Life’s Most Important Question

What Do You Want Most?

Take a look at the pictures of these two men:

Do you know who this is?

How about this guy?

I would be willing to bet that you could name the man in the first picture, but not the second, even though both men lived at the same time and are each legends in their own right. The first picture is Theodore Roosevelt, who served as the 26th President of the United States. But who’s the man in the second picture? If you know who he is, you’re either fascinated with titans of business as I am, or you have an interest in philanthropy. The man in the picture is Andrew Carnegie. Mr. Carnegie led the expansion of the American steel industry in the late 19th century, and when he retired, he was the richest man in the world. In today’s dollars, he had a net worth of $310 billion (that’s larger than 3.5 times the amount of Bill Gates fortune today). Andrew Carnegie then devoted the rest of his life to giving away every cent he made through philanthropy.

My point here, is Andrew Carnegie amassed a fortune that is almost inconceivable today. A fortune like that may never be in the possession of a single human being again, yet he’s almost already forgotten by the world. Theodore Roosevelt though, will never be forgotten.

All of this information leads me to my question: what do you want most? In my book, Getting Strength From My Struggles: The Secret to Success in College That Nobody Talks About, I stated that what I want most is to be a leader of people. I want to lead a team of people to create something so significant that it pushes the human race forward. I want my name to be remembered for thousands of years.

After figuring out what I wanted most, my question became: how do I get there? What will be my vehicle to be remembered for thousands of years? Entrepreneurship, business, and the accumulation of money started out as my answer. I thought that accumulating a significant fortune would help me forge a legacy; something that will last long after I’m gone. But money only buys short-term influence. The beginning of this post is proof that if $310 billion can’t buy you immortality, then no amount of money can. Greatness is more than just money.

I’m after long-term influence. Legacy. I was only able to navigate what path not to take though because I could answer the question: what do I want most? That question plays a huge role in guiding the decisions I make in my life. I encourage you to ask that question of yourself. If you were to ask others what they want most, you’ll find that very few people can give you a clear, definitive answer. Take a step back and let that question really sink in. It changed my life, and I’m confident it will do the same for you.

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