Not everybody leaves a mark; if I achieve success, my footprints will be etched in stone

If you read the blogosphere, or Hacker News, you have read the expression, “First world problems.” Those who know me personally understand, I’ve got a robust backlog of those. Despite the challenges, the struggle, of cleaning up the mess I made of my personal life in my late twenties and early thirties, I feel more focused, more energized, than ever. It could be the gym habit I’ve recently developed, it could be the fantastic people I work with. More than that, the one thing which keeps resonating for me is that I want to leave a mark. I crave impact, I crave transformation and I lust after leaving the world in a better state than what I was born into. Bill Gates was never a child hood hero of mine, but his philanthropic efforts are unmatched in human history. I don’t know about you but everytime I think about it, my mind is blown all over again.

Growing up, my family was in the bottom, “20%,” and I’ll never forgot the holiday season where I got to go with the other poor kids and shop at a department store. Several of them claimed more siblings, so they could pick up their own toy. To this day, I can’t forget how sad I was, or how sorry I felt, for the other kids. There’s no easy way to tell people, “I get it,” but I do. Growing up, ambition shaped me into the person I’ve become. However, family, friends and children have altered my thinking in a way I can’t undo. Yes, I’m still hungry, but it’s not about me.

Suppose you were handed a megaphone and given all the world as a stage; what would you do?

My own answer to that question would have been vastly different only a few years ago; not dissimilar from what I’d have said at any point growing up. For whatever reason, I’m less inclined to act like a child. If I was given a megaphone, with all the world as a stage, I’d share a few simple truths. All is not black and white, but shades of gray. Love matters more than anything else, and it’s unlimited.

Finally, while an individual life is transitory, there is no limit to the impact we can have on all the lives yet to come.