Emotional Competency

Explore the Logic of Passion

Attaining Belief

You are acting on your own free will, according to your own choices and beliefs. However those beliefs are based on information gained from your experiences, and your experiences include many persuasive external influences. While dominance and stature are explicit forms of power and control, influence is an implicit, yet pervasive, form of power.

While dominance exerts power overtly through fear, and stature exerts power through hope and genuine helping, influence exerts its power tacitly by manipulating our own free will.


  1. Attaining belief.
  2. Modifying the behavior of others by establishing or altering their beliefs.
  3. Imparting information from a particular point of view.
  4. Changing another's point of view.
  5. Shaping opinions and beliefs.
  6. Disguising power.

Related Terms

Persuasion, education, advertisement, manipulation, indoctrination, endorsement, recommendation, and suggestion are all forms of imparting information and influencing beliefs, choices, and behavior.

Influence Alters Behavior

Influence alters behavior through the following chain: Influence is a part of our experience and is our primary source of information accumulated from observation, listening, dialogue, education, advertisement, and many other sources. Information creates or alters our beliefs. Choices are made consistent with our beliefs and our choices are manifest as behavior. Influence is highly leveraged. Notice how a subtle influence can progress through this chain and result in important and consequential actions, often by many people. Influence attains obedience without requiring submission.

Influence originates and accumulates from many sources, including: observation, listening, dialogue, suggestion, recommendation, advice, opinion, education, reading, advertisements, indoctrination, propaganda, censorship, counseling, peer pressure, and habits.

Information Belief Choice Behavior
Hip people drink Pepsi. Pepsi is better than coke Choose Pepsi over coke Buy Pepsi and drink it.
Sophisticated people smoke. Smoking is sophisticated and harmless. Choose to Smoke Smoke Cigarettes
Jesus was born to the virgin Mary, is the son of God, and died on the cross. Jesus died for our sins. Choose Christianity as your religion. Practice Christianity.
Evidence for Global warming is disputed. Global warming is a hoax. Choose horsepower over  environmental protection. Buy and drive an SUV.
Heterosexual relations sustain procreation. Homosexuality is a sinful choice. Choose to disrespect homosexuals. Vote to limit the rights of homosexuals.
Germans have blue eyes and blond hair. The Arian race is superior. Support the Nazi cause. Participate in the Holocaust.

Influence and Free Will

The free will we exercise is actually restricted to the alternatives and choices we are aware of, which are based on the beliefs we hold, which in turn are based on the information we have retained from the variety of experiences we have had. Most of those experiences were influenced by others. So what we may consider free choice is actually constrained and influenced by the information we believe to be true. Even apparently objective information gathering activities such as undirected observation are influential because the environment you are observing represents only a tiny fraction of the world. In any observation session you will be seeing some phenomena and not seeing many others. As a result, your conclusions are inherently based on partial information, and may not accurately represent the larger system. Influence is ubiquitous and unavoidable. However, you can become more independent and make better choices by examining the evidence, consulting a variety of sources, and considering several of points of view. Because Information informs our choices and therefore our actions and the course of our lives, it is important to evaluate information and our beliefs based on our own careful assessment of the evidence after considering a broad range of alternatives and viewpoints. Maintain a healthy skepticism.

Influence and Emotion

Various studies, including those by Robert Zajonc, demonstrate that our emotions are more easily influenced when we are not aware that the influence is occurring. This means we are making choices and we don't know why!


  • “Emotional entrainment is the heart of influence.” ~ Daniel Goleman.


The Anatomy of Power, by John Kenneth Galbraith

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, by Robert B. Cialdini

The Power Principle: Influence with Honor, by Blaine Lee 

Fear, Sadness, Anger, Joy, Surprise, Disgust, Contempt, Anger, Envy, Jealousy, Fright, Anxiety, Guilt, Shame, Relief, Hope, Sadness, Depression, Happiness, Pride, Love, Gratitude, Compassion, Aesthetic Experience, Joy, Distress, Happy-for, Sorry-for, Resentment, Gloating, Pride, Shame, Admiration, Reproach, Love, Hate, Hope, Fear, Satisfaction, Relief, Fears-confirmed, Disappointment, Gratification, Gratitude, Anger, Remorse, power, dominance, stature, relationships

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