“Please welcome to the stage: Shimon Peres, 9th President of the State of Israel.”
And with that phrase I was less than 5m away from one of the most influential leaders in the world. 93 years old, recent heart attack, but a mind sharp like nobody else’s.
This was the opening of the Forbes Under 30 Summit in Israel, which brought together 600 young, exceptional people from the US, Europe, Israel. It should have been EMEA – but the ‘A’ wasn’t yet too much present.
Every person I talked to and conversed with didn’t just have a lot to share, but I learnt so much. Whether it was Preeti – the 28-year-old MIT PhD student who has developed an underwater drone, or the stem cell researcher who has figured out what causes Alzheimer and is on the way to prevent it, or the 24-year-old guy who has bootstrapped 3 companies, still owns all of them, and feeds 5-7 million students in the US EVERY SINGLE DAY with healthy food (there’s about 42 million students in the US).
I would consider myself as somebody who makes an effort to use my life to the fullest, and my humble self clearly recognizes the daily voices that see me as an inspiration, come to me for advice, and view me as a role model. However, being among a crowd where the density of high achievers is so big, it made me re-evaluate my goals, vision, and actions. One thing everybody had in common – it wasn’t about the struggle they had. This was not where people came from. Nobody talked about that. It was solely about what you did with your life. Once you realize that every single person in this world has their own struggles, but in the end it matters how you get up and what positive action you focus on. As one of the panelists said: “It’s not about where you started – it’s about how fast you go.”
It was people giving their TED talks in live, people who invented soccer balls that produce more energy than a simple power outlet in the wall. It was the girl that told her story of building schools for girls in Liberia in a powerful poem that shook you to the bones.
It got clear that in order to operate at such a high level as most of the participants were, you need to be able to switch back into focus-mode no matter what is going on in your head. That argument you just had with your girlfriend because she found out you cheated, that customer that isn’t paying since months – you need to be able to focus your energy in the right moment on your passion to serve your target market the best way possible. It is those people that give their all because they are focused on the good of other people.
There was one ‘Wow’ moment after the other. It was beautiful and fascinating to see what people are capable of if only they focus and go after their dreams. The deep conversations left me thinking of how I can do more for others, how I can serve more. It literally took my sleep and I woke up without any alarm after only a few hours.
The world can only get better by discussing ideas and businesses, not gossip or who wore what or she said that and that. You’re bored? You’re jobless? Great! You’ve quite some time to dedicate for creating a business, working an initiative, or simply volunteer in your community to do good. Every one of the participants had gotten beyond the point of ‘not feeling enough’. They just went for it. Was it easy? Probably not. Was it a lot of work? Of course. Is it worth it? Hell yeah.