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?
Apparently according to the Tipping Point, peer pressure has a great deal to do with our behavior. Particularly in ones teen age years. However I have difficulty recalling any profound influences on me other than girls I tried to court. My first girlfriend dumped me after eight months and after that I had great difficulty sustaining relationships longer than that for a long time. I was always on guard fearing I would be dumped again. It was quite a important event in my life.
My friends in high school and university certainly influenced my behavior. However I did not follow their lead when they went too far in my opinion.
I was always a very serious person and maybe that counteracted some of the influences.
In business, peoples business practices and values influenced me signifacantly. However many of the influences were things I did not want to do. Harvey had a great influence on me as far a business values. I was however quite an idealist in my early business years. I still believe that cooperation is the ironclad logic of social living.
There have been many for various reasons. But here are the ones that jump right out:
– A Montesory Teacher (can’t remember his name) who tutored me on reading and times tables. I really believe that was one of the reasons I got into reading and math based education.
– Mrs. McMahon (grade school teacher)
– Jim – no brainer there, anyone surprised
– Harvey – just the stories and experiences around him
– My wife
– My Mom – this one is the most subtle and influential of all. It often is hidden in who we are, but in thinking of this question she was the most influential.
Funny how all of the above were/are teachers or sharers.
I’d have to say that some of the greatest influences in my life have been the authors of the books I treasured as I was growing up. Nowadays I tend to approach every work from a bit much of an analytical perspective, but I will always on some level remember the morals inherent in (for example) the Narnia series.