The question that popped into my noggin recently was, “Are you being influenced or are you an influencer?”
The other day I walked into my “north office” coffee shop and there were about 8 people having a noisy conversation. One young man was taking it all in, even taking notes. Another guy who is very outspoken and opinionated was talking in an argumentative fashion and his voice was getting louder and louder.
I was concerned that the young guy was taking in the words of mister loudmouth and it how it was influencing his thoughts. But as we spoke later I learned he was in disagreement with mister loudmouth and the notes he was taking were items that he wanted to remember and research.
In his words, “I am documenting the absurdity.” He said if he openly argued, he would not have been welcomed at the table.
We spoke about the subtle influence that being surrounded by an opposite view could have on him over time, but he said he also hangs out with those who are in agreement with his views.
It’s good to know what and why we believe.
It’s also good to know what others who we disagree with believe and why they have those beliefs.
Beliefs are often based on both facts and emotions and if you want to be an influence, the more you know about all sides, the better prepared you will be.
One last thought: You are an influence even if you never go through the process I’ve described. Your words and more importantly your actions are being observed by others and they are either going to copy you or be disgusted by you. Ask any adult who their influencers are and be prepared to be surprised.