Misusing My Influence

“I remember you was conflicted, misusing your influence…”

Kendrick says this through the course of his To Pimp A Butterfly Album. It turns out to be a prerequisite to a Kendrick – Tupac interview. I often ponder about the extents to which I am positively influential to strangers, peers and my siblings. Being the first child, I have always felt a burden of responsibility for their behaviours, whether good or bad? – Am I academically productive enough? how virtuous is my moral compass?. This is especially worse because of my unreasonable presumption that my actions or lack thereof, will inevitably affect them.

I think I am noble enough to be an upstanding older brother, but when I think of my failures, I immediately feel like I might have disappointed or demotivated them, and it scares the serenity in me, and pursues it into a swine of grumpy pigs.

But I remember how much I admire them, and that I am incredibly proud to be their older brother. I have hardly met two people more likeable, more vast in their pursuit of knowledge, with good heads on their shoulders. But as they grow older, the temptations and negations of life mock me, reminding me that no one is spared from life’s ugly advances. So, I pray and forcefully hope that they negate the snares, and rise whenever they fall.

Being a default people-pleaser, an attribute which is both self-serving and self-denying, I make an effort not to step on toes. But life is teaching me that stepping on the occasional toe, so that one can look down to see that an issue needs attention, is part of the gig. That in the course of influence, no matter how small, wisdom is the principal card in the deck.

I hope that despite my inner battles and outer conflicts, my brothers can always say “He tried, he was good to/for us, he did not misuse his influence.”


Do you ever feel like your actions or lack thereof, will have the butterfly effect? Whether we agree or not, we are all influential – positively or negatively – to someone or a number of people. 


8 thoughts on “Misusing My Influence

  1. As a fellow default people pleaser- sometimes you need to learn to take a step back.
    But I do, and I’m sure they do admire your determination to be a worthy example.

  2. Sometimes influence you didn’t seek finds you and you have to be responsible. Other times you seek influence and forget the weight of responsibility that goes with it! I’ve seen the butterfly effect in motion, and when it’s negative, many people cry.

    There’s grace to be our very best and to pick us when we fall. I think you’re a good example to your siblings because you are thinking about these things, because you care … 🙂

    1. Ah, on seeking influence and forgetting the weight of responsibility, the tired old saying: “do your best and leave the rest” comes to mind. Maybe as long as we do our bit, then the rest is up to chance and it’s friends.

      And even when we falter, there is indeed grace, like you said. If there is life, then redemption is possible.

      Thank you Timi 🙂

  3. Was thinking about this this morning. I’m in your exact position and you articulated our situation well. The position of first born son comes with it blessings which I love but I sometimes feel like the weight that comes with the position will crush me. In the end Grace finds us and helps us shoulder the weight.

  4. ” I make an effort not to step on toes. But life is teaching me that stepping on the occasional toe, so that one can look down to see that an issue needs attention, is part of the gig. ”

    Well isn’t this spot on?

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