This has been said so often that I wouldn't even bother mentioning it, except that most of us still don't do it. Want evidence? Go to YouTube, and watch "Linda Hamilton - What Would You Do?" You'll see an experiment created by a TV news team to test whether ordinary citizens will come to the aid of a needy individual. An actor pretends to faint on a city street while a hidden camera films the scene. In one case, more than 80 people ignore the "injured" actor before someone stops to help. Is the Good Samaritan a wealthy philanthropist? A priest? A doctor? Nope. It's a homeless woman with a gimpy leg. On the video, shot in Newark, New Jersey, you can practically see this "powerless" person connecting with innate compassion, deciding to act, and refusing to give up even when dozens of people ignore her requests to call 911 on their cell phones. She gets creative, calling the unconscious man Billy, humanizing him for others. Eventually, she persuades people to offer assistance. Her name is Linda Hamilton, and she is powerful.

Compare Linda to Mindy, who almost gave up on her belligerent alcoholic daughter—not out of love but because she feared her daughter's anger. Denise said she loved her job, but she had become a lawyer to avoid looking like a "nobody" and supported her unethical boss due to the same fear. The fears that drove Paula's "loving" acts for her family stemmed from fear of being an imperfect homemaker. If you need to distinguish between acts of fear and the power of love, here's a quick guide:


Always feels bad

Motivates grasping
Seizes control
Insists on certainty
Needs everything


Always feels good
Motivates liberation
Relaxes control
Accepts uncertainty
Needs nothing

The process of spotting fear and refusing to obey it is the source of all true empowerment. Judy did this by choosing beliefs her government called wrong. Linda did it by choosing behavior most passersby saw as foolishly virtuous. Both were bucking social trends, both refused to be scared out of love, and both ultimately prevailed. That's power.

Next: Tap into the radical power of pure love


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