The nature of influence

Influence is another one of those words diluted by careless usage. Influence is the soil in which the change we want to see grows.

“Something hit me very hard once, thinking about what one little man could do. Think of the Queen Mary — the whole ship goes by and then comes the rudder. And there’s a tiny thing at the edge of the rudder called a trimtab.

It’s a miniature rudder. Just moving the little trim tab builds a low pressure that pulls the rudder around. Takes almost no effort at all. So I said that the little individual can be a trimtab. Society thinks it’s going right by you, that it’s left you altogether. But if you’re doing dynamic things mentally, the fact is that you can just put your foot out like that and the whole big ship of state is going to go.

So I said, call me Trimtab.”

Buckmister Fuller

Influence that makes a difference takes years, a deep purpose and a dedicated commitment to a cause. Think of those who influence you, from authors to colleagues and teachers to those who inspire you. Theirs is a lifelong presence in your life.

There is a current fashion linking influence to social media influencers. Their impact is shallow, temporary and commercial. Attract attention through whatever means necessary and use it to peddle whatever in return for cash and celebrity. 

As we feel our way into a changing world, influence will carry the day. Those we listen to, and those who listen to us.

Influence is not noise; it is persistence.

Now is a time to commit to being a trim tab—small things, done with purpose, at the right time and in the right place.

It’s surprising what we might achieve with a little effort.

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