Where does our strength come from? People are empowered by concepts like their career success, riches, heritage and past experiences. Why do some fill you with pride and determination while others pass by without a second thought?
I believe that the core activator is the individual's ability to 'own' an idea by assimilating it into who they are. This is an active commitment to the affiliation; not observing from a distance, but making it part of you.
It starts with exposure. You cannot draw power from something you don't know. Ideas do draw the individual with different intensities - these forces are a complicated mixture of sources, like past experiences, culture, environment and friends. They act like a catalyst and can help you in making the commitment, BUT they are not the source which you will draw from. Your ability to take ownership of the idea will be the measure.
The 'what' is less important than the depth of the concept’s integration into the individual’s way of life and the regard in which is held.
We tend to incorporate many ideas and beliefs. These are the pillars that define who we are. Keep in mind that a wider pillar selection can provide strong support, but can also increase internal conflict and require much effort to sustain a deep commitment. The purest and strongest form of empowerment is a single complete devotion that directs every aspect of your life, a single truth you live by. The danger of this is clear, and its effect undeniable.
Quantifiable skillsets and training is slightly different, because the result is measured not by the individual’s value system but from a shared perspective. The core principle, however, is still applicable: in order to gain the most from new knowledge you will need to assimilate it into your practices as your own.
Finally it is important to master incremental assimilation. You do not need to wait until you have a complete understanding before committing to an idea. Learn to assimilate in bite sizes so that you can draw from underlying principles while you are discovering it in depth. This will give you a competitive advantage to those who are more reluctant to commit in stages. Another valuable practice is to link the learning to other areas to allow you to add to a global body of knowledge/taxonomy for a more complete view on life.
These pillars inspire and empower us to go beyond our limitations, grow them and not hesitate to draw power from them when needed.