Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Don't Take Your Loved Ones For Granted

Don't Take Your Loved Ones For Granted
I'm all for long-term planning. I live my life based on playing the percentages for long-term gains. But it's also important to realize how fragile our lives can be.

Since business school, two of my classmates and friends have discovered that their wives have cancer. They're fighting the disease with all they've got, and I think that they will win, but their experience reinforces the way our lives can be turned upside down in an instant.

Or consider Sachi Gahan, who lost her husband earlier this year in a motorcycle accident.

Those of us who are lucky enough to win the life lottery (as Warren Buffett often says, just being born in the USA means you've won the lottery--now add in a privileged background, Ivy League education, and high-prestige career as an entrepreneur or VC) have a tendency to believe that we're invincible and untouchable.

This is just a reminder that none of us are. The marathoner and athlete may be struck with cancer. The careful driver may end up in an accident. Life is precious. Your time with those you love is precious. Appreciate and make the most of it.

Happiness Is Your Own Business

Happiness Is Your Own Business

Great stuff from the Happiness & Public Policy blog. First, a new paper argues that entrepreneurship is a non-profit-seeking activity. That is, the economic benefits of entrepreneurship do not explain its popularity.

Being an entrepreneur seems to be rather rewarding because it entails substantial non-monetary benefits, like greater autonomy, broader skill utilization, and the possibility to pursue one’s own ideas.

The companion piece (by one of the co-authors of the above paper) shows that the self-employed are happier, and that this happiness is not the result of material outcomes, but rather greater independence and autonomy.

Being your own boss” seems to provide non-pecuniary benefits from work that point to the existence of “procedural utility”: autonomy is valued beyond outcomes as a good decision-making procedure.

Entrepreneurship is an investment in your own happiness. I've certainly paid a price for my choice--25% of my old business school classmates are now millionaires, thanks to some banner years for Wall Street--but I'm far happier with my life than I would be as an 80-hour-per-week banker or asset manager.