“If you are so smart, why are you not rich?”
I saw this written on a T-shirt the other day at a gathering of entrepreneurs. It was a blatant challenge and it made me stop and think. In looking back on my 20 years as an entrepreneur, have I failed if I am not rich? Is that really what has driven me all these years? No, not really.
I immediately wanted to change the T-Shirt to read: If you are so smart, why haven’t you changed more lives? Why haven’t you helped more people… Created more jobs… Saved more children… Made a difference in the world?
According to a recent article in the International Herald Tribune, a rising new trend is the emergence of “Social Entrepreneurship”. Young entrepreneurs are realizing that just seeking wealth will not really make them happy. Finding meaning in what you do on your route to making money is ultimately much more rewarding and fulfilling.
I may not have yet acquired the riches of a sultan in all my years with startups, but I have been able to create companies and I have had the freedom, the drive and the turbo-motivation that comes from giving birth to ideas that grow to be corporations.
If your highest personal value is the creation of wealth, then remember Howard Hughes who died alone, isolated and lonely after building one of the greatest fortunes of the last century. Go ahead and make money, but also create a better world in the process. If you are so smart, then you will get this.