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Inspiration


Crip1
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Hello All:

 

I sent the note below out to many of my friends and family this past Friday. While it is not directly related to investing, I think that one can easily parallel the conclusions in their investing and professional lives. This is not intended to start a discussion of breast cancer or any other health malady, but it is intended to apply lesson learned in one part of one's life and apply it elsewhere.

 

Today, and for the next two days, the love of my life is participating in the 60 mile breast cancer walk. To those who have never been involved with this event, or an event like it, the obvious physical difficulties of walking 60 miles are dwarfed by the emotional content of the weekend. It is completely draining for all the participants, and likely the organizers as well. Last year she was quite happy to have finished, to see her boys waiting for her, to sleep in her own bed, etc. But the happiness was muted out of sheer exhaustion, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. So, why would one subject themselves to this? Every walker certainly has their own unique answer to this question such as walking for a loved one who has succumbed to or is fighting the disease or out of a sense of personal accomplishment. Similar to pretty much all husbands out there, I really do not know what is going through my wife’s mind at any time, much less as she leaves for the walk, so trying to figure it out is futile. But, it is likely that some of her thoughts are as follows:

 

Between our sisters, our nieces, our cousins and their children, the odds are that two or more of them will get breast cancer in their lifetimes. And that does not include the wives of any nephews nor any grandchildren.

 

We moved to Texas 4 years ago and have been lucky enough to move into a neighborhood with some really terrific neighbors. At a recent party there were about a dozen of our neighbors in attendance, all of them really good folks. It’s sobering to think that the odds are that one or two of them will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetimes. One of the women we met down here was diagnosed. She has not only survived but thrived. We’re happy for her and her family.

 

Shortly before Kim did the walk last year, one of our good friends from Chicago called and gave Kim the sobering news that she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She’s beating it. We’ve always admired her since the day we met and continue to do so from a thousand miles away. In the “friend vs. cancer” battle, I’d bet my house on this friend.

 

Recently, I was able to re-connect with some friends I knew from high school. True to the odds, one of them had been diagnosed with breast cancer several years ago. She actually had two forms of the disease. In her own words, she “kicked its ass” and is now cancer free. I’m proud of her.

 

There are several women in my office, at least a dozen of which are really smart, hard-working folks who are a pleasure to work with. Chances are one or two will get breast cancer in their lifetimes. It’s scary to ponder where the wheel of misfortune will land next. One of my former co-workers, an absolutely remarkable woman and a great friend was diagnosed with breast cancer 5 years ago, and has been continuously fighting various forms of cancer ever since…and I mean coniinuously fighting every single day with treatment after treatment that would bring the strongest of folks to their knees. She has beaten the odds to be alive right now, and is fighting as hard as ever. Biblical references to Job are very appropriate. Words cannot remotely describe…

 

Both of my sons play American football. Between them, they have more than 30 teammates, each of whom obviously has a mom. Sitting at practice and games talking to other moms, we’ve really enjoyed getting to know them. The odds are that four of them will be diagnosed with breast cancer. It’s numbing.

 

If you ever look up “inspire” in the dictionary, the definitions you’ll find, while technically correct, fall short of conveying the emotion associated with being inspired. But it seems to me that inspiration would be the key to the walk. It is inspiring to meet other walkers who are walking for their sisters, mothers, daughters, wives or friends. Some of the walkers are bald from chemotherapy. I’ll bet that just about every woman walking the walk never thought that they could finish the full 60 miles, yet tens of thousands all over the country do it every year. All of our friends noted above likely had serious doubts about their ability to survive, yet all are surviving. Pushing beyond what one thinks they can handle is inspiring, and contagious. Surround yourself with overacheivers and you will overachieve. Perhaps that is the answer to why Kim and others subject themselves to this walk. My former co-worker once quipped something to the effect of “I don’t know why they call it radiation therapy as there is nothing therapeutic about it”. But the walk, for as physically and emotionally draining as it is, does provide therapy for the mind and soul.

 

Throughout this weekend, take a moment here and there to keep a good thought for all of the folks walking and volunteering down here in Dallas. Think of those who inspire you, and help inspire others and perhaps we’ll find it to be truly therapeutic.

 

In further pondering the concept of inspiration/therapy over the past few days, I think that in a lot of ways, this board is therapudic. Intellegent, open-minded discussion sans the corporate bull**** that many of us are forced to deal with is really great, it's the way things should be. As such, we really do need to seek to associate with those who inspire us. If you think of it, you can quite easily compartmentalize co-workers, friends and neighbors into the categories of those who do inspire us and those who do not. Personally, I may need to look to change employers in consideration of this. One famous Buffett quote states that "Do what you love and work for whom you admire the most, and you've given yourself the best chance in life you can." I think that can be extended to spending personal time with similar individuals as well. Doing so will pay dividends well beyond financial ones.

 

-Crip

 

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