Who Are the Real Influencers

Influence is not popularity. Some people are very well known, and they are called influencers, but saying something doesn’t make it so. Just because people know and like you does not make you influential. It just means you are popular.

Influence is not a matter of money, either. There are people who have both fame and money who are called influencers by some. The fact that you can generate income—or even wealth—doesn’t not make you influential. It just makes you rich. This is true even if people look to you for advice on money-getting.

Influence is not a matter of tactics. The fact that you know how to leverage reciprocity, authority, scarcity, liking, and social proof doesn’t not make you a person of influence. It makes you a tactician. The fact that you rely on tactics is a lack of real influence, not its presence.

Real influence is about character. It’s about integrity. It’s a measurement of how worthy you are of following. The measuring stick here is the impact you have on the decisions of others, whether they turn to you for guidance, for advice, as an exemplar. Right now you might be thinking of a lot of people who have money, fame, and who influence the decisions of others. You might be tempted to call these people influencers. But none of these things rise to the level of making one influential.

Fame is fleeting, and you will be forgotten by future generations. Those with real influence are not often known to you, as they don’t seek fame for fame’s sake. Wealth is no better, and you won’t be remembered for your money. Real influencers make no show of their wealth, but use much of it to quietly make a contribution. Influencing decisions is meaningless if those who are influenced are made no better by following your lead.

To be influential is to be someone worth following in the things that matter most in life, things like character, integrity, compassion, charity, and hope. So check your social scores if you must, but know that real influence does not easily subject itself to quantification.

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