This essay was published in the book “A World Book of Values: Happiness, Love and 363 Other Values” by Patrik Somers and Kate Stephenson
by Marijo Puleo, PhD, Make Change Positive LLC
“Greatness lies, not in being strong, but in the right using of strength; and strength is not used rightly when it serves only to carry a man above his fellows for his own solitary glory. He is the greatest whose strength carries up the most hearts by the attraction of his own.” – Henry Ward Beecher
Strength is something that is generally desirable and perhaps one of the most misunderstood concepts in our modern times. We talk about physical strength and strength of character, and using strength of will to overcome opposition and obstacles. Research has documented for years that competition can spur heightened achievement, which often relies on these definitions of strength. The nature of this definition proclaims that there are “winners” and “losers”.
As the opening quote implies, wisdom and heart combined with strength provides true power. The world is starting to shift to a different consciousness, away from separation and “winner take all” to unity and exploration of common ground and solutions. This shift is fueling a new definition of strength – one that is borne out of personal integrity and aspirations. It is a new sort of strength that results from teamwork, systemic thinking and cooperation.
“Never be afraid to expose a weakness in yourself. Exposing a weakness is the beginning of strength.” – Robert Anthony, Beyond Positive Thinking
For an individual, there is strength in vulnerability. The old definition of vulnerability was weakness; the goal of the competitor or enemy was to find and exploit those weaknesses. We try to mask these weaknesses and hope that the strengths would over compensate or no one would notice. The mystics and sages of old understood that absolute vulnerability is the ultimate source of strength and power; obstacles and challenges teach us more about who we are and help us creatively explore our “shadow” or hidden self. Exploring the shadow self enables us to retrieve and integrate hidden strengths; it deepens our strength of character. The outcomes are honest relationships, aspirations to work toward the common good, and strength that is based in personal truth, connection with others, as well as power and integrity.
If you would like to learn more, check out this Ted Talk by Brené Brown: The Power of Vulnerability
About the book:
The World Book Of Values is an International project with contributions of 254 coauthors from 28 countries who believe in a better world reaching out to us with valuable ideas for a future with perspective.
It became a huge book (424 pages) about luck, love and 363 other values, a stylish and attractive source of inspiration for our daily life, put together by Patrik Somers and Kate Stephenson.
The World Book Of Values is a call upon – and an invite to grow together to a more value driven society on a personal, professional and planeterial level.