Brad Feld wrote a post on contentment this past week that I continue to think about. I talked to a reporter this past week who is writing a piece around businesses that are started by people over 50. She wanted to know if I was seeing more of them and if they are getting funded. This is a loaded question and the answer is not simple but I am going to tie it back to contentment because we are living in a time where people are looking for more contentment in different ways.
I have funded people who are older that are building businesses but the majority of them (perhaps all) are serial entrepreneurs. They know exactly what it takes to build a business from scratch. The truth is some are up for it and others are not when they get to a certain age. It is mentally, physically and emotionally draining to build a business from scratch and all aspects of the business invade you 24/7. When you get to a certain age, particularly when you have a family, kids that are teens, other distractions, it is hard to drum up that selfish focus. It is not for the faint of heart.
I’d also add that as much as parents today who have teens and young adults believe that they are more in tune with their kids than their parents I am not convinced that they really understand their children’s generations connection with technology and how they see the world. I have talked to so many young adults who are graduating college and the advice that their parents have given them is disconnected from how their generation grew up. Different priorities and those priorities connect back to contentment.
The sentence that stuck with Brad that evening was“Contentment used to be a virtue. Now it’s a vice.” I do not necessarily agree unless you happen to be in the start-up craze and are in the 24/7 full-on down in the weeds build a business then contentment is a vice. People who are 50 and over are starting to think of contentment as a virtue much earlier than the last generation because they realize that it doesn’t have to be a vice. They can stop striving, they can take a breather and it is accepted. Many millennials who are more in touch with their emotions and how they want to live their lives are beginning to think that way too.