Monthly Archives: Mar 2014


It hit me with a flash today. Some people are automatons.

I’ve seen this in two extremes – very bored, and very (too?) successful.

The very bored can be folks stuck in dull, repetitive jobs which they need for the money. There’s no challenge, no variety, no excitement.

  • He’s the janitor listlessly pushing his mop around the room.
  • She’s the clerk stacking cans at the supermarket.
  • Or the owner of a mechanical-voice that answers your support call from far away across oceans.


The very successful too may become automatons.

  • They build up a shell around themselves, to protect against intimacy with a large crowd that’s eager to get too familiar with them.
  • They hide behind an ‘artificial’ persona they put on to achieve their success, and then wear for so long that it becomes a habit they effortlessly adopt.
  • They hide their true selves.

By doing this, they appear emotionless, withdrawn and remote to those interacting with them.



Weird, even.


I’ve seen doctors who became automatons. And big-name marketers. Busy executives. Bureaucrats.

Every time I’ve seen or engaged with one of them, I’ve left thinking I NEVER want to become one.

No matter what else I don’t become, I don’t want to become an…


I’d rather be a caring, feeling, thinking person – with all the pain, frustration and diverse emotions attached to that state of being.



Means To Ends

Money, Money, Money
It’s so funny
In the rich man’s world


As I drove to early morning surgery on Saturday, I had an interesting insight – about money. And drew an interesting parallel – with cars!

When you fill your tank with gas, do you do it because it makes you feel good? Or give you a sense of security?

Or is it because now you know you can drive your car to where you want to go?

Having money is like that. Money is energy. ‘Fuel’, if you like. It lets you do things, go places, experience stuff.

But money is just the means to an end.

In and of itself, having money means nothing. When I got back home, I asked my wife a question.

“What if I gave you a BILLION dollars – under one condition… that you CANNOT spend it at all, but must continue to live just the same way as you always have. Would simply having a billion dollars make you happier?”

Not surprisingly, she answered “No”.

So, when money is the means to an end, it becomes obvious that it is the END that matters most to those who have a lot of money.

Donald Trump says he prefers going to the office to taking a vacation – because what he does at work is more exciting, enjoyable and satisfying than anything else he’d rather be doing!

I happily devote hours to performing heart surgery and taking care of my little patients after their operations – even though I don’t get paid for doing it. And the time and effort invested into writing and selling books is only fulfilling because of what the money it brings in lets me do – fund these operations!

That’s why you hardly ever see folks with a lot of money ‘retire’ and just ‘relax on a beach’.

That’s a fantasy many have before they get an infusion of the energy called money. Once they get fueled up, they’re raring to go.

It’s why John Doerr continues to invest in new ventures, why Sabir Bhatia took his Hotmail millions and built new companies, why Biz Stone and Evan Williams didn’t rest content with and went on to create Twitter.

It’s why Seth Godin keeps churning out more best-selling books, why Guy Kawasaki continues to invest in new companies and encourage entrepreneurs, why Marc Andreesen built after winning big with Netscape.

They all could have ‘retired’ and ‘relaxed’ after earning their fortunes.

But the money was only the means to an end.

Or many ends.

All of them exciting and fulfilling in far deeper ways than merely big bank balances can ever be.

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