I was reading an article the other day about Markus Persson, (picture above!) creator of Minecraft, the modern version of lego, (if you have a child who is about 15 or younger, ask, they will tell you). He just sold his company to Microsoft for over 2 Billion dollars and he is now sending lonely twit from Ibiza because his friends have to work for a living and his girlfriend left him, even after he made it big…
One could just look at it from the point of view of “Poor little rich man”. What is he complaining about? He got a lot of money, he can do what ever he wants in his life, and he is still not happy? What a looser.
But this article is an example of a person who does not have meaning in his life. He has worked so hard and succeeded so well, that once he succeeded, he found himself lost. He probably did not have a personal life, or it was so truncated by his company and the time he needed to dedicate to it, he probably lost touch with reality. And now, well he could have anything he wants, but he does not have yet (one can only hope for him) a new project, a new meaningful interest that is going to redirect his life.
So what kind of life lesson, Markus should learn from this experience.
He does not need to work for one more day in his life. He is just 35 years old, he might get bored. He can decide to do whatever he wants to do and still be very well off. Yet, he needs to learn a few lessons.
1 – Having plans. And re-accessing them often.
We all know of the person that works so hard to achieve the perfect something, be it the perfect wedding day, the perfect project, the perfect company: They envisage the day, they plan every single little details to perfection, they live, breath, sleep the project. This is their sole and only focus, because it is so important in their life, but they don’t think of the after. And when the project comes to completion, they are unsure what to do. Did you know that all the astronauts who first stepped on the moon, suffered from severe depression? They walked on the moon, they were heroes, but it is hard to bit that fit. They did not have a plan for after. They did not have an appreciation of the smaller things in life. They really had trouble going back to being just “normal” beings. So it is important that while we focus on our big project and its completion, we also focus on planning the “after”. What are we going to do after? What is going to bring us joy and emotional fulfilment after? Maybe it is some time off with the family, maybe it is that this project is a corner stone for something else, bigger, better,… Something that will be meaningful for you. Whatever it is, it is important to have a think about that, long before you finish your current project. Project yourself in the after, even if you don’t have time right now. Invest time in this, have a plan and review it every so often so that you would still be motivated whenever you complete your project.
2 – Learning to lead a balanced life
Our astronauts when training for the moon mission, did not have time to think of the after. They probably were not even sure that they would be back, that there would be an after. And the training was gruelling. So they did not. We all know the person who just started his business or a new job and is only focus on this new venture. They forget to go out with friends, they only think, speak about their project and they isolate themselves by virtue of their single minded approach. It is likely to work for them, but they are also likely to find themselves completely disconnected from their friends and real life when they emerge on the other side. If it was only for a couple of months, it won’t be too much of a problem, but if the project ran for years and if you ever started a company you know that it will be likely years to see the company through, then you will find yourself with hopefully a successful company or project but no personal life to speak about. And when you sell your company or you complete your project, then you have nothing left….
So it is really important to try and find other things to focus on along the way, things that will make you feel connected and balanced, like cultivating your friendships, like keep on doing some sports, like keep on reading,… or just remembering to stop and smell the roses from time to time, so that you keep touch with reality.
So Markus next time, and I am sure there will be, after all you are young, remember, make plans for yourself AS WELL AS for your company. And cultivate other center of interest.
Joelle @ Joelle’s Practice