I Don’t Want To Give Back or Change the World

Yesterday, I had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine about giving back, making a difference in the world, and all that sort of stuff. I bring it up because these are nice things to talk about and do, but I have a slightly different perspective that really sort of shocked my friend during our conversation.

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If you have been following me around Holland or online, you know that we have really been crushing it lately with videos, webinars, podcasts, and multiple posts every day on Facebook. Everything is provided for free. Most of the content focuses on helping entrepreneurs grow and reclaim their lives. My friend sees this and says to me, “It’s really amazing that you do that stuff. You are really making a difference.” She also asked me what my drive is for doing these kinds of things.

I feel great when I help people, but even if there were only one person reading, I would still write the articles because they are my legacy. These are my ideas and this is something that I work for, something that I like.

The popular answer I could have given was, “I really want to make a difference in the world and give back,” or something along those lines. Instead, I was totally honest and told her, “Well, to be honest, I do this stuff for myself.” Even with this article that you are reading, I could say I do this for you, but to be honest, I mostly do this for myself.

My friend gave me a strange look at first. I told her, “Well, I need this stuff. I need to share my ideas because it makes me feel good. I feel great when I help people, but even if there were only one person reading, I would still write the articles because they are my legacy. These are my ideas and this is something that I work for, something that I like.” She was kind of shocked, but I think she understood as well.

To be honest, most people that say, “I do this to change the world,” or, “I do this to give back,” but they are really doing that thing for themselves. They do it for the feeling it gives them or another reward they get out of it. Whatever the reason is, they are not doing it “for the world.”

I think entrepreneurs are similar; we just want to work our asses off and grow our businesses. We may say that we are doing it to support or provide for our family, but really, we have different motives. Personally, I am not working my ass off for my family. I could say that and people would believe me, but it is not totally true. I do work hard so I can provide for my family, but that is not my primary drive.

If my biggest goal was to provide for my family, I would have a smaller business and I would not have all these big ambitions. I would be comfortable with a couple hundred thousand a year and just remain at that level. Like I said though, that is not my primary motivation. I am creating and running businesses because that is what I love to do and I am honest about it.

To be honest, most people that say, “I do this to change the world,” or, “I do this to give back,” but they are really doing that thing for themselves.

I am reminded of my friend, Elliot Hulse, who has created over 2000 videos on YouTube. He has a huge following and is really changing the world with his videos because they are so authentic and raw. He has people send him “thank you” notes who were about to commit suicide and watching these videos convinced them not to go through with it. I mention Elliot because he also says, “I do these videos for me because I like to do them. They give me energy and make me feel good. That’s my primary driver for creating these videos and all the other things are added benefits.”

I feel the same way. Did you like this article? That is an added benefit.

Will my business grow because of these articles? That is an added benefit.

But the primary driver for creating articles, podcasts, and webinars is that I like to do them.

And because I like to do them, there will be more articles in the future.

If you enjoyed this article, please let me know by leaving a comment below or send me a Tweet @EelcoDeBoer. 

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  • 28 April 2015
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