We Can Change!


We Can Change Our Programming!

19. Power

Power is the ability to be, feel or act as desired, or to influence the being, feelings or actions of others.  Power is ability to be, feel or do something, or to get others to be, feel or do something. 

In ourselves, we develop the power to be some way by being that way, to feel some way by feeling it, and to do something by doing it.  Usually, we start by trying.  Usually, we fail, or sort of weakly or barely are, feel or do a little of it, on the first try.  If we quit, we do not develop the power.  If we try again, we keep developing that power.  We get a little better at it, or learn something that allows us to try again in another way.  Eventually, if we keep at it, or we get help, we may develop that power.  We empower ourselves by trying and acting to create power.  We acquire power by acting to assert and develop it.


Sometimes, an act of grace bestows a power to be, feel or do something on us.  We’re gifted a special ability or experience.  Grace is real, but hard to influence.  It’s easier to affect our attempts to change.

For example, one day, sitting on the sofa, we decide we’d like to have the power of being able to run a marathon.  We decide to try it.  We get up, strap on our shoes, go out and run.  Panting and wheezing, we collapse after a mile.  We go home exhausted.  The next day, we wake up sore, struggling with how we could ever run 26 times that far.  If we give up, we do not develop the power to run a marathon. 

If we take a day to recover, then get up, go out and run again, we may make it a little farther, or faster.  Again, though, we come home beat.  Maybe we sleep on it and figure out how to tweak our running style, timing, route or shoes to improve.  We go out and try that.  It gets a little better, or it doesn’t and we learn from that.  Some days, we can’t pull it together to run, but, other days, we do.  We persist.  Soon, we’re able to run 5 miles, and later 10.  It starts to flow.  We try even harder.  A few months later, we run 15 miles, and it feels wonderful.  We keep at it, getting better and better, stronger and faster.  Six months later, we run a marathon.  We’ve developed the power to run a marathon and proved it.

To develop power in ourselves, we can decide and intend to do it; take action and try it; persevere when we fail or it is hard; have patience; try new ways and be creative about it; exert our will-power; and stay with it until we succeed.  If we want the power to change, we can take action to change and keep at it.  It doesn’t often work well to sit passively and wait for desired change to happen, in spite of ourselves. 

Power is also the ability to influence or control others, to get others to be, feel or do something.  We have power if we can tell others what to do and they do it, how to feel and they feel it, how to be and they are that way.  Parents have power over children if they tell children to do something and we do it.  Bosses have power over workers if they tell workers to do something and we do it.  Government has power if it tells people what to do and we do it.  Special interests have power if they tell government representatives what to do and they do it.  Media has power if it tells us to be afraid and we are.  Anybody has power over us who can tell us what to do, feel or be and we comply.

Power over others arises in a variety of ways.  Parents may have power over children because children comply out of love, respect and trust, or fear of punishment.  Bosses may have power over workers because workers are trading power for money, or because we fear losing our jobs.  Government may have power over people because we trust government to create the best outcomes for all, or because we fear going to prison.  Special interests may have power over government because they pay for elected officials’ campaigns or present their arguments in terms of compelling repercussions.  Advertising and media have power over us if they make us feel, think or behave how they want us to.

In almost all cases, others only have power over us if we give it to them.  If someone wants us to do something and we do not, they do not have power over us.  It is as simple as that.  We may bear some cost for not complying, but we do not ever have to do anything anybody else tells us to do.  Ever.

If children don’t want to yield power to a parent, we simply don’t do what the parent tells us to.  We may get spanked, a time-out or sent to bed without supper, but the parent doesn’t have power over us.  If employees don’t want to give an employer power, we just refuse to do what the employer tells us to.  We may get fired, demoted or harassed, but the employer has no power.  If people don’t do what government tells us to, government doesn’t have power over people.  We may get thrown in jail, but it has no power to make us do that thing.  If government representatives don’t do what special interests tell them to, special interests no longer have power over government representatives.  And so forth.

We develop our own powers by trying to be, feel or do what we want to be able to be, feel or do until we can be, feel or do it.  Or we get graced.  Others have power over us only when we give it to them.

We have many problems with power.  We don’t have powers we want, because we haven’t taken adequate actions to develop them.  Instead, we sit around complaining about our lack of power.  Others have powers over us we do not want them to, because we have given them those powers by doing what they tell us to.  We sit around complaining about doing what we don’t want to do in those cases, too. 

When power is exerted over many by few, individual resistance has limited effect.  If an individual refuses to do what the boss, government or special interest requests, that individual is not contributing power to the boss, government or special interest, but the boss, government or special interest can just fire, imprison or cut off money to the individual.  If enough others continue to yield power to the boss, government or special interest, the boss, government or special interest still has power, because enough of us are doing what we are told for them to get done what they want done.  The individual has exerted integrity and refused to contribute power, but the power is still there because others are giving it.

In those cases, we develop and exert power by coming together, acting together, refusing to give power to those telling us what to do, refusing to do what they tell us to do, and sticking with it.  When enough of us do it, those others can’t do what they want, and we take their power from them.  We remove others from power when enough of us refuse to give them power by refusing to do what they tell us to.

We suffer from lack of personal power and from abuses of power over us and our society and systems.  That is our fault, and it is our responsibility to pull ourselves together, develop our intentions, exert our wills and take actions to change.  Get up and do it!  If we do not do it, we deserve what we have. 

You have the power to be, feel and do almost anything.  Create and use your powers!  Be, feel and do it! 

We each have the power to decide which powers we give to ourselves and which we give to others.  Stop giving power to who uses it to create or continue what we don’t need, want, value or appreciate!  Give power only to those we respect for their beings, integrities, characters, abilities, values and actions! 


Let’s communicate and coordinate between ourselves and stop empowering what is not good for us, what is not working for us and what is doing harm to us, and let’s start empowering what is good for us, does work for us, and helps us, all of us!

Chapter Input


Please provide any input, comments, suggestions, ideas and discussion on this chapter here.  (Please submit any input or discussion on the entire We Can Change Our Programming! section here.)  

How do you feel after reading this ?  Why do you feel that?  What values are impacted?  Do you agree?  Why or why not?    

Please provide only constructively intended interactions addressing ideas and content, not persons. All mean-spirited interactions will be deleted, especially anything disrespectful directed toward persons interacting with this site and their qualities, rather than ideas and content.  Thanks!