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December 18, 2012

Loss of Will, Powerlessness, and Unworthiness

You ('you' here means yourself, your family, your team, company, organization, institution, or even your nation) suddenly lose its will to carry on, ( even to live on, in some cases). If this isn't serious, I don't know what is.

You still have the will, but you feel you have too little power to effect any change in your situation.

You still have the will and the power, but you feel that you don't deserve the good things of life, that you're somehow unworthy, that you somehow lack legitimacy to enjoy the success.

Any one of this set of problems can cause you a lot of damage. Then how do we prevent such erosion of will, power and worthiness/legitimacy?

Inspiration and sources

  1. The Fifth Discipline
  2. Many or any psywar/guerrilla literature
  3. Poor Charlie's Almanack , where Mr Munger talks about how the nascent Coca-cola could have prevented "envy" from rivals and the general public.

Maintenance of Will


Peter Senge rightly points out that "will power" won't work. Instead, he recommends what he calls "commitment to truth" or Buddhist-like "pure observation".

Here is my example. Hitler is one of the strongest-willed persons on earth. But, then, near his end, he lost his famed will. Yes, there were reasons, but I won't go into details. Mother Teresa also died without achieving many of her wishes, but I can't suspect her losing her will to do good because she knew she couldn't win it all.

No need to be saintly, but that is the target to aim for, the guiding star to compass by.

Maintenance of Power


Again, I would recommend Peter Senge's "commitment to truth" or Buddhist-like "pure observation".

I have also found that Buddhism, and CBT(cognitive behavioural therapy) help.

Maintenance of Worthiness or Legitimacy


Again, I would recommend Peter Senge's "commitment to truth" or Buddhist-like "pure observation".

Say, you have a national soccer/football team. You are so rich you can base all your players in Brazil. You hire the best coaches, use the best equipments, train with the best techniques, tactics and so on.

  1. You promote all this. As Mr Munger predicts rightly, your rivals and general public won't grudge your team any success. They will accept their defeat more easily, comforting themselves saying that "They spend most, so they deserve most successes."
  2. Other teams may buy your PR / psywar/ propaganda. But your own team members won't. They come to Brazil, yes. But they train like Romario ( i.e. for every night, parties at night clubs till wee hours) and become shapely like old Ronaldo. Old Ronaldo is still lethal, but your team play like deer in the headlight, or chicken without head, or any cliche you have in mind.

They know in their hearts of hearts that they haven't trained at all, that they are not professionals, that they don't belong to such tournaments, that the other team are more worthy of success, and so on. Does this bring to your mind images of Mike Tyson in his match with James ( Buster ) Douglas or England team in recent world cup or Tiger Woods before his scandals became public knowledge?

The truth


That truth you know for yourself. That's the way out.

That's the way to regaining your will, your power, your worthiness.

You pretend you were born genius. Other people buy that. Then what happens?

That's why I love honest people like Feynman, who readily admits that he's using a 'different box of tools'. And as Feynman says, we ourselves are the easiest people for us to fool, to deceive.

1 comment:

  1. People usually know themselve, maybe at an unconscious level. They know very well whether they are worthy of succes, wealth, fame, love etc.

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