The Mischievous Nerd's Guide to World Domination
Author: Stephen Oberauer

Chapter 71
Three wishes

BI had a special day set aside to discuss and plan the future of the business. We only had 628 employees, which means that for every 3000 customers, we had only one employee, which was very efficient. It did also mean that we were each earning about R60,000 per month. It was a very good salary, especially for a South African. Considering that most of us enjoyed working at BI, it was a good life. ‘Future Day’, as Dave called it, was a big day for me, because I had to give a presentation to 627 employees. My presentation was based on ideas that Shelley and I had come up with; Things that we thought would be possible for an innovative business like BI, and things that had the potential to make the world a much better place. The first presentation was by an actuary, named Philip, who explained how it could be possible to use our business methodologies to expand into most of the rest of the world. He estimated that in five years time our business would be 10 times as large, and that we’d each be earning about 3 times more.

It was my turn. I felt the same way that I used to feel when I had to try and talk to a pretty girl. I had a lump in my throat that would not go away, and my hands were shaking slightly. The thought of 627 people evaluating every word I had to say was very scary for me. Nevertheless, my legs carried me over to the microphone and a gigantic roar of applause echoed around the hall. They knew who I was. They all knew whose idea was responsible for their fancy cars, big houses and swimming pools. The appreciation made me feel better, and a smile automatically appeared across my face.

I waited for silence.

‘BI is driven by goals,’ I began, ‘but what happens when you have everything? Who here can honestly say that they need to earn more money?’ There was silence. ‘How much is enough? When I earned R5,000, I thought R10,000 would be enough. When I earned R10,000, I thought R20,000 would be enough. When I earned R20,000, I thought R30,000 would be enough. Now I earn R60,000, and it’s not enough. I want a sports car, and a helicopter, and I want a mansion, but what really matters? What is really going to make me happy? A sports car could be stolen, a helicopter could crash, and a mansion is just far too big to clean!

I can honestly say that earning more money doesn’t matter to me that much anymore. There are more important goals in life, like curing diseases, fixing broken families and feeding the 20,000 people who die of starvation every single day. Perhaps it’s time to reconsider what our dreams are. Let’s be honest about what our plans are for BI, and follow our hearts. Let’s decide what really matters.

I believe that there is no reason why every single person in the world cannot be as happy as we are. I have 3 wishes that I want to share with you, and each of them is a step towards that goal. I know these are really big dreams, but this is what I really want:

My first wish is to have a place that I can trust, where I can go to find out the truth. 85% of the world is religious, but split up into all sorts of different religions. Most people get their religion from their parents, and yet somehow everyone believes that they are right, and everyone else is wrong! Then there’s the whole global warming debate, where some people say we’re causing the problem, and others say we aren’t, and we’re sitting here wondering what the hell is going on. People say that cow farts are increasing the global temperature. Really? Then there’s alternative medicine. Alternative, because it hasn’t passed the tests that real medicine has. I wish there was a central place where I could go to ask an important question, and have confidence in the answer, because I know that statistically, if I try to figure it out for myself, there’s a good chance that I’ll be wrong.

My second wish is for love to be the driving force in the world. I want to live in a world where we’re not trying to compete and be better than anyone else, a world where we don’t say, “I am right, and you are wrong”, a world where we work and play together for the good of all mankind. A world at peace, that has no interest in crime or hate.

And thirdly, I want to live in a world that can sustain itself. A world that never runs out of energy or food. A world that doesn’t require companies to make gadgets that will be thrown away every two years. A world where we build things to last, and power them using the energy from sun, the wind and the oceans.

These three things are my three wishes, truth, love, and sustainability, and based on what I’ve seen in BI, I believe that we can make them happen.’

The audience stood and applauded, as I, now unable to stop myself from smiling, made my way back to my seat, next to Shelley.

 

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