The Power of Persuasion and Friendship…Starring YOU. Yeah, You.

All day today I had the pleasure of spending some 1-on-1 quality time with a few good friends. Over the past year I’d been more keen on widening this circle to include a multitude of my interests. I find that there is something very special about friendship — you can never have too much of it. If you are genuine in your intent, you can never run out of the desire to be a better friend. To me, friendship is a special kind of love, one that exists without expectation and commitment. You’re there because you want to be, you’re absent when you need to be, but when they beckon you, you are unequivocally present. This isn’t some BS/backdoor conversation about something as lame and phony as “social capital.” It’s about being a decent human being, bringing value to and enriching someone else’s life, and vice versa.

An interesting theme of discussion today was the power of persuasion — specifically, the lies we tell ourselves and the lies we tell other people. Being entangled in a web of lies and self-created fantasies makes it harder for us to be free. It makes it more difficult for us to be cognizant of the realities and context of our lives. But, then again, reality is relative to perception and situation. Who really knows the truth? What about parallel universes where every decision is made, every impulse is acted upon, and every stone is turned? What happens when we persuade ourselves to believe in a disillusioned reality? I don’t know, but that is where the power of persuasion comes into place.

The power of persuasion can also be applied internally since the human mind is easy to trick. By internalizing our thoughts and repeating the same cycles, we reproduce the same result. That same result, unfortunately, is usually confounding and circular. It tends to be uninformed, skewed, biased, and based on irrationality. By persuading yourself of a false reality, you do a great disservice to yourself and your journey. By taking away the ability for someone to weigh in and provide perspective, you’ve strategically chosen to eliminate them from your version of reality, even if only temporarily. And, since the power of persuasion is rather gripping, it can become so emotionally consuming that eventually there is no room for anything else to frame your version of reality, therefore closing you off from a wellspring of opportunity for companionship.

It’s definitely something to think about.

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.” –Walden, by Henry David Thoreau

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