“What do all men with power want? More power.” – The Oracle, in The Matrix: Reloaded
It has been said that the original sin is pride, that all other sins stem from it. Perhaps to define it more narrowly, I suggest that a lust for power (which is rooted in pride) is the root of much evil. It’s why some men scream at their children (or even beat them). It is why some people can never admit that they’re wrong. It’s why nations rise and fall.
Yet, occasionally, we meet someone who seems unfazed by power. Someone who is honest and truly humble, so much so that it makes the people around this person go one of two directions – better or worse. Some people are inspired to be better because of the example of the one. Others feel shame, but they don’t want to feel shame, so they turn their feeling inside out and try to tear down the humble one however they can. It’s sad to watch. It’s worse to join in.
It’s rare that one of these inspiring people seeks a position of leadership. Yet, they are often the ones that others follow instinctively. We need more people like this: people who do not grasp at power, like it’s a drug, to get a fix. Genuinely good people who choose to do the hard things because they are the right things. When trained up, mature and wise, they are ready and willing to lead.
Are you one of these people? Could you become such a person, such a leader? What will it take?
“Power in the hands of a good person is like a cool drink of water on a hot summer day. It refreshes everyone with whom it comes in contact.” Andy Andrews, as Abraham Lincoln in The Traveler’s Gift
“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” – Lord Acton