“Great people have great egos. Maybe that’s what makes them great” – Paul Arden
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
Ayn Rand’s unique philosophy on life is one that I will never forget. She broadcasts it in her novels through an inspiring pool of main characters. They don’t succumb to society’s view of life. They take charge of their morals and they let that drive their actions.
I first heard of her through her awesome book, Anthem. Pure gold! A few months later, I watched an interview on Tai Lopez’s YouTube channel with Mark Cuban. (Check it out below) The owner of the Dallas Mavericks stated that of all the books he read, the one he recommends most is The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. I questioned why this multi-billionaire picked this book of all the others he read. So, immediately, I went to the bookstore to pick it up. As I read the introduction, the answer to my question clicked. Ayn Rand’s philosophy is told in the intro but is expressed and clarified within the events and character speeches found deep in the book. The characters develop a captivating story that will immerse you as if you were a part of it.
I gained many important lessons throughout this novel. Therefore, I encourage you to pick it up for yourself. It will empower you to be amazing in what you do! So, here are 5 great lessons I learned from reading The Fountainhead.
First, as explained in the introduction, a man’s ego is the fountainhead of human progress. A fountainhead is the chief source of anything. A deep desire to create a thing is knitted into the way great minds get the results they strive for. For instance, Steve Jobs’ ego to create the best product drove his laser beam focus to create world changing products. He expected nothing less than perfection, even becoming frantic over a shade of blue or the dimensions of a circular edge. Let your ego burn in you to push you for excellence in your craft. Raise the bar of humanity with your creations.
Many see ego as evil. And it is when you are worried about the wrong thing. If your ego boosts your pride, then sure, it can be evil. But let your ego boost humanity. So, let your ideas, paintings, books, products, buildings, or whatever it may be to drive humanity forward.
Ayn Rand defines the epic difference between a man worshipper and a man hater.
“The man-worshipper, in my sense of the term, are those who see man’s highest potential and strive to actualize it. The man haters are those who regard man as a helpless, deprived, contemptible creature and struggle to never let them discover otherwise.”
After I read this, I started an exercise in identifying people to which characteristics they emphasized. Were they man worshippers or man haters? Therefore, I realized, those who push the bar higher are man-worshippers. Those who are scared to dare are man haters. Be great and strive to your highest potential.
Do what you believe! Stick to your core values. Don’t worry about what the little man says. The main character in the novel is an architect with original ideas. Ideas that go against the crowd. He struggles to make those ideas a reality as people turn them down. His name is Howard Roark, and throughout the novel, he is told he can’t produce the buildings he designs because they didn’t look traditional. And they are not copies of the greats before him. His buildings were too original. Yet, among all the doubters, he stuck to his guns like glue… (or tasty peanut butter to the roof of your mouth) to accomplish his goals. In order for a company to thrive, it must stay true to itself. The decline of a company happens when it forgets who it is and conforms to the world that originally liked its difference.
The meaning of life is your work. Your work should benefit society. Ask yourself how your work is helping your fellow man/woman? Don’t be a leech to the world. Howard Roark didn’t care if he was recognized for his buildings. Only that his buildings existed. In addition, he believed the buildings in his world were total crap only built for financial gain with no soul, no purpose. The Pokemon, Mewtwo, from Pokemon The First Movie, said an amazing quote that stuck with me for years.
“I see now that the circumstances of one’s birth are irrelevant. It is what you do with the gift of life that determines who you are.”
Let your birth be that it benefits others in some kind of way. Howard alway asked questions before he built anything: “What is the building’s purpose?” and “Who’s the audience? Who will be using it?” His work was more important than the money. This is a true ego. So, have pride in your work that it benefits others, not just yourself.
One of the biggest evils of life is to be like Howard’s alter ego, Peter Keating. Peter lived a life of placing prime concern in the reactions of others and what others thought. He was the definition of a man hater who pleased and searched the approval of those around him. Peter never became pleased with his own work unless those around him were pleased. As a result, people praised him for it. He produced work molded to their liking. The work he produced was them, and not his own. Howard, on the other hand, didn’t care if the whole world was against his buildings, as long as he loved it. Fulfillment comes when you put your heart and soul in what you do.
Of course, these two characters show the extremes, which Rand used to dramatize her point. But it’s clear that we have egos for use to increase the well-being of each other. Without it, this article would have many typos, unclear format, and leave you confused as I would be talking about the gossip I heard about Johnny and Sarah. So, take pride in your work, whatever it is. And also, let it drive you to help others, not yourself. And if it does help others, then it helps you by default.
Today’s Question: How has your work helped someone today? (Leave it in the comments below so you can help others)
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