10/11/2009

5 great lessons from an even greater person.

“We make a living with what we get, but we make a life by what we give”, used to say Sir Winston Churchill.

And last week we met a person who has no doubt make a great life with his deeds!


Vinton Cerf, known as one of the co-inventors of the Internet, its architecture and the TCP/IP protocols (which, for those of you who’ve never heard of these before, are the reason why you are on-line right now, reading this blog), was in Mexico City last week, sharing his points of view, opinions and knowledge of course, with government officials, private organizations, media and students.

And although it would be really interesting to share here, a summary of his comments regarding the nurturing of the Internet ecosystem in Mexico, the world and space (Yes, this gentleman already worked on the Internet Interplanetary system), I rather leave that to other media that does a great job explaining that and focus on 5 great life (and personal branding) lessons Vinton Cerf shared with us during his stay:

1. Despise all your achievements never forget to be humble and simple.
If I had to choose one trait to learn from this man, it would be his humbleness and simplicity.
This is a person who made history more than 40 years ago. Engineers and IT professionals all over the world study him in college and our kids will study him as part of the world history along with people like Alva Edison or Graham Bell; and yet he conducts himself with the simplicity and grace of a teacher trying to help his students learn.

2. Be aware of your context and keep yourself open to the opportunities life brings us every day.
How many chances of doing something great have we missed by undermining or underestimating our job? Vint shared with us: “ I was very lucky to be in the right place at the right time…and ended up being a programmer at the UCLA “Network Measurement Center”, which in time took him to create the TCP/IP protocol.

3. Learn to take risks, even when you think you can’t.
Let’s be frank, How many times have not done something because we convinced ourselves that it can’t be done? Vint told us how he learned that “taking the risky option was always the most interesting option.”

4. Surround yourself of people who will challenge you to be better.
Don’t ever stay satisfied with a simple “I cannot do it…” because you already tried it once. Surround yourself of people who will push you to try it one more time!

5. Always be grateful and appreciate the opportunity to serve.
This was, after his humbleness, the most important lesson to me.
Let’s just stop complaining about how our work is not entirely what we expected or about how it is boring or about our clients who don’t understand our work.
The reality is that we all should be, like Vint said: “Grateful of being of service and appreciate the opportunity given to us to do so”.

I would love to summarize each experience Vint Cerf shared with us a few days ago, but that would not be enough, so instead why don’t you watch this conversation with Vinton Cerf, a great person grateful of being of service to human kind.


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