Heaven and earth are not out to make friends;
Thus, they treat all creatures as straw dogs.
The sage is not out to make friends;
Thus he treats the people as straw dogs.
Perhaps this is something like a bellows between heaven and earth:
It is empty, but never exhausted;
It moves, and creatures manifest endlessly.
A lot of words will get you nowhere;
Better to just stay centered.
Tao Te Ching
We can build, and build, but heaven and earth don’t respect the laws of society. Much of what we concern ourselves with on a day to day basis will, ultimately, be washed away.
There’s a lot of talk in the startup community about “changing the world.” While I have tremendous respect for anyone brave enough to build a business, the fact is that companies like Uber and AirBnb aren’t changing the world, they’re changing the transportation and hotel industries for a narrow segment of the population. If you listen to the investors who got in early on these startups, or talk to the founders themselves, you’ll hear a different story.
But where are all these players 100 years from now?
I believe you can admire and support innovators, without taking such a small view of the world as to think they own it.
We don’t own, we all rent.
That reality should force us to work with humility, to accept fortune with humility.