Five foolish ways we give away our power
The same power that set the planets in motion, that formed matter into mountains and waves, that crafted the flower and the honeybee, resides in each one of us.
The power to create was planted in us by the Creator of heaven and earth. The power to change our circumstances was given to us by the One with the power to change our hearts.
The power to move mountains, the power to create unlimited wealth, the power to heal wounds, the power to conquer injustice, the power to alleviate suffering permeates our cells, illuminates our being.
So why is great accomplishment so rare? Why do we live so far beneath our capabilities? Why does our potential lie dormant? Why do we live so small when we were created to live so big?
Because we give away our power in the following ways:
1. Emotional victimhood
Harboring pain from inflicted wounds gives our power away to our abusers.
We cling to emotional pain as an escape mechanism — as long as we have someone else to blame for our pain, we do not have to take responsibility for our own healing and happiness.
Forgiveness is the act of taking back our power from abusers — power that can then be used to create a life of peace and joy.
2. Impotent language
“I have to go to work.”
“He made me do it.”
“I need to buy this.”
“I deserve it.”
Our power is flushed out through our mouths every time we use language that implies that we do not have a choice, that we are not responsible, that the world owes us anything.
When our kids ask us why we’re leaving in the morning and we answer, “Because I have to go to work,” we are lying to them and to ourselves. We do not have to go to work. We choose to go to work.
Our language reveals the strength of our power — or the lack thereof.
Gossip harms us more than the person we’re gossiping about.
Gossip, like all forms of criticism, is but a desperate attempt to conceal our own weaknesses. We point out the flaws in other people because it deflects our focus from our own.
Our power to change our circumstances is in direct proportion to our power to change ourselves. We cannot change ourselves as long as we focus on how others need to change.
4. Risk aversion
Just as fallow fields must be plowed for seeds to grow, our dormant potential must be unleashed by the plow of failure.
The fruit we bear is the direct result of the cultivation we tolerate. Our seeds of greatness remain seeds until nourished by the mulch of our breakdowns.
Avoiding risk may save us from failure, but it also prevents us from growing.
5. Living without a purpose
James Allen wrote in The Mastery of Destiny:
“Dispersion is weakness; concentration is power. Destruction is a scattering, preservation a uniting, process. Things are useful and thoughts are powerful in the measure that their parts are strongly and intelligently concentrated.
“Purpose is highly concentrated thought. All the mental energies are directed to the attainment of an object, and obstacles which intervene between the thinker and the object are, one after another, broken down and overcome.
“Purpose is the keystone in the temple of achievement. It binds and holds together in a complete whole that which would otherwise lie scattered and useless. Empty whims, ephemeral fancies, vague desires, and half-hearted resolutions have no place in purpose.”
Our light may be powerful, but until it is focused through the magnifying lens of purpose, it cannot spark a fire in the souls of men.
Our power cannot be unleashed until it is first gathered by doing the following:
- Forgiving those who have hurt us.
- Taking personal responsibility for our emotions, actions, and results.
- Being unflinchingly honest with ourselves.
- Taking risks, failing, and persevering.
- Living with a clear and compelling purpose.