The Secret of Influence

NLP techniques

The Secret we are here considering is your ability to influence others close to you and in the wider world and local, national and international events.

Think carefully about that for a few moments.  How much of what actually goes on around you, and what you hear about daily, can you personally influence? 

Example is not the main thing influencing others; it is the only thing

Albert Schweitzer

Your own life

You can influence your own life.  You can influence, by example, the lives of your spouse and children and wider family.  

Perhaps you can influence those you come closely into contact with in the work place or in your social and sporting life.  

Can you influence your local community?  If you play a part in local politics or community life, you may have some influence.

How many people reading this article, I wonder, can actually influence national events or even world events? 

These questions are worth dwelling on for a few moments because they can help to remove so much anguish from your daily life.

The Secret of influence – the world in general

My dear mother-in-law who is now in her eighties was widowed a couple of years ago, but in the latter years of his life my father-in-law was virtually blind and housebound. 

Every morning, noon and evening they listened to the television news, and mother-in-law read aloud the stories in the newspapers for father to hear.

Whenever we spoke to them they were engulfed with an air of negativity and worry about what was going on in this or that economy, how the currency was going up or down in value, how this country might be about to invade that country, whether troops should be pulled out of here or sent there, and so on and so forth.

Arguments would be rehearsed:  if the currency value goes up, oh dear, what about our exports; if the currency value goes down, oh heck, how will we be able to afford our imports.  

Whatever happened, there wouldn’t be a happy outcome!

You will already have decided, I am sure, that such idle speculation is not only nonsensical when you think about it for a few seconds, but also distressing for those who constantly indulge in it and depressing for those around them.

The Secret of influence – inability to influence

It is even more futile when you consider that they could not influence one single thing they were worrying about.  All they could do was talk about it to each other and to everyone they came into contact with and spread the worry. 

Furthermore, what they spoke about were news stories many of which would have been inaccurately reported or puffed up to make what some journalist or editor thought would be an interesting story.

So before you embark upon an exercise like this, think about your personal area of influence.  What matters can you influence and how can you influence them for the better. 

This is where your power lies.  This is where you can make a difference in the world.

Your behaviour

You can exercise influence by behaving courteously, decently and thoughtfully with others.  

Notice how courteous parents tend to have well-mannered children.  

If you behave well it is bound to rub off on those around you.  

Notice also how children tend to pick up their parents’ anxieties or, if they are smacked by their parents, tend to be violent towards others or to animals.

In a nutshell you can control, firstly, those things you think about.  

Those thoughts are your own personal thoughts that no-one else to which no-one else can have access.  

To that extent, they are no-one else’s business.  However badly you think, you cannot be prosecuted for it. 

But your thoughts influence your general well-being, don’t they?  

If you think negative, destructive thoughts, you will be making negative, destructive pictures in your mind and they may also influence your behaviour.

Thoughts, speech and conduct

You most certainly have control over that.  You can do something about it by occupying your mind usefully and thinking constructively. 

Secondly, you can influence and control how you speak and behave and that will affect very much how people around you behave so, to that extent you can influence them. 

If you argue, shout and behave in a disruptive manner, others will react accordingly.  

If you offer a good example of how to behave, most will follow you.


Gossip mongers love to spread the rumours, don’t they?  The next time you are approached by one who wants to regale you with a story about a mutual acquaintance ask three questions: 

(1) Can you truthfully say that the facts you are about to relate to me are accurate?  (2)  Do you know of your own knowledge that the essence of the story you are about to tell me is the truth?  (3)  Can you vouch that the story you are going to tell me is good and speaks only well about X?

Invariably, the answer to all three questions will be No.  If the answer is No, all you have to say is “If you cannot tell me the facts are accurate, you do not know if the story is true and it does not speak well of X, why do you think I would wish to hear it?”

The Secret of influence – wider influence

We have discussed briefly your personal area of influence.  What about the wider area of concern you have.  Those are things you cannot directly influence. 

You cannot influence national currency fluctuations or whether this nation will invade that, and neither can you influence the weather.

What you can do, however, is widen your personal area of influence. 

If you behave as a model citizen in your private and family life, if you start your own business or devote some of your time towards helping and managing and mentoring others in the work place or in other sporting or social contexts, or if you help lead your community in some respect or go into local politics, then gradually your personal area of influence will grow and you will be able to affect matters which were once only in your wider area of concern and beyond your reach.

People who behave in this way have learned about the secret of influence.  

The better the example they portray to others, the greater their involvement and the wider their sphere of influence.  This is how national and world leaders are born.

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