Seeking a LIFE beyond PROFIT MAXIMIZATION
I have tasted success to a level I consider enviable enough. It happened years ago before I knew the success I experience today. It was very brief. Then, everything came tumbling down; and by the time I hit the ground hard, what I learnt the most was something I had always known and even taught for years, but didn’t truly practice, which I eventually had to decide to begin to measure my life by. Today, I understand clearly that it is my calling and my destiny to live for a cause larger than success or profit. Therefore, I am encouraging people everywhere to seek a life beyond profit-maximization no matter what they are doing or trying to do. It is not human to pursue profit alone, it is inhuman. The idea of work must be defined by the pursuit of value by maintaining a single minded focus to use service to solve demonstrable human problems in a way that guarantee healing, comfort and progress for society.
A soul like Bill Gates did not set out to be the richest man in the world. Bill Gates had a vision for something wild; wild enough to drive him out of one of the of the world’s most prestigious educational institutions. Gates discovered a new and exciting way computers could better serve mankind. No doubt, he must have had inklings about the financial implications if he succeeded. But profit being his primary motivation? I very much doubt. The story of Microsoft is a story of passion, vision and the ‘mindless’ sacrifice of the security Harvard promised.
Bill Gates has become the richest man in the world again and again despite the fact that he has given money away more than anybody on earth. The life of Bill Gates clearly underscored the truth that it is better to give than to receive. It’s obviously beyond logic and sense. Profit is a cost to Bill Gates. Profit is nothing but a very important means to a more meaningful end. That is why Microsoft’s mission has been to continually advance and improve software technology, and to make it easier, more cost effective and more enjoyable for people to use computers. And billions of dollars have come in from that noble commitment.
You can then understand why Bill Gates is giving so much to the welfare of humanity all over the world. He’s able to do so because deep within, from the very beginning, he had no other plan for all that money. And one man’s vision, larger than his appetite and quest for gain, has contributed critically to the individual and collective advancement of humanity. Bill Gates’ ground breaking invention has generated tremendous profit for Microsoft and for himself, and Gates has continued to spend almost as fast as he has earned. And the direction of his spending lends credence to the state of mind and motivations of a true visionary.
In January 2000, Bill and his wife Melinda invested $126million into setting up The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. Currently the Foundation has Asset Trust Endowment of $36.4 billion and made a total grant payment of $26.1 billion since inception making them the highest individual givers to any cause in my view.
See, a conduit pipe, passing out water, does not get wet by making a decision to get wet. It gets wet by accepting the responsibility to pass water out to those who need it. Once the conduit pipe performs that role, it gets wet automatically. Pass out water, and you will be wet. I call it the “Pipe Principle”. Bill Gates understands this and that’s the way to truly live.
Maybe I’ve not studied enough, but in all my studies of great inventors and inventions, not once did I find a man or a group, who set out to make a profit. Rather, I found men, women and groups driven by the possibility of the experience of a good and great idea; men, women and groups, with wide-eyed solutions to critical problems. The equation is this: Passion first. Next is the kind of idea that creates advancement for society. And then the business model, and then profit. The final level is to invest a critical part of the profit on the welfare and advancement of humanity. It’s a duty. That’s God’s idea for success and prosperity.
Passion must mean positive mission to society or it is nuisance. “What peculiar thing do you wish you could do, given the right resources, to make life better for others? What product would you create? What service would you render? What problem would you solve?” Whether you are in business or working as an employee, in the next 20years, greed will be out of fashion. The new selfishness will be to do good even for self-serving purposes. In the next 20years, the key to top performance, success, meaning and fulfillment will be the capacity to sustain a life as a passionate adventurer, eager to try something different, caring less about money, perks, position, fame or glory, and able to solve problems in a way society can be grateful for.
In the next 20years, value creation will be impossible without an undistracted creativity that directs its energies solely on its object of passion and mission. Yes, Passion…not profit! That’s the story of the developed world right there. Today the passionate inventor takes all. There’s no more space for the owners of money, but increasing space exist for the creators of money who will use it to advance the course of humanity. I hope you know the difference? Your comment here is invaluable. Let me know what you think. I can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org. GO!