Jeff Fox
11 min readJun 30, 2022

It is at the root of all our societal strife.

Outstretched hands with the fingers tangled up in strings being pulled on by a blurry figure in a dark hoody.
Photo by Amirr Zolfaqari on Unsplash

Feeling powerless is one of the worst, if not the worst, feelings we can experience in our lives. Feeling unable to have any control over our lives strikes directly at the heart of our survival instincts. If we have no control over our circumstances we will be unable to protect ourselves, or those we love, from harm. Feeling powerless inspires a genuine and visceral sense of panic.

The number of different shades, tones, genres, and flavors of possible feelings of powerlessness is near infinite. Every situation we encounter from personal to professional to political to societal has countless different layers, components, and aspects some of which we may have some control over and many we do not. Sometimes we can feel in full command. Other times we feel completely at the mercy of outside forces. It is a permanent and perpetual part of life.

We feel powerless if we cannot achieve or obtain something we want. We feel powerless if we are unable to stop something from being taken away from us. We feel powerless if the goals and plans we have set for ourselves are blocked or dismantled. We feel powerless if someone does not feel about us the way we would like them to. We feel powerless when our lives are impacted by something completely unforeseen.

Over the past two years the pandemic has been a global case study in feeling powerless. The entire population of the world was suddenly confronted with a threat both to our direct personal health as well as to the structure and form of our lives as we had known them.

A highly contagious virus, an invisible and indiscriminate threat, put us all in genuine mortal danger and at first we had precious little confirmed information about how exactly it spread or how lethal it would prove to be. Emergency measures enacted by governments all over the world upended and froze the normal functioning of all aspects of our daily lives.

Circumstances do not have to be at such a drastic scale or risk such massive stakes to spark feelings of powerlessness. Simply being stuck in traffic on our way to an appointment evokes the same kind of existential panic, if at a lower level of intensity.

Economic Disparity

Jeff Fox

A professional dancer, choreographer, theatre creator, and featured TEDx speaker with an honours degree in psychology, two black belts, and a lap-top.