There is one responsibility which no man can evade: that responsibility is his personal influence. Man’s unconscious influence is the silent, subtle radiation of personality–the effect of his words and his actions on others. This radiation is tremendous. Every moment of life man is changing, to a degree, the life of the whole world.
Every man has an atmosphere which is affecting every other man. He cannot escape for one moment from this radiation of his character, this constant weakening or strengthening of others. Man cannot evade the responsibility by merely saying that it is an unconscious influence.
Man can select the qualities he would permit to be radiated. He can cultivate sweetness, calmness, trust, generosity, truth, justice, loyalty, nobility, and make them vitally active in his character. And by these qualities he will constantly affect the world.
This radiation, to which I refer, comes from what a person really is, not from what he pretends to be. Every man by his mere living is radiating either sympathy, sorrow, morbidness, cynicism, or happiness and hope or any one of a hundred other qualities.
Life is a state of radiation and absorption. To exist is to radiate: to exist is to be the recipient of radiation.
–David O. McKay, BYU, 27 April, 1948