The great secret of power is never to
will to do more than you can accomplish.

Henrik Ibsen


For the purposes of this page, we will not be addressing the type
of "power" that comes from political office or financial leverage--
and which would more accurately be called "influence."  This page
is dedicated to the power that we all have available to us,
all the time, if we choose to make use of it.

The day the power of love overrules the love of power, the world will know peace.

Mohandas Gandhi

It is not eminent talent that is required to ensure success in any pursuit, so much as purpose--not merely the power to achieve, but the will to labour energetically and perseveringly. Hence energy of will may be defined to be the very central power of character in a man--in a word, it is the Man himself.

Samuel Smiles
The number of the hours in a day is fixed, but the quantity and quality of energy available to us is not. It is our most precious resource. The more we take responsibility for the energy we bring to the world, the more empowered and productive we become. The more we blame others or external circumstances, the more negative and compromised our energy is likely to be.

Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz

She had never imagined she had the power to make someone else so happy. And not a magical power, either--a purely human one.

Cassandra Clare
Clockwork Prince


Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power.
We have guided missiles and misguided people.

Martin Luther King, Jr.


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The older I get, the greater power I seem to have to help the world;
I am like a snowball - the further I am rolled, the more I gain.

Susan B. Anthony


Power isnít control at all--power is strength, and giving that
strength to others. A leader isnít someone who forces others
to make him stronger; a leader is someone willing to give his
or her strength to others that they may have the strength to
stand on their own.

Beth Revis
Across the Universe


Self-reverence, self knowledge, self-control.
These three alone lead life to sovereign power.

Alfred Tennyson

Be not the slave of your own past - plunge into the sublime seas,
dive deep, and swim far, so you shall come back with new
self-respect, with new power, and with an advanced
experience that shall explain and overlook the old.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

This life is yours. Take the power to choose what you want to do
and do it well. Take the power to love what you want in life and
love it honestly. Take the power to walk in the forest and be a
part of nature. Take the power to control your own life.
No one else can do it for you. Take the power
to make your life happy.

Susan Polis Schutz

Most of us play it safe by putting our needs aside when faced with the possibility of feeling guilty, disappointing others, or facing conflict of some kind.  At home you may abdicate your need for support with the kids to keep peace with the spouse, letting your resentment build over time.  At work you may allow a complaining coworker to keep draining your energy to avoid confrontation--and end up hating your job.  Or you may go right back to saying yes to family members who give you a hard time to avoid their emotional rejection, only to feel frustrated by the lack of quality time that you have for yourself.  We work hard to manage the perceptions of others, ignoring our own needs, and in the end we surrender the very thing that will allow us to live authentic, meaningful lives--our power.
   We have been trained to surrender our power early in life.  Each of us has been taught to live by the rules imposed on us in both subtle and not so subtle ways by generations of parental influences, societal demands, religious expectations, and educational training.

Cheryl Richardson
Stand Up for Your Life

We are all tempted by the opportunity to raise our status by lowering someone
else's.  Do you define your power in relation to others?  Do you let racist or
sexist remarks pass by you with no comment?  Are you sure you can look
at someone and define his or her worth on the basis of class and style?
   There is an almost irresistible urge to prove our power and worth through
comparison.  We view power as power over others.  The life of Gandhi offers
a glimpse of an alternative philosophy.  A different use of power.
   Thinking about power makes us apprehensive.  Power corrupts, power is
violence.  We forget the difference between power used to manipulate others
and power used to empower others.     Power is a neutral force; we control
the quality of its use.  People who feel their own life force, their internal power,
have no need for control over others.

Jennifer James
Success Is the Quality of Your Journey

Most of us can learn to live in perfect comfort on higher levels of power.
Everyone knows that on any given day there are energies slumbering in
them which the incitements of that day do not call forth.  Compared with
what we ought to be, we are only half awake.  It is evident that our
organism has stored-up reserves of energy that are ordinarily not
called upon, deeper and deeper strata of explosible material, ready
for use by anyone who probes so deep.  The human individual usually
lives far within his or her limits.

William James


The best and safest thing is to keep a balance in your life,
acknowledge the great powers around us and in us. If you
can do that, and live that way, you are really a wise person.


Power undirected by high purpose spells calamity; and high
purpose by itself is utterly useless if the power
to put it into effect is lacking.

Theodore Roosevelt

I thought that my invincible power would hold the world captive,
leaving me in a freedom undisturbed. Thus night and day I worked
at the chain with huge fires and cruel hard strokes. When at last
the work was done and the links were complete and unbreakable,
I found that it held me in its grip.

Rabindranath Tagore


To know the pains of power, we must go to those who have it;
to know its pleasures, we must go to those who seek it:
the pains of power are real, its pleasures imaginary.

Charles Caleb Colton


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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.

Mohandas Gandhi

The power of a thing or an act is in the meaning and the understanding.

Nicholas Black Elk
The Sacred Pipe


That power is in vain which is never in use.

Benjamin Whichcote
Moral and Religious Aphorisms

Be fit for more than the thing you are now doing.  Let everyone know
that you have a reserve in yourself; that you have more power than
you are now using.  If you are not too large for the place
you occupy, you are too small for it.

James A. Garfield

Power consists in one's capacity to link his or her will with the
purpose of others, to lead by reason and a gift of cooperation.

Woodrow Wilson


Part of the mythology that theyíve been teaching you is that you
have no power.  Power is not brute force and money; power is
in your spirit.  Power is in your soul.  It is what your ancestors,
your old people gave you.  Power is in the earth;
it is in your relationship to the earth.

Winona LaDuke


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If we keep this question in mind while planning our days, we will
see that we actually have countless opportunities to add to our
life force.  Being around people and places we love and doing
things that give us deep satisfaction, taking time to digest the
events in our lives, being less busy, telling the truth, laughing
a lot, eating right, exercising regularly, having long talks with
those we love--these are among the best ways to nourish our
vitality.  Our life force thrives when we are
completely engaged in the present moment.

Debbie Ford

In a culture of technique, we often confuse authority with power,
but the two are not the same.  Power works from the outside in,
but authority works from the inside out. . . . I am painfully aware of
the times in my own teaching when I lose touch with my inner
teacher and therefore with my own authority.  In those times I
try to gain power by barricading myself behind the podium and
my status while wielding the threat of grades. . . . Authority
comes as I reclaim my identity and integrity, remembering my
selfhood and my sense of vocation.

Parker J. Palmer
The Courage to Teach


A little boy was having difficulty lifting a heavy stone.
His father came along just then.
Noting the boy's failure, he asked, "Are you using all your strength?"
"Yes, I am," the little boy said impatiently.
"No, you are not," the father answered. "I am right here just waiting,
and you haven't asked me to help you."


Power and strength, as useful as they are, without
gentleness and tenderness will result in tyranny.

Joanne D. Holland

We don't want to give the controls to someone else; we want those
reins ourselves.  We want to get our way.  And we get upset when
things don't work out. . . . When we try to control someone else or
events beyond the scope of our power, we lose.  When we learn to
discern the difference between what we can change and what we
can't, we usually have an easier time expressing our power in our
lives.  Because we're not wasting all our energy using our power to
change things we can't, we have a lot of energy
left over to live our lives.

Melody Beattie


When I dare to be powerful--to use my strength in the service of my
vision--then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.

Audre Lorde

The real basic power of an individual isn't what he or she knows;
it's the ability to think and learn and face new challenges.

Nathaniel Branden
Self-Esteem Every Day

Power is strength and the ability to see yourself through your own eyes
and not through the eyes of another.  It is being able to place a circle of
power at your own feet and not take power from someone else's circle.

Agnes Whistling Elk
also attributed to Marian Anderson


The love of power comes from a lack of the most important
power, that of living a life of eternity with every creature.

Aaron D. Gordon


There is no stronger test of a person's character than power and authority,
exciting as they do every passion, and discovering every latent vice.


All persons possessing a portion of power ought to be strongly and
awfully impressed with an idea that they act in trust, and that they are
to account for their conduct in that trust to the one
great Master, Author, and Founder of society.

Edmund Burke


True power is the falling away of individual identity.

Maya Sarada Devi

Power may justly be compared to a great river; while kept
within its bounds it is both beautiful and useful, but when it
overflows its banks, it is then too impetuous to be stemmed;
it bears down all before it, and brings destruction and
desolation wherever it comes.

Andrew Hamilton

Not one of us knows what effect his life produces, and what he
gives to others; that is hidden from us and must remain so, though
we are often allowed to see some little fraction of it, so that we
may not lose courage. The way in which power works is a mystery.

Albert Schweitzer


The great rivers and seas are kings of all mountain streams
Because they skillfully stay below them.
That is why they can be their kings.
Therefore, in order to be the superior of the people,
One must, in the use of words, place himself below them,
And in order to be ahead of the people,
One must, in one's own person, follow them.


Our society is founded on a very limited definition of power, namely
wealth, professional success, fame, physical strength, military might,
and political control. My dear friends, I suggest that there is another
kind of power, a greater power: the power to be happy right in the
present moment, free from addiction, fear, despair, discrimination,
anger, and ignorance. This power is the birthright of every human
being, whether celebrated or unknown, rich or poor, strong or weak.

Thich Nhat Hanh
The Art of Power