Influence, we’ve grown up with people influencing our decisions to allow us to receive the better outcome and now we’re making our own decisions, or at least with the guidance of our kith and kin, for instance, if we follow in our parents footsteps or allow them to choose a career path for ourselves because it is “better” for our future because we believe that if we have a respectable job than we allow abundance into our lives. This is an example of a decision ourselves and others make to benefit us. When we try to influence others to make similar decisions and life choices of our own because we have previously been taught to do so. Sometimes you influence others to follow your so call it ‘proposal’ and other times you just seem plain stupid to them. Influence can lead to something bigger though. Throughout history, we discover influencers and the influenced. Choices made right now can be influencing the future of a nation or as little as an individual. But when it comes to making decisions we avoid certain options because we fear failure but when someone else fails we can learn from their mistakes. We take a step back, reflect and then we move forward again. That doesn’t always happen though, decisions made out of fear of the outcome become an unbreakable wall, we can’t push through it so we give up, we rather let fear beat us than take the risk and watch our decision influence the people around us. Today I want to focus on this thought process and inform you the power of influencers and the influenced that can lead to a change for better or worse.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of influence “is the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself.” There are three different types of Social Influence, but the most important in this case is ‘Conformity Influence’, Conformity influence is when an individual needs others judgment and opinion to approve a decision, in my opinion, the most important. We all see Conformity Influence a huge part of our social life, we all need some sort of approval from others to increase our self-esteem. This is not necessarily just a good or bad thing, it’s both. We seek others opinions and judgment because we don’t want to be labeled wrong. When we make decisions we make them because they seem logical but can our decisions be made out of the emotion we are feeling, fear, eagerness or devotion.
Winston Churchill one of the greatest historical figures of all time has made decisions out of fear for the protection of Britain and its allies. The choices that were made had negatively impacted his foe as well as his allies but we still seem to know him as a hero. Why is that? In World War 2, we know Churchill as the man who leads Britain to a Victory but 25 years before his ministry in Britain he was the Lord of the Admiralty, ‘the political head of the Royal Army’ with glowing prestige, he became ambitious. His ambition was the cost of 11,488 Anzac lives, 44,000 Allies during the Gallipoli campaign landing at what we now know as ANZAC Cove. 86,692 Ottoman soldiers were killed, fighting on behalf of their country, even though the enemy, over 80,000 innocent lives were taken because of the ideology that we need to sustain control. The Gallipoli campaign was intended to gain land in Turkey and capture the Ottoman Capital to open a Black sea and allow a supply route to Russia. But mistake after mistake this become one of the bloodiest battles of all time in World War 1. In 1934, 16 years after the First World war ended, a quote by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the first leader of the Republic of Turkey was inscribed onto a stone slab, a memorial in Gallipoli, Turkey in memory to the heavy loss in lives, it read,
“Those heroes that shed their blood,
And lost their lives…
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country
Therefore, rest in peace
There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lay side by side
here in this country of ours.
You, the mothers,
Who sent their sons from far away countries
Wipe away your tears;
Your sons are now lying in our bosom,
And are in peace
After having lost their lives on this land,
They have become our sons as well.“
After such a bloody war, we were able to forgive, forgive how many lives were lost, forgive each man that took a life and forgive the ones hidden from battle, the ones who called the shots. Following the Gallipoli campaign for many years Churchill reflected on his actions, he felt and quoted ” It was a mistake to look too far ahead. Only one link in the chain of destiny can be handled at a time”
Ambition has such a huge part to play in our lives, bloody deaths were the consequence of Churchill’s ambition but does that make him a bad or good influence? Churchill learned from his mistakes and the world learned alongside him but that didn’t stop him from carrying on with his prestigious career. By World War 2 he was the Prime Minister he had a duty to protect everyone at all cost, he lied to the public, he sent out suicidal missions, troops either died and were ‘lucky’ or lived, but everyone loved him. He had a way for words, he was inspiring and a figure of strength and empowerment, the people felt almost safe. Was Churchill a good influencer of history? It’s highly unlikely for a person to be only a good influencer or bad influencer, we are somewhat both. We all value different things, we all believe different ideas and we all respect different people. As an individual, we have a belief that someone who is a good influence has these characteristics, (Respectful, approachable and dependent) but someone who is a bad influence has characteristics of the complete opposite. When I originally thought of a bad influencer, I believed they were someone who negatively impacts others. This can be there behavior towards others and themselves or decisions made because it is ‘beneficial’ or because their way is the only way. But can a negative influencer be someone who has valid ideas, they’re powerful and can use their words to strengthen the belief of others. Can a bad influencer be someone who is depended on by others because to the public eye they are a figure of protection and strength? These characteristics seem like the ones of a positive influencer but they are also examples of a negative influencer.
Influence is a big part of our lives, we can never escape the influencers and the influence while listening to me you I hope you have taken out something valuable, I’ve talked to you about one of our purposes in life, which is to teach others, learn from others and change aspects of our lives every day to become someone who is listened to, and also to become someone who listens. Winston Churchill is a great example of influencing others and being influenced because of its consequences. We are able to learn from the past and be taught something new, and how we can influence the world ourselves. Thank-you