The Daily Laws

The Daily Laws offers a page of refined and concise wisdom for each day of the year, in an easy-to-digest lesson that will only take a few minutes to absorb. Each month centers around a major theme: power, seduction, persuasion, strategy, human nature, toxic people, self-control, mastery, psychology, leadership, adversity, or creativity.

January: Your Life's Task

January 1: Discover Your Calling

Everyone holds his fortune in his own hands, like a sculptor the raw material he will fashion into a figure. But it’s the same with that type of artistic activity as with all others: We are merely born with the capability to do it. The skill to mold the material into what we want must be learned and attentively cultivated.—JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE

January 2: Reconnect with Your Childhood Obsession

Daily Law: You were obsessed with it as a child for a reason. Reconnect with it.

January 4: It Is Already within You

Daily Law: Ask someone who recalls your childhood what they remember about your interests.

January 6: Change Is the Law

You are flexible and always looking to adapt. If change is forced upon you, you must resist the temptation to overreact or feel sorry for yourself.

January 7: Money and Success

Daily Law: Concentrate on maintaining a high sense of purpose, and the success will flow to you naturally.

January 10: Embrace Your Weirdness

The most courageous act is still to think for yourself.—COCO CHANEL

Daily Law: Always stick to what makes you weird, odd, strange, different. That’s your source of power.

January 13: Master the Small Things

Daily Law: When in doubt, focus on the things you know you do well. Expand outward from the center.

January 17: The True Source of Creativity

Daily Law: Work at what connects to you emotionally and ideas will come to you.

January 18: Stop Being So Nice

Daily Law: Keep in mind that power lies in asserting your uniqueness, even if that offends some people along the way. Study your Shadow side today.

January 20: See Mastery as Salvation

You are contributing to the most important cause of all—the survival and prosperity of the human race, in a time of stagnation. And you must convince yourself of the following: people get the mind and quality of brain that they deserve through their actions in life.

January 21: Depending on Others Is Misery

Daily Law: It is simple: depending on others is misery; depending on yourself is power.

January 22: Use Resistance and Negative Spurs

You want to embrace negative experiences, limitations, and even pain as the perfect means of building up your skill levels and sharpening your sense of purpose.

January 29: Become Who You Are

Some people never become who they are; they stop trusting in themselves; they conform to the tastes of others, and they end up wearing a mask that hides their true nature.

February: The Ideal Apprenticeship

February 1: Submit to Reality

Daily Law: Learning how to learn is the most important skill to acquire.

February 9: Redefine Pleasure

One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself.—LEONARDO DA VINCI

February 11: Enter the Cycle of Accelerated Returns

Daily Law: Everything worth doing has a learning curve. When it gets hard, remember the goal: reaching the cycle of accelerated returns.

February 13: How to Learn Quickly and Deeply

Assuming this sensation of inferiority, your mind will open up and you will have a hunger to learn. This position is of course only temporary.

February 14: Move Toward Resistance

Daily Law: Invent exercises that work upon your weaknesses. Give yourself arbitrary deadlines to meet certain standards, constantly pushing yourself past perceived limits.

February 15: Concentrated Practice Cannot Fail

In other words, concentrated practice over time cannot fail but produce results.

February 21: Create the Need for You

Necessity rules the world. People rarely act unless compelled to. If you create no need for yourself, then you will be done away with at the first opportunity.

February 26: Venture Outside Your Comfort Zone

Daily Law: Try the thing you don’t think you’re quite ready for.

March: The Master at Work

March 4: The Creative Process

Daily Law: Imagine yourself years in the future looking back at the work you have done. From that future vantage point, the extra months and years you devoted to the process will not seem painful or laborious at all. Time is your greatest ally.

March 5: Look Wider and Think Further Ahead

“Look wider and think further ahead” must be your motto.

March 6: The Gift of Our Original Mind

Daily Law: Do what the mind wants to do—explore, entertain, and embrace new ideas.

March 7: Keep the Mind Moving

Like a child, find something new to be absorbed by, something worthy of concentrated attention. Do not waste time on things you cannot change or influence. Just keep moving.

March 10: Knowledge Is Your Superior

Daily Law: Knowledge is always progressing. Don’t let your ego fool you. You are always knowledge’s inferior.

March 11: Intensity of Focus

Daily Law: It is not your studies that will bear fruit but the intensity of your attention.

March 17: These Powers Can’t Come Cheaply

When you look at the exceptionally creative work of Masters, you must not ignore the years of practice, the endless routines, the hours of doubt, and the tenacious overcoming of obstacles these people endured.

March 21: The Universal Master

Daily Law: Extend your knowledge further and further, leading to wide-ranging connections.

March 24: The Mind as a Muscle

whenever we work hard at a problem or idea, our minds naturally narrow their focus because of the strain and effort involved.

April: The Perfect Courtier

April 5: Remake Yourself into a Character of Power

Daily Law: Remake yourself into a character of power. Working on yourself like clay should be one of your greatest and most pleasurable life tasks. It makes you, in essence, an artist—an artist creating yourself.

April 7: Do Not Be the Court Cynic

Wax, a substance naturally hard and brittle, can be made soft by the application of a little warmth, so that it will take any shape you please. In the same way, by being polite and friendly, you can make people pliable and obliging, even though they are apt to be crabbed and malevolent. Hence politeness is to human nature what warmth is to wax.—ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER

April 8: Master Your Emotional Responses

Daily Law: Displaying anger and emotion are signs of weakness; you cannot control yourself, so how can you control anything?

April 15: Create a Cultlike Following

Daily Law: People have an overwhelming desire to believe in something. Become the focal point of such desire by offering them a cause, a new faith to follow.

April 22: Sow the Seeds of Doubt

Daily Law: Destroy your rivals with rumors.

April 25: Enter Action with Boldness

Daily Law: Timidity is dangerous: Better to enter with boldness. Any mistakes you commit through audacity are easily corrected with more audacity.

April 27: Despise the Free Lunch

Friends who offer favors without asking for payment will later want something far dearer than the money you would have paid them.

May: The Supposed Nonplayers of Power

May 3: Judge Them on Their Behavior, Not on Their Words

Daily Law: What you want is a picture of a person’s character over time. Restrain from the natural tendency to judge right away, and let the passage of time reveal more and more about who people are.

May 10: Don’t Mistake Extra Conviction for Truth

Daily Law: When people try to explain their ideas with so much exaggerated energy, or defend themselves with an intense level of denial, that is precisely when you should raise your antennae.

May 15: The Machiavellian Gift

Daily Law: Although we often view other people’s actions in the most cynical light, we rarely see the Machiavellian element of a gift, which quite often hides ulterior motives.

May 19: Demanding Equality

Daily Law: Many of those who demand equality across the board are actually deploying another power strategy, redistributing people’s rewards in a way that they determine. Judge and reward people on the quality of their work.

May 29: Nothing Personal

Daily Law: Judging people by their actions and not taking them personally will free you up, help you keep your emotional balance.

May 30: Everyone Wants More Power

Daily Law: When in doubt, assume that people are doing what they are doing and saying what they are saying because they want more power, not less.

May 31: Know Who You’re Dealing With

Daily Law: What possible good can come from ignorance about other people? Learn to tell the lions from the lambs or pay the price.

June: The Divine Craft

Iceberg Slim is one of my favorite authors. To Iceberg, the world is divided between hustler and sucker. You are either one or the other. The sucker has no angles on life, no sense of the art of indirection, and can only make one stupid play at a time. The hustler always aims for the angles, learns how to play them, and becomes an artist in the game.

June 3: Take Control of Your Image

Daily Law: Never let people think they have you completely figured out. Create some mystery around you.

June 6: Play Your Role Well

Realize the following: the word personality comes from the Latin persona, which means “mask.” In public, we all wear masks, and this has a positive function.

Daily Law: We are all actors in the theater of life and the better you play your role and wear the proper mask, the more power you will accrue.

June 12: Use the Surrender Tactic

Daily Law: If you find yourself temporarily weakened, the surrender tactic is perfect for raising yourself up again—it disguises your ambition; it teaches you patience and self-control, key skills in the game.

June 15: The Art of Presence and Absence

Absence diminishes minor passions and inflames great ones, as the wind douses a candle and fans a fire.—FRANÇOIS DE LA ROCHEFOUCAULD

Daily Law: If you are too present and familiar, always available and visible, you seem too banal. You give people no room to idealize you. But if you are too aloof, people cannot identify with you.

June 16: Get Others to Play with the Cards You Deal

Daily Law: There is a saying: if you can get the bird to walk into the cage on its own, it will sing that much more prettily. Give people options that come out in your favor, whichever one they choose. Force them to make choices between the lesser of two evils, both of which serve your purpose.

June 22: Control What You Reveal

Daily Law: Powerful people impress and intimidate by saying less.

June 26: Never Conventional

Daily Law: Make a point of breaking the habits you have developed, of acting in a way that is contrary to how you have operated in the past; practice a kind of unconventional warfare on your own mind.

July: The Seductive Character

July 2: Delay Satisfaction

Daily Law: The essence of the Coquette lies not in the tease and temptation but in the subsequent step back, the emotional withdrawal. That is the key to enslaving desire.

July 4: The Empathic Attitude

Daily Law: Let go of your tendency to make snap judgments. Open your mind to seeing people in a new light. Do not assume that you are similar or that they share your values.

July 9: Make Them Want to Spoil You

Daily Law: Wild independence has a provocative effect on us: it appeals to us, while also presenting us with a challenge—we want to be the one to tame it, to make the spirited person dependent on us.

July 12: Flout Their Expectations

Daily Law: Keep some dark corners in your character, flout expectations, use absences to fragment the clinging, possessive pull that allows familiarity to creep in.

July 23: Pay Attention to Detail

Daily Law: Lofty words and grand gestures can be suspicious: Why are you trying so hard to please? The details of a seduction—the subtle gestures, the offhand things you do—are often more charming and revealing.

July 24: Make Them Fetishize You

Daily Law: Your own image and presence are materials you can control. The sense that you are engaged in this kind of play will make people see you as superior and worthy of imitation.

July 28: Communicate to People’s Senses

Daily Law: Pay more attention to the form of your message than to the content. Images are more seductive than words, and visuals should actually be your real message.

July 31: Poeticize Your Presence

Daily Law: Never be ordinary or limited. In poetry (as opposed to reality), anything is possible.

August: The Master Persuader

That’s the mistake 98 percent of people who write books out there make. They don’t think about the reader. They assume that the reader is as interested in the material as they are. You have to seduce the reader. You have to persuade them that what you have to say is worth the time. That’s why I tell stories.

August 2: Play on Their Competitive Spirit

Daily Law: Your attempts at influence must always follow a similar logic: how can you get others to perceive what you want them to do as something they are choosing to do?

August 3: Make Them the Star of the Show

Daily Law: In conversation, try getting others to do 70 percent of the talking without them noticing, and see the effect.

August 10: Anchor Their Ego

Daily Law: When people feel secure about themselves, when you anchor the ego they front, they are disarmed and maneuverable.

August 11: Master the Art of Insinuation

Daily Law: Insinuation is the supreme means of influencing people. Hints, suggestions, and insinuations bypass people’s natural resistance. Make everything suggestive.

August 13: Penetrate Their Minds

Daily Law: You may have brilliant ideas, the kind that could revolutionize the world, but unless you can express them effectively, they will have no force, no power to enter people’s minds in a deep and lasting way. Be strategic in your messaging.

August 18: Make Them Feel Your Point

Daily Law: Your goal must be to make them literally and physically feel your meaning, rather than pouring words over them.

August 22: The Lure of the Unfamiliar

Daily Law: When a person or an object is familiar, we have a bit of disdain. But when it’s distant and alluring and mysterious and something out there that we don’t have—that sparks our desire. That’s the key to any sort of marketing or soft sell.

August 23: Find Their Thumbscrew

Daily Law: Everyone has a thumbscrew, a gap in the castle wall. Once found, it is a thumbscrew you can turn to your advantage.

August 25: Cultivate the Third Eye

Daily Law: Create the aura of authority by seeming to possess the godlike ability to read the future. This is a power that can be practiced and developed and applied to any situation.

August 27: Transform Yourself into a Deep Listener

Daily Law: Transforming yourself into a deep listener will not only prove more amusing as you open your mind to their mind but will also provide the most invaluable lessons about human psychology. The secret to this: finding other people endlessly fascinating.

August 29: Infect People with the Proper Mood

Daily Law: As social animals, we are extremely susceptible to the moods of other people. Use this power to subtly infuse into people the appropriate mood for influencing them.

September: The Grand Strategist

To the ancient Greeks, far more harm is caused in this world by stupidity and incompetence than outright evil.

September 1: Elevate Yourself Above the Battlefield

Daily Law: Tactical people are heavy and stuck in the ground; strategists are light on their feet and can see far and wide. Where are you on that spectrum?

September 9: See the Larger Dangers That Loom in the Future

Daily Law: Overcome the natural human tendency to react to things as they happen, and instead train yourself to step back, imagine the larger things taking shape beyond your immediate vision.

September 11: The Warrior’s Creed

Daily Law: Sometimes in strategy you have to ignore your greater strength and force yourself to get the maximum out of the minimum. Even if you have the technology, fight the peasant’s war.

September 18: The Piecemeal Strategy

Daily Law: Have a clear sense of your objective, but then identify the small composite steps. Now, attaining your dreams is easy: step-by-step.

September 21: Get Them to Reveal Their Intentions

Daily Law: Suppress yourself in conversation. Let others talk endlessly.

September 23: Develop Your Fingerspitzengefühl

Daily Law: Get your mind into the habit of making lightning-quick decisions, trusting your fingertip feel. And you will develop this by knowing as deeply as possible all the details in any situation.

September 26: Let Go of the Past

Daily Law: Think of the mind as a river: the faster it flows, the better it keeps up with the present and responds to change. Obsessional thoughts and past experiences (whether traumas or successes) are like boulders or mud in this river.

October: The Emotional Self

October 1: The Primary Law of Human Nature

Daily Law: Accept the nature you share with others. Stop separating yourself out as special or superior.

October 2: There’s Nothing Stronger Than Human Nature

Daily Law: Refusing to come to terms with human nature simply means that you are dooming yourself to patterns beyond your control and to feelings of confusion and helplessness.

October 7: Rationality: A Simple Definition

Daily Law: How would you rate yourself on this scale?

October 10: Think for Yourself

Commandment: You need to think for yourself and not be tied to what other people have told you is reality.

October 12: See Things as They Are, Not as Your Emotions Color Them

Daily Law: Life demands the utmost in realism, seeing things as they are. The more you can limit or compensate for your emotional responses, the closer you will come to this ideal.

October 16: Test for Envy

Daily Law: If you see such looks in the first few encounters with someone, and they happen more than once, be on the lookout for a dangerous envier entering your life.

October 20: See Beyond the Moment

Daily Law: Instead of merely reacting, step back and look at the wider context. Consider the ramifications of any action you take. Realize that is often better to do nothing, to not react, to let time go by and see what it reveals.

October 24: Know How Little You Know

Daily Law: When it comes to the ideas and opinions you hold, see them as toys or building blocks that you are playing with. Some you will keep, others you will knock down, but your spirit remains flexible and playful.

October 28: Move Closer to What You Envy

Daily Law: Remember that few people are as happy as the image they present. See past their facades and you will appreciate what you have.

November: The Rational Human

Rationality is not about tamping down your emotions. It’s about creating a beautiful harmony between the thinking process and the emotional animal parts of our nature.

November 2: Keep Free of the Emotional Whirlpool

Daily Law: Remember that you have only so much energy and so much time. Every moment wasted on the dramas of others subtracts from your strength.

November 7: Practice Mitfreude

Daily Law: Internalize other people’s joy. In doing so, we increase our own capacity to feel this emotion in relation to our own experiences.

November 11: Ascend the Mountain

Daily Law: Manufacture the effect of time by giving yourself an expanded view in the present moment.

November 14: Project Saintliness

Daily Law: If people largely judge others by appearances, learn to take control of the dynamic by adopting the appropriate persona. An air of humility, even saintliness, always works well. Avoid any indication of hypocrisy or superiority in this.

November 19: Destiny

Daily Law: You’re destined to accomplish great things, and by thinking that, you will create a self-fulfilling dynamic.

November 22: Embrace Whatever Happens to You

Daily Law: Embrace all obstacles as learning experiences, as means to getting stronger.

November 25: Transform Self-Love into Empathy

Daily Law: We are all narcissists, some deeper on the spectrum than others. Our mission in life is to come to terms with this self-love and learn how to turn our sensitivity outward, toward others, instead of inward.

November 28: Make the Past Come to Life

Make use of the excellent books written in the last hundred years to help you gain a feel for daily life in particular periods (for example, Everyday Life in Ancient Rome by Lionel Casson or The Waning of the Middle Ages by Johan Huizinga).

Daily Law: People were experiencing their present moment within a context that made sense to them. You want to understand that from the inside out.

November 30: Advance with a Sense of Purpose

Daily Law: In a world where so many people are meandering, those with a sense of purpose spring past the rest with ease and attract attention for this. Find yours and elevate it by making the connection as deep as possible.

December: The Cosmic Sublime

December 2: A Most Improbable Occurrence

Daily Law: This causes us to view our present existence as an individual, something we take for granted, as a most improbable occurrence, considering all of the fortuitous elements that had to fall into place.

December 3: Turn and Face Your Mortality

Daily Law: By becoming deeply aware of our mortality, we intensify our experience of every aspect of life.

December 4: The Universe Is within You

Daily Law: The grandeur of the Universe is truly within us.

December 6: Alive Time or Dead Time?

Daily Law: Never waste a minute. Make today your own—whether you’re stuck in traffic, sick in bed, or working long hours.

December 8: Connect to Something Larger Than Yourself

Daily Law: You can try something similar as you age, by returning to places of your youth or childhood, feeling the passage of time all around you, and connecting this to the eternal cycles of nature of which you are a part.

December 10: See the Whole

Daily Law: When you look at the world, stop fixating on all the separate forms you see and view it as all one—one throbbing, pulsating web stretching from 4 billion years ago to the present, with you as a tiny but necessary speck on a single thread.

December 12: Life and Death

We are afraid of the old age which we may never attain.—JEAN DE LA BRUYÈRE

Daily Law: By connecting to the reality of death, we connect more profoundly to the reality and fullness of life. By separating death from life and repressing our awareness of it, we do the opposite.

December 17: Let the Impermanence of It All Sink In

Daily Law: Today, pretend you are seeing things for the last time.

December 18: Have a Sense of Urgency and Desperation

Daily Law: We must think of our mortality as a kind of continual deadline, giving a similar effect as described above to all our actions in life.

December 20: Know What Matters

You act like mortals in all that you fear, and like immortals in all that you desire.—SENECA

December 22: The Ultimate in Stupidity

There are only three events in a man’s life; birth, life and death; he is not conscious of being born, he dies in pain and he forgets to live.—JEAN DE LA BRUYÈRE

December 27: Amor Fati

Daily Law: We put this into practice by continually seeing events as fateful—everything happens for a reason, and it is up to us to glean the lesson.