Stuff that Matters

“What we fight with is so small, and when we win, it makes us small. What we want is to be defeated, decisively, by successively greater things.”

“Focusing on big goals rather than on making money, and on creating more value than you capture are closely related principles. The first one is a test that applies to those starting something new; the second is the harder test that you must pass in order to create something enduring.”

“That’s why a time like this, when the bubble is bursting, is a great time to see how important it is to think about the big picture, and what matters not just to us, but to building a sustainable economy in a sustainable world.”

Those are three quotes I pulled out of an article I came across that I think captures the perceptions and values we must aspire to in order to create a better world at a time when everyone is looking out for themselves. Those of us who are upset with the times, whether it be because of issues that are impacting us in America, or because of the ongoing crises around the world, the pervasive poverty, hunger, and sickness afflicting people who were not so lucky as to be born in a more affluent part of the world, should know that these are at least in part due to people looking out for themselves. This includes companies that focus on profit and the paychecks of their executives, and politicians who put the well being of the people second to the lobbyists. Rather than lament them however, we should focus on the positive. Those of us who are fortunate enough to go on to own a company or be a leader in some industry should remember what I think is the main point of the article:

Short term success comes from short term goals, long term success and building something sustainable requires that we focus on what matters in the in the long run. This means worrying about those around us in addition to ourselves. Companies cannot sustain themselves for long if their focus is not on their customers, governments cannot last forever if their focus is not on the people, and the world will be worse off for having left so many behind.

A professor of mine recently told my class something along the lines of this: We do not deserve what we have. It is only luck that we were born in America while so many others were born in a world where they do not have the opportunities we do. He went on to say that we should be ashamed of ourselves if we do not make the most of what we have while so many others have nothing. I’m paraphrasing, but I hope I captured his point.

…Wow that’s probably the most idealist rant I’ve ever gone on, but I do think that we have a responsibility to others and that an individual can still be successful without pouring all of effort personal gain.

Anyways here is the link  to the article:

Read Me!

Its a good read and it comes of less like a rant that what I just wrote.