2 min read

Pragmatic Idealism

In this essay, I explain the guiding principle of my life: pragmatic idealism.
Pragmatic Idealism
This picture is taken by me when the Van Gogh pieces are showcased in Singapore. 

If I have a choice in life to choose between a builder and a critic, I choose the life of a builder hands down anytime. To me, a builder is a person who create, inspire and make a difference in enhancing and delivering better value to others’ lives. I dislike the life of a critic because it is cheap to rant against ideas and work which everyone spend their lives building up. Perhaps, through the passage of life which I have continuously living it to my best everyday, I despise cynicism and choose to be forever idealistic in what I want to pursue. However, everyone pays for the idealism that withstands the fabrics of realism.

“Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. These passions, like great winds, have blown me hither and thither, in a wayward course, over a great ocean of anguish, reaching to the very verge of despair.” – Bertrand Russell, Autobiography

Hence I adopted a philosophy of life which allows me to embrace my idealism and negotiate the difference with realism. I coined that term “Pragmatic Idealism”. In the roles I have played across my life: academic, entrepreneur, early stage investor, technologist or now a corporate employee, I applied my philosophy consistently across to the way how I want to move forward with my life.

Here are the principles of pragmatic idealism which I held to myself:

1. Believe in your dreams and the only thing that stands between dreams and reality is your own hands to make it happen.

2. Focus on the idea or product and negotiate what can be done and cannot be done. Yes, I have dreams to build a foundation that disrupts academia or inspire the future Nobel Prize winners from Asia and further Mankind’s aspiration to space exploration and other technological exploratons in any way. There are many ideas on my mind and the only way is to focus on those which I can make it work and then go back to work on others till the right time and opportunity surfaces itself.

3. When you feel despair that you are very far away from your dreams and fear that you may not live to accomplish them, remember that you are just a drop in the ocean, and there will be other drops and other people who will carry on the work from you.

4. Gather people to work with you and build the ship with them. I made it a point in my life that I will cite and acknowledge others in things I have written or ideas who I have learnt from or help me to build things on my journey.