Last summer while travelling between home and Denver for the USENIX Annual Technical conference, I had a wonderful companion, Ernest Hemingway’s A Movable Feast. Since then, I have read probably another dozen of books and there is one message from that book coming back to me frequently: “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” A different message at a completely different setting today prompted me to think about it again.
It is wonderful to be back at school, especially while the subjects are invoking the neural activities of usually under-utilised brain regions. What is the smallest thing that I could do to…? Every one has his or her own ways of filling in the dots when being asked this question. What is the smallest thing that I can do to (do something good for people who are disadvantaged or less privileged)? That came to my mind. However, for this particular setting, I need to work out a more concrete business idea rather than a philosophical one. I learned from one of my lecturer: do small things, talk to people, find out what you are passionate about in the process; From another lecturer: It is not about knowing, it is about doing. You never find a thing that you are passionate about by thinking about the question alone.
There are many unknowns and it might be a small consolation that I am aware that I do not know. “Keep on asking those questions” was a great piece of advice from a wonderful colleague and mentor of mine.
To me, all these three messages are the truest sentences, although they did not come from me originally.