There comes a point in life when you think, “Nothing will ever be the same after this moment.” Sometimes, it’s not in a good way. But otherwise, such an event is miraculous. A cornerstone of your odyssey. And this particular event was certainly in the latter camp.
It was an ordinary Friday morning. I was stationed at my post, as usual — putting my desk in order before the arduous work day. While closing the mess of browser windows from the night before, a YouTube thumbnail caught my attention. “I’m afraid of the future”, read the title. On the thumbnail was a girl with auburn hair, cloaked in the soft velvet light of dusk.
Intrigued, I clicked on it to investigate. And after the first 30 seconds, I knew my life would never be the same. The cogs started turning before I knew what was going on. I felt myself loosen up as the burdens fell off my shoulders. A breeze must’ve dried out my left eye, because it soon welled up with tears.
The video was from Polina, one of the small YouTubers I keep up with. As a young woman growing up in Russia, a culturally — and politically — restricted country, she was fearful for her future. Gray-roof houses. Packed minibuses. A society working 25 hours a day. It terrified her. But she had no clear way out. Which resonated with me a lot. After all, I grew up in a similarly restrictive country, Malaysia. I know what it’s like to have a dead-end future by default. So Polina’s story spoke to me.
Not to mention the fact that I made it out. I shattered the same wall she was up against. So I felt like it was a calling. I had to help. It was my duty. And I realized all this in the first half-minute of the video, before I was even fully aware what it was about. The commitments were set. The deeds chiseled in stone. I was going to help this girl. Whatever the cost. And sure enough, in less than a week, we’ve mobilized. At the time of writing, Polina and I are in the early stages of a collaboration. And I’ve truly never happier. Now, I fight for something greater than myself: Allowing an artist to explore the world and write their story. If that’s not glory, I don’t know what is.
Which brings us to assets. Why do I tell this story? To introduce my most valuable asset: Purpose. A soul-gripping purpose is the most powerful tool in your arsenal. Because that’s what allows you to jump before knowing where you’ll land. To give up that which you cherish for the sake of the greater cause. To lay down the adequate sacrifices on the altar. Nothing else moves you this way. Not strength. Not skill. And certainly not money.
Hence I, for one, believe a solid sense of purpose is your most powerful asset. After all, it turned the most selfish man in the world, me, into a patron of one of the greatest young artists I’ve ever seen. Practically overnight. All the money, connections, and power I’ve gathered from all my adventures couldn’t do this. In fact, all it took was one girl in Siberia and her glorious little dream.