Today I had the opportunity to be asked a lot of questions by students. They seem to think they have to have a very big goal, and their question went something like this.
"How can we change people's minds? How can I change the world?"
In the first place, people who do things that change the world don't do them because they want to change the world -- They just want to solve a particular problem. So thinking about changing the world is just as wrong as promoting innovation without knowing what the problem is to be solved. If you already know the issue you are trying to solve and want to change the world, I suggest three things in response.
Think about whether you should change the world or change yourself.
Enjoy the process of changing the world.
Be part of the process of changing the world.
1. Think about whether you should change the world or change yourself.
When there is a problem, the best way to solve it is to change yourself. To think that you can change the world because you're not wrong and the world is wrong is quite absurd. If you wear dirty clothes and the people around you shun you for it, the proper solution is to change your own appearance, rather than criticising the world for judging you by your appearance.
2. Enjoy the process of changing the world.
Nevertheless, it may be a legitimate idea to change the world to speed up moving the world in the right direction. For example, Africans used to be bought and sold as slaves, and there is still discrimination based on race. Changing the speed of a world that is already on the verge of change can be very rewarding. We can change the world, but doing it faster than others is a matter of luck, not our own efforts. The people who can see the changing world are the visionaries, and they are the ones who change the direction of the future by doing it themselves and showing it to those who can't see it. They are literally leaders because they do it before others. It's no secret, all the founders I've met use this method to lead their teams. At su-re.co, I had been asking to change the website for about six months, but the team member didn't believe we could do it and wouldn't budge (^^;). I decided to move to a new website in one week, and for the first three days, I created the original website. When I asked the staff to write one blog every week, I wrote every day for over six months without a day off. Leading the world this way is normal, but when you make it your goal to change the world in three months, many issues are beyond your control, such as connections and money. Of course, if you have a deadline, like a summer homework assignment, you're more likely to achieve it because of the pressure. But I think it's better not to set too strict a deadline because 99% of the time, something as big as "changing the world" will fail.
I think it's better to think of life as music. If you love the music while it's playing, no one wants it to end too soon, right? Similarly, if you've decided to change the world, I think it's better to enjoy the process, even if it doesn't work out quite as well as you'd hoped. A friend of mine who recently had an IPO had been running that website for ten years. If anything could have changed the world in three months, I think most of it was luck.
3. Be part of the process of changing the world.
Furthermore, you don't necessarily have to be a leader to take the world in the right direction. Followers are far more important. The world only needs one invention, like Facebook or the iPhone, to change the world. That's why people say 80% of companies will fail within two years, 90% within five years and 99% within ten years. In other words, starting a business means that in 10 years, you will be virtually jobless and broke. As a society, we need an invention that makes the world a better place, and we love it when great leaders invent and change the world for the better. Still, it's not good for society when too many people continue to make these mistakes by misjudging their abilities. Before I spoke today, my neighbour, working on a composting business, spoke to students. What he said to me was.
"If you do what you want to do, your business will fail. You can succeed by bringing a business that solves a problem where there is already a demand."
I live in Canggu, Bali, where many people support the vegan and organic food culture. So they have a waste collection and composting business from restaurants and cafes that target this clientele. They are not changing the world, they are coming to the forefront of a world where sustainability is already a business, and they are in the business of offering solutions to those who support the new world.
This compost project is not a start-up; it's a small business. Start-up is with an uncertain business model. Small business has already a demand for it, and it provides an immediate source of income. Their idea is not original and not a world-changing leader, but they are very much a part of making the world a better place.
It is normal for young students not to know what they want to do. Vision for an organisation can be a bit overwhelming because we have to have a common goal. But a personal vision may start obscure and just showing a direction, but the concrete vision may come to you suddenly. Until then, I think it's healthier to try out different things that interest you and develop your own abilities little by little. Either way, the outcome for the world is the same because you may get a chance to change the world.