Today, I had lunch with two people I had never met before and it was one of those unusual encounters where the conversation zipped through a nanno second of small talk and zoomed into the heart of things. Into what’s this crazy thing called life all about and how do we leverage it to the hilt.
And I found myself ripping into one of my riffs about the two kinds of people on the planet. So now I’ll do it again to you. (At this point you may want to hit delete because this may be the musing of an overly philosophical mad man?).
So, the two kinds of people:
* Those in the “life protection” business.
* The tiny minority in the “live life like a reckless adventure” business.
The former want to be safe. To protect themselves from life’s curve balls.
To avoid risk. To be middle managers. To wear sunscreen. To drink wine spritzers. To do business as usual on the job because, well, it’s safe. To follow the rules. Anyone’s rules. Oh God, those rules are comfort food for the life protectors.
The latter say, I can’t protect against the vagaries of life. I can only wander out into the great blue unknown and revel in it. And if the sands shift or the plates slide or the bets come up bad or the curve balls come flying one after another, so what the hell. What the hell. What the flying hell. I will find a way to deal with it. I will see it as reason to think harder and smarter and cagier and to find a way to reinvent the wheel or to paint a gorgeous picture worthy of the Museum of Modern Art. I will walk right up to the safe middle managers so smug about their blemish-free performance record (never wandered from the straight and narrow, never made a single mistake) and I would break a rule right before their eyes. A sacred company rule. And then I would know how Picasso felt when he started turning French women into African masks. And when he made love in the middle of the day with a paint brush in one hand and a bottle of Bordeaux in the other.
Life needs livers. Risk takers. Dangerous minds. Total crazos. Lindberg.
Disney. Lauder. Houdini. Bezos. Jobs.
And we might as well all join category two. Because the life protection business doesn’t work. In the end, we all end, but the space from the beginning to the end is where the action is. And the action belongs to those who laugh at risk. Who jump into the water without a life preserver, swim the English Channel, stare down the sharks, best the world’s speed record, invent a novel category of software, put their chips on the line, fight to make it work and do it all again the next day.
That’s the arena. Everything else is like watching a concert atop Yankee stadium. Now that’s scary!