Andrew Carnegie, the late 19th and early 20th century American businessman, followed a philosophy he called The Gospel of Wealth. He became fabulously wealthy through the the steel industry and decided to do something that had never been done by anyone of similar financial stature. Instead of hoarding his earnings and setting up a family trust fund, like most millionaires of his time, Carnegie decided to try to give away all of his money before he died. In fact, once he retired from business giving away his money became his full-time job (and actually employed several other people as well). He donated the money necessary for thousands of libraries, theaters, church organs, and a myriad of other buildings and services. He knew that this was going to be his goal while he was making his millions so his guiding philosophy, his “Gospel of Wealth,” was to make as much money as possible in order to give away as much money as possible. The irony of suppressing employees, reducing wages, and breaking strikes (often violently) in order to make more money which he eventually gave away anyway in services for his employees and other poor people is not lost on me. However, the guiding principle, being as successful as possible in order to return that success back into society, is what fascinates me.
I've been trying to live by my own version of the Gospel of Wealth. I don't think I'll ever be in the position of funding thousands of libraries and having so much money that my full-time employment is giving it away. However, I am spending my life dedicated to the acquisition of something. Instead of money, I'm interested in accumulating a life of distinction and value. My dedication is to helping people live as consciously as possible. To achieve that end, I have to be dedicated to the idea of personal development. In fact, you could say that I have my own Personal Development Gospel of Wealth. My aim is to grow and learn as much as possible in order to return that growth and knowledge back to society. If we all lived with the idea of the Personal Development Gospel of Wealth close to our hearts, we'd all be working toward making the world a better place in our own unique way.
MY PERSONAL GENIUS, YOUR PERSONAL GENIUS
For example, I’m currently learning as much as possible about being a great life coach. By learning the principles of effective coaching through books, experience, observation, and other learning opportunities I'm both growing as an individual and becoming a more effective conduit for positive change in my environment.
The wide variety of interests and skills that we all have allow this Gospel of Wealth to provide for nearly every aspect of life in our society. People have passions for art, writing, building, customer service, making money, answering difficult questions, and finding cures for diseases. I'm continually amazed at what some people are passionate about. But just because I can't imagine being excited about ants doesn't mean somebody else isn't. And that's awesome. That's what makes the Personal Development Gospel of Wealth so powerful.
DO WHAT YOU’RE GOOD AT AND THEN DO IT SOME MORE
This entire concept is connected to the idea of locating your strengths and then focusing your effort into improving them even more. I’m a huge proponent of improving weaknesses to the point where they aren’t detrimental but reserving true and focused effort for making your strengths truly world class.
I encourage you to be like Andrew Carnegie and his Gospel of Wealth. Do everything you can to grow and learn as much as possible in order to return that growth and knowledge back into society through gifts of your own personal genius. You have something that nobody else does. It’s up to you to figure out what it is, how to grow it, and then share it with somebody else. However, just because it's up to you, doesn't mean you have to do it on your own. There are people who want to help you unlock your abilities. Truly, it may seem like an altruistic act to help somebody improve themselves. But, a world full of people doing what they love, and doing it well, is quite selfishly a better world for me.
Personally, that’s what renews my faith in humanity and makes it a little bit easier to get up every morning. I’m excited to share with you and I’m even more excited to see what you have to share with me.