Friday, May 13, 2022

31. Influence

The Lines

Bottom. [6] At the very beginning of relationships, the interplay of influence is hardly noticed. The parties are acquainted with one another, the possibilities of a deeper relationship are present, but whether the relationship will develop or not remains to be seen -- it may, or it may not. But as long as everything is in an incipient stage, no judgment can be made upon it. At this point, neither party is harmed or helped, whether the relationship goes forward or does not.

2. [6] At a later stage of an acquaintance, there is the bare beginning of a flow of influence, but it is not subject to the man's control. Whether the relationship proceeds or not requires the actions of others, and this is not a good way to begin. If this is allowed to proceed, the man will be subject to the whim of others, and the outcome will not go well. It is better for the man to wait until circumstances place him in a position where his actions will initiate and control the relationship. Then he will be in a position to properly exert his influence himself, and his ability to control the way it proceeds will mean that it will go well for him.

3. [9] The formation of a relationship has an emotional component, and this easily becomes the directing force. But if this is allowed to happen -- if whim or infatuation is allowed to lead the man into an involvement with another -- it will result in humiliation. Just because a possibility of a relationship of mutual influence exists doesn't mean that it is advisable; the man must restrain himself and act in accordance with his own reason. Just because another person with whom the man has a relationship wishes the man to do something is not sufficient reason alone; the man must exercise wise choices and not grant every request automatically. Just because the man is involved in a relationship with another does not mean that he should ignore his own intuition when it is contrary to the influence of that other; his independent judgment is the foundation of his individual freedom.

4. [9] When a man speaks from his heart, he has great influence on his followers, for they recognize the genuineness of his expression, it has a deep impression upon them, and it reaches into their deepest sensibilities. It is incumbent upon the man, therefore, that he keep his heart pure, and if he does so, he will have no regrets. His influence will be great, and the beneficial effects upon his followers will be extensive. When the man acts from the depths of his own being, when his motives are for the benefit of others and not self-centered, when he is conscious of those others and does not attempt to use them for his own ends, he will make no mistakes, and his followers will know intuitively that he can be trusted. When people are involved with one another on such a deep level, the emotional strain is intense and physically wrenching. But for intense emotional experiences of this caliber, it is only the man's followers -- those to whom he speaks directly -- who are influenced by him. Highly emotional involvements are limited to those directly affected.

5. [9] When a man's influence is under strict intellectual control, there is no confusion or misunderstanding. As a result, no one will be led into some unfortunate path, and there will be no cause for regret. If a man attempts to influence the unconscious mind of his followers, the results cannot always be controlled, and it is not always certain where such influence might lead. A man who avoids those emotional depths and maintains rigid intellectual control over himself and over the emotional level of his involvement with his followers, also avoids all those uncertainties. Nevertheless, those who are not subject to such unconscious influences themselves cannot exercise that kind of influence on others, and the degree of the man's influence will be limited.

Top. [6] The least significant influence of all is mere talk and admonition. Talk is cheap, and anyone can tell someone else what to do and how to do it. But if such talk is not an expression of a deeper conviction, if the speaker does not put his whole heart into what he says and put his finger on things that matter to his listeners, his message can have little effect. This kind of "do as I say, not as I do" admonition is worthless and is generally ignored by the man's audience. If the man cannot speak from his heart, he might as well not speak at all.

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