Power, Force, And Influence
What's the difference between power and force? Someone who is forceful knows how to make things happen. Someone who is powerful has a reservoir of influence available to them.
Nietzsche theorized that man, and all living things, are primarily motivated by seeking power. He called it the "Will To Power". By noting that even the strongest living things will risk their lives for more power (competitive fighting for turf, mates, or money for example), Nietzsche argues that the will to power is stronger than the will to survive.
Force is the use of power or strength to influence, control, or coerce
Power is a state of being.
Force is a state of action.
Each has its parts, but force, although effective, is also primitive. In the modern world Nietzsche's Will to Power has become a Will to Force. Imperialism, world wars, nuclear standoffs, and blood feuds over borders have become commonplace in the corruption of power by force. What he didn't see coming was the revolutionary way of gaining power without resorting to force.
The Power of Non-Violence
First Gandhi and then Martin Luther King Jr. have become modern day saints with their use of non-violent protest to affect social change, gain power, and claim the moral high ground.
In Gandhi's words, "individuals or nations who would practice nonviolence must be prepared to sacrifice (nations to the last man) their all except honor. It is, therefore, inconsistent with the possession of other peoples' countries through modern imperialism, which is frankly based on force for its defense".
King swept in a new era of civil rights in the United States. His nonviolence philosophy was outlined in six steps:
- Use the mind, not the fists. Employ emotional and spiritual courage against injustice to gain power rather than sink to the level of force.
- Don't be tempted to utilize the power you gain from nonviolence to disgrace your opponent. The goal is to make him see differently by humanizing him through understanding and friendship.
- Train your power against evil, not the people who are committing the evil through their attempts at force.
- Force begets more force while power subdues force. be willing to accept suffering without retaliating. The beneficial use of power changes the heart and mind of your opponent.
- Truth prevails. Have faith that the power you set in motion will result in understanding and just reward in the future.
- The power of resistance without force prevents physical and emotional use of force by changing hatred to love.
So how does this apply to you?
Your life changes by stepping into your power and that's done by embracing the whole you. Attempting to change your life by force, typically results in failure. This is because you're attempting to be or do something that is incongruent with who you are.
Think of it this way. We all know people who seem to glide effortlessly through life, building an audience of loyal followers, have people who go above and beyond the ordinary for them, and command the attention of a room simply by walking in.
Those are examples of people who have stepped into their power. And for the most part, being around them is a positive, uplifting, and inspirational experience. You're more willing to listen to them, even when they hold you accountable.
Now think of the opposite, most commonly in the workplace, where superiors exert force upon their subordinates through things like micromanagement, a lack of positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, or not acknowledging the contributions of their teams.
The only thing you can think of doing is getting away from them as quickly as possible, doing the minimum to prevent being criticized, and tuning out when they offer advice.
Which one would you rather be?