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Living Today by Roldan Sevillano Jr.

    The power of influence

Seldom do we take the time to reflect about why we are who we are. Are you the outgoing, friendly, compassionate type? Maybe you’re the shy, quiet and reserved type. What has inspired you to pursue the field of education or career that you are in? Who are your influences? The reality is that our characters are moulded by the influences of people and events that we have encountered in life.

Let’s start with family. Being the very first people that we meet on this earth, the family becomes our inaugural impression of humanity. Our parents and siblings teach us the simplicities of love, belonging and warmth. The family is where we experience the first of many things in life. Our first fights, quarrels, joys and celebrations are all part of the bundle. The influences of family prepare us for the real world.

Friendships are another influential part of our life. There is a Mexican proverb that says, “Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are.” That, in most part, is very true. The people whom we chose to associate with are often those who share our goals and interests. I believe there is an intrinsic desire in all of us to want to be accepted. Cultivating friendships with people who are like you makes it easy to develop meaningful, lifelong friendships.

Everyone has a favourite teacher. The one who influenced me the most was Mr. Lawrence, my grade four teacher. He opened my eyes to the world and the many cultures that dwell within it. He went beyond teaching tolerance and encouraged all of us to make a conscious effort to learn and appreciate other cultures and their ways of life. His class made me even more proud to be Pinoy!

A former co-worker, Jacqui, is another person of great influence to me. Although a most basic virtue in life, she has taught me kindness and compassion. Through her actions she showed me that everyone we meet in life is afraid of something, loves something and has lost something. There is never an excuse to be rude; kindness is in our power even when fondness is not.

Every person we meet and every event that we experience in life influences us in his or her own way. That is part of the human condition that builds our character and our moral being. Having said that we must also be cognizant of those people we influence. You may be surprised by the amount of people you have influenced over the course of your life. That’s why I cannot stress how important it is to exercise kindness and compassion wherever you are. You never know whose life you may change.

Striving to be positive influences on one another will play a vital role in building peaceful societies of tomorrow. At the end of the day, making the world a better place starts with you.

“You don’t have to be a person of influence to be influential. In fact, the most influential people in my life are probably not even aware of the things they’ve taught me.”

– Scott Adams

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