What are the 6 Powers and how can they help you?
In this world we have access to a realm of wisdom. On the basis of this realm of wisdom, we can build our paradigms in life. But what is a paradigm? The definition of a paradigm is: a framework with unwritten rules that directs actions. It is your standard instinctive approach to situations. Paradigms can be personal or societal. An example of a societal paradigm is how you should grow your business.
Paradigms are not set in stone and can change. A paradigm shift occurs when one paradigm loses its influence and another takes over. For example, a major societal paradigm shift occurred when the internet gained popularity. People’s paradigms of growing their business changed significantly.
An example of a personal paradigm would be how you cope with certain challenges in life. In this post, I want to share different concepts that can induce personal paradigm shifts. The 6 concepts are super powerful coping mechanisms and should be cherished and embraced, as they can help you conquer your anxieties effectively.
The Power of Now
First of all, The Power of Now. This moment, now, is the only moment that matters. You’ll never be able to get any tangible gratification from the past or the future. Every minute you spend worrying about the future or regretting the past is a minute gone to waste. All you have at hand is the present moment.
It’s scary to know that most people wake up every day and have a constant stream of negative thoughts until they go to bed. The sad thing is that the majority of these thoughts will not come to pass or don’t even really matter. Your mind is such a powerful tool and Eckhart Tolle believes you should master it. Why do we so urgently need to become aware of the present moment and control our thoughts? Because if we don’t, it can physically kill us. According to the American Psychological Association, chronic stress is one of the six leading causes of death.
In recent years, the power of now has gained popularity with the masses. Spiritual leaders like Eckhart Tolle, the author of "The Power of Now", have contributed to the rising trend of appreciating the present moment. As a society, we are scripted to cling to the past. Psychologist Sigmund Freud emphasized that the cause of every problem in our lives is the past and that we should unravel it and reconcile with it, enabling us to live happily and balanced now.
Not living in the present induces stress. There are two obstacles we face to live fully in the present; the past and the future. These obstacles are the inducers of stress.
2 Obstacles: The past & the future
First of all, many people lose themselves in the past. I’m just not good enough because he criticised my work. I’m going to die early because I smoked for 5 years in my 20s. That girl once looked at me nastily so I’m going to get back at her. I was always picked last in high school during gymnastics, I must be horrible at sports so I’ll just not do any sports anymore. The past has happened. It really doesn’t make sense to let something that is not present anymore negatively affect you now.
Secondly the future can result in hope, but more often in stress. People can set ambitious goals for themselves like how much they want to earn, how much weight they want to lose, how many children they want to have, etc. Next to their own goals, other people often impose expectations upon them. Will all these goals and expectations be met? Most probably not...
There are so many factors that could determine future outcomes and hence trying to predict the future is an illusion. People get stressed by seeing their own or others' expectations of the future slip. Clinging to a future state is toxic. It will keep disappointing you and can lead to desperation.
How to benefit from the Power of Now
If you manage to live fully in the present you will take life beyond the stress-inducing future and past events. I learned the following lessons from Eckhart Tolle's book:
- All life is, is a series of present moments - Everything you feel and experience takes place in the present. If you think about it, the past is nothing more than all present moments that have gone by, and the future is just a collection of present moments waiting to arrive.
- Any pain you feel results from resisting the things you can’t change. - Pain is nothing more than the result of you resisting to all the things you cannot change. We have the tendency to keep thinking about the future and the past, but we can only live in the present and therefore have no means of changing unhappy events in the two other dimensions.
- You can free yourself from pain by constantly observing your mind and not judging your thoughts. - Thoughts are just thoughts. They are not reality. By observing your mind instead of worshipping every thought, you’ll come to the realization that you’re in control. You decide which thought you want to engage with and hence how you want to feel.
The Power of Vulnerability
This is my favorite paradigm-shifting concept: The Power of Vulnerability. The queen of vulnerability, Brené Brown, says that vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and creativity. Basically, if we want to have more purpose and meaning in our lives, vulnerability is the path to take.
Vulnerability: The Bad
Vulnerability often surfaces in our society as a concept with a negative connotation. Most people think of weakness when they think about vulnerability. I, however, and with me a community of others, believe vulnerability to be a core strength and one of your strongest assets. I even believe that mastery of showing vulnerability will result in a well-balanced and happy life.
In life we human beings innately crave for acceptance. That’s just something we developed from a young age.
When we wanted attention as a baby we started crying and we got that attention. We always urgently wanted to please everyone so they would like us. Why? We were heavily dependent on their care. When you are a child you cannot take care of yourself. For that reason, we did whatever we could do to get the acceptance from the people around us. It stems from our survival instinct. If we didn’t do that we would get isolated and become vulnerable. To be vulnerable is a nightmare at a young and helpless age.
We repeat behaviour learned at an early age
At a later age, we still exhibit the same behaviour. Getting exposed to harsh or unsympathetic criticism often results in severe humiliation and shame. We become agitated, fretful and panicky if we are not accepted by our environment or if the acceptance by our environment is in jeopardy. This results in a constant stream of thought during the day about how other people see us and what they think about us. Why do you think we all spend so much time creating the most amazing Instagram stories and Facebook posts? We all crave for love and acceptance.
Nevertheless, everybody has a range of habits and imperfections that could be considered “uncool” by certain individuals. Unfortunately, we are all scared of not being accepted due to these imperfections. We try to compulsively hide our clumsiness, vanity and imperfection, and do whatever we can to look "normal" and exist in accordance with the societal conventions, to please everyone around us. This is the perceived downside of vulnerability.
Vulnerability: The Good
There is also a major upside to vulnerability. It is such a powerful tool to gain connection and respect. Everytime my partner or friends show vulnerability I feel that our relationship gets reinforced.
It’s so powerful to share with others that sometimes you are afraid, you have done silly things, you have done bad things and that you just simply don’t know the answer to everything. These revelations make us connect with others. It humanises us in their eyes and they are able to relate. They realise that their own vulnerabilities have echos in the lives of others and it makes them feel less alone. Instead of basing relationships on admiration and a compulsive need to impress each other, you can try to build much stronger relationships by showing vulnerability. It creates an environment of trust where you are able to show your true self, hence an environment in which you can grow to your full potential.
Vulnerability is a great tool for building social connections
Showing vulnerability establishes a base of interconnectedness. We are all members of the human race and we all have our doubts, worries, grievances, and baggage. No member of the human race is perfect. We all have imperfections. By showing vulnerability you actually let people know, I'm a member of the human race and I’m proud of it. You’ll notice that people will almost magically let down their guard and start sharing their vulnerabilities. This process fortifies the relationship and mutual trust can be built. In the end, we are all human beings struggling with the same things in life.
Nobody is perfect we are all imperfect and have our flaws. Though, despite the fact that showing vulnerability will inevitably improve your relationships, showing it requires a lot of courage. We are just scripted in youth to disguise and hide our imperfect self and show up as the perfect person in the eyes of society. It’s a counterintuitive process that you have to go through to show vulnerability. Your limiting thoughts impede you from showing vulnerability but if you are able to overcome that hurdle, a new world of strong and lasting relationships will open up for you.
The Power of Failing
I often say to my girlfriend “failing is the gateway to growth”. Nowadays I only have to utter the first words and she’ll complete the sentence. I’m convinced of The Power of Failing. Failure is such a taboo nowadays and we prefer to conceal it.
Basically, every successful person in life, a person who has found joy, fulfillment and grades his life above average, will recommend you to fail fast and hard. The more you fail, the happier you are.
You are probably familiar with JK Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series. She confesses that she failed on an epic scale the first seven years after leaving university. In those years after graduating - her marriage imploded, she became jobless, a single parent and poor, very poor. Her parents and mostly she, herself, believed she was a big failure. She was a huge failure but she learned from every failing moment in that period. She went on to explain that it stripped away the inessential and let her focus on what really mattered to her - writing. Failure put her completely out of her comfort zone in the direction of the path that life had set out for her.
Many people I know have great ideas that they would love to pursue, but often they hold back because of the comfort of a good salary and a “safe” job. In the end, they choose to sacrifice pursuing their dreams in exchange for some comfort in life. Failure put JK Rowling in a position where she had no choice. She had a rough start but managed to reach record heights nevertheless.
Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
Get out of your comfort zone!
Failure is one of mankind’s most powerful learning tools. Just reflect for a second. Every breakthrough and growth spurt you have had in life had one origin and that is outside your comfort zone. When you do something new - a new job, moving country, starting a relationship etc. - you often start off by failing. You probably feel uncomfortable about it and you do not feel a fit with this new thing. Though eventually this new thing can evolve into your core strength in life. Failing leads the way towards your greatest achievements. Going beyond your comfort zone is like throwing oil on the fire of personal growth. We want to avoid pain, loss and other negativity. However, that is the fertile ground for growing to the next level in life. You cannot establish unprecedented growth in life without failing.
Failure as a reflection of your true self
Everytime you fail a mirror is put in front of you. You can and should look at yourself, at your past endeavours and at what could have been improved - within your circle of influence - with the result that you’ll have a lower likelihood of failing in the future. Once you have failed you can reflect and steer your endeavours - working on that new business, building a new friendship or losing weight - in the right direction. Failure can be considered a wake up call enabling you to choose the right path forward.
But yeah - you’re right - failing is not all sunshine and rainbows. Every time you fail you’ll be overloaded with anxieties, self-doubt, self-criticism and limiting thoughts. Is this the right path I’m taking? Am I good enough? Have I done enough research? Am I just simply a person who cannot achieve these kinds of goals? Failure gives you feedback for improvement, though to capitalise on that feedback you need to overcome your inner devils.
Are you using these Powers to conquer your anxieties? Tell us in the comments!
Check out Part 2, which covers the Powers of Questions, Boundaries, and Self-Coaching.