Some people should never be handed power...

Hey You,

It’s Lewis aka Nerd #2.

Why do some people act all douchey when they get into a position of authority?

There’s a whole host of reasons but I loved how Gerry Spence in his book, “WIN YOUR CASE: How To Present, Persuade, And Prevail Every Place, Every Time” speaks to it.

If there’s was ever a vocation that provides you with a non-stop moving parade of douche copters, being a lawyer would have to be damn near the top of the list.

Now I’ll let Gerry tell you how he never lets people on a power trip bring him down by…

Humanizing The Power Person

We are ants.

All worker ants until we need a queen. Then we feed the poor bug some special queen concoction and behold, a queen is born to whom we all bow  and scrape and quake in the face of her power.

We see a haberdasher or the owner of a baseball team and we put the cloak of the presidency on him. And we give him the power to destroy whole cities and conquer whole nations and we bow and curtsy and struggle for a glimpse of the great man.

We take a simple carpenter and call him the son of god. And with such power, he changes history.

We take an ordinary lawyer, slip a black robe on him and call him your honor and catch our breath as we argue before him, this man of all wisdom, who can barely find his way to the court house, before his ascension.

We see the glorious fool who has inherited millions, and we adore him. Find him beautiful, wise, and even funny because he has been anointed to high place on account of his money and the power of it. Yet he is still but a fool, albeit a rich one.

Movie stars are adored. Even worshipped. Especially if they die young.

Although it is true that men can rise to the occasion and become great, by and large, our modern day deity, major and minor, take their high places only because we put them there.

On the other hand, the greatest examples of the species may remain anonymous.

I am rarely impressed with the so-called greats. The politicians, the judges, the movie stars. The truly great people of this world are rarely recognized. The mother who raises 7 children by herself and see’s to their education. The teacher, who through her inspiration and love, creates many contributing members of our society. Or the poet who refuses to climb the commercial ladder and writes great poems that few will read.

If we ponder who make into societies heroes, we’ll soon realize that we are in sore need of genuine heroes.

If we look carefully at those we respect, we will often find that our respect is poorly placed. Why do we respect many of the rich who’s principle trait is greed? (Read: Enron, Madoff, Lehman Brothers, BP Oil, foreclosuregate)

Why do we respect the movie star who’s had a half dozen wives and who’s narcissism has transformed him into a self-anointed thug?

Why do we worship those whose power was purchased at the poll with corporate dollars?

Why do we bow to judges who wear the robe of justice that covers unjust hearts?

When I walk into the court room and see his honor take the stand, I am stricken with awe. He takes his high place on the bench, and looks down on us. He has more power over me and my client than the President of the United States. He can make rulings that will forever change lives.

In the court room, he is omnipotent. I can not strike out at him if he is a tyrant. I cannot criticize him if he is a buffoon. Yet, yesterday, he may have been a lawyer with little talent and an empty fund of wisdom but who contributed to the right political party.

Why am I stricken with such awe and fear of this person?

When we invade the sacred premises of any who have power over us, the boss, the school board members, the county commissioners, all former ordinary citizens, why are we suddenly afraid to speak out?

When we go before the city council, why do we sometimes find ourselves nearly speechless?

The answer of course, is that those who hold positions of power hold them because we, like the ants creating their own queen, have given them our power.

If we begin to realize  that their greatness, is only our state of mind, we will have taken the first large leap toward overcoming our fear of the power person.

All Power Person’s Are Mere Mortals

Many of these people are dreadfully afraid of us.

Some are marginally bright enough to recognize that we are the source of their power. That we can retract their power as quickly as it has been given.

The politician fears us. The corporate executive fears us. We may expose and dethrone him. The judge knows that his power is ephemeral, that the voters can cast him out into the horrors of becoming a regular citizen again. One who must once more crane his neck looking up to some other judge.

Those judges who have been appointed for life are the new kings in a democracy. And some are the worst of tyrants. But other than the fact that most of them live approximately forever, who are they as they must, on the misery they decree on the hapless, they are still human.

They fight traffic to and from work, their wives complain that they snore, they harbor their own set of neurotic quirks, and as we, they fight protruding belly, grow old, die and are soon forgotten.

To those who suffer little caring for the human species, power is attractive. Compelling. Bullies want power. Dictators and tyrants, the lowest form of the species, are addicted to power.

I know men and women, who if given the power, would change the color of the moon to match their evening wear. And those who love power, who love it to the marrow, are those to whom power should never be entrusted.

The ancient Chinese held that those who seek power, should be denied it because they are dangerous to themselves and to others which is the current measure by which we incarcerate people as mentally ill

Power is a devilish drug and should be outlawed for all except for those who refuse to exercise it.

But as we have seen, the power that others wield over us is only the power that we have given them. They hold power over us and become a power person only because we have given them our power.

In the hands of politicians, power is usually a desperate clutching to office. In the hands of the cool judge, power becomes a self christened deistic vision of himself. One touched by heaven to bring down the wrath of god upon the miserable creatures who appear before him and their evil representatives, their lawyers.

Some people experience power as a sort of aphrodisiac. They are usually the weakest. The most afraid. The cowards who become spunk-less milk softs the moment they are divested of power. 

The most powerful of all are those who refuse to use it.

Love is, in fact, the ultimate power and the only legitimate power. All other manifestations of power are without legitimacy.

When I walk into a court room, I see a judge for who he is. An ordinary man with extraordinary power. But he is my judge and he belongs to me, to serve my case, my cause, with sound and just ruling.

I give him the presumption of decency. But should he stray from this role and becomes like one of those tyrants who sits up there like a maddened emperor, I may disrobe him.

Without his clothing, he is a disgusting sort. His skin is usually too white. leeched like a daisy that has been smothered under the manure pile. He will wear funny little pajamas tonight at bed time with patterns of jumping little teddy bears. And he’ll make some excuse to his wife for his bedtime failure, who if the truth were known, is only too pleased that he has consigned himself to his side of the bed.

I do not create such a vision of this man out of disrespect for his office. But I have no intention of respecting an office held by a man who disrespects justice.

Seeing him, as he most likely is, permits me to keep my power. It belongs to me. And do not intend to deliver it to him. Which does not mean that I will disobey his orders, display my contempt, or otherwise misconduct myself.

There is a profound difference between respecting a judge’s just ruling and enduring the unjust ones as may be necessary to accomplish our goals in a case.

All I mean to say is that we must put those in power, in their proper places. If they earn our respect, it should be honestly given.

Several judges have been my heroes. I dedicated one of my books to a judge. I have been befriended by those in power and given a boost along the way. Particularly by parents and teachers who had power over me but who exercised it with love.

I have known rich men who were truly great men. The exceptions are not who I’ve been talking about. If we must always get tangled in exception, we can go nowhere with the overlying truth of any argument.

What I have said here, can be simply put. Those in power, retain their power because we give to them or fail to reclaim it. Most in power hold onto it because they need it. Indeed, because they are weak without it.

Many who possess great power are ill or ill-advised. That we should give them our power, by becoming intimidated by theirs, is to wrongly waste the power we have. For us, power, theirs and ours, belongs to us. We can give it or withhold it.


I’m a huge fan of Tony Robbins so when I read this passage from above…

Power is a devilish drug and should be outlawed for all except for those who refuse to exercise it.

…I must shine my interpretation on what this means to me.

Power is devilish when it’s only strength comes from pull and muscle. Think of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged novel here.

The only reason James Taggart, the main antagonist of the story, has any kind of “power” at all is because he inherited one of the biggest corporations on the planet along with the family financial fortune and because he leans on these rather than his mind’s potential power to bring his unique gift to the world, he’s a prime target for the leeches in government and the less than reputable segments of business community who all want something for nothing at the expense of others. And because he’s one of them, he starts playing ball doing what he can with his powers to granting and accepting favors that serve the interests of fellow maggots who want respect and riches without having earned them.

This creates power that is shored up on nothing but shady favors and on the backs of courageous people who actually produce.

Some people experience power as a sort of aphrodisiac. They are usually the weakest. The most afraid. The cowards who become spunk-less milk softs the moment they are divested of power. 

When I think about this, I think about the majority of cops.

These men and women don’t have a family fortune or big business to inherit that juices them in with the head honcho politicians that help keep them insulated from having to make it on their own merit and mind in the world and because of this I believe they join the police because they’ve let themselves be kicked around their whole life and this is a way they can finally turn the tables on the society that they blame for making them feel afraid and insignificant.

I say this because I believe whole heartedly in the Pareto Principle commonly known as the 80/20 rule.

This law of nature that says that no matter what segment of society you choose – teachers, bankers, basketball players or in this case police, you’re gonna have 80% of the group who performs either poorly to average. They’re the F, D and C students.

Then you’re gonna have the C+ – B students who make up another 15%. And only 5% are the elite A students, the heroes who pull the rest of the group and society.

The badge and the gun are the equivalent of a magic bullet, lottery ticket that gives people the impression they’ve gone from pussy to a bad ass. National statistics show that about one-third of lottery winners ultimately file for bankruptcy. And I imagine if you look up stats on police corruption, inefficiency, and abuse, you’d find more than 1/3 of the cops morally bankrupt

It’s a short cut to compliance. They think they’re finally getting the respect they’ve always yearned for but deep down, they know it’s not respect. It’s the fear of being struck Rather than becoming the kind of

There’s no doubt in my mind that there are a few men and women who join the police with honorable intent and uphold it through out their career but this is the minority, the 5%.

Fireman vs. Cops

Being a fireman in my eyes is a truly noble profession.

You give, give, and give and perform heroic acts and you have to be OK with having no glory or status beyond what you get from fellow firefighters. No one is afraid of you.  No one has mixed feelings about firefighters like they do about cops.

You see a firefighters sirens going off in the rearview, you cheerfully move over. You see the cops sirens in your mirror and you get nervous feeling racking your body – even if you are a church going soccer mom.

Here’s something to think about: Firefighters are there when we need them. They are happy to play cards, watch T.V. and give lectures on fire prevention on their downtime and we’re happy to pay them to do that when they’re not needed.

If however, we gave the firefighters the added responsibility of making sure there were no “inappropriate” sexual fires blazing in the community and sent them out on peeping patrol, we would probably start to look at firefighters with a suspicious eye.

As absurd as this situation sounds, this is precisely the job given to the police. It’s an impossible job that invites corruption and dissipates respect. I like this definition of what a police officer’s role in society should be…

The prime function of the criminal law is to protect our persons and our property; these purposes are now engulfed in a mass of other distracting, inefficiently performed, legislative duties. When the criminal law invades the spheres of private morality and social welfare, it exceeds its proper limits at the cost of neglecting it’s primary tasks.

If I had it my way, the only people who could be cops would be people who’d proven they had the courage that it takes to cultivate healthy self-esteem and were ruthlessly screened before ever allowed into any authority positions.

This is the kind of person who has their own power and doesn’t seek approval, security and control of others.

The Power Trip of An Expert vs. A Marketer

Tony Robbins I believe is one of the 5% in the Personal Development niche.

He stands heads and shoulders above all of his competition not only because of his expertise, his character and his wit… but also because he’s teamed all of this up with being an excellent marketer. 

Experts  or people in authority positions have a high brow, head tilted back, nose in the air feel to them that communicates they’re better than you and that you should respect them because they have knowledge.

It’s this kind of thinking that leads people to insist that you call them Professor or Doctor or have some alphabet soup before their name to show the world how awesome they are.

This points to how much insecurity these people have.

They don’t believe that just by being in their presence and talking with them that you’ll realize how brilliant they are. And rightfully so because the law of averages says they aren’t. They’re just normal or mildly to really stupid people did just enough in school to get a passing grade.

As a business person, if you behave snooty and like you’ve got a stick up your ass, people will be afraid of you and or annoyed and just ignore anything you say.

Even though Tony Robbins knows a shit ton more than I do, he’s never made me feel inferior to him… even though he’s shown me that I should be embarrassed of how little of my potential I’ve tapped into.

You see, that’s an art. And I believe when you do that for your fans, they absolutely love you for it. You’re the person who gives them the stern yet loving wake up call no one else will.

That’s the power people will respect you for and that you’ll respect yourself for. Try to live up to that. I will too.

Talk soon,

Lewis LaLanne aka Note Taking Nerd #2