In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal the secret of how to tap into your personal power.
First a quick update:
“How to win friends”
Did you truly understand the difference between needs and desires? Here are three hot tips to help you win friends.
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“Yes it is personal Don Miguel Ruiz”
The Four Agreements states that one should never take anything personally; what does that imply about personal responsibility and our ability to create our own lives and reality? Watch the video:
Now, let’s talk about the secret of how to tap into your personal power.
James Stockdale, a senior US airman and Vietnam POW, withstood years of torture – they ripped his shoulders from their sockets, shattered his legs, broke his back, shackled him in irons for 2 years and placed him in 4 years of solitary confinement.
Stockdale’s spirit remained strong – it was never broken. He even went on to maintain command of his fellow captured pilots – leading and boosting morale.
How did he achieve this?
He applied philosopher Epictetus’s supreme Stoicism.
Stockdale later revealed his secret to personal power: “So what Epictetus was telling his students was that there can be no such thing as being the ‘victim’ of another. You can only be a ‘victim’ of yourself. It’s all in how you discipline your mind. Who is your master? ‘He who has authority over any of the things on which you have set your heart.’”
The above philosophy is the opposite of what we refer to in behavioral psychology as, “learned helplessness” whereby a person experiences an event or events and responds by giving away all of his/her power, remains in passivity & helplessness, believing that he/she has no control over the situation nor over the way to find relief or change.
James Stockdale realized that he had control over one thing – his thoughts! By claiming full responsibility over his thoughts and his reactions, he found inner strength, peace of mind and a purpose for living despite his circumstances!
“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” – Marcus Aurelius
The Stoic philosophers such as Marcus Aurelius believed that there are things within our control and things beyond our control, and that by learning to distinguish between them, and by choosing to control our responses (via our thoughts and emotions) we can harness our personal power.
Should we choose to focus ourselves on the things that are beyond our control, we will never be free, tranquil or powerful.
The things that are beyond our control are the “outside events” – the things we cannot prevent from happening – things other people think or do, natural disasters, loss, our parents, siblings, and so forth.
“The opponent of peace of mind is not something external, but within us.” – Dalai Lama
We only have control over our thoughts – in other words, crippling emotions such as fear, anger, bitterness, helplessness are personal choices that we make, regardless of our outer circumstances – the “outside events.”
Epictetus was a Greek who was born into slavery in Rome; he was crippled, though it is not clear if he was born that way or tortured by his master. He studied and became a renowned Stoic philosopher.
Epictetus taught that individuals are responsible for their own actions, which they can examine and control through rigorous self-discipline.
Power is the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events. Thus, personal power is the ability to direct and influence your own behavior and your own course of events!
And you can only achieve personal power by making the decision to control your thoughts.
James Stockdale wasn’t able to avoid or escape the torture or confinement, but, he was able, by choice, to control his thoughts and his own course of events as he chose to find a way to communicate and lead his fellow captured pilots while he was still a prisoner of war!
“Our life is what our thoughts make it.” – Marcus Aurelius
If you take a careful look and examination of your life, what are the outside events over which you have no control?
How are you choosing to respond to those events, those people?
Are you victimizing yourself?
Or, are you choosing to engage in personal power by controlling your mind – accepting full responsibility for the situation and for the next steps you will take which will determine and create your new results and outcome?
In a closing example, a client John, expressed anger, frustration and dismay that a close female friend who had just received a visit from her ex-boyfriend was confused about what she wanted.
She also said to John, “I hope you don’t want more than friendship from me?” John didn’t tell her the truth and he said, “No. I just want to be friends.”
I asked him to consider the possible ways that he had contributed to this outcome, and to his anger. In the 3 months that they knew each other, he chose to play the role of therapist, counselor, confidante and platonic friend. Not once did he speak his truth to say “I am attracted to you; do you feel the same?”
Why did he choose to withhold his truth and to lie to her?
He was afraid; afraid to tell her what he felt and what he wanted!
John let fear control him and thus he felt like a victim.
However, at no point in this relationship was John a victim, other than a victim of his own behavior, choices and thoughts. He made many choices and decisions that led to this outcome.
I reminded John: “Understand and accept that you can now take responsibility for your actions and the outcome; you can make decisions to now act beyond fear and to take control of your former fearful mind so that you can speak your truth, get what you want, and live with freedom; you can experience power and strength by controlling your mind and thus, becoming your own master!”
The same principle applies to every one of us!
If you want further help and support, consider a private, one-on-one session with me. Click here to book your session.
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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”
Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist
Anointed “The Woman Expert” by WGN Chicago, Patrick Wanis PhD is a renowned Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert who developed SRTT therapy (Subconscious Rapid Transformation Technique) and is teaching it to other practitioners. Wanis’ clientele ranges from celebrities and CEOs to housewives and teenagers. CNN, BBC, FOX News, MSNBC & major news outlets worldwide consult Wanis for his expert insights and analysis on sexuality, human behavior and women’s issues. Wanis is the first person ever to do hypnotherapy on national TV – on the Montel Williams show.