Do you ever think you are fully standing on your own two feet? Are you one of these people who thrive off of the idea of being able to make all your decisions alone? Or are you the total opposite and allow for others to input in all your decision making?
Can we ever be fully independent, or will something or someone always influence us?
I like to think of myself as a very independent person who makes all their decisions alone. However, I have come to realise over the past couple of months that there are one or two people that influence me greatly. Though, I am fully aware of the fact I am listening to what they are saying, they are completely turning my views around. It is most strange for me! I mean, I was told that coffee is pretty bad for you. I knew that, but once I got home, I suddenly had no desire for a coffee and had a tea instead! I haven’t had a coffee since. What is it that allows people to have this influence over us?
Our brains are an intricate mass of protoplasm that allows us to control and coordinate everything we do – whether it is subconsciously, or consciously. Though, why is it that certain people are able to greatly influence these thought patterns? They are almost able to hijack them and throw them very off course. Oddly enough, these influential people are not influential to everyone. It is as though we have a certain lock that only they have the key to open.
Those of us who are independent are likely to be relatively controlling as well – whether you admit it or not! Therefore, we are hardly going to willingly allow another person to control us. So being open is something to cross off of the list. There is a very basic psychological theory that I will bring into this briefly called the belief system. It basically means that the people we trust more are placed higher up in our belief system. Automatically specialists are high up in our system and we are most likely to take on board what they say. So, ok, that means we trust a biologist's view point on evolution more than a mechanic's, but that still doesn’t answer why we would always listen to specific people. It has to be something in our brains structure that leads us to think in this way.
Whether you are aware of it or not, our brains thrive on association. A large part of our brain is dedicated to association and linking similar pathways which means perhaps, we associate something with these influential people that is personal to us. There are a number of people whose biggest influence is their parents. Parents are typically a sign of security. From a young age, they look after us, feed us and teach us how to speak and maybe count or read. So, it is hardwired from an early age that these people are the ones who have a lot of knowledge and we know they are wiser than us. Though, as we grow older, some of us believe we know more than our parents and the tables turn and we are teaching them. So, now there must be some sort of change in association. We no longer associate our parents with knowledge so, it must flip to another person who is currently teaching us. Then we exceed them and the association changes again. But this particular type of association means we trust the majority of things this person says. This is not the case for everyone, not everyone loses trust in their parents competence – although they could partially, not everything is as black and white as I have made out.
So what do you think? The people we trust the most are people we associate intelligence and wisdom with that formerly comes from our parents? Does that then mean that, if you have bad parents, you are likely to not trust many people at all, or do you just simply substitute other people for your parents?
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