What I learnt from Robert Greene
I had the privileged of interviewing Robert Greene. My first dose of inspiration & influence from Robert came many years ago, in my early 20’s in the form of 48 Laws of Power. Never in my wildest imagination would I think that he would give up an hour of his time for Jonny & I to pick his brain on all the curious questions I had for him so since following him. This was a man, who numerous famous rappers and athletes often quote, with a fan base who are at edge of their seats patiently waiting in anticipating for his next piece of work.
To give you background on Robert, he has 5 international best-selling books which includes 48 laws of power, The art of seduction, the 33 strategies of war, the 50th Law & Mastery. Most people would be happy with 1 international best seller he has 5, so this really puts into perspective the type of creativity and skills this man possesses.
So, while I could have chosen 30 lessons, I have broken it down into an essential 5.
To listen to the entire interview use the player below.
Here are my key takeaways:
HAVE AN EYE TO DETAIL
In our interview, Robert quotes himself as being somewhat a “perfectionist”. When he worked on Mastery we wanted to nail it which meant years of research on topics like neuroscience and reading many biographies.
“I want to get into the reality of what I’m describing”
What he finds in unsatisfying books, are many good ideas that the author has not gone deep enough into. They take an easy route, with an interesting first chapter with several good ideas that never go into a deep enough detail, which he describes as being like white flavourless bread.
Roberts advice in this area is to get into the heart of your topic. Make it understandable for the reader or consumer and something they can relate to, find real and practicable.
GOOD THINGS TAKE TIME
By the time his latest and sixth book is complete, the time to completion will be around 4 years which also included 2 years of research. 48 years of power took 2 years to write will his other books have generally been around a 3-year process.
Good things really take time. Robert is true example of mastering your craft and putting the detail into your work. There is no use rushing out an idea half complete. Take the time to put the effort into your work so you can have a true impact on whoever may read or consume it. You only get one chance to make a first impression, so take the time to make it as perfect and complete as possible. It is also your own postcard for the quality of your work.
HAVE FAITH, PERSISTENCE WILL PAY OFF
Roberts career has led him to having over 60 types of jobs as he tried to support himself on his writing mission. He always knew he wanted to be a writer and tried his hand at different types of writing such as journalism and screen play. It took years of trying to figure it out, while also dealing with the stress of having no money and continuing to move forward. His break came when he was 35, when he met a man who would be the producer/packager of his first book. The man would ask for book idea, which Robert would improvise with an idea that would turn into the 48 laws. Robert believes in good luck and fortune, but because of all the experience he had in life and writing, he was motivated to make it.
“If you know what you’re gifted at & know what you want to do, you have to keep trying at different angles. Eventually something will happen if you’re not wasting your time, keep accumulating your skills & you will find the perfect plan to exploit them”
Robert is a true example of persistence and never giving up. Forget the story of an overnight success, everyone has had a path to success. Robert found his at 35, which then took another couple of years to complete his first book, which then took many years to turn into an international best seller. The key is despite his own setbacks he persevered. He didn’t give up, he continued to have faith and build his skills and experiences. When an opportunity came up he was ready for it.
We just never know when it’s doing to be our turn for our opportunity. But when opportunity presents itself put yourself in a position to be ready to grab it with both hands. Continue to get out of bed and follow your dreams and develop, many give up when their opportunity is only an inch or day away.
SELF SATISFACTION IS IMPORTANT
Being a 5-time international best-selling author has put Robert in a position where the accolades from high profile celebrities come flocking in daily. While positive feedback from this section of the world is, what Robert describes as an added bonus like putting a cherry on top of his cake, there are two factors that are most important to him. Firstly, is the satisfaction that he has done the best he can and the responses he gets from the readers of his books, the normal people like you and me. What he finds truly satisfying is when he receives messages that say that people have used his advice and teaching in his book and acted to better their own lives.
A great takeaway right here, are you truly satisfied with your own work. Who are you doing it for? Is it for the aid or inspiration for others? Or are you just looking for attention and accolades?
CREATIVITY WILL COME WITH EXPERIENCE
Just as good things taking time, experience is an area you just cannot buy. Robert speaks about how creativity will come to you naturally as you age. An example he uses is children who are extremely naturally imaginative but lacking experience and logic, which is a time we have all experienced. Robert believes at a certain level of experience, creativity will become a natural occurrence, which will allow you to consider more possibilities by opening your mind to different ways to attacking a problem. He, himself has also has times of frustrations and many times when he steps away from his work his next great idea will come.
So, to use Robert as example, don’t rush to get to the finish line. Embrace life’s journey and allow your experiences in life to help shape your creativity and choices.
Robert Greene was one of my favourite interviews on our show which is now 101 episodes deep. It was like a teacher / student relationship with the hour I shared and I am truly grateful for his time. As mentioned there were more than 5 take away points so please take the opportunity to listen to the entire episode. We also get an insight into the progress of his latest book.
The important take away from Roberts interview is that life can take us through the most unexpected ups and downs. You just don’t know when something lucky will come up but it is very important to be as ready for it as possible. There are so many key take away, but still be you. What worked for Robert may not work or they may work. The important thing is to use them for inspiration and be open minded to try them for yourself and see if they may fit with your personality and goals.
Be sure to continue to follow Robert on his journey