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Power is a funny thing. When we don’t have it., we want it. When we have it, we want more of it. But the funniest thing about power? We all have tons more power than we could ever imagine. We have stores and stores of it. We have vast reserves of power, like fresh water under the oceans, that we never, ever tap, because we don’t know how to get to it. I’m going to show you how to get to it, how to use it to better yourself, and possibly most importantly? How to use it to build even more power. Essentially, perpetual motion of your power. Join me. This is going to be an enlightening ride.
So… I give you Peter’s ten laws for gaining, using, and increasing your power.
10) All power starts from within you. Look at those who you believe to be powerful. Perhaps it’s your boss, your mentor, perhaps it’s the lady at the gym currently warming up with your max. These people all have one thing in common – They know the power is already inside them. The phrase “Good things come to those who wait” doesn’t apply here. In fact, it rarely applies. You know who good things come to? Those who work their asses off to get it. Want to lift more weights? Start lifting more weights. Want to run faster? Start running faster! (Yes, that really works. Running faster builds up your muscles and endurance to let you… wait for it… run faster.) The key here is to never assume that just because you can’t do something now doesn’t mean you don’t have the power to do it. Quite the opposite – You do have that power. You just haven’t correctly tapped into it yet. This works for every interaction in your life. Keep reading.
9) Frustration is a spectacular “dowsing rod” for increasing your power. You know what a dowsing rod is? It’s that stick that looks like a “Y” that people use to lead them to water underground. I tried it once. It’s kinda freaky, but it actually worked. Anyhow, the greatest dowsing rod I know of for finding your power is frustration. Mad that you didn’t get the promotion? Use that anger to work harder in finding a new job where you’re appreciated. Think about it – We all want a better job, but 99.9% of us don’t even bother to update our LinkedIn profiles on a regular basis. Mad that you don’t have your flat stomach yet? Use that anger to eat some skinless chicken and vegetables the next time you want to order a pizza. When something happens that frustrates us, we can choose two ways to handle it – We can get angry and let that frustration hurt us, or we can use that frustration to find new power within us – And we can devote say, an hour a day to really networking, really looking for that new gig, really improving our professional brand.
8) Let the power in others bring yours to the forefront. As I watch my seven-month old daughter grow beyond my wildest imagination, I find myself in awe of her ability to mimic me, to mimic her mother, her grandparents, anyone. I open my mouth and go “ma-ma-ma,” and sure enough, she does the same. As I put hey favorite toy just out of her reach, she breaks through her comfort zone and learns to crawl. She wants something, she learns how to achieve it. Watch other people. Watch your friends, and watch your enemies. Watch people you’ve never met. The most powerful people are those who have mastered the art of observation. Observe how others use their power, both for good and for evil. Mimic the good. Learn to convert the evil into good.
7) Power doesn’t simply arrive. It comes in small pieces, riding on the winds of time. Ask anyone who is in good physical shape if one day they just woke up and “were in shape.” The answer? Not at all. True power is honed through time, through small moves, and through consistency. Consistency breeds power. That power can be used to create more consistency, and the cycle begins again.
6) Much like money, true power comes from saving it whenever you can. Every time you make a decision about anything, you’re choosing how much power you want to use., and more specifically, how much power you want to waste. You have the choice to participate in the office gossip pool, or you can choose to spend your power working on improving your game through your work and abilities. You can choose to go out at night at get drunk, or you can choose to go to bed early so you’ll be at the gym in the morning, building more power.
5) Those with aligned interests can increase your power, those with non-aligned interests can do the same. From time to time, teaming up with someone for mutual benefit is a good idea. But be aware – interests must align. If they don’t, power is wasted trying to align them over and over again. This goes for business as well as for personal relationships. On the flip side, however, aligning with someone with whom you don’t share the same goals can occasionally be beneficial, if you understand the reasons for doing it. To learn from each other, challenge each other, and in the end, make each other stronger without a loss of power on either side today or in the future, can be a power generator that few people bother to use.
“No, power is power.” –Dwight Schrute
4) Nobody is actually “weak.” They just haven’t yet learned how to harness their power. I remember knowing a kid in school who used to get mercilessly teased. I was his friend, mostly because we had getting mercilessly teased in common. I lost track of him after junior high, but he found me on Facebook a few years ago. When I tell you that this kid could now dead-lift twice your weight without breaking a sweat, I wouldn’t be exaggerating. I asked him – “Paul – What changed?! What the hell changed in you?” He answered very simply, “I got tired of being weak.” He learned the most important lesson anyone can ever learn – We are all obscenely powerful, if we let ourselves be. Let yourself be powerful, whether it’s taking on a new project at work, asking out the date you’re sure will say no, or even joining a Crossfit class or learning to skydive. The only true way to best utilize all the power inside of us is to step out of our comfort zones as often as we can. Comfort zones are wonderful places, but nothing beautiful or new ever grows there. Take the risk.
3) Power never operates in a vacuum. Have you ever seen one lightning strike? As in, have you ever seen a storm with only one bolt of lightning, or only one bolt of heat lightning on a hot and muggy night? Using your power for good, growing your power, these are all things that create more power. Ever play with Wooly Willy when you were a kid? You know, the game where you made hair on a face with magnets? Ever try and pick up just one strand of hair? Good luck with that. Powerful beings attract powerful beings. I’m reminded of a story of a biker, a big, burly guy in a leather jacket with a beard – The exact type of guy you think of when you think “biker,” stopping a ride to save a puppy someone had tossed from a car. Yes. Tossed from a car. He picked that puppy up and cradled him in his jacket until he drove straight to a vet. The dog survived, and is now 85 pounds of pure power. That dog’s power is used for one thing and one thing only – To offer protection, comfort, and love to his master, the man who saved him. Now they’re two powerful beings, facing the world together. Share your power for good. It will always come back to you.
2) The most powerful people have one key thing in common in some form or another: Kindness. Kindness is an incredibly understated power, and yet it’s perhaps the most important power there is. Power without kindness isn’t real power, because it won’t ever last. We are all kind in our own right – but sometimes, on our quest for more power, we forget to be kind. Remember to use your power for kindness first and foremost. Kindness builds power. Whether it’s kindness to a subordinate or an animal, whether it’s taking the time to teach someone something, offering a shoulder on which to cry or a sandwich to someone hungrier than you, or even offering a hand to the person who’s yelling at the customer service rep while telling them “I’ll help you with your problem, you don’t have to yell,” kindness consistently builds true, ultimate power like nothing else can. Don’t believe me? Believe Toby Ziegler, below, in some of the best five minutes of broadcast television you’ll ever see.
1) The most powerful people in the world use their powers sparingly, because they know they have it when it’s needed. Superman had no problem being mild-mannered Clark Kent 99% of the time, because when he needed his power to save the world, he knew it was there. Real power doesn’t necessitate it being talked about. Quite the opposite, when real power is shown, it usually surprises the hell out of everyone around you. And more often than now, exactly how much power you have might shock the hell out of you, as well.
You have more power than you know. Have fun with it, use it for good, and use it wisely.