“Just as the individual is not alone in the group, nor any one society alone among the others, so man is not alone in the universe.”— Claude Lévi-Strauss

As a young man, I thought my success was solely a function of my being awesome. My character, my grit, my talent. What a fucking child.

I’ve built companies, had some success in different forms of media, and am a good (not great) professor. The fire that drove my success was not talent or some calling; it was a fear of being broke (again), and desperately needing to feel relevant — to impress my mom, friends, and people I’d never met. When something really wonderful happens these days, it feels as if it didn’t really happen, as I can’t call my mom to cement the achievement. For 18 years, she hasn’t been there. I’m a 57-year-old man who still hasn’t gotten over the loss of his mother. And that’s OK. Truth is, I hope my boys feel some of the same emotions about me when I’m gone. But that’s not what this post is about.

If I’m generous with myself, I do have one skill. I foster a decent amount of loyalty among the people I work with. It’s not a function of character or empathy, only the recognition that nothing wonderful happens when you’re on an island. Simply put, greatness and happiness are in the agency of others.


Married people are happierhealthier, and wealthier than single people. Partners compensate for our weaknesses, encourage us to take risks, and (in a healthy relationship) have the strength to tell us when we’re doing something wrong, unfair, or just plain stupid. Good partners protect you from others; great partners protect you from yourself. It’s true on sports teams, boards of directors, and ensemble movie casts.

Everyone needs counterweights. Indeed, the more weight you carry, the more you need others to balance you. Some of the most valuable advice I get isn’t about what to do, but what not to do. I’ve done so many dumb things in my life. But a number of 15-car-pile-ups have been averted because someone said, “Hey, maybe … don’t.”

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Πηγή: profgalloway.com

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