You've worked out how to be happy in life -- you don't react to the negativity of others and you make a conscious decision each day to think positive thoughts. Ideally, the people around you would do the same. While you can't change their behavior, you can be a positive influence and inspiration, helping them consider changes that would lead to a more fulfilling life.
Set an Inspiring Example
Nobel Peace Prize winning theologian Albert Schweitzer once said, "Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing." People look at what you do more than they listen to what you say. To be a positive influence, live the life you'd like to see others live. When the people you'd like to influence notice your happy relationships, business success and other positive facets of your life, they'll be inspired -- perhaps enough to make changes to improve their own lives.
Make People Feel Important
When you make another person feel like a king or queen, they're certain to pay attention to your positive words and actions. In his renowned book, "How to Win Friends and Influence People," Andrew Carnegie notes that one of the most powerful ways to influence another person is to make him feel important and worthy. Make a practice of giving sincere compliments and paying attention to the good that is within every person. Doing so will bring out the best in everyone you meet.
People tend to follow individuals who are confident. For example, imagine that before a college basketball game, your coach said, "I have no idea whether we will win tonight, or not." Chances are, the team would feel directionless and look for guidance from the confident player who said, "We have what it takes to win tonight." Convey a thoroughly confident message, and you'll set yourself up as an authority. Authority figures have greater influence than most other people, according to Steve Bressert, Ph.D., in his article "Persuasion and How to Influence Others." Tap into your authoritative side, and you'll be much more influential.
Try a Touch of Drama
While you don't want to become a drama queen or king, adding a touch of the theatrical can do wonders for your ability to positively influence others. Carnegie notes that television and other dramatic media are enormously influential. Whenever you do something that stands out, people remember. For example, try wearing an elf hat and hand out cold sodas to people waiting at bus stops while wearing a T-shirt that says "Love others." Adding the theatrics to your message will make it memorable.
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- How to Win Friends and Influence People; Andrew Carnegie
- PsychCentral: Persuasion and How to Influence Others
Elise Wile has been a writer since 2003. Holding a master's degree in curriculum and Instruction, she has written training materials for three school districts. Her expertise includes mentoring, serving at-risk students and corporate training.