21. Influencing from the frustration of others

Let’s put aside hypothetical heated conversations you might fall into for the moment. When others come to you in frustration you should understand something important. They are not frustrated at you, even if it makes logical sense to be.

These people are stuck with the feeling of frustration.

Frustration is a feeling. It ought not be reasoned with, nor explained away. It is a real physiological feeling that, in fact, feels terrible. So terrible, that it will cause people to vent their frustrations in an unbelievable number of ways.

Frustration is the feeling that things are no longer moving forward as they “ought to” and the person in front of you feels that.

In most cases when people come to you with frustration, they are seeking to remove this affliction, and they’ve chosen you. If you are not aware of what is going on, you may get sucked in to their feelings, and become defensive. If you do that, you will lose the opportunity to earn influence, by being present.

You have a choice. Earn influence, grow and gain in your life or “defend yourself”, lose influence with others and go nowhere.

These opportunities present themselves to those who have internalized they are invulnerable.


19. Death Cults

For some it may be hard to believe, but there are death cults just about everywhere. While this may seem shocking, when you detach from the things that make you to pay attention about what makes others, it becomes much clearer.

While there are certainly plenty of people who hang out at “death cult” clubs (online), or wear the “death cult” tshirt and stickers, usually death cult people look like everyone else.

What makes them part of a Death Cult, is their obsession with doom and gloom, and their diseased view about everything.

The world is always coming to an end. This thing or that thing is going to kill us, or is currently killing us always. There is nothing that anybody can do in life, but just accept the fate that “it’s all in the process of being over.”

That is what people who obsess about death want you to think.

Just because someone can analytically or categorically break down to show you its true, does it make it true.

  • Global Warming will kill us all!
  • No its actually climate change that’s killing us!
  • We’ll all be dead soon because the energy is going to dry up, and we’re dependent upon it.
  • A meteor is going to hit and there is nothing we can do about it.
  • The stock market is going to crash and the whole economy will be ruined forever.
  • Society has completely collapsed, just look at all of the bad things on the news!
  • They is too many people on earth!!
  • A disease is going to get us. See how many people its killed!!!!

And on and on it goes.

But life continues on. As it always will.

Human beings have never had it easier than they do today, this is why they worry so much. Becoming obsessed with imaginary, analytical and categorical bad, makes one forget about the simple reality that we have the ability to craft and mold our destiny.

Leadership is so compelling because of this.

People who are surrounded by “the sky is falling” really attach themselves to people with a purpose. With a plan. Something that they are striving towards. This is truly compelling.

Sure if you want to group everything into these abstract structures, and then want to be upset about them when they “are threatened” you can do that.

Or you can build relationships with people around you, to make something better.

Never forget, for those who really know, people are the greatest asset. Learn to empower, channel them, and release them from death cult obsessions.


17. Permission is Optional

Permission is optional in life.

You don’t need permission to be you just as much as others don’t need your permission to be themselves.

In a world where you treat people with respect, you don’t need to ask their permission. In fact, those who feel comfortable not taking permission usually know

Asking permission puts you at the mercy of the person being asked. This social relationship, should be your choice, be intentionally on your terms, and should never be out of fear.

Scenarios where you might need to ask permission, shows your lack of strong connection to the person you are asking. Consider building a relationship so you do not need to ask permission to be you.

The strongest teams don’t ask permission to exist, instead they cultivate and value the contributions of those on the team.

Instead of asking permission, state what you are in the process of doing and be open to shifting course based on the feedback of others.

This is the path to influence.


15. Question What You Hear or Read

People are influenced by all sorts stimuli whether that is hearing and reading or seeing and smelling. These influences shape the way we think about the world and the way we approach what we do, daily, weekly and beyond.

My time spent in Marine Corps Intelligence and working intelligence at the FBI taught me well to question the sources of information that I ingest.


Information, is not the same thing as knowledge

Unless we remain vigilant, information that we see printed or heard unduly influences us to believe that something is true. Without having performed any work, we naturally want to take information and call it knowledge.

Yet, this is an assumption that has many layers of assumptions that work against you. Here is a small list of assumptions that can back fire:

  • The organization that provides the medium hasn’t modified or held back relevant information before making it available.
  • The writer or reporter does not have ulterior motives that benefit them by providing you with that information over others.
  • The writer or reporter actually has access to the information that they are providing.
  • The writer or reporter is consistent in keeping the facts straight.

The military is stringent about who’s information is trusted, should be too.

Trust forms the bed rock of our relationships. Military intelligence provides “source bylines” that, depending on your clearance, will provide you will insight into who or what is providing the information. In the world of human intelligence (humint), these source bylines are the life and blood of whether or not a source’s information is trusted.

These humint handlers, as they’re called, manage the source to make sure they are collecting what is needed for the people that need the information. It is their job, to provide accurate information about the source itself. These human intelligence professionals, even request the sources provide proof of access and information validity if they want to maintain their relationship. Here are a few questions they answer.

  • Has this person reported information before?
  • Does this person have first hand access to the information reported, or did they hear it?
  • Has the information this person provided been verified either now or in the past?
  • What are the reasons they are providing this information?

Intelligence goes to these great lengths because they know how bad information actually is.

Information, is just information. It doesn’t mean its true. It doesn’t mean its helpful. Just because its information doesn’t mean it helps you make decisions about how you ought to think of the world you actually occupy.

It’s just information.

Intelligence agencies guard certain information because the information is actually valuable, yet majority of information is not.

Upon arriving home from Afghanistan in late 2009 after spending nearly a year conducting intelligence (collection and analysis) on state and local government officials, tribal leaders, and local war lords it was a major wake up call to see how those back home accept the information they receive. Any information, is valuable information, and the information that caters to what is already believed, the more credible.

When information matters, this is a dangerous behavior.

A simple tip. Raise your standards of what you know, and value what you know over what you have read or heard.


11. Emotions for Others

You have the power to modulate other people’s emotions. But are you using this power?

Most people do not choose their response’s to incidents, instead they yield over what they will feel to that which in front of them. People just “react.”

This “reacting” spills over into other people causing them to react as well. A chain-reaction if you will.

Is there someone with a bad personality at work? This person’s attitude will cascade throughout the organization, touching one person after another.

There is even an entire “genre” of videos online, dedicated to people “reacting” to something. In this situation, you gain your entertainment pleasures by reacting to them reacting.

We inherently know that we react to the environment around us. If you want to feel sad, you play sad music. If you want to feel happy you eat a “victory” ice cream.

However, the dark side to just reacting, is we are always victims to other people’s emotions. As a result, we cannot become influential leaders.

But you don’t have to react, you can choose your response.

Through training yourself to be calm and collected the world no longer can choose who you are. Instead, you choose who you are.

Once you have gained a separation from the emotions that others are emitting you have the ability to influence them. In fact, you may have already realized that by being calm and collected, it significantly improves other people’s ability to be calm and collected.

With this separation you now have the ability to truly listen.

You have the ability to understand that a person is frustrated, not at you, but just frustrated. And by providing a listening ear to a frustrated person, you have the chance of pulling them up and out of this frustration by your mere existence.

By buoying yourself from the reactions of others, you provide a life raft for others to grab onto.

Leaders can push forward when the emotions of others are shepherded

It’s a leaders job to bring the people to where they need to be. Throughout this process people will encounter all sorts of issues. Unless the leader has the ability to maintain their fortitude, the leader will not be able to provide the needed guidance and support for those being led.

You have this skill just as much as anyone else. Notice the people around you have predictable emotions based on what they see in front of them. When one person acts a certain way, the other person is “supposed” to have their reaction to it.

The same applies to you. Based on your disposition of calm and collected yet warm. People must “react” to you.

Take ownership of others’ emotions.


5. Leadership Academy: A Fresh Idea

The U.S. is missing land steward leaders and I want to fix it.

Throughout my travels visiting farms and working with “permaculture entrepreneurs” it has become clear to me just how inwardly focused the mass culture has become. Not only is narcissism rampant, its often rewarded.

As a result, instead of “those-who-grow” growing communities and the earth, they sow destruction.

In order for these eco-doers to obtain their ideals, they need to look outward

Have you ever seen a person work their passion so intensely that they shut out others? Have you seen people lose relationships, miss growth opportunities, and fail to reach their potential because of their “passion?”

Steve the farmer started from the dirt up. At the ripe age of 30, he was living in a tent outside an old lady’s home. Yet he was productive. Within 4 years, having left the tent behind he began renting a house on 5 acres and built a successful farmers market and local sprout business.

If you visited his home, he will give you grand tours of his farm and sprout room he produces and delivers sprouts locally.

During this time, people became attracted to Steve because of his work ethic, quality crops, and extreme passion for growing and healthy food. Steve, always friendly at the markets, is quite the person to visit with.

If you visited Steve at the market you might see a new friendly face working with him.

“This is my girlfriend” – Steve would say.

Over the years Steve became very fond of a few girls, yet for each relationship, at least one that he married, they never worked out.

There has been many workers that worked with Steve. Things always start out great and motivational, but there was always something, in the end.

With everyone one of these relationship failures there was at least 1 reason. But there was something that Steve couldn’t piece between them all. He failed to see the common denominator. Steve.

Steve is responsible for his relationships. All of them.

Steve’s problems were not the outside party that was setting his wife off in a legal dispute, or that his fiancee was “abusive”, it was the fact Steve could not rise to the occasion to make himself available for his partners.

He distances himself from people who start to become unproductive. Why they’re unproductive, Steve, like many, have no consideration for, even though the efforts of others are crucial for his stability and survival.

Steve’s a doer, not a leader.

A Leadership Academy for the next generation

The many experiences and stories I have interacted with over the years, compels me to create a Leadership Academy.

This leadership academy (currently named the Sanctuary Leadership Academy) will take the next generation of people, teach them how to tend land, produce their own basic resources, and turn them into leaders who use influence for action.

Upon completion of the academy the students will be connected with mentor leaders who will put them into opportunities for them to lead.

Through the mentor’s guidance and their own faculties these newly minted leaders will take on responsibility far beyond what their peers, elders or parents might think possible.

This Leadership Academy will not only be transformational for the student, but for the communities they are deployed to.


4. Winning Arguments With Force

While those practicing influence ought to avoid arguments in general, if you want to “win” an argument, don’t try winning it with force. In fact, even if you win, you lose.

Think about the negative energy arguments bring

You see, when you have some level of connection with a person, the two of you share similar energies and it creates a reciprocity. This is why arguments are particularly troublesome for those who are actively trying to influence people to adopt an idea. If you have an energy of “fight” and “win”, it automatically creates an opposing “fight” and “win” energy in the another person. Unless the other person is consciously resisting this urge, really, they have no choice but to join you.

Most arguments the participants “argue” for their idea to be adopted. The other person attempts to resist the adoption of the argument by stating facts, feelings, and opinions that either support their argument or remove support for their “opponents”.

When explanations turn to using force chaos ensues

When force is applied trying to get someone to adopt an idea this is where influence completely breaks down. At this moment in time, the person whom ought to be influenced, knows without a doubt that their best interests are not at heart.

Their mind shuts down new information from the person, because its likely harmful, and has only two choices.

  1. Rise to the occasion to combat.
  2. To yield.

The person who uses force is hoping for #2, but their best bet for influencing is actually to lose with #1.

Why is it better to lose than to win?

If a person yields to force, they will embody every negative emotion which will expose itself in enumerable ways.

They’ll avoid your presence.

They’ll work against you.

They’ll ignore what you say.

How will you influence someone who you can’t find, won’t communicate with you, and conspires against you?

Don’t use force, especially to win something as silly as an argument.