The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene

The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene

Author:Robert Greene
Language: eng
Format: epub, mobi
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Published: 2018-10-22T16:00:00+00:00

The Grandiose Leader

If people with high levels of grandiosity also possess some talent and a lot of assertive energy, they can rise to positions of great power. Their boldness and confidence attract attention and give them a larger-than-life presence. Mesmerized by their image, we often fail to see the underlying irrationality in their decision-making process and so follow them straight into some disaster. They can be very destructive.

You must realize a simple fact about these types—they depend on the attention we give them. Without our attention, without being adored by the public, they cannot have their high self-opinion validated, and in such cases the very confidence they depend on withers. To awe us and distract us from the reality, they employ certain theatrical devices. It is imperative for us to see through their stage tricks, to demythologize them and scale them back down to human size. In doing so, we can resist their allure and avoid the dangers they represent. The following are six common illusions they like to create.

I am destined. Grandiose leaders often try to give the impression that they were somehow destined for greatness. They tell stories of their childhood and youth that indicate their uniqueness, as if fate had singled them out. They highlight events that showed from early on their unusual toughness or creativity, either making such stories up or reinterpreting the past. They relate tales from earlier in their career in which they overcame impossible odds. The future great leader was already in gestation at a young age, or so they make it seem. When you hear such things you must become skeptical. They are trying to forge a myth, which they themselves probably have come to believe in. Look for the more mundane facts behind the tales of destiny and, if possible, publicize them.

I’m the common man/woman. In some cases grandiose leaders may have risen from the lower classes, but in general they either come from relatively privileged backgrounds or because of their success have lived removed from the cares of everyday people for quite some time. Nevertheless it is absolutely essential to present themselves to the public as highly representative of the average man and woman out there. Only through such a presentation can they attract the attention and the adoration of large enough numbers to satisfy themselves.

Indira Gandhi, the prime minister of India from 1966 to 1977 and 1980 to 1984, came from political royalty, her father Jawaharlal Nehru having been the first prime minister of the country. She was educated in Europe and lived for most of her life far apart from the poorer segments of India. But as a grandiose leader who later became quite dictatorial, she positioned herself as one with the people, their voice speaking through her. She altered her language when speaking in front of large crowds and used homely metaphors when she visited small villages. She would wear her sari as local women wore them and would eat with her fingers. She liked to present herself as “Mother Indira,” who ruled over India in a familiar, motherly manner.


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