What is “Power”?

The other day, while listening to one of the variety of speakers/podcasts/writers who I follow, an interesting idea was spoken that has rattled in my head quite a bit, but makes incredible amounts of sense.

What is “power”?

It seems we often think of power in terms of the tyrannical, the ability to lord one’s will over another. Whether that is a direct form of threat from an individual, or the broader forms of coercion experienced from government, or even the threat of loss of a service of some kind from a corporation, it seems that what we perceive most commonly as “power” really has to do with imposing will over another. Whether that is a proactive imposition, i.e. coercing another to do a thing, or a reactive imposition by way of removing an option of a thing from someone, both still involve an imposition of will.

However, this seems to be quite a large lie that we buy into quite willingly without much thought, and it should be thought about, because understanding the true nature of actual power can have an incredibly positive effect on one’s life.

So, if this thing we perceive as power is false, what is “power”?

What was said that made me begin to think about this is that “power is competency”. Let that sink in a bit and I believe it does ring very true. If one is physically competent at a task like, let’s say, running a mile, then they have power over more than just that mile. They have power to run from harm or to run to aid. They have the power traverse distance without outside assistance or dependency. As they gain that power, obvious other positive benefits occur: health, stamina, the clarity of thought that comes from gaining both of those things, and likely much more than I have room for here.  If one has competency at reading, they have a massive amount of power because through that single bit of competency, that single skill, they can amass a virtually endless array of skills, consume enormous amounts of information and entertainment. Competency at math might yield the power to manage one’s finances, endeavor into the sciences, gain greater understandings of any number of other things. If we look at any given idea and ask ourselves what would competency in that thing yield, we find that every single time, regardless of the specifics, we end up with something of power.

It then stands to reason that if one wishes to be a powerful human being, their aim should be the greatest amount of competency they can achieve, and quite possibly in as varied an array of subjects as possible as well.

So study. Train. Read. Think. Question. Work to expand your competency at any and every thing you possibly can.  As you gain competency in things, you gain power, and that, the opportunity to trade those competencies, i.e. power, for the product of the competency of others.  Competency creates power, and power translates into value, thus a person who strives for competency in things will find increasing value throughout life. This is, I believe, the essence of the importance of learning.

The worst in humanity is often brought about by forms of fear, and the worst fear is most often that of the unknown, and what is competency if not uncovering a new thing and mastering it?

So attempt, daily, to be competent at things, to learn, to gain competency and mastery over the unknown because that is, I believe, a direct path to becoming a truly powerful human being and I crave that subversive power to manipulate others to my will. True power is making someone think that something is their idea, when it was really yours. Think about that.