On Thanksgiving

Sacha Chua - www.sachachua.com

Sacha Chua - www.sachachua.com

Let me tell you a short story about Sacha Chua, the former computer science teacher who never stops inspiring me. It started when I stumbled upon one of Sacha’s sketches on “The Art of Stoic Living,” which inspired me to start using her sketches as a life tool. And subsequently, I’ve learned to implement her sketching methods into my teachings.

Sacha can be described in just three words: geek, experimenter, doodler. She is passionate about programming. She experiments on business and is living a semi-retired life. She writes, consults, and sketches. And did I mention, she is truly living the life which is meant for her.

When I first read about “living your dream,” I’ve always thought it was impossible. The people who do it were nothing more than charlatans.

But now, I believe in something different. 

I believe we can turn our dreams into reality, once we know where to look.

Once upon a time...

I was always afraid of stepping-up and be the person I really wanted to be.

I was always afraid of the rejections my parents gave me of my own ideals. 

They always thought, “It is a waste of my time and effort.” And I should instead, “Focus on doing well in school.”

It didn’t make a lot of sense to me back then, competing in the most crowded channel, because I will always be undervalued against my peers.

And it still doesn’t make sense to me NOW!

To be truly valued, I must walk in the least crowded channel.

It means there will be no “search results” when you type in Google. There will be no expected median salary.

What you will see is a journey into the unknown. Life, as I call it. And what is the meaning of life when the outcome is laid out in front of you?

I think that path would be somewhat melancholic.

When I came to China seven years ago, I didn’t have any dreams or expectations. I was just trying a new job.

Years later, I realized teaching is my talent. 

And now, I’m in a different position than most people. 

As a teacher, it hurts me when students say, “I don’t have time to do anything. When I’m home, I only do homework and sleep.”

I always tell my students to “look beyond your borders.” If you only see what’s inside, then you’ll only find rats racing to the finish line. Seek elsewhere, and you’ll see ten-year and fourteen-year olds are already doing start-up businesses and making an impact for the growth of this world.

More importantly, find out “what are you good at” or “what is your talent,” and “what do you love to do,” besides playing games and having fun. Trust me! You will be in a different position by the time you’re grown-up.

Perhaps, part of parenting is to “accept” what our children’s aptitudes are. We cannot simply desire an outcome just because we are paying their school’s tuition. What we can do, is guide them to discover their true potential.

This Thanksgiving, I want to thank all parents and students for trusting me to be your teacher.

Happy Thanksgiving.