Take to heart The Self-Empowerment PledgeHumanities
“No empowerment is so effective as self-empowerment... In this world, the optimists have it, not because they are always right, but because they are always positive. Even when wrong, they are positive, and that is the way of achievement, correction, improvement, and success. Educated, eyes-open optimism pays; pessimism can only offer the empty consolation of being right [because it creates a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure].”
David Landes: “Culture Makes All the Difference” in Culture Matters: How Values Shape Human Progress (edited by Samuel P. Huntington and Lawrence E. Harrison)
You can download the slide show and all of the posters for The Self-Empowerment Pledge at the resources page of the Values Coach website .
One of the most overused and misused buzzwords in the English language is the word “empowerment.” The word implies that somebody other than you can give you power. If someone else can give you power, they can also take it away – and loaned empowerment is not real power. In truth, no one can empower you but you. The only genuine empowerment is self-empowerment. Once you empower yourself, though, nobody can take that power away. Empowerment is a state of mind – not part of a job description, a set of delegated tasks, or the latest management program brought in by the boss. The Self-Empowerment Pledge includes seven simple promises that will change your life, if you are willing to invest one minute a day for a year. Read these seven promises, and then ask yourself these two questions:
Question #1: If I were to take these promises to heart and act upon them, would I be better off in every way – personally, professionally, financially, and spiritually – in one year than where my current life trajectory is taking me?
Question #2: If everyone where I work were to take these promises to heart and act upon them, would we do a better job of serving our customers and supporting each other, and would this be a better place to work?
If you’re being honest, the answer will be absolutely yes – how could it be anything else? The promises themselves are simple, but keeping them will require desire and determination. Fortunately, you don’t have to do it all at once. Focus on one promise each day, so that you make all seven promises to yourself each week. Do this each day for one year – it will be the best daily one minute you ever invest in yourself.
Repeat each day’s promise to yourself at least four times – morning, afternoon, evening, and right before bed. Each reading will take you about 15 seconds – so four times a day is one minute. At first, you’ll hear a negative little voice in the back of your head telling you that you look ridiculous and you could be watching a TV commercial instead of wasting this minute. Ignore it – the inner critic is easily bored and will eventually go away. But now it’s going to get even tougher, at least temporarily. You’ll begin to experience what psychologists call cognitive dissonance, which is trying to hold two incompatible beliefs simultaneously. Cognitive dissonance is a painful emotional state, a form of mental illness.
When you’ve been promising yourself to be responsible, accountable, and determined, but then catch yourself procrastinating, making excuses, and giving up, you’re experiencing cognitive dissonance. At that point, one of two things must happen. Either you take the easy way out and stop making the promises, or you change your attitudes and behaviors in such a way as to start keeping the promises. When you do that, you will start to get better results. Now you’re over the hump, and repeating the promises becomes an easy and pleasurable habit, because it’s self-reinforcing. Let’s look at each of these seven life-changing promises.