The Only Power You Need is the Power You Already Have

Too often those who lament their lack of power overlook the power they already wield. If you have any social redeeming features at all (i.e. 99% of the population), then guess what: people care what you think about them. They may pretend otherwise to protect themselves, but it’s a fundamental truth.

Your voiced opinion therefore matters, and has an effect on their actions.

Even those with clearly greater power than you care what you think about them and what they do, which in some ways balances the field (if responded to effectively). No one wants to feel guilty or bad about themselves, and confronting them brings results (Oc, Bashshur & Moore, 2015). They rarely take advice, but they do respond to complaints if made directly and persistently.

However, too often we as humans have difficulty confronting those in power. There is a meek tendency in us to give power-holders the benefit of the doubt and assume they mean well, even if they are slicing our balls off (Smith & Overbeck, 2014).

Power and its pursuit are likely as old as organisms are. But the problem all along is not a lack of power, but rather the lack of courage to wield the power we already have. That is what differentiates those with power and those without, not the lack of fancy techniques, as bullshit books like “The 48 Laws of Power” suggest.

 

 

 

Oc, B., Bashshur, M. R., & Moore, C. (2015). Speaking truth to power: The effect of candid feedback on how individuals with power allocate resources.Journal of Applied Psychology, 100(2), 450.

Smith, P. K., & Overbeck, J. R. (2014). The leaders’ rosy halo: Why do we give powerholders the benefit of the doubt. Power, Politics, and Paranoia: Why People Are Suspicious of Their Leaders.

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