Two nights ago, a very positive COVID-19 story came to light. This author voluntarily collaborates with a small team that includes Dr. David Brenner of Columbia University's Center for Radiological Research. Several years ago, Dr. Brenner began studying the effect on flu and coronaviruses of 222nm UVC ultraviolet light, called "far-UVC". As soon as Dr. Brenner finished his report two nights ago, another volunteer colleague and I finished our work to make sure we'd compiled the information so it could reach decision-makers in Washington asap and in summary form. (Like those short summaries you write in school and job applications.)
Our motivation was simply to help the world. Not so simple, when we're dealing with a global pandemic that's shut down our economy.
We believe that we succeeded in using the networks that we've built over many years to get this crucial report into the hands of the highest levels of government.
The message that I want to impart to young people is that you can start now to accomplish big things. You don't need to be a hot-shot Silicon Valley entrepreneur to have a huge impact.
You do need to begin now to lean in. To engage in projects that you believe may have positive value. You'll never know how well or what you'll do until you try. And given how long you're likely to live (around 120 years old), you have a long time to learn and eventually to succeed.
These experiences teach you a lot about yourself. The more you know about yourself, especially your strengths and interests, the likely you are to be happy. And you need to be happy to be successful. It's not the other way around, as abundant research proves. Think of success as planets circling around the sun of happiness. (Read The Happiness Advantage, by Shawn Achor.)
So start now, work with people around you who know things you may not know. Learn from them. Build networks. Think of building three assets in your personal life portfolio: (1) authentic work, (2) a meaningful career and education plan, and (3) a network of contacts in industry.
Write to me if you'd like a mentor to help you along this journey.