Luke Burgis is the author of Wanting: The Power of Mimetic Desire in Everyday Life. Luke shares why we want what we want, and how to free ourselves from chasing unfulfilling desires. Adam Grant says that Luke makes a “startling case that many of our goals are merely reflections of what we think others want.” Jonathan Haidt says that this “book will be of particular help for anyone who leads or manages people.”
Luke has founded and led multiple companies. He’s currently entrepreneur-in-residence and director of programs at the Ciocca Center for Principled Entrepreneurship at the Catholic University of America, where he also teaches business and develops new education initiatives. He’s also the founder and director of Fourth Wall Ventures, an incubator for people and companies that contribute to the formation of a healthy human ecology. He graduated from NYU Stern School of Business and later from a pontifical university in Rome, where he studied theology.
[2:25] Luke studied theology because he was seriously considering becoming a priest before he decided to become an entrepreneur.
[5:45] The nature of our desire is often social. Our desire is not me-centric, it’s often we-centric. Luke breaks this down.
[6:55] Real freedom is hidden in social context. What we want out of our life is shaped by those around us.
[10:55] We often do not have the language to describe why we want the things that we want.
[12:35] A leader should always be pointing to a purpose, a desire, that’s beyond themselves.
[14:50] Our world has shifted from fulfilling our survival needs (food, water, shelter) to coping with an abundance of desire.
[16:15] Understanding our desire and what we actually want for ourselves is going to be one of the most important questions for people in the next five to 10 years.
[18:10] We have more examples of what “happiness” looks like than ever before. All you have to do is look to social media for someone you can model after.
[20:45] Luke shares his thoughts on how to discover ahead of time what desires are most unfulfilling.
[26:50] Our desires are being questioned more than ever before because the pandemic made us stop and assess what’s truly important.
[32:55] Businesses are meant to help us thrive, but business has a dark side too; offering services that hurt the community and your sense of self.
[36:55] A CEO made “happiness” his mantra for his company, and it didn’t end too well.
[41:00] Luke shares his early entrepreneurial days and some of the vital lessons he learned around them.
[44:45] Listener challenge: Take some time to figure out your authentic desires and the desires of those that work for you.