Long story short: my ex works at a company called IDEO. Each summer they offer a one-shot Design Boot Camp (gratis) for employees' kids/relatives during which the kids rub elbows with some of the most creative minds in Silicon Valley. Our oldest, a rising junior in high school, was lucky enough to be among the plebs who hailed from all over the planet.
They did a couple dozen amazing things, but her highlight was biking to Stanford for a fireside chat with Mr. Kelley. Lauren's question for him: "What advice would you give your high-school self?"
His lapidary response was not what you might expect. Having been diagnosed with terminal cancer ten or so years ago, Mr. Kelley is acutely aware of the meaning and the marrow.
Here's what he would impart:
1. Relationships over material. Those you love matter. The rest? Not so much;
2. Measure everything in fun. Lead with it. When Kelley was diagnosed, Stanford provided a therapist for him. The therapist told him to write down each activity he did every day for two weeks. He was instructed to measure everything on a FUN metric of 1 - 10. How much FUN, for example, was he having while in faculty meetings? Zero, which is why he hasn't been to a faculty meeting in five years. The fun exercise, he said, was a breakthrough. Life's too short to not lead with fun, yes?
3. Explore. Explore everything. Adopt an exploration mindset. Say YES to travel;
And this ...
4. Get terminal cancer but don't actually get the disease. Just THINK as if you had beat it. In other words, see the world through the lens of post-plague David Kelley.
Not a bad perspective, if you can get it.