A few years back, I was fresh from selling Current Wisdom, had joined Lijit Networks and decided that I wanted to get back into public speaking.
“What do you want to speak about?” Frank asked.
“Hell if I know.”
“How about SEO?”
Figuring I knew a bit about SEO, I agreed.
I didnt want to do my normal SEO talk, and given over the past several months I was on a streak of doing silly things that seemed to get some notice – from starting #followfriday to being a fashion icon to starting a fake band to ranking #1 on Google for #1 douchebag – I thought it would be fun to do a talk called “SEO for Douchebags.”
(makes sense, right?)
About half way through my talk, I see two guys walk in. One was tall and skinny, with really long arms, and the other, a bit shorter, wore a shirt that said legacy > currency.
Through out my talk, I watched them nod and agree with what I was saying, which is always a positive thing.
Later, when I watched the keynote, I watched the dude with the brown legacy > currency shirt walk up to stage and proceed to just enthrall the audience with an energy and eagerness that was impressive.
That statement, legacy > currency, stuck with me. It something that I think of often, and worry about constantly.
Given that, when I was asked to contribute to the Domino Project‘s release of their first book Ralph Waldo Emerson‘s Self-Reliance, I jumped at the chance. We were asked to take a quote from the book and add our thoughts around it.
The quote I took?
“Every Great Man is Unique.”
Here is what I wrote:
“Greatness is defined by a desire and ability to change the world for the better. The great among us see the world in an unique way; the sound of the wind, the movement of people, the energy of space just feel/sound/appear different. They see what should be, not what is, and more importantly, live as if the change is now. Their life beats at a different tempo that us normal people can only hope to hear in our dreams. I actively listen to the world around me and intently learn from those that provide real hope for positive and lasting change through their unique way of living.”
Gary’s concept that how you leave the world, how you change the world is the strongest thing he has ever said. Its the most important concept of our generation of entrepreneurs. We are not here to make a lot of money (although, I guess, some of us are), we want to see something change. We have been left a world by our predecessors that is bereft of a clear path to greatest. Billions are without water, people sit in our biggest cities hungry. Millions of Americans are illiterate.
We are not the sum of our forefathers, and we will make the world a better place, because we are a generation of doers. We care about what we are building, and how we are leaving it.
We are more philanthropic, more political, more driven than in recent memory, and while we each stand uniquely in our paths to greatness, together, we are effecting real change.
Emerson writes that one can not become Shakespeare by studying Shakespeare. Finally, we are learning that true greatness comes from doing, and the results are amazing.