Throughout our lives, whether we like it or not (and whether we acknowledge it or not) we will be influenced by others. Everything I write is in some way inspired by someone else, whether its Lee or Leo - someone influences me and this I feel has aided me in my growth and learning.
I think it is very important to allow yourself to be influenced by others, but a balance must be found between thinking for yourself and following blindly. You should always do what you feel is right and not what the herd wants to do, which can often be quite wrong.
Sometimes the influence someone has on you can be so great yet hard to define. I’ve been with Brooke since I was 15 years old, it’s hard to gauge the impact she’s had on me, I can think nothing but immense. I think that people who spend a long time together end up forming a symbiotic relationship of sorts. My habits, likes, dislikes and attitudes are heavily influenced by Brooke yet I can’t define a lot of it. It’s so gradual and fundamental. I think of it has a strand of DNA, the double helix.
Remember also that change is wonderful and liberating, I had ideas about the world years ago that I don't even like to think about now, but the fact that I allowed myself to change makes me happy. To be bound to an idea you once thought to be absolute, only to learn that you weren’t and that you will never be “right” about anything is nice. In my experience, no change has been made without the influence of a new experience or person.
Reading books, listening to music, chatting with friends, family and strangers help define who we are, but ultimately, the attitudes you have towards life will be decided by you.
"The mark of a moderate man is freedom from his own ideas. Tolerant like the sky, all-pervading like sunlight, firm like a mountain, supple like a tree in the wind, he has no destination in view and makes use of anything life happens to bring his way." - Laozi