There are many books, seminars and courses sold on how to influence others. Some work and some don’t.
However my view is why would you want to influence another?
People generally answer that question with ‘Well if my wife did this’ or ‘If my husband did that..’ ‘If my boss would just..’ ‘If my customers..’ Life would be so much better for everyone.
And that statement is completely true. If everyone just did what you wanted them to the world would be a better place, from your perception.
Generally people kick and fight against the things that they dislike. Yet we should be grateful to those things we stand against. For if they didn’t exist neither would a part of us.
Without war and discord we could not choose peace. Without cruelty, without neglect, without need there would be no cause for the Charity worker, for the Campaigner. Life is continually changing. The imperfections that you see in the world are your opportunities to express Who You Are by creating change.
Let’s make this a little clearer with an example.
Let’s take the recent war in Iraq. Many, many people stood for peace at that time. And whilst making their stand they considered how desirable peace would be. They looked at war and the costs and possibilities of war and said this is not what I stand for. They looked at the possibility for peace and said I stand for peace.
Now in that decision there is great potential.
The potential is not in their ability to stop the war. To fight against those who stand for war is to say I do not stand for peace. I stand for fighting for my way.
A war boils down to two people each fighting for their own way. Each believes his or her way to be more right than the others. Say an Animal right Activist bombs a Researcher on animals. This is war. If a peace protester insists on attacking verbally someone who stands for war, the peace protester is waging war and not expressing peace.
This does not mean that you cannot protest. The essence of peace is in accepting differences. There will always be others who disagree with you. Without differences and the friction they create there would be no evolution. We would live as clones in a boring and vacuous world.
The important point is to accept they have a different view and understand their view is no more right or wrong than yours. Both are just a personal choice to express and demonstrate what you stand for.
The potential in deciding to stand for peace is in examining the individual’s own life. Examining all the arguments the individual has at work, in their home, with their neighbours and friends. Having made a decision to stand for peace they have the opportunity to become the living embodiment of peace. They can live their live as a demonstration of how to live in peace.
When you stand for something so strongly that it influences every thought, word and action is when you create change in others. There are no words that will truly convince someone with a different view. It is only when a person chooses for themselves a new view that change is possible. Words can stimulate thought, which may lead to a new choice, but that is all.
What is most effective in stimulating change is your example. If your view really is more compelling and more effective for the other person arguing will not make them adopt it.
Instead arguing will cause the other to dig in more deeply to their view. However if you allowed them their view without causing them to become any more entrenched they become less stuck to it. They will observe the way you act and talk. They will pick up on all your nonverbal communication.
And if your view creates more happiness in you. If you seem more at peace and more content. They will want those same things. Now instead of looking for the negative in you as they will when you are arguing they will begin to look for what causes your peace. They will study you closely to find out what you have that they do not.
Gradually they will soften to your position and begin trying on your beliefs to see how they feel for them. If yours indeed is more compelling for them they will adopt it for themselves.
This is how real and lasting change happens.
Jesus, Buddha, Mohammad, Lao Tsu and Confucius influenced billions of lives not because of what they said, but because others were drawn to them to find out what caused them such peace.
There have been many Philosophers, Politicians and Statesmen who could speak most persuasively, most intelligently, most articulately and most forcefully. However they could not get others to adopt their ideas because they did not embody and demonstrate their message.