We underestimate the impact of our presence on others because we feel invisible.Vanessa Bohns
This quote is from You have more influence than you think: How we underestimate our power of persuasion, and why by Vanessa Bohns. Her book explains how we are unaware of our influence on others. She illustrates how our awareness of our influence depends on how we are feeling in the moment.
Mainly, if you’re feeling invisible, it’s easy to forget that the same fear of embarrassment that leads you to avoid saying “no” to someone also compels others to avoid saying no to you.
And, if you’re feeling insecure about something, it’s understandable that you might exaggerate how people see you. Here’s another quote from her book:
When we’re feeling particularly self-conscious about something, we’re so focused on it that we assume everyone else must be as well. We feel like we are in the spotlight and everyone is looking at our most embarrassing feature. But they aren’t. No one else is as focused on the things we’re insecure about as we are.
Moreover, when you are actually in a position of power, it’s easy to take our power for granted. And, this is especially the case when it comes to small things:
We sometimes make careless, throwaway remarks because we underestimate the impact our words can have, mistakenly assuming other people will simply brush off our insensitive or inappropriate comments. And when we find ourselves in positions of power, we often fail to recognize how our innocent, half-serious suggestions can feel like commands to people with less power.
You can recount a comment an older relative made that they can’t even remember now. Yet, it still haunts you to this day. Yet, without realizing it, you as an older relative probably said something to a family member that is unforgettable, too.
I’ve been working on this purse-stitch scarf for a while. I had to learn how to knit it right. This is one of many different stitches I’ve been trying out over the past few years. I’ve been testing out stitches that allow a narrow piece of knitting (e.g. a scarf) lay flat and not roll.
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