How does power affect people’s minds? We’ve all seen the latest unravelling of a power-driven individual in Harvey Weinstein, the prominent producer, as the secrets emerge about his inappropriate behaviors. This pattern is more common than some may think, where people in authority use their power to manipulate and take advantage of others. They may believe that their position and status in life enable them to experience special privileges and not have any consequences. Unfortunately, their wealth and prestige give them a sense of invincibility and many assume that the rules are different for them. In some cases they may have one or more personality disorders that contribute to their inappropriate actions, lack of empathy, and entitled mindset.
Sadly, many who have accumulated tremendous wealth, fame, and power lack integrity, compassion, and humility. They fixate on things rather than people and use others for their own satisfaction. So often they are chasing the next opportunity to achieve more and further their empire, only to have it crumble either through their own self-destructive behaviors or life circumstances. Or viewed through a different lens, this destruction could be a wake-up call or an opportunity to live life differently. All of us can easily get off track and pursue wealth over health or success over significance. We sometimes seek power and control in an effort to be more secure and comfortable in life. Whatever the underlying reason, it still keeps us stuck in self-absorption and self-centeredness. The irony is that wealth, power, and material possessions don’t guarantee happiness or fulfillment. In fact, quite the opposite, wealth beyond a certain level actually results in higher levels of unhappiness and dissatisfaction with life. When is enough truly enough?
We don’t have to achieve epic things and accumulate millions in order to be affected by this phenomenon. In fact, certain professionals that have a significant amount of power, control, and authority may be more susceptible to abuse of their position. What are some alternatives or ways to deal with success differently? As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, giving of your time, talents, and treasures to your community can help moderate an obsession on wealth and power. Significance comes from positively influencing others’ lives which in turn reduces self-absorption. Look beyond wealth, fame, and power to find joy in life. Our relationships and our faith can give us fulfillment, peace, and happiness abundantly more than our financial worth. Don’t let making a living prevent you from making a life.