Read All Of Ron Swanson's Pyramid of Greatness Here

ron swanson pyramid of greatness guide

Park And Recreation’s Ron Swanson developed his own personal system for achieving success in the Swanson Pyramid Of Greatness – read all about his surefire method here. While Parks And Recreation only received mixed reviews for its first season, it soon blossomed into one of the sharpest, funniest comedies on TV. This was helped in no small part by the terrific cast, which included Amy Poehler, Chris Pratt, Aubrey Plaza, and Adam Scott.

Park And Recreation’s Ron Swanson quickly became a cult character of his own, due to Nick Offerman’s deadpan performance. His odd quirks and motivational quotes made him the breakout character of the show, but despite appearing humorless and aloof he’s also shown to care about the people he works with - even if he thinks they're idiots. He also has his own personal recipe for success, which he summarises in the Ron Swanson Pyramid of Greatness.

Related: Parks And Recreation: Where Are They Now?

The Ron Swanson Pyramid of Greatness is explained in the first episode of Park And Recreation season 3, where he teaches it to a group of kids he’s coaching for basketball. Let’s break down his sure-fire route to personal greatness, level by level.

pyramid of greatness Parks and Rec

Level 1

Honor: If you need it defined, you don't have it.

Level 2

America: The only country that matters. If you want to experience other "cultures", use an atlas or a ham radio.

Buffets: Whenever available. Choose quantity over quality.

Level 3



Welfare avoidance

Level 4

Teamwork: Work together as if your life depends on it... IT DOES!

Selfishness: Take what's yours.

Haircuts: 3 acceptable styles: High and Tight, Crew Cut & Buzz Cut.

Greatness itself: The best revenge. The only entry that repeats the overall title.

Level 5

Discipline: The ability to repeat a boring thing over and over again.

Attire: Shorts over 6" are capri pants. Shorts under 6" are European.

Self-reliance: Trust yourself.

Suspicion: Do not trust anyone else.

Skim milk: That's right. It's on here twice. Avoid it.

Level 6

Cow protein

Pig protein

Chicken Protein

Romantic love

Deer protein


Level 7

Intensity: Give 100%. 110% is impossible. Only idiots recommend that.

Torso: Should be thick and impenetrable.

Old wooden sailing ships: They're beautiful.

B.O: Cultivating a manly musk puts your opponents on notice.

Stillness: Don't waste energy moving unless necessary.

Skim milk: Avoid it.

Cursing: There's only one bad word: Taxes. If any other word is good enough for sailors, it's good enough for you.

Level 8

Friends: One to Three is sufficient.

Property rights: They exist. Do not let them be taken away from you.

Masonry: Building Walls makes you strong. Defending them makes you even stronger.

Cabins: Places to rest that are made of logs.

Perspiration: Only sweat during physical activity or love making. No emotional sweating.

You: You are your biggest ally and your worst enemy, at the same time.

Crying: Acceptable at funerals and the Grand Canyon.

Physical Fitness

Level 9

Frankness: Cut the B.S.

Capitalism: God's way of determining who is smart and who is poor.

Facial hair: Full, thick and square. Nothing sculpted. If you have to sculpt it, that probably means you can't grow it.

Living in the woods: Live off the land.

Rage: One rage every three months is permitted. Try not to hurt anyone who doesn't deserve it.

Security: Secure the land.

Poise: Sting like a bee. Do not float like a butterfly. That's ridiculous.

Handshakes: Firm, Dry, Solid. 3 seconds.

Body grooming: Only women shave beneath the neck.

Swanson’s Pyramid of Greatness emphasizes certain points, like the avoidance of skimmed milk and fish meat, which he believes is practically a vegetable. Honor is obviously at the very top of the pyramid, but other important ingredients to maximum personal achievement include a proper haircut and thick facial hair, woodwork, a firm handshake and selfishness.

In reality, Swanson’s Pyramid of Greatness probably isn’t a great recipe for success, but it does give a unique insight into the character’s headspace. Parks And Recreation’s Ron Swanson is considered one of the greatest supporting characters to ever appear on a comedy series and his Swanson Pyramid of Greatness is a great illustration of why that is.

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