He lost his son and 66 employees five years ago. Today, he's investing in restaurants and in a Canadian rock band. Wall Streeter John Duffy tells me, the latter never would have happened without the former.
As Duffy himself put it, "I don't want to waste time. It's too precious."
Oddly, it's a consistent theme I've gleaned from those who have seen death or come darn close to it themselves. Far from being passive in life, they aim to squeeze more out of the minutes they are given life.
Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen quit the company after barely surviving Hodgkin's disease — buying sports teams, bands, cable companies and rocket ships, all the while giving millions to charities.
Petrochemical giant Jon Huntsman devoted his life to curing cancer after getting struck by the disease himself — no less than three times!
There is something very enlivening about not living, or at least thinking about not living. Huntsman told me recently, "Neil, there's so much I want to do. So much I have to do."
Most people think that those who battle diseases or live through horrors don't fret much over the stuff most others fret over. They're right.
They fret over different stuff. They fret over the things they want to do, realizing full well the limited time in which to do them.
To a man and woman, they don't play games, but they do have fun.
They've little time for politics. They're more focused on purpose.
They are critical, but they are not crazy.
They, more than many, realize life is short, so they go long. Because there is nothing like sensing the end to get your passion for life to begin.
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