One of my previous blog posts, dated December 3, 2014, is titled “A Lawyer Should Help You Attain Freedom and Power”. This current post is the second of what will be three posts on this subject of power.
Also, one of my favorite statements attributed to Gandhi is: Be truthful, gentle, and fearless. This, in my view, should be the golden rule for each of us. I am trying diligently to teach my kids that they should strive to be powerful in life, but at the same time treat other people ethically and with kindness. In other words, be truthful, gentle, and fearless.
This power element boils down not to allowing other people to frame your reality. If someone criticizes you, gives you a demand or directive, etc., your first reaction should be not to respond within that other person’s framework.
Letting yourself be controlled by the other person’s framework is, for example, having your initial response be “Oh no, that person is mad at me” or “I must have done something wrong” or “I better be careful and not make this other person upset with me”, etc. This is a weak response.
By contrast, the more powerful response is to begin by evaluating another person’s comments first within your own framework. My main point is not to turn any other person’s comment immediately into self-criticism or self-doubt about your response to life.
And, this more powerful response I am suggesting does not mean in all cases merely a close-minded, hardline, knee-jerk opposition to what someone tells you. Rather, it means you take control of your initial response by generally considering (i) possibly the other person is correct as to their comment, suggestion, or criticism or (ii) maybe there is some fragment or useful portion in the other person’s comment you might need to consider or (iii) maybe the other person is simply 100% wrong.
Also, this power element is not merely academic. My view is that this approach to power allows a person to enjoy life and have a more satisfying reaction to inevitable disagreements, criticisms, conflict, etc., that are a normal part of life.
Finally, two of the saddest characters in all of literature, in my opinion, are Willy Loman in the play Death of a Salesman (Arthur Miller) and George Babbitt in the novel Babbitt (Sinclair Lewis). Each of these characters demonstrates so powerfully the sad, unhappy mistake of maintaining such a persistent, engulfing concern about what others think about them. The complete antithesis of power.