A gift unshared is a gift wasted.
Similarly X is Google’s creation BUT the purpose of X is NOT to serve Google; it is to solve problems OUTSIDE of Google. Google realized that thousands of people already show up to work to make sure Google is working. X needs to show up to work to make sure the WORLD is functioning optimally. X looks outside without it having a philanthropic mission.
“Instead X exists, ultimately, to create world-changing companies that could eventually become the next Google. The one clear directive was what X would not do. While almost every corporate research lab tries to improve the core product of the mother ship, X was conceived as a sort of anti–corporate research lab; its job was to solve big challenges anywhere except in Google’s core business.”
The thing we must remember is that service of others and self-preservation are not mutually exclusive. When I was at the American Dental Association in December of last year, we engaged in a negotiations exercise. I was the corporate executive tasked with negotiating a new employee’s contract. If you know me, I have a competitive streak. This was a game and I wanted to win so I walked in ferocious, ready to rumble. But after talking to my role-playing colleague, I quickly learned that I did not have to fight her on more than half the points. She wanted many of the same things I did. Many of our goals were aligned.
The same happens in business. No one expects you to run a philanthropic organization unless you happen to be a non-profit. Doing well for others will also mean doing well for yourself, especially in the world of healthcare. I have a tradition. Before walking into my practice every morning, I pause and glance at two words I have written on the front page of my planner : TO SERVE. I remind myself that above all else, I am walking into my work to serve my patients, to care for them with the highest standard of care, to get them out of pain and into optimal oral and overall health. That is my mission and by serving them, I serve myself.
“No one at X would claim that it is on the verge of unleashing the next platform technology, like electricity or the internet—an invention that could lift an entire economy. But what X is attempting is nonetheless audacious.”
Sometimes we feel like in order to give, we must give impossibly large. Our work, much like the work of X, is unlikely to be Earth shattering (or Earth sustaining). But we can try. Sometimes setting out to change the world in one fell swoop, has the opposite effect. It overwhelms us. It stalls us into inaction. Because the next action is not the action which will transform our world. The next project simply cannot be something as revolutionary as the world wide web or electricity. But here’s the thing. The internet was not originally the internet. Electricity was not electricity. When Tesla discussed the "world wireless system" in the early 1900's, he likely did not foresee in entirety what his projection would become today. But he discussed it, decades earlier than the WWW could exist, nonetheless. When Dr. Galvani was twitching frog legs in the 1800's, he was not doing so imagining outlets in walls. These pioneers could not have predicted their actions would have changed the world in the capacity in which they did. Hindsight is 20-20. The thing we must remember is the great occurs when the small builds up.
Doing small things with CONSISTENCY and INTENTIONALITY is how to make a big difference.
Do not sell yourself short. If you simply set out to solve your own problems, you will likely succeed. But in the process, you will use your gifts unambitiously. You will waste the gifts that were given to you to share with the world. You will be shortsighted in your success. No matter how disadvantaged your life is, no matter how little you may think you have to offer the world, you have a gift. You have something you do well, that you care about more than anyone else. And that is a privilege.
To feel passion, to notice, to feel compelled, that is a gift. So I ask you, what will you do with this golden ticket?