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The Power of Influence
Dear fellow Americans,
Think about something you care about—your biggest issue with our current society. Think about how passionate you are about that matter. Now reverse it. Think of someone else with the exact opposite belief. Imagine him arguing with you with the same passion and aggression that you have. Tempers flare, feelings are hurt, and by the end, neither of you have changed your mind. In fact, you probably reinforced his beliefs. My fellow Americans, the greatest issue of our time is the rapid polarization of our politics. Inflamed arguments from both sides leave no room for compromise or understanding. We ignore, we disagree, and we argue out of spite, not belief. Passion is necessary, but pride is dangerous. If we learn the correct method to express our opinions, we can articulate our concerns more effectively—and with better reception from opponents. If we understand the concept that less is more, we can become more proactive about our cause.
Section I. Understanding the Power of Influence
Allow me to provide some information about myself. I have always been a quiet person. I am not outspoken about my political beliefs; some have even called me passive. But I believe a person like myself is more valuable to society than one who is constantly fighting for what he believes. A person who constantly advocates for a certain thing is bound to have numerous opponents. Some of those opponents might actually be concerned with the substance of the argument, but most are more concerned with their own pride. In our current society, agreeing with your opponent is seen as weak and treasonous. A person who is quick to argue may gather followers in agreement with him, but he still has a weak power of influence—the ability to persuade opponents. On the other hand, one who is quiet and respectable can be much more influential. Humble individuals who provide sound logic are easier to agree with, creating a greater power of influence.
Section II. Increasing Your Power of Influence
Remember: less is more. Listen more than you speak. It is not rocket science, yet many Americans cannot do it. We are taught that the more you speak, the easier it is to persuade someone. However, the exact opposite is true. The less you speak, the more persuasive you can be. Just think about it: if someone politely listens to you as you discuss your opinions, you would be more likely to listen to his argument. If someone does not listen to you, it is not possible to persuade him. By not interrupting your opponent or ridiculing his beliefs, you become more respectable. And a more respectable person means a more influential person.
Section III. Knowing When to Cut Your Losses
Unfortunately, some people will not listen to you, no matter how respectful you are. You just have to accept the fact that you cannot persuade these people to change. Do not take this personally. Understand that your power of influence is limited for these two reasons:
A. The Theory of Relativity
Imagine a stranger arguing with you about your political beliefs. Would you feel compelled to change your mind—or even listen for that matter? Probably not. Now, imagine one of your close friends or family members discussing his political philosophy with you. You would probably be more willing to listen to him than a complete stranger. Therefore, you must know the person you are attempting to persuade in order to have an effective power of influence. If you try to argue with a stranger, it does not matter how respectfully you treat that person. He or she will most likely ignore you. Know your limits when it comes to the unknown. You do not need more opponents than what you already have.
B. The Law of Diminishing Returns
I briefly mentioned this topic in the previous sections, but allow me to elaborate. Through years of fighting with my younger brother, I have learned that no matter how many times or how many different ways I tell him to do something, he will still not do it. In fact, he usually does the opposite of what I tell him to spite me. In all of my efforts to persuade him to do that thing, I make the situation worse. However, when my parents tell him to do something, he listens. Because they are in a position of authority, they have a greater power of influence over him. Therefore, one person—a respectable person—can be more effective than a dozen angry protesters.
Section IV. Initiating the Domino Effect
After reading the previous section, you might be asking yourself, “If I only argue with my friends, how can I advance my cause?” The answer is simple. If you can change the mind of one person, that person can change another’s mind, and so on. Every time the domino falls, a new person learns the correct technique to express his views. The more people who learn the correct way to express their views, the more people who increase their powers of influence. The more people who increase their powers of influence, the more followers they can gather. The more followers they gather, the more powerful their cause can become. It only takes one respectable person to progress this social revolution. Why not you?
Section V. Trusting the Process
Everyone has the ability to fight for his cause. You just need the correct method. Increase your power of influence by holding yourself to high standards and truly listening to your opponents. Advance your cause based on respect and compromise, not insults or spite. Most importantly, know when to stop. If you are respectful and still cannot convince someone to join your cause, then accept that you are not the “chosen one.” Do not let your pride become more important than your message. Continue to build your power of influence, and one of your followers will better relate to that person. If you do these things, you will progress your cause. But more importantly, our current political system will feel the icy blow of the wind of change. Good luck.