Self-made men do not exist

Marcus Aurelius Meditations starts with a long chapter of recognition and thanks to all those he thought influenced him in a positive way:

From my grandfather Verus I learned good morals and the government of my temper.
From the reputation and remembrance of my father, modesty and a manly character. 
From my mother, piety and beneficence, and abstinence, not only from evil deeds, but even from evil thoughts; and further, simplicity in my way of living, far removed from the habits of the rich. 
From my great-grandfather, not to have frequented public schools, and to have had good teachers at home, and to know that on such things a man should spend liberally. 


A good reminder that there are no “self made men”.

There is no such thing as a ‘self-made’ man. We are made up of thousands of others. Everyone who has ever done a kind deed for us, or spoken one word of encouragement to us, has entered into the make-up of our character and of our thoughts, as well as our success.

George Burton Adams

As George put it, we are the product of countless people that contributed to our education, progress, and learning.

Following Marcus example, I decided to write my Book I. So here it goes:

From my grandfather Carlos, I learnt respect and admiration for nature, and all living beings.

From my grandmother Violeta, the art and pride of craftsmanship.

From my grandmother Consuelo, courage and endurance, and to be fair.

From my grandfather Eugenio, the tremendous power of words. And the legacy of written ones, one of the reasons I’m writing this.

From my father, the principle of leaving things better than I received them, and to never give up on your dreams.

From my mom, the joys and love of parenting, the concept of carpe diem, that impossible is nothing, and to not being afraid of getting out of your comfort zone (frequently).

From my sister, the bliss of a happy childhood, and the gift of imagination, to play with anything around you, and the warmth and safety of infinite trust.

From Viviana, my high school Spanish and literature teacher, I learnt how to communicate, and express myself.

From my physical education teacher, I learnt the value of mens sana in corpore sano. That body and mind are two parts of a whole that cannot be separated.

From my best friend Rudy, I learnt first the power of humor, chosen loyalty, and the value of finishing projects. I also learnt how to sell for the first time. And how difficult that is.

From my first math & physics teachers at college, to be humble, and that you always know much less than you often think.

From my Sargeant Major in the Army, Angel Puñet, I learnt discipline, commitment to a cause larger than you. That you can do good things without all the resources you wished you had. And that laughing at yourself often is healthy.

From my Captain in the Army, Alejandro Echazu, I learnt the power of strong convictions. That great and strong leadership, are not incompatible with generosity and compassion.

From my CS teacher Eduardo, I learnt the C programming language which turned out to be foundational in my professional career.

From one of my first managers, Roberto Schatz, I learnt how to take pride in your work, how to break rules you don’t believe in, and to identify the difference between how things “should be” and how things “are”.

From my father in law, compassion and selfless service to others. And care for our body.

From my mother in law, I learnt about building and running business and the social responsibilities it conveys.

From my wife’s grandmother, I learnt that authority and power are earned, not given.

From my wife, I learnt how to be a father, a husband, and a provider. I also learnt what unconditional, endless, pure love for those you care looks like. It would have been impossible to achieve what I have achieved in life without her. She’s my partner, my indistinguishable half. My checks and balances.

From my oldest son, I learnt empathy and grit. I learnt about endurance, and to never underestimate anyone. That each person fights battles you rarely know about. And that focusing on your strengths pays off way more than trying to improve on your weaknesses.

From my youngest son, I learnt to keep a high degree of curiosity about everything. How to ask great questions, and not to take anything for granted; to admire and embrace your passions. And true concern for others and circumstances in life.

From my friend and partner in business Matias, I learnt that beauty is a feature. That simple is very hard, and how to build a company you would want to work for.

From Kate, our lab, I learnt loyalty, and unconditional love.

Among the Pace’s in Redmond.

This is going to be more of a living document that I will refine from time to time, as I encounter other people that influence me in a positive way, and I reflect more on my journey.

4 thoughts on “Self-made men do not exist

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s