Realizing Your Potential

Quotation Mark

To help accelerate your own transformation and self-actualization, review these suggestions from Charles Koch’s 2020 book for employees.

Above all else, this survey of virtuous cycles at Koch Industries proves one thing: Amazing things are possible when people self-actualize.

None of our progress would have been possible without employees who discovered their innate abilities, developed them into valued skills, applied them to maximize their contributions, and then did it all over again. When individuals create these virtuous cycles at a personal level, they become engaged and develop meaning in their lives by continually taking their ability to learn, grow, and contribute to a higher level. That process has become an essential aspect of who we are as a company.

Yet what can be improved, must be improved. For Koch Industries to continue to create virtuous cycles of mutual benefit and succeed in this new world of rapid and fundamental change, we must do a better job of enabling our employees to create their own virtuous cycles. By becoming contribution motivated, they will not only enable the company to succeed, they will realize their potential and have much more successful, fulfilling lives. 

Building the foundation for a happy and fulfilling life takes time and effort. No government, organization, friend, or family member can do the heavy lifting for you. If you are serious about pursuing a path of self-transformation and want to create or contribute to virtuous cycles of mutual benefit, here are some quick and easy reminders to help keep you on track:

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My parents were both lifelong learners, and they raised me to be the same.

    Constantly explore to discover your aptitudes — what you naturally do well — then pursue whatever you enjoy that will enable you to contribute. To succeed, we must be realistic about our abilities and where they can create value. Take note of how you spend (or waste) your time.
    You must master the application of your gift if you want to make the greatest possible contribution. At the age of 85, I’m still striving daily to enhance my abilities to create more value. Don’t waste your life trying to succeed in a role you’re not good at. 
    True success comes from benefitting others as the way to benefit yourself. As you encounter obstacles to self-actualizing and creating mutual benefit, don’t give up — find the right occupation and then dedicate yourself to it. As Maslow warned: “If you deliberately plan to be less than you are capable of becoming, you’ll be deeply unhappy the rest of your life.”
    Continuous improvement is not a process, it’s a way of life. No matter how much success you achieve, be dedicated to lifelong learning. Don’t let success destroy your initiative or willingness to embrace change — and don’t let failures cause you to give up. If you see something that is wrong or wasteful, even (or especially) if it’s a policy from on high, challenge it. And, if at first you don’t succeed, keep challenging.
    What is your North Star? What guides your actions? The desire to make money, be popular, enjoy life’s pleasures, or live as long as possible is not the same as having a true purpose. I believe your greatest rewards will come from becoming contribution motivated in ways that draw on your gifts.

I wish you the very best in this journey, knowing full well that as you succeed, all those around you will be better off, too.

Quotation Mark

“We can learn from self-actualizing people what the ideal attitude toward work might be under the most favorable circumstances … the need for meaningful work, for responsibility, for creativeness, for being fair and just, for doing what is worthwhile and for preferring to do it well.”

Abraham Maslow

Download Continually Transforming Koch Industries Through Virtuous Cycles of Mutual Benefit here.
If you're a Koch employee and would like to order hard copies of the book, visit