"Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power." - Laozi, Ancient Chinese Philosopher believed to have written the Tao Te Ching, Laozi books
People who possess a lot of personal power, or influence, know a secret about life that others tend to overlook. It's not a complicated secret, but it is one that has a significant impact on self-confidence and personal growth.
The secret is as ancient as the study of philosophy - it originates with man's first inclination to understand himself.
So what is this hidden knowledge that gives you power over yourself and others?
As Laozi alludes, it is as simple as to
Know your essence.
The most significant qualities that truly define who you are as a person. This is not about your physical DNA; it's about your spiritual, emotional and psychological DNA.
Know your values. The things that matter most to you in life. Your priorities; your personal commitments; your beliefs; and, your faith.
Know your strengths. The natural abilities that you possess, cultivate and develop. These are the skills that you leverage to get things done, either on your own or through influencing others. Your strengths are the tools in your personal lifebox.
Know your passions.
These are more than your wants and desires; your passions are those things that you cannot live without. They are the objects of your intense desire to both pursue and obtain for increased satisfaction and the betterment of your life.
Know your tendencies. Habits can be good; and, habits can be bad. You should know all of your habits, as well as the frequency you typically act upon them. Tendencies are deliberate and purposeful actions, and they often produce predictable results. Knowing your habitual tendencies will help you to better identify areas of self-improvement.
Know your limitations. You will never be good at everything you want to achieve. It's better to know which skills or activities are beyond your capability to perform at a level of excellence. Influence is derived from expertise, so you need to be able to narrow your focus in order to maximize your time and energy spent.
Know your goals. The things you really want to achieve in life must be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time sensitive . Nebulous, or vague, goals are not conducive to maximizing your personal performance, development or ability to influence others. Clarity is key when it comes to setting your goals.
Know your mission. Pull it all together - essence, values, strengths, passions, tendencies, limitations and goals - and then, give it some direction. This is your mission in life. This is the point on the horizon that you're working toward yet never reach. It is the star by which you navigate yet never touch. It is the motivation that compels you to be constantly moving forward, striving to make the most of every opportunity presented.