The Myth of Setting Out To Change The World

The Myth of Setting Out To Change The World

As your ego grows and your success story is re-written, you give yourself permission to dream on a grander scale.

The other day I read an interesting article by Ryan Holiday titled, ‘How To Change The Story In Your Head That’s Stopping You From Succeeding’.

It began with the following paragraph:

A few years ago, at a private event, Google founder Larry Page told a rapt audience that the way he evaluates prospective companies and entrepreneurs is by a single metric — asking them if what they’re working on was something that could “change the world.”

Holiday goes on to explain that, “Trying to ‘change the world’ was not the mission with which most great or successful things started out with. It’s only our ego, afterwards, that creates these stories. And it blinds us to the traits which actually create success.

I couldn’t agree more.

When I think back to day one of Teach Starter, our vision didn’t involve changing the world.

It began as a selfish pursuit.

We wanted to create a business for ourselves; to work on something that mattered to us.

When we hit 100 customers, we thought we had made it.

It’s tempting to look back and think that things unfolded with precision and perfection. It’s easy to write a story that highlights the ‘good’ and readily dismisses the ‘bad’. A story that is full of ‘ups’ and bereft of ‘downs’.

As Holiday acknowledges, it’s our ego that creates these stories.

It’s true. Why would our ego want us to look bad?

Your ego is always striving to add meaning to your past.

As you continually reflect on your own journey and write new chapters to your story, your ego imbues a sense of meaning to actions that may or may not have had a positive effect.

When the fine details of hard work become blurry and your vision shifts from the granular to the grand, it’s easy to get caught up in your own story of success.

It’s easy to forget the grind that got you there in the first place.

Don’t forget the granular when your ego focuses on the grand.

At Teach Starter, our vision is of a world where every child is inspired to lead a purposeful and happy life through learning.

This came about after reflecting long and hard on where we’ve come from and where we want to go. I now know that our ego wrote this script — and that’s not a bad thing.

But, let’s be clear about one thing:

Our vision didn’t build our business.

It was built on care and determination.

On time and quality.

On hard work and discipline.

On early mornings responding to emails to ensure a member could download a resource to share with their class that day.

On late nights designing new content that painstakingly required 14 versions so that members across the world could use our resources with confidence.

On executing with excellence.

It’s the seconds of work that accumulate. The time invested in executing to the best of your ability.

It’s these moments that create success.

It’s these moments that give you the platform to reflect deeply on your impact and craft a vision to change the world.

Rarely do we set out with grand visions to change the world. It’s a myth that is simply unrealistic. However, ‘success’ gives us a tiny glimpse of what’s possible.

As your ego grows and your success story is re-written, you give yourself permission to dream on a grander scale.

This is the place where visions are born.

Scott Tonges

Scott Tonges

I’m Scott. I’m a web designer & developer who builds digital products. I co-founded an EdTech business with my wife called Teach Starter.