TIME magazine revealed its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world Thursday and it features fierce leaders, rule breakers, passionate activists and compassionate men and women.
The list features President Donald Trump, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, survivors from the Parkland shooting, activist Tarana Burke, who founded the Me Too movement, entertainers Tiffany Haddish, Nicole Kidman, Kesha and doctors and scientists working to help people worldwide.
In selecting this year’s 100 people, TIME editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal wrote in a letter that it did not come down to “a measure of power” nor “a collection of milestones accumulated.”
“The TIME 100, always a reflection of its moment, looks quite different than in the past,” Felsenthal wrote. “Influence increasingly knows no single zip code and no minimum age.”
A record 45 women and 45 people under the age of 40 were selected for the list as well.
So what does this all mean to us? When most people read the list and see these people’s accomplishments, they don’t think much about it. For most of us, we will not have the same kind of fame, fortune and success as almost all of the most influential. But that doesn’t mean we can’t live our lives similarily to them.
If we learn one thing from what these and other TIME 100 individuals share, it’s love, compassion, drive and a will to achieve great things and help others. We don’t have to be a politician, celebrity, innovator, activist or any specific profession to be as influential as these 100 individuals. They all started from somewhere to help people around them, so why can’t all of us do it too?
Take, for example, Cameron Kasky, Jaclyn Corin, David Hogg, Emma González and Alex Wind. These Parkland, Florida, shooting survivors have taken their experienced tragedy and turned the March for Our Lives rally into a nationwide and worldwide movement. And they did it all as high school students.
As former President Barack Obama wrote in his piece about the five students, “The Parkland, [Florida], students don’t have the kind of lobbyists or big budgets for attack ads that their opponents do ... But they have the power so often inherent in youth: to see the world anew; to reject the old constraints, outdated conventions and cowardice too often dressed up as wisdom.”
Those are words we can all live by to do some good in the world. If five students can make this big of an impact and say enough is enough, imagine what more can be done if more people take those bold steps.
TIME’s list even pushes us to keep going in the face of adversity and when others don’t want to hear what you have to say. Burke has been advocating for survivors of rape and sexual assault, specifically young black women, for years, but people did not show much support. As actress Gabrielle Union wrote, “When you’ve been sidelined for so long, it’s exhilarating to know that such a powerful voice is finally breaking through.”
With a record number of women and young individuals on this list, it shows times are changing and the world is accepting what all people have to offer.
Being bold can be scary, nerve-racking and often lonesome, but the results can influence, bring people together and cause change across the world.