Twinkle in the Eye

- 5 mins read

There’s a profound joy in finding something you truly love to do—something that not only challenges you but also fills you with excitement every day. In this post, I explore what ‘Twinkle in the Eye’ means to me and share how I’ve cultivated these moments in my own life. My hope is that this can inspire you to discover and savor these sparks of joy in your own pursuits.

How do I define it?

I’ve noticed this happening when people talk about things they absolutely love. The prospect of learning or experiencing more about their passions makes them visibly excited. The more time you invest in those things, the happier and more satisfied you feel. The power of these “moments” is that they propel you towards doing something that makes you feel alive. The best part is that you enjoy the journey and aren’t just anxiously waiting for a “destination.”

Personal Instances

Here are some personal instances where I discovered that ’twinkle in the eye’ in my own experiences:

  • Last year, I was exploring a “Distributed Systems” course from MIT on YouTube. Each lecture was preceded by a pre-read of an academic paper. Before this, I had never properly read an academic paper, as I found the task daunting. But it wasn’t really that daunting after all! Plus, I really enjoyed it. Since then, I haven’t shied away from academic papers. One more interesting element is that Robert Morris, the lecturer, loves to teach, which in turn rubs off on the students.
  • Last month, I finally enrolled in a “Systems Design” course by Arpit Bhayani. This was my first cohort-based course post-college, so I wasn’t sure how I, an introverted engineer, would fare in a group of strangers. But it turns out I am really enjoying the course. Great discussions and a highly knowledgeable instructor who loves what he does. His love for engineering rubs off on everyone listening. I might be participating in more cohort-based courses/activities in the future.
  • I have always enjoyed making Lego sets but never ventured into custom designs. At the start of this year, I began experimenting with random Lego block designs digitally to learn more. As I’ve spent more time on this activity, I’ve become better and find it incredibly fulfilling. One day, I aim to publish my own Lego set. Although it’s a long way to go, the more I engage with it, the more confident I feel in my skills.

These examples highlight that the ’twinkle in the eye’ isn’t just a solitary moment; it’s a series of moments, each leading you to the next challenge.

Why do I need to take the initiative to help create these moments?

Once you’re on the path of continuous learning and growth, such moments might seem to happen on “auto-drive.” But in reality, you must first find that thing you find interesting and challenging enough to foster growth.

There is a beautiful scene in “The Intern” movie between Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway, where there is a line - “No one is going to have that kind of commitment towards your company, Jules.” I would suggest substituting “company” with “life,” and it still holds true. It means that as individuals, the onus is on us to create those ’twinkle in the eye’ moments for ourselves.

How can I create those moments for myself?

  • Explore things that interest you.
  • Join communities and courses that align with your interests.
  • Don’t avoid learning something just because it seems irrelevant or extracurricular. If you find it interesting and want to learn more about it, that’s enough reason to pursue it. Trust me, there are many intrinsic gains we often overlook. To name one: “The ability to push oneself beyond the point where most people would give up.” As Einstein said, “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”
  • Remember, you need to step outside your comfort zone to learn or experience something new, which greatly increases your odds of having those moments.
  • Interact with folks who love their craft; their passion is infectious. If you can find such a mentor, even better.


Anyone who truly loves their craft. Look around, you can find them in many different places. They are easiest to spot, but the only condition is that you also need to be interested in the craft to identify them.

The list features individuals passionate about their craft:

  • Humble Pi: A Comedy of Maths Errors - A great book for those interested in math.
  • Shoe Dog - An amazing biography and one of my favorites.
  • How to Build a Car - Insight into the making of a Formula 1 car, written by a former Red Bull car designer.
  • Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! - Shows how one can have multiple interests along with being a great physicist.
  • Last Dance - Chronicles the Chicago Bulls.
  • Soul of a New Machine - Observes engineers at Data General.
  • Books by Brandon Sanderson - His writing is exceptional. I highly recommend the Mistborn Era 1 and Stormlight Archive series. I’m on book 4 of the Stormlight Archive.