Thursday, January 2, 2014

Influential people

I have always been fascinated by the things that people do not do because they are worried about "What people will say". Anything that I do not understand fascinates me and, given that I do not understand most things in life, I live an endlessly fascinated life.

Take, for example, a daughter wanting to delay marriage in order to pursue her studies. "What will people say? That we are irresponsible parents not trying to find a groom for you?" Why is it that what the daughter IS saying is less important than what people MIGHT say? I never could understand that.

Ah! Do not get me wrong. I do have a modicum of brains, even if you find it difficult to believe. If your son proposes to parade down the street buck-naked in the middle of the day or your daughter wants her music at some zillion decibels in the middle of the night, I can quite get your point. It is this funny idea that people have a right to say things about what happens within your personal lives that I cannot quite understand.

But, then, it is understandable in the context of the rest of human behavior - in the sense that it is as 'rational' as the rest of human behavior. We always do things that any rational being - assuming there is one such - would find incomprehensible.

This mythical rational being would assume that if you liked one person and disliked the other, the former would have more influence on the major choices of your life and not the latter. Right? WRONG.

Let us assume that your office has offered you a posting in your spouse's hometown as a CEO of a start-up. You have a comfortable niche right where you are and you do not want to move. (I say nothing of your reluctance to move close to your in-laws - so do not get after me for what I did not say) Your spouse, though, loves the idea. Do you agree to move because you love your spouse? Not that I have seen in real life.

After that huge argument at home and an adamant decision to turn down the offer, you reach office. Your colleague tells you that your rival had been telling all over the place that you did not dare take up the posting. So, what do you do? Say the hell with what he thinks and I will do what I want to do? Not at all. Pack your bags the same evening is what you are likely to do.

See what I mean? The spouse you love only makes you adamant about staying back but the rival you hate can make you change your decision. Thus, the most influential people in your life are the people you dislike and not the people you like.

Which is why I try to like everyone who crosses my path. I HATE having to change my way of life!

48 comments:

  1. Awesome post, now I can see why you actually make an attempt to reach out to the readers of your blog and ensure that you are in their good books. That way you will never have to deal with them passing snide comments on your blog to which you might be forced to reply to, and maybe just maybe change your style of writing to suit them as well :D

    Just kidding, lovely post. Loved the topic and especially the way you have put together the post almost sarcastically but not caustically, if you get what I mean.

    BTW, are you languishing in the hallowed portals of being a Bestselling Author on Amazon yet with "Sirens Spell Danger" or is there some more time to go before that happens?

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    1. Thanks Jairam!

      Quite a way to go before it even becomes a 'seller' - though I suppose the cut-offs ought to be different for a e-book :)

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  2. " What people will say "..if this phrase was not there, just tried to imagine what the world around me would be like...seemed it would be a topsy-turvy world ! :-D

    Really enjoyed the reading :-)

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    1. Thanks Maniparna! Yes - it would be a topsy-turvy world - but are we standing on our heads right now and will turn the right side up when the world turns topsy-turvy? :)

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  3. Yep, this "what will people say" is very annoying and widely prevalent in the Indian context. Who cares for what a bunch of gossipers say behind your back. Seriously, one good thing that I have done over the years is develop a thick skin. To my face, very few will dare :).

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    1. Without that thick skin I could neither have remained single nor quit working so early in life, Rachna :)

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    1. Haha! You make it sound like a term paper :)

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  5. You've begun the new year with a beautiful, insightful post Suresh. Kudos!

    As Anthony Robbins says, we have two distinct ways in which to get influenced. One through 'moving towards' values (in your example it would be the love of the spouse) the other through 'moving away from' values (in your example the rivalry with the colleague). Of the two, as you have rightly pointed out, the latter is more powerful. We are a lot more likely to be influenced by the thought of a possible loss than by the thought of a reasonably assured gain.

    Such is man.

    Wish you a Happy 2014!

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    1. Thanks Dagny! Your comment added value to a relatively insipid thought process. I was thinking more about how Hate was a far more powerful motivator than Love - despite the fact that we have spent centuries touting the power of love :)

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  6. Very true! Your post made me think and I realized that every word of it is true. We do tend to carefully pay heed to people we dislike more than to those who are always by our side! And frankly I have no logical explanation for it.
    Wishing you a witty year ahead Suresh! :)

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    1. Thanks Seeta! There can be no logical explanations for irrational behavior :)

      And wish you a great new year as well.

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  7. "the most influential people in your life are the people you dislike and not the people you like."

    - I was just wondering over this, and realised that its true. So, from now on, I shall also try to like everyone. Oh, no, just because you have influenced me here, doesn't mean I don't like you.....I keep coming back all the time to check your blogs :)

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    1. I second every single word kg3 wrote... :)

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    2. Hahaha! Including not disliking me, I hope :)

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  8. Funny and makes a lot of sense Suresh except for one confusion. My wife is the most influential person in my life. Does that mean something buddy ? 😆

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    1. THAT is between you and your wife, buddy :) One thing I have learnt is never to get between spouses :)

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  9. Any decision taken under peer pressure or societal norms can be stifling. Follow your heart, I say. Though easier said than done.
    A lovely post Suresh.

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    1. Thanks Alka! Well - I did follow my heart :)

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  10. Uuufffffffff.
    Just let your guts take over,lest " What they may say"

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  11. Interesting tongue in cheek analysis! Of course, in reality, your detractors are likely to do themselves the very things that they ask you to refrain from doing!

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    1. Of course, RIckie! In all probability the rival in my example wanted 'you' to go so that it does not land on his head :)

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  12. Excellent analysis!
    Only really thick-skinned persons (I think I'm one of these) don't care about "What people will say". Most people succumb to this perceived pressure and live life trying to gain approval from the rest of the world.

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    1. Hmm - Join the thick-skinned club of which I am a charter member :)

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  13. The things we do to prove people wrong.
    This was the best post I read in recent times!

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    1. Rem acu tetigisti :) THAT was the pith of the piece :)

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  14. wonder where my comment disappeared even as i was typing...!!

    so i was saying, no wonder we spend all our lives buying things we do not need, doing things no one would actually bother about, imagining and worrying about things no is even thinking about ...all to impress people we couldn't care more about!! couldn't be more true....lovely post!

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    1. Thanks Titli! Yes - precisely what i always used to wonder about :)

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  15. If I fashioned my life according to what people would say-i would have to be an octopus,with many limbs walking in different directions.But I doubt if even an octopus can do that.So i live by my own counsel.

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    1. True Indu - there is that story about a father, son and donkey to illustrate that point :)

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  16. Reminds me of the conversation in 3 Idiots where Farhan's Dad tells him 'What will Mr. Kapoor think' and he tells his Dad 'What you think is what matters to me. Who cares about what Mr. Kapoor thinks.". We give too much importance to society and strangers. Probably also why it becomes easy for every Tom, Dick and Harry to manage personal lives of others! If your near/dear one were to state something, it has a lesser impact than the same thing said by a stranger/acquaintance. And a rocking example, that one!

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  17. Ah..so true. Nailed it!! Also, read your story in "Sirens Spell Danger". It was a good read! Yet to read the other two.

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    1. Thanks Pooja! If you find the overall book good it would be a HUGE favor to me if you could say so on Amazon :)

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  18. Heights of Awesomeness...I always loved the humor you put in your writings. As usual you rock Sir...:)

    -- Vajra

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  19. Fact! I too fall in the same line when people try changing (controlling) your way of life which is the most simplest thing but very hard to have. Well written post Sureshji!

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  20. One example that comes charging in my brain is the one of the tormented married lady. She is being subjected to inhuman treatment every day in the hands of her in-laws..Yet she sticks onto the Family just because 'What people might say'...And then one fine day when she perishes...'Those people whose opinions she was so scared about , don't even F**king care'....That's the unholy irony !!

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    1. True - that is the irony and irrationality of the human species that we lose the people we love sometimes because we act for the sake of the opinions of people who care little for us :)

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  21. 'Log kya kahengey' does afflict people's behaviour. But, your Post throws light on how 1 person (whom we hate!) can change our behaviour! That time we really never bother what the world will say as we are busy settling scores!!! Great analysis & truth! :)

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  22. How true... We often think about people whom we dislike than we like...
    I liked the ease of flow and the point you have put across...

    Between sir, reading your book...
    Got it for review...
    I have to admit that in no time i finished reading 25% of it..
    It is so gripping!

    All the best sir...
    Wishing you all the best!!!

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    1. Thanks Locomente - Hope you liked the rest of it as well

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