I was browsing through an old book store yesterday morning, when I stumbled upon a fantastic book. “Start Something That Matters,” by Blake Mycoskie, is a book for anyone who wants to begin making a positive impact on the world. Blake Mycoskie is the Founder, or “Chief Shoe Giver” as he likes to call himself, at the revolutionary company, TOMS Shoes. Blake started the for-profit company after his visit to Argentina where he saw the children who suffered from infection because they walked on dirt roads without shoes, and were also unable to attend school because they did not have the money to purchase the appropriate school shoes. Blake set out to change this problem by creating a company that donates a pair of shoes to a child in need for every shoe that is purchased, One for One.
Blake’s book, “Start Something That Matters” boosts people who have an interest in changing the world, and gives them a guide to starting a non-profit, bettering an existing non-profit, getting involved with philanthropy, and/or incorporating philanthropy into a for-profit company. Here are some of my favorite ideas from the book:
-Passion is important. “It’s increasingly easy to lose touch with our true passions- sometimes because we get distracted by everyday living; sometimes simply because in the usual stream of small talk or transactable business, no one ever asks us about our dreams. If you are not sure about your passion, here are three questions I sometimes ask people:
1. If you did not have to worry about money, what would you do with your time?
2. What kind of work would you want to do?
3. What cause would you serve?
– Simplicity will keep you sane.”Own as little as you can get away with. The fact is, the more you have, the more effort and money you have to spend time on taking care of it.” Blake also says, “Don’t let technology enslave you. Too many people take what’s good about technology- the convenience- and turn it into a form of oppression.” Tim Ferris is quoted in another part of the book, recommending the website, RescueTime, to track the amount of time you spend wasting away on the internet. This site will actually block sites like Facebook, during certain hours of the day to increase productivity!
-Be the change you want to see in the world. In order to build trust with the people inside AND outside your company or group, you must act as you would like to be treated. Blake quotes Robert K. Greenleaf’s 1970 essay, “The Servant as Leader” when he describes “The Servant as Leader” phenomenon. According to Blake, “the term refers to someone who uses qualities like empathy, listening skills, stewardship, and awareness rather than power to assert his or her authority to lead.”
-It is never too early to change the world. “There is no need to wait anymore. Give until you are sixty-five, and then give some more.”
-Creating change does not have to be a HUGE deal. Start small with just one thing that you think you can help with. ” If you look at all the terrible troubles the world faces, you may feel helpless to do anything. So simplify things and just one issue, even one person.”
-Live selfless. Blake describes a new campaign with Charity: water, where people can ask their friends and family to forgo presents on their birthday and instead ask their friends to give their age in money to the charity.
Toward the end of the book, Blake quotes Mahatma Ganghi, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” So. True.
So my mission for you guys is to check out this book, and to start something that will impact the world. My mission is Coloring Countries, (www.coloringcountries.org). Even if it is something small like running a night at the local soup kitchen, you can feel great that you have impacted someone’s life… and doesn’t that just make life worth living??
Thanks for reading everyone!