Saturday, August 05, 2006

A Gray Twilight

A quote I came across at the beginning of the 5th chapter of Built to Last...

Far better to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory, nor defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt, 1899

When you read this quote, how does it resonate with you?

Have you dared mighty things? Experienced glorious triumphs? Are your winnings checkered by failure? Or... are you living in the gray twilight?

The biggest risk I've taken in my professional life was dropping out after 1 year of college at age 19 to work at a startup in Silicon Valley in 2000 (and in the process, turning down a comparable offer from rising dot com star Excite@Home, which tanked shortly thereafter). The second biggest risk I've taken was later walking away from that job (and my 21-year-old $82,500 salary) to go back and finish school (the startup tanked shortly thereafter).

I went to work on this beautiful Saturday morning. The hallways were silent and dark - far different than the overcrowded EECS computer labs in college or the large, open engineering workspace at the Valley startup. I looked around for someone to get lunch with, and quickly realized it wasn't gonna happen. So I went to the Teriyaki restaurant around the corner, next to the big company that employees 30,000+ locally, and sat in the empty restaurant, eating alone.

The biggest risk I've taken in the last 15 months has been deciding in which funds to invest my 401K. How about you?


Javila said...

Well then how about some risk. Let's go travel for a while...hiking in Nepal?

adamjh said...


Josh said...

I think I'm pretty much in a gray twilight.

But looking at my 401k performance lately, choosing funds is a pretty risky proposition.

Jeff said...

Mustard or mayo...