“Power is influence over external events. Peace is influence over internal events.”
Image from Unsplash by Belinda Fewings
When was the last time you felt powerless?
Take a close look at times in your personal and professional worlds when your progress was stalled or stopped. Examine both big and small situations to see how you responded.
When external events don’t go your way it’s often helpful to go within to grant yourself a sense of peace.
Your inner world can provide smoother sailing and open roads even when obstacles block your external paths.
Mindfully explore your ability to experience peace and power. When you find the external doors of life closed, notice how your inner world can help you find more peaceful paths forward.
“You have power over your mind — not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”
—Marcus Aurelius, Ancient Roman Emperor and Philosopher
Image from Unsplash by Ümit Bulut
What does it mean to have power over our minds?
If you have ever tried to meditate, you know that this can be a daunting challenge at first. Focusing on something as apparently simple as our breath, a physical sensation, or even a sound in the distance seems to go sideways in seconds.
Marcus Aurelius would probably suggest that instead of powering through our ever-bouncing thoughts, we begin playing with them like a child by simply noticing them and where they take us.
With this initial awareness, we can begin developing our mental muscle and strengthen our capacity to focus its power.
What are your preferred approaches to stretch and strengthen your mental muscles?
On what topics and in what ways can you improve your ability to concentrate and focus its power to influence your world?
“In this short life that only lasts an hour, how much-how-little is within our power?”
Image from The Kids Should See This Blog
I often read the blog The Kids Should See This in hopes of finding fascinating items to share with my daughter and our two grandchildren. A few weeks ago, I watched a video to help visualize man’s role on earth compared to the age of the universe. Here are some things I learned:
- Our universe is estimated to be about 13.8 billion years old.
- Our solar system is estimated to be about 4.5 billion years old.
- The earliest forms of life on Earth appeared 3.7 billion years ago.
- 550,000 to 750,000 years ago was the beginning of homo sapiens lineage.
- 100,000 to 210,000 years ago we see fossils of homo sapiens living outside of Africa.
- 15,000 to 40,000 years ago genetics and fossils show homo sapiens became the only surviving human species.
Do a bit of math to calculate the time each generation—including our own—has to spend on our beautiful blue world. How will you use your power to make sure many more future generations can continue doing this exercise?
Check out this to scale/time video that visualizes 13.8 billion years—It’s definitely worth 10 minutes of your time!
“The older I get, the greater power I seem to have to help the world. I am like a snowball — the further I am rolled, the more I gain.”
—Susan B. Anthony, 19th Century American social reformer and women’s rights activist
Image from britannica.com
Susan B. Anthony spent her life working for women’s rights. In 1888, at the age of 68, she helped to merge the two largest suffrage associations into one — The National American Women’s Suffrage Association, then led the group until 1900.
She traveled around the country giving speeches, gathering thousands of signatures on petitions, and lobbying Congress on suffrage for women.
Susan died in 1906, 14 years before women were given the right to vote. The 19th amendment was passed in 1920, one hundred years after her birth.
Who are some notable people from history who kept rolling and picked up steam well into their golden years?
How and in what ways can and will you continue to gain momentum and contribute the work of your heart and hands to the world?
“Language exerts hidden power, like the moon on the tides.”
—Rita Mae Brown, American Feminist Writer
Image from Unsplash by Valery Sysoev
Did you know that in addition to gravity, astronomers and physicists have identified other forces such as dark matter and dark energy, that attract and repel, respectively?
They know dark matter exists because visible matter – including celestial bodies such as our moon – do not exert enough gravitational energy to hold galaxies together.
Examine your thinking and the language used by those in your personal and professional communities. To what extent are the words and phrases exerting a positive, attractive force that holds, uplifts, and brings us together – or perhaps forces us apart?
How might greater mindfulness of your own inner voice and the words you speak aloud be used to create far more high tides and fewer low tides in your world?
What would be the value if all people used the power of language to bring their various communities together as well?
“Make visible what, without you, might never have been seen.”
—Robert Bresson, 20th Century French Film Director
Today’s quote reminds me of “Our Deepest Fear” by Marianne Williamson in her work A Return to Love. It is often incorrectly attributed to Nelson Mandela.
I thought sharing these words in their entirety might stir something in you, even if you are familiar with this wisdom.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
Where and how will you generously, courageously, and visibly contribute your unique and special qualities and talents to the world?
“When you stay away from your soul the distance you have traveled is measured by the aching of your heart.”
-Dodinsky, author of “In the Garden of Thoughts”
Image from BeautifulRumi.com
On a scale of one to ten, how well do you live consistently with the phrase, “To thine own self be true”? If you score high in this attribute, my guess is that you experience great personal power and life satisfaction. If you score yourself considerably lower, I’d expect you may feel and experience an aching loss of power and fulfillment.
Consider completing the Life Vision Exercise, and consider sending me your personal Top Ten list. Rate yourself on the same one-to-ten scale with regard to how consistently you express these values in both your professional and personal communities. Determine what new and different actions are required to heal your aching heart, to experience the full soulful power within in.
The Life Vision Exercise
List your top 20 – 30 core values.
- Cut this list in half, and then in half again, to get to the real core.
- Next, create a life vision statement, using all of the final list and perhaps most of the second list of values.
- Wordsmith this vision until you feel it is 100% you.
- Now use your vision statement as the context to inspire your actions in every area of your life: it can help you become happier and more fulfilled.
“…but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
– James Arthur Baldwin, author and activist
Like most people, I do a lot of thinking about the world: about what I like and about what I don’t like. This includes thinking about myself. Thinking is a starting point for changing something in our world and in ourselves.
As this statement suggests, not everything can be changed. Rather than seeing ourselves as weak or powerless to change things, we must move beyond thinking to acting on our commitments. We need to act, alone or together, to change the things that we can.
Where in your world can you move beyond thinking about change and face it head-on to realize the change you desire?
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– General Colin Powell
Would you describe yourself as an optimist? Optimistic people:
- See the possibilities in things
- Have a “can do” attitude
- See lemonade whenever they see lemons
- Drink from the half-full glass
- Look for the good in others and situations
- Find the pony in the room full of dung
- Attract other people and opportunities
Optimism helps us to adjust quickly to adversity; after setbacks, we can get back up faster. By making optimism a habit, you can find a positive aspect in every situation. There’s always something new to learn.
Who are the most optimistic people in your world? How can you spend more time with them and be more like them?
Who are the most pessimistic people in your world? How can you reduce their impact, or even remove them from your life?
Quotes are posted on The Quotable Coach a week after being sent out by email. To get the latest quotes straight to your inbox, pop your email address in the sidebar to the right.