Billionaire T. Boone Pickens on Life, Money and Purpose
A final message from T. Boone Pickens shared before his passing on September 11, 2019
T. Boone Pickens Memorial account for T. Boone Pickens
Mr. Pickens’ website and social media accounts are now being maintained by T. Boone Pickens Foundation team members.
“I left an undying love for America, and the hope it presents for all. I left a passion for entrepreneurship, and the promise it sustains. I left the belief that future generations can and will do better than my own”.
If you are reading this, I have passed on from this world — not as big a deal for you as it was for me.
In my final months, I came to the sad reality that my life really did have a fourth quarter and the clock really would run out on me. I took the time to convey some thoughts that reflect back on my rich and full life.
I was able to amass 1.9 million Linkedin followers. On Twitter, more than 145,000 (thanks, Drake). This is my goodbye to each of you.
One question I was asked time and again: What is it that you will leave behind?
That’s at the heart of one of my favorite poems, "Indispensable Man," which Saxon White Kessinger wrote in 1959. Here are a few stanzas that get to the heart of the matter:
Sometime when you feel that your going would leave an unfillable hole,
Just follow these simple instructions and see how they humble your soul;
Take a bucket and fill it with water, put your hand in it up to the wrist,
Pull it out and the hole that’s remaining is a measure of how you’ll be missed.
You can splash all you wish when you enter, you may stir up the water galore,
But stop and you’ll find that in no time it looks quite the same as before.
You be the judge of how long the bucket remembers me.
I’ve long recognized the power of effective communication. That’s why in my later years I began to reflect on the many life lessons I learned along the way, and shared them with all who would listen.
Fortunately, I found the young have a thirst for this message. Many times over the years, I was fortunate enough to speak at student commencement ceremonies, and that gave me the chance to look out into a sea of the future and share some of these thoughts with young minds. My favorite of these speeches included my grandchildren in the audience.
What I would tell them was this Depression-era baby from tiny Holdenville, Oklahoma — that wide expanse where the pavement ends, the West begins, and the Rock Island crosses the Frisco — lived a pretty good life.
In those speeches, I’d always offer these future leaders a deal: I would trade them my wealth and success, my 68,000-acre ranch and private jet, in exchange for their seat in the audience. That way, I told them, I’d get the opportunity to start over, experience every opportunity America has to offer.
It’s your shot now.
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