Thoughts on influence:
To become an influencer
In modern times, it is seen as good to be an influencer. To influence others is to become more powerful. But what does it mean to be influential, and is it good/bad? And also, is it good/bad to be influenced by others?
What does ‘influence’ mean?
The etymology of influence is interesting. The general notion is this — we used to be superstitious and believe that this emanating force from the stars steered or changed our fate.
To be specific, influence was seen as a ‘mystical force’ affecting one’s fate.
If we look into the Latin root ‘influo‘, it can figuratively mean “to invade” or to “insinuate” oneself into something else.
So in some ways, we can think of being ‘influenced’ by someone else as having someone else invade your ideas, thoughts, and personal philosophy.
Is it good or bad to be influenced by others?
First of all,
Do we consider the other person greater, wiser, or smarter than us?
Do we see the other as our superior? Or our equal? Or inferior?
Generally, I think we want to be influenced, and we like to be influenced by those whom we consider greater than us. For example, I like being influenced by Steve Jobs and Elon Musk, who I consider my superiors. I personally aspire to become as bombastic as Kanye West — and I feel close to him. Kanye is only 11 years my senior.
But there was an interesting quote that I heard in his interview with Zane Lowe:
My superpower is to NOT be influenced by others.
Why do we get influenced by others?
I wonder if when we get influenced by others, in some ways we are bullied by others into believing a certain way that the other considers superior to our thinking.
For example, generally our parents and teachers indoctrinate us (teach us to believe something, while also becoming docile), because they think ‘it is for our own good’. They put themselves in a position of superiority, and say:
My theories on x, y, z is superior than yours. If you do not obey me or believe as I do, you are an idiot.
We desire to become influenced by others when we feel weak
We most want to read self-help literature when we feel depressed, anxious, or dissatisfied with our lives.
Our quest for knowledge is driven mostly by dissatisfaction, or the desire for more. And inherent in this quest is believing that someone else has superior answers than you, and perhaps they are superior and are the arbiter of knowledge.
Do you trust the person, or their thoughts?
Then to continue, a thought:
Who do we admire– the individual, or their thoughts?
In the modern world, we believe in this silly notion of ‘absolute truth’. And in this way, we try to separate the thinker from their thoughts. The idea is that an individual can become this purely “unbiased” individual who comes up with a great thought, and it applies to everyone (the false belief in a universal truth which applies to everybody).
Do we admire Jeff Bezos, or do we just want to become billionaires?
We no longer admire the individual. We admire the money.
For example, I don’t think anyone actually wants to become Jeff Bezos, or become like him. They just want to become a billionaire.
Even the notion of creating a billion dollar company — I don’t think anyone really wants the company or to run it. They just want to create a billion-dollar company, in order for them to possess a billion dollars in the bank.
Why do we no longer admire individuals?
Are there no more great individuals who exist? Or are we just being suckered by new ideals of money?
To skip around, let me talk a bit about the notion of influencing others.
The best way to influence others is to influence them to become more of themselves.
Influence others to NOT be influenced by others.
It seems to be influenced by others is a passive thing, or a thing in which others ATTACK us.
Perhaps better than being influenced by others is to find role models, or individuals to ADMIRE and emulate. This seems more active.
The apex is the human, not money, possessions, or things.
I rather admire the physique, strength, and courage of King Leonidas (of the 300 Spartans), than to possess a Lamborghini, Tesla, or a trillion dollars.
Also my thought about Tesla cars:
We don’t only want the Tesla car for the sake of the car. We are buying an ideology (green future, electrification, futurism), and also buying into Elon Musk.
Even when I buy Apple products, I am not just buying an Apple product. I’m buying into a combination of the artistic-zen-simple design philosophies of Steve Jobs and Jony Ive. But now that Steve is dead, and Jony Ive has effectively left Apple, comes the question:
Do I still want to buy Apple products?
Let us put the humans at the top
Let us admire great individuals in history. Let us admire their courage, strength, and stubbornness in personal vision.
Let us not be passively influenced by what is around us, but let us actively strive towards becoming the most epic versions of ourselves!
Philosophy by KIM
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