When MrBeast first started on Youtube, he did what plenty of kids his age did: He recorded his screen while playing some Minecraft, battling others in Pokémon, and going for epic shots in Call of Duty. After a few years of doing that with very minor success, he began showing himself on camera, making short films with his friends. His growth sped up, but it was not until they did crazy stunts, like wrapping himself in cellophane and toilet paper or counting to 100,000, that his channel really picked up steam.
Ever since, once question has been driving MrBeast’s ideas for new videos: “How can we make something even bigger?” That’s how we got videos of him giving away $10,000 to strangers, filling his friend’s house with Lego, and, more recently, a full-on replication of Squid Game in real-life.
When his production budget increased so drastically, however, the tone of his videos subtly started shifting. There are still the usual, larger-than-life MrBeast videos his more than 100 million subscribers have become used to, but suddenly, other types of videos have entered the picture. “I cleaned the world’s dirtiest beach,” for example. MrBeast gives $1,000,000 worth of food to people in need, opens a restaurant that pays you to eat there, and cures 1,000 people’s glaucoma, cataracts, and other vision-affecting conditions. What happened?
At some point, Jimmy Donaldson realized: From now on, bigger just means better. If you’ve already reached Netflix-level production value on your Youtube videos, there isn’t much higher you can go by spending more — but you can make content about more important causes. You can tell a different story rather than just a more expensive one.
The allure of “bigger” is that it promises to work. If counting to 10,000 is a hit, counting to 100,000 is almost guaranteed to get you even more fame. Most of us never max out on our “bigger” potential — and so forever stay stuck in a hamster wheel of mundane aspirations. When you look at people at the very top of the “bigger” chain, however — Bill Gates, Meryl Streep, MrBeast — you’ll almost always see them turning to “better.” Better ways to spend and donate their money, better issues to bring awareness to, better stories to share and spread across the world.
The lesson for us is that “better” is an option long before “bigger” runs out. You don’t have to make a million first to start selling a better digital product. You don’t need to retire to make a documentary about a town that’s dear to you. Often, “better” is the better way to go “bigger,” and we’re just scared to take a leap of faith.
For MrBeast, “bigger” first meant putting more of himself into his videos — often literally. Then, he had to up the stakes of what he was doing on camera, and now, the craziness of his next stunt is only limited by his imagination. Thankfully, Jimmy never forgot about “better” along the way. He remembered that “bigger” is only a means to an end, and once he reached that end, he began choosing “better” instead.
The world wants to reward us with more for more, but if we insist on getting more for better, usually, it is still happy to comply. For every next step, ask yourself: Is “bigger” really just bigger? Or does “bigger” actually mean “better?” Act accordingly, and whether it is views, subscribers, readers, fans, money, impact, or glory you seek, the spoils will never be in short supply.