Let’s start with an extremely provoking question, not to rattle your beliefs, but to show a clear picture of why you have to develop as much power as possible in your lifetime and join the most powerful people in the world; under one big condition – if you are a good-hearted person. Here is the provoking question: “Is God great or are the most powerful good humans great?”
Now, I won’t continue this blog post by discussing whether God exists or not and about the extent of his greatness and almightiness, because all that is completely up to you to decide, but I will instead argue why good powerful humans definitely are great, and why it’s also your duty to become as good, powerful and great as possible.
Of course, in reality being a great human has nothing to with divinity and your name being in the history books someday, but with the fact that the survival and a brighter future of the human race always depended on people who are powerful, and at the same time innovative, wise and kind. Yes, our future and the future of our children depend on people who are powerful and at the same time wise and striving towards positive progress of the human race.
A brighter future of the human race always depended on people who are powerful, and at the same time innovative, wise and kind.
History is dark and full of terror
First of all, you should wake up really grateful and happy every day. You live in the best times ever in all the thousands and thousands of years of human history. Even if you exclude all the good things of today’s times like mobility, internet and material abundance, you still live in the best times ever. The reason for that is very simple – through all of history, humankind is known to have been in a constant state of war.
From prehistoric times on, we were in a constant state of war. Until now.
From the prehistoric to medieval times and even a few hundred years ago, life was not made for the weak and softhearted. Conquering, killing, raping, torturing, slavery and death were big parts of life. Every family had a member or rather more of them who died under an extreme act of violence when fighting or protecting themselves. The desire for vengeance brought even more thirst for blood.
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What we consider a complete act of terror today, for example beheading a person on live television, would be a completely normal entertainment show for kids a few centuries ago. We can add many big minuses to all the violence that was the default state for most of our history, for example short life expectancy, unknown diseases cured by exorcising evil spirits, no real police and homicide investigation methods, no narcotics when they were pulling out your teeth, poor hygiene, and so on.
We weren’t put on a very kind and nice planet, no matter how beautiful it is. Certainly not. But here’s the good news. Throughout history, violence has been in a big decline. There is no comparison between the amount of physical pain and horror a human experienced a few centuries ago and how much pain and sorrow you experience today. Besides big acts of violence, there were many other very annoying things in everyday life – for example, toilet paper was not invented earlier than 1857. So again, be very thankful for the times in which life was given to you.
Now, God might be great, as I mentioned that’s up to everyone to decide for themselves, but what I am 100% certain about is that:
- Good powerful humans, who worked hard to seize the power with all possible determination to make the world a better place, just for a little bit if nothing else,
- and while they had power they had brilliant visions and ideas ahead of time, imagining how the world could be a fairer and nicer place to live,
- and came through with big positive social, technological, political and other innovations, despite all the temptations to misuse power or use it exclusively for their own benefit, not to mention also fighting the resistance from people who wanted to keep the status quo,
- are definitely great.
And the bright future for all of us, including our children, depends on those rare individuals to a great extent. That is why you must become one of them. That’s why I want you to become one of the most powerful people alive; because I know you can do a lot of good and leave an important legacy behind.
The world of heroes and villains
Deep down, good powerful people know very well that life can be cruel, painful, unfair and malicious. Thus throughout all the history we – good humans like you and me – try to make life more fair, more civilized, more human, more comfortable.
With more and more new technological, social, political and other innovations we:
- try to tame mother nature,
- curb our killer instincts,
- regulate the markets,
- abolish inequality and poverty,
- ease the pain of everyday life,
- increase the general quality of life,
- cure diseases, and so on.
We humans build all the different tools and invent all different kinds of organizational and social innovations to make our struggles easier and the world kinder. We humans do that because deep down, everyone can be good.
Law, morality, codes of ethics, even art, technological advancements and all different devices, spreading positive values, new ways of communicating, medical inventions, social nets, a better understanding of the human psyche, you name it. Opportunities and ways of how to make the world a better place are endless – from massive positive changes and innovations to the small ones.
As we have heroes, so we have villains in our world. People who want to dominate at all costs, people with no empathy, psychopaths, greedy capitalists, corrupt politicians and mass murderers who don’t care about any social or greater good, they only want to benefit themselves no matter the cost. Even worse are hypocrites, people who pretend they want to do good, but only serve their selfish agendas.
One right person in power can bring happiness, peace and prosperity to millions of people. And one wrong person in power can bring misery, violence, evil, depression and corruption to millions of people. The suffering or flourishing of whole nations is often in the hands of a few right or wrong people in power.
Making the world a better place is the work of good powerful humans, and since positive legacy is absolutely the greatest currency ever, it’s your duty to do the same – seize the power and use the one you currently have (and you have a lot of it, as we will see) to do good.
You are already almost one of the most powerful humans alive
When I talk about good powerful people who change the world to the better, you may initially think of people like Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa. They definitely had an enormous positive influence on the world, but they aren’t the role models we are looking for.
You see, they all seem much closer to a God-like figure than being actual mortals. The real role models that we need in our case to serve as a good example of a positive powerful figure are of a different kind. The real most powerful humans alive are the ordinary people, like you and me, whose social action is extraordinary.
Heroes are ordinary people whose social action is extraordinary. P. Zimbardo
The key to understanding what it really means to be a good powerful individual lies in the fact that real powerful humans act when others are passive, they do social good when others are completely egocentric. Ironically, sometimes even extraordinary actions are not needed, you only need to be a kind person and do your job extraordinarily well and use your talents to the full (as we will see later).
Keeping in mind that the most powerful people are the ones who do extraordinary social actions, let’s look at several different ways of how you can use the power you currently have to do good:
- Go home and love your family
- Vote carefully with your resources
- Make sure you create monetary and social value
- Devote a part of your life to social proactivity
- The greatest power is having control over yourself
Go home and love your family first
It’s not the work that you do, your public image or even photos of charity work posted on your social media that show how good of a person you really are. It’s how you behave towards the people who love you the most behind closed doors.
Many people are much nicer to strangers than they are to the people they love and to themselves.
By far the most you can do for this world is to go home and love your family. If you don’t love your family as you should, you were probably raised in a toxic environment and your first duty is to cut those toxic patterns from your family heritage and stop carrying them over to your children and grandchildren.
You as a loving role model, as a peaceful warrior for the people you love, as a mentor to them and a peacemaker, can greatly influence all the people you spend most of your time with. They will spread your love further and in a few decades, your positive contribution to the world will be much greater than you think. Everyone is a role model to the people they spend time with.
If you are going to eat healthier, the majority of the people around you will start to eat healthier. If you start to read a lot, it will encourage other people to read a lot. If you’re kind to others, other people will be more kind to you.
Now, of course, as a role model you shouldn’t have unrealistic expectations towards relationships or life. Life won’t reward you with permanent happiness, an unlimited amount of money and no sorrows just because you’re good. If you want to be happier, you’ll have to work more on your happiness. If you want more money, you’ll have to work on your money acquiring and management skills.
And no matter how much you’re good to people, they sometimes still won’t meet your expectations or will even hurt you. But that’s normal. You must see the bigger picture, not only isolate a few negative examples. We’re all only human and we all make mistakes.
In the same way, you shouldn’t confuse being good with being weak. As a good person, you must have the center on yourself, you must set limits and boundaries in relationships, and many times you must firmly hold your position, even if others don’t agree with you. You must be good, fair and loving, but you can achieve that only by using appropriate tools in different situations.
You can’t raise kids only with love. Sometimes a little bit of tough love is needed.
With experience, you learn how to be a really loving role model and when to show your tough, but fair side. Nevertheless, speaking in general terms, you will absolutely flourish much better in a loving environment, for which you set an example, than in a toxic one. The world is definitely a nicer place with people helping, respecting and loving each other than in a constant state of fight and war.
Everything starts in your home environment, where you already have the most power. As you do in the home environment, so you should be role model with similar principles in other communities, be it with your coworkers, friends, local communities or any other social groups dear to you. The more people you influence by being a positive role model, the more good you do with your personal power.
The key to being a loving role model to your family and other people close to you is outstanding communication. If you follow these three simple rules, you will already be on the safe side of outstanding communication:
- Family environment must be a psychologically safe environment, which means that family members listen to one another and show sensitivity to each other’s feelings and needs.
- In communication, respond with an active constructive response 80% of the time. It takes effort to do that, but it’s worth it.
- Don’t just set boundaries, explain with values why something is important in a community.
The greatest power you can have is control over yourself. And having control over yourself means that you are able to respond in every situation with wisdom.
Voting with your resources also means possessing power
If we take a step further from your closest relationships, your next greatest power lies in the resources you possess. Your time, your attention, your money, your voting rights and all other assets, are important ways of how you can influence the world. They all contribute to the power you already possess. And you can either do good with that kind of voting or you can do a lot of bad with it.
Markets are nothing but supply and demand. If there is demand, there is always supply. If there is no demand, there is no need for supply. By influencing demand, you can influence supply. Demand consists of you voting mostly with your money and your attention (so ads can be displayed to you, for example), and if you combine that with the role model effect, you are already a very powerful person.
If you buy products from companies that follow high moral and environmental standards, if you buy quality products that solve real problems, then you’re using your power for the right things. If you are spending your money on stupid or even illegal things, that’s what you are encouraging.
Here are only a few examples of how the power of the resources you own can be used for good or misused:
- You can read a quality book or watch a reality show. You vote with your attention.
- You can post hateful comments on the internet or share quality articles. You vote with your action.
- You can buy an economical or even an electric car or, even better, a bike, or you can buy a pack of cigarettes. You vote with your money.
- You can go to a fast food restaurant or buy fresh vegetables at the local organic market. Again, you vote with your money.
- You can read a gossip magazine or you can read a quality blog post and buy the blogger a coffee. Again, you are voting with your money and attention.
- You can decide not to participate in political elections at all, because you can’t influence anything anyway; or you publicly encourage people to do the right thing (a positive one) and peacefully fight for good things you believe in.
- You donate your surpluses, invest in businesses and share money with others and do good with it; or no matter how much you have, you want more and more money to fill your emotional void, which you will never manage to do.
Next time you’re buying anything or you give your attention, first think hard if you even need this thing or is it just a waste, and then ask yourself what you’re voting for with your resources. It can also be your companies’ resources, governmental resources if you are a government official, or any other kind of resources you have power over.
There are so many ways of how we can spend money much more wisely, starting with some of the biggest industries in the world like oil ($2,500 billion), entertainment and media ($1,700 billion), alcohol ($1,200 billion), military ($1,000 billion), fast-food ($500 billion), gambling ($450 billion), banking ($115 billion), pornography ($100 billion) as well as illegal industries like drugs ($360 billion) and prostitution ($190 billion). Behind the sum of $7,000,000 million stated in the industries above are all the people voting with their money in one way or another.
I’m not saying you should never drink a beer or a glass of wine and watch a good movie, I’m just trying to make a point that you should be very well aware that you vote with your money and attention and contribute to the demand, which contributes to the supply. It’s not the capitalistic system that’s corrupt, it’s only the people behind the system. And you have your power too. So make sure you vote as many times as possible with your resources for the good things.
If you have no problem buying a bottle of wine, you should also have no problem buying a book and reading it.
Creating monetary and social value means using power for good
You spend approximately one third of your life sleeping. Another third you dedicate more or less to your loved ones and hobbies and the things you enjoy. While you do the latter, you also spend your money and resources. Thus in this second third of your time, you already have a lot of power to do good, like we’ve talked about.
But there is one more third and a really important one at that – your job. It doesn’t matter if you’re an entrepreneur or have a boss above your head, what you do at your job and how you do it, shows really well how much you’re using your power for good, or if you instead waste it for nothing, which I hope not.
First, there are four categories you have to know.
- You can be doing a job of either wealth creation or wealth extortion. Creating wealth means innovating, bringing new products to markets, providing value that people are prepared to pay for, or working in any kind of supporting activity of this process (marketing, finance, administration etc.). Wealth extortion means collecting interests, rents or acquiring assets in any other way, without producing any real value or working in any kind of supporting function of this process.
- Next to that, whatever you do, you produce monetary value and social value. To simplify, monetary value is measured in revenues, profit margins and personal income. On the other hand, social value is measured in how big your positive impact on the society is (quality of life, welfare, opportunities, education, reduced costs…) with your work, subtracting the damage that’s done to the environment.
For example, if you run an investment bank and you buy a company, slice it to pieces, sell valuable assets on the market, fire and hurt hundreds of people in the process and make lots of money for yourself, you did a job of wealth extortion and you produced negative social value. You did create monetary value in the short-term, but it can be discussed whether the created monetary could be higher, in case the company had potential to grow.
If you work as a public teacher, you produce zero direct monetary value (not considering the salary you earn for yourself), but you produce an extremely high social value. Because you don’t create a lot of monetary value, there is no direct wealth creation or extortion. Even if we contribute the teacher’s salary to wealth extortion (taxes), the social value is so high that there is no real comparison, if the teacher does a good job.
If you are a social entrepreneur, selling important healthcare solutions on the market, you’re doing a job of wealth creation and you produce social value as well, besides monetary value. Not only do you employ people, you also solve people’s health problems.
No matter what you do, you want to make sure that you are more on the side of wealth creation than on the side of wealth extortion.
Next to that, you want to make sure that whatever you do, you also create social value besides monetary value. And if you work in the public domain, you want to really maximize the social value you create. Deciding you will also create social value, no matter what you do, is an important part of the personal power that you already possess to do good.
Here are a few practical examples of power misuse or how it can be applied to doing good at work (I listed all real-life cases I’ve seen over and over again in my life):
- A public official who proactively helps businesses get all the permissions, operate in accordance with the law and is kind to business owners when dealing with them, creates social value. A public official who is lazy, hates their job, spreads fear among business owners, absolutely creates negative social value. The monetary value (clerk’s salary) is extracted from the same business owners that are getting blocked in the latter case, which makes everything completely unfair.
- A lousy university incubator manager can come to work more or less only to collect a paycheck, or they can really do the job outstandingly, creating hundreds and hundreds of new ventures. The difference in the social value created can be so enormous that it’s hard to describe.
- A researcher who exploits academic freedom to go home every day at 2 pm and does their job poorly can’t be compared to a researcher who invents a new drug to cure a disease after years and years of hard work and devotion in terms of social value creation.
- Businesses who are environment-friendly, family-friendly, put profit before people, donate money and support good causes can create monetary value but also a lot of social value. That means using power for good.
- Do you know how much more value a good teacher creates compared to a lousy one? The difference can be in thousands and thousands of people who become successful in life or hate formal education forever.
I’ve seen people wasting their time at a job they hate, performing it poorly, when they could be outstanding entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers, and so on. They become leeches to the society, when they could create so much monetary and social value for themselves and others. That means using or misusing power. What you do here and now matters, not what you would do if you were the president of your country.
If you want to do good with your power, first of all, whatever you do make sure it’s something you’re talented at, something you can perform extremely well and not waste your potential. The more potential you waste, the more damage you do to the society, the more your power was thrown away.
Your talents and your good heart are the greatest power you possess to do good.
Next to that, make sure you are in the business of wealth creation, at least to some extent, not only in the business of wealth extortion. Even if you work in banking, if you are real estate agent or if you have a monopoly, you can do many different moves to also create wealth besides extorting it, from investing in businesses to expanding into new industries, initiating new creative ideas, and so on.
In the same way, if you only produce monetary value, you can quickly also start producing social value. You can start supporting local communities, start non-profits, donate money, launch new social products, become a family-friendly business, employ new people, and so on. Even if you are only an employee, you can convince your boss to start new projects with more social value, without reducing the monetary value (profits the company enjoy).
Last but not least, the quite cruel fact of life is that if you don’t create any value, someone else has to create the value instead of you, which makes you a powerless leach, completely the opposite of being a powerful person doing good.
There are, of course, cases when you temporarily can’t produce value, and we should definitely have safety nets for that. For example, if you currently don’t have a job and fight for it, that’s one tough situation you can get yourself out of. But if you always look at how others could do the work instead of you, that’s a completely different story. Being broke is a temporary situation, but being poor is a state of mind.
Devoting a part of your life to social proactivity to really become one of the most powerful
If you apply these few simple principles we’ve talked about:
- Love your family and be a role model for loving relationships,
- spend your money and attention on good things and valuable products,
- the majority of your work should be wealth creation based on your talents, and
- always make sure you maximize social value creation whatever you are doing,
- you are already using your personal power to change the world to the better to a great extent.
And the whole society is grateful to you, for co-creating a better future.
But often that is not enough. The older you are, the wiser you are, the more personal power you have, the bigger is your duty to undertake an active social role, like Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa did. As mentioned before, legacy is always greater than currency, and you want to make sure you leave this world a better place.
Legacy is the greatest currency in your life.
There are many ways of how you can become socially active – non-profit organizations, charities, politics, local community organizations, sharing knowledge with other people, you name it. We may have decreased violence to a big extent, we may have made life a lot more comfortable than it was a few decades ago, but there are many problems the world is currently facing.
Problems stated below won’t be saved by God, but by good powerful people like you. All you have to do is choose the problem you care most about and start fighting. You have the power to do good, you can change the world, everyone can.
- Access to the internet
- Artificial Intelligence
- Armed conflicts
- Car accidents
- Child death (21,000 children die every day)
- Clean water
- Climate change
- Depression and unhappiness
- Economic collapses
- Energy availability (1,3 billion people don’t have electricity)
- Food waste
- Gap between the rich and the poor
- Government inefficiency
- Gun control
- Increasing global population
- Infectious diseases
- Living only on one planet
- Minority rights
- Non-infectious diseases (cancer etc.)
- Nuclear weapons
- Poverty (3 billion people live on less than $2,50 a day)
- Sanitation (more people have a mobile phone than a toilet)
- Spices extinction
- Status of women
- Tax avoidance
Above are just some of the biggest problems, there is an unlimited number of other problems that humanity has to face – from how people are treated in prisons, having no access to quality food or eating too much sugar all the way to not knowing how to cope with difficult life challenges, being financially literate and avoid drowning in debt, not to mention people spending more and more time on digital screens and forgetting about playing in the nature or, on the other extreme, not using technology to their advantage at all. The number of problems is unlimited.
The more power you have, the more good you can do
Now here is one important thing to remember, the more power you have, the more good you can do. That’s why I want you to develop as much power as possible in this life and become one of the most powerful human beings – if you have the intention to use your power for good, of course.
You may imagine Mother Teresa as a poor old woman, but in reality, her order was/is very rich (she is quite a controversial person if you research her a little bit, but the point here is that she had access to assets). In its peak, her order received more than $100 million in donations every year.
The more you have, the more you can give and the more good you can do.
She started off as a very poor woman and under very tough circumstances, with a powerful calling, and thus slowly built her personal power to do more good (it’s a matter of discussion if she became corrupt or not, but that isn’t the point here).
There are more than 100 signs of power, but if we pick just a few of them (besides money): with media influence you can positively influence other people, any formal position gives you the power to do good with institution’s resources, if you have powerful friends you can convince them to donate money to good causes, even beauty and fame can help you influence people to a great extent, because they trust you more and see you as a role model. The more power you have, the more good you can do.
You also probably already see where the biggest problem lies. The more power you have, the bigger is the temptation to misuse power, become lazy or stop fighting for a cause you used to believe in. You see, in the long term, the hardest part is not finding something to fight for, but staying true to it and keeping it alive. That’s where most people fail after gaining the first real power in life.
The hardest part is not finding something to fight for, but staying true to it and keeping it alive.
Having control over yourself – the ultimate power
Power always fascinated people. People always wanted to join the powerful and follow them. This is how good powerful people change the world to the better, and so can you. But here’s the main catch. Everything we talked about, every action out of power you can take to do good, comes from one and the same direction – having control over yourself.
Having control over yourself is the greatest power you can have in life. If you want to love your family, you must have control over yourself, not lose temper when people want to argue with you, but instead respond in a firm constructive way. If you want to vote positively with your attention and money, you need self-discipline to not buy stupid things or you need self-discipline to curb your animal instincts and emotional issues that lead to emotional buying or any other kind of nonsense.
If you want to create wealth and not exploit other people, and if you want to additionally create at least some social value, you need to know yourself and have control over yourself to the extent that you discover your talents, get educated, find a job you love or start your own business, contribute creative ideas, climb the company’s hierarchy to have leverage to create even more monetary and social value and, even more importantly, make sure that your company follows a strict moral compass.
Only if you have enough control over yourself can you decide to devote a part of your life to do social good and face all the challenges and pressure of people who want the status quo. And only if you have enough control over yourself can you make sure that temptations don’t lead you to the dark side when you seize a certain amount of power.
And last but not least, only if you have enough control over yourself, can you make sure you aren’t doing social good out of toxic emotional reasons (we will talk about it in one of the following posts, but martyrdom can be a form of emotional manipulation), but out of rational motives that answer quite an easy question – what kind of a world do you want to leave behind for your children and grandchildren? Better than the one that was left to you or in a much worse state?