It's one's level of consciousness and intent that determines how much they can influence energies... their own and others and non-sentient objects.
While consciousness is still at the level of separation effects will be little.
As our consciousness becomes aware in the universal interconnectedness that is inherent in everything - which quantum physics has discovered and spiritual mysticism has always known - then our capacity to influence increases.
Along with this there is a growing sense of integrity, and rather than manipulating for selfish aims we become naturally more altruistic.
This is part of spiritual awakening.