Some Good Friday thoughts by Michael Malone on success in Silicon Valley and the need to contemplate your life from time to time.
Good Friday: A Day to Contemplate Your Life
One of the few times in my life I have had a hardwall office (bedrooms and conferences rented by the hour don’t count) was when I started Full Circle Connections. I printed out posted a number of quotes on one of the walls starting with this one. I have bolded the sentences that resonated directly with my life experiences. You can take more than one day a year to contemplate your life.
“There are no few of us who find ourselves washed up on the shores of middle age wondering what happened to that bright promise, asking ourselves why we could never fit in the usual corporate slots, why we have always been our own worst enemies–yet knowing, as we’ve always known, that we are destined to make our mark…somewhere.
Here in Silicon Valley we celebrate entrepreneurship. Rightly so, history may well call this place the greatest entrepreneurial explosion in human history. But in celebrating, we often forget the cost: the dark obsessions, the wrecked families, the career failures. Most of all the terror–the daily depressions and nightly sweats, wondering why, why, you can’t fit into corporate life, why you have to shoot your mouth off and go and do the impolite just because you know its right; then wondering if you really have the courage to risk everything to go it on your own.
The most disturbing and least admitted truth of Silicon Valley is that no one wins all of the time and most of us never win at all. That means someday, perhaps every day, each us of will be battered and tired and running away from our destiny, from what matters most to us.
Just what our destiny is–starting our own company, changing our careers, devoting ourselves to our families–only our hearts can tell us. A spring morning, like this Good Friday, with its hum of redemption and renewal, is a good time to start listening.”
Excerpts from Michael Malone’s “A good day to contemplate the rest of life.” April 17, 1996 San Jose Mercury News
I was in the process of re-assessing my life 16 years ago when I first read Malone’s column. It was good advice then and it’s good advice now. The life I have chosen as an entrepreneur is never easy and it’s never dull. But it doesn’t mean that I don’t also strive to become a better father or a better husband or a better brother or a better son or a better grandfather or a better uncle and or a better friend and or a better neighbor. Because I need to better at all of those roles as well.
The full column is available in Malone’s The Valley of Heart’s Delight: A Silicon Valley Notebook, 1963–2001
“Entrepreneurs start businesses because..they have no choice. Passion and energy drive them on good days and sustain them on bad days.”
Barry Moltz in “You Need To Be a Little Crazy“