Thursday, October 8, 2015

Infleuncers? Really....

I think I have come to the conclusion that I am tired of being influenced…in reality I am not sure that I ever have ...been influenced in any meaningful way. Rome, Greece, the Renaissance and the Magna Carta….now they have influenced me in many ways…but Tony Robbins and what’s his name …ahhh… Richard Branson ….I don’t think so.

The very act of defining someone or something as an influencer defies what influence is.  I perceive influencing to mean persuading someone to adopt a particular idea or engage in an action without actually putting any pressure on them to do so. The process of influencing allows us all to arrive at the same conclusion, from different points of view by examining the merits of their ideas.  

Influences often encompass pervasive ideas that seem to make common sense regardless of your ideological mind set and they tend to serve as a paradigm shift…a change in the way society and sometimes all of civilization thinks.   Equally important is that the influence is often not bound by its place and time in history. If you apply this kind of rationale to better understand what influencing is, I think, influencing as it is proposed or recommended by social networks is more hype than hack.

Having said that…sometimes  my children influence the way I think….my pets influence the way I think  …as do my friends and acquaintances….the books I read,…. the movies I see …they all contribute to how I think but they do not serve to as societal influencers.  They simply contribute to the overall perspective and context of a thoughtful and meaningful understanding of ourselves and our world.  To highlight one individual or idea and suggest that they offer some unique guidance not available through other avenues is more like marketing than it is like influencing.

Influencing, as it is described in Linked In, Facebook or other mediums is more a sign of the times and a change in delivery mediums than it is a sign or changing thinking. Tablets…I mean stone tablets and scrolls …followed by books, were mediums that came before social networks.  What these mediums could not capture was the “how frequently”, and “by who” these ideas were being considered. Popularity does not equal influence… no more than popularity somehow should be a measure of influence.  In this amped up age, where things happen quicker and focus is shorter, following influencers in the modern age is more a lazy person’s approach to thinking …it’s often shallow since the thinking process that allows us to arrive at certain conclusions is forestalled in the process. I believe that we should entertain “provocateurs” rather than “influencers”. Hold high and praise the exploration of thoughts and ideas and be quicker to questions than to acquiesce to influences.  

Ultimately, a conclusion is presented through an overly simplistic process of examination. Learn to think for yourself and explore ideas that question who is influencing you and why.

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