Thursday, July 5, 2012

The power of Influence

Where I come from, the method of teaching your kids about life was through warnings and comparisons. You'd be warned by an example of some rebellious kids, or you were compared to kids who seemed well behaved. My mother warned me several times about some of my classmates, neighbors and friends. Nowadays I see kids standing up to their mothers and speaking their minds, you just couldn't do that with my mum. She didn't know how to talk to me about the power of influence, so all she would say was, "I don't want to see you with those kids". Even though you were just a kid, your parents assumed you should know exactly what that meant without question. Nothing was explained to me properly. You were only warned about certain things without an explanation. The simplest thing to do, would have been to be told straight forward about how powerfully the people you hang around with can influence you, be it negatively or positively.

I came to learn about the power of influence the hard way. It took me a bit too long to understand what my mum was trying to say the whole time. It's not like I had bad friends or anything. Our parents in those days became very insecure once we hit our teens. I said parents, because I've heard some of my friends talk about their teenage struggles the same exact way. I understand today that my mum was afraid I was going to do the unthinkable, and instead of expressing that, she would just say some really awkward things that I didn't understand. My mum like every mum did the best she could with what she had, and I guess no one spoke with her about stuff when she was growing up, so she didn't know how to talk to me. I had a curfew for 5pm everyday though, cause they assumed evil happens after about 6pm. Somehow we got the point. My mum and I today are best friends. 

It's easy to make good decisions under the guardianship of your parents, it's easy to choose who influences you when they can help you see. It's easy to stay on the path when your parents can point out for you that you're going off course. The challenge comes when you're away from home and your comfort zone. It's not only in our teens that we need good influence, we need it probably even more when choosing our own path. Being away from home for me has been very challenging in many ways. I have made bad choices in almost every area of my life. I've had to learn the hard way. Learning from life is not an automated process. As I evolve I've understood it's a choice that you make, you may take the lesson or choose to ignore it.

One of the lessons I've taken with me, is that you should hang around people who are doing what you'd love to do or love to do. Hanging around people who don't know what you are about, makes you feel awkward and lost and can lead to loosing yourself and your dreams, and even alter your life completely. When you loose track of your dreams, retrieving your steps can become a challenging process. Another thing I learned, was to choose carefully who you share your dream and vision with. The way a person responds to you can make or break you. We share in order to get support from friends and family, and so it's important to know who is in support before you share. My dreams have died and risen so many times, just because I shared with the wrong people and this in turn made me feel naive and stupid.

For a smoother transition in life, we need positive influence. Sometimes this comes from other successful people who are willing to support you with encouraging words, and some offer practical help if it's in their power to do so. They might be doing something totally different but since they've been in your shoes, they understand what it means to dream and to need support. I have a few people I look up to and I'm happy to say that today I feel like I'm on the right path. I'm not where I should be, but I'm on my way.

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