“As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
– Marianne Williamson, “A Return to Love” (Quoted by Nelson Mandela in his 1994 Inaugural Speech)

Ka Edong - Passive Influence is Leadership by BEing
Ka Edong - Passive Influence is Leadership by BEing


I created a term that captures a concept that I’ve been fascinated about for many years now.

The term/concept is “Passive Influence“.

Today, I put my thoughts about this concept into writing. I write this first discourse for some very specific reasons.

First, I want the concept to crystallize further, to firm up further; not just in my mind but in the written word.

Second, I want to trademark and copyright this term/concept because I believe it is an extremely powerful concept that I can build into a global brand. I want to own this term. (For encouraging me to take this to a level of global ownership of this brand, I thank Ariel Manalac, one of the early entrustees of a this idea during its early stages of development).

Third, I write so that I can begin building on the brand and sharing the concept more openly in due time.
In this article, I will discuss “Passive Influence” beginning with deconstructing the term. I will explain Passive Influence further through examples. I also have an initial 3-step framework on what we can do to develop our passive influence. Lastly, I will give a final example of how truly passive “Passive Influence” is.

What is “Passive Influence”?

We begin discussing Passive Influence by deconstructing each word.

Passive – In the context of this discussion, passive refers to minimal or zero action.
Influence – For this discussion, influence is the ability to initiate a change people’s values, feelings, thoughts or behaviors.

Thus, Passive Influence is the ability to initiate change in people with minimal or zero action from the Influencer.

Related concepts:

  • Passive Income – Being able to earn money without actively working for it (after an initial “set-up” phase).
  • Passive Resistance – Popularized by Mahatma Gandhi, Passive Resistance is standing up for one’s principles/human rights without resorting to (active) violence.
Gandhi - Be the change you want to see in the world
Gandhi - Be the change you want to see in the world

Passive Influence explained through stories

1. Reader meets Author

I have had many personal experiences with Passive Influence.

One of my most solid experiences with Passive Influence happened in 2005 and became more strongly apparent in the following years. In 2005, I read a book entitled “Think Rich Pinoy!” written by Larry Gamboa.

On one level, I learned how to create passive income for myself through real-estate with the guidance of Larry Gamboa’s book which I implemented almost to the book. This was Larry’s passive influence on me. By writing a book and releasing it to the public, he was able to influence me to buy a house for business.

On another more profound level, Larry wrote about the PSI Leadership and Success Seminar. I took the PSI Basic seminar in August 2007. When asked who invited me to the seminar, I say “Larry Gamboa did” even if Larry did not know me yet at that time, even if Larry never spoke to me personally about PSI at that time. This is passive influence – Larry being able to spark changes in my life even if he never really met me personally at that time.

Since reading the book in 2005, I had met Larry a couple of times and have always introduced myself by telling him that I discovered PSI through him — more specifically through his book. ;-) . He usually flashes a smile, probably delighted by how one book he wrote (a result of taking the PSI Starshooters Seminar) continues to influence the lives of his readers anytime anywhere without his active participation.

2. The Passive Influence “Aura”

Another way that I experienced Passive Influence is by being exposed to people who had taken the PSI seminar. In 2005 and 2006, after reading Larry Gamboa’s book, I happened to meet some very positive people at a Cashflow 101 game in Makati. There was a set of people in the group that had a different “aura”.

They had an aura which told me that they were enjoying life, were being very happy about the situation they were in and were generally positive people with an awesome attitude and zest for life. I specifically remember meeting Roy Nabong who struck me as a very positive and calm person. In my conversation with Roy, I discovered that the people I had observed to be exuding with positivity – they were PSI graduates.

That evening, I told myself “I want to have what they have”. I want to have a positive mindset, I want to exude a happiness and zest for life. Without them knowing – and without them trying to influence me – I was influenced to create a change in my life. I was influenced to have an attitude and aura similar to what I saw in them.

Thus, after reading about PSI in Larry Gamboa’s book and after being exposed to the positivity of PSI grads, I took the first opportunity to join the PSI seminar in August 2007. And it’s been a life-changing experience for me.

3. Three Swordsmen

I’d like to take a slight detour from my first hand experiences with passive influence and share a story of Three Swordsmen as told to me by my brother, Elmer Soriano. This story is actually from one of my favorite movies “Hero“, a movie starring Jet Li and Zhang Ziyi about an assassination attempt on a Chinese Emperor.

I AM Heroic! Leadership by BEing
I AM Heroic! Leadership by BEing

In the climax of the movie, the emperor and the assassin agreed that there are three types of skilled swordsmen.

  • The first swordsman can strike the target from 10 feet away. He leads by doing things effectively. He is skilled. He holds the sword with his hand.
  • The second swordsman can strike the target from 100 feet away. He leads by influencing people to work towards his vision. He has vision. He holds the sword with his heart.
  • The third swordsman can strike the target from 1,000 feet away. He leads by being. He is self-aware. He leads his own self; and by leading himself, he influences people to likewise become self-empowered leaders. He does not hold any sword at all. He is Heroic.

4. I am the Captain of my ship

In May 2009, I made a decision to leave a very rewarding job at Smart Communications to embark on a path of entrepreneurship where I could live my dreams without the limitations of having to physically be in an office. I made a jump towards freedom of time and freedom of space where I could decide for myself how I would spend my time, my energy and my creativity. Immediately after my last day at Smart, I made a journey to Batanes – one of the travel destinations that I had dreamed of for many years already.

By leaving Smart and living my dreams, I consider myself semi-retired. I am able to sustain myself with the passive income that I had built through real-estate and blogging. I am currently building my other businesses that will further increase my passive income. This in turn will help me achieve more of my dreams in life.

I wrote about these decisions and changes in my life on my blog, www.edwinsoriano.com. I wrote about being the Captain of my Ship and taking a leap of faith in my life journey.

Shortly after publishing my experiences, I received a personal note from a long time friend, Jodl Gayatin.

Jodl writes:

Hi Eds,

In a lot of ways your note of that leap of faith comes in timely. I started working in another company the same day that you had your freedom. I do wish that in … (due) time I could have that freedom that you are having now. Am doing my best to lay the groundwork.

And you to shadow makes it a bit easy hehehe.

I was not surprised that you’d be making this move. I saw it coming with your blog and all. I wish all the best. Galingan mo coz you’re living the dream for most of us and we’ll look at you as our inspiration.

Anyway the first time I got inspired by your passion was when you had the “Paper Barter” thing done in Narra. I do hope we could have more people like you… those following what their heart desires with such fervor.

I thank you for the bits and pieces that you’ve made a dent in me.


This is MY experience of influencing others (in this case Jodl) just by being myself.

Practical Passive Influence

Given these examples of Passive Influence, what can people do to make this concept/idea useful for them?

In a similar way that Passive Income allows people to “buy” their financial freedom, buy their dreams and allows them to *love* fellow-men with the help of their Financial Abundance …

Passive Influence allows people to teach, mentor, influence, lead or inspire fellow-men with the help of their Influence Abundance.

Allow me to clarify the following fact.

We have Passive Influence inherent in each of us, right here, right now. By being ourselves, we influence the people around us – our family, our friends, people we work with, people who interact with us, people who observe us.

To illustrate this fact, consider this. We ourselves are influenced by (or, put lightly, “affected by”) the mere picture of an idol, the mere presence of our boss, the mere behavior of Manong Guard, the mere “look” of a stranger along the street, the mere language of a person you overhear, or the mere quotation from an inspiring leader.

In turn, our mere BEing can also influence other people.

The words we speak, the smile we wear, the activities we do, the outcomes we produce, the attitude we have — all these can influence other people to make a change in their lives. The influence can be a mere change of mind like deciding to (or not to) spend time observing you, or a change of heart like feeling happier about a certain situation.

Developing our Passive Influence all starts with an awareness that we have inherent Passive Influence.

Call to action: Build your Passive Influence!

Here is a very initial and simple framework for building your Passive Influence

  1. BE the person you want to be. Not the person others want you to be.
  2. Share your life. Be comfortable sharing your life to others through conversations, books, blogs, videos, your creative work, your work. Even through facebook! Be comfortable sharing your life by allowing others to observe you.
    Acting small does not serve anyone. It is your duty to yourself and to your God to expand yourself!
  3. Leave a legacy. Allow your BEing to outlive your life. Document your life. In this day of blogs and videos and mobile phones, it is easy to find ways to document the aspects of your life that you want your children and grand children to know about even when you’re gone.

Ultimate Passive Influence: Legacy

I end this first discourse with a story of Randy Pausch who, in an ultimately “Passive” way continues to influence people.

Randy Pausch was terminally ill and was told he had just a few more months to live. He decided to give a “Last Lecture” that was very important to him. He dedicated his Last Lecture for his children. He also came out with a Last Lecture book. Randy Pausch has hence passed away. But his Last Lecture continues on to inspire people. His book royalties continues to “Passively Influence” and support (monetarily) the lives of his wife and kids.

Here is a video of Randy Pausch delivering what is now popularly known as “The Last Lecture”.

I give this as a final case study of Passive Influence to illustrate how ultimately passive Passive Influence can be. How much more passive can you get than by being (for lack of a better word) dead.

This is Legacy at its best. Passive Influence is legacy building. Passive Influence is your BEing outliving your life.

This is only the beginning. Passive Influence is a global brand just waiting to be discovered.
Passive Influence is growing. In me. In you.

Actively building Passive Influence. For me. For you.


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