avoid the temptation of revealing how hard you work – it only raises questions.  Teach no one your tricks or they will be used against you.”

“Use absence to increase respect and honor.”

“Conserve your forces and energies by keeping them concentrated at their strongest point.  You gain more by finding a rich mine and mining it deeper, than by flitting from one shallow mine to another – intensity defeats extensity every time.  When looking for sources of power to elevate you, find the one key patron, the fat cow who will give you milk for a long time to come.”

“Keep others in suspended terror.  Cultivate an air of unpredictability.”

“Be careful, ever so careful, in trumpeting your own achievements, and always talk less about yourself than about other people.  Modesty is generally preferable.”

“Too much circulation makes the price go down: the more you are seen and heard from, the more common you appear.  If you are already established in a group, temporary withdrawal from it will make you more talked about, even more admired.  You must learn when to leave.  Create value through scarcity.”

“Hesitation puts obstacles in your path, boldness eliminates them.”

“The ending is everything.  Plan all the way to it, taking into account all the possible consequences, obstacles, and twists of fortune that might reverse your hard work and give the glory to others.  By planning to the end you will not be overwhelmed by circumstances and you will know when to stop.  Gently guide fortune and help determine the future by thinking far ahead.”

Related: Gary Keller quotes.

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