May 20, 2008
Time Magazine in its May 12th issue lists what it considers the 100th most influential people in the world. The issue’s contributors such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu (who wrote about Peter Gabriel), Bill Clinton (who wrote about Tony Blair) and Edgar Bronfman Jr. (who wrote about the rock band Radiohead) are themselves influential and famous.
Richard Stengel the Managing Editor says in the introduction, that influence although subjective is measured by the effect people have on the world.
On a numerical smaller scale we each are the most influential person to someone, whether it is a family member, such as a 2-week old baby, a colleague at work or just a friend.
We all can use our financial resources to influence the lives of others. A small $10 donation to a hunger project will have a significant impact on someone who earns an average of $1 a day.
Our knowledge and experience can also be of great influence to many.
How careful are we about how we use our influence or power in order not to impact negatively the lives of others?
Ideally we should try to use our influence for the well-being of others. Many actors and actresses in Hollywood and elsewhere have used and are using their fame for good causes.Angelina Jolie has become a spokesperson of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHR,) Jerry Lewis has raised hundred of millions of dollars for research on muscular dystrophy and Bono is using his celebrity status to combat poverty in Africa.
We should also make sure that when we use our influence for our own benefit, as we should, we do not do it without consideration for others and try to be fair as much as we can. Fairness is a great value, but it is extremely difficult to determine and apply because we live in a very competitive world.
Fairness and justice are closely related concepts. The French word for fair is "just." Justice is an easier concept to comprehend and one to think about when we use whatever influence we have.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said:
"You can never really live anyone else’s life, not even your child’s. The influence you exert is through your own life, and what you’ve become yourself."