11 min read

A Crash Course on Influence

A Crash Course on Influence

At the end of this article, you will know how you can mobilize the earth to bring you closer to your goals.

The fundamentals that would supercharge your networking and scale your influence beyond what your fingers can reach.

This writing will open your mind to the infinite possibilities of this world.

A wise mofo once said, if you can't get a helicopter. Ask someone to give you a ride.

Are you ready?

Outline

  1. Why learn Influence?
  2. Value as the Atom of Influence
  3. Law of Relationships: Quid Pro Quo
  4. Value Batteries
  5. Types of Value Provision
  6. Resonance: Value Alignment
  7. Timing: Moments of Impact
  8. Positioning: Finding your Influence Machine
  9. Playing the Longterm Game
  10. Warning: Influence is a Double-Edged Sword
  11. Bonus: To serve is to scale
  12. What to do now?

Why learn Influence?

The road to your goal isn't straight. You will always be faced with problems along the way and in a world such as ours, the main blockers are people.

This means, your odds of reaching your goals are a function of how capable are you of influencing people to do what they have to do in order to get you to where you want to be.

For example, imagine a road trip for a planned vacation.

In order to reach your destination successfully you would have to go through the following checkpoints:

  1. Get gas
  2. Get specific direction
  3. Get accommodated

At each checkpoint, you will encounter people who will determine how your trip would go.

  1. Get gas - You can only get gas if you can convince them to give you gas. (Usually by paying)
  2. Get specific direction - You can only find it if a person gives you the right direction.
  3. Get accommodated - You can only enjoy your vacation if you can convince the staff to let you in and get accommodated.

The point? How you interact with people, dictates the success rate of your reaching your goal.

Be it in work, in business, or in your day to day, how far you go will always be reliant on each person you will depend on. People are essentially crossroads in your life that can easily influence your trajectory.

So it is in your best interest to make sure they do what they're supposed to do.

How?

Using influence.

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Value as the Atom of Influence

The root of influence is value. A person is compelled to take action because he finds value in doing so.

Let's use the same road trip as an example.

The staff at the gas station is compelled to give you gas when you pay because doing so will earn him his salary.

But imagine if he wasn't paid?

Would he be at the gas station doing work? No.

This means, that in order to invoke action in someone, Value must be provided.

This is why Value is the atom that makes up influence.

Without value, there is no influence.

Law of Relationships: Quid Pro Quo

You can think of a relationship as an open channel of value exchange.

If both of you provide value to each other, then there is a relationship.

However, relationships are driven by a simple law: Quid pro quo.

The engine that maintains relationships is the constant exchange of value. A perpetual cycle of giving value and taking value.

This means that as long as the value is given continuously, the relationship is sustained. But if an instance disables the other from providing value, the relationship will cease.

Note: It is possible for a relationship to continue without the other one providing value, but in those cases the value provider sustains a firm belief that future value is coming for as long as he can until he becomes depleted.

This is an important fact because it's the foundation of influence as you will see in the next sections of this crash course.

Value Batteries

In order to simplify the concept of influence, it's necessary to illustrate people as robots with what I call: Value Batteries.

Each of the people you have a relationship with essentially has a Value Battery.

It keeps track of how much value you have provided to a certain person. If you have provided no value, his Value Battery is depleted. If you have provided massive value, his Value Battery is charged.

Now... why is this important?

Well, influence is a function of value.

The more value you provide, the more value you can get in return.

In simple terms: The bigger the favor you give, the bigger the favor you can get in return.

This means if you want to influence them to give you a huge favor, it is vital that you charge their Value Battery to a big amount of charge so that they would feel compelled to take action. (To be influenced)

The easiest way to illustrate this is with a simple scenario.

Let's say you have 2 friends named Alice and Bob.

You want to influence Alice and Bob to give you $100,000 each.

Alice has a low Value Battery because the only way you've provided value to her is by giving her a $1 cookie.

If you ask Alice for $100,000 do you think she would give it to you?

Probably no, because you haven't provided enough value in her life to be compelled to take action. Her Value Battery is low hence your influence on her is also low.

On the other hand, take Bob. His Value Battery is high because you saved his life and his family's life by heroically running into their home to pull each one of them out during a house fire in the past.

You save Bob's family at the expense of your own suffering and Bob was there to see it all unfold. Bob is massively grateful.

Now, if you ask Bob for $100,000 do you think he would give it to you?

HELL YEAH! He will because the value you provided to Bob was so insurmountable to him, that $100,000 was a no-brainer.

Do you see? The amount of charge in someone's Value Battery is directly proportional to the influence you have over them.

The more value you have provided. The more you can ask. This is actually fair because it's just an equal exchange of value.

However, what happens when he does the favor you ask him to do like Bob?

Well, his Value Battery is discharged.

This means that the 2nd time you ask for $100,000 dollars, he will most probably say No because you have already depleted his Value Battery by asking for $100,000 the first time.

It is impossible to gain influence, without providing value.

The good news is, you can recharge Value Batteries and regain influence. This is done by continuing to provide value without taking anything in return. This means the value you provide accumulates and recharges the Value Battery.

This shows how influence is relying on the foundational law of relationships: Quid pro quo. What you give, is what you take.

To think of this at scale, you think of each of your relationships as having a value battery. It is essential that you keep a mental note of the value you have provided to them, in order to know how much of an influence you have over them.

Types of Value Provision

In our world, each person has an inherent level of value.

Most people younger than you who have no knowledge, skills, and experience have very little value hence they are below to you in the level of value.

You can easily provide value to them with the tools within your shed such as knowledge, skills, and experiences because you have more than what they have.

On the other hand, people with massive knowledge, skills, and experience like the top 1% of entrepreneurs, have massive inherent value.

Hence they are WAAAAYYYYYYY above you in the inherent level of value.

This means that they are so self-sufficient that it's hard to provide any value with the tools within your shed because chances are, they have an entire factory of tools.

Fortunately, there are multiple types of value provisions in our world.

Value Provisions

  1. Tools
  2. Humanity
  3. Indirect

Tools

Providing value with tools is very straightforward. It is essentially providing value by giving away whatever is within your means like knowledge, skills, and experience that you know would be valuable to them.

For example, helping a friend with your tech skills or teaching a colleague how to drive.

Whatever it may be, it is something that deals with logic more than emotion.

Humanity

Despite the invulnerability of the most valuable people in this world, each one of them is still running with a heart and a human psyche.

This means that it is still possible to provide value by touching their humanity.

What do I mean by that?

My favorite example of this is a mother.

Our mothers aren't necessarily the most knowledgeable, the most skilled, and the most experienced.

And yet why are our mothers able to provide so much value?

Because they touch our humanity by showering us with love.

Cooking your favorite food isn't the most flashy skill in the world, but it's the one that touches your heart the most.

That is the essence of providing value by touching someone's humanity. Someone's emotional core.

Each person has an inherent value system as a human being that is greatly tied to his emotional core. As long as you can touch these values, you are able to provide value.

Anecdote: Giving someone a gift on his birthday provides him with value, because it touches his humanity within.

Indirect

While most value is provided directly, it's not impossible to provide value indirectly.

This is most apparent in families.

If a dad loves his daughter so much, providing value to his kids is also providing value to him.

In fact, it might even be stronger depending on the values system that this father has as you will see in the next section.

Resonance: Value Alignment

At this point it should be clear, value is the currency of influence.

The more value you give, the greater your influence will be.

Now how can you maximize the value that you provide?

You ensure value alignment.

For example, giving a hair dryer to Alice is much more impactful than giving a hair dryer to Bob.

This is because Alice cares about her hair, hence the hair dryer aligns with what she values.

On the other hand, Bob is bald and single (Ouchie!). A hair dryer would only turn his head into black helmet! (HAHAHA)

This means that in order to maximize your provision of value, you must first ensure that the person you're providing value to actually cares.

Important Note: Understanding him as a person (value systems, beliefs, fears, etc.) would help you get a clear understanding of what he would find of value and what would impact him the most. This will help you build influence faster because you maximize every value-adding action that you do.

Timing: Moments of Impact

Another way to maximize influence is by leveraging timing.

By providing value in moments that matter to the person.

For example, it's your birthday.

Alice and Bob decided to greet you on Facebook.

Alice greeted you on the morning of your birthday when Facebook was already announcing that it was your birthday and everyone was sending their greetings.

On the other hand, Bob greeted you in advance. (2 days earlier)

Who's greeting is more meaningful?

Definitely, Bob, because with his timing you know that Bob had your birthday on his calendar and knew that it was coming, but Alice only saw it on Facebook just like everybody else.

This is the importance of timing or moments of impact. The intensity of how the value you provided is perceived, relies on the timing of when it was given.

Anecdote: Moments of impact are very important and seen clearly in relationships. Those moments when some things mean more than they do on normal days.

One of my real-life experiences with this is when my friend had himself checked, because he was very anxious with his health. He told me that his tests will come out in a week. I knew that was a moment of impact. A moment when he will be needing a friend he can talk to or at least a friend to check up on him.

On the day of his results, I send him a message: "Hey brother, how did your tests go? How are you feeling?"

This message left a massive impact and provided massive value to his humanity, because it was a moment of immense anxiety and fear for him.

So identify moments of impact and provide value during those days.

Positioning: Finding your Influence Machine

Influence is built, when value is built. This is certain.

Hence, the best way to build influence is to position yourself where you are able to provide value even without you going out of your way to provide value. Essentially having an influence machine.

A most common example of this is what I call "points of confusion" or "points of collision".

If you can be in a strategic position where most people would be confused or blocked, you can easily swoop in to provide value by helping them and guiding them in the right direction.

Anecdote: In a conference event, it is strategic to take the role of the guide of the keynote speakers, because people of value will naturally go to you for guidance allowing you to provide value by making their experience easier and more pleasant thus building a relationship with them.

You are also in a position where you can converse with them to provide value by touching their humanity and solving the pain of getting lost around the venue.

This means that if you're finding ways to build influence, carefully consider your positioning.

Are you in a place where you get to have a chance at talking with the people you want to influence?

Are you in a role that gives you the capability to serve the people you want to influence?

Playing the Longterm Game

Building influence takes time, because most of the time, the majority of the people who we want to influence aren't necessarily ready to take in value from us.

This is more evident in people with exceptional status and value.

The value you provide to people like them barely gives them a charge into their Value Battery.

But even the smallest provision of value builds influence when accumulated in the long run.

Even if the value you provide is equivalent to 1%, providing value 100 times still accumulate and stack up to 100% charging their Value Battery thus building your influence.

Important Note: Thinking in longterm allows you to build value organically and much more authenticaly. Forcing yourself to provide value as soon as possible, will only come off as inauthentic especially to those who also understand how influence is built.

So instead of rushing things, build influence slowly and think longterm.

If you know that one day you might need to influence someone to help you, it's a good idea to start as early as possible and begin cultivating that relationship.

Warning: Influence is a Double-Edged Sword

As the law of relationships Quid pro quo illustrates, influence is a double-edged sword.

As you take value from people (favors), you will notice them building influence on you too because they provide value to you.

Essentially, you will feel the pressure from your human nature to return value back. You are more likely to do something for them in return so make sure you are also keen and specific to who you take value from.

Important Note: It's best to take value from people you trust and people with integrity.

You never know how they would take advantage of you with their influence.

Be warned.

Bonus: To Serve is to Scale

A big chunk of the most valuable people in this world always says that you must live your life in the mindset of service.

My favorite person who always says this is Jim Rohn.

Why is the mindset of service so convenient?

Well, the mindset of service makes you skip the nuances and technicalities of influence but still allows you to build influence.

If you are in the mindset of service you are bound to:

  1. Be more authentic and genuine with the value you provide because your intention is to serve
  2. You are by default in value alignment, because if people go to you for the things that you do, more often than not, they have a problem they know you can solve (Resonance)
  3. You are also in a moment of impact because people go to you in moments of need (Timing)
  4. You are naturally in a position where you can provide value because people come to you for help (Positioning)

The mindset of service allows you to cover most of what is needed in influence with barely any mental overhead, hence allowing you to scale your influence efficiently.

What to do now?

Now that you understand the fundamentals of influence, it's time to put it into action by pursuing a path of self-development.

Why?

As seen from the previous sections, value is the currency of influence. It's the force that compels people to take action.

Now here's where it gets interesting...

In order to provide value, you must be a person of value.

But how?

You pursue a path of self-development and accumulate as much value as you can inherently.

Because this is the best and fastest way for you to build influence: just be badass and massively good with your choice of expertise.

By becoming so good at what you do, you are able to provide massive value to people by tapping into the depth of your knowledge, skills, and experience.

Not a lot of people are as crazy as you are to attain such a level of mastery.

So why are you still here? GET TO WORK!

BUILD AND SERVE!

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