Redesigning the seat of power.
As I sat down in my Director’s Chair to get started with test shots for my upcoming video series, “40 Days to Love Yourself: A Guided Affirmation Series,” I began to wonder at the history of Director’s Chairs. Who made them, and when did they become so popular? Were they always designed for film directors, or…? So I did what most genuinely curious folk might do, and I googled it.
According to www.chairinstitute.com, the current design of the Director’s Chair dates back to the 15th century, deeply resembling the design of coffee maker chairs. The article soon goes on to share that this style of the chair was actually seen as far back as Ancient Rome with the design of the Curule Chairs, which were used exclusively for “powerful people of high regard.” These ancient designs were usually made in one of two very distinct styles, one of them resembling a cushioned stool with curved legs, the other being very closely related to the design we all know and love today with its criss-crossed legs, fancy arms and low back. The chair quickly became somewhat of a universal representation of power throughout the world.
Napoleon, among a number of other kings in Europe, was known to have had one of these chairs for himself, yet and still, the design we know today was not introduced to America until the latter part of the 1800s. In fact it was 1893 when Gold Medal Classic introduced and won the award for their design at the World’s Fair in Chicago. Today, that classic and beloved design is still manufactured, and can be easily found on their website.
To be honest, I was not expecting such a rich history behind Director’s Chairs when I went to Google to look it up. I literally thought I would take a few minutes, go back a few decades, and read about it until it was previously nowhere to be found. It’s beautiful to me, to see how far the chair has come, both in terms of geography and design, and how it has maintained a sort of steady common denominator throughout its years. You see, regardless of time or place, all variations of this chair’s design have shared one core commonality- each of them have been associated with prominence and power. Even today, when you sit down in a Director’s Chair, you almost always feel important.
I don’t know about you, but for me, that last sentence hit different. I know that when I sit down in my personal Director’s Chair, or any Director’s Chair for that matter, I feel a very real shift. It’s like there’s an instant and tangible validation of my significance when I take to rest in that seat during a project or production. In fact, I’ll even take it a step further and say that there’s a sense of validation in the quality of equipment I use in daily business operations, or for illustrations and other design projects, and even for sending proposals, or price sheets and invoices!
Even today, when you sit down in a Director’s Chair, you almost always feel important.
How many of us would say that, in one way or another, we relate to this statement about the Director’s Chair? Chances are, if you’re reading this, you can relate. Most likely there are things in your life, visual and physically tangible elements, whether they be in your career, in your daily routine, in your relationships with others or some other part of your life, there tends to be a certain thing or group of things that we use or cling to because we feel like it either brings or supports a sense of validity in that area of our life. Inherently, this is neither good nor bad. It just is. What expands and intimates our perspective on these things is how we use them as we navigate the unique adventures of our lives. What things in your life bring you validation? How do you use them in your daily life? How are they connected to your sense of power?
So often we assimilate power to a place, a status, a title or position. We look at people, including ourselves, and we determine what they need, where they need to be, and even what people need to be saying about them in order for them to truly be important, influential or otherwise powerful. And sure, the dictionary offers a great variation of definitions for the word, some more favourable than others depending on who you ask or what you would like to see. A lot of times you may hear people talk about the “powers that be.” Think for a moment. How often do you hear that phrase being used from a positive perspective? Is it often? Is it ever?
Maybe we tend to look at the idea of power as something that requires a particular geographical place, a socioeconomic status, religious title or political position. But what if instead we made a conscious effort to shift our focus, and to connect our highest philosophy of power to something different, something more meaningful? What if when you thought of power, your mind were to automatically consider a posture, an action, a responsibility and a purpose? Allow me to break it down into simple points and prompts below.
From a first world perspective, the most wide-known utility of power usually involves the use of electricity. We plug everything in, from our iPhones to our hot plates, to our toothbrushes and heated blankets (I love heat, lol). From a third world perspective (or the view of a community in progress) power may be perceived in relation to one’s ability to work during hours of daylight, using the sun as a source of power in which people may be able to produce, practice or labour. The common denominator among us all, regardless of our position, first, third, or twenty-blue, is that each of us, should we ever hope to enjoy the utility of power, must be properly aligned to connect with the source. Write this down: The use of my power requires a posture alignment.
But what exactly are we aligning our posture with?! Let’s be real. We are not the source, however, when we connect to the source, we ourselves become a resource, and in many cases we may even be able to produce supplemental resources that other people can take with them and use even when we ourselves are not around. Still, in any such case, we must be properly aligned with the source. Our hearts and minds should be open and ready to receive and connect. I mean, what good does it do to shove a plug into the socket upside down? Or to wake up at dusk when the sun is already gone for the day and nothing you need can be seen? If those references aren’t exactly hitting home for you, take this sports scenario for example; If a point guard takes the position of a running back, what type of strategy could you possibly employ to ensure victory? I’ll answer that one. If you appoint a point guard as a running back, you’re for sure about to lose- for starters, that player isn’t even in the right game! Even still, if a point guard is in the right position on the court, yet they haven’t locked into the the right posture, stance or focus, they will never be able to fully use the power of the space in which they stand, power that was designed uniquely for them to operate in.
Posture alignment- it’s required in order to utilise our power effectively. What are some of your aspirations, and what kind of posture alignment is required for you to effectively walk in power to achieve and accomplish these things?
When you have a strong held belief or theory in something, the evidence of your belief is conveyed in action. By the way, there is a term for this strongly held belief or theory, it’s called faith. Specifically in the Christian faith, there is a popular text that reaches across the borders of religion, and may even have found admiration in the general community of scientists. The writer, James, asserts that evidence of our faith can be cited by our fellow man in the production of good works. It is found in the book of James, chapter 2, verses 14-17, originally written in Ancient Greek, and in the MSG transliteration, it reads as such:
“Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, “Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?”
More widely known is the passage that plainly states “faith without works is dead.”
When we connect our idea of power to the requirement of action, we start to see things differently. How frustrated do you get when you plug your phone into a power source only to find out thirty minutes later that it was never charging? Do you ever connect your iPhone to a computer and get one of those notifications prompting you to unlock your phone before it can receive a charge? Sometimes we get into a place of power with the intent to align our posture with the source, and if we’re not careful, we overlook the notification that lets us know the action that is required of us in order to experience the effective utilisation of power that is available unto and designed just for us.
If I’m honest, I don’t fully remember what a point guard is supposed to do, however, I did play basketball up until the sixth grade, so I’m gonna go with my gut and say that it’s an offence role designed to SCORE POINTS! Lol, what I’m trying to pull from this example here is that not only does a point guard need to align their posture in preparation for the opportunity to score, but when that opportunity comes... they need to TAKE ACTION! Even in the waiting, there is action. Take actors for example. People who get paid to act are aware that long before they ever set foot onto the set, there are many ways in which they are required to take action. From the practice of committing their lines to memory, to simply listening to the director of production, they are fully aware that the utility of their unique strengths and talents, their power, requires action!
Note: Actively listening and communicating is a necessary action in every area of your life, regardless of your aspirations. Think back to those aspirations of yours from earlier. What course of action can you take today once you’ve aligned your posture for powerful living?
How many of us have ever been in a position where we didn’t really understand the full responsibility of the role? Possibly some combination of no one telling us what was required and us not really wanting to know.
When I was in ninth grade, I ran for class president. I won that sucker of a campaign by a landslide- not a single one of my opponents had a horse in that race (what a fun analogy). As I stood atop a library table before my class and offered up what was likely one of the greatest speeches they had ever heard and emotionally connected with at the time, one thing I knew for sure was that when I spoke, I was well received. I had the perception of place, status, title and position on lock, yet what I lacked in my limited perspective of power was sure to bring me down. Looking back, I could speak to the fact that the rest of the officers (who didn’t look like me, know or desire to understand me, or even want me in office back then) worked diligently to conspire and produce effects behind my back without ever offering up open communication, and even if they had, I can honestly say that at that time, I didn’t have the posture of a public servant, therefore I was unfit to lead, and I certainly wasn’t ready to take any real action.
You see, I never actually understood the responsibility of my elected office as class president during my freshman year of high school. This ultimately impeded my ability to lead by example because I simply wasn’t ready to lead. Whatever power you have to operate in, know that there is a responsibility to the ways in which you use it. Most simply put, it involves the natural laws of cause and effect- what you do now will affect what happens later, and whatever action you take today may be used to better inform the actions you take tomorrow.
What responsibilities are attached to your power?
*Spoiler alert* - here comes an unpopular opinion! A lot of times we hear this widespread message that we should just do whatever makes us happy…oof. My personal perspective on the matter has long been that the intent of this message is almost always geared towards encouraging us to live a more healthy lifestyle, replete with a love of self and a constructive set of boundaries set to help us thrive in relationships with those around us. The impact, however, has been that by in large people tend to feel a lack of focus or deeper meaning to life beyond the experience of surface pleasures. To be clear, we literally know this from decades of scientific research into the psychology of positive thinking, and I strongly recommend checking out such resources as Dr. Martin Seligman’s 2004 TED Talk on positive psychology if you require further validation on my young perspective and/or the known effects of a life in pursuit of pleasurable experiences without a deeper meaning.
It’s a bit of a shift to think that the purpose of your life chiefly involves the use of your unique powers in service of others, and if you thought your purpose on Earth was just to be happy, then this probably changes everything. Now, I’m not saying that because you have a purpose, you can’t be happy or live a life filled with many pleasures- I myself literally enjoy life all the time! What I'm saying is that as much as your power is unique unto you as an individual, it is also so much bigger than just you.
At the launch of my first book last weekend, I got to share the story of the moment my perspective on purpose was forever changed. I was in a Wal-Mart with my late uncle, Uncle Willie. I remember, I had to have been no more than sixteen years old on that day when he turned to me and said “What’s your calling?” <<lol wut>> He had asked me a question that no one had ever asked me before. Having grown up in a traditionally religious church environment, it was most often expected that preachers, apostles and prophets would come from all around and tell me who I was and what I was supposed to do- and many people did! And it’s not that they were all off base or speaking gibberish or what have you, it’s just that for me there was always a disconnect. In each of these encounters it seemed there was always something missing.
As I pondered my uncle’s query to no avail, I simply turned to him and replied, “I don’t know.” I was sixteen. Totally not thinking about my calling. That’s when he turned back to me and said the most amazing thing. He said, “KIRU, your calling is in your passion. What are you passionate about?” All of a sudden fireworks went off in my head and a whole new world of possibility had literally opened right before my eyes. I said this on the night of the launch, and I’ll say it again here, that in that very moment the trajectory of my entire life was changed for good. Since my perspective on purpose had been shifted, I was now able to connect the dots that had always seemed so far off and live with a newfound sense of focus. I was able to align my posture with the source of my power and spring into action with a sense of responsibility.
The truth is, every person in every season has been given a unique purpose. It doesn’t matter where you’re from or where you’re going. You could have been a lawyer who became an influencer (or vice versa), a teacher who became an artist, or a dancer who became an anthropologist. Maybe you’re a cousin who became a friend, an adventurer who became a local guide, or an employee who became a boss. You know better than anyone else around you what you’ve experienced and learned in life, and there is purpose in whatever space you occupy today. You, my friend, have access to a seat of power that was designed just for you!! Sure it involves a place, a status, a title and a position in one way or another, but it’s effectiveness is not reliant on any of that, and you are the common denominator in the grand design of it all. I believe your power is calling you to a posture, an action, a responsibility and a purpose that is bigger than you could ever imagine, and I encourage you to grab hold of it. For me, it prompted the release of my first book ever, The Book Of Positive Affirmations, which prompted the production of the upcoming video series, “40 Days to Love Yourself: A Guided Affirmation Series,” which prompted me to write this message simply because I was curious about the history of the Director’s Chair as I prepared to test production!
What are you passionate about? What kind of power do you have? How do the answers to these two questions inform the alignment of your posture, your effective call to action, your perception of responsibility and your connection to purpose? Sound off in the comments below, or DM me @highaski on IG to let me know your thoughts and/or the impact of mine.
Peace, Love + Light.
KIRU is an American artist and Gen Z entrepreneur. He is the founder and CEO of KIRUNIVERSE, a boutique firm based in New York that specialises in experience marketing for artists, entrepreneurs and small businesses. In 2019, KIRU made his authorial debut, having published The Book Of Positive Affirmations, the only definitive guide for the practical implementation and continued use of positive affirmations in your everyday life. For more information about KIRU and his work, visit www.iamkiru.com.