What comes to your mind when you hear the word power?
Among the most common words, you might say money, status, and fame. But those things are not “power” itself, those are consequences of power. So what is real power then?
Power should be thought about more as a verb than a noun. Having power is having the capacity to exert power. Power is the capacity to observe reality and yourself within it and then decide on your own terms what you want to make happen and then actually do it. That is exerting your power.
Keeping this in mind, right now, you have the capability of exerting power within your own reality, you are your only constraint if you decide not to. Doing this and knowing this makes you powerful right now, literally. Power is not money, success or fame. Power is a decision made from moment to moment, it is the decision to act and not be acted upon, and exerting it will liberate you, will give you freedom.
Possibilities within people’s realities differ, obviously, some people might be capable of some things while others are not, be it circumstance, ability or the place you were born. We need to remember that this is always within a specific point in time, reality is always changing as well as you and your relationship to it. This doesn’t change, however, the nature of power, power is always personal and available at any moment, regardless of any circumstance.
“Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle: Some things are within our control, and some things are not. It is only after you have faced up to this fundamental rule and learned to distinguish between what you can and can’t control that inner tranquility and outer effectiveness become possible.” – Epictetus
The act of consciously choosing what is best and what is worst for you within the options that are under your control makes you powerful.
Say you want to be rich. What can you do right now that will make it so? Remember, being rich is a consequence of power, riches don’t make you powerful, you make yourself so, richness extends possibilities to further exert your power. A rich person, most likely, exerted his power in that direction and by doing so, made himself or herself rich.
Everyone’s situation is different, agreed. But that doesn’t determine the ability of a person to decide which road he is going to take in his own life. When you let the things that are not under your control decide what to do or not do in your life and at the same time, neglect the things that do are under your control. You are giving away your power to someone or something else.
Philosophy, freedom and, power
Real freedom and power can only be found through philosophy. This is because only through philosophy you can begin to comprehend at least in some part, the nature of reality, just like the true nature of power. Only through reflection can you begin to better understand life and act accordingly.
Power is indifferent, you can use power for reasons you are not even really aware of.
For example, the idea of success. Is the idea of success you have truly yours?
You can do everything in your power to fulfill an ideal that is not even yours, just to find yourself in your deathbed thinking that everything you did was not really something you wanted but something you thought was going to look great in the eyes of others and by then it is going to be too late.
That is not being free, that is being manipulated by an idea that hasn’t been tested by your reason, your simple greatest human faculty. The philosopher asks why. It is only by putting things in the scrutiny of your reason that you can find out what is truly valuable and then use your power in the way that you see fit.
Any fool can make a rule and any fool can mind it – Henry David Thoreau
This process of reflecting can never stop as we are continually evolving. But you have to know that to be truly free and powerful, you need to accompany your actions with your reason.
True power is in your hands, right now. Rule or be ruled and remember.
Freedom is the only worthy goal. Epictetus
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