The 9th law of leadership according to John Maxwell is the law of magnetism, which states, “Who you are is who you attract.”

There are certainly aspects of who we are that we cannot influence and which have a significant impact on the kinds of people we feel drawn to and who are drawn to us – age, gender and background particularly come to mind. Being a middle class 40 something (only just!) British Asian male of Indian origin, then I find myself drawn to relating best to that kind of person.  But in addition to that is the importance of the kind of attitude I have.

We touched on this in the post on principles governing attitude Part 2.

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The story is told of a man travelling let’s say from City A to City B. On the way he meets someone called ‘a wise man’ who is coming from City B. He asks the wise man, what are the people in City B like.

The wise man replies, by asking him what were the people in City A like? The traveller replies those in City A are nasty, mean, cruel and vindictive. The wise man replies, then that is what the people in City B will be like. A little while later the wise man meets someone travelling from City B to City A. He is asked the same question, but this time it is about City A- what are the people in City A like? He asks this second traveller what are the people in City B like. This traveller replies that those in City B are kind, compassionate and honest. So the wise man replies that is how the traveller will find the people in City A!

One of the surprising generalities in human relationships is how other people can be like mirrors. That means they will reflect the attitude of others to them. The key is that you must initiate the attitude you want in return. I attend a large church with my family (All Souls, Langham Place in London). I’ve noticed how on a number of occasions my state of mind affects the quality of my conversations with those who are there during the coffee time after the service. Generally speaking (and this is speaking in general terms) when I am positive and upbeat, everyone else seems to be as well and when I am feeling less motivated and inward looking so does every else seem to be as well.This mirroring of our state of mind from others is vital to learn if we are going to develop satisfying and mutually fulfilling relationships.

However, if I am seeking to inspire and lead others then the law of magnetism takes this all to another level. John Maxwell says that the 3 qualities he looks for in others is initiative, integrity and a general cheerfulness. That in turn begs the question, if that (or for that matter any other qualities I look for in others) do I have those very qualities myself not in some small measure, but in abundance? The more I am the kind of person I am looking for then the more such people will appear in my life – or, perhaps more accurately, I am more likely to notice them.

It is important to emphasise that this does not mean we should all be alike, but I want to attract people around me who while having similar values, are able to think different thoughts.

The so called St. Francis of Assisi prayer (that according to Wikipedia only dates back to 1912) gives a powerful framework for the kind of person to become:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned; 
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Such a person is able to attract a higher way of living that is able to transcend the negativity and cynicism of much of modern life. They are able to live in a state of Wonder Filled Bold Humility (see posts on this part 1, part 2  and part 3).

How have you seen the law of magnetism work in your own life?

It would be great to have your thoughts and reflections