Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

A lack of power is liberating and powerful

Early 2016, I wrote my blogs: The more we have, the more we fight change and The less you have, the more you embrace change. This weekend, I learned a new application of that reality: having power is a threatening aphrodisiac, and that a lack of power is liberating and powerful.

Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) had a similar perspective: “Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent than the one derived from fear of punishment.” (AZGRWiki)

Sometimes, I do miss the power that came with my previous working roles (eg, purchasing power, social hierarchy). Most of the times, my new status of being “unemployed” has been liberating a powerful mind. Nevertheless, control and power remain an aphrodisiac to me.

I am aware that some powerful men and some powerful women want to feel the opposite in private, behind closed doors. I’ve never been able to understand that paradox of power. Perhaps, as I’ve never been interested in obtaining formal power. Being second in command worked (much) better for me. Moreover, power is in the mind rather than in a social position.

Early January 2020, I noticed various articles with an interesting – and often valid – title: Why do so many incompetent men become leaders? These articles all relate to a 2019 book and 2020 Ted Talk by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, “an organizational psychologist”.

Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic mentions three reasons for this phenomenon, which might explain the aforementioned paradox of power. There 3 reasons are: (1) confidence and competence do not match, (2) our love for charisma rather than humility, and (3) narcissistic leaders appeal to our own narcissism.

Within several decades, we will notice different articles with a similar message: Why do so many incompetent women become leaders? I doubt that (in)competence has a gender bias. It is much more likely that we appoint and/or elect leaders based on flawed criteria, like charisma rather than humility, arrogance rather than confidence, ruthlessness rather than empathy.

In the past, I had even created my own saying: the lighter people’s specific weight, the quicker they will rise to the top. In nature, this is called the buoyant force. Why would an organization select a leader on competence, humility and integrity? Hence, narcissistic leaders stand a much better chance of getting the top job. Still, real power is in the mind rather than in a social position.

“You have the power to heal your life, and you need to know that. We think so often that we are helpless, but we’re not. We always have the power of our minds. [..] Claim and consciously use your power.” A quote from the 2000 book entitled Meditations to Heal Your Life by Louise Hay (1926-2017), an American motivational author.

Free Your Mind (1992) by En Vogue

artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

I wear tight clothing, high heeled shoes 

It doesn’t mean that I’m a prostitute, no no 

I like rap music, wear hip hop clothes 

That doesn’t mean that I’m out sellin’ dope, no no no

Oh my forgive me for having straight hair, no 

It doesn’t mean there’s another blood in my heir, yeah yeah 

I might date another race or color 

It doesn’t mean I don’t like my strong black brothers

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise.


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