How easily influenced are you? If you are like most people who I know, you will think that you have out-grown the tendency to do things just because everyone else is doing it.
In fact, I would put myself in this category – I would like to think that I have my own set of values and principles that guide me and prevent me from doing stupid things like lining up the night before at the Outlet Malls because I have the chance to save money on something that I wasn’t planning on buying in the first place. Just because it seems like the thing to do.
But I’ve realized that my ability to be influenced is still very much there, but it’s not the overt and 2 x 4 to the head things that get me. It’s those subtle and practically undetectable things that I fail to see have affected me until it’s too late. And what gets me almost every time? Reading fiction.
I’m serious. Whatever I’m reading influences me innocently and insidiously. It seeps into my brain, influences my word choices, determines my food and drink choices. It’s like I become a book zombie.
I’m a big fan of Mad Men and I take great delight in mocking the advertisements on the television and in print. (As if I think eating your brand of yogurt is going to solve my digestive issues, make me a belly dancer AND taste good). And beauty products…please…
But give me a novel where the main character is always drinking coffee and BAM…I’m lying awake at 3:00 am because I too heard the siren call of the java. Any Scandinavian-based book is sure to keep me up for days. Not because of the actual story line, but because they drink so much damn coffee and I’m powerless to not join in. It’s like a sick and twisted drinking game that I’ve unwillingly joined.
And so, because of this, I will not read HR-related books.
I’m afraid that I’m so easily influenced by the written word that I’m apt to jump on to the latest and greatest idea. Employee engagement…HR analytics…performance management programs…recognition rewards…team-building…leadership excellence…who knows what dangers lurk in those pages. There is way too much loaded potential that I’m afraid I might be overcome and start blindly applying them.
So no way I’m going to risk falling under the influence…I will stick to sitting back and watching it unfold in front of me. All the better to openly mock and judge.