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Friday, March 28, 2014

Once, Twice, Three With Charisma

If you've ever spent a fair amount of time around a person you would describe as charismatic, what effect did that exposure have on you?

The few times I've been near people like this have elicited disparate reactions in me. Although I don't normally consider myself overly suggestible, in my first instance of day-to-day interaction with a powerfully dynamic individual, the influence on my work behavior and overall demeanor was very noticeable. More than once my susceptibility to being so influenced by someone prompted me to muse on the spell cast by famously charismatic people like Hitler. Had I lived in Germany during the Third Reich would his evil charisma have ensnared me? Impossible to know, but my own reaction to the spell of a decent but powerful and intense person that I did know gave me pause at the time.

More recently, my contact with an equally dynamic individual has been more encouraging. Around this powerful person, I feel motivated and energized instead of suggestible. This time, charisma has brought out a better side of me, inspired instead of influenced. If my first brush with undeniable charisma had occurred when I was very young, it would be fair to call my more measured recent response a kind of wisdom. Unfortunately, that earlier brush was not that long ago. So for now, I'm going to hold back on patting myself on the back until I see how it goes the next time charisma comes knocking.  

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