Two weeks ago two men died. One, I admired from afar, the other, I knew.
One achieved incredible things, giving so much to so many, but somehow got off track. The other made a ton of money but many will not remember him with high regard.
Two men died last weekend and left two quite different legacies. One will be hugely missed, the other? Well….
Tony Hsieh was a thinker, a doer, and an extraordinary community builder in many parts of his life. He derived pleasure from creating happiness: his own and that of others.
His obituary appeared Sunday morning and by noon Linkedin had nearly 1,000 messages mourning his loss.
He left a legacy of innovation, learning, teaching, connectedness, and community. He was one of those people who decided what he stood for, defined his values clearly, and then lived them in every part of his life not caring too much about doing things the way others did.
The people who wrote ranged from students to wealth managers, HR Directors, CEOs, creatives and so many others. They were all people whom he touched and influenced. Many of them had been transformed by his book: Delivering Happiness, the story of how he built Zappos, now a business legend.
They talked about the attributes that stood out to them: kindness, generosity, inspiration, openness, making time for strangers, remarkableness, a symbol of excellence, always making a difference whether to a company, a community, or an individual.
He lived consciously and made his life a true adventure. He worked hard and played hard.
He was known for partying as hard as he played. Somehow, he veered off and started using drugs.
There is no happy end to that road. It almost always ends in tragedy, as this did. And still, he left a legacy that few can match.
The other man, who shall remain nameless got pleasure from hurting others. He got a kick from it. In fact, you could see the visible pleasure on his face when he was in the midst of making someone uncomfortable or taking the steps to ruin someone’s life. It’s a good thing there aren’t too many of them out there.
I am reasonably sure that few will mourn his passing – although I’m no authority.
Beloved author Clay Christensen in his book, How Will You Measure Your Life, noted:
“We have the opportunity every day to create our legacy. It can only be created day by day, by living our values, extending kindness where we can, encouraging and connecting others. It’s what we have to offer in the end.”