Life with No Safety Net

“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”
— Earl Nightingale, American motivational speaker and author (1921-1989)

What I want to do in life. This is the first time I’ve ever written something like this, for public or for private consumption. Some of it will be rambly, so I apologize in advance.

There’s a lot of specific accomplishments I have for my life. But those specific accomplishments are irrelevant, as once something is “accomplished” its done. What’s more interesting, what I think about is the journey. The year, the month, the week, the day, the minute. The present, that which I am in now, that which I am doing later, the individual steps that eventually get you to the finish line.

I found the quotation above, which really resonated with me.  In general, I do not like short quotations – I am of the belief that almost nothing can be said in 140 characters.  For whatever reason, the above from Earl Nightingale was different.

When I think about what I want in the world, want for my life, want to do, my philosophy on things, it is simple: I want to enable great people to be great.  I want those who have potential to be great – geniuses, if you well, to have the freedom to do what they do.  I want great artists to make art, musicians to make music, politicians to do politics, investors to invest, builders to build, athletes to sport, scientists do science.

What does that have to do with me? Why does enabling others have any impact on my life?

I find all of these activities intrinsically beautiful.  I receive the same intense pleasure from listening to Kanye West as I do reading Warren Buffett or watching LeBron James observing a Mark Rothko or watching Obama campaign (politics aside he is an excellent campaigner). There is no difference. It is a feeling of intense pleasure, unlike any other experience for me. It is beautiful. It makes me happy. It makes the world better. There is nothing more beautiful to me than watching those who reach the pinnacle of achievement in their field do what they do.

I want to enable people to do that. Reach genius status. Allow them to produce what they produce. It has nothing to do with fame or fortune – even though the greats often receive both.

How do I enable people to do? I don’t want people to be limited by money and other concerns. I want that amazing singer in the church choir to just focus on singing. Live for her passion. And improve. And not have to worry about paying the bills singing – it will be purely for at least mine, but hopefully the whole world’s enjoyment.  Or that great artist or photographer. I know some people who are incredible artists in their free time, but are forced to slave away behind a cubicle to pay the bills. They probably will never be able to make a living from their art, but it makes me happy to see it. And they hopefully will be happy doing not only what they are great at doing, but doing what they love.

How do I do this?  Money, for one. It is an expensive proposition, as I would essentially be paying people to do what makes them – and me – happy, with no expectation of a financial return.  Infrastructure, for two.  I’m not sure what form it will take, but each person will need very specific infrastructure to succeed at their project. A great investment mind is simple – you can setup a hedge fund, give him money, and run.

A singer, by contrast, will be much trickier.  Voice coaches, concerts, recording studios, complementary artists, etc etc…it’s not something that I know well offhand, but I can create it for someone. It’s actually funny, in a way American Idol is a beautiful show at its core. It gives people that built in infrastructure through a competition format to succeed when before there was no chance.  The winner receives money, a record deal, and more. Now, naturally it has been muddled by the reality show format and all its silliness, but the core idea is wonderful.

Somehow I forgot the most important area for me – food. I will fund michelin level and near michelin level chefs so they can make interesting food regardless of restaurant economics.  Just let chefs be. Funding restaurants, food research labs, etc. Even food shelters.

I am striving for greatness in my own life. More to the point, I think my purpose to be physically and mentally unbreakable, brilliant at business decisions, multi-lingual, and a magnet for attracting interesting people.  I will achieve effortless perfection in all things I set my mind to.

I may never, I probably will never, achieve greatness, or effortless perfection. It is, in short, a form of self-mastery, which you never “reach.” It is not an end goal.

And it is frustrating difficult to achieve. Some days and weeks I am on fire, other days I feel the life has been sucked out of me. And yet, I have to find ways to continue on. Stay strong, stay positive.

That’s me. That’s my life. I figured it out around January of 2006, when I was 19 years old. And that is what I will be doing if I am lucky enough to make it to 80. And at some point, I will die. And the world will keep turning. I will be gone, but the sun will still rise.