Simply Understanding Power Can Make You a Powerful Human Being. Here Are 15 Principles of Power.
Power, like money, often gets a bad rap. When we think of the desire for power, we think of some of the worst people in history. But remember — when you don’t have power, that means you can’t control the most important things in your life. And just like not having money, it’s going to lead to — frustration, obstacles you can’t overcome, and low quality of life. So, it’s normal to want power. Stop feeling bad about it?
Let’s start off with a definition of power. According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, it means ‘the ability to act or produce an effect.’ So let’s be clear. We’re not talking about being manipulative or abusive, or acting like a dictator. We’re talking about increasing your control over things that are important in your life. And the ability to influence outcomes for the better. To improve your life — and those of others.
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With that set in motion, let’s start with the first item in today’s list.
Focus on What You Can Change — and Get to Work on It Now
The powerless spend their time wishing their lives were better. The powerful take action and make their lives better.
All of us have a load of things we’d like to be able to improve. From our waist size to global warming. And some of them, we’ve got a better chance of improving than others.
Make a list of all the things you’d like to change and put them into two categories: things you have control over, and things you don’t. The ones you can’t change — stop worrying about. If you can’t change them, there’s no use sweating over them. But the ones you can change — get to work on the now. Start coming up with a strategy to pay off those debts. To get into shape, to get a better-paid job. To work on making yourself more attractive to potential romantic partners. And don’t wait. The powerful are proactive — so get to work on it now.
Stop Moaning — Look for Solutions Instead
We all know somebody who moans a lot. Think of one person you know who fits that description. Is that power? Or are they in control? We’re going to take a bet on the answer — it’s almost certainly no.
That’s because the powerless waste their time and energy moaning. The powerful do something about it. Moaners attract other moaners. They get off on being bitter together. But those who are powerful stay away from them. They’re too busy doing something about making things better — and getting ahead.
Stop Talking About What You Intend to Do. Just Do It
Here’s somebody else we all know. That person who talks about how they’re going to start getting their finances in order. Start getting into shape, looking for a better job, quit smoking. A year later, we see them again, and they’re in exactly the same position. Still broke, out of shape, and miserable.
We’re not saying you shouldn’t talk about what you’re planning on doing. It’s just that when you hear yourself about to mention it for the tenth time — instead of opening your mouth, just do what you were going to say.
Keep Your Promises
On the topic of talking about doing stuff but never doing it — there’s aren’t many ways you can screw yourself more than breaking your word and proving yourself unreliable.
If you promise people you’ll turn up on time, deliver a project, or help somebody — when it comes to the crunch, make sure you do it. Fail to do it, and you’ve just demonstrated that you shouldn’t be taken seriously. And you’re shutting off opportunities and success.
That’s why you should be true to your word. Somebody who can be counted on when needed. Your reliability will bring you value, and leverage. It will put you in the line of promotion, lucrative business proposals, and it will attract other successful people — the kind who help each other become successful.
Follow Steps One to Four — and Watch Your Influence Grow
Remember the first point on this list? About focusing on the things you can control, and not sweating the things you can’t? Well, follow all the steps up to here, and over time, you’ll start to see some things moving from one side to the other — from things you couldn’t control, to things you can.
That’s because you’ve avoided moaning and fantasizing about the impossible. Instead, you’ve been proactive, and you’ve proven yourself reliable. You’ll now enjoy:
- A better financial situation
- Better skills and qualifications
- Better health
- A great reputation
- More contacts to successful people who respect you
- The habit solving things straight away
Once you’ve got all of these, you have more influence over more things. And guess what. You have more power.
For more about how this works, we highly recommend ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey.
And, you don’t even need to go to your local bookstore to track it down. Thanks to our friends at Audible, you can download it by clicking on the link. They’ve made an exclusive offer to Aluxers. If it’s your first audiobook from them, it will be free.
Here’s an influential crowd in action to learn from: Check out How Instagram Influencers are Driving Tourism.
Use Logic — and Be More Persuasive
Anybody who has power knows how to persuade. If you want to influence things, you need to get people to listen to you. And get them to come around to your way of thinking.
The best way of doing this isn’t shouting the loudest. Or bullshitting — sometimes it works for a while, but you’ll get busted sooner or later. Instead use logical reasoning to back up your point of view.
Observe how persuasive people put their arguments together — watch presentations, watch people debating — and see how they justify their viewpoint. And then practice doing it yourself. And before you argue a point, make sure you’ve done your research, and know the facts.
Use Incentives and Threats — Effectively
When you want a result from somebody, whether it’s a colleague, somebody you’re negotiating with, or somebody fixing your car, this is something you need to learn to do. It’s a technique we all use — just some of us better than others.
An incentive could be a boss offering staff bonuses for extra work, or a day off for great performance. A threat could be telling a supplier you’ll cancel the contract if they don’t deliver on time.
But here’s the important thing. Whenever you use an incentive or a threat — use one that’s actually going to matter to the other person. A boss offers their employees an incentive that nobody cares about — it’s not going to work. And the boss is going to look patronizing. A threat that isn’t really a threat, or that you can’t carry through, makes you looks weak. In either case you won’t be taken seriously. So think carefully about what incentives and threats you use — and make ones that will actually matter to people.
Stand up for Yourself
When people don’t stand up for themselves, it’s usually because they’re afraid of conflict. Don’t be one of those. Remember, conflict is a part of life. Don’t go looking for it. But avoiding it makes you a pushover. That means you never set the rules or boundaries yourself. You let other people set them for you.
It could be making the case for a pay-rise from your boss. Or making your voice heard when you’ve been given crappy customer service. Or just reminding your housemates it’s their time to do the dishes.
But remember — be fair. Don’t overstep the mark by being too pushy, or too entitled. For want of a better way of putting it, don’t be a Karen — whatever your gender. No offense to anybody actually called Karen. We didn’t invent the term! What we’re saying is — be fair, and people will respect that. It will add to your credibility, and your power.
Get Rid of Limiting Beliefs
Henry Ford once said, ‘Whether you believe you can do it, or whether believe you can’t —either way, you’re right’.
All of us have negative beliefs about ourselves. Beliefs like — ‘I’m not a natural leader’. ‘I’ll never be rich’. ‘I could never start my own business.’ ‘I don’t have much self-discipline’. And you know what makes those things true? The fact that we believe them.
Maybe also the fact that past experience has shown us that they’re true. But why let past experience hold you back? Instead of focusing negative things you believe about yourself, get to work developing the traits that can get you where you want to be. The ones that can make you natural leader, run your own business, or be better-disciplined. And once you do that, you’ll have thrown off your limiting beliefs.
Build up a Great Network
Whatever it is you want to do — nobody can do it on their own. We all need people to help us. That means people we can rely on.
That includes friends and acquaintances who give you help, advice and feedback. And in other situations, you’ll give them the same things in return. And the more knowledgeable, qualified and reliable you are, the more valuable you’ll be — and the better the people you’ll be able to attract into your network.
Or it could be people you have a working relationship with, who you pay — a great lawyer or financial advisor, trusted employees or suppliers.
Have the right people in your network, and you’ll have much greater leverage to reach your goals.
Pick Your Friends Carefully
Ever heard the power packed saying, “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with?” Why is that? Because they have the greatest influence on our behavior and attitudes. And on the results we get to enjoy.
Let’s show you how. Have buddies who are unmotivated, badly-informed, and mostly talk about celebrity gossip — and spending time with them won’t exactly broaden your horizons, increase useful knowledge, or bring you opportunities.
Trade those buddies for ones who are well-versed in a range of interesting and truly relevant topics. When you hang out with them, you’ll be able to bounce ideas off them about:
- your career
- your ideas for starting a business
- what to invest money in
- how to live healthier.
And a ton of other things that will lead to success in all areas of your life.
Plus, the right kind of friends are likely to be better connected. Remember what we said about connections?
Protect Your Reputation
This one’s really simple. Have a great reputation — and opportunities will open up to you. People will respect you and take you seriously. Have a bad reputation — people avoid you, and doors will close. That’s applies to business, your social life, and your romantic life.
To do this, follow the advice on the other points in this article — especially the ones about being proactive, taking action and not moaning, be reliable and fair. All of these will earn you a good reputation.
Also, avoid gossiping but people behind their backs — and avoid situations which will make people gossip about you behind their back.
For more tips, check out our video ’10 Best Ways to Build a Great Reputation’.
Stop Believing That Everyone Needs to Like You
Sure — be reliable and fair. And civil and helpful too. But don’t make the mistake of thinking you’ll be able to please everyone.
We already mentioned that conflict is part of life. People are always going to disagree about the best way to do things, the most effective way, the fairest way. And whatever course of action you support or take — you’re going to piss somebody off. Anything of note that you do, there’ll be somebody who’s unhappy about it. Accept it.
Remember the saying, ‘If you try to please everyone, you’ll end up pleasing no one.’ And we’ll just add — it will also stop you from achieving your goals.
Be a Little Distant When Necessary
Not arrogant. Just a little stand-offish, or distant. Cultivate an air of not bowing down to people, not stopping every time somebody asks you to, or being at their constant beck and call. Be respectful. But don’t give the impression you’re submissive.
As you get more successful, and more powerful, this is something you’ll have to do more. Because once you’re known for being successful, more people will want a piece of you, and come asking for favors. And sure — give favors when you think they’re deserved, or when it feels right. But you can’t do it all the time. Acting a little distant or stand-offish is a way of showing people they have to earn your respect — it doesn’t come automatically.
Appeal to People’s Self-Interest — Not Their Sense of Charity
When you’re trying to persuade someone to do something, try to avoid appealing to their sense of charity. Basically, it’s a kind of begging. And doing this puts you down a peg, at a lower status than them.
Instead, convince them what’s in it for them. What you can offer them in return. Or, show them the benefits they’ll get, the ones they hadn’t noticed before. In other words, appeal to their self-interest. This will show that you hold the key to influencing their lives in a positive way. And that gives you status. And power.
What other things that we didn’t put on this list do you think make people powerful?