Creating power in the middle

Fundamentally, power is about access to resources which are essential to survival and reproduction. Within a social context, scarcity creates asymmetry with respect to access to those resources, and asymmetric control over valued resources creates power differentials among the individuals.


Power is an interesting thing.

It has interesting (and awkward) connotations. Such as:

The more you want it, the harder it is to get it

It can be genetically coded; evolution prioritizes power and passes causal elements along the bloodlines

Like caffeine, or nicotine, too much can be harmful; not all power is healthy — attempt too much and you could be reset

But nothing is worse than having no power. The key, then, is understanding power dynamics.

For an interesting discussion around this topic, check out the video below:

Progress waits for no one

Life is going to happen. To control it directly is to defy nature — and nature does not like this. It may work for a season but it’s going to retaliate.

Pain is the payment of choice.

We grow when we experience fatigue, pain, and failure. The only thing that can prevent this is the wrong attitude towards it. Every time you narrowly escape the payment, interest accrues for the next payment.

The piper just waits to get paid, and eventually you will pay him.

I’m writing a book that will be ready around Christmas called “Immortal Identity: How to Turn Life’s Setbacks Into Glorious Opportunities.” It’s all about this idea of reversing misfortune into fortunate opportunities.

The way to do this is not simply to expect fortune all the time. “Misfortune weighs most heavily on the one who expects nothing but good fortune,” I forget who said it, but isn’t it the truth. Winston Churchill famously said “Success is going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm.”

Life can feel like this.

POWER is attracted to this. Power loves an underdog who will not quit. There’s something immortal about it that wakes up the dragon within. The problem is you cannot have the dragon without the fire.

Adversity attracts certainty.

Or it turns you into a victim; and victimhood is the kryptonite to power.

There are five basic types of social power — first identified by John French and Bertram Raven:

  1. Reward power (giving rewards for behavior)
  2. Coercive power (ability to mediate punishments or levy costs)
  3. Legitimate power (the perception of being right or being correct; typically assigned by group consensus)
  4. Referent power (ability to create followers and connect with people; relational)
  5. Expert power (based on having special knowledge or expertise)

Getting to the top of any one of these requires an ingredient that we don’t often correlate with power: perseverance. You cannot climb to the top in a week or a year. It takes many years, sometimes decades. Or else you end up with faulty power structures that are easy to erase. You have to have earned it through and through.

Earning it means paying for it.

And the payment of choice is often pain.

If it’s not worth it, you’re not gonna pay it. Which begs the question: what things are we saying we want but when it comes down to it we just aren’t willing to pay for them? These things need to go. Not tomorrow, not next week — NOW. And they don’t just need to be reduced, erase them. Or else you are fractionalizing your focus on things that do not matter.

Life moves at the speed we ask of it.


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