Thursday, August 25, 2011

On Wealth

I'm so swamped this week, it's not funny.

It turns out that I did have something to write about but didn't quite get the chance to write about it. Until now.

It is something that I said to one student -- can't recall who now -- and it's about wealth. My point: the only real wealth that we have is our time, not money.

Case in point: Steve Jobs. He is one of the richest men in the world, but all the wealth in the world will do him no good if he doesn't have the time to spend it.

And to some extent, nature is fail. Regardless of king or pauper, we get 24 hours everyday. No more, no less.

While I'm *really* *really* short of time (at least at this moment in time), I'm really not too unhappy because I am spending my time doing things I chose to do.

This simple fact is something I am actually quite grateful for. :-)

Another interesting fact is that often times, money often used to buy time. For example, we might hire a maid to help us with household or spend money on medical treatments to expand our lifespans.

Not trying to be too philosophical here, but His Holiness The Dalai Lama, was quoted to have said the following when asked what surprised him most about humanity, “he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived."

Back to Jobs, it seems to me that most of you will go on to live longer lives than Jobs. But what does that mean? Do you necessarily lead better lives?

If we model life as a candle, I would prefer to burn brightly for a shorter period than to be a dim glow for all eternity, but that's just me. :-)

It is now the third week of the semester and most students should have their lives overtaken by the first assignment, and very soon the second assignment and Final Projects.

What I hope that you will keen in mind is exactly why you are investing your time in CS3216. CS3216 is not to be taken for a grade. It is to be taken to learn something that will help each of you succeed in your chosen profession, or perhaps just provide you with the opportunity to understand yourselves.

10 weeks will pass in a jiffy. It always does.

I would like to encourage you to read each others blogs and to engage each other in conversation. Much of the learning in CS3216 is also peer learning.

To conclude, I quote my wife, "You can vote for the wrong President, you cannot marry the wrong woman." :-P


  1. Your wife's words got me laughing for 20 seconds :') And I think it killed the virus that was residing in my body yesterday :)

    On the topic of wealth and Steve Jobs, it is noteworthy that his annual salary back at Apple was only $1. And he reiterated many times (particularly during the Stanford Commencement Speech) how much he enjoys working at the company. It goes to show how passion and not money leads to happiness and fulfillment in life.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this! :)

  2. Hey Prof,

    Quick q, one of my friends asked me, why are you doing this? Why are you going out of the way to teach unlike other lecturers and what will you get out of it. I know you have said many reasons in the past but if you could only say one, what would it be?


  3. Why are you going out of the way to teach unlike other lecturers and what will you get out of it.

    Because I believe in what I do? As for what I get out of it, I will just quote Jobs, "Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do".


  4. Hmmmm... maybe I'm slow but how is choosing the right woman to marry has to do with candles and how you live your life?

  5. how is choosing the right woman to marry has to do with candles and how you live your life

    Nothing much, but my wife was hovering around while I was writing this post, so I decided to throw that in to score some brownie points and improve the quality of my life. :-)