He who has great power should use it lightly. ~ Seneca
What does that mean?
Consider what the opposite would be like. Imagine a ruler who ruled with an iron fist, what would that be like? Even at the level of a city or town council, that’s not going to work out very will, will it?
History is full of examples of those with great power using it with great relish and enthusiasm. Some started out being good, but even they often end up being a little heavy handed. And the ones who started out with enthusiasm rarely got any better.
At the smallest level is the personal relationship, and family. Consider what harm could be done by using, or more precisely abusing, your power. Perhaps you’ve been in a relationship like that, or have seen something like that. It’s not good, is it? Better to be gentle, to use your power lightly.
Why is gentleness important?
As a big guy, I’m very familiar with the concept. One day, I simply walked around a corner and bumped into someone, who then had to go to the hospital because they hit the floor. I also weigh enough that stepping on someone’s foot could cause broken bones. Most big guys learn to be gentle and cautious.
That was physical size and power, but there is political power (mentioned in the first section), as well as emotional power. What other ways can you come up with to have over others? And that can even be the power we have over our pets, who rely on us for food, shelter, and love. Applying power with great gentleness is truly an enlightened method.
Emotional power over a loved one could be easily misused. Consider an abusive boyfriend, or a parent who misuses their power over a baby or over a child. Gentleness, again, is the preferred way to go. And the enemy of gentleness is anger and rage. Consider that for a moment before continuing.
Where can I apply this in my life?
What can cause us to become angry, or fly into a rage? Where are your feelings of gentleness when anger and rage are foremost in your mind? Anger is like happiness. It is all in the mind. You can chose to be angry, and you can choose to be happy. Yeah, it really is that easy.
However, learning how, and practicing, strengthening those muscles, that’s a real pain. Even after working at it for years, I still catch myself getting worked up over nothing. What is ‘nothing’? It is, by definition, anything over which you have no control. And in reality, that is nearly everything.
Recently, there was a bombing at the Boston Marathon. Many people got really angry. While I did for a while, I eventually calmed myself. I did it by asking myself simple questions. What could I have done to prevent it? What could I have done to changed the outcome? Did I do anything to contribute to the situation?
The answer to all the questions was negative. There was nothing that I could do, or could have done, to prevent or change what happened. That’s something I learned from Plato. And with that, my anger began to melt away. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not happy about it in any way, shape, or form. But anger and rage, those feelings gain me nothing.
What is on your list for things that anger you, or enrage you? Do you have any form of power in those situations? If you’re the boss, and an employee comes to you to say the project will be late, do you fly into a rage? More importantly, how do you treat the employee who told you, as well as the others on the tardy team?
As the boss, you have much power. How you use or abuse that power, and therefore your employees, says a lot about you, doesn’t it? If you can take a few moments to calm yourself and approach the problem from an attitude of gentleness, are you more or less likely to misuse your power?
That doesn’t mean you have to go easy on them, but neither does your anger excuse your bad behavior, right? Even if you aren’t the boss, you may have a position of authority, respect, or other intangible which you could misuse. And there is always the size issue, as well as aggressive attitude.
So, back to the list of things which anger or enrage you. What can you do to tamp down the attitude? What can you do to avoid getting in that situation in the first place? Could the boss have checked on the status of the project a little more often, so as not to be surprised?
We all have some power over someone or something. Do we revel in using the power, or do we use it lightly, gently? We must each answer this question for ourselves. But remember, the past is behind us. Do better today, and work towards doing even better tomorrow.
From: Twitter, @philo_quotes
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/l/luciusanna130676.html
Photo by Peter Werkman (www.peterwerkman.nl) and at www.peterwerkman.nl