Influence over Power. Love over Fear


Machiavelli once wrote, “It is far safer to be feared than loved if you cannot be both.”

I disagree. If you have to choose, then it's better to be loved than to be feared. Provided, however, that there is a foundation of respect.

If people fear you, then people will do things for you not because they want to, but because they have to. But people do not like living in fear. Fear can easily mutate into resentment, and resentment can easily mutate into anger.

If people love and respect you, however, then they will do things for you because they want to. They will look after you and watch your back, whether or not you ask them to, whether or not you are there.

People who choose to be feared value power. But power has a very negative connotation, especially when power is applied to people. The connotation is that power means control, and people resent being controlled.

It is much better to exert influence over people. Power over people is a combination of fear and respect, but social influence is a combination of love and respect. Those who have power must constantly exert it in order to keep it. Those who have social influence, however, don't have to exert much effort to maintain it.

When you cannot be both, it is better to be loved than to be feared. Influence lasts far longer than power.

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