Work for Yourself First and You Will Create Value for the Lives of Millions
What are you doing? Who do you work for?
One of the most gratifying results of intellectual evolution is the continuous opening up of new and greater prospects. — Nikola Tesla
Nikola Tesla is a name that will be remembered forever. Why? Well, he was a genius. But more importantly, he produced remarkable innovations with the intention of adding value to the lives of future generations! Tesla was an altruistic inventor. His dream of sharing free energy with the world was never realized, but it was in the works purely for the benefit of mankind.
Nikola Tesla’s life mattered because he wanted to improve the way we live.
He challenged himself and kept pursuing bold, new innovations because he believed this was his reason for being. In order to be truly great, he had to first keep challenging himself and proving his worth.
Isn’t there a reason we remember people? Boldness. Daring. Courage. Success. Flair. These are all things that stand out. But who really cares if one’s actions aren’t for the benefit of all? In the long run, few will. The greatest artists, inventors and businesswomen of all time have one common thread:
They created enduring works that have enriched the lives of those who came after them.
First, for You. Then, for Others
Now, while I’ve hit you with with my feel-good altruism, let me splash the pot a little bit: First and foremost, what you produce, the life you choose to lead, should be for you. Huh? Allow me to explain.
For us to give our maximum energy, inner-being and purpose to the world, it has to first be for ourselves. I’m talking about the core work we produce in this lifetime. This is separate and distinct from say, holding a door for someone. Or showing kindness through an act or words. I’m talking about what we produce, what we aim to give.
I recently finished writing my first book. I consider this to be a great accomplishment. I’ll be putting this on sale for public consumption later this summer. I want it to be successful and I hope it will add value to your life. But first, I wrote this book for me. I wanted to create something special that resonated with my life’s experiences and talents. This was for me, so it can deliver value to you.
If your only concern is using your talents to create things first for other people, I believe you will fail. When you do this, it tends to lack authenticity. It’s more “for show” and less about core substance. The lesson here is — if you’re looking to create the next great app, medical device or scientific breakthrough, do it because you want to compete with yourself to produce your best work. If you do, I guarantee you others will benefit from it.
The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it. — William James
I used the above quote in one of my recent pieces. I had several people reach out, telling me that it deeply touched them. It certainly did for me, which is why I used it. It got me thinking more about legacy, the mark we aim to leave on the world and the existential question of why we do, what we do each day.
We’re always experimenting, always searching. When we find what matches up with the core and purpose of our life, it then becomes a matter of strategy. Planning. Doing. Living like we already have it. Refining, improving and finding the persistence to keep going. Then what? On we go in search of achievement and later — legacy.
“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
Live long enough and you’ll continue to ask the meaningful questions:
- Does this use of my time matter to me?
- Will this add value to the lives of others?
- Am I being true to my core self?
The more you ask, the more you’ll learn. The more you’ll realize the imprint you leave in this world has profound influence on others. The biggest mistake we can ever make is thinking our words or actions don’t matter. Too many of us underestimate our talents, skills and impact. We fear. We hide. We don’t release our work to the world.
For what? Because we only wanted it to be for us? Or because we felt it wasn’t worthy of someone else’s consumption?
For the Benefit of Others
I’m willing to bet you’re thinking of something today. You’ve maybe just started your process of thinking big, bold thoughts that are going to convert into ideas. Those ideas will become the lifeblood of a future creation — your future work of what you give to the world. If you’re willing to keep going, then you’ll know you need to believe in what you’re doing.
From there, it’s a matter of hope, conviction and perseverance for your idea. Your idea may take the form of a speech, art, digital or physical creation — whatever. You’ll know what your thing is the more you stay hungry, keep trying, failing, failing again (and again) and moving forward because that fire inside of you demands you to keep going and never quit.
Nikola Tesla was out to help the world. He wanted to use his genius to give value to others. My friends, that’s what it’s all about. Take the value of who you are and give it to as many people as you can. Do it for you. Then give it to everyone. If it’s sincere and true to who you uniquely are, then it will make a difference in someone’s life. Maybe millions of people.