Inner Power (Part 2)

It is up to us to maintain our inner power so we may better serve ourselves, and those around us. Whether that be our mental and physical well-being or education, mastery and competence.


We improve ourselves for others.

What is Inner Power?

The concept of ‘power’ is one that could be confused or mischaracterised as something we can used to subject others to our will. The actual definition of the word is understood as “an ability to influence the behaviours of others around us”, and in certain contexts, strength and manipulation could be used to achieve this aim.

However, Inner Power is something different. It is strength we build to look inward, and fortify ourselves against adversity. It is a set of skills which allow us to move from a place of strength, and be successful and resilient regardless of the situation we find ourselves in. This inner strength we achieve can therefore be used to influence others by allowing us to lead with our example, not by force

Inner Power is a place of strength within us – our Daemon. In short, a dedication to ensuring we commit to behaviours and actions which fortify our personal strength and competences. Whether that may be eating correctly (supplementing), strengthening and conditioning our bodies; reading, learning and collecting knowledge and advancing our understanding of the world; and identifying our strengths and purpose in life, to give us a deep motivation from within. 

We have identified three key paths towards true Inner Power: The Power of the Body, The Power of Mind, The Power of Purpose

In the coming sections, we will explain a little about each pillar, why they are important and the path to true Inner Power. 

 

Inner Power: a process of building our strength so that we can steady ourselves in the face of adversity, and conflict and towards personal growth and collective prosperity.

Why is Inner Power an important tenet?

At the core of Inner Power, is personal agency.

Agency is a sense that we have the capacity to influence our own behaviours and thoughts and have faith in our ability to overcome obstacles in the way.

The alternative is undoubtedly less appealing. It would lead us into a life of misery, fear and ill-health. We’d become shackled and oppressed by life’s obstacles and pushed around with the tides of the times. Understandably, this creates a feeling of unease which resides deep inside of us as we are unable to influence our trajectory in any direction.

Naturally, life surrounds us with obstacles – we can’t avoid them. Whether they be physical challenges to overcome, problems to solve in life and in work, or to ask ourselves why are we put on this earth? 

The healthier and more resilient our body is, the better we can overcome a physical problem, like beating a competitor in sport. The sharper our brains are, with more knowledge and experience stored away, the easier it is to out-think something and or manoeuvre away from danger (remember, the brain is a muscle too – but more about that later). 

The objective is to fortify and protect our strength and vitality so that we have the tools required to face each of our life’s greatest challenges. 

The Power of the Body

In the shortest of senses, ‘Bodily Power’ is our health, bodily fitness and bodily well-being. It is not just the physcial strength or fitness of our body, but also, how well our body functions on a daily basis; if it can adapt to adversity and how resilient it is through sickness or injury.

The principle centres around our ability to retain our bodily strength and health so that our bodies can be in the best physical shape at all times, and remain in a state of health which allows us to move around with ease, and live longer, happier lives.

This power is achieved through regular and sustained physical activity, nutrition and a balanced healthy diet – down to a healthy sleep pattern, work-life balance and managing chronic stress levels. To grant our Daemon this power will give us energy, utility, vitality and a long happy life to live. 

 

Why is Bodily Power Important? 

There is overwhelming and conclusive evidence that a higher level of bodily fitness contributes to significantly better outcomes across all key measurements in our lives; whether that be physical or mental well-being. Fit people are sick less, have lower rates of all causes of mortalities, live significantly longer than those who are sedentary and they are generally more productive in their lives.

As a very interesting point, studies into centenarians (Blue Zones by Dan Buettner) found that communities who lived on a hill are more likely to live to 100 years of age, vs, a flat village only a few kms away. Fascinating. 

In the same group of studies, it was found that diet also played a key role in longevity and quality of life. 

Using the body regularity is also absolutely beneficial to our mental health, mental performance and intellectual ability. Regular, and strenuous, exercise is proven to reduce anxiety, lift the mind from depression, and improve sleep quality. It shows that those who regularly exercise aerobically have heather brains, with improved working memory, mental capacity and neuroplasticity –  most profoundly for children and young adults [source].

Regular physical exercise also dramatically reduces sleep latency (time before falling asleep) and sleep quality too [source]

The same can be said for those who enjoy a healthy balanced diet which contains a variety of fruits, vegetables, natural fats and carbohydrates. The key aspect of the diet is to ensure that our bodies are fueled correctly, with fresh and nutritional foods which contribute towards a healthy active body.

Those who think they have no time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness – Edward Stanley

Peter Attia, in his book Outlive, writes about exercise as something we do for our future selves. Almost as if physical activity is a tax we pay every day, to enjoy our future lives with greater vitality and well-being. He says:“Exercise might be the most potent “drug” we have for extending the quality and perhaps quantity of our years of life.” 

 

Path to a Powerful Body

A very important key point is how we choose to preserve our bodily power. There are no grand gestures or huge leaps towards this goal, but it is achieved through little everyday decisions. Whether we decide to go to the gym, or get takeaway for tea (when there is healthy food in the fridge – we all know how hard that is in the winter months).

At all times we must consider our action’s impact on our Bodily Power and recognise the things that will draw our vitality down, affect our mental well-being, or lower our performance.

The caveat or reversal is not to restrict ourselves completely. There are often times when it is a ‘net positive’ thing to do something ‘bad’ for our body. The odd cheat meal, or night out with friends, can do wonders for our emotional health and is well worth the sacrifice of bodily power. There is also space to consider a day off when your body needs to rest. It is all a bit of a balancing act.

It seems the firm rule is to do the right thing at least 80% of the time and be mindful of improving your lifestyle overall, but not being too focused on being perfect. Listen to your body and do what is right for you. 

To give an example, Joe Rogan often talks at length he has decided that he must work out every morning and subject himself to an ice-cold bath, so he may feel at ease. He pushes his body so that when he does let loose, whether that is a cheat meal or spending time with his friends, he has earned it. Andrew Huberman on the other hand, has been criticised for offering information that is ‘too literal’ and would prefer not drinking at all, as it has a serious impact on our body. Peter Attia is less hard-line and would argue that the important aspect is not the length of our lives, but the quality.

Whichever you choose, is up to us as individuals. 

  • Healthy Balanced Diet and Nutrition Regime
  • Daily or Regular Exercise (both cardiovascular and resistance training)
  • Regular and healthy sleep pattern
  • Prioritise recovery, relaxation and  

Reading:

  • Peter Attia | Outlive 

 

“Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.” — John F Kennedy

The Power of the mind

The Power of the mind is the quality and ability of our brain. It is the skills we learn, the things we know and the experiences which have lead to growth. It is our ability to learn and the way our minds can be used to help ourselves, and others; whether that be teaching and imparting knowledge, creating something or overthinking a problem.

There is also, in many people’s eyes, a limit on how clever or intelligent they are. While it may be true that some of us find learning more difficult, it is absolutely not the case that we can’t become more intelligent or mentally accomplished than we currently are; it may just take more time, more patience and a sense of purpose (we’ll get onto that later). 

Those of us who struggle with learning and reading should see it as a valuable asset which teaches us the value of persistence, hard work and dedication (cognitive fitness). 

Remember that our brains are muscles too (the most powerful some may say), and they require constant nourishment, exercise and growth. Like our bodily power enables us to move around the world, our mental ability helps us understand, navigate problems and strategise. To grant our Daemon this power, we will become strong, agile and wise beyond our years. 

 

Why is Cognitive Power important?   

Education has long been revered as the most valuable aspect of our upbringing. Sadly, today, many have taken education for granted, but in the developing world, education is still clearly the most effective path out of poverty and towards agency – the same is true in the developed world too.

In the same way that our bodily power provides us agency, so does cognitive power. The more we learn, and the sharper our minds, the better it can be used to solve problems, protect ourselves and improve our lives. As our minds grow, our Daemon grows wise. 

As we are all very aware, education is important for our standing in society. How well we have done at school, college or university, is often used as marker of how well we do in life.

Our institutions are built around this idea, and for every rung up the ladder, we are required to provide documentation in the form of an official qualification. The more qualifications we have, the more we are valuable, and the higher our pay packets and social status is.

It would be idealistic to believe that there is no, or little, benefit to this structure, and it does make sense to structure our society to reward those who are more valuable to us all. The qualifications also act as a formal representation of our willingness and determination to gain enough mastery to pass a test. After all, we all need our electricity to be wired by somebody who knows what they are doing, and a qualification offers that as formal universally accepted proof.

We can’t escape from the fact that if we have more skills, we are more valuable to our community. Whether we have a first aid course under our belts, we know how to fix and maintain a vehicle, an intimate knowledge of a specific subject which makes us a specialist at work.

We can collect skills and knowledge which allow us to do more and be more accomplished. The more we know about nutrition and the body, for example, the better our performance. The more knowledge we have in our field of expertise, the more likely we are to do a better job and get a promotion, as another example.

In short, those who have more information in their brains have more utility and agency. The more we know, the more useful we are, and the more success we can find.

With that said, the sad reality is that education is seen now as a product – or as a golden ticket – that grants greater access to society, and once it is ours, it is ours forever. This couldn’t be further from the truth; and this creates a sense that if we miss school, college or university, we have failed, and there is no hope in trying again. This is also false.

Rather than seeing education as a product, we should view learning as a form of mental fitness.

 

Mental Fitness

All of us have access to a higher form of intelligence, one that can allow us to see more of the world, to anticipate trends, to respond with speed and accuracy to any circumstance – Robert Greene

Thankfully, we can make up our own rules.

The time to learn is always. Like improving our bodily power, learning and improving our minds is a slow and steady crawl which requires dedication, commitment and most importantly, time.

Our brain is a muscle, and like our body, requires daily nutrition, exercise and recovery. It needs to be trained and honed and cared for, in a very similar way to our hearts and lungs, digestive system and immune system. The difference is that protecting and training our cognitive power involves reading, listening, writing, talking, debating and consuming brain-boosting foods.

At first, this is difficult and progress seems slow. It is normal to feel confused and frustrated and not capable. But with time, those growing pains become easier and the sense of wonderment takes over. The more our brains are used, the fitter and more ready they become.

Once we master this mindset, and start learning, about subjects that interest us, at our own time, a formal qualification will be a piece of cake. 

Now is the time to start. 

 

Path To a Powerful Mind

We humans emerged from the jungles of East Africa about 6 million years ago. As a species we were woefully unprepared for the vast savannah’s wilderness. 

About 5 feet tall, our ancestors were no match for the brute strength of an elephant or the speed of the numerous 4-legged predators. Yet we faced extinction (many other humanoids didn’t make it) and have become the most advanced and sophisticated species on the planet.

With a little bit of digging into History, we can clearly see that the Humans who lived over 2000 years ago are asking the very same questions as we do. Marcus Aurelius (161AD to 180AD) the Roman Emperor, wrote in his journal (now published under the name Meditations) that he is not exceptional, and his example of greatness was not gifted to him (maybe by the gods) but it was earned through years of study and practice of philosophy. “Recognise, that if it’s humanly possible” (he said to himself) “You can do it”.

It is a fact, that we possess the same brain and the same power as our ancestors before us. Within us all is the brain that turned a stone into a tool, a stick into a fire, a rock into a wheel, a wheel into a cart, a village into a city and a planet into a habitat of our own creation.

The people who inspired dramatic leaps in technology and culture share the same heritage as we do. Everybody from Charles Darwin to Jane Goodall, Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg shares a common ancestor with us. As the writer Robert Greene points out in his book Mastery, the Leonardo di Vinci’s of the world are not random anomalies of genius, but followed a ‘simple process which leads to mastery’. We too can follow the same process.

This path is a slow one, but you can scale your mind to take on almost any adversity. While our bodies may have physical limitations, day by day, our minds can become fitter, more able and vast in size. All it takes is constant love, care and attention, and feeding it correctly. 

  • Read a wide range of books, essays, and publications about topics that spark your interest.
  • Remember that your brain needs exercise every day: so use it.
  • Identify gaps in your knowledge and focus on strengthening them.
  • Read about a wide range of topics and experiment with the kinds of challenges you face. 
  • Learn another language – or continue to master the ones you’ve learned. 

 

If, on the other hand, we manage these emotions [frustration, pain and doubt] and allow time to take its course, something remarkable begins to take shape. As we continue to observe and follow the lead of others, we gain clarity, learning the rules and seeing how things work and fit together. If we keep practising, we gain fluency; basic skills are mastered, allowing us to take on newer and more exciting challenges. We begin to see connections that were invisible to us before. We slowly gain confidence in our ability to solve problems or overcome weaknesses through sheer persistence. —- Robert Greene

The Power of Purpose

The answer we ask ourselves every day is why

The power of purpose, at it’s core, is using our unique purpose, strengths, passions and interests to propel us forward. By empowering ourselves with our own unique mission, we can unlock the strength of our will and character, and show extreme resilience in the face of adversity. Our new found sense of meaning acts as our inner power station that energises us, and an inner compass which gives our lives a sense of direction. It is what forms our moral frameworks, helps us build boundaries and protects us from external influences which may offer temptation that lead us astray. 

The literal meaning of the word purpose is “the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists” or “a person’s sense of resolve or determination”. Often in life we feel as though we are acting is a completely meaningless way, or towards the purpose of others, but empowered by our own internal purpose, we can become almost unstoppable. 

This is a power like no other as we are learning to unleash the power of the soul: something invisible to others which will help us always know exactly what life we wish to live and will give us the strength to build it. To grant our Daemon with this power we will become light and energetic and can utilise a childlike sense of ‘flow’ and creativity.  

 

Why is the Purpose Important? 

Life is scary and chaotic – it is random and almost completely uncontrollable. Most of us (who are lucky to go to such places) leave school and university as if we are being blasted from the end of a water slide into the middle of an endless field. What should we do? Where do we go? We need something that will help us navigate the chaos and keep on a steady keel. 

The people who have achieve some of the most amazing human advancements, those who have survived against all odds, Olympic medal winners and high-profile sports stars each share a common thread: a strong sense of purpose. They each hold firmly in their minds the reason for getting up in the mornings to train; the reason for taking another agonising step when they feel scared and simply wish to sit down and give up. What pulls each of us back to our feet is our purpose. 

Purpose provides us with life force, vitality and the motivation we need to go in the direction of our choosing. It makes us resilient, determined, persistent and relentless in the face of the inevitable adversity; simply because we have a clear understanding of why we doing the things we are doing, and what needs to be done to achieve our goals. 

The internal drive we all inherited is part of our human nature. Without it, our hunter-gatherer ancestors would not have had a reason to persist and innovate their way out of the jungles and into cities. We’d be completely lost in the chaos that swirls around us. Today, many of us feel this chaos above us and we must ask ourselves: what should I do about it?

When we are young, in our teens and 20s, life is new and interesting, so purpose isn’t quite so important (mainly because our purpose is to explore and learn to be a human), but as we get older life can get – well –  lifeless. We settle into a steady job (that we likely endure rather than enjoy), and dig ourselves into a safe and predictable routine. If it didn’t provide a financial income, the job would be completely meaningless to us. The routine becomes our purpose and it is easy to lose sight of what excites us and makes us feel alive. It’s soul-crushing but often necessary.

Deep inside of us, we feel uncomfortable. Like an itch that we’re not quite sure how to scratch.

We suffer from boredom and many of us turn to distractions or vices. The nature of these experiences is that they are fleeting moments of joy, which we try to recapture time and time again, and we descend into a hunt to feel good again- addiction. [source]. We may feel insecure and lose our self-confidence, feel a growing sense of stress and anxiety which all lead to the inevitable feeling of hopelessness and depression. The motivation to do anything is sapped, our actions are more out of obligation for the routine than for ourselves. Without a real sense of purpose, life can very quickly feel empty and meaningless [source].

The effects on our mental well-being, and therefore our physical well-being, are catastrophic. We are strong believers that nihilism (the belief that life is meaningless), is partly to blame for many of the downfall of mental and physical well-being across the developed world. 

The paragraphs above are scary (as reading Robert Greene’s chapter on purpose in ‘The Laws of Human Nature” is too). If it is a reflection of your own life, then don’t worry! It’s not too late.

It cannot be ignored that a sense of purpose helps us construct who we are, what kind of people we wish to be, and what rules we have in our own lives. It sets in stone a moral framework which helps to build boundaries and will ultimately help you gravitate towards others with a common sense of purpose and direction. 

 

 

Path To a Powerful Purpose 

Like many of these principles, the fact is that this is a difficult, painful and scary journey of self-discovery. But we should see this as a good feeling. This pain can lead to growth. 

Our lives as human beings are complicated, and the journey towards a feeling of purpose cannot be given to us in the form of a pill, that solves all of our problems within a fortnight, but could take months or years of persistence and struggle. It could be something we work towards every day for the rest of our lives… and that challenge will be liberating and enjoyable for the most part. 

According to Robert Greene, the best way to start this process of finding self-discovery is to search our own lives for the things which excited us in our own childhoods. This process is to find and nurture our own ‘seed of uniqueness’. The things that excited us, the moments of fascination and pure joy. Robert Greene’s is words and the shapes of letters, for Diana Nymad it was the swimming pool, and for Nimsdai Purja it was a feeling of freedom and adventure – which he found in the special forces and on the slopes of the highest and most dangerous mountains on earth. 

As we grow older, and in the age of social media, our childhood interests and fascinations are slowly replaced with what our teachers, and parents feel was best for us. Therefore, most of us are motivated by a sense of obligation. We are also constantly distracted, or tempted, by the things we see on social media. The allure to a new trend or a new way to live our lives can draw us away from our own calling. We are often so distracted by trying to emulate others, and live a life like theirs, that we forget to look internally for what makes us special. 

The evidence of our own purpose is strewn across the lives we have already lived. This could be a good reason to take some time with a journal and pick out what it is that the mind gravitates towards when when thinking about a thing that excites, interests and motivates us. 

Once we find that seed, the motivation to act towards this purpose is free flowing. And we are filled with energy and determination. It is easy to hold ourselves accountable and push through the feelings of discomfort and pain. Once we get there, we don’t need a pat on the back or for anybody to see our achievements, because the satisfaction we need is already ours. 

The most profound writer and speaker on this topic is Robert Greene – his recent interviews with Andrew Huberman is an extremely useful breakdown of his years of research and writing. 

  • Take time to understand yourself, and what excites you. 
  • Use your journal to plan the steps towards what you need to do to achieve your goals
  • Hold yourself accountable and let your sense of purpose fill you with energy, joy and push you further. 
  • Read Chapter 2 of Mastery and Chapter 13 of The Laws of Human Nature

Reading:

  • Robert Greene | Mastery 
  • Robert Greene | Laws of Human Nature (Chapter 13)

Last words

Hopefully, this has given you a greater understanding of the ideas behind the three core values behind power, what they mean to our lives, and how to achieve them. 

If you have made it this far, believe it or not, this is a summary of the greater concept and covers many of the key points and ideas in a concise manner. We are in the process of writing a longer piece which includes stories, examples and exerts from philosophers to crystalise the points of the ideas. If you’re interested in this longer piece then get in touch.