Whether we like it or not, we all allow things to influence us. Even though we think we control our lives, we often make decisions and perform actions due to other influences.

Being influenced is not necessarily a bad thing. It certainly can be, but that is why it is essential to uncover the influences in our lives and determine if they are helpful or harmful. Of course, we can’t decide whether they are useful unless we know who we are and where we are going.

Sometimes, influence is part of life and unavoidable, such as hitting traffic on the way to work. We cannot remove natural influences in our lives and must instead learn to adapt and respond accordingly.

Other influences, however, we can remove or ignore. Social media is a prime example. Be honest with yourself. Who hasn’t used social media as a distraction to kill time at one point or another instead of using that time more productively?

If we understand the influences in our lives and how they relate to who we are and where we are going, we can respond more appropriately to those influences. Sometimes, that means cutting those influences out of our lives. Other times that means approaching the influence in a more productive way.

Removing an influence isn’t always the right thing, but sometimes it’s necessary. Let’s stick with social media as an example but from a different aspect. Sometimes, what other people say through social media can stir up negative emotions. Just because someone posts something we dislike or disagree with doesn’t mean we have to get angry.

If we can approach the post with the sense that it is okay for opposing opinions to exist and, instead of getting upset, re-focus that energy on what we can learn from the opposing view, we shift the negative influence of social media to a beneficial one.

However, if we cannot control our emotions, then it might be better to separate ourselves from social media until we grow and reach a point that we can handle it. That doesn’t mean removing everyone who disagrees with you until all you have left are viewpoints that match your way of thinking. That is not beneficial either.

If you disagree with that last statement, call me. I guarantee our services will be of significant value to you.

The point is, evaluate the influences in your life. And then determine if those influences are helpful or harmful.

So, who or what is influencing you?