There is a saying I heard a long time ago, and it goes like this:

There are two ways to build the biggest building in town: 1. Build the biggest building in town. 2. Tear down all the other buildings around you.

That saying has always stuck with me, and I’m so proud to think to be the kind of person who does the first option. I don’t know exactly what it is. I think a lot of it is parenting. Although, really, I think I want to be confident that I won’t be kicked on the way down one day. I think about “What if something changes? What if something bad happens? What if I make a critical mistake? What if a World War breaks out?” I think about these things, and I end up with a good feeling that, because I want to do good for many, that many are going to want to do good for me.

I’m very obsessed with my legacy. Recently, I’ve been making innuendos in interviews, something that my family has known for a long time, which is that I have a huge obsession with having as many people as possible come to my funeral. I try to live my life that way, and if I pull people down or talk behind their backs, if I do the wrong thing and don’t support them, there is a very real chance that they won’t like me.

Now, of course, I have my flaws. Am I competitive? Of course I am. Once I punched AJ in the face during a heated game of basketball. I’m actually still pretty devastated about that (and don’t worry, it wasn’t that hard). Those flaws are as much a part of me as my good intentions.

I think the difference is that for me, unlike my career as a whole, my relationships aren’t necessarily about the climb up but more about the aftermath. When we’re in our fifties, sixties, seventies and we see each other at an event on Mars somewhere, the people who made it by dragging other people down are going to be more lonely, more secluded. I think they’ll end up with more superficial relationships.

At a certain point, and this happens very very quickly with success, you stop worrying about money, and you start to worry more and more about your name and reputation.

Now luckily, I’m from an Eastern European immigrant background, so a lot of the things I care about are grounded in that kind of “a handshake means everything” world, which kind of saves me from my tendencies to be a hyper-competitive salesman.

In the long term, the people who work together and build the biggest building now will end up having a better life at the end.
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Gary’s new book is available for pre-release now here.

Gary Vaynerchuk is, first and foremost, a storytelling entrepreneur. He is also a New York Times bestselling author, and his digital consulting agency, VaynerMedia, works with Fortune 500 companies to develop digital and social media strategy and content. Business Week selected him one of the top twenty people every entrepreneur should follow, and CNN voted him one of the top twenty-five tech investors on Twitter. He lives in New York City, where he avidly roots for the New York Jets. 


*Image courtesy of goya.