06 Jun Final thoughts on the latest visit to Ireland

I am somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean reflecting on the two-week course we just ran for University of Colorado Denver business students in Ireland. I was listening to two songs that just seemed to typify what the students conveyed as their inspirational take-aways:

Scare Away the Dark by Passenger has a chorus that goes like this:

Sing at the top of your voiceJan Grafton

Love without fear in your heart

Feel like you still have a choice

If we all light up we can scare away the dark

I Wanna Get Better by Bleachers has this refrain:

 I didn’t know I was lonely until I saw your face

I didn’t know I was broken until I wanted to change

I wanna get better…

As the students evaluate the many options before them, the hardest is deciding which path to choose (e.g., whether to become an entrepreneur or an employee). My friend, Al Killeen, just wrote a beautiful parable about the same topic (click here).

The students met business leaders, diplomats, government employees, academics, investors, mentors, social entrepreneurs, start-ups, and people who have achieved every modern day measure of success. In every case, the speakers conveyed the same guidance in different ways:

  1. You have more options than any generation before you.
  2. You’re highly educated, and live in a connected world where there is no more than three degrees of separation. You can literally connect with anyone you want if you’re resourceful.
  3. There are a million unmet needs out there ready for a solution that could make a difference in the lives of others; and solving them commercially could also provide an economic benefit for many as well.

Drawing on the ancient philosophers, one could interpret the Irish take-aways to be pretty fundamental lessons about defining and living a good life.

  • First and foremast, one has to have Courage to act and take a risk. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Sing at the top of your voice!
  • But first, one has to gain Wisdom though knowledge, and that doesn’t just come from books. It comes from taking chances, meeting new people, traveling, and spending time outside one’s comfort zones. I didn’t know I was broken until I wanted to change.
  • And through all these interactions, they only work if they’re reciprocal in nature. It’s all about Humanity – and operating as a giver versus a taker. Love without fear in your heart.
  • The path forward requires a fair amount of Temperance (a gentler way to describe discipline). I wanna get better…
  • Through a life journey embraced purposefully, “the good life” need not be elusive, but Transcendent. If we all light up we can scare away the dark.

Feel like you still have a choice, because you do. Every day you do.

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