“Seems like some people are born with brain that is open to all possibilities” - Person A

I received that text message couple days ago, and I received that after I showed her my works and stuff that I did when I have extra time, ranging from writing articles on my blogs, and some technical wizardry. In short, she was kinda impressed with the abilities I possessed. I was about to reply with a catchy, deep phrase. But because “a simple catchy phrase” don’t really cut it, I drafted a note and stuck it to my computer.

And the phrase is “stay hungry, stay foolish”.

June 2005. This phrase emerged as the quote of the year, uttered by the late Steve Jobs. He spoke those words when he was delivering the commencement speech at his alma mater, Stanford University. Those words then spiraled out of control almost everywhere, and many interpreted it as the phrase to motivate oneself to learn more, and more.

While we agree with the interpretation “to learn more, and to learn more”, sometimes going critically deeper can provide with more profound meaning behind those words, and this is an attempt to dig deeper. Let’s ask ourselves with a question “okay we have to stay hungry, but hungry how?”

Quantitative versus Qualitative Analysis

I dare to say that most of us, unconsciously, associated the first part of the phrase “stay hungry” with the amount of food consumed, like, “okay there’s a lot of food, now eat it all”. Within the context of learning, it means that one has to consume as much as possible. That’s quantitative. Have we ever thought about the qualitative aspect of the phrase? Maybe we have, or maybe we have not. So what about the qualitative aspect of the first part of the first?

This requires another way of looking at things.

Who are the ‘always hungry’ people? Literally.

Beggars. And beggars can’t be choosers. They don’t have money to buy foods in large quantity. Whenever they have money at their disposal, they are going to use it at an instant, to satisfy their tummy

We just cracked the phrase, qualitatively speaking.

Beggars can’t choose. Whatever their hands can reach, they grab it. And whenever they have it, they will use (eat) it.

“Hey look I have the resource to learn this on my own, hence I am going to learn it on my own right now. Hey I can apply this knowledge now in real life, so let’s do it!”

A food for thought, to all of us, because we have to be that hungry.