Law 34: Be Royal In Your Own Fashion: Act Like A King To Be Treated Like One

The 48 Laws Of Power Summary Series


“The way you carry yourself will often determine how you are treated: In the long run, appearing vulgar or common will make people disrespect you. For a king respects himself and inspires the same sentiment in others. By acting regally and confident of your powers, you make yourself seem destined to wear a crown.”

Observance Of The Law

Christopher Columbus was an Italian explorer, navigator, and colonizer. Born in the Republic of Genoa, under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean.

The following anecdote summates a portion of the life of famous explorer, Christopher Columbus and how he executed this law.

While Columbus was attempting to fund his legendary voyages around the world many believed he originated from Italian aristocracy. Even his own son described him as a descendant of legendary Roman general Colonius. But this was nothing more than a fictitious fantasy, Columbus was actually the son of Domenico Colombo, a humble weaver who owned a wine shop. Columbus built a legacy on the back of a fantasy him and his family helped create. Early in his life Columbus believed he was destined for greatness, and that he had a kind of royalty in his blood. Accordingly, he acted as if he were descended from nobility.

Using the facade of his noble lineage, he married into an established family that had connections with Portuguese royalty. Columbus had arranged a meeting with the King of Portugual, Joao II who he propositioned to finance a voyage aimed at discovering a shorter route to Asia. Columbus negotiated lofty rights and and titles if his discovery was successful, one of those rights was 10% of future commerce within the discovered lands.

Columbus offers his services to the King of Portugal.

Columbus made these demands even though he had in reality, only been a merchant, knew very little about navigation and never led a group of men before. Though Jao II politely declined the offer he treated him as legitimate, he didn’t laugh at him or question his credentials. In fact, he was impressed with the boldness of his requests, and felt comfortable in the company of a man who acted so regally. This meeting convinced Columbus that his instincts were correct and his audaciousness was smart.

“By asking for the moon, he had instantly raised his own status, for the king assumed that unless a man who set such a high price on himself were mad, which Columbus did not appear to be, he must somehow be worth it.”

A couple of years later Columbus moved to Spain, he maneuvered through the Spanish court repeating the request for the financing of his voyage. After many rejections Columbus would not back down. He then realized the only person that could meet his demands would be Queen Isabella. In 1487 he had managed a meeting with the Queen, he failed to convince her to finance his voyage, but he completely charmed her and became a frequent guest of the palace. After the wartime burden on her treasury lifted, Isabella decided she would adhere to his request, pay for three ships, equipment, and a modest salary for Columbus.

Eugene Delacroix painting ‘The return of Christopher Columbus’; his audience before King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella.

Even though he had hired the best navigator he could find he was unable to find the passage to Asia. Yet even when Columbus proposed the queen finance a second more audacious voyage the following year, she agreed. She had come to see Columbus as destined for greatness…so what happened next? Well the rest is history, Christopher Columbus is now talked about in millions of schools around the world.


While Columbus was a mediocre sailor, he was a master at selling himself.

“Columbus had an amazing power to charm the nobility, and it all came from the way he carried himself. He projected a sense of confidence that was completely out of proportion to this means. Nor was his confidence aggressive, ugly self-promotion — it was a quiet and calm self-assurance.”

In fact this was the same confidence usually exhibited by nobility themselves. This made them feel an immediate affinity with Columbus for her carried himself just the way they did.

Here is the key principle to tie in this long anecdote together.

An example of the common idiom ‘fake it till you make it’.

Keys To Power

“As children, we start our lives with great exuberance, expecting and demanding everything from the world. This generally carries over into our first forays into society, as we begin our careers. But as we grow older the rebuffs and failures we experience set up boundaries that only get firmer with time. Coming to expect less from the world, we accept limitations that are really self-imposed. We start to bow and scrape and apologise for even the simplest of requests.”

So many fall down this path as they let the world beat them into submission.

But how do we accomplish this? Consider this strategy.

People who walk around with this imaginary crown can overstep the boundaries into overconfidence and arrogance. But balanced correctly, the people who wear this crown feel no limitations on what they can or cannot accomplish — they feel unstoppable. Once you really believe you can conquer your own world you start living life with unbridled passion and exuberance that positively influences everyone around you.

But at the same time, this isn’t ‘The Secret’ — yes, bevel in yourself and envision the thing’s you want to accomplish, but simply thinking positive isn’t enough. There’s no way to get around taking proactive consistent ACTION.


If you want to the feelings that come along with being treated like a “king” then you have to earn it.

“Never make the mistake of thinking that you elevate yourself by humiliating people.”

Originally Posted

Self reflective writings & book summaries on philosophy, psychology and human behaviour.

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