Influence vs Control

I was watching the documentary “Buck” tonight, as I have probably on 100 or more different occasions. I never get tired of this film, and I always find something new to learn every time I watch it.

This time the part of the movie that caught my attention the most is when Buck had a man at his clinic hold the end of a rope, and Buck demonstrates two very opposite ways of developing contact.

The first way would be relative to riders with rough hands. He abruptly pulled in all the slack of the rope with a fast yanking motion, causing the other man to brace after only having the contact formed this way twice. Thereafter, he anticipated the abrupt motion until Buck transformed into a kinder, more effective rider. He then brought on the contact slowly and gently, meeting the same weight of resistance in a much calmer way. The man on the other end of the rope relaxed to the point that they could both feel the motion of the rope with a minute movement, and were utilizing their energy to work in unison with each other.

Any good horseman strives to get their relationship with their horse to the point that they can operate on feel. It is the difference between having to manage your horse throughout the entire ride, never being able to release the contact and ride the flow, versus simply envisioning a change in stride or change in gait, and having the horse follow through underneath you with so much connection and freedom.

What about leadership in society? Are people gaining their power through influence, or control? Do they pull on the rope that is the relationship between them and another person, steering them forcefully, or do they allow their energy to influence people in the right direction? Have we formed an acceptance of management instead of leadership?

This might have answered one of my pending internal questions of “why”. Why am I spending all of my extra time building myself with personal development books and audio tapes? Why was I intentionally flooding my mind with positive thoughts and progressive daily habits?

I knew that these new practices were working and that there was scientifically proven changes in a person’s brain that possesses all these good habits, but what is really the overall goal, and at what point is a leader truly a leader?

Perhaps the horsesĀ have taught me yet another lesson – when your energy is so strong and fine-tuned that you can feel the most subtle change on the rope, that is when a leader’s influence becomes a reality and they are able to shift the world, one influential movement on the rope at a time.