Power Others Have Over Us

Charles Shultz’s Peanuts cast of characters includes Pigpen. Pigpen is a boy who always has a cloud of dust around him.

Have you ever met someone who is similar except that the clouds are dark clouds of impending storm of negativity, criticism? They just seem to suck the energy right out of you.

I’ve been on a reading binge. Finished four books in two weeks (plus three murder mysteries). The books all took a look at personal productivity and leadership.

Henry Cloud is one of my favorite writers. He blends study, experience, and deep thinking and produces helpful books of good prose that are easy to read.

The Power of the Other contains the usual blend of research and insight from his practice of executive coaching.

Looking at my example, we all have people in our lives that suck our energy reserves. However, have you considered the people who seem to energize you?

Research confirms that relationships with the right kind of people actually boost our energy.

Relationship, the connections between people, not only enhances our mental functioning, but actually works to impart it, to provide it. Capacity is built through energy and intelligence.– Daniel Siegel, Pocket Guide to Interpersonal Neurobiology: An Integrative Handbook of the Mind.

Cloud explains the quote, “I love the definition Siegel uses borrowing a phrase from physicists. [Energy is] the capacity to do something.”

Can you believe it? People–the right relationships–not only give us more energy, they also enhance our mental functioning. That reminded me of engineering school. The best score I received on a chemistry exam followed a couple of days of studying with a small group.

Recently I was working at a coffee shop near a table of young women. The energy around that table actually helped mine, and I didn’t even know who they were or what they were studying. Turns out they were Registered Nursing graduates studying for their State Boards. I think they all did well.

The same principle applies to Bible study.

Surround yourself with people who have positive outlooks and impart energy. As Cloud said in an earlier book, Necessary Endings, find a way to end dysfunctional relationships. Get out. Run.

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