How to Be Successful & Influence Others | Motivational Podcasts

Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast, brought to you in part by Book of Zen, makers of wearable inspiration and gift ideas. Visit them online at Bookofzen.com. Today’s podcast has been edited and adapted from “The Majesty of Calmness” by William George Jordan, published in 1900.

The only responsibility that we cannot evade in this life is the one we think of least — our personal influence. Our conscious influence, when posing to impress those around us, is woefully small. But our UNconscious influence, the silent, subtle radiation of our personality, the effect of our words and acts, the trifles we never consider — is tremendous.

In every moment of life, we are changing to a degree the life of the whole world. Every person has an atmosphere which is affecting every other. So silent and unconsciously is this influence working, that we may forget that it exists. All the forces of Nature — heat, light, electricity, and gravitation — are silent and invisible. We never see them; we only know that they exist by seeing the effects they produce.

In all Nature, the wonders of the “seen” are dwarfed into insignificance, when compared with the majesty and glory of the “unseen”. In a thousand ways, Nature constantly seeks to lead us to a keener and deeper realization of the power and the wonder of the invisible. Into the hands of every individual is given a marvelous power for good or for evil — the silent, unconscious, unseen influence of our lives.

This is simply the constant radiation of what we really are, not what we pretend to be. Every individual, by their mere living, is radiating sympathy, or sorrow, or morbidness, or cynicism, or happiness, or hope, or any of a hundred other qualities.

Life is a state of constant radiation and absorption; to exist is to radiate; to exist is to be the recipient of radiations. There are men and women whose presence seems to radiate sunshine, cheer, and optimism. You feel calmed and rested and restored to a new and stronger faith in humanity.

There are others who focus in an instant all your latent distrust, morbidness, and rebellion against life. Without knowing why, you chafe and fret in their presence. You lose your bearings on life and its problems. Your moral compass is disturbed and unsatisfactory. It is made untrue in an instant, as the magnetic needle of a ship is deflected when it passes near great mountains of iron ore.

There are people who float down the stream of life like icebergs — cold, reserved, unapproachable, and self-contained. In their presence, you involuntarily draw your wraps closer around you, as you wonder who left the door open. These refrigerated human beings have a most depressing influence on all those who fall under the spell of their radiated chilliness.

But there are other natures (warm, helpful, genial) who are like the Gulf Stream, following their own course, flowing undaunted and undismayed in the ocean of colder waters. Their presence brings warmth and life and the glow of sunshine — the joyous, stimulating breath of spring.

There are some people who are like malarious swamps — who poison, depress, and weaken others by their very presence. They make heavy, oppressive, and gloomy the atmosphere of their own homes; the sound of the children’s play is stilled, the ripples of laughter are frozen by their presence. They go through life as if each day were a new big funeral, and they were always the chief mourners.

And yet there are others who seem like the ocean; they are constantly bracing, stimulating, giving new draughts of life and strength by their very presence.

We thus cannot escape for one moment from the radiation of our character, this constantly weakening or strengthening of others. We cannot evade the responsibility by saying it is an unconscious influence. But we can select the qualities that we will permit to be radiated. We can cultivate sweetness, calmness, trust, generosity, truth, justice, loyalty, nobility — make them vitally active in our character — and by these qualities we will constantly affect the world.

READ THE ENTIRE ESSAY IN EVEREST: 50 MOTIVATIONAL LIFE LESSONS