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Apr 24

La Signification De Vie

Posted by: Mark Solon        

A long time ago, my mother-in-law taught me a lesson I’ve never forgotten (if common sense were currency she’d be the wealthiest person I know). She shared with me that her father (a rancher who homesteaded in Idaho straight off the Oregon trail) used to always tell her “every person you meet in life has a present for you. Your job is to unwrap it and find out what that present is.”

For me, by far the most rewarding part of my life’s work has been the ability to meet thousands of amazing entrepreneurs. They’re a unique and very special breed. By remembering those words of wisdom from Mimi, I’ve gotten more than my fair share of presents from entrepreneurs along my journey.

Today, I unwrapped a gift worth sharing. In Paris for a conference, I was having lunch at a sidewalk cafe with an entrepreneur whom I’m considering backing. Over the course of my career, I’ve developed a unorthodox set of questions that I ask entrepreneurs throughout the dating phase, all in the spirit of trying to get to know someone better. Today (for a reason that escapes me as I’ve never asked it before) I asked this gentleman “What is the meaning of life?”


He took a bite of his crepe, looked at me with a twinkle in his eye and didn’t skip a beat. “The meaning of life is what meaning you get out of life.” Hmmm, this is going to be interesting I thought. He then proceeded to share with my his very detailed philosophy. In summary, he believes that there are four components to a happy and fulfilling life:

1) Relationships

2) The desire to learn and grow

3) The desire to be creative

4) Contributing

I’ll let you contemplate the meaning behind his four pillars of a satisfying and rewarding life instead of delving into the details behind his theory. He was resolute that if you had these four things in your life, that’s all you really needed. It was terrifically stimulating conversation and I left our lunch with a spring in my step and new things to ponder. I hope this short story does the same for you…

C’est tout pour le moment…


3 Responses to “La Signification De Vie”

  1. avatar Andrea Meyer says:

    What a lovely philosophy your mother-in-law shared with you - it sets such a positive view on every new encounter and puts in you in a frame of mind for learning from everyone you meet. Thank you also for sharing the four pillars for a fulfilling life from your friend - it's a very healthy philosophy for an entrepreneur to have. I'm reminded of Peter Drucker's “Every brilliant idea quickly degenerates into a lot of hard work” - something that every entrepreneur quickly realizes when building a business. To have the four pillars of relationships and desire to learn, grow, be creative and contribute will support your friend during those particularly intense start-up times!

    Enjoy your day (and your photo inspires me to have lunch at an outdoor cafe today!)

  2. Jen Harris says:

    Thanks Mark, I love short, sweet, profound statements.
    Another similar comment I have heard that life isn't about the amount of breaths you take, but the amount of time your breath is taken away.

  3. "There is only one you… Don't you dare change just because you're outnumbered!" — Charles Swindoll

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