“You can grow up with literally nothing and you don’t suffer if you know you’re loved and valued.” — Esperanza Spalding, The New Yorker, 3/15/10

In WebsiteMagazine.com’s May 2010 issue, Tim Ash writes about “creating influence and trust in a place of uncertainty.” If I were to listen to my father, a seasoned, successful¬†businessman who never gets ruffled by the wild actions of others, I would say that such a goal is not even possible.

I can hear his voice as I type: “Lynnie, in business, you have no friends.”

Sounds harsh, I know, but I think he may be entirely right.

Last night, as I drove along the darkened road with my friend Roz beside me, after a riveting talk by Vedanta scholar Gautam Jain, we talked about how relationships are about duty Рand pondered the purpose of friendships. We came up blank.

They may be enjoyable, they may enhance our lives, they may offer support and wisdom and community. But seriously – what is the role of friendship?

If our goal in the world is to find internal peace by renouncing ego and minimizing (or eliminating) attachments, then what is the role of friendship?

And then tell me, please, what the role of “FRIENDSHIP” is in business? Isn’t that an oxymoron?

Dr. Robert Cialdini’s principles of universal persuasion:

1. Reciprocation: People return favors. Give to get. (I agree with the idea of having an attitude of GIVING – but not for the purpose of receiving.)

2. Scarcity: If I can’t have it, I want it. Perceived scarcity creates demand.

3. Authority: People tend to believe and obey “authority” figures. Create an “expert” persona.

4. Consensus: People look for “social proof” (i.e. follow the crowd).

5. Liking: People are easily persuaded by people they like and are attracted to.

There’s a sixth one, consistency, but I didn’t find a compelling example or argument to convince me to share it here. Sure, we want a consistency in our lives, but of what? And how does that apply to creating influence and trust?

So the argument in Ash’s article is that these principles are super-important on the Internet, which he describes as “a sweeping, ever-changing communications network that creates uncertainty in its wake.”

But I have to ask – doesn’t that definition describe the entire world? If we fool ourselves into believing that the world stays routine, that nothing changes, then our perceptions are flawed. The world is ever changing, ever moving, and it is simply our inability to flow with constant change that holds us back.

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