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Outlier’s Path

A Beginner’s Spirit

Before the holiday break, we visited NVIDIA’s headquarters for some Sequoia founders to present to NVIDIA leadership and explore new areas of collaboration. There were many highlights, such as the sight of Jensen Huang, the Founder/CEO of one of the most valuable companies on the planet, giving his views on the future of accelerated computing while walking around the room and serving pastries. Jensen also wanted to clarify his statement, “Nobody in their right mind would do it [start a company].”

In our meeting, he added, “When you get to where I am, I promise you, it’s worth it…Would I have done it if I knew then what I know now? No! If you know then, how little you know that you need to know, you won’t have the courage to start the company. If you don’t know all those things, there is no sense in telling you. When the time comes to know, and you need to know it, you will learn it and not be burdened by the unnecessary pressure of feeling inadequate. So the truth is you are inadequate. Spread the pain over 30 years, not one day.”

There is a certain beauty in adopting a childlike and beginner’s spirit to a new adventure. A certain amount of naïveté makes us more open-minded and ignore preconceived notions or biases, which leads to learning new ideas, unconventional thinking, and creative problem-solving.

In addition, have you noticed that children are incredibly trusting, see the best in a situation, and are exceedingly hopeful? They don’t overthink the potential risks and dangers, which allows them to be fearless. It is that fearlessness that allows for bold and new approaches.

Atticus is learning Japanese. He recently showed me a Japanese proverb, “初心忘る可からず (shoshin wasurubekarazu),” which loosely translates to “never lose your beginner’s spirit.” As we close out 2023 a year wiser, please reflect on what we’ve learned and how we can improve in 2024. At the same time, approach each day of 2024 with a clean slate and a beginner’s spirit.

Let’s see what we can accomplish with that childlike wonder and joy in 2024 and beyond.