Are you aware of the tremendous power available to you to influence others and be influenced by them? Have you ever considered who you influence each day? How about those who influence you?
Who you are and what you are doing with your life are strongly connected to this influence. Let's develop a better understanding of how influence works in our lives.
Influence and Persuasion
Think about this - you are who you have become because of the influence of others in your life. If you are not happy with your life, change who and what is influencing you. If you are happy with your life, lean into the influences and build on them. And why not find new influences while you are at it to help you grow more?
Once you realize influence is a form of persuasion, communicating with others will forever be affected. Whether we realize it or not, we build our lives on influence. You are constantly influencing others, and they are influencing you. The essence of influence is direct and indirect persuasion. To persuade is to influence, and to influence is to persuade. Let's look at the Oxford Languages definitions to clarify these terms.
influence (noun) "the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself."
persuade (verb) "cause (someone) to do something through reasoning or argument." and "cause (someone) to believe something, especially after a sustained effort; convince."
Uncovering the Extent of Influence
To uncover who you are, who you've become, and where you are going, ask yourself the following questions:
- Who are you influencing in life?
- Who is influencing you?
- By what means are you influencing others?
- By what means are others influencing you?
- How effective is your influence on others?
- How effective is others' influence on you?
These six questions reflect your past and present and can predict your future. Take some time to think about them with your journal in hand.
"The future influences the present just as much as the past." Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)
The People Factor
The type of influence we are discussing involves people and the resulting relationships. This article is not about our influence on the earth, climate, wilderness, rainforest, or anything outside of people.
It is the people we interact with that shape and mold us into who we are, as we do for them. What could be more important than other people during our short lifetime on this earth? The value of any worldly or material possession pales by comparison to another human being.
Mediums of Influence
"Be selective about your external influences. Your multi-dimensional brain is influenced by everything you see, hear, read, smell, touch, feel or say." Brian Tracy (1944-present)
Influence comes through many mediums. We are both influenced and influence others through various forms of communication. For example, influence can come through books, articles, emails, social media posts, videos, movies, television, etc.
Then there is the influence of our senses. This often comes from the touch of someone's hand, the smell of their hair, the way they move, their voice, and how they look, to name only a few.
Influence also happens through our emotions, which can be affected by the inflection of words, what we do, how we act, our demeanor, and other ways.
Everything that is done or not done influences us.
"Influence is when you are not the one talking and yet your words fill the room; when you are absent and yet your presence is felt everywhere." TemitOpe Ibrahim (1981-present)
A World of Influence
Today's influence extends beyond what was imaginable only a few decades ago. While movie stars and politicians have influenced millions of people for generations, today's social media extends even greater reach to ordinary people, as is often seen when something goes viral.
Think about those connected to you through social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Posting something can influence people you have never met, as their posts can influence you. This influence can affect the thoughts and actions of thousands or millions of people.
The Reach of Your Influence
Most people today are familiar with the concept of 6 degrees of separation. The idea behind it is everyone on the planet is at most six people or fewer social connections away from anyone else. The thousands of connections I have on LinkedIn put me only one person away (2 degrees) from touching more than a million people. My 3rd-degree contacts extend my potential to reach hundreds of millions of people! The same applies to most social media platforms.
Through inexpensive advertising, you can easily influence many thousands of people. For example, by advertising my book on Amazon for a few hundred dollars, I have had millions of impressions, with many thousands of clicks to check it out.
"Never underestimate the influence you have on others." Laurie Buchanan (1958-present)
Most of us vastly underestimate the influence we have on others and the influence others have on us. There is practically no limit to the amount of influence you can create with the internet. Whether it is persuasive or not is another matter.
Why not take a few minutes to answer the six questions earlier in this article? The answers will help you better understand the influence and control you have on others and how they influence and control you. Find some free, uninterrupted time with a journal in hand, and give careful thought to each question. You will be surprised by what you learn!
How has this article influenced you? Was it persuasive enough to get you to think further about the influence and persuasion you wield and receive? I'd love to hear from you!