The 50th Law: Intense Realism-See Things For What They Are

I am continuing my series on the 50th Law today concentrating on the first chapter which calls for us to "see things for what they are" or "face reality." One of the major tenets of the 50th Law is to face one's fears and to approach life and people with total fearlessness.  Not an easy feat.  This book also calls for you to look at your own life and your reality with a fearlessness that requires bravery and full concentration.  If I have not said so before, this book is not for the faint of heart.  This book calls into question every decision and life choice you have ever made---good and bad---and makes you question your future.  All of which require that you tap into that fearless side of you.

I find that as I am reading the 50th Law, I not only reflect on my own life experiences but also how I could have done things better had I known what I know today.  My grandfather would always say that experience was the best teacher, and of course he was right.  And I can say, if only for myself, that some of the more poignant lessons were learned after one has been back-stabbed or kicked in the behind.  After the sting of the lesson, it is usually one that you will not forget.  The hard part is to remove the emotion out of those experiences and rest fully on the reality of it all.  Indeed, there is a fine line between growing wiser and growing bitter.

I think to conquer one's fear, we must first understand what fear is.

Fear is a natural response to life felt by both humans and animals. It is designed to stimulate physical responses so that we can retreat in time to avoid danger. Once the threat is over, you must let go of one’s fears or you will find that you cannot eat or sleep. Animals recognize this, but many humans do not. We then allow the fear to remain inside of us and shape how we see the world. We become fearful of life and think of every event in terms of risk. We exaggerate the dangers and our vulnerability, focusing solely on the adversity that is always possible.

[50th Law, pages 4-5]

But knowing what fear is is only a small step in making progress.  We have to also understand why fear is so important in our lives and why it is necessary to conquer this fear in order to move forward.  Robert Greene and 50 Cent offer us a new harsh reality of the world, one that we all know subconsciously, but are often too afraid to admit to:

The reality of the world now is that it is a global, competitive environment in which everyone is a ruthless hustler, out for him or herself---essentially no different from the grimy and dangerous streets of any violent and urban neighborhood.

[50th Law, page 32]

I think the older we get, the more we realize this.  I think this is an important lesson most learn in their twenties, a few lucky people realize it sooner during the angst of our teenage years.  This especially hit home for me when many of the friendships I made as an adult were rife with competition and in some cases outright ruthlessness to stay ahead of the pack and prevent anyone---even their dear friends---from surpassing them.  I learned this lesson the hard way.

Knowing this, you may ask, what can be done about it?  Some people may even ask how knowing this may help them.  I think Greene and 50 Cent have the best answer.  They tell us to face reality and not to turn our backs from it.  By facing and accepting reality we can become fearless and are stronger because of it.

The greatest danger we face is really ourselves---allowing our minds to grow soft and our eyes to grow dull. It is so easy to fall into a world of daydreaming and fantasies, or to become complacent when things are going well.

[50th Law, page 33]

In the end, all we have is the reality of the world we live in. If we ignore it, we will fall prey to our reality and lose everything. Living in reality calls for us to wak up and assess ourselves, the people in our lives and the direction our lives are headed in the coldest, most brutal light as possible and to do it without fear. [50th Law, page 33]

This chapter also points out the six keys to fearlessness, all of which are fully expanded upon on within the first chapter.  I will list the six points but if you want more insight, you will have to read the book.

The keys to fearlessness are:

Openness-rediscover curiosity Expansion-know the complete terrain Depth-dig to the roots Proportion-see further ahead Sharpness-look at people’s deeds, not words Detachment-reassess yourself

[50th Law, pages 36-44]

I encourage anyone who hasn't to pick up this book and read it for yourself.  I think that most people believe that because 50 Cent is a hip hop artist and is as notorious for his past as a drug dealer as for getting shot nine times, that he may not have much to share.  This would not be correct.  If anything, he has so much more to share.  It isn't by luck that a young man from the streets leaves a dangerous life, survives a shoot out and builds a multi-million dollar empire.  If it were, we would all be able to do it.  Whether or not you are fan of his music or his antics, I think that anyone could be a fan of this book.  It is a book that simply cannot be missed.