By Billy Arcement—The Candid Cajun
I’ve spent a lifetime studying the art of leading others. I’ve come to the conclusion that most people would rather follow than lead. Whatever the reason, people tend to not want to incur more responsibilities. Is it laziness? Is it diminishing personal courage? Is it that no one cares who leads?
In this situation, we become powerless to control our life and would rather let others tell us what to do. We see this on social media. We see this in the political arena. We see this is social settings. We hand over our power to control our thinking or life to others. We either don’t trust our own skills or we are afraid our knowledge is insufficient.
Let me challenge your thinking and actions. You are not powerless. You can be in charge of your life and take only the actions that advance your goals. That is a choice! That is something you can do. That is something you control.
Here comes the hard part. I’m asking that you spend time in solitude going through the highlights of your life. List major and important minor events. The more events you can identify, the better the data accuracy. Determine which you controlled and those influenced by others. Once you’ve classified each event, total which column has the greater number. OK, do you influence your life or is it influenced by others?
Don’t beat yourself up if your totals make “influenced by others” the most dominant. There is always an opportunity to change. That is a choice we can make anytime. In truth, you are in the majority. We don’t tend to be independent too often.
Let’s talk about the power we have. We determine how much knowledge we put in our brain. We determine what level of courage we will use. We determine our level of independence. In each case, we’ve made the choice to take charge of some part of our life. And that is what I’m saying here. We are always in charge of our life regardless of what others attempt to do to us. People die for their views and values. We call them martyrs. Do you feel strong enough to not let others influence your views and values? We’re talking independence here. We’re talking freedom to live your life. We’re talking creation of the happiness you deserve.
I could write a book on this topic (hummmm, maybe I will!). Try these ideas on for size as you search for your power chord. Plug it in and let the surge of energy light up your life.
Happiness: Let’ start with our happiness meter. Is it pegged out or is the needle near zero? We are in charge of our happiness. If you are chasing happiness, you will never catch it. It catches you! We become happy when we complete an action. It’s the result of that action. Since it is a by-product of life’s activities, it’s what we do that pegs our happiness meter. Review your life. Happy? You’re doing the right activities for you. Not happy? Be bold and admit what takes it away. Make the choice to be happy by making the right choices. This is a power move!
Integrity: This may be the one behavior that can make you powerful. Money cannot buy integrity. Position cannot produce integrity. We develop integrity by our actions. What we do earns us integrity or denotes a lack thereof. This practice permeates outstanding leaders. They do what they promise; dependability is their trademark. Their morality is without question. This is far too often the missing element in business transactions and personal relationships. Society has drifted from integrity to “It’s OK if I think it is.” The disregard for the impact of our lack of integrity on others is shameless. Separate yourself from the competition. Use integrity and you have a springboard to stronger power in our life.
Belief: Can you make a list of your top five beliefs? It’s important information. Take whatever time you need to ID these beliefs. Question them! Challenge the belief. It’s important you get this exercise right be beliefs drive our actions and actions create our life. What are your beliefs about right and wrong? There is a wide gap in today’s world. Is it anything that makes me “feel good?” What do you believe about your career options? Your success potential? Your relationship building abilities and other important components of life? Don’t be fuzzy. Become crystal clear on every belief. Challenge them if results are not satisfactory. You may be believing an untruth. Return power to your life with greater clarity of your belief system. Settle on what’s important and right for you. That’s powerful action.
Love: The Beatles sang, all we need is love. It’s hard to disagree that love can be that powerful. People who feel unloved carry a heavy burden which sometimes overwhelms. We do all need to have the love of others, starting with our parents. Lacking love at that point of life is devastating to self-esteem and our energy to live. Country singer Johnnie Lee, sings, “Looking for love in all the wrong places. This path can often lead to misery and misfortune. I believe love can surface a power to overcome obstacles. It’s a barrier buster. Love is one of the most powerful motivators there is. Be wise with the use of this power.
Time: This is the great equalizer. No one can buy another second of time, no matter their wealth or position in life. The poorest and the richest share an equal amount of time. It’s what we do with our time that is the great separator. What more success? Make the best use of your time by working on the highest priorities. This will make your happiness meter happy! Efficient use of your time is a career booster. Get the right things done on time and in the right order of importance is a winning strategy. To gain a position of power, know what you must do, get it done and do it well.
Manners: Todays’ world demonstrates that manners have gone the way of the Dodo bird! We are more interested in playing with our phone or with video games than paying attention to people. Recently I was in a restaurant and noticed a young lady on the phone. Her food was in front of her, but she ignored it continuing her conversation. She ignored the young man sitting with her while the conversation went on and on. She and the young man left with her food in a box. She exhibited poor manners and left hungry!! This illustration is more real than imaginary. We are now a civilization with no manners and little regard for others. We have become self-centered (can anyone say “selfie?”). Many show little interest to interact with another human. It’s about me, me, me! Want power to separate yourself from the crowd? Practice using manners. It’s a seldom used practice that will get you noticed and propel your power position.
Choice: I saved this point for last because it is the driver for all the other points I’ve made. I mentioned a bit about choice earlier in the article. But I want you to understand that your greatest power is the power to choose. It’s the free will given to you without condition. Every minute of your life becomes filled with decision making opportunities. The choices you make dictate your destination. Wise use of this power is a must if you are to reach your potential. The power to choose is an awesome power you must never take for granted.
Hopefully, you will see that we are not powerless to control components of our life. Some things occur that are out of our control. But most of life is under our control. And the choice we need to make today is to exercise the power of choice. It is, as a matter of fact, the power to win the national championship in the game of life.