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Do You Enjoy What You Are Doing

Updated on July 27, 2008

From Dr Randy Pausch and Dr PC Cheng to Me and You

Dr Randy Pausch died yesterday at the age of 47. I have been following his news and drawing strength from his straightforward approach to life, cancer and dying. Turning 47 later this year myself, I couldn’t help comparing notes with Dr Randy Pausch and Dr PC Cheng. Most of my readers know about Randy Pausch and his popular video entitled “The Last Lecture” (now also a book published by Hyperion). But who is Dr PC Cheng? PC was a general surgeon in Hong Kong and one of my mentors in surgery. He died at the age of 47 in 1994, from acute viral pneumonia. Even though PC stayed low-profile as a surgeon, he lived a great life with diversity. For fifteen years, he invested most of his time and energy to build up a small surgical department in Hong Kong into a training center recognized by the Australasian, British and Hong Kong surgical colleges. This was a feat that changed the lives of many young surgeons, including a couple of current professors in surgery in Hong Kong and Australia. Of course hundreds of thousands of patients were served, treated and comforted in those years, and many more in the years to come. With the little spare time he had left, he completed a masters degree in computing science, wrote the first computer system for surgical operation recording and coding in Hong Kong, did the first five “key-hole” bladder cancer removal operations in Asia, completed most of a masters degree course in accounting, played the cello for the Hong Kong Medical Association Orchestra, drove his four children to their music lessons, bought ingredients from the local wet market for his cooking (another important hobby of his), learned to swim as an adult, went to many church sermons and lectures about Buddhism, and the list went on and on. Just like Randy Pausch, PC did not set off to take a shot at fame or fortune. He was keen to live an interesting life. In the process, he found the energy and hence the opportunity to achieve all these other goals. I sincerely hope that Randy and PC could have lived much longer and enjoyed seeing more of their dreams fulfilled. Nonetheless, I do find consolation in seeing such enchantment in their somewhat condensed lives. To me, they had left a couple of vital questions– “Do you enjoy what you are doing? If not, is there something else that you should be doing?” Right now I am honestly seeking my own answers to these questions. I owe it to life itself. Hopefully, I will find the opportunity to share my answers with you. Meanwhile, I will share what I have - the two questions, and wish you best of luck with the search for your own answers.

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