Forces Of Influence: Habits, Mindset, Behaviors

In the ancient literature: Yogic, Jain, Buddhist and Vedic philosophers have described 8 forces that influence our habits, mindset and behaviors. We are either carried away by attraction towards these forces or get lost through fear or aversion towards some of these.

It is important to be aware of these influences, so we can have better control on ourselves and make positive contributions to our society. These forces of influence, written in the literature in circa 3000BC are: pleasure and pain, praise and blame, fame and disrepute, gain and loss

In addition to these forces there are other factors that can also influence our lives. Some of these are the company we keep, natural factors like weather; financial and economic factors… etc.

What are other forces or factors that influence us and we should be aware?

Share your thoughts, so we all can benefit from each other’s experiences. Click on Comments

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53 thoughts on “Forces Of Influence: Habits, Mindset, Behaviors

    • Thanks… we can also term these as Bondages. Good Suggestion ! 8 Forces pleasure and pain, praise and blame, fame and disrepute, gain and loss might be the reason for these bondages… don’t you think ?

      • i think its the other way round… that because of these bondages we tend to feel the pleasure and the pain and other forces… these bondages accelerate the pace od these forces

  1. In yoga terms, recognizing the eight limbs of the Yoga Sutras and understanding that practice brings you balance, balance leads to a more fulfilling life, and the more people live to the fullest – the greater society becomes as a whole.

    And this can be recognized in every way of life, religious or spiritual or neither. It is about becoming aware of one’s self.

  2. i think, those eight forces is about knowing who you really are. that’s most important in life. other forces is about forces out of our controls that we need to worry about if we don’t know who we are first.

  3. i think i struggle most with the praise/blame. I tend to avoid places, happenings when i might be blamed for something or when i expect to be reprimanded for not doing something on time etc. But, I think the most important thing is to do these things anyhow, at least I’ve noticed that that way the fear loosens its grip and I can move forward again. meet it head on and it looses its power 🙂

    • I totally understand that, I think I had that problem for such a long time. It took me a good while to move passed it.I know now as an adult that while I was growing up I had too much responsiblity for my age and of course I was blamed when things did not go well,but when I got older I realized it was not my job in the first place and got over it and moved on.

    • I’m the same. However I think it has to be a healthy balanced environment in which you receive the same amount of praise as you do of blame. Unfortunately, I believe I’ve been surrounded by people who only like to blame for too long. The good deeds kinda went unnoticed 🙂

  4. Hmm,I have to say that my biggest attachment downfall has been that I had an idea in my head of how life should be and I thought I could actually make it so and had become attached to this completley and when I came to realize that this could never be I was suffering and shattered because I clinged to an idea that was immposible to achieve once I fully understood myself and my sourounding.I suppose you could say denile of myself and my souroundings was a root cause for my pain. Now I’m comeing to grips with what is first and then I could consider my expectations and how to proceed from there.

  5. Acceptance and rejection. Desire of acceptance by others leads to a false sense of self and obstructs the nourishment of one’s roots; avoidance of rejection prevents the expression of one’s true self, and leads to the suffering of constraint.

  6. I think our thougths are most influencial since through them we shape reality. Reality comes after thought. An idea comes, then action, then invention, then reality. In the same way, the real world that we have created as a collective (or individual) end up shaping/influencing our thoughts – it is a cycle that we can control.

  7. Great post. The idea of two opposing forces can be an excellent motivator for personal development if the individual is aware of how they behave when exposed to one of the two elements. Do you shy away when given praise? Do you become defensive when faced with blame?

  8. I think that what our parents say to us has a lot of influence on us. Sometimes, if what they say is negative, we act like it doesn’t bother us but it does. The trick is to give yourself many positive messages to override the negative ones. We must get into the habit of being kind to ourselves because only we have the power to change our inner voice from negative to positive.

  9. I wanted to think about this post for a little bit before commenting…

    I think these forces of influence are spawned from desire (craving)…there’s a lot I want to say and there are shades of gray, but I’ll try to keep this comment short…

    1. pleasure and pain – the desire to feel happiness or feel good, which is often confused with pleasure, mindless self-indulgence, etc.; pain that’s physical or mental indicates that there’s something wrong, but we desire not to feel it, so we confuse the moments of pleasure for happiness and then we hurt ourselves by seeking out those experiences again (overeating, drug addiction, overspending, greed for money and it never seems to be enough for people who are very wealthy, etc.)

    2. praise and blame – desire for recognition of one’s efforts, for one’s worth, acceptance, validation, etc. and praise is often external, because many people suffer from being incapable of praising themselves, and if they do, they can’t control it, so they suffer and remain stagnant and never really improve or progress; influenced by blame we desire to not want to find fault within ourselves, sometimes we can’t accept that we are flawed. or we take too much fault and harm ourselves by being too hard on ourselves. this can lead to a life lost in regret and hopelessness.

    3. fame and disrepute – desire for recognition by many, letting pride overrun their lives and using power for the wrong purposes, and trying to feel a sense of value for who they are by looking for others, to have proof of one’s talents, one’s abilities, one of the reasons why people go into entertainment, or do ridiculous things for 15 minutes of fame; disrepute from the desire to have a perfect image, and to never experience any kind of damage of one’s reputation, the desire to prevent disrepute, avoid judgment for example, depends on the idea that once a person loses credibility they will no longer be heard, or they will forever live out their days in criticism and be treated as inferior.

    4. gain and loss – the desire for obtaining something, people hang on to the idea of wealth, fame, love, material possessions, etc. because they find gratification from the pleasures (desire) of these things; they become harmed through loss because of the desire for holding on to something whatever it is, and the suffering becomes great because of the importance we place on these things.

    I think that desire creates these influences in a way that makes life unmanageable, and you are right to say that we need to control it. Because it is the desire for improvement, for something better, that is healthy in reasonable doses. which makes us want to improve ourselves and help other progress.

    I believe that a lot of what we see in the world, spawned from uncontrolled desire, creates jealousy, anger, and greed.

    • Thanks Viola for your comments and clarity with which you explain your point. Desires arise from what we don’t have and aspire for more. You rightly said uncontrolled desire, but some times controlled by others. It is through knowledge that we can learn to be contend with what we have and make most of it. Jealously, anger and greed never solve any problem rather compound them even more. Thanks again

  10. through material attachment or bondage, we trap ourselves, through sense enjoyment we increase the material attachment, unless we turn away and become a mahatma.
    thank you for making me think 🙂

  11. Thanks for your thought provoking post of great importance, A few thoughts. Whilst it is important to be detached from the need for praise I do consider praise a very important action in particular to encourage those who have been devalued in the past. Whilst it is important to learn detachment from gain, to enable OTHERS to gain can also be of great benefit, particularly those who have been disadvantaged, But gain itself has many faces = some beneficial, some potentially destructive. Overall the danger of the way of detachment is just that = It becomes another necessity to which one can become, ironicaly, attached! I feel passionately that passion and engagement are potentially of great benefit. social action is imperative and many ancient philosophies became trapped by detachment. I aspire to social action and the forgiveness of genuine Christianity as well as taking the many lessons from other religions and philosophies for the benefit of the individual and of our society = world. I welcome discussion and if you would like to answer will consider posting all this as it would be an interesting dialogue on my site johndwmacdonald.com By the way thank you for your visit and interest.

    • “We all have the duty to serve God where we are called to do so. I feel called to serve individuals, to love each human being. My calling is not to judge the institutions. I am not qualified to condemn anyone. I never think in terms of a crowd, but of individual persons.

      If I thought in terms of crowds, I would never begin my work.

      I believe in the personal touch of one to one.

      If others are convinced that God wants them to change social structures, that is a matter for them to take up with God.”

      ~Mother Theresa

  12. Living in the U.S with open eyes is a daily lesson in all of these. I’m sure the same could be said of almost anywhere, though I would hazard to say that my country is very lost spiritually. We have completely twisted around what pleasure is and how it should be perceived, to the point of creating a culture of schadenfreude; people are attacked for their mistakes (blame), which renders many unable to admit and move on from things we have done wrong; our methods of fame are horrendous and more like disrepute than anything (like watching the train wreck of a starlette’s life, bringing us right back to that culture of Schadenfreude); and the ideas of gain and loss center almost solely around the material. It reminds me of how Mother Theresa said that, while her work in India was difficult, it could not compare to what needs to be done in the West as the poverty in the West is one of Spirit. I’m paraphrasing here, but I hope the point is coming through.

    Thank you for a very thought-provoking post!

  13. Beautifully summarized! It is all about balance. My personal two pennies: We come into this material world to learn by experiencing. If you never experience pain, you have lost out on a life lesson; ditto, pleasure, and most of the others. Most people don’t really need to experience disrepute though! (Fame/disrepute can be summarized as “peer pressure” or “status”.)

  14. Another factor is our emotions. We’ve heard many people make the comment, “I’m an emotional being.” We believe that emotions is not a state of being but, a choice. You choose to be happy or sad; your perspective about a situation can affect the outcome.

    • I don’t think that emotions are a choice. I think they are a gift from God. I believe it’s important to recognize our role in cultivating our emotional state. I think it’s important to recognize the power of emotions and take responsibility for your actions in response to those emotions. When I began to come to emotional maturity, I realized that I can take control of my emotions, that I don’t have to allow them to control me. When I started learning the importance of healthy emotional expression, they, as a whole, became less scary and more manageable!
      Perspective has a lot to do with our emotions. When receive insight into someone’s situation, it can dramatically change how we feel about them. It’s important to be mindful of our thoughts. I don’t believe that we create our own reality with our thoughts, I do believe that we attract, in general, positivity or negativity. In other words, what we focus on, we get more of.
      I also think that optimism is a perspective that is widely misunderstood. My experience is that, as an optimist, I am proficient at spotting the silver lining to every cloud. No matter how bad any situation appears to be, there is always something good that will come out of it, thanks to the loving kindness and grace of our heavenly Father though His son Jesus!

  15. I think that one concept that is taught by all traditions and is one of the most important disciplines to exercise is mindfulness. Pain is a sign that we must not ignore as it sometimes means something is wrong. In all reality, painful things can be very beneficial…no pain, no gain. We can grow and learn things when we submit to the pain and not avoid it. There is nothing wrong with pleasure in and of itself, but life is not all about seeking it. There is a balance that must be struck that can only be obtained by mindfulness.
    In the same way, It is more important that we give praise than receive it, but we all could use a little boost in confidence that comes from a “job well done!” Too we must take responsibility for those things for which we are to blame. We should not, however, take all the blame unless it is truly ours to take.
    I think fame is overrated and I don’t think anyone truly desires disrepute. I think a sign of a grounded person that is comfortable with who they are is the presence of contentment. We seek not to please others or to be inconsiderate to their feelings, but rather to help when we can and pray in all things.
    I see how most people are driven by gain (or avoidance of loss,) but when you seek peace and joy in the wrong places, you will never find it. These things only come about as a result of seeking a relationship with the author and finisher of our faith, the one who died for us, the one who made us just for a relationship with Him, who gives us the privilege and honor of worshipping and serving Him in this life and the next!!

    • Michelle,
      I was interested in your take on pain. I feel pain at an unusually high level somaticly which makes is difficult to express grief or anger or sadness or happiness or fear normally. I have a blood condition and I consider myself evolved/ devolved into a hybrid emotional neutrality.

  16. I’ve found that keeping an ongoing awareness of these 8 worldly forces in mind is helpful in increasing understanding of my own reactions and leading toward more steadiness and balance…but difficult too!

  17. My experience is that when I focus on my self — to improve my self-awareness — the worse I feel. Guilt of what you are not doing — or currently doing — becomes an overriding force. For this reason, I focus outside of my self and onto a stabilizing force which is far stronger than i. I refer to it as the Holy Spirit — or what the Bible says the mystery of Christ in me. I don’t mean to be preachy, just answering a thought-provoking question.

  18. Many of us live by the script handed down from generation to generation, which is ‘be directed by forces’. In the last twenty years I have had to step on and over this dictum and do the task in front of me. What I understand the most is that we let shame, guilt and other forces become law without even giving it a second thought. I would not have two manuscripts accepted by a traditional publisher if this was permitted.

    You really connected with me through this post. I was just talking with my wife last night of the same matter.

    David

    • Great point David, I believe it’s all around Pain and Pleasure… If we feel more plain than pleasure to doing something, we will simply not do it. The secret is to research enough so that the pain (fear) factor, this research also means coming to terms with the (big elephant) past ridicules and conditioning 🙂

  19. Everything ultimately comes down to two things – Love and Fear, and though there are other emotions/ attractions they to can be broken down to these. You need to experience the cold to enjoy the warmth, to know sadness to realise when you’re happy. Thats why we have many lives to get through all the experiences we need to i guess!!

  20. I believe we have to add love as a force that can dictate what we do in our lives. It is simply the one emotion that will make humans blind to all things happening around us. To the point that we make decisions we know can be detrimental to ours souls and health but continue with the relationship, no matter how harmful. And it is simply the one emotion that we often find difficult to overcome because of the passion it evokes in our lives.

  21. Great blog, please write some more on this. I am fascinated on this subject as (being a coach) I look into these habitual mindsets on a daily basis. May I ask, isn’t it all surrounded by identifying with the ego?

    • Thanks for your interest and comment. In my opinion ego is the result of a combination of the influences. Thinking that status, wealth, or health can go on for ever… or fear of loosing something make us behave in a particular way that is termed as bad by others. Ego is a very broad term… some ego can be good. like be proud of your country or take pride in the quality of your work. But if it goes to your head and you start disrespecting others because of that it could be bad.

      • I thank you for your input, although respectfully, to some point must beg to differ, I believe ego is a sense of false prestige which makes us think something is ‘mine’ which is a sense of conditioning itself, i.e my country means I am attached to this land, which therefore starts a chain reaction of identifying with ones body, therefore causes a divide between ‘my country’ and other ‘countries’ hence ‘mine’ and ‘yours’ either one party becomes more egoistic than the other and wants to rule all, therefore war starts and there is no peace.

        I believe in order to have World Peace, this sense of identifying with ones own conditioning must be stopped. I hope you understand where I am coming from.
        Respectfully, Mani

      • That’s superb, I’ve never come across swabhiman as ego before, as it does indeed mean ‘self-respect’ and Abhiman meaning self-indulgence 😉 back in the monastery we’d speak of ego as ‘Ahaṃkāra (अहंकार)’ 🙂

  22. I think these factors are not only totally relevant to a person’s well being- they are a systematic, yet personalized gauge of overall personal volitility without reference to lesser systems of thought. Quite iinteresting!

  23. I believe that other forces of influence are: words. It matters what “negative” words you are using, to talk with yourself and to express yourself. And it matters even more, what “positive” words you are “not” using in talking with yourself and also your are “not” saying them to other people.

  24. I suppose we’ve been trying to adapt our relatively unchanging fears and desires to our ever-changing reality since our species appeared on the scene. But we’re still not as good at it as a more unselfish species might be…but an unanswered question here has to be: Would that less selfish species, survive? Of course, we’ve not proven that we will survive as is, at this point…

    • You are right… perhaps the answer lies in the individual as to whether we strive to be man or beast.. whether we choose to strive higher or to live in simple egocentricity.

  25. I agree with you but the problem is we often want to contribute to society when we are ourselves not prepared…thanks for the post.

  26. God is the single most important force of influence in my life. Love is a very strong force that influences our behavior. If a child is threatened, the force of love might cause us to act against the one who threatened her. Good article.

  27. Wonderful post, thank you! When we find balance between the forces our lives become peaceful, tranquil, loving. Unfortunately we spend most of our lives seeking the opposite to pain, blame, disrepute, and loss… which leaves us seeking pleasure, praise, fame and gain. When we don’t ‘achieve’ these things we think we are not good enough (again the cycle of pain, blame, disrepute and loss all over again). We continue in this cycle throughout most of our lives because we are taught it’s good to achieve etc. The key is not seeking pleasure or pain but rather peace – the middle ground between each of those forces.

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