In 1997 Apple Inc. created a new advertising slogan, “Think Different.” I was really affected by the original concept of the campaign and the philosophy it reflects. The original text is below. I found it on Wikipedia.
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward. Maybe they have to be crazy. How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels? We make tools for these kinds of people. While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.“
In the past year I’ve experienced so much, not even a fraction of what life has to offer. It’s overwhelming, but I think I’ve figured out what I want to do with my life and that is change the world. There’s so much wrong in this world that doesn’t have to be. I’ve been joking recently that my to-do list gets longer and longer with every mention of world news and how am I going to save the world when the world is working so hard to prevent being saved. I know it’s not a one person job, but talking about it this way makes me feel obligated, responsible to affect change- or at least try. I have one whole life to live and when I’m gone, everything I wanted and everything I had will be inconsequential. I’ve always been passionate about living my life for others, but I think the idea really embedded itself into me since I’ve arrived here at Virginia Tech. With all the opportunities for self-discovery and learning about others, it’s hard not to come away with the idea that we are not alone in this world, so why live only for ourselves? Anyway… I digress.
Steve Jobs was a great, smart man. In 1994 he spoke in a documentary by PBS, offering his wisdom. Like Jobs, I’ve seen a trend in the way people approach the idea of “life” in that it is an existing, predetermined structure, that we are all pieces in the game and we follow the path to the Candy Castle or we get stuck in the Molasses Swamp on the way. That’s not true at all. I like to believe that we can affect the game board; that we are the path, not the pieces. As Jobs put it, “when you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world… That’s a very limited life.” I want my life to be broader than those smothered by this simple idea that the world is unchangeable. It’s not. I, like Jobs, want to change life to make it better.
I want “to shake off this erroneous notion that life is there and you’re just gonna live in it, versus embrace it, change it, improve it, make your mark upon it.”
Though I haven’t figured out what medium through which I’ll attack all the messed up things in this world, whether it’s through pursuing a degree in higher education and working to reform the cookie cutter university model, or bringing my fresh ideas based in ethics to the world of corporate finance, or flying to Nepal to work with orphan children and pursue my purely humanitarian interests. All I have in mind is the end goal for now. I’m going to change the world and I’m going to stray from the path on the game board; I’m taking the Gumdrop Pass (whatever I decide it will be).