Weekly Update – A Prince’s Opinions

Welcome back, princes.

This week we’ll focus on just one of our tenets, and its practical implications for you.

A prince does not define himself by his opinions

One of our favourite YouTube celebrities (and by that we mean the one most akin to a personified trainwreck) once went on a rant in which he heartily and vehemently criticised anyone who would dare to criticise him. This tragic prisoner of conscience, this noble rogue was simply sick of people laying into a man such as himself, a man who by the very nature of his beliefs was beyond reproach! We won’t transcribe his entire rant here, that would take more time, energy, and tolerance of logical fallacies than we can muster, but we can give you a tasty sample. And we quote:

“I have said horrible things against people who eat meat… I have said many mean things about rapists, and child molesters, and people who hate gays! You f***ing a**holes! I’m a good guy!”

Poor guy, he meets the bare minimum requirements of moral decency and people still have the nerve to speak against him! What a cruel, depraved society we live in!
And that about fills our sarcasm quota for the month. Now, while this particular individual clearly has some deeper issues (possibly an undiagnosed God complex), the main crime he’s committing in this instance is defining himself by his opinions. Believing that you are your opinions is fallacious, shortsighted and potentially dangerous.

Fallacious because opinions are conclusions, not whole and complete by themselves and therefore not always indicative of the character of the person expressing them. For example, two people might share the same opinion, but while one of them may have arrived at that opinion via a rigorous intellectual journey, taking into account arguments, counter-arguments and statistical evidence, the other may have just jumped on the first argument that satisfied their emotional connection to the topic. Another person might just have that opinion because it’s what their parents believe. Each one of these people has a profoundly different method of judgement, yet share the same opinion, so how can we infer anything about them using that opinion as our sole criterion? Believing you are your opinions does not account for the emotional, experiential and/or intellectual factors that went into their adoption.

Shortsighted because there is a huge gap between having an opinion and living with its implications. Someone might believe that they are charitable because they are of the opinion that we should feed the needy –  should we then define them as charitable, despite the fact that they never gave one cent to charity? Believing something and living that belief are two different things. There exists within humanity a large capacity for self-deception and hypocrisy, and all too often people will espouse one point of view while exercising the practicalities of another.

Dangerous because – well, “dangerous” is a bit of an overstatement. We mean dangerous in terms of social calibration. If you believe that you are defined by your opinions, then you will inevitably become one of those people who introduces themselves at a party, and without further ado, proceeds to itemise all their beliefs on all the political, social and philosophical talking points they can think of. These people have no sense of propriety, no feel for the current mood of the room and leave no air of mystery to themselves; they are completely focused on letting everyone know exactly what they think about everything – how else will they impress people?
Despite whatever intentions they have, these people tend to come across as arrogant, dogmatic and downright exhausting. Not the most attractive personality traits.

A prince is not his opinions. A prince is a complex and original character, full of nuance and mystery, and he does not gush out his deepest beliefs simply to make conversation. A prince is defined by how he lives his life and how much control he takes over it. He is defined by how he treats others; he does not seek their approval to gratify his insecurities.
A prince defines himself.

We hope you found this useful, and would love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Just remember – opinions are not qualities, and should not be treated as such.

Good luck!



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Weekly Update – A Prince’s Priorities

Happy Easter, princes.

Our theme this week is a prince’s priorities as he telegraphs them to other people. We’re not talking about your actual priorities – those are, obviously, your own to decide. But in social situations, your priorities will dictate how you act towards others and how others will act towards you. Some people’s priority is to get drunk. Some people are determined to make a good time of it. Other people sit back and wait for a good time to happen, and if it doesn’t, they leave (we call those people “leeches”).
As far as his friends are concerned, a prince has only two priorities in social situations:

  • Getting things done and
  • Having fun

A prince is not concerned with petty social manoeuvrings. He’s not out to make himself the center of anything, he’s not there to prove something, he’s not there to unload his emotions on people. He’s only there to a) ensure that the logistics are conducive to a good time (eg, venue, music, drinks, transport, seating etc.) and b) have fun with the people around him. He is warm, inclusive, decisive and relaxed. If a complication arises, no problem; a prince doesn’t buy into drama. He handles it, laughs, and goes back to his drink. He gets things done, and he has fun – the rest is noise.

All of this week’s tenets relate to this in some way. So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.

A prince does not belittle his company.

People who put other people down for no reason are not attractive. It’s as simple as that. Making someone feel bad because they’ve said or done something in a way that’s not quite as “cool” as how you would have done it is not only classless, but immature, and it reeks of insecurity. Anyone who sees you doing this and has an inkling of social intelligence will immediately mark you as a snob (assuming they’re not a snob themselves, but this is not a blog about impressing douchebags).
So, don’t put down the people around you; build them up. By being inclusive and welcoming and cognisant of other people’s worth, you show yourself to be secure in your own sense of worth. People will warm to you more easily and respect you more readily.

A prince is never defensive.

If someone makes a joke at your expense, don’t snarl, argue or retaliate with passive aggression. Laugh, call them a dick, and joke back. If someone points out your dorky shorts, go along with it; “The schoolboy shorts? Hey, they make me feel young,” is a much better response than “I have better shorts but they’re in the wash…”
You’re not there to prove anything, remember, just to have fun. A prince’s ego is untouchable to everyone except himself.

A prince is loyal to his friends.

Absolutely paramount to achieving any level of princeliness is loyalty. Loyalty shows that you can be trusted. Loyalty lets a person know that you have their back, that you’ve overcome humanity’s propensity for self-interest and that you are worthy of loyalty in return.
Without loyalty, you cannot be trusted. Without loyalty, you are destined to exist in the fringes of loose social circles, a dispensable novelty, unworthy of time or energy. Even if you’re handsome and brilliant and charming, without loyalty no one will want to stick around you for much longer than it takes to get to know you.

A prince places his friends in the best light.

If ever you find yourself talking with someone about a friend of yours, here’s a great place to practice loyalty. Always highlight your friends’ best qualities; never discuss their faults. If the other person starts to disparage your friend, it’s quite proper to defend them. Chances are the other person will immediately feel bad, apologise, and probably respect you more, because you’ve shown that social pressure has zero impact on your convictions.
Not only is observing this tenet simply the decent thing, it also means that no one can ever call you a gossip or a back-stabber. Placing your friends in their best light shows integrity.

And that’s it for this week. We know you probably knew most of this stuff already, but it always helps to realise that which you have already intuited. Remember: just get things done, and have fun. Leave pettiness to the petty, and have a Happy Easter!



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Weekly Update – What Doesn’t Kill You

…Makes you stronger. It’s trite and cliche, we know, but it’s something many of us forget the meaning of all too often. And it’s an essential lesson.
One of the biggest traps people fall into is choosing the path of safety over the path that will actually teach them something. Who can blame them? The safe road has (seemingly) no unexpected turns, no lurking potholes; it’s comfortable and stress-free.

The only problem is, as pleasant as the safe road can be, it is guaranteed to lead you to two places: ignorance and stagnation. And if ever the safe road runs out and you fall, you will find that your cushioned existence has left you with few tools with which to pull yourself up.

Take risks. Join a sports team. Learn to box or snowboard or abseil. Do anything that will make you just a little uncomfortable. Being a little stressed is part of being engaged with life, and being engaged with life is the only way to make it worthwhile. We grow so much more quickly and in more ways when we’re pushing ourselves, even just a little, each day.

A prince cannot know victory without knowing defeat.

Defeat is an inevitable fact of life. If you play the game, you will get hurt; that is inescapable. But learn to view defeat as a dress-rehearsal for kicking ass, and you will learn so much more than you would watching from the side lines.
We need to fall in order to find our balance. Resilience, determination, adaptability – all these qualities come from simply remembering to learn from your mistakes, rather than lamenting them or letting other people make you feel bad about them.

A prince sees scars as proof of life

It might be ugly, it might not sit well with your mother, but hey, at least no one can ever say you didn’t get out there. And in our current culture of crippling apathy, that is an immense commendation. Besides, it’ll make a good talking point, like a coffee-table book. For your face.

A prince meets bad luck with good humour

Laugh off that black eye. Make jokes about your outrageous parking fine. Not only will it improve your mood, but magnanimity is infinitely more impressive than resentfulness. It shows that you aren’t afraid of living, as so many of us are, and that you’re not about to give up any time soon. Being cheery in the face of adversity radiates strength and cool.

A prince keeps his feet warm and his head cool.

Always be ready to act, but remember to think things through. A lot of risks are worth taking; the rest is just deathwish.
Skydiving is a good risk. Asking out that cute girl at the coffee shop is a good risk. Riding a motorbike without protective clothing is simply asking for a flensed knee. But this is not about letting fear dictate your actions, this is about cost vs. benefit.
When deciding to take a risk, always weigh up what the potential consequences are against what you can actually learn from it. Jumping on your bike in a jeans-and-tee combo, for example, is unlikely to teach you much, except what surgery feels like.

This tenet has other applications, but we’ll touch on them in another post.

A prince knows that, whether winner or loser, the man in the arena lives more than the man in the stands.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

– Theodore Roosevelt.

We’re not sure there’s much more to say here that Teddy hasn’t already. Just remember to recognise the bravery in taking action, even if ultimately fruitless, versus the perverse self-satisfaction of never having failed for never having tried.
And let that last line stick with you. A prince‘s place is never with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

We hope you found this helpful, and we apologise for the delay. Hopefully we’ll be up to a more regular posting schedule next week, so remember to check back on Sunday. Now, get out there and get some scars.



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Weekly Update – Sprezzatura

Welcome back, princes.

We apologise for the delay; a combination of excessive social obligations and technical problems prevented us from updating on our usual Sunday.

This week we’d like to talk about two of our tenets and their roots in the concept of “sprezzatura.”

It’s likely you haven’t heard of this concept, and nor should you have – it was, after all, penned by Italian nobleman and all-round badass Baldasare Castiglione* nearly five-hundred years ago – but you’ve definitely seen it in action, even if you didn’t know it. Sprezzatura is the art of concealing the conscious effort with which you have achieved something, of being nonchalant about your accomplishments and hiding just how much work went into them. It roughly translates as “the art that conceals art.”
Basically, it is what we term today as “cool.” Castiglione’s definition was as much about not showing your enemies your cards as about social grace, but it’s the latter we’ll be focusing on here (although we fully endorse the former).
These two tenets are pretty much all you need to know in order to effectively employ this ancient philosophy.

“A prince knows to conceal the effort with which he achieves”

This is about managing people’s expectations. Your three-pointer will seem a lot more impressive when you haven’t been labouring on about all the sweaty hours of basketball practice you’ve been putting in. Don’t talk about your mind-numbing, soul-crushing study routine, just get an ‘A’ and blow some minds.
And for the love of God, stay off Facebook; people will find your biceps so much more appreciable if they haven’t had to endure the constant gym check-ins. “So wrecked… But keen to get ripped! Bring on mah PROTEIN SHAKE” won’t impress anyone above a certain stage of pubescence.
Just note that the aim here is to conceal, not to lie. If you go around telling people that you didn’t study at all for that 96 you got on the test, you are committing affectation – the complete opposite of sprezzatura.

“A prince lets his abilities speak for themselves”

We know we probably don’t have to tell you not to brag, but it still makes sense to note just how destructive bragging is.
Bragging annoys people. Bragging annoys us. Bragging will make you seem two of three things:

  1. So socially misguided that you think other people’s opinions of your abilities are more important than the reality of your abilities, or
  2. So socially misguided that you think forcing people’s approval of you will somehow endear you to them, and either way
  3. A bit of a dick.

Being gracious and humble about your abilities is a really endearing quality, and even people who don’t get along with you all that well will find themselves starting to like you despite themselves. It’s just so much easier, healthier and more effective than bragging. And it goes hand-in-hand with concealing effort.

Employing these two tenets will make you seem “carelessly awesome” rather than determinedly, doggedly adequate. It’s the difference between being “that douchebag who’s good at sports – just ask him” and being “that really nice guy who just seems to be good at everything.”

We hope you found this update useful and that you’ll check back on Sunday for another weekly update. Now, go make old Baldasare proud (but don’t tell anyone).



*Baldasare Castiglione was an Italian count, soldier, author and diplomat who served in the Gonzaga court of sixteenth-century Mantua.

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New Tenets

Last year, a friend of ours hooked up with a girl he’d been eyeing for months. After that, they started seeing each other on a regular basis, and that’s when things got bad. This girl had a demanding weekly routine of classes, study and sports, and she was rigidly committed to it. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that, but our friend drove himself crazy trying to fit into her schedule. Every time we saw him he was texting her to see when she was free, obsessing over her replies and working on “strategies” to get her to see him more. It got so bad that he caught himself staying up late just so he could wait out the days he didn’t see her in sleep. Clearly, this was not healthy, and it only served to push this girl away from him.

This behaviour was also particularly strange because this was a person who is actually very perceptive and down-to-earth. It got us wondering how such a usually balanced person could be so blindly neurotic.

We’re not going to offer in-depth diagnoses on emotional dependency – we are, after all, not psychologists – but we are confident that following these two new tenets should help you avoid the painful fate of our lovestruck friend.

“A prince does not have time for those who do not have time for him”

As someone with their own life, their own problems and their own goals to see through, you have to be selective on who and what you spend your time on. This kind of temporal triage is essential if you’re going to lead an effective life. What definitely does not fit into this philosophy is sacrificing your well-being to make time for people who do not enrich your life in some way, or who do not need your help, and this is exactly what our friend was doing. He put in countless hours of pining, complaining and obsessing, all over someone who by all accounts had marked him as a low priority. And all it did was end up making him miserable.

“A prince takes responsibility for his emotions”

Another big one our friend failed to observe. By making his girl -not himself – responsible for his emotions, he handed her both a lot of power and a lot of responsibility. Needless to say, this simultaneously weakened his position in the relationship and probably scared the shit out of her.
Being dependent on your parents for money is one thing. Being dependent on someone for your happiness is quite another. It not only places an unfair burden on the other person, it also removes you from control over your life. And besides, nothing kills romantic attraction quite like neediness.

And those are our two new tenets. Let us know your thoughts on this in the comments, and check back on Sunday for our weekly updates.

Good luck!



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Weekly Updates & Propriety

Welcome back, princes.

As you know, the Princely Code is designed to be easy to remember, so that at a critical moment, a relevant tenet will pop into your head and you’ll know what to do.

Now, that’s all well and good, but we are also of the opinion that a depth of understanding will supplement and strengthen a prince’s retention and application of the Code. Therefore, we’ve decided to implement weekly Sunday updates.

Every week we will discuss a different topic, such as:

  • A particular tenet or group of tenets
  • Themes within the Code
  • Sources, values or experiences that have influenced the Code
  • Situations where the Code’s application can really get you results
  • Tips on self-improvement and self-improvement resources

We hope that you find these updates useful. So, to kick things off, let’s briefly talk about a few tenets that are pretty closely related:

“A prince does not blurt intimacies”

This is about situational awareness and propriety. Propriety may seem like an outdated notion, but in social settings it goes a long way when observed. You know that uncomfortable feeling when you meet a girl at a party, and after five minutes, half a drink and zero questions, she’s regaling you with her long and painfully tragic personal history, and even though she’s cute all you want to do is leave? That’s her showing a lack of propriety. When you blurt out stuff that’s very personal to someone you don’t know well, or in a setting that doesn’t call for it, it can make everyone around you feel very uncomfortable, and you will come across as having poor control over your emotions. People naturally gravitate toward those who appear to have mastered themselves, who have carefully organised what aspects of their personalities they reveal to people. These people seem strong, in control, and mysterious.

“A prince asks more than he answers”

This tenet is the flipside of the one we just discussed, and is mainly about forging relationships. Because propriety, these days, is a dying art, most people love to hear themselves talk; facilitating that (with tact and flair) makes them love you.
Apart from helping you avoid giving too much of yourself away (ie. observing propriety), this tenet is a good rule of thumb because the more someone tells you about themselves, the more they feel connected to you and the more they trust you. We’ve met complete strangers at parties – cool, in-control people – that ended up telling us things they hadn’t told anyone in years (or ever), and by the end of the night we were fellow conspirators, with in-jokes and a sparkling rapport. All we did was deflect their questions with jokes, listen to their stories and offer the odd insight, and in one night we’d made a new, loyal friend. Such is the power of asking more than you answer.
Of course, you’re not always going to have the time or inclination to do what we’ve just described. But, even used in everyday conversation, this tenet will help you keep a lid on your personal dramas while putting the people around you at ease; just knowing there’s an insightful, sympathetic ear about has a remarkable effect on comfort levels.

“A prince does not pry”

Just remember that there’s a difference between guiding the conversation (letting someone talk), and prying (asking after very personal or irrelevant details beyond your current rapport). You don’t want people running scared every time they see you walk into the room. We’re sure you know at least one person who thinks they’re being friendly by firing off a hundred personal questions at once, completely oblivious to the fact that they’re making you feel like you’re sitting a particularly invasive exam.

And that concludes our first Sunday Update. Check back next week for another in-depth discussion.

Good luck!



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A Prince’s Welcome

Welcome to the Princely Code, a collection of insights, tips and philosophies for everyday living.

The Code is not here to promote pretensions of aristocracy, but to enable users to live a lifestyle imbued with charm, decisiveness, social aplomb and self-improvement. In short, the Code is our personal cheat-sheet to being awesome.

It is our firm belief that with simple changes in day-to-day attitudes and decision-making, any man can wield the power, grace and confidence of a prince.

Please read the Introduction to see the values and philosophy behind the Code, and visit the How to Use section in order to make the best use of it.

Good luck, fellow princes!



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