Success: Is It Worth It? (Part 1)

“Seek not to follow in the footsteps of men of old; seek what they sought.” -Matsuo Basho

For years I’ve had a running debate with myself as to whether or not my dad’s success was worth the price he paid for it. The way I see it, he paid with his life to build a highly successful group of companies. My dad died at 64 years old— he didn’t even make it to “senior citizen” status. Our family paid a hefty price too.

When he died I experienced a strange multitude of emotions. I was glad that his long and painful struggle with a number of illnesses was finally over. I was upset that he could have prevented many of those illnesses by doing a few small and simple things differently— things like eating breakfast, getting more sleep, exercising regularly and visiting the doctor for routine checkups.

I was grateful that, despite his shortcomings, he’d lived his life honorably and in a way that we, his family, can be forever proud of. I remember feeling like a sort of cap had been put on his life— that the reputation he’d earned through his fairness, honesty, authenticity, loyalty, generosity and hard work could never be reversed or undone.

I was exasperated at the thought of ever measuring up to him or his accomplishments. I was sad that I would never have the close and loving relationship with him that I had missed out on as a child. I was angry at not having had that relationship and that it was now impossible. I was upset that he hadn’t taken better care of himself.

I was appreciative of his incredible vision, foresight and initiative to prepare my mom, my siblings and me, and the leaders of our company to carry on the good work that he started. And it has paid off— in the five years since he has been gone, our family business has experienced unprecedented growth and profitability. 

The last five years have given me a lot to think about, and many new perspectives.  

(To be continued…)


Fitbit Makes Being Active Fun and Interesting

Fitbit makes devices that make being active fun and interesting. Its latest product, the Fitbit Force is worn as a watch, but it does so much more. Each day it tracks things like how many steps you take, the total distance you walk, how many calories you burn, how many minutes of intense activity you have, how many flights of stairs you climb and even how long and how well you sleep.

You can use it to track your weight and water consumption. It easily syncs with your smartphone and requires less than five minutes of setup. The battery lasts about five days on a charge. It vibrates and sends you a happy message on days you achieve the American Heart Association’s recommended 10,000 steps.

Wearing this device for just one week makes me think of Arthur C. Clarke’s words, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” This thing might not be magic, but it’s pretty awesome.

Another awesome thing about Fitbit is that it makes tracking progress toward fitness goals easily measurable. It’s hard to manage what you don’t measure. Fitbit emails you a cool report that summarizes your activity each week. It’s interesting to see your activity quantified in this manner and delivered in report format.

The Fitbit Force is $130 and requires no subscription. That’s pretty cool too.

Fitbit, Google Glass, Samsung Galaxy Gear. 2014’s the year we’ll remember as the year wearable tech took off. And we were just a bit more fit because of it.