“Mind Your Own Business” Has Never Been More Applicable
It has had a terrible history.
“Mind your own business” has distracted us from the fact that we, as Americans, live in a capitalist society where everyone and everything is always in competition. It has encouraged us to “do our best” regardless of those around us and their performances. Our parents have repeated to us, “Try your hardest and nothing else will matter,” before important events to assure us that we will see only positive results, whether we totally blow it or totally crush it. If we personally thought we did well, we learned it did not matter what others thought of our performances, right?
“Mind your own business” has become synonymous with the participation award in American culture.
I have been in college for two years and, firsthand, have seen the ruthless battle for everything from academic scholarships and A’s in classes to internship offers and even professors’ attention in the classroom. I have found it incredibly difficult to gauge my performance in a class without comparing myself to my peers. Hence, professors present their distribution of grades on projects and exams to encourage competition in their courses. Countless studies have shown that when students compete against each other, they perform better because they push themselves to their physical and mental brink.
If you are searching for a job as I have been, you know that it is going to be a tough fight. There is a plethora of other people exactly like you — either more or less qualified — who want the exact same position at the exact same time. In this scenario it is impossible to “mind your own business” because the woman sitting right next to you is attempting to knock you out of an offer with her better skills and abilities. It is imperative that you outdo her to get an offer.
What a shitty way to view life!
With the age of the entrepreneur eclipsing the internet age, we are seeing opportunities for everyone to succeed in life. For the first time in history, our circumstances do not necessarily determine our potential or our limits as individuals. Today’s smart phones provide more power and information to a normal person on the street than the president of the United States of America had just twenty-five years ago. If you can provide to the world a product or service that satisfies a customer’s desire, congratulations: You are an entrepreneur. You are able to mind your own damn business!
“The American Dream is massively alive and well. The internet being at scale today has compounded the opportunity, and the internet doesn’t care what you look like.” — Gary Vaynerchuk
Before the internet was invented, every organization was in competition with each other, and only a few dominated their respective industries. Oligarchs hindered the competitive economy. I am certain that the creators of the first computer and the internet had no idea what they were unleashing when they introduced their products, for they have caused the oligarchy to completely disintegrate. The domination has vanished, and creative ideas have limitless potential in our new world controlled by the entrepreneur.
When I first began writing this article, I jumped the gun in titling it “‘Mind Your Own Business’ Is Terrible Advice,” based on keen observations I had made in my life up to this point. College, especially, has reminded me that we live in an ultra-competitive society. However, now that I am writing and trying to blaze my own trail in the entrepreneurial world, I have realized that I am on an island. I can make or break my future — as cliché as it sounds. I do not care what Mark Zuckerberg or Jeff Bezos are doing, and I have no intentions of setting any goals relative to them or their peers. They have achieved once-in-millions-of-lifetimes success stories, and no one should compare themselves to them. I will compare myself of today to myself of yesterday by controlling the only forces that I can control — my perseverance, effort, and knowledge.
“Mind your own business” has never been as applicable as it is today because it does not matter what others are doing. Each and every one of us has the power to be influential, whether we want to invent a product or service that simplifies and eases people’s lives, document our journeys around the world, or cook for a living. Our unique experiences are able to be expressed across different platforms by blogging or vlogging or tweeting, all words that did not even exist twenty years ago! With the immense amounts of power and information at the touch of our fingers, everything is possible.
Entrepreneurs are able to put their heads down and drive toward success, rather than chase it. The contemporary economy is motivated by the determination, tenacity, and persistence of the self-propelled go-getter. Create something that resonates with people. Test it with potential customers. Make them interested in it. Make them believe in it. Take action to make something of yourself by reaching as many people as possible.
Set a goal, go for it, enjoy the journey, and mind your own damn business along the way.