Every morning I wake up to find about 4-5 emails or Facebook messages that read something like this:
Don't get me wrong, I do find it very humbling that people reach out to me for advice. I do not, however, agree with the motivation that these emails are written with.
Plain and simple: If you want to get recognized for your work, stop trying to get recognized.
My friends that are getting recognized for their work through Forbes lists, TED talks, national media sources, etc. do not pursue their individual passions to get recognized, but rather, to see a change in the world.
The best way to look at it is by thinking about your primary incentive for pursuing your goals. Is it to become famous? Is it to get to a celebrity status? Or is it to see a difference being made?
Whether or not I would have been recognized by Forbes, CNN, Popular Science, etc. I would have still continued with my lab work and my company as a whole. I would not have waited around to get 'validation' or a sense of security from huge media sources. I did not need permissions to see a change.
The way I see it: I would rather eradicate global warming and be completely unknown to the world than make a marginal change and be known by everyone.
I know what you are thinking. I clearly have not answered the question: How do YOU get on the Forbes '30 Under 30' list.
Here is a pragmatic, step-by-step, approach to the situation :
1. Stop trying to make the list (or get any media attention for that matter)
2. Go make a change in your life, someone else's life, or the whole world
3. If you follow steps 1 & 2, Forbes will find you. Trust me.
"Here’s to the crazy ones. The rebels. The troublemakers. The ones who see things differently. While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do."
There is something about Apple's 'Think Different' campaign that really gets to me. Whether it is the simple imagery or the articulate message, I completely agree with the ad. There is definitely a fine line between being a genius and being crazy. Finding the median has lead to some of the most world-changing innovations.
I am just not sure if we still think like this.
As an inventor and nascent entrepreneur, I have noticed a few inconvenient truths. The world is honestly becoming mundane. We are going about our days and nothing is changing. As a society, we have become comfortable with following the status quo and thinking statically. In such a changing world, I think we are falling behind.
As a child, I always assumed by 2012 we would have fully functioning robots, a definite cure to cancer, flying cars, and no threat of famine. Peter Thiel (Co-Founder of Pay Pal) summarizes my thoughts with his famous quotation: “We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters.”
Now more than ever, there is a considerable need to 'think different' and change the world.
There is definitely still a glimpse of hope. In the past year, as I have grown my network, I have honestly met some of the most fascinating people in the world. Whether in the field of hip hop, energy design, software development, or real estate, these people see the world differently. They see a world in need of improvement and they are working diligently to change it.
Okay so, who am I to talk? Well, I’m just another 18 year old, running a clean tech company, trying to have an impact on the world. I may not have already changed the world, but I am confident enough to say that I aspire to it. I see a true lack of innovation in some of the most demanding fields (including environmental control and energy production) and I plan to address them.
I am crazy enough to think I can change the world. Let's see what happens.