“Find a job (or start a business) where you can work on problems worth solving,” often receives a bit of a blank stare in return.
So instead of convincing you that it makes sense, here’s a list of problems I think are worth solving (they might be different from yours) to illustrate the kind of work I wish everyone could (would) have:
- Electric vehicles
- Interplanetary travel
- Alternative energy sources
- Sustainable food systems
- Clean water
- Fair labor practices
- Sustainable supply chain management
- Sustainable textiles
- Any disease without an existing cure
- Local economies
- Developing better fathers
- Building leaders of the future
- Life skills for at-risk youth
- Campaign finance reform (USA)
- Pork barrel government spending
- Organic food systems
- Eliminating government subsidies for corn, soy, and wheat
- City planning
- Sustainable construction and home building
- Solar energy
- Wind-powered energy
- Restoring rainforests
- Restoring watersheds, rivers, streams, and lakes
- Promoting common supply chain principles (like Oeko-Tex, Bluesign, or Seafood Watch)
- Segregation (yes, it still exists)
- Education reform
- Foster care and adoption
Every one of these topics has at least 100 problems that need to be solved.
You could do that by founding or joining a company that tackles the problem directly (like SpaceX finding ways to tackle space travel).
You could do that by running your company in a way that tackles the problem indirectly (like Lamon Luther employing and training formerly homeless men).
You could start or work for a company providing tools to or telling the story of companies working on these important problems like Shopify empowering business owners with a way to sell their sustainable goods).
Perhaps most important to all of this is that we stop saying things like: “Follow your passion.” Maybe instead we should say, “Focus on solving important problems for other people.”
Empowering others with the ability to live a good life, making it possible for humans to continue to exist on this earth, and fundamentally changing paradigms about what is possible are things we should all be passionate about.
Start with a problem. It’s much more interesting (and much less selfish).