The quest to eradicate the world’s most deadly diseases recently received big boosts from two billionaire tech industry giants. On Thursday, April 13th, Sean Parker, Napster’s co-founder and the first president of Facebook, announced a $250 million bequest to accelerate cancer research. Last month, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen gave $100 million.
Parker and Allen want to disrupt the medical research community’s way of searching for cures to major diseases. Entrepreneurs are by nature impatient. They break away from the status quo to create something new that can change the world.
Allen said his initiative targets “research areas that may be too early, too radical or too high risk to make it though the government’s often conservative grant-making process” (Washington Post, March 24, 2016).
How steep of a price are we willing to pay for success? Startup founders or anyone trying to climb a corporate ladder know that sacrifices will have to be made. Long hours, missed family events, and close friendships that become distant are common.
We have all seen or personally experienced the signs of dysfunction when these sacrifices become too great, such as substance abuse, extramarital affairs and health problems. Sometimes family, friends and coworkers will thankfully intervene before or at the point when there is a crisis. They could see the signals that something was wrong. Fortunately, that is often the moment at which the striver, who is oblivious to the emotional and physical toll that his or her ambitions are taking, can be helped before it leads to a tragedy.
The outliers are the dramatic falls of the seemingly impervious high achievers. They are frequently the picture of perfect health, great family, large network of friends and brimming with ideas, projects and unbridled ambition. You know the type. Business challenges, economic uncertainties and controversies only fuel their ambitions while it would unnerve others.