How to Improve Personal Power: 14 Tips to Influence November 25, 2021 – Posted in: Personal potential
Personal developement subjects often talk about how to improve personal power but what does this actually look like considering that we are all born with different DNA, personality characteristics, and upbringing?
While there are a number of interesting personality tests to chose from, before we jump into getting to know ourselves at a deeper lever to bring about change, we must first decide exactly how we want to develop. For what reason do we want to change and to what goals do we wish to align ourselves with?
In order to operate in this world to bring about the change we want, we need to learn how to manage our personality to our advantage as much as we can.
This is a general life skill, and at a more granular level, we can look at any activity we do whether it be attending a work project, a party, or learning a new skill. In this way we can evaluate our personality to develop the best strategy with our individual characteristics in mind.
It’s to understand that this article can be viewed in the general context of life or it can be applied to specific projects or goals that we have in front of us at the moment.
It’s a list I’ve compiled after considerable thought and reflexion in my personal life as well as the lives of people around me. I’ve observed that when one of these twelve tips is lacking, results tend to wane.
The old adage by the father of Western philosophy, Socrates; ”To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom” holds timeless truth in our efforts to find ways on how to improve personal power in our lives.
- Know your weaknesses
Knowing your weaknesses will help immensely in that it protects you as you move towards your objectives. Sometimes we can get sidetracked and develop tunnel vision as we are blinded by our weaknesses. Being acutely aware of our personal shortcomings is a great first step in decreasing the likelyhood that this will occur.
There is one school of thought that says you should focus and try to improve your weaknesses in an effort to become more balanced. While this is a good idea, it is far more likely that you will become truely great at something that you are already good at and in some ways, investing large amounts of time into something just to erase a weakness and become average at it can seem like a waste of effort. Ultimately it depends on the situation and it’s a personal choice that you need to make for yourself.
I would spend only as much time as is neccessary to develop your weaknesses so that they don’t become a hinderance to you being competent in your life and projects. No amount of hard work and improvement will bring you to the same level as someone who is much more gifted at something and you will be at a serious tactical disadvantage.
Although we can try to mask our personal characteristics for some time, we will never be able to completely change ourselves from introvert to extrovert in any real sense. This is why we can develop our extroverted abilities as much as possible but we should never try to become someone we are not.
A much better strategy is to embrace our introversion or extraversion and leverage our natural abilities to their fullest. But it is in knowing what our weaknesses are that we can purposefully steer our energy towards things that give us a natural advantage.
2. Know your strengths
Knowing you strengths is the real area where we can really grow because our strengths give us an advantage and allow us to leverage ourselves. By developing what we are naturally good at, we can really become something exceptional. You should have a list of a few of your strengths and try to spend as much of your time in these areas as possible because this is where you’ll make the biggest impact in a competitive world.
Our strengths are what give us the edge in life. By working in this domain, we can become, as the army slogan goes, “all that we can be”. We must first examine our lives and identify what our special strengths are. In knowing our strengths, we can manage things in such a way as to put ourselves in these kind of situations as often as possible.
For the purposes of this article I don’t want to get too much into the details of pursuing your strengths and potential. That can be found on another post here about How to Identify and Reach Personal Potential
3) Don’t pretend to be someone you aren’t. Your power is in being yourself
As life becomes more comfort driven, people often expect you to bend yourself to their expectations and adapt to what they think you should be. They will often expect things from you that you can’t do, be, or give and sometimes they will be dissappointed in you.
So many people bend when they are expected to bend, even to the point of breaking. They become people pleasers and they lose themselves and their lives trying to make other people happy.
Being yourself will make many people uncomfortable and this is fine. It’s far better to be yourself and do what’s good for you and your loved ones rather then live for someone else who contributes literlly nothing to your life.
Your power lies in being 100 percent authentic because no one has your specific qualities. You’re doing yourself a diservice trying to copy the qualities of someone else if you yourself do not possess these same qualities.
Instead, know yourself, know your strengths, know your personality, know your style, understand your experiences and understand how this makes you powerful
If you don’t have a healthy ego, I suggest that you get one. Strength lies in owning your personality and protecting your reputation or you will fall in face stronger people who will use your shyness for greater control and at times manipulation.
4) Be yourself. Make no excuses, explainations, or concessions
We live in our own shoes. No one has lived our life, experienced the same difficulties and overcome the same challenges that we have in life.
No one has the same dna makup as we do. No one lives in our own current situation.
Because no one understands our existence as we do, no one can judge us for the reason we are as we are.
Don’t make excuses for your quirks or idiosyncrasies. You are you for many reasons. Many of the which you cant control, so don’t accept judgement for what makes you different from others.
Dont explain yourself to people who judge you. Dont explain yourself to people who are not open to you or to other points of view except for their own. If they don’t accept the general explaination, they wont accept the details either. There is no need to tell anyone about things they could never be capable of understanding.
For example, Nelson Mandella who was put in prison for years for no real crime could never make us feel the suffering he felt simply by telling us. Only he knows what this is like and only he knows how it has changed him.
Stand for yourself by not making concessions to people like this. No one can understand why you make the decisions you do so don’t let their opinion on how you should live control how you live your life.
5) Agree with opposite minded people when you can.
Don’t voice your dissagreements unless you think it important. The reality is that most people’s ego can not take disagreement without feeling personally attacked. Only voice your differing opinion if it serves to make a difference in favor of what you want. If not, learn to shut up.
Forming relationships with people is so much more important then agreeing with them on every tiny detail. Find the common ground and keep things lighthearted unless there is a real need to address an issue.
Don’t make your decisons based on what you want in this world. Base them on the consequences you are willing to face and what you want to happen
When you do need to express your dissagreement, even on serious subjects, make it sound like a mere difference in point of view rather then serious judgement and problem. Don’t take the other person’s judgement on you personally. This is a psychological game they are playing which is built on emotions and not logic or a desire for truth.
If you want to soften the blow when voicing your difference of opinion explain to the other person that you completely understand why they believe what they believe but that you also have reasons for what you believe. Sometimes there is no possibility for agreement. Be strong and assert your power when all else has failed.
6) Be original
Do things your way but adapt to social norms when you can. Not only should you not have to explain why you do what you do, you should also celebrate the things that make you stand out from the crowd.
This being said, if you are naturally very individulaistic, consider downplaying your individuality to establish yourself in the group when needed. Don’t act superior, but show your exellence by doing things at a higher level. Be colorful and dazzle the spectators.
You must own your personality with total confidence including the things that some people might judge you for. When people see you don’t care about their negative opinion about you, you take their power away.
Again, if you have a indivitualistic or a rare type of personality, be careful because there are people who will try to take advantage of you. Many people aren’t comfortable with your individuality because they’re insecure in some way with themselves. They will sometimes feel the need to criticize or attack you because they may realise that they themselves don’t possess this confidence to go against the crowd as you do.
When they attack you, tactfully ask them why they feel so strongly against you. Expose them for their jealousy or insecurity by asking them why your behavior bothers them. Assure them confidently and publicly that such petty concerns about their feelings about you are meaningless.
When you do this remember that they had no problem critisizing you publically so you should have no problem exposing their real motives. Most importantly, don’t do this vengefully, always appear good hearted, confident, and slightly confused. Maintain your frame.
Don’t be afraid to act individually at strategic times but always be aware of where the group mentality is or you will be persecuted for challenging whichever social bully is trying to rule the room with their loud voice and bullying tactics. Most people are sheep who are too afraid to even think for themselves muchless make real change in a group.
Repeat your displays of social norms skills when needed to keep yourself in an independent position of power or when new individuals enter the group. Discretely show others that you can be equaly dominant in their social games when you wish.
7) Hide your Strengths
This might seem like a strange idea to hide your strengths but hang with me a second and let me explain. In any game or competition, it is unwise to show your strengths upfront from the begenning. The adversary will be wary of your strengths and will be better prepared for you if you telegraphy them.
In the art of war, it’s always taught that you should hide whatever advantage you hold in order to maximise this advantage.
Instead, it is far better to bring your strengths to light at precisely the moment when it will serve you most. Wait for the good moment and strike the fatal blow when neccessary.
Life is a stage. The game of life. Everybody is playing whether they realise it or not. Those who refuse this fact will lose either knowingly or unknowingly. You do society no good in letting bullies control the world for their own selfish gain. Owning our personal power and using our personal strengths to their fullest is not a manipulation tactic, nor is it a method to harm other people. Its just a way to realising our fullest self.
In life, we generally have goals and wishes both for ourselves for those around us. But life is complicated, and many people are only after their own self interests. They will not hesitate to harm you if needed if it means advancing themselves.
If we want to remain a person of good character without falling victim to these kinds of people then it becomes even more important to hide our advatage and strength at times. The only way we can win fairly when dealing with people with no moral compass who cheat is to chose our battles carefuly and to be strategic in the battles we chose.
It is possible to win while being the fairer player in a game but we’ll never win by showing our strongest cards to someone who has no qualms of using dishonest methods against us.
To win against such characters, we must develop our strengths in secret so that we can latter act in a respectable way without having to use slander, insults, attacks, and manipulation as our adversaries do.
When others play dirty, we must not let our moral compass to be used unfairly against us. When someone comes with a gun to a fist fight we must be very careful as to how we will react and seek to exit with as few casualities as possible before it becomes a nuclear war. Take notes on the individual for the future and deal with them accordingly.
8) Message to extroverts
Being everything to everyone isnt a good strategy even if you think everyone loves you. Many extroverts feel everyone loves them but its not realistic and its probably not true either. It’s just that many lesser extroverts or introverts won’t risk contesting with you. They might not even like you but they simply put up with you.
Remember, Its not because someone talks to you that they are your friend.
Many times, the people that you think are your friends are just acquaintance. They may simply have nothing better to do then to talk to you. Secretly, they might even think you are annoying.
Extroverts often waste hours and hours of time with people who in reality couldn’t care less about them just because talking is happening. Try to measure the value of all the time you spend talking with people and decide what kind of people you want in your company. Be more selective with the people you spend so much time talking with.
9) Message to introverts
You need to be social if you want to wield your power both offensively and defensively. Isolation leaves you susceptible to attack and is dangerous to your mental health. As much as you can, find comfort and protection in friends if you have any.
While extroverts speak with too many people, introverts don’t talk to enough people. They don’t open up to strangers, they don’t take the first step to forming a relationship, and they often don’t actively surround themselves with a support group.
Introverts must also try be selective about their friends because they might be willing to accept just anyone who supports their reservedness. Many introverts don’t even care to have a support group or they might not have developed the skills needed to be outgoing and social when the situation calls for it.
Anyone can be outgoing and friendly with some practice. It’s important for introverts to develop this part of their personality because friends and family can be great sources of support in times of need.
Another reason why it’s important to have social skills is because there’s no lack of power hungry extroverts who will target solitary introverts if they feel it can provide them with more power.
While introverts might not be as easy to dominate as some extroverts might think, they’re vunerable to attacks because they have poor support systems. The moment the proverbial shit hits the fan with the extrovert, the extrovert will most likely win because he has many followers who will back them due simply to their strong personality. This makes them dangerous and they know it.
10) When you play with a cheater you must cheat.
Many of us prefer to play by the rules and not stir up problems; but what do we do when we are forced to compete with a cheater?
Whether it be at work, on a sports team, or in a interpersonal relationship, we all meet people who have no qualms of using dishonest methods to gain the upper hand.
Ideally, we’d remove ourself from the situation and just find another game to play. But life isn’t this simple and we often find ourselves mixed up in sticky situations with dishonest people at work, at home, in social groups, and in every area of life.
So what do we do when we find ourselves locked in a competition with a cheater ? Ultimately we have two options; Option one; we can play by the rules and get beaten by a cheater; Option two, we can cheat as well and have a chance of winning.
In this situation if we want to win than we have no option but to use dishonest methods to equalise the playing field.
You must realise that a cheater will always seek to gain the unfair advantage. This is the nature of the cheater. So when you are forced to play with a cheater, if you are prepared to, cheat when neccessary, but try not to escalate the chaos. If you don’t want to cheat than don’t, but consider that you’ll likely lose and that it’s your own personal choice.
The best way to deal with cheaters is to limit contact with these people. Don’t waste valuable time and energy on such people. Try to limit the power they have at their disposition to hurt you and always understand that if you give them an inch, they will take a mile.
11) Be ruthless when needed.
If you’re dealing with a dishonest and powerful person who wants to hurt you, than the time to put up barriers and protection is now. Get support, put up security nets and barriers, talk with your lawyers, get the facts.
Your adversary may lie, manipulate, disrespect, abuse, and bully to gain control and you need to be prepared for these things to happen if you ever want to win in the face of people like this.
This is the time to be ruthless and protect yourself at all costs. If you don’t take precautions now, there will be much damage in the future. Take every action to limit every ounce of influence this person can have on your life. You’ve already identified them for the con artists that they are. They’ve nothing to lose and they know it and they’ll use tactics that you never would to hurt you. Even if you have to lose something today to protect yourself, do it. Protect yourself, your loved ones, your life and your future.
12) Put yourself in the right environment.
Don’t allow anyone to put you into a situation you aren’t 100 percent comfortable with if you can avoid it. Find ways to escape bad situations and always plan an escape route to move into a safer environment if needed. If you don’t have a plan B, you are in a very dangerous situation, tread carefully.
For every life to prosper, other than your health, there are three things that are vitally important in your life. Your time, your energy, and your general well being and state of mind.
If you allow yourself to be taken out of a safe environment for someone else’s selfish motives, you have either consciously or unconsciously signaled to the world that your interests and well being do not matter. You do this by showing that you no longer respect your own vital ressources.
My first piece of advice is to never give yourself away 100 percent. This is your life and you must remain in control of it. If the other person wants to be taken along for the ride of your life, they’re welcome. But if they want to take your time and ressources away from you to live their dream life, than you are simply living for them. This should be a conscious choise if its what you want but you must take responsibility for your decision.
If you have put yourself in a compromised situation, make sure you have a a plan B for when things go wrong. Things eventually will go wrong. Even in the best circumstances, there are always moments of extreme pressure and your negotiaton and power at this precise moment will be dependent on the plan B you have available.
In negotiations, when you have no plan B, you are in an impossible situation. Don’t be a sucker.
13) Dont make promises you dont think you’ll be able to keep
Sometimes its easy to just go along and pretend to have the same point of view as other people about important subjects in our lives. It might be an overbearing boss, coach, parent, or spouse who try to force us into their plans and personal goals.
If someone wants something from us, if we aren’t careful, we can get caught up in saying things that we really don’t mean just to hold the status quo and not trouble the waters in an effort to avoid conflict.
But this is a very poor short term solution to something that will only become a bigger problem in the future. It’s a far better strategy, not to mention the more honest thing to do, to tell the truth from the beginning regarding our thoughts and opinions. In addition, it’ll make dealing with the consequences in the future easier to handle because we can remind the person that we were always honest with what we wanted. It’s in this way you place the responsibility of their act and it’s consequences on their own shoulders. It’s their act and its their responsibility and this needs to be very clear.
No matter what the personal cost appears to be today, it’s much better to operate in truth than to let things escalate into situations that you never really wanted.
Along the same thread, it’s better to admit shortcomings and even personal faults rather then to try to pretend. In pretending to be perfect, friendly, and always agreeable, we are actually compromising ourselves because we’re not speaking up for our personal situation, values and desires. We end up getting dragged along and living our lives in someone else’s framework rather then our own.
In being as honest as possible, we communicate the framework that we are living in and and we can try to integrate it with the other person’s framework as much as possible. If things don’t work out, at least we haven’t invested our time and energy in promises that we aren’t capable of keeping.
14) Learn how to stand alone without getting ostracized
If you want to be a powerful influence in a family, team, group, or community than you have to be ready to go against the grain at the opportune time. Timing is everything when harnessing your personal power in complicated situations.
Before you take a risk you should already be aware of who your principle adversaries will be. This can only be learned from past experience from taking smaller risks in communication in the past with these individuals. You should be taking notes of the people who will likely oppose you and what they will likely do and develop a plan for this. Life is a stage. Play it well.
Everybody wants to be and express themselves freely but no one wants to be ostrichsized for being different. Do you see the problem here?
Being a powerful individual, by definition, isn’t for the weak. It takes guts to express real thoughts, to take risk and forge foward without fearing judgement from others. My answer on how to improve personal power? Do so wisely.
Bonus Tip: Being Powerful is the highest form of giving
We are here to create a positive environment for ourselves, our families, and our world. Being a weak minded agreeable person is not the way to serve those who depend on you. At times we will be agreeable, at times we will not. This is just the reality of the world we live in. What kind of world do you want to live in? Consider this when living your life.
Some might think that this article overly centered on the individual. But remember, society is made up of individuals and being the strongest person you can be will give you the greatest opportunity to serve yourself and those that you love and care about.