Powerful quotes on power and quick commentary on what they actually mean.
Power does not corrupt men; fools, however, if they get into a position of power, corrupt power.
– George Bernard Shaw
Awesome take on the mistaken idea that power must be corruptive, negative, or inherently bad.
Well, don’t take this quote to the extreme: power can corrupt. But it does not have to.
And it’s people unprepared for power who are bad for everyone else.
Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.
This goes back to back to the old “words are cheap”, and that if you have to say it, it isn’t true.
John Maxwell says the proof of leadership is not in the title but in the number of those who want to follow you. Similarly, power is an aura, a state of being and having. You should be able to convey it without showing your badge.
P.S.: and in case you’re wondering how to spot a lady, without asking, we got you covered :).
Everything in the world is about sex. Except sex. Sex is about power.
Oscar Wilde was a bit of a dandy and always looking for something catchy to say. Not everything in the world is about sex and not all sex is about power.
BUT… Sex is indeed about power in many instances. Quite a few men use sex as personal validation and as a way of asserting themselves (read Psychology of a Player).
And of course, power, submission, and domination can be a major turn-on during sex.
Be nice, be courteous. But always have a plan to kill everyone in the room
This quote puts on steroids an Italian saying that I also love: “trusting is good; but not trusting is better“.
It’s basically the power moves version of “always have a plan B” and on making sure you don’t get taken advantage of.
Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.
This one makes me think of Tony Montana in Scarface. “first, you get the money, then you get the power, then you get the girl”
There’s certainly a lot of truth in it, and power is supremely attractive to many women (and some men).
Choose not to be harmed—and you won’t feel harmed.
Don’t feel harmed—and you haven’t been.
I remember as a kid the first time I read Marcus Aurelius in one of those diaries with a quote on each page.
It immediately stood out among dozens of other quotes. It felt as if this genius personal power quote was turning the table on life. And it was putting the power square within ourselves!
I ran to tell my parents about it, but they barely noticed.
And it took me a couple more decades to fully realize the power of this concept.
You own nothing without the strength to back up your claim
–Il Principe by Niccolo Macchiavelli
I love this quote.
To me, it’s a powerful reminder that without the strength to demand what’s your right to have, you are basically banking on people’s goodwill.
And it’s not a good type of banking. Begging would probably be a more suited word.
If my strength intimidates you, I hope you realize that’s a weakness of yours
This power quote is a terrific mindset tool for the intimidated ones.
But it’s not just intimidation for me. This applies to all negative feelings we have in connection to people around us.
Every time you find yourself being intimidated by someone, jealous of a friend’s success, or trying to put someone down, stop.
Why is it so?
Why are you defensive, envious, and trying to put them down?
Are they very good at something? Do they make you feel inferior, or unworthy? Do they put you on the defensive?
Then, realize: it’s not them, it’s you.
Don’t worry though, there’s no shame in that reaction. The only shame is staying with that reaction.
If they are trying to dominate you, stand up for yourself. If they make you feel bad for their success, admire them. Befriend them and learn from them.
As another smart woman said:
“You can tell who the strong women are. They are the ones you see building one another up instead of tearing each other down“.
Your life will improve, your soul will soar.
No one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it.
-1984, George Orwell
George Orwell nails a big truth there. Power can be addictive. Once your enemy grabs it, your only hope is that they’re going to be enlightened leaders.
But probably better not to rest on that hope and build a democratic system of checks and balances.
It’s not the size of the dog, it’s the size of the fight in the dog
We should tattoo that on our arms to remind ourselves every day.
In spite of the countless examples, we still forget that bigger mass, more money, more resources, more of anything.. These things are never a guarantee of victory.
And they only make a determined opponent more resolute and determined.
The loudest man in the room is the one with the most to prove.
–Relentless, Tim Grover
Grover captures a very deep sociological truth in a short sentence here.
It’s the man who is at the bottom of the pile who has to make all the noise to be noticed indeed. He’s the one who has to rock the boat to have a shot at going up.
The guy at the top with all the power? He doesn’t need much fanfare -and often doesn’t like much fanfare-. And the longer he’s been there, the quieter he’ll likely be.
If you want to test a man’s character, give him power
This quote to me goes much beyond the power to enter into an often-overlooked psychological truth. Nice and good people aren’t often nice at all.
They’re just afraid of speaking up.
If one day these shy and too nice people were given all the power, would we see a different side of them?
Maybe we’d see an angry, vindictive side?
After all, high school shooters are nothing but victims who looked for vengeance behind the hollow power of a gun.
Of course, they’d better worked on themselves and heeded the quotes on this page instead, including the next one:
It’s in your darkest hours that men are born and characters are forged
-The Power Moves
Reflecting on some difficult periods in my life I realized they really were blessings. I’d still be a big baby without all the hardships.
Indeed, someone said that behind every strong soul lies a fearful, broken one who had to be tempered in adversities. I like that a lot.
As a matter of fact, I wonder if it is even possible to grow without adversities.
My darkest hours made me come into my own and propelled me where I would have never gone otherwise.
My darkest hours made me come alive.
And I’m not even talking about “blessing in disguise”. I’m honestly grateful for my most difficult times.
And when you can look at your darkest hours and see a blessing… That’s real power there.
Own yourself first, or you’ll always be at the mercy of someone else
The 50th Law, Robert Greene
Within the TOP3 best power quotes we start getting into the pure gold.
Owning yourself means first of all understanding who you are and what you want. Then accepting who you are -or changing what you don’t like-.
And then being yourself no matter what anyone else thinks.
When you can own who you are no matter what, you unlock a level of personal achievement, confidence, and self-esteem that very few men reach.
Let him who wants peace, prepare for war
–The 33 Strategies of War, Robert Greene
Robert Greene is back-to-back. He is one of my favorite authors and second to none when it comes to power quotes.
This one puts two seemingly antithetic concepts in the same sentence.
And yet, they need each other.
That might not say much good about humanity as a specie, but this is where we’re at at this level of evolution. Maybe it’ll change in a few million years.
But now it is the way it is.
And that’s what the hippies never understood.
“Maybe I’m just a dreamer, but I’m not the only one”, sang John Lennon.
And he was right. And yet, the only reason he could enjoy a free world to sing those lyrics is because of the standing armies that protected that free world.
Not preparing for the worst is not just planning to fail, it’s failing to understand human nature.
It’s probably no coincidence some of the most peaceful times in history came during times of unchallenged domination. The Pax Romana thanks to Caesar, the Pax Britannica, and the Pax Americana were all based on unmatched power by a (relatively) enlightened reign.
And we might also argue the current long-lasting period of peace in the West is the consequence of the mutual destruction capability of nuclear weapons.
A good person is ruined among the great number of people who are not good
–Il Principe by Niccolo Macchiavelli
I. Absolutely. Love. This. Power. Quote.
It’s a topic that Jordan Peterson also often talks about. And in a nutshell, it represents the spirit behind The Power Moves.
That is, that to be good, you also need to master the capability of being bad. Because as we’ve seen in power quote #6 good without strength can easily be repressed evil. And as we’ve seen in power quote #2, good cannot survive without the capacity for evil.
And this ends our collection of quotes on power. If you have any comments or suggestions or some great quote you love, do let me know!