Almost everyone I meet believes that you “can’t make another person change,” that they do “what I want to do,” and on and on.
What’s the truth? How are YOU influenced by those around you. How have THEY changed YOU!?
You’ve heard it said 100 times.
“The median income of your seven closest friends & family members is what you will earn.”
The definition of “closest” is: Actual time in their presence or communication with that person by Facebook, phone, email, audio programs you listen to, etc.
The statement is on target. Hang out with wealthy people and you simply are going to become wealthy. It would be difficult to NOT yield this result. They will knowingly & unknowingly change you with their ongoing presence.
Perhaps you’ll spend this Christmas with family and friends and you’ll feel the “tension in the air.” Some of that tension is from people having opinions about how you are leading your life. They have opinions about your waist size, your hair, your work, your income, your girlfriend or your husband.
Those opinions are absolutely manifest within you if you remain in tune with that specific group of people on a regular basis.
Similarly, the sum of their relationships, attitudes, values, lifestyles also become…you.
You’re a social creature. They are influencing and changing you every single day and there might be nothing wrong with that. Or you could be in an earthquake zone because of your choice to be in their presence.
Three Questions for You to Consider:
1. Are you in the relationship with the person you want to be, right now?
2. Are you pleased with your annual income knowing it is secure and more than enough?
3. Are the people you hang out with regularly showing appreciation for the things you do for them?
The answer to those three questions will help you know whether you have been consistently spending your days with the Right People with the Right Stuff for you.
Before continuing, please know I’m not going to tell you to wholesale dump friends and family off of your friends list. I MIGHT encourage you to make adjustments to the recipe and ingredients from the social sphere so you really do lead the life you want and not the mess of a life of most family and friends.
Influence is Crucial
Subjecting yourself to influence is vital to everyday living. It’s true in business and personal relationships. Dr. John Gottman has indicated it’s one of the most important factors in nurturing successful relationships.
And you NEED GOOD relationships with GOOD people to have the actual life that you are choosing for yourself.
Real quick. Grab a pen and write down the 7 people you spent the most time COMMUNICATING with the last two months. (Text, Facebook, phone, in person) Your spouse/partner/boyfriend is a people so make sure you write their name down as well if you communicate with them more than the other six closest people to you.
Next to their name, write down whether you would love to have the kind of relationship they have with their spouse/partner. Simply write, “Yes” or “No.”
Next to that answer, consider their income and simply write down “yes” or “no” if you would trade incomes with them.
The influence of this group on you is a mess. A disaster? Ruinous?
What if it seems like these are people who are truly helpful to you in your life?
Are there exceptions “to the rule?”
We’ll come back to the question shortly.
Conversely, being able to readily influence others is not only the core competency of Emotional Intelligence, it is also crucial to living an effective life. It’s crucial to leadership. It’s absolutely necessary to achievement in every field.
With every single communication and nuance of influencing, almost no one is aware of the actual messages they are “sending.” And far more complex than that difficult scenario is untangling the influences of just one person…. on you!
Many Influence Factors are Hidden
It’s a fact: All communication influences you.
You aren’t immune because you are aware or intelligent.
Another strange fact: People’s words, their body language and their readily observed actions are typically and almost always behaviors they are completely unaware of.
Third strange fact: Your very own behaviors and utterances influence your Self whether you “knew what you were saying” or “knew what you were doing”….or not.
That’s what is happening that is completely hidden and waiting to be found.
Some messages directed to you are intended to influence. Sometimes those “attempts” succeed. But the person is trying to influence you (for better or worse!).
What’s important for you, is to understand how to make yourself more aware of what you think and do in response to influence attempts. And it’s important for you to be able to influence with much greater precision.
Goals and Influence
In this article today we’ll refer to “goals” as any behavior or thing someone desires. And in the context of this article a goal is either “active” in any given moment or not. People have lots of goals, most of which we are unaware of. In general only one goal is active in any person’s brain (not mind) at one time.
A goal could be something as significant as writing a book or getting a promotion. A goal could be something as simple as wanting to get someone to pass you the asparagus at the Dinner Table. And typically only one is active in any moment.
It turns out that whether you achieve your goals or not is in large part dependent upon the people you come into contact with each day. Your spouse, your friends, the mail man, the newscaster on television.
With a constant barrage of messages and triggers in your environment every moment of every day, you are in large part the beneficiary or victim of your environment, and the people in the environment.
A Barrage of Influence
Obviously then, it makes a lot of sense to constantly be adjusting your environment so you achieve what you want to achieve in life. This includes both the “stuff” around you and the people around you.
There are two ways to seriously consider the people you are in communication with daily.
1. Does being in communication with this person cause you to be the person you idealize your Self to be?
2. Does being in communication with this person cause you to be the person you idealize in the various critical areas of life like raising your kids, being a great spouse, generating revenue to give your family the life both you and they deserve?
You have choices to make if you want to shift where you are at in life. Knowing specifically how the people in your life are influencing you is going to help you decide if you have choices to make. (Replace or repair)
One of the three big reasons you want to have people who accomplish and people who have excellent relationships in your environment is because they can act as an antidote to your current condition.
What about the family member who is a wreck but you love more than just about anyone in the world? They hurt. They are in pain. They are broke. Do you just 86 them from your world?
You make life choices elsewhere. What you CAN do is to bring THOSE people who are wrecks into contact with people who are enjoying great relationships and contributing to the world.
The Psychology of Influence: How it Really Works
It is a human tendency that others want you to do well but not better than they themselves are currently doing. Use income as an example. Imagine your “household” is earning $100,000 per year. You will find no limitations imposed, no hostility, no anger, no sabotage among those who are earning say $200,000 per year. In fact you will very possibly find support and a synergistic effect.
In general, wealthy people want to encourage others to be wealthy as well. Why?
It’s in their best interest. Wealthy people make the world run. They pay the taxes, generate the sales, and give everyone else jobs. And they aren’t stupid. They want help.
People who achieve prefer to be around others who achieve.
People who aren’t where they want to be often have so many negative messages directed at them that they feel oppressed or suppressed and unable to move forward in life.
What is a negative message?
This is a critical question.
A negative message is a contextual cue that triggers YOU to be LESS than you can be. A positive message is a contextual cue that trigger YOU to be MORE than you are.
Positive messages cause you to fight on behalf of your relationships to make them better. Positive messages cause you to generate more revenue to help your kids get into school or build great personal values.
Your brother could be the sweetest guy in the world but if he is a drug addict and unemployed he can make you “feel good” with his comfortable style and help destroy your life in the meantime.
All of life happens in THIS MOMENT right now.
This moment has great value.
This moment points your life in the next direction it will take should you live until tomorrow.
Now Come the Problems
What happens when you are not around others who want you to have…what you want?
The current research shows that when you have a goal and you are in the presence of even one person who doesn’t have that goal, or at least support that goal…these people are NOT NEUTRAL toward you. These people have a natural implicit (unaware) bias toward you failing and being more like them. This will sometimes manifest itself as hostility toward you and/or your goal.
As you become LESS like them in critical life areas, they become frustrated with you, and more.
Thus, you want to DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT IN YOUR LIFE and then BUILD YOUR WORLD AROUND that CHOICE.
You will end up in major conflict if you try to become your Ideal Self within the context of your negative influencers.
This isn’t about what I think you should do. It’s about what YOU CHOOSE to do. Certain people will help you get what you want. Certain people will PUSH you to your desired outcomes. Others will take you off of YOUR CHOSEN PATH.
Worse, there is often a snowball effect. Once one person in an environment or setting gets triggered to oppose your goals (whether they are aware of it or not) others tend to become triggered against your goals as well.
A group of people can easily overwhelm almost any individual with enough negative messages to where the individual gives up, sits back and gets drunk with the buddies. It’s fun in the moment but the liver disease in 7 years takes the life of one of those buddies.
Be in the moment?
So long as the moment is aligned with your Ideal Self…the person you want to be.
Want to be a drunk? If that is your Ideal Self then head to the bar with the buddies. It’s that simple.
Want to succeed at SOMETHING? Hang out today online, offline, on audio, with people you respect and admire because they have done something that impresses you.
A Bonus Challenge
And not all that surprising, you tend to project your own level of aggression (for better or worse) onto others in the environment.
In other words, if you are naturally aggressive, you will see others as much more aggressive (toward you in a positive or negative way) than they really are. People who are more passive by nature tend to see more passivity among others.
Quick Summary and Scenario
Imagine you have a simple goal to put up a website and generate some secondary stream of income. One of a few different types of behavior will come about from those close to you who are made aware of your goal.
- They might support you, particularly if they see this project as likely to help you step up in life and ultimately benefit them in some fashion.
- They might become irritated or angry with your project and you and whether they know it or not they will attempt to cause you to do a goal avoidant behavior (go to dinner, get drunk, do drugs, go to the movies) instead, or they will outright vent their displeasure with your goal.
- They will set up their own website to compete with you and show you that they can do it better than you can.
- They will choose to simply stay away from you and your goal while pursuing this silly idea of yours.
KEY POINT: People often choose their own uniqueness through differentiating themselves from that which is around them…and sometimes it’s not about what they want…it’s about “moving away from” everything they currently see and don’t want to be associated with.
Out Group Influence
I hear it all the time, “You can’t change someone else. They have to do it themselves.”
I promise you there is truth in that statement…and that it is also incorrect. It’s VERY difficult to change without being changed by the influence of others.
Just the THOUGHT of how others think & feel is often enough for you to change in a MOMENT.
When researchers give college students a chance to take one of 4 CD’s as a gift, the researchers tell the students which is the most popular CD on campus, and invariably that CD is chosen least often by the college students.
Most (not all) students (humans) do NOT want to be part of the BIG crowd.
If something is perceived as “everyone in an Outgroup is doing it,” that’s enough to turn off most people (aside from those in the Outgroup) from doing it.
In 2010, legislators determined that cigarette package labels would contain stiffer warnings and imagery. They are expecting this to result in fewer sales of cigarettes. It will backfire and cigarette sales will increase, perhaps dramatically if messages are directed to younger potential smokers.
Years ago, Marilyn Manson was a largely unknown rocker and was coming to play at the stadium. I read a lengthy editorial in the paper by a well known church leader who was “offended” by Manson’s appearance and behavior and he was urging all local churches to tell their congregations to stay away and not go.
That, of course, turned out to be the best advertising the entertainer could have hoped for. Having an Out group leader advertise AGAINST ANYTHING is the most powerful form of positive advertising there is…and readily achieves the opposite goal.
Anti-gun groups that generate inflammatory press to ban handguns cause a direct increase in the sale of handguns…and ammunition and related supplies.
President Obama is credited with being the #1 Gun Salesman of all time. Not only did he single-handedly increase gun sales in the last year, he drove prices of everything from guns to ammunition to all time highs. In fact, The President drove more people to buy their first gun than any salesman in history.
It’s impressive when demand is so great that it raises prices, instead of lowering them.
Since 9/11 the Muslim bashing segment of the press has helped cause Islam to be the fastest growing religion in the United States in 2013.
The simple lesson here of course is that a large percentage of people are dramatically reactant by nature. They don’t want to be controlled or told what to do. They are anti-authoritarian by nature.
People can be influenced to not do X simply by showing an “invisible image” of an Out group person performing the behavior.
In fact, some people resist the influence/goals of others, by moving away from The Influencers, before anyone is aware there is a goal or influence.
Of course everyone (though we don’t necessarily know which in advance) is resistant to some goals, outcomes, behaviors and experiences and will react “against” such goals and behaviors by moving away from the people.
If a child is doing poorly at math in school and sees that, the resistant child will not be cued to improve but will move away from attempts to improve at math…particularly if the people who are doing well at math are particularly close friends or family. This doesn’t change as people mature and go about their daily business.
The easiest way to drive these people (perhaps you!) toward anything is to tell them it is bad or “not good for you” or even better, that it’s “dangerous” or could be “deadly.” As the message spreads, it will engender images of people in an Out group speaking out against something which is the same as speaking for it in the minds of EVERYONE not in the Out group.
Although most people want to belong to some certain groups, people will often move toward groups where they believe others in the current environment most protest against and dislike from people they consider to be the most unlike themselves.
Reactant individuals often turn out to be the most successful entrepreneurs and salespeople as they have dis-associated themselves so much and so often from standard well worn paths in the corporate world that they excel in the smaller more reactant (aggression/competition/achievement oriented) professions. Of course they also can become potential failures in society should they group together with Negative Influencers.
In all groups, if the reactant someone who isn’t on board with some goal or outcome feels they are being outclassed or outperformed by someone they are close to, they generally will move away from the person succeeding at X.
The opposite is also true.
Do They Use Subliminal Influence on You?
This is pretty cool…
Using subliminal technology, researchers subliminally cued people immediately before doing an anagram task. Those cued for nonconscious goal achievement did much better on the anagram solving than did those subliminally cued for apathy.
If you can activate a goal in a brain, you can move a person in the direction of accomplishment.
But what if there are others involved? How important is “rapport?”
In the same study, subjects didn’t experience being matched/paced (nonverbal rapport building) by the behavior of a confederate who stated that they were going to work toward a goal and it was found that those students who were not nonverbally paced by the confederate…showed a motivational loss for the project.
Where no “rapport” was experienced, even with similar goals, motivation to accomplish the goal dropped.
Interestingly, verbal connection was made in the study, but what was missing was literal mimicking of behavior.
In other words, the failure of one person to mimic the body language of another personis enough of a trigger nonconsciously to cause lack of motivation and withdrawal from doing something.
That’s how crucial and literal support often needs to be in an environment for people to succeed!
You’ve probably already figured out that all of this means that when there is a person in the environment with a goal, and another without, there is a good chance that conflict will occur between the two.
There is also a fair chance that if the two people are friends or live together, that the person with the goal and the nonconscious reaction of the other person to that person and the goal is enough to create long term conflict between the two.
None of this is conscious but the research bears out that this is indeed what often happens.
Pursuit of X all by itself, whether it is creating a piece of art, watching the game on TV tonight, wanting to get to the store before it closes, or wanting to grow a project into a business, all can generate conflict between two people and neither of them will be aware of that fact, probably ever.
One researcher argued that ONE person holding the goals and moving toward them is enough to generate conflict all by itself because implicitly (nonconsciously) the person with the goal is used to people rebelling and arguing with him while in pursuit of goals….he expects this behavior from others…and “offers” nonverbal cues with complete UN-awareness that then triggers reactions in some people around him!
From an evolutionary standpoint, being focused on a goal and awareness of the environment around a goal being achieved could cause the difference between life and death on the spot. Those wanting to help achieve the goal of the capture of dinner…experienced activation of similar goals in their minds. Those wanting to stay home and watch TV….er…paint on the cave walls probably caused ire in the minds of those who wanted to go and get dinner.
Considering that these behaviors and experiences can be triggered shows that it’s not always an individual in whom a person is antagonistic toward…it can literally be that the person is in pursuit of a goal, the goal itself or simply the cues being interpreted by others from the person in pursuit of the goal.
This week, become much more aware as to how you FEEL when you are around other people when talking about various things. You might feel fine talking about passing the asparagus and you might feel attacked when talking about your new website.
Remember that YOU could be sending out the messages first that cause people to be reacting negatively in reference to the website so be certain to send messages in a way that is likely to pace and match the current conversation tone at hand.
And become aware of any hostility level. Hostility is where irritation with another person’s goal becomes more personal in nature and thus potentially a longer term problem. Most people will only want you to succeed as well as they have or even a little “more” and then that leeway will stop.
Think about the kind of people who you might want to be around more often. Think about who you might like to be connected to.
The influence others have on you could literally hold you back from having someone special in your life. The influence of others could hold you back from having any kind of personal accomplishment in your life and it definitely can influence your income level in a big way.
Reserve your spot now!
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