Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Find your pebbles

I have just left one of my favorite gatherings of the year, Shmoocon, and I’m now at the Microsoft MVP Summit.  While they are very different events, and the total attendance overlap is probably fewer than five of us, there is a common thread: I’m spending time with people who have found something which interests them, and are exploring and sharing what moves them.

different seashells on a beach sand, marine landscape

It is easy to dismiss the things we don’t care about personally, or ask “how could anyone get excited about [whatever]?”, but I think encouraging curiosity, exploration, and especially sharing what you know- these things are critically important, personally and professionally.  Even if others don’t agree, or you think you are just amusing yourself.

Some centuries ago a man looked back at his life’s work and said:

“I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.”

Granted, some folks find pebbles which are more universally interesting, and shells which lead to advances for the greater good, but I think that quote should encourage you to find your pebbles to study and share.  It seems to have worked for Isaac Newton.