This article will discuss how to be powerful. It will get into what power is, what we can do with it and how we can cultivate it. While we each define power in our own way, I will be providing a definition which has served me well when reflecting on power.
The article will also discuss the power of laziness. Yes, laziness is powerful and you can begin to access it by simply changing your perspective on what it means to be lazy.
Wealth is a consequence of power. If you want to be wealthy, you must first be powerful. And to be powerful you must be lazy. Despite how contradictory this seems you will understand the idea by the end of the article.
So read on if this is something you’re interested in.
What Is Power?
The start to any fruitful discussion lies with establishing definitions. So, What is power? I came across mathematician and philosopher Bertrand Russel’s definition of power a while back and have found it quite effective when thinking about it. It’s:
“Power is the ability to produce intended results.”
It’s a simple definition, which is why it’s so effective. When we define power as the ability to produce intended results we can begin to reflect on how powerful we are, as individuals and communities. How often are we able to produce the results we intend?
The answer to that question defines the degree of our power.
An “intended result” can be anything. It can be waking up early in the morning to exercise before work. It can be following through on a challenging sales call. It can be improving our diet. Any time we “intend” to accomplish anything it will be our degree of power which will determine whether our intention comes to fruition or not.
This leads us to the following conclusion about power: it’s source is internal. Power in any facet of life begins with power over ourselves. In the words of Leonardo da Vinci, one of the most creatively powerful human beings who ever lived:
“One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself.”
In the previous quote you can replace the word “mastery” with “power” and preserve its meaning. The extent of our success in life is fully dependent on the power we have over ourselves. In other words, our success in any field depends on our capacity to discipline ourselves to do the things we know we need to do to be wealthy and successful.
Nothing more, nothing less.
To Grow Or To Be Lazy – That Is The Question
We cannot expect to have power over the circumstances in our lives until we have developed power over ourselves. Or until we have developed the discipline to do what we know to be good for us even when faced with easier, more attractive alternatives which we know will be bad for us in the long run.
I believe that each of us is a universe unto ourselves. We contain multitudes. Within those multitudes there are two complementary and opposing impulses: the impulse to grow and the impulse to be lazy.
On one side we want to grow; to succeed at life, to be wealthy, have wonderful relationships, be fit and skilled at one or even several activities. We want to be sought for and admired by our communities, nestled in a feeling of knowing that our presence is comforting to others. We want to matter.
And on the other hand we want to be lazy. We want to get by with the minimum amount of effort necessary to achieve our goals. We want to relax in the shade of trees, lay on the grass while gazing up at the sky to see fantastical figures in the clouds. We want to sleep in, wrapped in the soft embrace of our blankets while the world figures itself out without us. We want to get by with the least amount of effort.
Both impulses are in constant conflict. This is part of being human. This arrangement is actually a powerful evolutionary adaptation which allows us to maximize the effectiveness of our work while minimizing the effort we expend in doing it.
Before the existence of supermarkets, cars and central heating, we had to do everything for ourselves in order to survive. It was essential that every bit of our physical and mental energy be directed in the most effective way possible. So we evolved this system wherein we know what we need to do to grow, while simultaneously we are always looking for ways to make that growth less energy demanding. This is the driving force of business, which ever seeks to produce better results with fewer resources.
And self-mastery, or self-power, is our ability to effectively navigate these two opposing impulses. When we can balance our impulse to grow and our impulse to be lazy we can direct this “maximizing/minimizing” system to work for us. We leverage our evolutionary blueprint to change the course of our lives.
I wake up at five in the morning five out of seven days a week. Once I’m up I immediately start my morning routine; I exercise vigorously, meditate, visualize my success and read. By eight thirty in the morning I have already fortified both my physical and mental health, I have prepared my mind for success and I have expanded my store of knowledge through reading.
I do all of this because I am incredibly lazy. I am the laziest person I know. And I’m proud of it.
How does that work?
Well, since I’m so so so so lazy, I am constantly directing some of my energy to figuring out how I can accomplish my goals while doing the least amount of work I can. Waking up at five in the morning is one of the most effective uses of my energy. Following through on my morning routine ensures that I will have to work less throughout my day to produce my “intended results.” Every time I wake up at five in the morning I know, down to my bones, that I will have to work less to get what I want in the future.
In other words, by balancing my desire to grow and my desire to be lazy I maximize my power. And by maximizing my power I maximize the results I want.
How Use This For Yourself
Humans are incredibly powerful; our power knows no bounds. All we need to do to access it is to know how to do so. Once we do, nothing can stop us from achieving our goals.
I invite you to reflect on what you want to achieve. And then use your laziness to make it so that you optimize your ratio of effort to results.
You can leverage your laziness by asking yourself: What can I do now to make myself more powerful? The morning routine I just described is a supremely effective way of empowering yourself. I learned about it in Robin Sharma’s amazing book “The 5 AM Club”.
To your wealth and success.