Monday, December 8, 2014


In the last post I made a connection between Power and Survival. And since the topic is Belief, maybe it's time to begin the connections.

What is Power?

This isn't about electricity or horsepower, I mean personal power. It's that thing mom and dad always used to enforce decisions. And teachers and big kids. It seems those early meanings of power largely define the way many of us still see power today as adults. And so it shows up as the means to control others. It also seems that the automatic reaction to fear is control. Now I'm not talking about the panic of being attacked or a real life threatening situation. I'm referring to that fear that is present, perhaps under the surface, therefore not measured, which makes me want to control the situation, usually by trying to control other people.

What I just described is something very familiar to me and perhaps to you. Again, what I have described is mostly unconscious behavior. I have a definition of Power I'm not clear about, that I'm trying to use unconsciously to deal with other people in an unaware controlling or manipulative way in order to feel safe from a threat I haven't clearly identified.

If that is hard to follow, that's totally understandable. And it actually illustrates the ability people have to confuse themselves into unconsciousness about their choices and behaviors.

Now I'll bet you don't trust yourself when you think you're confused. So, if a person doesn't know their feeling is afraid, react to it unconsciously by controlling and has to meet with a customer or a boss or a spouse, what are the chances of having a successful experience with the most important people in our lives?

I've gotten by in such situations. But in truth they were always corrosive to the relationships in question. So let's talk about doing something that isn't better. Better than poor is probably still lousy. Lets' talk about doing something different.

I claimed at the outset that this would be about Belief. So in order to investigate that an agreement about definitions is critical. There's no use exploring ideas if we have individual understandings of the words. The first is Power.

If my definition of Power comes from age 5, adult life is going to be difficult. Power as I am using it means having the ability to exert my energy in a specific direction. (You math people might relate to a vector).

And I know I have Power because I am breathing and that isn't possible without it. Further, I can choose to do one of three things with that Power. I can give it away, as most of us have done in situations where we have felt suitably threatened, thinking someone else will protect me. The next thing I can do is use it like the bullies do, against someone else. I hope you'll agree that neither of those is likely to produce a worthwhile result for me.

The third thing I can do with my Power is use it for my own benefit. And when I do that, I make my life better. And the interesting side effect is that all the people who are important to me also benefit; some directly, some indirectly.

Someone who has this Power and is willing to use it as described in the last case can use that Power to identify his/her feelings. In that case, I discover what it is I am actually afraid of and how serious is the threat I'm facing. Specifically what do I need the Courage to face? And I can use my Courage to take the appropriate action to deal with the fear. There is no need to avoid, control or manipulate.

None of this is possible without being aware of what I think and how I'm feeling. And my definition, in this case, of Power is actually a Belief in how things are. In a way, this is a building block of my mythology.

C'mon back for the next piece. See you soon.

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