Ghandi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” But it’s pretty common in life to find yourself interacting with people and wishing they would do things differently. 

That’s like living life as a tow boat. 

The tow boat’s job is to help by pulling ships into safety. It’s a noble cause, but that’s not the way that people work. Trust me, you’ll get poor results if all you do is go around trying to help people with their problems when they didn’t ask for your aid. 

Ships stranded at sea will reach out for help, but in the real world, most people don’t; not until there’s a real crisis. After all, that’s when the tow boat shows up, when there’s been an S.O.S., a call for help.

So how to you influence people before it all goes wrong?

When it comes to people, they quietly move through the waters of their lives without ever really confronting their own issues. And what’s more is that when those issues become so evident to you that you want to say something, what happens? They get defensive, or maybe they even listen but they do nothing.

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.

So how can you get through to those you care about? How can you institute change in someone else effectively?

Maybe you want your significant other, children, or family to begin a journey with personal development. Maybe you have a friend you know should spend more time in the gym. Another who could obviously benefit from changing some of their spending habits. How can you “make” them start reading? Be more positive? Listen to motivational podcasts? Start changing themselves for the better? 

The answer? Be a lighthouse.

Be the example of the change you wish to see in them. 

When you can show the light, when you can be the example, it will illuminate the path for others to follow. Your own commitment to personal development will show. Your discipline in the gym, your saving habits that led you to be debt free, your positive attitude.

All those things will shine like a lighthouse, they’ll become a beacon, a guide for others to go by in order to keep their lives out of the rocky shallows and into calmer waters. You’ll be the example, you’ll have earned the credibility.

That is how you change your loved one’s lives. It’s how you create influence.

The lighthouse doesn’t demand that the ships change course, but what it stands for is so strong that it influences a change in direction in all who pass by.

So today, and every day, wake up and make the decision to be a lighthouse. The world needs as many as it can get.