I think what I’ve tried to do is make the world a better place. I think that’s what’s really important. Nobody remembers who sold the most togas in Rome. In terms of legacy, people remember the great villains more than they remember the great heroes. So I think how you feel about yourself. What do you say about yourself when you put your head on the pillow? Are you really proud of what you’re doing and the way you’re doing it? I think it’s really a fundamental question.
So when I went through those formative years in my 20s and 30s and I got to be 40 and everyone’s saying, “Boy, you’re a big success,” and I’m saying, “You’re measuring it in numbers of stores or income. There’s more to it. Everybody has to solve that “meaning of life” and “purpose” question for themselves.
Everybody does it their own way. I think you have to be thoughtful about the way that you’re doing it. So I describe it as purpose. If you can think about leaving a purposeful life — not just an accumulation but you actually make the world a better place — then I think in the grand scheme of the universe, that that explains our existence.
If not, we’re just passing through. We’re grains of sand and we’re blowing in the breeze. I think different societies, cultures, individuals, teams of people make the world a better place. The founding fathers, they made New England, they made those 13 colonies. I don’t know if they thought they were changing the world or just changing their world, but they did make the world a better place.
Doctors that cure patients or cure diseases or make discoveries, they’re making the world a better place. Can I make the world a better place by selling underpants? Not really. That’s just the means. That gives me resources to try to make the world a better place.