As I close down the final week of my finance career to take my life in a completely different direction, I think about all the opportunities I have been given. The bridges I've burned, the people I've hurt, the people that have hurt me. All the successes I've had, all the losses, both emotional and monetary. It seems like the last 6 years has been one lesson after another.
As I sat camping in Yosemite, 15 miles from the nearest human being, I asked myself, "Where do I go from here? What do I want to do? What would I do, that even if I was failing, would I still have a smile?" It had been 4000+ miles of driving, four weeks of solo camping, hiking, and self-exploration. What do I build the next 60 years of my life around? I have a unique set of skills. I've been a part of four businesses, founding three of them. Half went under, half were monetarily successful. But all left me emotionally unfulfilled and drained. I asked myself, "What is the foundation that I can lay, that no matter what happens in the future, It'll be there?"
Make a list, I did.
Fortune? Fame? Money? Physical Image? Positions? Titles? Social Acceptance? Love? Friendship? Family? Power?
Fortunes can be lost. Money in itself means nothing and has a naturally declining value through inflation. Physical - That will decline with age. Career - What happens when I retire? Will I lose my sense of self? Title - that can be taken away. An MBA? CFA? What happens when that becomes the norm? Social Acceptance? What happens when friends pass away? What happens when family passes away. That can be taken from you, too.
As I pondered this at 10,000 feet on Lake Johnson, I asked myself, "What cannot be taken away from me? If I was to be stripped of all my possessions, what would I have left?" And it dawned on me. Love. I know you reaction - UGH, that is so cliche. But I don't mean love only in the context of an intimate relationship. I mean loving your job, your friends, your family, your hobbies. I am talking about loving your life and yourself. I mean making decisions based on love, curiosity, and awe, and not out of fear disguised as practicality. If you are going to build a life around anything that can be taken away, are you really in control of your own life? No matter what is taken away from me or done to me, you can't take away how I feel about someone or some thing. Torture me, jail me. Take away all of my things. It won't matter.
“For the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth - that Love is the ultimate and highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love.” - Victor Frankl, 'Man's Search For Meaning'
I have to add a belief: learning. I read a quote this weekend that made me sit down and think about fundamental values to build a philosophy around. And "learning" passed my tests.
The beautiful thing about learning is, nobody can take it away from you. - B.B. King
Now I can add "learning" to my fundamental values in addition to "love". Now I have a whopping two values. I wonder where the 3rd will come from?
ShareShare The Only thing that Matters (Amended)