Wanna create a meaningful impact in the world? Sam Altman has some perspective to share.
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Vector theory of impact:
The expected value of your impact on the world is like a vector.
It is defined by two things: direction and magnitude. That’s it.
Direction is what you choose to work on. Almost no one spends enough time thinking about this. A useful framework for this is to think on a long-but-not-too-long timescale (10-20 years seems to work),
to think about where the world is going to go if current exponentials continue on (which is harder to do than it sounds like it should be), to think about what you’re genuinely interested in, and to think about what you can do better than anyone else
(someone will ~always be better than you at any one thing—the easiest way to do something no one else can is to be 95th percentile at several skills, and to do something at their intersection). You also have to learn to trust yourself when people don’t see what you see.
Magnitude is how hard you push in your chosen direction. Most people don’t push nearly hard enough—they give up too quickly, or care too much about what other people think, or don’t work hard enough, or something like that.
Pushing hard is often uncomfortable, but it is how things get moved. Developing an early and strong sense of self-belief (but not so strong you don’t adapt to feedback and new data) is critical to this. Getting people to join you in your quest, and inspiring them to outperform,
is usually critical—most really important things can only be done by teams. The easiest way to push hard over a long period of time seems to be to really care a lot about the work itself and the outcome you’re striving towards.
I find it liberating that you only have get two big things right!