Providing a catalyst
Every week I’ll share key insights from a conversation I had learned a lot from in a series called, Providing a Catalyst.
Over the past few weeks, I've had multiple conversations with interesting people. I'll highlight a few of my lessons here.
During final exams week:
Many of my friends graduate this year, I made it a point to meet up with them before to ask about their experience. A central theme to many of our conversations was uncertainty despite the safety of having a job, for those who did. For those who didn't, the opposite was true, they were uncertain about getting jobs.
This uncertainty comes from living in the future. A book that's next on my reading list is The Score Takes Care of Itself by Bill Walsh. The title says it all, in a game if each player, coach, and employee does what they're supposed to when they're supposed to the score takes care of itself.
This is what comes to mind when they told me about their fears. If they just focus on being present and doing what's in front of them to the best of their ability it'll work out in a long enough time horizon. The issue is when they're not doing what they want and it's difficult to perform optimally. More on this later.
Before my flight to Seattle:
As I was waiting at the airport for my 6:30 AM overbooked flight, I had a conversation with an off-duty flight attendant. I asked her what she loved most about her job. She told me she loved her ability to travel to anywhere in the world whether it's during work or off-duty.
A little-known secret is flight attendants and their families get to travel for free domestically and only need to pay taxes for international flights. She told me about how her daughter had just graduated from NYU and they were planning to go to Rome.
It was a pleasant conversation that reminded me of the need to travel more. I don't necessarily care about traveling to show others, it's more so to spur creativity. You're literally changing the world around you. This forces you to see things differently.
Long story short, I ended up volunteering to offer my seat to someone else on the 6:30 AM flight for some money. The only catch was I had to take a later flight; which worked out because I forgot my passport at home. So, I ended up taking a 1:15PM flight to LAX and then a 5:30PM connection from LAX to Seattle.
On my flight to LAX:
I had a conversation with a nurse from LA and the mother of an entrepreneur. Her son is 30 years old and has spent the past 10 years starting a hedge fund with a focus on value investing. She was from Africa and knew Swahili, which I thought was really cool because not many people do.
Talking to her, I learned about the courage required to believe in her son when no one else did. Doing what you want in any field, is a lonely endeavor. The world needs more mothers like her. I'm grateful to have one of them.