Your Greatest Power
"Becoming aware of my character defects
leads me naturally to the next step of
blaming my parents," one woman quips.
Benjamin Franklin didn't feel that way.
Becoming aware of his character defects
led him to something quite remarkable.
He exercised what author J. Martin Kohe
calls YOUR GREATEST POWER — your
power to choose.
Franklin noticed that he had difficulty
getting along with people. He tended to
argue too much. He had trouble making
and keeping friends. So he made a
choice. He chose to examine his own
personality and make a list of what he
considered undesirable personality traits.
(It's not known if other people helped
him make this list.)
It was New Year's Day. Franklin finished
his list of personality traits he wanted to
change. He identified 13 character flaws
and determined to work on each one for a
week. He did this for an entire year and
finally checked each trait off his list.
Benjamin Franklin developed one of the
finest personalities in America. People
looked up to him and admired him. When
the colonies needed help from France,
they sent Franklin. The French liked him
and gave him what he wanted.
Suppose Franklin had chosen to go
through life without using his greatest power
— his power to choose. Suppose he
reasoned that there was really nothing he
could do about himself. Would France
have supported the colonies? The history of
the world may have been significantly
A good wish changes nothing. But one
good decision changes everything. Your
power to choose, to make a good
decision, spells the difference between wishing
and making those wishes come true.
One man quipped, "When it comes to
believing in myself, I'm an agnostic." One of
the greatest problems many people
experience is lack of confidence. Some don't
believe in their ability to speak in
public, others to accomplish something they've
never done before, and still others do
not have the confidence to overcome their
Do you know that you can become more
confident? One effective technique is to
learn to do what you're afraid to do. I
led a seminar a few years ago where I asked
for three volunteers to speak to the
group the next day. One young woman named
Judy was the first to raise her hand.
She explained to me later why she did so:
"When you asked for three volunteers,"
Judy said, "I felt a knot of fear in my
stomach. I've never done anything like
this before and I've never really believed I
could. But the fear was telling me
something," she continued. "So...BECAUSE I
felt so anxious, I decided that this was
something I had to do. But I must to tell
you, I'm terrified!"
She made up her mind to DO that which
she was afraid to do. And the following
day, Judy's five-minute talk was superb!
She was honest and genuine, speaking
right from her heart. Now she is more
confident about her ability to speak in
People who are confident have choices.
People who are fearful too often avoid
much of life because they are afraid to
venture into unknown territory. Jim Loehr
said, "With confidence, you can reach
truly amazing heights; without confidence,
even the simplest accomplishments are
beyond your grasp." When you make
what you're afraid to do what you CHOOSE
to do, you will soon have the
confidence TO DO whatever you choose!
Do you need to exercise your greatest
power? Your power to choose can never be
taken from you. It can be neglected. It
can be ignored. But if used, it can make all
the difference. Use your greatest power
and, whether or not you change history,
you will certainly change your future.
~© 2002 Steve Goodier
Author and Publisher
Life Support System.com
Back To Article Index
Find More Related Articles