Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The simplicity of influence



Why do we assume we have to be clever in order to be influential? We often talk as though the smartest people are the most likely to get what they want, as if influencing others were a puzzle that only the best minds could solve.

Watch out world. The creature who most often bends me to her will is not clever. She may have untold intelligence, of course. Since she does not share a language with me, it will remain untold. But there is little evidence that she could solve even a simple puzzle. Like how to find the treat under the towel.

My dog is wonderfullly influential. Her influence is not in her brains. As tempting as it is to say it's in her heart, many would object to attributing human emotions to a dog (probably the people who have never been owned by a dog). The key to her influence is focus. Although she might not be smart, she is focused.

When I walk in the door, nothing is more important than having me rub her tummy. When someone else walks in, nothing is more important than making enough noise to scare them away. When there's food on the table, nothing else exists for my dog. She always knows exactly what she wants. And when she doesn't, she goes to sleep.

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