3 Basic Rules of Engagement Every Thought Leader Must Live by

I spend quite a fair amount of time reading and listening to ideas from other thought leaders. Many of these ideas have had a profound impact on my life.

Being a thought leader—someone who influences others by sharing ideas—is a privilege but also a great responsibility. It’s a privilege because thought leaders shape the minds of people they serve. And since the mind pilots behavior, thought leaders have the opportunity to affect the direction of people’s lives in a significant way. In this also lies the responsibility: because ideas control life, thought leaders must ensure their ideas are sound, otherwise, they’ll hinder the very people they seek to help.

If you are a speaker, author, preacher, teacher, blogger, content creator, policy-maker, or someone who shares ideas, you are a thought leader—whether you are aware it or not. If you are influencing people with your ideas, you are a thought leader.

If you are a thought leader (or aspire to become one), you must remember these 3 basic rules of engagement.

Rule #1: Thy Shall Appreciate (Not Underestimate) the Power of Ideas

Everything you see—your house, car, mobile device, clothes, books, etc.—originated from an idea in someone’s mind. Day in and day out, your soul is touched by ideas from various sources: the news, social media feeds, music, artistic works (such as paintings and sculptures), advertisements, etc. Political persuasions and religious beliefs are based on ideas.

Ideas are powerful; they shape the world and control our lives. And as a thought leader, you must appreciate (not underestimate) their power. As mentioned, being a thought leader is a responsibility that must be carried with utmost diligence. Be mindful of the ideas you share; they influence people’s lives—for good or for bad.

Rule #2. Thy Shall Cultivate Your Mind

Your mind is a garden: what you plant in it is what will grow in it. The ideas you sow in your mind define the results you reap in your life. Moreover, the ideas you consume impact the ideas you produce, and because you are a thought leader, ultimately affect the lives of the people you serve.

As a thought leader, you pride yourself on being someone who helps shape people’s mind and behavior. You expect your followers to ingest your ideas as a means to cultivate their minds. This implies that, as someone who walks the talk,  you also take care of your own mind by planting in it the best possible seeds of ideas. Like with any garden, you must, through meditation and cogitation, consistently nurture the best ideas and pluck out the bad ones from your mind, lest your garden becomes a barren land covered with weeds of bad ideas.

Rule #3. Thy Shall Share Your Ideas Generously

True leaders serve. They understand that being a leader is a blessing, and thus, they give their all for the benefit of their people. Likewise, thought leaders must commit to serving others, and this calls for a generous spirit.

By definition, a thought leader shares ideas. Share your ideas—your best ideas—with the world. You can’t hoard your ideas and expect to be considered a thought leader. Don’t worry about people “stealing” your ideas; there are plenty more where that came from (you are thought leader, aren’t you?). Share your ideas generously, and let them travel and bless the world.

God blessed you with the ability to influence people with your ideas. Never forget that it comes with the weight of responsibility. You owe it to yourself and the people you serve to cultivate empowering thoughts, to apply disciplined thinking to sort through your ideas, and to share them so that they can make a positive difference in the world.

Question: What are other rules you believe thought leaders should abide by?