Curiosity & Hunger.
Late on a Friday night, I find myself questioning what motivates and drives me. What pushes me harder and harder in the relentless pursuit of problem solving and innovative creation. What guides me to explore new skills, new people, and new markets. In my time, I’ve seen dozens upon dozens of countries, considering multiple perspectives and in the large majority of cases had to challenge the status quo. Trust me, it would have been far easier for me to keep the corporate job, remain in the daily routine and live a very comfortable life. The self belief side of my personality can easily rationalise that I would have thrived in such a life. But everything I follow through that thought, I clearly see that my mind would develop a deep sense of bordom, fast. Which often previously manifested in negative ways. I have often been told by those close to me that I am attracted to ‘shiny things’ as a continually sought after greener, or just new, pastures. With the benefit of hindsight I can see a great deal of truth to this, as I come to the realisation that I often would get frustrated with a lack of progress, or governance constraints. Recent years and experiences have taught me something, I have a bug. A bug that everyday drives me to seek the new, the undiscovered and to passionately find a way to make sense of it.
In 2005 an inspiring individual gave the one of the greatest graduation speeches at Stanford University, that was closed with the statement … ‘Stay hungry, Stay Foolish.’ A statement that may have gone unnoticed by the vast majority of the the audience, but would designate through the innovator population of the world. For me it brought so many things into clarity. The reason my hyper extrovert personality constantly craves new experiences, new people and new problems is because deep down inside me, hides an overwhelming desire that fuels a curiosity so over powering, that it I was previously unaware of its influence as I chase things. The man that said these words was the late Steve Jobs.
Right now, I am sitting in a Sake Bar in Korea Town New York City. An area that gives me some comfort, as I connect to my very Asian core. I sit here and find myself observing the patrons of the venue wondering, who are they? what brings them here? Are couple across from me here on a date? If so, is it going well, or is she her frequent visits to the toilet and her phone a sign that she wants to leave? It my mind was less fatigued, I’d drum up the confidence to engage them in conversation in a lame attempt to seek answers to my questions.. Engaging complete strangers purely for the purpose of discovery and entertaining my curiosities. To learn who they are and what they are thinking in this very moment.
Am I crazy? Am I delusional? I am certain many people throughout my life would have thought this on many occasions. But I reassure myself, that quirky cartoonist, Hugh Mccleod might agree that I have a healthy hunger. One that would absorb my entire life. Something that on the anniversary of Steve Jobs passing I feel I need to share and give credit to a man that I is seeing his true legacy ignored. His legacy is not the iMad, or the iPad, or even that Phone, iPod and Internet Communicator (The iPhone). His legacy is the public realisation that the world is full of opportunity, if only you are curious and hungry enough to pursue them.
It’s amazing what you can see with great clarity when you marry curiosity and hunger. Curiosity motivates one to take in diversity as a daily habit, or drive investigations to test assumptions of observation and explore self theories. While its partner in crime, Hunger, is the fuel, the reason you get out of bed every morning. The reason you get on your tenth flight for the month, but most importantly the reason you find meaning in curiosity.
Without purpose booth curiosity and hunger could only manifest in frustration, anger and impatience. Trust me, I’ve felt these many many times throughout my career, particularly when in roles that are governed by large corporations. So if you feel these, regularly, perhaps to time to explore a change. Seeking a move into an environment where your curiosity and hunger are free to roam and explore. Find what your passionate about. Listen to what the Steve said:
‘Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary…. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.’
Rest in peace Steve. Your legacy with me will always be Hungry and Foolish.