The following article is culled from Blake Scholl‘s tweets in response to a mail, which I think it’s enlightening. Blake Scholl is the founder and CEO of Boom Supersonic. I’ve also added my comments to each tweet. I hope it inspires you today and always.
A student emailed me “how do you build the future?” My response:
- Choose an important problem worth solving. Many large, unsolved problems are hiding in plain sight. We are so used to them we are blinded. Slow air travel. Jammed highways. Unaffordable health care.
Cabiojinia: The important problem you choose must be worth solving. It must be a problem that people desire a solution for, and not all problems pass that test. Not every problem is worth solving. For instance, taking off the wrap of candy takes a few seconds of my time, so one can say that it’s a problem. But I don’t think that if you manufacture a candy cover-remover, I’ll be willing to buy it. So, it’s a problem, but most people would be fine taking off the wrap in a second and enjoying their candy than having a machine do it for them.
There are many important unsolved problems that people encounter daily: Clean drinking water in many parts of the world, good and affordable healthcare system, food availability and proper storage systems, proper waste management, good and affordable education, housing etc. So, pick one and start from there.
2. Invest your passion in the problem, not any particular idea of how to solve it; your first idea might not be right.
Cabiojinia: Most times, people talk about passion as something congenital, a talent you must necessarily be born with. However, passion for a thing can be developed through careful observation and consideration. Through studies, experiments, discussions and practical work, one can discover his or her passion. So, once you’ve identified the problem worth solving, invest your time, strength and other resources into solving that particular problem, taking it from different angles.
Your first idea on how to solve a problem may be quite brilliant, but chances are the more you work on that problem, the more enlightened you’ll get, and your original idea may be discarded as you find new ways to tackle the problem. So, don’t get fixated on your first idea. Your main goal is to solve a problem, so you can tweak your original idea to factor in new insights you’re getting into the problem.
3. Think 10-15 years out. Big change can’t be achieved quickly—but deep transformation can happen in a decade.
Cabiojinia: Think long term. This attitude or mentality is seriously lacking in our society today, especially among the younger generation; there’s a sense of urgency to make it and make it quick. The fact that social media and the internet, in general, has made information easily accessible doesn’t eliminate the process.
You may hear or read the story of a successful person online, but you won’t know how many years of disciplined, consistent hard work he had to do offline to get to where he is today. So, when setting out to solve a problem, think long term; think of long-lasting results; think of long term relevance and not just quick gratification. This also gives you the time to be thorough in your work, carefully handling each step until a great thing is born.
4. Have high standards. Be willing to be wrong—the best way to be right a lot is to change your mind quickly when new information arrives.
Cabiojinia: Values still count – integrity, honesty, trustworthiness, discipline, punctuality, keeping to your words, respect, responsibility all still count today as they did yesterday and will forever count. You may rise through hook and crook, but the sound of your fall will be heard hundreds of miles away. Character still matters, so hold yourself to high standards from the beginning.
Also, accept that you don’t know everything and possibly won’t. You can and should strive to know as much as you can. And a sign of intelligence and maturity is being able to change your opinion when new information arrives.
5. Assume greatness is possible and that—if you work hard enough—you can achieve it. Form your vision of the future and then work backwards to understand how to realize it.
Cabiojinia: You have to break all the negative belief systems and change your thinking pattern. One of the secrets of success lies in your way of thinking. You need to come to that point where you believe that achieving high-level success is possible, irrespective of the odds, whether genetic or acquired. Will you have fear sometimes? Absolutely yes. But should the fear stop you? Absolutely No. Believe that with hard work and faith in God, you’ll reach the peak of your vision.
Create a mental image of who you want to become, of the type of world you want to build and let that image pull you to itself. However, pulling you to itself entails that you work daily, one piece at a time, to build that future you have imagined. A dream without a plan and execution will always remain a dream.
6. Don’t care at all when people call you crazy. Pessimists sound smart, but optimists build the future.
Cabiojinia: Whenever you set out to solve decade-long problems, most people will call you crazy. When you want to change the wrong beliefs or traditions, even friends will tell you that you are mad. But never stop. If everyone could do it, the problem won’t be there in the first place.
And yes, pessimists always have a detailed analysis of how bad your ideas are and how they won’t work out. It’s crazy how people know all the details of everything that could go wrong, yet, they can’t spend the same time and energy trying to figure out how to solve the same problems. But Optimists, who may not be as smart, build the future because they have faith enough to believe in their dreams and are disciplined enough to stick with them through thick and thin.
Thanks for reading. If you found this article helpful, kindly share it. Also, check out other inspiring articles on this blog. God willing, I’ll see you tomorrow with a fresh inspiring article. God bless you.