Making a difference

This is an English extract of a little speech I gave to a Rotaract Club in 2017.

As a startup investor and mentor, I get to meet many talented teams in the region. I find that all good teams have one common purpose in mind. They want to disrupt the market, or simply, they want to make a difference. Peter Thiel, founder of PayPal and author of the bestseller, often treated as the ‘startup bible’, ‘Zero to One’, have put this very nicely, “A startup is the largest group of people you can convince of a plan to build a different future.” No just start and have a business, but to build a business that makes a difference, even if it is just small little dent in this universe.

So where do we start?

I believe the most important thing is actually to appreciate that we don’t have always have to have an answer upfront. Our society have made us sometimes a bit too intelligent, perhaps because we are just fingertips away from searching on Google or Wikipedia for a quick and smart answer. However, trust me, it is very difficult to predict the future. We, especially all the young people here, are really just a prototype that we are constantly building for our lives. Therefore, the whole purpose of making a difference is not to have the answer upfront, but it is the journey of discovery that will help us make the difference. The right difference.

Therefore I have two asks for all of you, as you continue to explore your life and build your Rotaract experience.

First, get rid of your habit of finding the ‘standard answer’ for everything. As Steve Jobs has said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.” Be bold. Be foolish. And I encourage all of you to prepare to learn, unlearn and relearn as you continue your life journey.

Second, and the most important, is the power of action. Not knowing the future does not mean we should all sit and contemplate. No, quite the opposite. The fact that the future is not clear means we have to constantly take baby steps. Remember, not taking an action is an action in itself. So keep trying and learn. Life is like learning how to juggle three tennis balls. Dropping those tennis balls on your first few tries is normal. It’s not a failure. But you have to start, and you have to continue. Be persistent. Enjoy the process and enjoy your journey to success.

Thank you.

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