On making an impact and changing the world

I’ve recently started reading “So good they can’t ignore you” (Cal Newport) where the central argument is: “follow your passion” is crappy advice, you should get really good at something to get passionate about it.

There’s something else I believe has been misinterpreted for a long long time. To “make an impact”. To “change the world”. This is what most young entrepreneurs will tell you. They want to change the lives of as many people as possible.


You don’t want to change people’s lives. You want to change people’s lives and get recognition for it.

You wanna help people? Great! Plenty of help needed in so many incredibly poor areas in the world. You are sure as hell changing lots of people’s lives, right there. It’s also the easiest way to “make an impact”. After all, what kind of impact can you make on a society that pretty much has everything at its fingertips?

The catch is that, even though those poor people will thank you from the bottom of their heart and lead you to an emotional breakdown, you won’t be mentioned in a Forbes article or a Business Insider profile and your start-up won’t IPO. None of your friends will call you congratulating for helping a sick man build his wooden house. No investors are going to email you with crazy offers because you helped educating the children of a remote village with no electricity or running water.

They simply don’t care.

You want recognition. You need recognition, because you (like me and like most human beings) need external validation. So, next time you complain about your boring 9-5 job, arguing that you’d rather have a job that allows you to “make an impact” and “change people’s lives”, think about the millions of people you could be helping, right now, without anyone ever recognizing your efforts except yourself.

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