Everyone out there is trying to influence you. How susceptible
are you to that influence – and how susceptible are those around you?
I wanted to write a quick post (that turned out not to be so quick)
on resistance and susceptibility to
influence. This article is something of a cousin piece to my piece on grouping and herding in dating
from last week.
The subject of this article - resistance and susceptibility to
influence- goes for you and the people around you. Your friends, your
family, your workmates, your lovers, partners, and dates.
Everyone is susceptible to the influence of other people and forces.
The degree of susceptibility varies from person to person, and
situation to situation. Some people are more easily influenced than
others. Some situations make it easier to influence people than
others. Most people are only marginally aware (at best) of their
If you are susceptible to influence but do not realize it, other
people can step into your mind and make you think things and believe
things you might not really want to think or believe. This can lead you
to taking actions you might previously not have agreed with. Sometimes
this turns out to be beneficial; sometimes not really.
For an example of the beneficial sort, I had a friend in university
who influenced me to
apply for an internship with Nike and pick up a minor in supply chain.
Until this friend, I did not care about getting a job after school, was
doing the minimum necessary to get through school, and disdained the
idea of internships. Yet because of this friend, who'd had an
impressive co-op run building a new supply chain process at Tyco, I
grew excited about getting a
good job and doing better in school. I didn't get the internship, but
came in second in a pool of 200 candidates and got some very valuable
feedback from the interviewer which played a key role in me getting the
job I did get, a year later.
I got more a lot more focused on school and got straight As again the
next semester, for the first time in years. And I got my dream job on
the first try - I zeroed in on them and the job fair and blew their
socks off in my interview. Had that friend not influenced me, none of
that would've happened.
Years later, I was in a startup where one of my business partners
influenced me to open up the purse strings more than I thought was
wise, against my instincts and all the reading I'd done on
startups spending all their money too quick being one of the #1 reasons
they go under. He influenced me to do a number of other things more
in-tune with how he thought we should do things and less in tune with
how I thought we should. We ran out of money and I had to close the
business and lay everyone off. The partner who'd influenced me to spend
more managed to negotiate the rights to the business away from myself
and the other partner (despite having joined the startup much later,
and having taken far more capital out of it than he'd put into it),
then sold those
rights to another group of founders. The business is now a successful
venture-backed business doing everything I originally wanted to do, and
would've had it do... had we not run out of funds so quick.
I don't regret the experience (I enjoy Girls Chase much more as a
I received a lifetime of invaluable lessons in negotiation, predatory
partnerships, and sticking to your guns - plus a
healthy dose of business confidence after I found I'd been right
all along), but the outcome was a direct result of that business
partner influencing me to act in ways contrary to how I'd have acted on
Every human being is susceptible to
the influence of other human beings. There are no exceptions to
this. Locate the strongest, most resolute human being in the world, and
I guarantee you we can find a way to make him crack with enough time,
and the right people, in the right situation.
The question we want to look at today though is how susceptible vs. resistant are you and
those around you?