Yesterday I was listening to “Smart passive income”, a podcast by pat Flynn. He was talking with his guest, Andrew Warner, who is also a podcast host with an enormous following. They were talking about how to conduct interviews, but also how to hold space for good conversations to happen. And today I picked up the book “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, because, yesterday, in the podcast, this book came up yet another time in a row of many.  I decided I will finally read the book cover to cover.

I got myself some freshly brewed coffee and sat down on my living room couch, to get some variety in my workday and I cuddled in under a blanket with my coffee and my book. All of a sudden, the workday came to an end, and I had been gone, immersed in stories of how psychology is the most important subject to study if I want to accomplish my goals and help others do the same.

A few chapters in, I remembered that adjusting my behavior and language with people, will increase my chance of success enormously. But I feel reluctant. Why? Maybe because I feel that if I use psychology, consciously, to my advantage, it will be an unfair playing ground? Do I feel that it’s wrong to use this knowledge and power to influence people? Do I feel that, somehow, influencing is manipulation and that it’s wrong? 

Why should I?

The whole damn world is under the influence of a zillion dollar industry focused on manipulating people to have a materialistic mindset and to buy things and services that they don’t really need, and even things that are potentially harmful to ourselves and the environment!

And here I am, reluctant to use a few smart strategies in order to influence, inspire and help people make the decision to become more productive, understand their purpose and live a happier life.

When I’m speaking these words, and as I can hear myself saying this, I realize how little sense it makes. And not just that; but solely the act of not doing my best to influence as many people as possible, in a positive way, is in fact an unfortunate situation. So to find a way to deal with this reluctance, I figured I would further educate myself on the subject of influence. What is the difference between manipulation and influencing? Do you know? Googling it now, to see if I have the right idea.

Influence vs. manipulation

In short, here is my understanding of the difference. Clarifying this “on paper” helps me feel so empowered and motivated to proceed with my purpose.

A person who:

  • Disregards your views and talents.
  • Seems opportunistic and egoistic.
  • Is telling you what you need, should, or must do.
  • Spins and skews the truth, to get it their way.
  • Withholds information or lies.
  • Focuses on people who can serve them and ignores those who can’t.
  • Is not in a good place emotionally, spiritually or ethically
  • And are trying to manipulate you for their own gain…
    …is not someone that will be a resource in your life, and moreover, will probably be draining on your energy.

But if you find yourself in the company of a person who:

  • Really listens and seeks to understand your desires and needs.
  • Asks a lot of questions, to discover how things could be.
  • Respects you for who you are.
  • Carries a professional and caring attitude with people.
  • Seems to honestly want and trusts you to make the best decisions for yourself…
    …then you are in good company and to keep relationships with these people, is a win-win for all.

Respectfully wanting to get to know you, in order to see how all parties can improve and benefit from the meeting, is a leader with the intention to influence. If you feel safe, inspired, powerful and optimistic, then you have very probably been influenced by something or someone to access your own influential leader within. We could just embrace it. Act on it. Copy it!

I will, will you?


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