Soft vs Hard Power

Day 122

Affirmation:

I move through the world with fluidity and flow.

I use my power to softly carve a path through my experiences.

I recognize the value of soft power.


Some of the greatest and most powerful forces of nature achieve their potential purposefully but are themselves soft forces.  Water, fire and air are each soft, pliable, unfixed, fluid and flowing, yet each is capable of creating great change.  Water can shape granite, fire can transform oak into ash, and air can turn farmland to wasteland.   Using our power softly is one of the most efficient and effective uses of human potential as well.

By asserting our will, desire and determination with soft power, we avoid the wasted energy of forcefulness.  Force nearly always meets with resistance, while soft power generates a yielding response.  We are using our power softly when we ask instead of demanding, when we coordinate instead of subordinating and when we whisper encouragement instead of shouting expectations.

There was once a woman who was picking low fruit from a large tree.  A ripe and ready, unblemished piece of fruit clung to a branch just beyond her grasp.  She stretched and strained to take the prized fruit, but to no avail.  She jumped and tried to grab.  She missed.  She jumped again, and again, and again, trying each time to jump higher.  She was only able to touch her fingertips to the splendor.  The woman was becoming tired from exerting so much energy and was no closer to taking the fruit from the tree.  Suddenly she noticed the breeze that had been blowing all morning.  She exhaled deeply, let her shoulders drop and reached up without strain.  She waited patiently.  Then, like magic, it happened.  Her waiting hand took the fruit the tree was generously giving her as it was bent gently downward by the breeze.

When trying to take the fruit, the woman was employing hard power, which had proved unproductive and tiring, but as soon as she employed soft power, the tree yielded the fruit to her.  Life is like the tree – we can either approach it using our power forcefully or we can work with it, using our power softly, efficiently and effectively.


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