The Scoop @ MSCO

Daring The Lightning To Strike

When I was in my twenties, I used to sleep no more than four hours a night. First because I knew I didn’t need more sleep. Second because I was too excited by life to sleep (still true). And third because I knew life is short– I would have plenty of time to sleep, in time.

Everyone thought I was crazy. I don’t think I heard them.

When it snowed, I would leave the window by my bed wide open. I liked the sensation of the frost. Flakes would accumulate on my bed, creating mini drifts on my blanket.

Everyone thought I was crazy. I don’t think I heard them.

When the sky would turn black and raging electric storms would send bolts of lightning to the ground, I would walk out the door and run through the streets, taking in the light show that flared all around me.

Everyone told me it was dangerous. I don’t think I heard them.

In one period, I decided to sort of reverse engineer life, sleeping during the day and working at night. Just to experience life upside down, inside out. After a week or so, I went back to the “normal” but the experience with the “abnormal” left a permanent mark on the way I see things.

In the world of business, people tell me they have a great company because everyone has worked there for 30 years or more. No one is ever asked to leave. People applaud that. I say it’s a prescription for a third rate company.

People tell me that’s insensitive. I don’t think I hear them.

Out of work, I like to work. My blackberry is with me on hikes, at my pool, in the movies. When an idea strikes me, I turn my attention to developing it. I am passionate about it. To the point that the “off day” becomes an “on day.”

People tell me that means my life lacks balance. I hear them. I tell them I don’t like or want balance.

When I was walking in the electric storms, I think I was daring the elements to strike me. I don’t know why. I didn’t want to do anything but experience the wild exhilaration of the storm.

I wanted to live. Not to simply preserve life, but to stretch the experience to the max. In all we do, we have two basic choices: to sit inside until the storm passes or to take the risks and reap the rewards that come with it.

I would never suggest which path others should take. But I will make a recommendation: if you are fortunate enough to be in the path of a blizzard this winter–whether in business or in personal life– run outside and live in it.

And learn from it.

Mark Stevens

CEO

Images courtesy: 1, 2.

2 Comments

  1. Melissa Paulik ∣ September 20th / 2009 at 7:01 pm

    Mark,

    This is a truly inspirational post. Especially the part about working for a company for 30 years being the prescription for a third rate company.

    I’m all for promoting from within for those who have retained the fire they had when they first joined the company and whose skills merit it. However, most people seem to “wither on the vine” somewhere between 3-5 years with the same company. Some even earlier. I like bringing in outside people as often as possible – either contract or FTE so that the company has a mix of fresh ideas.

    Even more controversial, I highly recommend getting laid off every now and then. When you’re unexpectedly looking for your next opportunity, you begin to take stock of how you’ve spent your time. It’s an excellent opportunity for real growth.

    All the best!

    Melissa

  2. Ena ∣ November 15th / 2009 at 10:13 am

    as a twenty-something girl who does the things described in the first paragraph (for exactly the same reasons) and gets a lot of ‘It’s bad for you’s but just doesn’t care,
    I appreciate this post to its core.

Leave a Comment

Current day month ye@r *