I am continuing my series on The 50th Law with Chapter 5: Aggression-Know When To Be Bad. My review of this chapter will probably ruffle a few feathers of some of my more spiritually conscious friends and readers. As a Christian, I grew up learning that I was supposed to be "good" and "to be nice to everyone no matter who they were and what evil deeds they had done, even if they had wronged me." That included the snobby kids at church, the bullies at school and all the murderers and psychopaths New York City possesses. It is probably something I've struggled with since being a child: knowing when it was OK to stop being nice and when it is OK to be bad. Some people will say that I should never be bad or "unpleasant" to other people. But if they have read this chapter of the 50th Law, they would know that 50 Cent greatly disagrees. 50 Cent's history on the streets and in the entertainment world proves this. He is one guy that isn't afraid to be bad and to go after his aggressors or to be the aggressor preying on those who considers fake and weak.
He says that: Life involves constant battle and confrontation. And the inner strength we need in order to face these battles and confrontation comes from experience.
The first step in overcoming this is to realize that the ability to deal with conflict is a function of inner strength versus fear, and that it has nothing to do with goodness or badness. When you feel weak and afraid, you have the sense that you cannot handle any kind of confrontation. You might fall apart or lose control or get hurt. Better to keep everything smooth and even. Your main goal is to be liked, which becomes a kind of defensive shield. (So much of what passes for good and nice behavior is really a reflection of deep fears.)
He then says we need to master the art of knowing when and how to be bad. Being bad isn't as easy as we think, it requires us to be fearless and flexible.
Inside, I groan: What? Be bad?! Why would I want to do that?! I'm not a bad person, I'm a good person, why should I learn to be bad?
But then 50 points out that when the situation calls for it, we can try one of several roles as used by the princes of rival states from the era of Machiavelli:
The lion-aggressive and direct in protecting his state, or grabbing something to secure its interests.
The fox-who gets his way through crafty maneuvers that disguise his aggression.
The lamb-the meek, deferential, and good creature exalted in culture. The lamb is bad in the right way, calibrated to the situation, and careful to make his actions look justified to the public, reserving his nastier tactics for behind the scenes. If he masters the art of being bad, he uses it sparingly and he creates more peace and power for his citizens than the awkward prince who tries to be too good.
We have all been there. There are times when being the good one seems to be a waste of time--especially on those days when we are painfully aware of the knives poking us in the back. 50 Cent and Robert Greene say that these are the moments that we should be assertive and decide our mode of attack (using the lion or the fox or the lamb). He points out the common types of foes and uses the examples of FDR, the Grand Duchess Catherine (or Catherine the Great), Abraham Lincoln and jazz musicians of the bebop era.
The common foes are:
These days I no longer suffer from having to be the good girl all the time. But I am still learning how to be bad. Looks like The 50th Law can point me in the right direction. Cheers!