In an interview with Tom Bilyeu, Michael Ovitz, a highly successful talent agency owner in Hollywood, talks about how much easier we have it now and subtly hints to the glory (and difficulty) of cranking things out from scratch as he did in the entertainment industry.
It’s worth spending a moment to consider the implications of “you have it easy, I have it hard” that’s so common in older generations. Yes, of course it’s easy to do what they did now – they’ve already done it and shown us the way. But it’s still “hard” to create new stuff, just as they did. And there’s no glory in doing the same stuff they did from the same difficult starting point they had.
There’s no glory in rediscovering America.
Are we supposed to only get credit when we have terrible tools like the prior generation? I think not, and it’s common knowledge that you shouldn’t reinvent the wheel. If you have to keep reinventing the wheel, and don’t stand on the shoulders of giants, progress isn’t going to happen. It takes a lifetime to invent the car. It takes another lifetime to invent a self driving car. It takes another lifetime to invent a way to get off of Earth.
If everyone had to reinvent the wheel, we’d never get anywhere. And people should try to find those handouts as quickly as possible. We get most progress in humanity not from patting ourselves on the back bragging about how we created something from scratch, but how we used a platform made by others. Bezos can’t make Amazon.com without someone else having built the platform of the internet itself. Someone can’t make a nice homemade craft business without having Amazon Handmade (an Etsy competitor) as a platform. We’re always standing on a platform of some sort.
So when someone says, “We didn’t have all the tools you kids have nowadays! We had to do XYZ from scratch!” In reality, they did nothing from scratch. They created something from a platform made from prior generations. And doing stuff from scratch will get you to “invent” the same stuff that’s already been invented – meaning you’ve not progressed, but patted yourself on the back real good.
It’s better to find the furthest point that humanity had trudged and then go a bit further on your own, with “everything all just handed to us,” because otherwise, you go no where.
Find the easy way, take the tools made by others, jump on the platforms already created for us, and go a bit further from that. It’s really about having a big subconscious “shut up!” to people that say things like, “yeah, but you have it so easy now!” – we sure do, to do the same old stuff it would be much easier to do now. But we’re not doing easy stuff. We’re pushing further than they ever could, using the tools and platforms we never would have had the time to invent if it wasn’t for them.
If you’re doing something that makes something easy for someone, or helps someone create or grow something, you’re probably doing the right thing.
There’s no glory in inventing the wheel anymore.