I occasionally dish out blog cards- business card-sized affairs- to other writers and people who might check out my work. Each card has the title of my blog written across it in black, accompanied by a grey, stylised background. It's pretentious as hell and makes me look like a 1980s Manhattan yuppie, but it does arouse curiosity in those I give it to. Some just take me for a nerd. Well. That's until they find out they might be in the blog, when they become either really pleased or really nervous.
I've been asked a few times: "Power is a State of Mind... What does it mean?”
It's at moments like this that I go quiet. I'm not entirely sure. It's certainly an ethos that I reckon is true. Money can bring power. But just because you've got money doesn't make you powerful. How many lottery winners end up out-of-pocket by the time they die? I believe a lot do. Status can make you powerful. But how many men can impress a woman by bragging about their job? I used to work for quite a well-known radio station in Manchester. When I told girls, none of them gave a shit. Being a hard case can get you power. I've hung around in bars in Oldham long enough to know a few dangerous fighting types. But they all admit to being filled in once in a while and, like the rest of us, they occasionally complain that they need more money. Sometimes their women leave them, just like other, less "hard" men.
The only thing that can consistently give you power is confidence. Confidence comes from understanding your own personal strengths and being able to employ those strengths as often as possible. Take myself, for instance. The more I write on this blog, the more I improve as a writer and the more hits I get. The more hits, the bigger the blog, and the more reason I have to believe in my writing abilities- prompting me to write more. Ad infinitum.
I'm also a Mixed Martial Artist. I remember the first few months- years, even- of training. I was getting pinned and submitted time and time again, not pulling off the moves when I should have done. I frequently had to shove self-doubt and self-pity out of my mind. I had neither the time nor the space in my brain for thoughts of that nature.
Then, one session, I felt something click in my mind. I started catching people in holds and chokes. Most of the time they were newbies, but sometimes I'd tap out someone who'd trained just as long as I had. Sometimes they were 10, 20 Kilos heavier than me. If I hadn't persisted- If I hadn't found that mental power- I'd have resigned to a life of lifting weights endlessly, yet being just as vulnerable as I always had been. A guy like me is never going to get big through weights. Even if I did, it wouldn't mean much.
Confidence and power do become evident in you when you prove to yourself your strengths, but to prove power, you must have it in the first place. It either creates and drives itself or it doesn't exist.
That's my take on power. Other writers put the ethos in a different light. Which do you agree with the most?
- 1) It is said that power corrupts, but actually it's more true that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power.
- -David Brin, US engineer and science fiction author
- 2) Ultimately, the only power to which man should aspire is that which he exercises over himself.
- -Elie Wiesel, US (Romanian-born) activist, novelist
- 3) Knowledge is power.
- -Sir Francis Bacon, English philosopher, 1597
- 4) Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even. -Muhammad Ali, boxer
- 5) Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power. -Lao Tzu, Japanese philosopher
- 6) You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength. -Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor
- 7) Immense power is acquired by assuring yourself in your secret reveries that you were born to control affairs. -Andrew Carnegie, US steel entrepreneur
- 8) Power is given only to those who dare to lower themselves and pick it up. Only one thing matters, one thing; to be able to dare! -Fyodor Dostoevsky, novelist
- 9) “Only through destroying myself can I discover the greater power of my spirit.” -Chuck Palahniuk, author
- 10) Power is retained by attracting loyalty, and subjugation is guaranteed by giving it. -Neil Strauss, author/journalist/pick-up artist