From Jim Bouchard's book: Dynamic Components of Personal Power
LIE #1: POWER CORRUPTS
Bullshit! Power does not have a mind. Power is not capable of thinking or choice. Power is simply your capacity to achieve your goals and fulfill your desires.
If you’re a rotten person, then you’ll probably use your power to take what you want regardless of the effect on the people around you and the planet you share with them.
Whether you’re a good person or a rotten person is up to you. How you use power is up to you. Without power you can’t do very much. If you want to help yourself and others, you need to develop personal power. If you want to help others as well as ultimately creating happiness for yourself you’ll also want to develop good character and a positive value system.
Power doesn’t corrupt, it’s just that corrupt people have the same access to power that you do. If you want to prevent corruption, become powerful, live a positive life and teach others to do the same.
LIE #2: POWER IS JUST FOR THE POWERFUL!
Some people are born with the proverbial silver spoon in their mouths. Some are born into rich families, some are also born smarter or with better health than others. True enough.
Power is not something you’re born with. Power can only be developed. People born with disadvantages become powerful, and people born with every imaginable advantage can still turn out to be weak.
If you did inherit fortune, fame, good looks and intelligence, be thankful; you were blessed with some powerful resources. If you didn’t, be thankful; you were given the opportunity to create your own success from scratch. You may have an advantage over those born with privilege. You may develop a true understanding and appreciation of wealth at an earlier time. You may find true wealth long before you produce material riches.
It’s your nature to be powerful. It’s up to you to express your nature.
LIE #3: MONEY IS POWER
In this statement you can also substitute knowledge or fame.
Money, knowledge and fame are resources you can access to develop and express power. They are not power in and of themselves. If they were, all rich and smart people would be powerful; no desperate or stupid people would be.
LIE #4: POWER IS CONTROL
People control power. Power without control is dangerous. In fact, you need to develop power in order to gain control. This is true of material resources, emotional resources and spiritual resources.
If you lack personal power, you cannot control these resources, these resources will control you. People become slaves to money only when they lack the power to develop control over their impulses. Greed is born in a vacuum, and the vacuum that breeds greed is an absence of personal power, discipline and compassion.
The same is true in an emotional sense. When you lack power, other people can control your emotional assets. When you’re powerful, you own the resources you need to maintain control in your own life. This is particularly important when times are tough and you’re emotionally vulnerable.
Don’t confuse power and control. The only way to really control others is through fear and subjugation, but that kind of control invites revolt. Dictators control other people.
Inspire and motivate others. Share the power and there’s little or no need for control. It’s much more efficient to control conditions than to control people.
When you think you’re controlling others, they may really be the ones in control. People often go along with the dictator just to make life more tolerable. Once the opportunity presents itself, most people will eventually try to free themselves from oppression. When it comes to people, control is at best a temporary illusion. Most dictators fall, and few truly win the hearts of the people.
Real control is an internal process. Learn to develop and control your own resources. Develop your own personal power. Cultivate the power in others and you’ll become a leader. Leadership is your ability to bring out the best in others, and that’s real power!
If you really want power in your own life and you want to have a positive impact in the lives of others, then trust is a much more powerful force than control.
LIE #5: YOU CAN’T GET IT!
A close cousin would be: “You don’t deserve it.”
Every human being has the capacity to develop tremendous personal power. Within the scope of your unique talents and abilities, your potential is unlimited.
I believed every one of these lies at some point in my life. I had good reason to believe these lies; they came from reliable sources. These lies came from my parents, teachers, journalists, authors, and many other people I was supposed to trust and respect. I was indoctrinated with these lies as long as I can remember. I didn’t know any better. Now I do.
I’m not mad at anyone who told me these lies, and I’m not going to start this book with a negative tone. Quite the opposite: blessed with the 20/20 vision of hindsight, I can see why the people I trusted told me these lies; they cared about me!
Some people, I’m sure, propagated these lies to keep power away from me, and you. Those people think the way to preserve power is to keep it away from others. At best that’s selfish, at worst it’s evil.
Parents, teachers and others tell you these lies because they’re trying to keep you safe! People who care about you don’t want to see you take stupid chances; they don’t want you to get hurt and they don’t want you to end up broke and broken. They just want you to be happy- and safe.
The problem is that safe and happy don’t always go together. Real reward always involves risk; to win you’ve got to get in the game. Discipline yourself, practice, and prepare yourself to compete. Develop the courage to face competition.
You might agree or disagree with my “Top 5 Lies About Power.” That’s certainly your prerogative. If you want to hold on to the idea that power corrupts, it’s not for you, or you don’t deserve it, I can’t stop you. If you really feel that way, you may as well not waste your time reading my book.
I don’t pretend to be all things to all people; I’m just sharing my own limited understanding. When something works for me, you’re welcome to it. I want to be powerful. To some extent, I am powerful. I want to continue to cultivate my personal power for my benefit and the benefit of others.
I now know it is my nature to be powerful. If you believe it’s your nature to be powerful, let’s get started!
Jim is a professional speaker and author of Dynamic Components of Personal Power. He has twice been featured in "Inside Kung Fu" magazine and is a 2004 Inductee to the US Martial Arts Hall of Fame.