Over the past few days I’ve had the chance to observe a number of different people in various situations where they got to exert power and/or where they believed they had the chance to demonstrate their power.
What was really fascinating to me was to watch how some of these saw “power” as something that primarily involved taking. They appeared to think that by taking something from others, they were demonstrating their power… and in a sense, I guess they were. They were demonstrating that they had the capabilities to take something from someone else.
However, in every instance I observed this behavior, the individuals in question clearly demonstrated (to the reflective observer) a vast range of insecurities and metaphorical “big red personality buttons” that just made me want to go out and press them so that I could make them do stuff like a proverbial wind-up toy.
It also struck me that I didn’t think of any of these individuals as powerful in and of themselves and that is where the gist of this thought remained. Specifically, when I observe power dynamics and I see certain people whose entire understanding of power involves taking–then they seem to me to totally have misunderstood and failed to grok what power and being powerful is all about.
To be powerful is to be able to give something to someone. It doesn’t matter what this something is–it could be time, money, attention, whatever. But the conscious choice by someone to give something to another freely comes from an inner power that stands in stark contrast to these more desperate-seeming acquisitors of power.
Power/will/force of personality comes from a confident and secure core that generates power on its own.. and therefore does not need to take from others… to take.. or the belief that by taking you become powerful implicitly lets others know deep down that you don’t actually have power within you–because otherwise, why would you need to steal what you perceive to be power from others.
And that’s Sunday’s thought for the day..