I would even venture to say that you ought to reject the “real world” thinking that paralyses a lot of people’s genius. Do so by combining two seemingly unrelated theories and concepts. Be creative.
Put another way, in the case of business, be both idealistic (values driven) and pragmatic (profit driven). It can be done… just as F. Scott Fitzgerald once said of intelligence and pushing its limits:
“The test of a rate inteligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.”
Naming it after his last name, Merck, an American pharmaceutical company, was founded in 1891 by George. I mention it because of its admirable ability to preserve its core values — the very reason for its existence — which have nothing to do with money or material things and still manage to go after profits, which make it one of the largest corporations in the world.
In your own hustle, what are the values you uphold? What is that compelling reason for your existence? Put another way: what principles does your hustle hinge on and will never change immaterial of what fashions come in and go?
If you haven’t thought about them — this is the time. Even if you’re a professional in a corporation building a career in someone else’s company. Or you happen to run your own shop. If not for work and your career, develop them for yourself. Personal principles that will guide you through life.
Apple Inc. aims to produce elegant consumer products and services second to none. And do so while positioning itself at the intersection of humanities / liberal arts and technology. Nike gives you authentic athletic performance. While the German automobile-enginering Gods, Mercedes Benz, offer you The Best or Nothing!
Merck expresses its value as simply as: “We are workers in industry who are genuinely inspired by the lideals of advancement of medical science, and of service to humanity.”
And they propelled humanity forward when they decided to develop a drug called Mectizan, meant to cure river blindness. Without outside funding, they moved ahead with the plan hoping that governments and other parties would purchase the drug to disseminate once it was released. But this didn’t happen. So Merck decided to distribute it itself using its own resources and get it to millions of people whose lives were improved by the drug.
Merck chief executive, P. Roy Vagelos, once noted:
“When I first went to Japan 15 years ago, I was told by Japanese business people that it was Merck that brought streptomycin to Japan after World War I, to eliminate tuberculosis which was eating up their society. We did that. We didn’t make any money. But it’s no accident that Merck is the largest American pharmaceutical company in Japan today. The long-term consequences of such actions are not always clear, but somehow I think they always pay of.”
The reason you need to be clear about your principles and values is because they’re the very bedrock of your career or organisation. They’re the reason you exist and do what you do beyond the making of money.
My ultimate reason to exist in the Communications and Media space is to help people form, package and tell their stories and thus communicate their genius. And with my writing, speaking and advisory work, I have a quest to gain new insights, develop new concepts and ideas, and create application tools and models that make a contribution in other people’s lives.
Yours might be, I exist as a Comedian to help people have fun and relax. And I consult businesses on how they can use humour in their operations.
This sort of mind-shifting speaks to far more than money. However, it isn’t completely divorced from it because you find that the more brilliant you are at comedy, the more deals you close and money you make. By simply articulating what you stand for, and strongly believing and living by those principles and standards.
But, to people who are only used to the one way or the other mentality, infusing their deeply-held values into their story and ultimately all their work / career or business processes might be a little paradoxical.
So I suggest you take a leaf out of George Merck II’s experience with his family’s company, take a good and throrough look at yourself and what you’re aiming to achieve with your existence, and then apply this in your life:
“I want to express the principles which we in our company have endeavored to live up to. Here is how it sums up: We try to remember that medicine is for the patient. We try never to forget that medicine is for the people. It is not for the profits. The profits follow, and if we have remembered that, they have never failed to appear. The beter we have remembered it, the larger they have been.”
All the best with your endeavours!
Communicate Your Genius