As we progress through the 48 Laws of Power, or in this case the 48 Laws of Marriage, you will begin to see a web being spun; laws connecting, splitting off of, and running parallel with other laws. As you study these laws, take time to reflect on the sum of the lessons and see the tapestry they weave. It is not enough to be a master of one law and forsake the others. You must be well-versed in all 48 Laws in order to successfully implement them in your life.
To put it another way, having large, strong biceps are great, but only having large, strong biceps is worthless. It should be a part of a greater whole. Now onto Law 5…
Creating & Guarding Your Reputation
Law 5 states “So much depends on your reputation. Guard it with your life.”
This might seem hyperbolic, but it’s completely true. Men of the past were so protective of their reputations that they would sometimes fight to the death to protect them.
The reason for such a protective attitude was because a bad reputation severely limited your future opportunities. This was before we had such an extensive legal system. A man was only as good as his word. If he reneged on his promise to you, you either had to deal with it or force him to follow through.
While today’s legal and cultural climate is drastically different that it was 100 years ago, some of the same principles of human psychology still apply, with some significant tweaks…
Guarding your reputation requires regular surveillance, maintaining strong frame, and understanding group dynamics. We won’t go into maintaining strong frame since it’s been covered multiple times in previous articles.
Understanding group dynamics when protecting your reputation is highly beneficial. Alpha men intuitively know how people think and perceive others which makes their good reputation seem effortless. Learning this for yourself is part observing and part applying. Find the alphas in a social setting (it won’t be difficult) and see what they do, how they talk, what they’re wearing, etc. Make mental notes of what makes them really stand out and charm others and begin integrating it into your own persona.
Do they have a sharp wit?
Do they seem to know everyone in the room even if they just met?
Can they enrapture others with their stories?
All these traits build your reputation up. Couple this with a strong character (moral code, dignity, and honor) and you have a solid reputation that everyone will recognize.
Be warned, however, that there is a correlation with a strong reputation and the attacks that will be made on it. You must be wary of this fact and do what you can to protect yourself against these attacks. Jealous rivals will attempt to undermine you behind your back making false claims and insults to gain the upper edge. It is up to you to determine how these rivals will be dealt with. For the more analytical types reading this, you can break down rivals into three different categories, each with different approaches to dealing with them:
- Those with lower reputations than yours should simply be ignored. Challenges an inferior lends them more credence that they deserve. When you challenge an inferior, you’re placing them on your level.
- Those with equal reputations can be either ignored, challenged, or befriended. Going behind someone’s back is cowardly so the rival is risking his own reputation more than yours most times. Openly challenging your rival can greatly increase your own reputation, but be cautious on how you challenge him. Befriending a rival is also an acceptable outcome as it keeps the peace and allows for mutual benefit.
- Those with greater reputations should be either challenged or befriended. These are the greatest threats as they already have the advantage over you. Either cut them down quick or make nice with them so they move onto someone else.
Defining Your Reputation
Unfortunately, some aspects of your reputation are somewhat fluid or subjective. In some circles, you might be known as the confident playboy while in others you’re just the obnoxious jerk.
While you can’t effectively control others views on your general personality (not without changing who you are), you can influence how they perceive your moral structure.
- Do you do what you say you’re going to do?
- Do you speak poorly of others behind their backs?
- Do you step forward when someone needs a helping hand?
- If you owe a friend, do you pay them back as soon as you possibly can or do you drag it out?
To put it another way, people may think you’re jerk -not much you can do about that sometimes- but they should at least know you’re a jerk who’s going to do what they say they’re going to do and has the dignity to call others out on their bullshit. They don’t have to like you, but they should respect you.
Furthermore, having a reputation for being a jerk nowadays doesn’t quite have the same impact as it used to. Many men have accepted their shitlord status with gusto and have enjoyed immense success because of it. They’ve taken a gamble with their reputation by embracing what is commonly viewed as negative traits and used them to increase their reputations.
Is it necessary to go so far as to have the reputation of being an arrogant jerk? No. Boiled down to its essence, this jerk mentality that’s so pervasive in the red pill community is nothing more than good old fashioned pride, dignity, confidence, and directness wrapped in a bad boy persona. The bad boy persona isn’t required, but it also isn’t as ostracizing as it used to be.
Remember, don’t be constantly chasing every small slight against you, especially if it falls within the realm of subjectivity. Some people will think you’re the greatest guy in the world while others might think you’re scum, but all should agree on what are the core tenets of your character. THAT is your true reputation.
Applied to Marriage
This law translates over pretty easily to marriage. Your reputation with your wife is going to determine how smoothly your marriage flows. If you’re revered as the calm, competent leader of the household able to guide the ship through any storm, your wife will defer many issues to you and shit test you less.
If, however, you have a reputation of being unreliable, lazy, indecisive, etc. your wife won’t respect you and make life generally more difficult for you. Consider it your wake up call that you’re shirking your duties somewhere. If your own wife is against you (what’s worse, she’s destroying your reputation behind your back), then how do expect to have a respectful reputation amongst anyone else?
- Don’t chase the petty slights to your reputation.
- For the characteristics that do matter to you, be above reproach.
- Do not be afraid to embrace a bit of the jerk persona. It can serve you well.