Appealing to People’s Self Interest

This is something I’ve been thinking about today and I believe this is law #13 in the book The 48 Laws of Power.

If you want to get ahead in life, you have to appeal to people’s self interest. Unless you live on an island with Wilson the volleyball, then this doesn’t apply to you.

What I mean by appealing to people’s self interest is that you have to figure out how to make other people help you get the most out of life without directly asking and how to get them to notice your existence.

We are all self interested but the extremity of it varies from person to person. We all do things as a form of self interest like help others because it makes us feel good. Notice how we only do it because it makes us feel good. But there are many people out there who will only do things for people if there is some kind of benefit primarily just for them.

These are the kind of people we have to learn to understand the most and comply with. Why? Because they don’t understand yet why we should help others without thinking, “what’s in it for me?” Of course, every decision we make is always self interested and is done for our own benefit. Deciding not to decide is even our self interested decision. But that’s normal. What isn’t normal and in my opinion is just fucked up, is when we will only do things if we are the only ones who benefit from it first.

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I reactivated my personal Facebook account. The moment I did this, I just felt a surge of negative energy. It’s not from Facebook itself, but from the people I know who abuse it on a daily basis.

I did a little experiment.

When I first reactivated my account and posted a couple of things I thought would be of help to others in the same way it has for people on WordPress, I received a lot of negative responses. Not many likes or “Hey, glad you’re back on Facebook.” I realized that the people I know that spend their lives on Facebook are completely different than the bloggers I communicate with on WordPress. And because I’ve been off Facebook for so long without having the ability to like or comment on their shit, these people still disregarded my existence, even when I offered something of value. They may have liked what I posted but because I didn’t show them some kind of interest of their existence first, they didn’t show any to me.

I decided to see what would happen if I just appealed to the interest of people I know on Facebook by randomly liking their posts and agreeing/telling them what they wanted to hear. It felt really shitty to do but I was curious to see what happened and guess what, they all started to pay a lot of attention to me. I thought, “Wow”. Here I was trying to post what I felt to be of value to people when I first logged on but in order for me to actually get their attention, I had to be a fake and manipulative jerk by trying to appeal to their self interest first. I had to completely disregard my own wants first to get what I wanted in the end.

This experiment didn’t last long because quite honestly, it started to fuel a lot of bad energy in me and I wasn’t down for that. I really started to look down on people but realized that not everyone is like that and it’s not anyone’s fault really, it’s just how things are in this world. It’s a game in life and we just have to abide by the rules.

Many people are not aware of their own self interest and so they do selfish things in an unhealthy way that do affect others. This includes voicing opinions with the intent on being right all the time. And also appearing as a victim to some circumstance thinking people actually care when they don’t because like I said, most people are self interested and usually don’t want to help people who directly ask for help by appearing as a victim.

I still have my Facebook account open to post pictures for family but I’ve learned to not interact with most of the people that spend ridiculous amounts of their time on it because I already know what kind of energy they mostly possess.

So really, if you want to get ahead in life more than just being a genuinely good person, you have to appeal to other’s self interest first, regardless if you disagree. Because in the game of life, you are either an Edison or a Tesla. If you don’t know the story between those two, should read law #7 about getting others to do the work for you but taking credit.

And if you want to know more about law #13 without having the book, check out this pretty legit summary of it I came across today here. But in all honesty, pick up The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene, you won’t regret it. Cheers!



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