I have talked before about most important teachers and their influence on our lives, see http://pxltd.typepad.com/project_x_discussions/2006/09/most_important_.html. However others have really had an impact on us all. Generally our parents have the primary influence and shape us before we are really able to judge or evaluate. Adler taught that we accept the way our parents present the world to us as the way the world is without judgment. Thus our emotional development is shaped by our parents long before we are thinking critically. Next our close siblings and grandparents can have influence. When we reach adolescence then our friends and peer group have a huge influence. All these groups shape the way we face the world and its challenges.
However recently in the last fifty years, new techniques have been developed that enable us to change our world view later in life. Important therapies have been developed so that people who want to change can seek help and effect change in the way they see and adapt to the world. However the good news is that the person must want to change before any of these techniques can be effective. The most dramatic and well known technique is the approach used by Alcoholics Anonymous. For those who want to change, the approach really works.
Support groups also are extremely helpful. I recall when my mother developed severe Alzheimer’s, I attended a support group that help me understand the disease and coping mechanism. When we were raising our children, we reached out to a parent study group discussing the book, Children the Challenge, which was also a great help and change my view on human behavior.
Another source of great influence in our lives is our children. I learned more about myself, good and bad, though my children and our relationship. Sometimes children provide you with a mirror that that can be quite disarming.
Business colleagues and experiences can have a profound effect on our life view. The business world exposes us to people in quite a different context. Several of my business associates have been a great influence on me. Business pressures bring out the best and worst in us all. Building trust is a very important by fragile commodity. So many people do not earn you trust by the way they treat others as you observe them. I always think if that is how they talk about others to me, likely that is how they talk about me when I am not there.
These are my thoughts on important influences in our lives. What are some key influences in your life so far?