What’s Your Superpower to Change the World?

I’ve been a guest on more than 100 podcast episodes over the last few years. I enjoy podcasts for several reasons. First, they are a great opportunity to reach new audiences around the world. Second, the conversations give me a chance to work on my speaking skills and messaging. Last but not least, I’ve met many wonderful podcast hosts. As the world slowly reopens, I hope to meet as many of them as possible during my travels. 

Having been on so many shows, it’s pretty rare when I’m asked a question I’ve not heard before. That wasn’t the case when Jason Cooper invited me on The Global Sales Leader Podcast earlier this year. Jason hails from Dublin, Ireland, so I hope to share a pint of Guinness or some Irish Whiskey with him someday. You can watch the episode on YouTube. 

Jason asked me a question I’d not encountered on any other show, and I thought it would be worth sharing with you. He asked, “If you had a magic pill to become a superhero, or had a magic power for 10 minutes, what would you use it for and how would you use it.”

After a long pause I replied, “I want to have a platform where the entire world can hear me. I want an opportunity to share something that might impact millions, or perhaps billions of people’s thinking for just a moment to get them to act more decently and civilly towards each other.”

I told Jason, “There was a meme on the internet a while ago that was attributed to the rapper Eminem. It said, ‘I don’t care if you’re black or white, male or female, gay or straight, if you treat me with respect, I’ll treat you with respect.’ People online applauded it, some saying that was their religion.”

Then I went on, “If you stop and think about it, what he’s saying is, I’m waiting for you to treat me with respect, and when you do, then I’ll treat you with respect. In other words, he’s turned away waiting and the other person is turned away, waiting.”

“I think the right approach is, ‘I don’t care if you’re black or white, male or female, gay or straight, I will treat you with respect, and I hope you’ll treat me with respect in return.’ In other words, I’m going to extend the very thing I want from you, and I hope you’re generous and reciprocate by giving it to me.”

I concluded, “When I tell people this they look as if the wheels are turning in their minds, as if they’re thinking, ‘You’re right that’s what makes sense. I should be extending forgiveness, kindness, respect, and grace. I need to extend those, and most people will reciprocate. That will get the ball rolling.’”

My approach isn’t new. Jesus encouraged us to be the first to give (the Golden Rule) and to treat people as we’d want to be treated. Gandhi told his followers to be the change they wanted to see in the world. Although what I shared isn’t new, I’ve come to see that it’s often the case that people can use different words to say the same thing. Sometimes the slightly different approach is what makes the lightbulb come on for people. I hope this sheds some new light on an old subject for you. Extend kindness, generosity, caring, and other good qualities and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how they come back around to you.  

Brian Ahearn is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE, LLC. An author, TEDx speaker, international trainer, coach, and consultant, he’s one of only 20 people in the world personally trained by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the science of ethical influence.

Brian’s first book, Influence PEOPLE: Powerful Everyday Opportunities to Persuade that are Lasting and Ethical, was named one of the 100 Best Influence Books of All Time by BookAuthority. His second book, Persuasive Selling for Relationship Driven Insurance Agents, was an Amazon new release bestseller in several categories. 

Brian’s LinkedIn Learning courses on persuasive selling and coaching have been viewed by more than 385,000 people around the world.

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  1. […] I’d written nearly a decade ago. The beautiful thing is that it ties in with last week’s post, What’s Your Superpower to Change the World? Coldplay’s opening lyrics that jarred me […]

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