An enigmatic Yacqui indian man of knowledge, the CEO of the world’s largest corporation and the founder of a great world religion. What do they have in common? Don Juan Matus of the Carlos Castenada books said to live as though death stood to your left and could tap you on the shoulder anytime, because it can and will. Steve Jobs told a graduating class at Stanford that you must live fully today because life is unpredictable and death inevitable. Gautama Buddha achieved enlightenment, a state of being entirely in the moment; thus transcending the cycle of life, death and rebirth.
Personal power builds our ability to truly live in the moment. The person who is wholly here now, paying attention and responding appropriately to their surroundings, is a person displaying personal power. This means not dwelling on situations past and future that we cannot affect now. This is not an excuse to ignore your responsibilities. To exercise personal power requires that you take right action, not always the easiest, most fun or least scary choice.
How do you know what the ‘right action’ is? By training yourself and acquiring skills that enable you to make decisions. That training is the acquisition of what I, and others, call personal power. Call it self-discipline, responsibility, mojo, what have you.
In Herman Hesse’s novel Siddhartha, when Siddhartha leaves the austerity of the forest to reenter society, he seeks a position with a powerful merchant. The merchant, confronted with a forest savant who has literally nothing, asks him what skills he brings to the business. Siddhartha responds that he can fast, he can wait and he can think. He becomes a successful merchant.
The ability to control desire and impatience (fasting and waiting) combined with the ability to assess and solve problems (thinking) are the core skills of acquiring personal power and discovering its essence: To learn to live fully in the moment, wherever you are.