Personal power is something we all have in varying degrees. If we analyze the different aspects of our lives that contribute to our personal power, we find several sources.
Primarily, personal power is a combination of physical, intellectual, emotional, and material strength. Depending on who we are, one of these may appear to dominate the others as our primary power source. Which one seems to be greatest source of personal power?
They all play an important role!
In some situations, we may need to rely on shear physical strength or endurance. Another set of circumstances may require intellectual power, or even material support. Clearly, every aspect of personal power makes a valuable contribution the quality of our life.
However, the greatest potential source of personal power is not your physical, emotional, or even your material assets. Would it surprise you to learn that it is actually your emotions that hold the top position in your personal power arsenal?
By way of comparison
Perhaps we should do a few comparisons to help establish the potential value and strength of our personal emotional powerhouse. Let's start with…
1) Physical Strength. If you are an athlete of some kind, it might feel like your physical strength is your greatest asset, but is that really true? There is no doubt that it feels wonderful to be in great physical condition. In fact our physical health has a profound influence on the quality of our life.
Taking reasonable steps to live a healthy and active life is something I encourage everyone to do. There are some people who have developed their physical strength to astounding levels. Olympic powerlifters follow carefully constructed training programs for years to develop superhuman physical strength.
Now think about this. We've all heard stories of ordinary people who were able to lift automobiles off of trapped children in an emergency situation. How is it possible that an ordinary person could exhibit the superhuman strength of an elite powerlifter?
Was it a flood of adrenaline? Yes it was, but what initiated the release of adrenaline? It was an emotional trigger called the fight or flight response. So, which is more powerful, the physical or the emotional?
2) Material Wealth. We often refer to the wealthiest people as the most powerful people. Why do we use such a metaphor? Because great wealth allows them to control many aspects of their own lives, and the lives of others. But that control is limited. Does being wealthy equate to being happy, fulfilled, or loved? Often times it's just the opposite.
So if a person controls great wealth but is depressed and unloved, how fulfilling is there life? Because money can't buy happiness, fulfillment or love, we need to ask, which is more powerful, the material or the emotional?
3) Intellect. Intelligence is a wonderful and powerful asset when properly used. Over the years highly intelligent psychoanalysts have explored human behavior from every angle. Does that mean that they have an accurate understanding of how to solve their own emotional problems? The answer is usually apparent. Once again, we need to ask, which is more powerful, the intellectual or the emotional?
The challenge is in learning to harness that power
Emotions can be our greatest asset or most devastating liability. Understanding human behavior means understanding human emotions. Personal development means learning to harness this great power so that it truly becomes our greatest asset.
Where do we begin? We begin with the realization that we all create our own emotions. That means that we can choose how we feel about any situation in our lives. Don't misunderstand; emotions are very real and very powerful. However, that does not mean that we don't create them, because we do create them.
The nature of emotions
Many people suffer from the misconception that emotions are entirely out of their control. They feel that emotions are something that is strictly spontaneous, some kind of unmanageable reaction to events in their life. Some feel that allowing themselves to experience their emotions will make them vulnerable to pain and suffering. Others feel that emotions are someone else's fault, the product of someone's words or actions.
Emotions are the spice of life. Without emotions we could never experience great joy or deep love. We also wouldn't experience feelings of sorrow or despair. A life without emotions is a life without feelings and feelings are a two-sided coin.
How emotions serve us
When we feel positive emotions it's a message that, what we are currently doing is probably something we should move toward or cultivate. We all naturally move toward pleasure. What is pleasure but an emotion?
When we feel negative emotions, it's a message that, what we are currently doing is not working. It could be the way we perceive the situation, or it could be the situation itself. If we cannot change our perception, then we will naturally move away from the painful emotions that we have linked to that situation.
Either way, our emotions help to guide our decision-making process. Emotions also bring passion and motivation into our lives. If we avoid or deny those emotions, we are cutting ourselves off from our greatest source of power.
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