Ever wondered what you were doing while sitting in a class during a lecture which seemed simply so complicated to comprehend? Well, this post is not about that! This is a real-life glimpse at the after-effects of one such lecture – the essence of which seemed so genuine – that the moment I started applying it to the events around me, my life changed drastically.
The lecture in reference is an introductory lecture to a Master’s subject called Quantum Cryptography, which was taught at the University of Tartu during the autumn semester of 2011. It has been two and a half years since then, and everytime I look back at some of the best courses I’ve ever taken at the academic level, Quantum Cryptography tops the list. For readers who are unfamiliar with either ‘Quantum’ or ‘Cryptography’, in layman terms, Quantum Mechanics is a branch of physics that explains physical phenomena at the nanoscopic levels of matter, while Cryptography is the study of secure communication over a channel that anybody can have access to – ATM cards, online payments, Bitcoins. Therefore, Quantum Cryptography explores performing cryptographic tasks or breaking secure communication using quantum mechanical effects.
Moving on to the interesting part, the lecture mainly dealt with the dual nature of light (wave and particle) and how its wave-nature could be exploited to send messages from one person to another. The basic idea (in a totally non-technical sense) was that when the light was measured, its state was known and, with some cool math, the possibility to retrieve the hidden (encoded) message could be calculated. As a fan of math, life, (light) and nature, I found this concept absolutely fascinating. ‘The possibility to check the state of a natural entity before it actually revealed itself’ was the metaphorical essence I took from that lecture. Thereafter, how I applied this metaphor to my life – is what this blog post is actually about 🙂
Applying the metaphor
They say “What we experience and learn from life is a result of the choices we make, some of which end up being good ones while others bad”. However, if we continue not to make a choice and, instead, tread carefully on its ‘dual’ nature, there’s a chance that we could get a glimpse of both the positive and the negative results of that choice. It is as if living in parallel worlds without actually entering into them. Although this thought could be misunderstood as a means of procrastination or a sign of indecisive-ness, that is not how I used it.
Tartu is a place where, on any single night, you get the opportunity to meet and learn from various cultures – all the way from Australia and South Korea to Mexico and Brazil. But when interacting with those from various parts of the world, a certain pattern becomes noticeable (when the metaphor is used). The human mind has both positive and negative modes of interpreting a thought or an event. When talking with different people from the same place about the same event, it becomes easier to associate each of them with certain positive and negative qualities. At the first glance, although a person could come off as being either a cynic or an absolute optimist, not judging that person has its own benefits. Eventually the true nature of her / him reveals itself. Perhaps this forms (subconsciously) the basis of trust, companionship, and everlasting friendship with people – many of whom – I have been fortunate to have found ever since.
Opportunities and risks
They say “Opportunity seldom knocks twice”. Using the metaphorical essence, I have managed to knock at some before they even stepped at my door! Some of them, which initially seemed as risks, turned out to be one of the best opportunities ever. Pretty much everything that I have been a part of both in and out of Tartu – a flashmob, parody videos, socially themed events, dance events, even software projects and my entrepreneurial venture – proved to be memorable platforms of life-lessons which I would have otherwise chosen not to be a part of, had I made the decision to reject them when I had first noticed them. They say “Water flows because it’s willing”. It not difficult to go with the flow when your mind is clear.
Goals and patience
Applying the metaphor also taught me that going along with the flow does not necessarily have to mean being aimless. More often than not, we don’t have answers to the obstacles that appear while pursuing something. But if we put our heart and soul into our work, and walk that journey with passion, then the answers reveal themselves. Being a part of a project called Social Erasmus, organized by the Erasmus Student Network where I served as the local coordinator for a brief period, helped clarify that long sought-after goal of mine. I got the opportunity to organize events for children suffering from family-related issues, when I realized that “When there’s something you’ve done that has put a smile on their faces, it automatically puts a smiley in your heart“!. This made me choose my career in software development where I ended up co-founding a company with the aim to make life of the common man easier using software. Two years have passed since then, but my passion and patience have not. Goals form the crux, passion leads the way, and patience aids in the result. Today, I have a second company in Belgium!
Applying the metaphor during times of struggle has not only strengthened my resilience, but also forged a strong bonding between those who have helped me overcome them. This in turn has led to stronger team-building and a deeper sense of understanding on what Happiness is all about. According to Brian Tracy, a motivational speaker and author, “Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.” On that note, this section does not make sense without mentioning thanks to the lecture which is the starting point of this entire post.