Focus on Impact, not Money
The American Dream
When I grew up, everyone spoke about the American Dream. It was the idea that anyone, regardless of circumstance, could become successful. It was the hope of many and the great ideal that we believed anyone could achieve.
As we began to see people go from little to, at one point, running the most powerful company in the world or starting out with desks made out of old doors to become the richest person in the world or dropping out of school to create a magazine that turned into a record label, airline, phone service, and more, our focus on the dream started to shift.
It’s something that has changed us; we lost our focus on impact, not money.
The Darkening of the Dream
Today the dream has become a shadow of its former self. Instead of being excited about making a difference, providing a valuable service, or changing the world, we’ve become enamored with the idea of being super rich.
It’s no longer about making a device that will help people communicate or providing a commodity that will make the world better. It’s not even about having financial independence. It’s about the money.
We’ve become so focused on money that people are currently discussing the trade off in lives for the economy (not only a flaw in logic, but a flaw in character). We need to change our focus, not from how much we make to how much of a difference we make.
We need to focus on impact, not money, like Charles Ingles did in the first series episode of Little House on the Prairie.
A Little House
in the episode A Harvest of Friends Charles Ingles finds himself in a challenging situation. As he settles his family into a new home in a new town, he struggles, but he always finds time to help others.
After an accident leaves him unable to work for a short period, a greedy businessman holds him to an agreement that will take away his oxen – his only hope of planting his farm in time for the season. When it looks like all the chips are down, suddenly all the people he has made an impact on come to help him complete the job and keep his oxen. The greedy businessman, however, must live with a tarnished reputation from which he may never recover.
This is the focus we need to have: we need to think about how we can improve our world.
Focus on Impact
If we want a richer world full of hope, we need to change our focus. We’re overworked, living large, and miserable. We seem to fight about everything not even sure what or who we should be fighting for. We’ve focused so much on ourselves and achieving our success, we’ve lost our connection to our community and our responsibility to help each other.
We need to focus on impact, not money. We need to get away from our focus on being rich in money and focus instead on being rich in impact. It not only builds stronger communities, it builds stronger relationships.
We need to focus on the impact we are making. We need to think about how what we do will make people’s lives better, not line our pockets. We must think about how the world improves, not our bank accounts.
That’s how we live a life of fulfillment. It’s also how we change the world.