Intellectual Philanthropy Article by: Roger Dawson and Mike Summey
Why is intellectual philanthropy important?
Most entrepreneurs’ lives follow a pattern something like this. In the beginning, or formative years, an event or series of events occur that instilled within them a deep desire to succeed. This desire may come from a poor upbringing, a dysfunctional or broken family, or any number of other situations that cause the person to “want” more from life than the ordinary individual wants.
This deep burning desire to succeed becomes firmly embedded in their psyche and results in these individuals entering a phase of life I call “the Learning Years.” Unlike many studious people, they have more than a simple hunger for information; they seek application of what they’ve learned.
This quest for learning leads them on a search for ways to apply their newfound knowledge, which carries them into the phase of life I call “the Earning Years.” These are the years during which they apply their newfound knowledge, often in risky and unconventional ways, to create innovative products or services that result in their building significant wealth.
As their business ventures grow and wealth accumulates, the desire to more fully enjoy the fruits of their labor sets in, and these entrepreneurs enter a new phase of life I call “the Yearning Years.” Worn down by the day-to-day grind of business, the urge to kick back and enjoy life often leads to a passing of the leadership torch to reduce the constant pressures of running a company. This all sounded good until they awake one day and find themselves yearning for something to fill the void left by the loss of activity and excitement they had experienced in the active business world. This is the period of life when many of these great entrepreneurs begin to focus more on community service and philanthropic activities. The push to build wealth is replaced by a yearning for social acceptance and the desire to leave a legacy.
It is during this phase of life that many fiercely independent entrepreneurs could leave an even more meaningful legacy in the form of intellectual philanthropy. Eventually everyone enters that final phase of life I call “the Waning Years.” These years are often filled with feelings of anxiety or helplessness because we find life slowly slipping away, just when we think we have it all figured out. Wouldn’t life be more complete if we spent at least a portion of our yearning years sharing the secrets of entrepreneurship that led to our successes?
Giving people a hand up rather than a handout is one of the greatest acts of philanthropy that we can do for our fellow man. When we share the events that gave us our drive, the trials and tribulations we experienced on our rise to success, and the ways we overcame life’s obstacles, we are providing others with a road map to success. We can accomplish this through articles, books, speeches, mentoring, et cetera.
Let me leave you with this thought: I believe it is a great injustice to mankind for successful people to take to the grave the knowledge that led to their accomplishments and only leave behind what they accumulated. Can you think of a better way to end a successful life than by helping someone else start his or hers?
Learn more about Mike Summey and his bestselling book and audio program The Weekend Millionaire’s Real Estate Investing Program.