The Power Paradox Quotes

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The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence by Dacher Keltner
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The Power Paradox Quotes Showing 1-15 of 15
“Chronic threat and stress damage regions of the brain that are involved in planning and the pursuit of goals. The principle is clear: powerlessness undermines the individual’s ability to contribute to society (Principle 19). On Kayo Drive, this could be seen in the difficulties kids had sitting still and concentrating, in their bad grades, and in the depressions so common among their parents. Powerlessness robs people of their promise for making a difference in the world.”
Dacher Keltner, The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence
“Money, fame, class, and titles are just symbols, or opportunities, for making a difference. Real power means enhancing the greater good, and your feelings of power will direct you to the exact way you are best equipped to do this.”
Dacher Keltner, The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence
“Life is made up of patterns. Patterns of eating, thirst, sleep, and fight-or-flight are crucial to our individual survival; patterns of courtship, sex, attachment, conflict, play, creativity, family life, and collaboration are crucial to our collective survival. Wisdom is our ability to perceive these patterns and to shape them into coherent chapters within the longer narrative of our lives.”
Dacher Keltner, The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence
“It isn’t just dictators, power-mad politicians, kings of high finance, and drug-addled rock stars who are vulnerable to abuses of power; the power paradox can undermine the social life of any of us at any moment. Whether we are at work, out with friends, in encounters with strangers, or with our children, the very skills that enable us to gain respect and esteem are corrupted when we are feeling powerful.”
Dacher Keltner, The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence
“Groups give us power when we are enthusiastic, speak up, make bold assertions, and express an interest in others. Our capacity to influence rises when we practice kindness, express appreciation, cooperate, and dignify what others say and do. We are more likely to make a difference in the world when we are focused, articulate clear purposes and courses of action, and keep others on task. We rise in power when we provide calm and remind people of broader perspectives during times of stress, tell stories that calm during times of tension, and practice kind speech. Our opportunity for influence increases when we are open and ask great questions, listen to others with receptive minds, and offer playful ideas and novel perspectives. The”
Dacher Keltner, The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence
“The power paradox is this: we rise in power and make a difference in the world due to what is best about human nature, but we fall from power due to what is worst. We gain a capacity to make a difference in the world by enhancing the lives of others, but the very experience of having power and privilege leads us to behave, in our worst moments, like impulsive, out-of-control sociopaths.”
Dacher Keltner, The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence
“Being poor produces a way of responding to life circumstances that, while warm and giving, is continually vigilant to threat and chronically stressed in ways that harm a person’s mental and physical health.”
Dacher Keltner, The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence
“We elevate the status of others with compliments, flattery, ingratiating comments, public roasts, awards, and outright praise and adoration. People around the world systematically use the tactics of politeness—hesitations, indirectness, apologies, formalities—when speaking with higher-status individuals. These subtle shifts in phrasing, syntax, and delivery convey the respect that the speaker feels toward the recipient.”
Dacher Keltner, The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence
“Put aside any notion you might have that low-income people live lives of ease and pleasure and that it is high-income people who suffer angst and anxiety. Studies of happiness show that people who experience less power on a daily basis, or who are in low-power positions within a social group, or who live in poorer neighborhoods, are less happy than those with more power. These findings are true of adults as well as of children.”
Dacher Keltner, The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence
“Recent research is showing that chronic powerlessness—poverty—stunts brain development in perhaps permanent ways that undermine not only school performance but also the capacity to contribute to society more generally.”
Dacher Keltner, The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence
“Poverty suppresses growth in regions of the brain that empower children to do well in school, handle the greater threats they face on a daily basis, and eventually make a difference in the world.”
Dacher Keltner, The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence
“The power paradox is this: we rise in power and make a difference in the world due to what is best about human nature, but we fall from power due to what is worst. We gain a capacity to make a difference in the world by enhancing the lives of others, but the very experience of having power and privilege leads us to behave, in our worst moments, like impulsive, out-of-control sociopaths.

How we handle the power paradox guides our personal and work lives and determines, ultimately, how happy we and the people we care about will be. It determines our empathy, generosity, civility, innovation, intellectual rigor, and the collaborative strength of our communities and social networks. Its ripple effects shape the patterns that make up our families, neighborhoods, and workplaces, as well as the broader patterns of social organization that define societies and our current political struggles.”
Dacher Keltner, The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence
tags: power
“Power defines the waking life of every human being. It is found not only in extraordinary acts but also in quotidian acts, indeed in every interaction and every relationship, be it an attempt to get a two-year-old to eat green vegetables or to inspire a stubborn colleague to do her best work. It lies in providing an opportunity to someone, or asking a friend the right question to stir creative thought, or calming a colleague’s rattled nerves, or directing resources to a young person trying to make it in society. Power dynamics, patterns of mutual influence, define the ongoing interactions between fetus and mother, infant and parent, between romantic partners, childhood friends, teens, people at work, and groups in conflict. Power is the medium through which we relate to one another. Power is about making a difference in the world by influencing others.”
Dacher Keltner, The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence
“POWER PRINCIPLES PRINCIPLE #1 Power is about altering the states of others. PRINCIPLE #2 Power is part of every relationship and interaction. PRINCIPLE #3 Power is found in everyday actions. PRINCIPLE #4 Power comes from empowering others in social networks. PRINCIPLE #5 Groups give power to those who advance the greater good. PRINCIPLE #6 Groups construct reputations that determine the capacity to influence. PRINCIPLE #7 Groups reward those who advance the greater good with status and esteem. PRINCIPLE #8 Groups punish those who undermine the greater good with gossip. PRINCIPLE #9 Enduring power comes from empathy. PRINCIPLE #10 Enduring power comes from giving. PRINCIPLE #11 Enduring power comes from expressing gratitude. PRINCIPLE #12 Enduring power comes from telling stories that unite. PRINCIPLE #13 Power leads to empathy deficits and diminished moral sentiments. PRINCIPLE #14 Power leads to self-serving impulsivity. PRINCIPLE #15 Power leads to incivility and disrespect. PRINCIPLE #16 Power leads to narratives of exceptionalism. PRINCIPLE #17 Powerlessness involves facing environments of continual threat. PRINCIPLE #18 Stress defines the experience of powerlessness. PRINCIPLE #19 Powerlessness undermines the ability to contribute to society. PRINCIPLE #20 Powerlessness causes poor health.”
Dacher Keltner, The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence
“As the most social of species, we evolved several other-focused, universal social practices that bring out the good in others and that make for strong social collectives. A thoughtful practitioner of these practices will not be misled by the rush of the experience of power down the path of self-gratification and abuse, but will choose instead to enjoy the deeper delights of making a lasting difference in the world. These social practices are fourfold: empathizing, giving, expressing gratitude, and telling stories. All four of these practices dignify and delight others. They constitute the basis of strong, mutually empowered ties. You can lean on them to enhance your power at any moment of the day by stirring others to effective action.”
Dacher Keltner, The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence