T. Boone Pickens letter after death
?MESSAGE FROM BOONE: “IF YOU ARE READING THIS, I HAVE PASSED ON FROM THIS WORLD.”
The following message from T. Boone Pickens was written prior to his passing September 11, 2019.
“If you are reading this, I have passed on from this world — not as big a deal for you as it was for me.
In my final months, I came to the sad reality that my life really did have a fourth quarter and the clock really would run out on me. I took the time to convey some thoughts that reflect back on my rich and full life.
I was able to amass 1.9 million Linkedin followers. On Twitter, more than 145,000 (thanks, Drake). This is my goodbye to each of you.
One question I was asked time and again: What is it that you will leave behind?
That’s at the heart of one of my favorite poems, “Indispensable Man,” which Saxon White Kessinger wrote in 1959. Here are a few stanzas that get to the heart of the matter:
Sometime when you feel that your going
Would leave an unfillable hole,
Just follow these simple instructions
And see how they humble your soul;
Take a bucket and fill it with water,
Put your hand in it up to the wrist,
Pull it out and the hole that’s remaining
Is a measure of how you’ll be missed.
You can splash all you wish when you enter,
You may stir up the water galore,
But stop and you’ll find that in no time
It looks quite the same as before.
You be the judge of how long the bucket remembers me.
I’ve long recognized the power of effective communication. That’s why in my later years I began to reflect on the many life lessons I learned along the way, and shared them with all who would listen.
Fortunately, I found the young have a thirst for this message. Many times over the years, I was fortunate enough to speak at student commencement ceremonies, and that gave me the chance to look out into a sea of the future and share some of these thoughts with young minds. My favorite of these speeches included my grandchildren in the audience.
What I would tell them was this Depression-era baby from tiny Holdenville, Oklahoma — that wide expanse where the pavement ends, the West begins, and the Rock Island crosses the Frisco — lived a pretty good life.
In those speeches, I’d always offer these future leaders a deal: I would trade them my wealth and success, my 68,000-acre ranch and private jet, in exchange for their seat in the audience. That way, I told them, I’d get the opportunity to start over, experience every opportunity America has to offer.
It’s your shot now.
If I had to single out one piece of advice that’s guided me through life, most likely it would be from my grandmother, Nellie Molonson. She always made a point of making sure I understood that on the road to success, there’s no point in blaming others when you fail.
Here’s how she put it:
“Sonny, I don’t care who you are. Some day you’re going to have to sit on your own bottom.”
After more than half a century in the energy business, her advice has proven itself to be spot-on time and time again. My failures? I never have any doubt whom they can be traced back to. My successes? Most likely the same guy.
Never forget where you come from. I was fortunate to receive the right kind of direction, leadership, and work ethic — first in Holdenville, then as a teen in Amarillo, Texas, and continuing in college at what became Oklahoma State University. I honored the values my family instilled in me, and was honored many times over by the success they allowed me to achieve.
I also long practiced what my mother preached to me throughout her life — be generous. Those values came into play throughout my career, but especially so as my philanthropic giving exceeded my substantial net worth in recent years.
For most of my adult life, I’ve believed that I was put on Earth to make money and be generous with it. I’ve never been a fan of inherited wealth. My family is taken care of, but I was far down this philanthropic road when, in 2010, Warren Buffet and Bill Gates asked me to take their Giving Pledge, a commitment by the world’s wealthiest to dedicate the majority of their wealth to philanthropy. I agreed immediately.
I liked knowing that I helped a lot of people. I received letters every day thanking me for what I did, the change I fostered in other people’s lives. Those people should know that I appreciated their letters.
My wealth was built through some key principles, including:
A good work ethic is critical.
Don’t think competition is bad, but play by the rules. I loved to compete and win. I never wanted the other guy to do badly; I just wanted to do a little better than he did.
Learn to analyze well. Assess the risks and the prospective rewards, and keep it simple.
Be willing to make decisions. That’s the most important quality in a good leader: Avoid the “Ready-aim-aim-aim-aim” syndrome. You have to be willing to fire.
Learn from mistakes. That’s not just a cliché. I sure made my share. Remember the doors that smashed your fingers the first time and be more careful the next trip through.
Be humble. I always believed the higher a monkey climbs in the tree, the more people below can see his ass. You don’t have to be that monkey.
Don’t look to government to solve problems — the strength of this country is in its people.
Stay fit. You don’t want to get old and feel bad. You’ll also get a lot more accomplished and feel better about yourself if you stay fit. I didn’t make it to 91 by neglecting my health.
Embrace change. Although older people are generally threatened by change, young people loved me because I embraced change rather than running from it. Change creates opportunity.
Have faith, both in spiritual matters and in humanity, and in yourself. That faith will see you through the dark times we all navigate.
Over the years, my staff got used to hearing me in a meeting or on the phone asking, “Whaddya got?” That’s probably what my Maker is asking me about now.
Here’s my best answer.
I left an undying love for America, and the hope it presents for all. I left a passion for entrepreneurship, and the promise it sustains. I left the belief that future generations can and will do better than my own.
Thank you. It’s time we all move on.”
-T. Boone Pickens
Belt and Road, from Alex
Back to School
Thanks Dan Benton
Mike Levine: The first day of school Published: 2:00 AM – 09/02/09 Quick, before they leave this morning. Take a good look. Touch their faces, run your hands through their hair. We got antsy with them last month, but now we want time to stand still. Like falling leaves and chilly mornings, some great force signals us today. We are aware of life passing. See the kindergartner with a brave, bewildered smile watching her mother cry as the school bus pulls away. The high-school freshman with a lump in his throat hears his father whisper everything will be OK. Brothers and sisters who fought all summer now hold hands. Today is proud, today is helpless, today is tomorrow. This is a special morning, wrenching and sacred. As a young reporter, I’d wonder why. What’s the big deal about the first day of school? I would write down quotes in my notebook and comprehend nothing. Then I became a parent. I found out. We mark time by today. On this morning, we remember our own parents and our own childhood. We are filled with the smell of old raincoats, the sticky bond of classroom glue, the childhood knot of worried excitement. We were so small and lost. (Secret: A part of us is still lost. We tell no one.) Now we have children of our own. On this morning, we remember the holy moment of their birth. We see this is all just a matter of time. Once, we thought our children were ours alone. Each September, on this day, we learn better. Nothing is ours to keep. Time passes through our eyes this morning. We see our children as newborns, we picture them as grown-ups. We see them walking their own children to school. Time passes in the beat of a heart. I have seen my first kindergarten boy walk into his dorm on his first day of college. A few days ago, my younger son left for college. I stood there, at once empty and full, as frightened and proud as the morning his first school bus pulled away. Come on, it’s getting late. The bus is coming up the road. I’ll keep this short. Make sure they have everything they need. Double check. Write their name on the book bag. Sweetheart, did you remember your lunch money? Dad, don’t call me mushy stuff in front of the other kids. They are right. Like the summer birds leaving us, our children know what to do. Like September leaves waving on the trees, we, too, give way to the winds of change.
From Arthur G
The New ‘New Education’ – The Atlantic
Also from Arthur G 11/09/2018
Biocentrism: There’s no time and no death
A gift from Arthur G
The Gift of Death – George Monbiot
A world away
“Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.”
~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Miss Maudie, To Kill a Mockingbird
There are just some kind of men who – who’re so busy worrying about the next world they’ve never learned to live in this one, and you can look down the street and see the results.