I’ve been lucky to have known many great people who showed me the world, how to get through it and how be a better person. And I believe that most everyone in the world wants to do the same for their neighbors, friends and family. But in places like Silicon Valley (or Hollywood for another path to success), the competition is so fierce and the obsession on your goals so laser-focused, how can anyone be expected to spend consistent time or energy to help others?
For mentors like Bill Campbell (and Garry Shandling), who went above and beyond to truly care about people and treat them like people, I feel bad that their actions are surprising at all, aside from the intensely driven and stressful industries they were a part of.
I believe that there are a mind-blowing number of coaches, mentors, teachers and parents that bring caring, understanding and even love when helping others with their lives and labors. Just as they come in all levels of skill and stature, so do their students.
But for every person in Silicon Valley whose goal is to “change the world” or merely pursue their idea of success on technology’s biggest stage, there are hundreds or thousands of folks around the world whose goal is to “improve the neighborhood” or pursue their smaller ideas of success. All that mentoring and the local “micro-innovations” that come from it are invisible to our news feeds. They’re the mountains that feed the Bay Area’s raging rapids of change. For most of them, they haven’t inspired an IPO or an Oscar, just smiles and thoughts.
Being in the “spotlight” isn’t most of the world’s main priority, and so we’ll never see all that dark matter around us. But it’s there, and it doesn’t need to shine to hold the universe together.