Thursday, June 26, 2008

Passions etc.

Perfection could be a myth, but not the desire to excel. And there is only secret ingredient to excel and succeed. And that is passion.

I am intrigued by the myriad of people shining in their own areas of expertise every now and then. After all, what does it take to be "them"? Is it the passion to shine, the passion in what they are doing, the passion to make a difference to the world we live in?

When I went to Hypertext 08 last week, I was impressed to meet some of the top notch people of my research community, e.g. Jon Kleinberg (just to refresh, the CS guys, he is the one who came up with the HITS algorithm in the IR domain). And amazingly, as much interesting and thought provoking his talk was, more was I surprised to find out how much passionate one needs to be about one's work to reach such a zenith. The same holds good for any other desire we cherish in our lives; be it art, photography, gardening or cooking. We just need a very honest and sincere desire to excel.

To me, for a long time, success was a habit which I had to live up to. But ever since I joined PhD, my thinking in this respect has changed quite a lot. I am no longer driven by the fact that I need to succeed because I have been doing so all this while. Rather, I have a much bigger picture to look at; a much larger vista to paint, and a much profound arena to strike a difference at. And the primary motivation that keeps me going all the time to try to excel is to make a difference to the world we live in. To make a mark which would benefit one and all tomorrow. To make our society more rational. To make the lives of our children and grandchildren smoother, easier. To make our civilization more worthy to nurture a better tomorrow. To be able to understand our basics, our nature. And finally, to be able to have the capability to inspire a new generation with ideas which could be the forerunners in making the world a much better to live in.

I don't know if this is what you will call passion. But yeah, my desire to excel is an attribute of these thoughts running in my mind all the time. After all, what is PhD and life at large, unless it is useful to the world tomorrow? I want to excel, excel in a manner which could arm with all the atributes needed to be a forward thinker, the next sunrise.

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