17 Soundbites from 2017

Author Peri Kadaster (previous posts)

This has been a tricky year, and it would be at a minimum misguided or self-indulgent – or at worst, just inaccurate – for me to impart a list of wise adages to all of you. Indeed, my learnings usually come from many of you. But what we all do have in common is that we’re trying to do the best we can, the only way we know how.

And while certainly there were highs, 2017 brought with it a lot of lows. From polarization in US politics to surprise changes in EU members to hurricane-driven humanitarian crises, there has been not-always-welcome surprise around every corner. For entrepreneurs operating in this climate – not just in developing countries, but everywhere – the premium placed on navigating, and sound decision-making, in a time of uncertainty is at an all-time high.

But I know that a handful soundbites from this past year each played a role in my learnings – and thus, in my growth. I share them with you here, purposely omitting my own context for each. Why? Perhaps some of these resonate to your own experiences; or perhaps they don’t at all. I’d rather it spur your thoughts and recollections of inspiration than share with you my own. These different narratives – different contexts and stories and learnings – make all of us better together.

We are trying to the best we can, the only way we know how. And for all the challenges we’ve faced in 2017 as a world and as companies and as individuals, that simple truth remains: what we choose to do with that of trying, learning, growing – that’s the real magic.

In no particular order, and in whatever context you envision, 17 brief quotes from the past 12 months:

“I think it’s important to have a future that is inspiring and appealing. I mean, I just think that there have to be reasons that you get up in the morning and you want to live. Like why do you want to live? What’s the point? What inspires you? What do you love about the future?”
– Elon Musk, Tesla CEO

“In real life, the act of creation is defying death. I think it’s just that dumb and simple.”
– Rick Owners, fashion designer

“What is a legacy? It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.”
– Alexander Hamilton (character), Hamilton

“A lot of noise in the system sometimes cannot be accurate.”
– Tim Cook, Apple CEO

“The trick is to listen to your instincts grab the opportunity when it presents itself and then give it your all. Like a hangover, neither triumph not disaster lasts forever.”
– Hellen Mirren, Actress

“I survived reading guys like you – I’m surprised y’all think you can disguise your truths.”
– Jay-Z, 4:44

“I don’t like formality. There’s no formality when we’re born and none when we die.”
– Dalai Lama

“I want you to get this through that thick, primitive skull. I never worked for you. I worked for me.”
– Lorraine Broughton (character), Atomic Blonde

“Get out there, get in the way, get in trouble, good trouble, necessary trouble and make some noise.”
– John Lewis, US Representative

“One of the women greeted me. I love you, she said. She didn’t Know me, but I believed her.”
– Tracy K. Smith, Poet Laureate

“I’ve got scars that can’t be seen; I’ve got drama, can’t be stolen… This way or no way, you know I’ll be free. Just like that bluebird – now ain’t that just like me?”
– David Bowie, Blackstar

“I’m hoping that fear of being wrong won’t keep you from acting. Because inaction, doing nothing, or simply going along, that’s a decision, too, and it seems the times in my life that I haven’t acted, that’s when I’ve regretted it the most.”
– Sally Yates, former acting US Attorney General

“Me too.”
– Women, everywhere

“Look how far I’ve come. Immigrants: we get the job done.”
– K’Naan, Hamilton Mixtape

“You’re never not afraid. I’m still afraid… but my fear of failure never approached in magnitude my fear of what if. What if I never tried at all?”
– Will Ferrell, Actor

“Life is less of a blueprint than an improvisation; less a finished work of art than a work in progress; a high-wire act, not some stroll in the woods… the unforeseen future lying in wait for you may actually be infinitely more exciting than anything you can possibly imagine today.”
– Rob Chernow, Author

“It’s chaos. Be kind.”
– Patton Oswalt, Annihilation

─ December 29, 2017