The Laws Broken Down #2

A summary of the ‘Laws of Human Nature’ by Robert Greene

Law # 2 Transform your Self Love into Empathy

Premise : All of us lie somewhere on the scale of narcissism. We constantly seek the rush that comes from people paying attention to us. In a way it makes us feel worthy.

Dilemma: There is only a finite amount of attention one can dedicate towards someone or something. The ‘attention’ shown towards you exists only for a moment and people largely do not care after a certain point.

Solution: To cope with the scarcity of attention available, people form images of themselves early on. It is something they can latch on to when they feel some sort of inner turmoil. Understand where does each person (that you are dealing with) lie in the ‘narcissistic’ spectrum and in turn you will get a better understanding of the image they create. (Greene, 2018, pg. 42 – 43)

Tips for Mastery:

  1. Know the narcissism spectrum and where you lie on it.
    • Deep Narcissists operate at one end of the spectrum. They lack a coherent sense of self or ‘image’ to latch onto when faced with turmoil (a.k.a they lack self-esteem). (Greene, 2018, pg. 43)
    • Functional Narcissists are at the halfway mark (most of us belong to this category). At this point, there is some degree of narcissism involved but there is a coherent sense of self to latch on to.
    • We must achieve to be Healthy Narcissists. These are people who are scarcely affected by the ‘hits’ of attention they get. They do not rely on it and can recoil quickly from tumultuous situations that prick their ego. (Greene, 2018, pg. 47 – 48)
  2. We must strive to master both, Visceral and Analytic empathies. Visceral Empathy is an attempt to understand the emotion that influences people’s intentions. On the other hand Analytic Empathy is to use data from speech, body language and other external factors to analyze and dig deeper. You need to analyze enough to get an insight into childhood trigger points of the person. It is based on the fact that people’s emotions leak into speech and expressions.
  3. Work towards developing these empathetic skills.
    • Interact with more people. More people = More data.
    • Pay attention to ‘direct feedback’ and ‘indirect feedback’. Direct feedback is when people verbally confirm or negate the ‘thoughts’ or ’emotions’ you guessed. Don’t ask them explicitly for feedback but be skillful in your approach. Indirect Feedback is from the rapport you have built with the person. The more ‘comfortable’ they are around you, the more proficient are your empathetic skills. (Greene, 2018, pg. 50 – 53)

To learn more about Robert Greene and his catalogue of work check out his website @

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  • Greene, R., 2018. Laws Of Human Nature. London: Profile Books Ltd., pp.43 to 53.

Published by The Street Pandit

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