Character is Fate

... and our organization's character matters.

Hey friend,

I wrote this post and I wanted to share it with you all, especially since there are a handful of us who are building new projects and startups and are trying to decide on the most important things…

… like WHO we should work with.

Don’t fuck this up. Love you all.

— john


Character is the best measure of who a man or woman really is. It can also help you understand and know how they will behave in different environments and stimuli.

In short, it is the singular most important factor when deciding on who to hire, who to work with or for, who to partner with and who to marry or have friendships with.

The reason is simple: “Character is fate” (as Heraclitus once famously said) and you go wherever your character and your hand-selected relationships will take you.

Consequently, the most important decisions that you and I make in our lives, both personal and professional, are the decisions of who we invite into our lives and how we allow their character to impact, challenge, and possibly even compromise our own.

Now, our combined characters determine our combined fate.

Two obvious (and personally-relevant) examples of this is my 15+ year marriage to my best friend and my experiences with venture-backed startups, both of which are now most-definitely “combined fates”!

But the quality of those relationships and how meaningful they can (or can’t) be is also dependent on the quality of the combined characters of the folks involved.

In other words, the amount of happiness (and value creation) is maximized when there’s character alignment around the same vectors. And, when this happens effectively, progress and momentum are built and most folks I know really like it when things work well, especially when they are rewarded for those aligned efforts around a shared mission and goal.

In many ways you could say that an organization’s character determines its fate — we’ve all seen and read enough examples of where good character takes a business and where bad character dead-ends into.