It’s a paradox, but it works. In fact, it’s the only thing that truly does. If entrepreneurs, artists, and makers only gave the world what it’s already clamoring for, we’d drown in a sea of fast food, clickbait, and plastic smartphones even more so than we are – and yes, that is possible.
But the only reason we have smartphones in the first place is that someone, namely Steve Jobs, made one because he wanted it. I don’t know how much he wanted it for consumers vs. for himself, but creation is the one time ego plays an important, even essential role: If you’re not stubborn in bringing something from the realm of imagination into reality, your best work will never see the light of day.
For entrepreneurs, this often means scratching their own itch. Solve a problem you struggle with, and if other people face the same issue, you may have yourself a business. This concept extends far beyond being pragmatic, however. If you want to see something in the world that’s not there yet, no matter how harebrained the idea, it is your job, even your cosmic duty, to build it, for you have no clue how well received it might end up being – and neither do we.
How often do we not know what we want until we see it? This applies to food, friends, jobs, even who we’ll marry. It is not always the case, but in principle, no field of choice is off limits. Yet, on those rare occasions when we do know exactly what we want, we shy away as soon as we realize it doesn’t exist yet. What are you waiting for?! For someone else to make the thing? Nonsense! Roll up your sleeves and get to work!
It is ironic that only we can be the people to give the world what we most desperately want to see in it, but that’s how any kind of progress is made.
By the way, it may not always be a tangible thing. We’re not all here to make smartphones, paint, or build chairs. Sometimes, what only you can give is a feeling, an attitude, a moral stance. You can show love where there seems to be room for none or put your foot down and say, “No! Until this far, and no further.”
Whatever your contribution will be, give the world what you want, and you’ll always feel like the world has enough to offer. Content. Satisfied. After all, you made it so – and you played your part in the grand cycle of history to perfection.