Sunday, March 27, 2011

Why you should think and act with Authority

 The wisest have the most authority

How many times have you thought about attempting something, like writing on a certain topic or in a certain style, and given up because you weren’t convinced you could?  Or taking on a certain project but lacked the confidence?  Or sharing an idea but felt too embarrassed or afraid of how people might respond?

Now you might be wondering what any of this has to do with authority.  Let me explain.

Generally speaking, authority is something we associate with certain powers that someone or something has over others.  To have the authority to grant a person citizenship is one such example.  

Authority also means expertise or mastery of a certain body of knowledge such as someone who is an authority on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in war veterans.

The kind of authority that I’m interested in here is a little different because it is a lot more personal and has to do with authorship.  What do I mean? 

The kind of authority that I’m talking about is the authority of authorship that we can give ourselves over our thoughts, beliefs and actions.

Imagine wanting to write something that you had little knowledge of.  How are you able to think and act with authority in this case?  Would you be fooling yourself by trying to act with authority?

No, not at all.  Not if you see authority as the permission and freedom that you give yourself to be the author of your thoughts and actions.  Once this permission has been given, the doors to information and action open.  

For instance, when I started to write this post, I wasn’t quite sure what I would have to say.  I did have the germ of an idea that I wanted to develop and communicate but that was all.

If I had little or no authority, I would have given up.  I would have decided that I did not know enough about the subject and that there were others far more competent than me who would and have tackled it better.

But because I gave myself permission to be a conscious *author* of my thoughts and ideas, I pushed on.  I became less concerned with how little I knew and more curious about what I did know and how I knew it.

I also did some research – found some quotes, read some articles and consulted the etymology dictionary.  

I made the decision that I did not have to be an authority i.e. an expert on the subject of authority but that I could act with authority i.e. act with the freedom to explore and develop my ideas.  

Here’s what happens when you think and act with authority:

Thinking and Acting with authority opens doors

When you feel you have the authority to do something, you tend to move in the direction of whatever it is you want to do.  Doors open for you, physically, mentally and psychologically giving you access to fresh ideas, resources and creative energy.

When you don’t feel you have authority, you remain stuck behind those doors fearful of moving forward and therefore never making any progress.

Thinking and Acting with authority boosts your confidence

True authority comes without fear.  You’re not afraid to encounter different points of view.  You’re not afraid to admit that you may not have seen or understood certain things.  

Most important of all, you’re not concerned with proving yourself right and someone else wrong.  However, you’re confident enough to state and explain, when necessary and where possible, your point of view.  After all, you are the author-ity of your point of view even if that view is shared by others.

Thinking and Acting with authority makes you responsible

Being the author-ity of your thoughts and actions, you realize that you have to be responsible for them.  You do your best to use your thoughts and actions wisely.  You neither waste them nor abuse them.  And, being the author-ity of your thoughts and actions, you know you can always change, modify or abandon them altogether if they do not serve you well.

Imagine thinking and acting with authority.  Imagine being the conscious author of your thoughts, beliefs and actions for whatever goal or outcome you desire.  How empowering would that be? 


  1. Authority of authorship. Brilliant concept, TB!

    Too many people fear voicing their opinions for fear of slipping off the popularity ladder. These same people forget they're entitled to have and express nonconformist viewpoints respectfully. The world isn't known for embracing original takes on rehashed topics, but it can but agree to respectfully disagree.

    As soon as I had realized I was to continue being disliked despite never upsetting people with my outlandish ideas, I caused my bottle's lid to pop. At least, I now give others a reason to dislike me while releasing haunting ideas ... respectfully.

    I join my voice to yours in urging authors to voice their unique authority, without which we all are but clones. :)

  2. Will, my darling! How wonderful to see you here! You should have seen my face light up with a 1000 watts when I saw your avatar in my Followers widget - my very first on this blog!!! Thank you my dear and faithful friend!

    What a great point you make, not unlike that made by Wayne Dyer, who encourages us not to live by the 'good opinion of others'!

    Yes, give them a reason to dislike you...well, actually, you give them a reason to either like or dislike you. They make the choice which :)

    At Seth Godin says, 'make it remark-able'! You certainly make your posts extremely *remark*-able (especially when the initial *remark* is a stunned silence as we try to recover from the impact :)).

    The world doesn't need clones - and when they do mass produce them, let them take care of the more tedious aspects of life while the original ones play tirelessly in that infinite playground called *Life*

  3. I meant to say, 'the more tedious aspects of *existence*' :)

  4. Always a pleasure, TB. Anywhere inspiration lives, I move. :)

    Giving people a reason to like or dislike you is better than they liking or disliking you for no reason at all.

    Authors mistake popularity for authority. If you're popular, people will read your ideas. If you're an authority, people will adopt your ideas. The impact is different.

    A writing authority provides value and that's why I like your writing. A reader can draw lessons from it. Leave the silly fluff to my own bipolar writing. :D

    Congrats on this new venture, TB!

  5. What a great distinction you make between popularity and authority, Will, although we know, of course, that the two need not be mutually exclusive.

    I do hope that my experiences/experiments and insights will help others live passionately, playfully and purposefully :)


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