You ARE Influential…

…For Better or Worse

What do Jesus Christ, Charles Darwin, Adolf Hitler, Martin Luther King Jr. and Vladimir Lenin have in common? Each is deemed one of the 100 Most Influential Persons in History in Michael Hart’s 1978 book.

Interesting, isn’t it?

You don’t have to like what their influence was or what they influenced people to do—that’s beside the point, and well, also the point. Each of these people influenced millions of others to do as they envisioned and directed.

The key point is: Influence is powerful, and the same qualities and charisma that can influence people toward human enlightenment can also be used to influence people to destruction and great inhumanity.

Another vital understanding of influence is: You don’t have to be standing on a mountaintop speaking profound parables or pumping your fists on a lectern while shouting madly into a microphone in front of legions of people to be influential.

It is crucially important to know that we are all, at all times, influencing people and the environment around us.

We are energetic beings. As we enter every room, mix with any group or converse with any other living being, we are either bringing enlightenment or we are darkening the world around us.

Additionally, we come to understand ourselves by connection and contrast with other human beings. You are either providing the contrast of positive potential—the elevated status of who they could become—or providing the temptation for them to surrender to their own human frailty. This means your influence is truly life-changing.

As you have probably gathered by now, this issue of SUCCESS is focused on influence—how to gain it and how to use it… for good. In this issue we will further explore the ways each of us exerts either positive or negative influence—and we will ask you “Are You Using Your Power for Good or Evil?”

Speaking of influence, I am often asked what has been my most favorite interview of the hundreds I have done with some of the most fascinating people on the planet. On the CD enclosed with this issue, the first interview is my new, all-time favorite. The subject’s name is Louis Zamperini. He is 94 years old and one of the most extraordinary people I have ever met. I meet a lot of successful people, but few whom I would call a tried-and-true hero. To interview him was one of the most memorable treats of my life and I am sure that listening to him will be one of yours as well. Also on the CD is my interview with Robert Cialdini, author of the book that has been most enlightening to me on the topic of influence. Don’t miss it.

We hope this issue will have some small influence in enlightening your better you.

On the topic of influence, what do you do to be a positive influence in other people’s lives? Share your ideas, tips and suggestions in the comments below.


Darren Hardy is the former publisher of SUCCESS magazine, an entrepreneur and New York Times best-selling author of The Compound Effect and Living Your Best Year Ever: A Proven Formula for Achieving Big Goals.

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