Try to be be useful in life – Elon Musk
Try to be useful. Do things that are useful to your fellow human beings, to the world. Its very hard to be useful. Very hard. Contribute more than you consume, try to have positive net contribution to society. That’s the thing to aim for. Don’t try to be leader for the sake of being leader or whatever. A lot of time the people who you want to be the leaders are the people who do not want to be the leader. If you live useful life, that is a good life. A life worth having lived.Elon Musk, Lex Fridman Podcast #252
I was listening to Elon Musk’s podcast discussion with Lex Fridman wherein towards end of the interview Lex asked Elon about advice to young people.
As an answer to that question, Elon replied with the answer of being useful that I quoted at the start of this post.
I was in gym at the time and the answer had me pause my workout and led me deep into introspection.
How have I been useful in life so far?
First round of thoughts were about trying extremely hard to evaluate my life so far and come up with list of things that have made the society or the world a better place.
- This blog. These days I do not write informative posts and they are mostly my brain dumps, however when I was in India I wrote a lot of detailed travel guides. The guides covered places which weren’t available online and even started off tourism business for some places like Koshmal Waterfall. Is it a net positive contribution? 100%
- Created websites for schools and organizations, like https://shantabavidyalaya.com.
- I donate and help out friends in need. Although this is minimal effort and I am able to do just because of my financial situation.
- Folks reach out to me on Instagram time to time and mention that I inspire them. But then that’s just motivation and not really being useful.
That’s about it. The compactness of aforementioned list baffled me. I unquestionably want to create value in this world.
How can I be more useful in life going forward?
Some low-hanging fruits are:
- Revive this blog and write more about topics which can be both provide value and be useful to people.
- Join volunteer efforts. I may not create value but can at least be useful.
- Use my software engineering knowledge to build website/develop app to solve pain points. I do not know what to solve but if the problem is large enough, this can be useful at scale.