Over the next few lines I will try to show you what is necessary to empower yourself. You might be surprised about my conclusion but let me start from the beginning.
I have tried many things, from positive enforcement to people who are close to me helping me out in order to gain motivation and empowerment. Even though it seemed to me to be helpful, it was usually only for the very short time, while on the long term I always had to keep finding new strategies to empower myself. For example when exercising: I push myself to go, promising myself a nice treat for when I come back but after a very short time this treat can’t get me up anymore to go for a run.
About two years ago I addressed this problem to my mother. My mother is a very smart woman and she immediately understood the crucial lesson to teach me that will help me on the long run.
What she told me impressed me so much; I can still remember exactly how this particular Sunday morning conversation happened:
My mum said it was at my grandfather’s 90th birthday, when he first spoke about this topic and everything about her father became clear to my mum. Before I continue, there is a running joke between the three sons-in-law in the family, that one day they will all go for a coffee together with my grandfather and the only one who will feel rushed to get back to the office, will be my grandfather. It slowly turns out that this is slowly but surely becoming reality. While some still felt like hanging out at breakfast my grandfather can’t sit still for too long and can’t wait to start his day.
My mum kept asking herself, how her father can bring up this strength to be so busy all the time, being stressed and exhausted, sometimes even annoyed. He would definitely have all the right reasons to relax, have a comfortable life and enjoy the fruit of a lifetime work, especially at his age.
At some point my mum came up with the idea that my grandfather never, ever has any excuses for not doing something. My mother – and myself – has never heard my grandfather not doing something because of his age. Age doesn’t matter to him nor is, was and will never be a reason not to do something. It seems to us as a family, that there are no external factors that can influence my grandfather’s decisions. This also includes well-meant advice from his kids or anybody who would try restricting him in physical matters (e.g. “Why would you walk if you can take a car?”). My grandfather never uses his age as a reason to neglect daily business of his company. From an outsider’s perspective it seems unreasonable and sometimes maybe even defiant against advice. He is stubborn (in a good way) and most of the times he makes his own decision and not always exactly what my grandmother would necessarily decide for him. Crucial in this whole description of my grandfather is that his full empowerment comes solely from the inside. When I say inside I mean it comes straight from the head and heart. When he has a goal in front of his eyes, then there is no one and nothing that can hold him back from pursuing his goal.
Where does my grandfather get that inner power? As a Holocaust survivor he started his life fully from scratch, meaning no money and not even citizenship in his country of residence. Very early on he realised that no one would be motivating him on the long or short run, the only one able to do that would have to be himself.
Back to my introductory example about exercising: Getting empowerment for a one time action is easy to get from someone else, but to be and feel empowered for the long term it is no one other than yourself. To be an empowered and motivated person with an active personality can only come from within. In that case, no one else other than me will have to get up and exercise.
Whenever I would come home and explain to my mum that I wasn’t in the mood for homework, when my mum would explain me that “mood” isn’t part of decision making, homework is something that must be done without taking mood into consideration. Using your mood or age or any other excuse is not an option when things just have to get done. Never wait for anyone else to empower you; it’s you and only you. Empowerment has to come from within itself.
Back to my title: Is empowerment really what keeps you going? This question is wrong from the beginning, because it should say: How can I develop an inner power like my grandfather?