The Profile: The misunderstood billionaire & the self-help celebrity
This Valentine's Day, forget the grand gestures.
Good morning, friends!
Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, and to be honest, I haven’t taken this holiday too seriously since elementary school when we exchanged cards with awful puns we didn’t understand.
Every year, when Valentine’s Day rolls around, I always think about one of my favorite Wait But Why posts from 2014 titled, “How to Pick Your Life Partner.” In it, Tim Urban explains that human happiness doesn’t function in sweeping strokes — it’s the mundane everyday moments that determine how happy you are in your relationships.
That’s why no matter how elaborate and incredible your Valentine’s Day plans are, they won’t significantly raise the satisfaction level in your partnership. Urban writes, “Marriage is not celebrating the closing of the deal on the first house—it’s having dinner in that house for the 4,386th time. And it’s certainly not Valentine’s Day. Marriage is Forgettable Wednesday. Together.”
Two years ago, I crowdsourced the ultimate guide to successful relationships thanks to the hundreds of Profile readers who wrote in. And there’s one section that I think about every day of my life.
It doesn’t just apply to romantic relationships. It applies to all relationships. And it’s this: Forget the grand gestures. Opt for the mini everyday gestures, instead.
When reader C.N. goes on his morning walk, he makes it a point to look for interesting flowers that he can leave on his partner’s desk when he returns. On the flip side, she leaves him funny Post-It notes and cartoons around the house.
“People think of romance as these huge gestures,” he says, “but we're happier with these mini-gestures that happen much more often."
If I asked you to define love, I guarantee you wouldn’t describe it as a funny Post-It note. That’s just a small act of affection, right? Ironically, that may be the secret to long-lasting love.
Reader R.M. says “cariño” is the Spanish word for “affection or tenderness.” He says:
“Always approach your partner and the couple from a place of affection. Why not from love, you might ask. In my mind, affection is an easy-to-cultivate prerequisite for love, so if you keep affection alive, you keep love alive. It’s an approach that starts at the root and is a great antidote against pride.”
Research supports the notion that successful long-term relationships are often built on small words, small gestures, and small acts. “I am a full believer in the ‘small everyday stuff,’” C.S. says. “For example, dropping everything to listen to your spouse when they just ‘have to’ tell you something exciting is worth 1,000 fancy dinners.”
We’d all be much better partners, parents, siblings, and friends if we could just remember the following sentence: “Small things often” is so much more important than “big things occasionally.”
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PEOPLE TO KNOW.
The misunderstood billionaire: Leon Cooperman is one of America’s 745 billionaires. Whenever Elizabeth Warren and AOC criticize billionaires, he can’t understand: What exactly had he done wrong? He’d been born to poor immigrant parents on the losing end of a capitalist economy. He’d attended public schools, taken on debt to become the first in his family to attend college, worked 80-hour weeks, made smart decisions, benefited from some good luck, amassed a fortune for himself and for his clients, paid hundreds of millions in taxes, and pledged to give away 90% of his wealth to worthy causes. So why is he, the rags-to-riches hero, now being cast as the greedy villain in a story of economic inequality run amok? (Washington Post)
“There seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding of who I am.”
Texas Roadhouse’s renegade founder: The founder and CEO of Texas Roadhouse Kent Taylor caught COVID in November 2020, and since then had suffered from severe tinnitus, a condition in which the brain responds to hearing loss by generating sounds to compensate for the ones the ear is no longer processing. Four months later, he went to get vaccinated and the tinnitus came roaring back. Two days later he left work, drove out to his farm, and shot himself. In this profile, we learn about the legendary entrepreneur’s colorful life before it came to a tragic end. (Fortune)
This profile offers lessons on taking your own path, facing grief, and moving on.
“I’ve never met a successful person who did not overcome some personal hurdle or tragedy.”
Pickleball’s biggest enthusiast: Connor Pardoe has big ambitions for ... pickleball. The 28-year-old has been wanting to turn the racquet sport, once a game for retirees, into a primetime event. And then the pandemic hit. The Sports & Fitness Industry Association estimates that 4.2 million people played pickleball in 2020, up 21% from the year before. Pardoe’s ambition is to funnel the burgeoning enthusiasm for playing pickleball into enthusiasm for watching it, to win (and monetize) eyeballs on the scale of pro tennis or golf. (New York Magazine)
“We were on our hands and knees begging these people to give pickleball a chance.”
The self-help celebrity: Julia Cameron’s best-selling self-help book “The Artist’s Way” was originally published in 1992, and over the years, it has sold more than four million copies. During the pandemic, the book has leaped back onto best-seller lists. In this interview, Cameron reflects on asking for “guidance” from her subconscious, why she became a writer, and how she maintained her creative autonomy over the decades. (The New Yorker)
“I think it’s important to me to keep creativity around me and in me.”
New York City’s leading lady: With her unforgettable role in Sex And the City, Sarah Jessica Parker defined a way of being glamorous, fallible, and lovable all at once. In this profile, Parker opens up about returning to the SATC universe in the era of social media, reprising the role of Carrie Bradshaw, and celebrating women as they are—at any age.
“There’s so much good in the world, and we were all so lucky to be together, doing something we loved.”
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