The Real Secret to Power

“We get what we give.”

Charles F. Haanel wrote that in relation to what he termed “the secret of Power.” (The capitalization of the word “Power” is Haanel‘s in the original of The Master Key System.)

What is this secret to Power?

According to Haanel it is “service.”

That means that in order to increase our power — our ability to influence the world around us — we must be of service.

To be of service, we must first give — and in return we will receive.

The Master Key Workbook
The Master Key Workbook

In The Master Key Workbook, I wrote:

In order to be able to do things, we must have power. Being spiritual or attaining mastery does not mean to go without things or to become self- denying, as an ascetic. How can one help others if one is not sufficiently powerful? Only a person with wealth can donate to a charity; only a person with strength can defend the little man; only a person with knowledge can give advice to the unexperienced.

The way we get this power is to be of service. The more we give, the more we get. For example, suppose two people invested in a stock and the stock over time doubled in value. The first person invested $1,000, thus he increased his wealth to $2,000, a profit of $1,000. The second person invested $10,000. His wealth increased to $20,000 and he profited $10,000!

The same holds true for all aspects of life: relationships, learning, work, and play. If one wishes to learn mathematics, the person who does more exercises or practice problems (gives more) will be the one who learns more. The person who invests more of himself at work will be the person who is promoted more often. A musician cannot play at Carnegie Hall unless he “practices, practices, practices” (gives, gives, gives).

The only time this will fail is if we pursue selfish ends that hurt others or bring deficits to others. It is not wrong to profit, but it is wrong to profit unjustly by cheating or deceiving others. When you allow the Universal to work through you, then you will be able to attain all that you desire; when you are busy with your own selfish plans and schemes, you will fail.

Do you see how that works? Our “giving” is an investment of sorts. A person who attends school until he earns a doctorate has “given” more (more time, energy, work) than another who merely graduates from high school. Thus, the person who earned the doctorate will more than likely earn more and be of more value (in an economic sense) than the person who does not pursue a college or advanced degree.

Unfortunately, many people (“gurus” and “teachers”) have taken this concept that makes sense and turned it into something it is not. Instead of giving in the sense as it is explained here, they use it to mean that one should give in the charitable sense. “Give and grow rich!” they exclaim. And give some people do, expecting that they will be rewarded for giving by the “Universe” or whatever. Are they?

Generally, no.

If you give away what you have in a frivolous fashion, then chances are likely that you will be left with nothing.

When Haanel wrote that we “get what we give,” he meant in the investing in ourselves, in our business, in our profession, in the pursuit of bettering ourselves sense. Re-read Week Four with this view in mind and you’ll see it practically jump out the page to you.

This concept also dovetails with my second Axiom of Success, which states that

Successful people do the things other people are either unwilling or unable to do — or both.

How many people are willing (or able) to study for twelve years in school, work a low-paying residency, suffer with the burden of bureaucracy, deal with insurance companies, unruly patients, an unkind media, and more, all to become a doctor?

That’s why doctors are generally well-paid. That’s why they obtain Power.

Will you study what interests you so much that you will become a master of it?

Will you do the things that other people are unwilling or unable to do?

Will you work longer and harder?

Will you take the risk of averring your perhaps unpopular views, opinions, and findings?

Will you do what it takes to learn everything there is to know about your field?

Or will you just wish upon a star and await the “Universe” to “manifest” your desires?

One path will earn you Power and the attainment of your dreams and goals.

The other … Not so much.