The concept of ‘Influence’ is perhaps the greatest concept since the existence of the universe. The word, in itself, means ‘change’. Change happens every day; for example, the sun rises in the day and sets in the night, birds fly, dogs bark, and man talks. Moreover, the earth rotates about the sun and revolves about its axis, and people carry on with their day-to-day activities. Therefore, change takes place every day, and the force behind change, or what brings about change is what is known as influence.
Just as change takes place across the universe, we also experience changes physically and psychologically. There are constant changes in our brain nerves as we learn new things, analyze, study, practice, and solve problems with our minds. The changes in our brains can of course be limitless, as we continue to utilize the brain. Such changes could also be positive or negative. Changes take place within our body; our bones are stronger, our immune system enhanced, and so on; the opposite could also be the case.
While some changes are beyond our power, other changes are within our power and control. For example, we cannot prevent the rising and setting of the sun, the inevitability of death, the happenings of natural disaster, and so on. But we can prevent falling sick, smoking marijuana, gambling, being a nuisance, or bullying other children. We may not be privileged with the best of circumstances, but we can achieve our goals regardless. Certain things are beyond our power, while other things are within our power.
We shall experience the best out of life if we develop the habit of making the right choices for the right reasons. Influences are like the surrounding air; some are positive, while others are negative. If we grasp the positive ones, we will experience positive changes in our lives. But if we grasp the negative ones, then negative changes will be the result. Some people are going to encourage you, while others will discourage you. Some people are going to praise you, while others will diminish you. It all depends on which ones you choose to take in and internalize. The choice is up to you.
Influence may take place through any means. Nobody does anything without an influence. One thought may lead to other thoughts; that one thought is the internal influence. If you get to the kitchen to get some food, that means you were influenced (or motivated) by your hunger. And if you go to the toilet, you were influenced by your need to use the toilet. Every action made is not without an influence. That is how impressive the “word” is in our lives, and that is why it is regarded as the backbone of life. Man is controlled by a need, fear, preference, selfish interest, or passion.
Examples of internal influences include being driven to grab some food by hunger, being driven to have sex by stress, being driven to show perseverance because of a reinforced belief about the value and importance of perseverance, or the desire to get off bed early because of a mentally designed plan. Examples of external influences include being driven to grab some food by nice aroma or the sight of good food, being driven to have sex by pornographic videos, and being driven to show perseverance because of the uplifting speech of a motivational speaker at that moment.
Our thoughts influence our actions, and our emotions influence our thoughts, just as our thoughts can influence our emotions. Our emotions can also influence our actions; all three are interrelated. Negative emotions are connected with negative thoughts, and positive emotions with positive thoughts. Because we desire pleasure, we often engage in thoughts that stir up the feelings of pleasure. And because we desire security, we often engage in thoughts that shield us from perceived dangers; which is why we get anxious and worried sometimes (defense mechanisms).
There are four kinds of influence in life: Basic-need influence, id-influence, Purpose-driven influence, and Social influence. Basic-need influence is the state of being motivated by the need to meet your survival needs, such as food, water, light, clothing, shelter, ventilation, etc. If you do not satisfy your basic needs, you may experience a most undesirable form of suffering. We all know that starvation and thirst are not exactly pleasant, and we all hate to fall sick.
Some people may go to the extent of stealing, lying, or fighting other people just to meet their survival needs, because of the power of Basic-need influence. Some of the crimes in the world are as a result of the power of basic-need influence. A mother may do just about anything to provide for her starving children. Family ties are often strong, and there are many cases of parents or children who violate human rights to protect their loved ones. Most people will do virtually anything (legal or illegal, ethical or unethical) to provide for their homes and themselves.
Id influence is the process of being motivated by your passions, such as lust, gluttony, greed, addiction to the false ideal of love, etc. We all have fleeting lustful desires. We want beautiful things, fame, more wealth, etc. There are also the natural sex drive, the desire for fame, a night out, pornographic viewing desires, gambling drive, gossip, desire for alcohol, movies, shopping, and jesting which usually beckon to us, asking us to yield to their calls, but have no additive value. Sometimes, we suppress id because they are not socially acceptable, they are dangerous, etc.
Purpose-driven influence is the state of being motivated by your search for life’s purpose or your desire to create something. We all respond to purpose-driven influence very differently, and also consciously and unconsciously. For me, I am influenced by the desire for self-transformation. My mother is influenced by the desire to see her children become wealthy and successful, and also to see a few grandchildren around. Yuri desires fame, Kelly desires to be a CEO, and Louis desires to preside over USA.
Social influence is the state of being motivated by your need to belong to a group, to relate with one or more people, or to meet the ideals of a social system to avoid ostracization, rejection, starvation, condemnation, and even death. Even the most introverted man on the planet, while he desires to be alone, attending to his solitary activity, hates to feel that he is lonely. While introverts can function alone, they also feel the need to belong, to be respected and accepted in society.