I recently completed a personality test which stated that I was a loyalist or security seeker (I chose to agree). One of the points about being this type of personality was that I was always influenced by the strongest opinion. And this truly irked me. It did not say that I was influenced by the most accurate opinion or the most factually correct opinion but rather the “strongest.” So this made me think (of course).
I also thought about why I was so bothered by this. I strive to be an objective person. I believe that I look at the facts in a situation; listen to the three sides of the story and do not make rash decisions. Ever. I am practical. I make choices which might not necessarily make me feel better but I make choices which I believe are right. So how could this personality description state that my influences were based on the strongest opinion?
Then I realised that it bothered me because for the most part it was true. When there is a heavy debate or discussion and facts are not on hand I am drawn to the person who is the most confident; most passionate about their version. And in the moment if I had to choose it would be their opinion to follow. In that moment when the internet connection is weak and I am unable to quickly access my friend, Google, I follow the strongest opinion. I ignore reason; intuition and I follow confidence. What is wrong with this you might be thinking? Plenty.
To be slightly dramatic here, this is how brainwashing occurs in my opinion. Someone comes along with enough conviction and passion in their beliefs that someone who is influenced by the strongest opinion would not question this. They would follow blindly and before you know it a new cult has been created by people who want something to believe in or by people who did not hear the quiet voice in their head saying “ Just because they are loud does not make them right.”
So now I question just as much as I think. And let me make this clear – I do not argue with every person I meet. Nor do I feel the need to be heard and squash someone’s beliefs or stories with my own doubts in the truth of it all. I do not need to make them believe that I am right. I simply question – internally. If someone tells me a story and they clearly believe in it; “Good for them” I say! I do not need to steal their good, warm feeling. I do not however have to believe it either.
So I decided to change that description of the personality (and I can because it only affects me and because it is my choice). I may, depending on the scenario, be influenced by the strongest opinion but when that happens, it will be my choice. I will consciously decide what influences me. I want to be influenced in such a manner that when I walk away from the situation, not only does my intuition pat me on the back but I also know that I am happy with my outcome. I’ve left with a good feeling; a right feeling (not the feeling that I am right and everyone else is wrong); a feeling that I chose to accept that influence.
When I am influenced by someone or something it will be to have a positive outcome. So, what do you allow to influence you?