The Conscious Lifestyle: How a Leader Should View Power
Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 26, 2013
By Deepak Chopra
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(In this series of posts we’re discussing the qualities of leadership using the acronym L-E-A-D-E-R-S. The fifth letter, “E,” stands for empowerment.)
Power is so tempting and so controversial, connected at its worst with corruption and runaway ego, that I’d like to state some general principles first as they pertain to a conscious leader.
Empowerment is the fruit of successful action. Doing and power go together, since without the power to sustain your vision through difficulties and resistance, your vision will wither away. This isn’t ego empowerment, which is driven by the demands of I, me, and mine: – as a successful leader, you are empowering others at the same time as you empower yourself.
The belief that power isn’t compatible with ethics, morality, and spirituality is misguided. At the deepest source of consciousness, there is a field of infinite possibilities. Packaged with every possibility is the path to achievement. Both unfold from the same place at the same time. Your power is validated by how smoothly you can manifest your goal, with minimal resistance, struggle, and opposition.
There is a dark side to power, however, known as the shadow. This is where anger, fear, envy, greed, and aggression create problems for anyone in power, warping their good intentions and tarnishing their ideals. You must be aware of your shadow, and then you can defuse it by integrating the dark into the light. When the war between the dark and light side of power is transcended, you find yourself wielding the power of wholeness.
I realize that these principles sound abstract and perhaps foreign, since the usual model of power is a sliding scale from zero power to total power. The helpless and impoverished are at zero; absolute dictators are at total. But there is no sliding scale for inner power – Socrates and Saint Francis exerted tremendous power over the future without any basis in material power, but who remembers the name of the richest man in Greece or Italy during their lifetime?
A good model for present-day empowerment might be Warren Buffett, who exemplifies the principles of inner power as a guide.
- Saw his main strength early (a talent for asset management) and kept on building it.
- Remained connected to the support of family and community.
- Obtained a modest home and maintained a simple personal lifestyle – in other words, he didn’t measure his power by outward trappings.
- Worked for the benefit of his whole team and investors who depended upon him.
- Has been humble in the face of enormous success.
- Measures his life by the standard of personal happiness and satisfaction.
- Does his business scrupulously and with complete transparency to his investors.
Comparison with the fallen and disgraced captains of Wall Street’s great investment banks shows that Buffett’s way is superior by any measure, including his reputation and public image as well as material success. But you don’t have to aim for billions to empower yourself using the same principles. We’ll go into this more in the next post.
(To be cont.)
Deepak Chopra, MD is the author of more than 70 books with twenty-one New York Times bestsellers. FINS – Wall Street Journal, stated that “The Soul of Leadership”, as one of five best business books to read for your career. Co-author with Rudolph E. Tanzi, their latest New York Times bestseller, Super Brain: Unleashing The Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well-being (Harmony, November 6, 2012) is a new PBS special.