"The Man, The Mission, The Passion" Husband, Father, Attorney, CPA, Steward Leader, Entrepreneur, MBA, Author, Builder, HBS OPM 25 Class, Mentor, Teacher

How Strong is Your “der Wille zur Macht”?

maslow hierarchy

der Wille zur Macht translates from German as the “Will to Power” or (in the context of Nietzsche’s philosophical work) the drive for achievement and accomplishment, the extent of one’s ambition, the depth and breadth of one’s drive to improve oneself, grow oneself, to develop one’s gifts, talents and abilities as much as possible, to reach the highest possible station in life.

One could think of “der Wille zur Macht” as the motivation that causes us to climb Maslov’s hierarchy. Humans are complex and their motivations equally so; consider both Viktor Frankl’s concept of logotherapy (man is motivated primarily by a need for meaning) and Freud’s pleasure principle (humans are primarily motivated to seek sex/pleasure). Even Nietzsche acknowledged the need for meaning: “To forget one’s purpose is the commonest form of stupidity.”

While even priests must play and saints must sleep and a healthy amount of rest and relaxation is vital, a life based purely or even primarily on the pursuit of pleasure will almost inevitably be shallow one, a wasted one. I propose a dual combination: a life spent developing one’s talents (Nietzsche’s “der Wille zur Macht”) in service of a noble end (Viktor Frankl’s need for meaning, a life lived with purpose). To me, in my life, that means developing my talents as a leader and a creator of value and prosperity, and to do so via an organization that acknowledges all stakeholders, treats all with respect and honors the social contract. It means getting up every day asking myself how I can go to bed as a better person in a world I have helped make better in some way, no matter how small.

Closing Quotes:

“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.” – Friedrich Nietzsche, 1844-1900

 “Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather must recognize that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.” – Dr. Viktor Frankl, 1905-1997

“Most people do not really want freedom because freedom involves responsibility and most people are frightened of responsibility.” – Sigmund Freud, 1856-1939

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier


Choices, Choices: Productivity or Postponed Pleasure?

discipline is choosing

I tend to wake early, in the predawn hours of the morn, a habit left over from my paper route days as a kid. What I enjoy most then is to sit quietly with a hot cup(s) of coffee and read my newspapers: the New York Times (provides coastal elite liberal bias), the Wall Street Journal (a sad, pale shadow of its pre Murdock purchase days, devoid of much if any investigative journalism and full of barely recycled press releases but a conservative bent to balance the NYT), and of course, my local paper, the Gainesville Sun.

BUT, as much as I enjoy my morning read, I rarely read the newspapers in the morning, usually reserving them for the evening. Why? Because I’m a morning person, my personal rhythm is such that those early hours are when my brain is sharpest, my energy freshest, I do my best strategic thinking, my clearest planning, gain the greatest clarity of vision. I know that I can read in the evening and still gain the same knowledge (I was raised to believe it is the patriotic duty of every citizen to remain informed about the affairs of the republic and this means from reliable sources, not internet rumor mills that traded in unverified gossip/propaganda).

Much of success comes from the ability to bend impulse to the power of one’s will, to manage and direct one’s moods, to appropriately prioritize the long term over the short term, to choose what you want MOST over what you want now.

Closing Quotes:

“Where I excel is ridiculous, sickening, work ethic. You know, while the other guy’s sleeping? I’m working.” – Will Smith

“Study while others are sleeping; work while others are loafing; prepare while others are playing; and dream while others are wishing.”
William Arthur Ward, 1921-1994

“Successful people have the habit of doing the things unsuccessful people don’t like to do. They don’t like doing them either, necessarily, but their disliking is subordinated to the strength of their purpose.” – Albert E. Gray (in his essay ‘The Common Denominator of Success’)

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier


Small, Smart, Slow

diet and exercise

What is your desired weight? Below are some easy, common sense (but not common practice?) tips on how to get there.

Eat Small: Portion Control is Key! It is all too easy to go on a “See Food” diet: if we see it, we eat it, if it is in front of us, we eat it. Because the “full” reflex is on about a 30-minute delay, we tend to stop when the food in front of us is gone not when we are full. At a buffet, I always grab a small dessert plate and use it as my entrée plate. I tell myself if I want more I’ll go back but I rarely do. Frequently at a restaurant I will ask that only half my meal be plated, the rest to remain in the kitchen to be taken “to go”.

Eat Smart: Acquiring nutritional knowledge is a must for anyone who wants to live long and healthy. Here is the Cliff Notes version: Leafy greens, fruits, veggies, whole grain breads, some nuts, if you eat meat, stay with fish, chicken, perhaps pork i.e. the light meats. AVOID: Processed Foods, Red Meats, Sugar (i.e. anything that sounds like or ends in glucose, also do NOT be fooled by such labels as high fructose corn syrup, concentrated fruit juice, evaporated cane juice, cane crystals, raw sugar or malt syrup).

Eat Slow: You like food? So do I! So let’s slow down and savor our meals! I sometimes tell myself I can eat as much as I want as long as I eat sloooowly! Taking small bites, chewing deliberately until the food virtually disappears, putting down my fork or spoon between each and every bite, frequently taking sips of water. I find I enjoy my meal much more, eat less, and give my “full reflex” plenty of time to kick in. You can think of it as mindful eating, meditative eating. Make leisurely eating a lifelong habit and you will live long and happy!

Two closing thoughts:

1) Do NOT diet! I mean, come on, the word starts out as “die”! When you diet or excessively or quickly cut calories, your body’s starvation mode kicks in and it conserves by burning fewer calories. Instead, eat small, slow, and smart!

2) Exercise is WONDERFUL for your health, both physical and mental, and yes, muscle mass burns more calories than fat BUT don’t count on exercise to lose weight: one chocolate cookie has more calories than the marginal benefit of an hour of exercise (remember, you have a resting metabolism calorie burn rate so it is only the extra marginal calories of exercise that really make a difference in getting rid of that cookie.) That said, if you have a job that requires a lot of sitting, get up and move around for 5 minutes every hour; not that it burns that much calories but it does do wonders to reduce the risk of heart attacks.

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier