The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man. — George Bernard Shaw
It isn’t enough to break the mold. When Apple introduced LISA in 1983, they were the first company to bring a user friendly interface to personal computing. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak realized that technology could be completely redesigned with the user in mind, and from here rose the iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad of today. To be truly great, you must cast your company, products, and yourself in a new light and challenge everyone else to get with the program.
What is your gift? It can be the way you recite poetry, your ability to hit a knuckle ball, or the intensity in which you study Newton’s laws of motion. On the surface, Steve Jobs is a techie, but his true talent is his ability to marry technology and the arts in products designed with the consumer in mind. Your particular tone, hand-eye coordination, and complex reasoning is what makes you great because it is unique to you. But the gift alone does not suffice. Understanding its application and undertaking its execution is when the world begins to take notice.
What scares me more than anything is mediocrity, which is not to say I excel at most things. On the contrary, most things I do quite poorly. Outside of track, I am not a very good athlete. I mispronounce words all the time, receive at least one driving citation (including parking tickets) every month, and not even my mother enjoys my cooking. I have areas of improvement, and I’ll be the first one to point them out. I also have a few strengths, and I’ve never been shy about expressing those, either. I am a great listener, my comedic timing is razor sharp, and I never make a promise I can’t keep. Those are my gifts, and each one of us has within us everything we need to be great, and from here we can affect change.
For me business is about one thing: solving life’s problems. What does the consumer want, how can we get it to them, and who can we employ to help us along the way? The answers to these questions create new markets and employ millions.
My company, Peggsit.com, helps put people seeking work together with individuals or small businesses looking for help in their daily lives–whether it’s assembling those maddening BILLY bookshelves from IKEA or mowing your lawn. Our goal is simple: we want to put Americans back to work one gig at a time. In four short months, more than 1,000 users in our San Francisco beta have been able to keep the lights on and food on the table by assembling furniture, walking their neighbor’s dog, or picking up groceries for the lady down the block. We have disrupted the nature of work, but it has taken the collective talents of individuals trying to solve old problems in new ways.
And each of us has an undiscovered talent to be shared with our co-workers, family, and friends but it takes stepping out of the proverbial box. It’s very simple: if you want to offer something different then you must think individually and do what’s considered contrary. It takes resolve, action, and discipline. Most importantly, you must possess the courage to think exponentially, trust your instincts indubitably, and push the world progressively.
[Image: Flickr user the prodigal untitled 13]