Recognize your Power
Zenith
Zenith Greenwood Village, CO
Published on April 23, 2020

Recognize your Power


In Ryan Holiday’s book, The Obstacle is the Way he tells the story of Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, a prominent boxer in the mid-’60s, who was accused of a triple homicide, a crime he did not commit. He was convicted and sentenced to three life terms.

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When he arrived in prison, he asked to speak to the warden and declared to him: “ I know you had nothing to do with the injustice that brought me to this jail, so I’m willing to stay here until I get out. But I will not under any circumstances, be treated like a prisoner – because I am not and never will be powerless.”

What a great attitude to have, in what most people would describe as a hopeless and traumatic situation. But Rubin Carter chose differently.

From the book:

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Was he angry about what happened? Of course. He was furious. But understanding that anger was not constructive, he refused to rage. He refused to break or grovel or despair. He would not wear a uniform, eat prison food, accept visitors, or work in the commissary to reduce his sentence. And he wouldn’t be touched. No one could lay a hand on him unless they wanted a fight.

Carter decided that he would spend 100% of his time and energy on his legal case, reading every law book he could, along with history and philosophy books. He planned to leave prison one day not only free but a better and improved man. Nineteen years and two trials later, Carter walked out of prison and resumed his life. He never filed a civil suit to request damages, never asked for an apology, because that would mean that they had taken something from him that he was owed.

From the book:

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He had made his choice: “this can’t harm me – I might not have wanted it to happen, but I decide how it will affect me. No one else has that right.”

That is the essence of controlling the controllable in our lives. Regardless of what is happening to us or around us, we retain control over our perception of the event. And what that means is we are never entirely powerless. As Holiday says in the book, if a prison sentence can be turned into a growth opportunity, there is likely very little we can experience in our life without a growth opportunity.

We all have a choice every day, in every situation that comes our way, good or bad – to decide how we will perceive that situation.

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From the book:

In other words, through our perception of events, we are complicit in the creation – as well as the destruction – of every one of our obstacles. This is how obstacles become obstacles – or not.

Like most books I read, I underline and highlight different passages. I also will write notes at the end of the chapter. Here is my note at the end of the second chapter in Holiday’s book;

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“We have the power to choose how we react to anything going on around us.”

It is my hope we are all choosing how to react to our current situation, and not let the current situation happen to us. Recognize the personal power you have in that choice.

Quote of the week:

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“Nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”

Shakespeare’s Hamlet

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Zenith
Zenith Greenwood Village, CO
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