Luckily, the world is made up of individuals with different motivations. A guy on Wall Street wants to get rich; a doctor wants to treat the sick in Africa; while an entrepreneur wants to start a company and watch it grow.
Because I caught polio when I was seven, and my father died in an iron lung in five days, I probably should've set my sights on making a lot of money. It certainly would've been the smart thing to do.
Instead I became a college professor and university vice president, and worked as a foster father for African-American guys. Because I'd been brought up living on Social Security, I could identify with many of their lives. When they succeeded, I felt good inside. It was clearly what I needed in my life.
After becoming a professor emeritus, I did a language exchange with a Chinese man in the UCLA MBA program. He was intelligent, open-minded and did his best to teach me Chinese. I valued his integrity and insights.
Once when flying back from Beijing I met a guy who needed a place to stay overnight. I took him home to my house in Los Angeles, and took him to a great place for breakfast. The last time I was in China, he flew from Beijing to Nanjing to speak to me in person for an hour and a half. Since then he has stayed with me in Los Angeles. As his son's godfather, I got to give his son an American name.
In the last couple of days, both men have called me from Beijing. I provided each one with the others number and they've already spoken and plan on working on a project. This gives me great joy. As a professor emeritus, I no longer had the opportunity to affect people's lives. My recent problems with mobility had left me isolated. But yesterday, when the two men talked, I felt fulfilled in a way I hadn't in the last couple of years.
I'm on a high because I still feel relevant. Seeds I planted a while ago came to fruition yesterday. My life is a good one.