I also reflect on the words of Peter Diamandis (Co-Founder of Singularity University and The X-Prize) at the recent Singularity Summit in Amsterdam: “If you want to make a billion dollars, then solve a problem that impacts a billion people.”
Both of these quotes highlight a fast-emerging mindset for building a life and organisation quite different from the current norm. To survive and thrive in this rapidly changing world, you have to consider the impact you make, before the wealth you create.
I think about my own story. Just over two years ago, drunk in a pub, I mentioned to someone that I wanted to change the world. That started a chain reaction that has taken me all over the world, learning from the very edge of possibility. It has shifted the focus of what I do in a completely different direction.
That day, I intrinsically shifted my focus from wealth to global impact. And do you want to know the biggest change since that shift? I enjoy what I am doing an order of magnitude more than before. And it is much more than that.
Focusing on the difference you make, rather than the money you make, actually makes great financial sense, according to the book I recently read: Firms of Endearment, which makes a huge financial case for businesses that focus on their impact first. As it turns out, they massively outperform businesses that focus on financial results. This works at both the individual level and the organisational level.
If you are making money to give back eventually or live a good life at some point in the future, you are missing the absolute essence of what a great life could be. You are also missing the real financial opportunity. In my mind, that means you are actually going the long way round.
The interesting thing about spending the past 2 years in and around the global impact community is realising that the best people are not necessarily working on the toughest problems.
They are no different from you and me. Most of them just happen to be working on big problems as a result of accidental circumstances, rather than design. Nobody chose them to work these problems. They chose themselves.
The thing is, everyone can choose themselves. Everyone can change the world. The barriers are disappearing every day. It is not about knowledge anymore. We all have access to knowledge. It is not about access to people anymore. We all have access to people. It is not about access to resources anymore. We all have access to resources.
We live in a world of exponentially increasing transparency; where word of mouth is becoming frictionless; where trust and reputation are becoming the new global currencies.
There are only two things that really matter now. Passion and curiosity. If you have those, anything is becoming possible. We all started life with those two things. Some of us might have lost them along the way.
Making impact and doing things that matter is a way to get back closer to the original self. It is a way of making more, and being more.
Have you shifted from wealth to impact? Share your story and experiences in the comments section below.
P.S. This week, I am delighted to announce my latest group adventure. I will take a small group of people to Seville in March to help you learn how to change the world. If this post resonates with you in any way, please join me. To find out more, click here.