We talked, and the next day I came across an interesting letter in a book. Its author is the physicist, Nobel laureate Richard Feynman.
I was very happy to hear from you and learned that you have such a good position in Research laboratories.
Unfortunately, your letter upset me because you seem to be really sad. It seems that your teacher has influenced you by creating false ideas about what a "worthy task" is... The scientific task that stands before us unsolved is great, and we see how we can get to it. I would advise you to take up tasks even easier, or, as you put it, tasks are more modest…
We met when I was at the peak of my career, and it seemed to you that I was busy with something that is close to the celestials. But at the same time, I had another graduate student working for me (Albert Hibbs), whose dissertation was devoted to an ordinary topic – winds and how they catch up with waves blowing over the sea surface. I took him to my graduate school because he came to me with a problem that he wanted to solve…
There are no tasks that are too small or too banal, if we are really able to do something about them.
You say that you are a nameless person. Not for your wife and child. For your closest colleagues, you will also remain like this for a short time, if you can answer their simple questions, with which they look into your office. You are not nameless to me. Do not remain nameless for yourself – it is too sad.
Know your place in the world and evaluate yourself fairly-not in terms of the naive ideals of your own youth and not in terms that you mistakenly attribute to the ideals of your mentor.
Good luck to you-and happiness.
Sincerely yours, Richard P. Feynman."
There are no tasks that are too small or too banal, if we are really able to do something about them. Very strongly said! Everyone does something meaningful if they do it well.
Elena Bogomolova, Founder and CEO of PROTALENT LAB