Whether you believe it or not: we all have personal powers that make us powerful beyond means. You might not have physical strength like superman or the genius strike of Einstein but you have the power to think, believe, feel, act and say what you want.
Victor Frankl described in his book ‘Man’s search for meaning’ that people couldn’t take away his choice over his attitude and the meanings he places on the events in his life. He was a prisoner in a concentration camp during the Second World War, definitely a more challenging surrounding for such findings where he observed the psychological effects of being a prisoner.
I have the last say over what I think of feel!
Even though most of us nowadays don’t have to live through the hardship of being a prisoner, our current day-to-day circumstances might be enough to make us feel imprisoned. Especially if you allow them to do just that.
Freedom in harvesting your personal powers
We all have four personal powers: The power of emotions, thoughts, speech and actions or behaviour. And this is where Victor Frankl found that even though you might not be able to change your current circumstances, no one can take away your attitude about the situations, your personal powers.
The meaning of the four powers
Once you realise and take total responsibility for your emotions or feelings and thoughts you come to realise that you alone have control over them. We often hear sentences like: ‘You made me feel sad…’ which in fact is not true. Without your conscious or unconscious consent, no one can make you feel anything. They might trigger something within you, but the cause is in YOU. If you feel it, it is YOURS. Imagine facing a situation with your friend and both of you have a different emotional reaction – this is the proof that the situation, however disturbing it might be, is not the cause for your emotional reaction, but merely the trigger.
The same applies to your speech, actions and behaviour. What you say and do is your responsibility. This is what we teach children growing up from an early age: think about the consequences of your words and actions.
Locus of power must be inside of you
Once you have truly accepted total responsibility for your four powers, the locus of these powers must be inside of you and not with your partner, parents, boss, friends etc. Only then are you no longer dependant on their approval or opinions.
Remember: There is always a chance that with whatever you do or say you might disagree with someone somewhere.
I would like to acknowledge Dr L. Michael Hall’s work on self-actualization, which is where I first came across the idea of ‘Personal Powers’.