Today’s “Thought for the Day” in the Martinsville Bulletin is from Philip G Hamerton, an artist, art critic, and author who lived in the 1800s. He once said, “Have you ever observed that we pay much more attention to a wise passage when it is quoted than when we read it in the original author?”

It’s true. If I say something in this commentary it’s value is multiplied if I quote someone else saying it. There is something in the human psychology that causes us to think that something is bigger, better, stronger, or wiser if it came from somewhere else.

My friends who sold life insurance used to tell me in town they were “insurance salesmen,” but when they went out of town, they became “insurance agents.” They all were convinced their level of importance in the business was elevated when it was perceived by others that they came from “somewhere over there.”

Jesus acknowledged this phenomenon in Mark 6:4 when he said “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.”

Sugar Ray Destin, Jr., a motivational speaker, writes in his book “Claim Your Destiny!,” “The buzzards and crows in our lives speak through their insecurities. They have been told that they are not capable of achieving success throughout their lives and it is natural for them to pass the message on to others.” He goes on to say “Buzzards and crows will attempt to hinder you from being successful by using their position or authority to influence others. They will fabricate stories about you so that others will be hesitant about allowing you the opportunities needed to complete your journey to success.“

The interesting opposite, according to Destin, is when you help someone achieve their success, it opens the door for you to be more successful. “A little known success principle is that it is easier to accept the success of others when you are able to see success in your own life!”

The short of it is, Jesus was above the negative influence of those that knew him because he knew who He was. In modern-day terms, we could say “He was in tune with himself.” He wasn’t influenced by those around him.

Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson was a historian, author, and journalist, born in Virginia in 1875 said “If you can make a man believe that he is inferior, you don’t have to compel him to seek an inferior status, he will do so without being told and if you can make a man believe that he is justly an outcast, you don’t have to order him to the back door, he will go to the back door on his own.”

Destin tells us in today’s society, much like throughout history, we become a product of our environment, completely influenced by the people around us. When we do this, we give over the power to control our minds and our very worth is determined by others and not ourselves.

Be mindful of the victories in your life and practice becoming yourself. Then help others become who they are. We break the cycle only when we refuse to become what others think we are or should be.

There is a common theme I see these days, and it deserves to be repeated here – You cannot control the actions of others, but you have complete control over your response to them.