We’re All Marginalized and Marginalizers

In a world that often feels increasingly fragmented, I’ve been thinking about a simple, yet profound truth: we’re all marginalized, albeit in vastly different ways and to varying degrees. Every day, our news feeds are inundated with stories of division and the targeting of various communities and individuals. Aside from the blatant conscious choices, a subtle form of marginalization persists through our unconscious biases – those preconceptions we’re not even aware we hold until a light is held up to them.

Learning from Reflection

Consider a moment from my own life. I once told my daughter, Abigail, that she was “throwing like a girl,” to which she immediately replied, “That’s because I am a girl!” This exchange was a wake-up call for me, highlighting how easily we can unintentionally diminish others, even with seemingly innocent comments.

My journey through life – as a white, older male, and Christian – has not been without the sting of prejudice directed towards me, either. It’s a complex reality, one that my sister once unwittingly touched upon, lamenting the dominance of “old, white males” in leadership roles. While her critique wasn’t directed at me, it caused me to reflect on how we all, regardless of our background, crave respect and understanding.

The Principle of Reciprocity

This reflection leads me to one of my teachings on influence: the principle of reciprocity. I often encourage people to “Give what you expect.” If it’s kindness, empathy, or respect you seek, then let those virtues be the first you extend to others. While not everyone will respond in kind, the principle of reciprocity assures us that many will mirror the behavior they’re shown first.

Gandhi’s timeless advice, “Be the change you want to see in the world,” has never felt more relevant. It’s a call to action for each of us to become architects of the world we wish to inhabit. This isn’t to say that we can simply wish away the hatred, violence, or bias that seems so prevalent right now. Instead, it’s a recognition that while we can’t control others, we have immense power over the energy we bring into our interactions.

Choosing a New Perspective

A shift in perspective can be transformative. Imagine if, instead of scanning our environments for grievances, we sought out the goodness in those around us. A choice like that has the potential to not only uncover unexpected joy but to fundamentally alter our experiences and interactions for the better.

In a world often dominated by what divides us, it’s crucial to remember the impact of our actions and words. Calling out injustice is necessary, but so is doing so in a manner that fosters understanding and growth, much like my daughter Abigail taught me.

Change is a journey, one that involves cultivating love, kindness, and respect. It’s a path that offers endless room for growth, should we choose to embark on it. As we navigate the complexities of our world at this moment in time, let’s remember the power of our choices and the impact they have not just on our lives, but on humanity. Here’s to choosing kindness, embracing empathy, and fostering a community where every individual feels valued and respected. Together, we can be the change.

Edited by ChatGPT


Brian Ahearn

Brian Ahearn is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE and a faculty member at the Cialdini Institute. An author, TEDx presenter, international speaker, coach, and consultant, Brian helps clients apply influence in everyday situations to boost results.

As one of only a dozen Cialdini Method Certified Trainers in the world, Brian was personally trained and endorsed by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the science of ethical influence.

Brian’s first book, Influence PEOPLE, was named one of the 100 Best Influence Books of All Time by Book Authority. Persuasive Selling for Relationship Driven Insurance Agents was an Amazon new release bestseller. His latest book, The Influencer, is a business parable designed to teach you how to use influence in everyday situations.

Brian’s LinkedIn courses on persuasive selling and coaching have been viewed by over 700,000 people around the world and his TEDx Talk on pre-suasion has more than a million views!

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