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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Your passion Vs Your profession

This is the question which would have haunted you at some stage of your life, or is it still haunting? Your heart wants to chase your passion and calling of life, but your mind restricts you to your profession - for the risks involved are higher, money assured is lower & the initial social acceptance is meagre while chasing your passion. Is there a way out? Why not make our passion our profession?


“Hey Sandeep, Which stream did you choose for your graduation?”

“I selected Computer Science.”

“Oh really? In school, you were quite passionate about music and singing though..how come you chose computer science as your main stream?”
Kapil, a long time school friend, asked Sandeep.

“I am still very passionate about singing Kapil, but you know Computer Science is the ‘in-thing’, it can get me a high paying job and all my good friends have chosen Computer Science only. I mean, some of the biggest multinationals in India give you a chance only if you have Computer Science as your stream. You see, ultimately, all that what we want in life is good money and a great career, right?”

“What about you Kapil? You were very passionate about photography and travel, isn't it?”

“Yeah, so I chose to do a course in digital photography. After that, I might do a part time diploma in Travel Journalism. I know it is not as “in” as your Computer engineering, and the job that I may get may also not be as financially rewarding as yours, but I just want to stick to something that i like, and learn more about what I love doing.”

Life moves on for Sandeep and Kapil. Sandeep followed the herd, went for the ‘in-thing’, while Kapil chose what he loved doing. I know both of them fairly closely.

Of course Sandeep had started to enjoy Computer science, as he studied more about it. He also got a good ‘break’ in a top multinational company. His hard work has also been taking him to some of the countries of the world he had only dreamt of, since his childhood. His performance at his work has been fairly reasonable. As far as singing was concerned, Sandeep did not dump it completely. Whenever he used to get time, he tried his level best to learn more, practise more. His body and his soul got a different charm and relaxation whenever he used to sing. There is something that always pulled him towards singing. But of course, only to that extent. Singing was not his profession, and he cannot devote more than an hour a week to singing. He also has to earn money, you see.

On the other hand, Kapil, after completing his course in travel journalism, struggled for some time, before getting a small job in a startup Indian magazine which writes about travel industry. His job involves travelling to multiple cities of India and writing about them, their culture, food habits, etc for that magazine. He is barely able to meet his monthly expenses with the income he earns, but he is extremely happy with what he is doing.

Many years passed. They meet yet again when I invited them for my kids birthday. It was kind of a mini reunion of our school friends. By this time, Sandeep had a big car, and a big house, though still on loan. Kapil came on his second hand bike.

“How's everything going guys?”
I asked all my school fellows who made it to the party, which included both Sandeep and Kapil.

“Going ok man. I get a good package, and I move around to different countries as a part of my job, though I hate Mondays, like most of us.”
responded Sandeep, feeling proud of being in a big multi national and travelling the world.

“And you Kapil? Hows your travel and photography going?”
I asked Kapil, as I turned my face towards this simple looking but a beaming man,

“Going awesome guys. I love my work. I get to move around in India only though, but I love Mondays. I eagerly await them.”

I had gone through all this in my life. I instantly knew who is chasing his passion, and who is just earning money through his profession. How you feel deep inside on a Monday morning can easily tell you whether you are chasing your passion or you are in a profession just to make money. Kapil was definitely chasing his passion, and I can tell you by my experience that if he continues to chase it, he will end up big, really big. And even if he does not end up big, he would have loved every day of his life.

After another 5 years, we all got another opportunity to come together, when our second daughter was born.

“Hey Kapil. How are you man? I read your recent article in the international travel magazine..that was awesome. When did you land up travelling outside India. In fact, I recently subscribed to that magazine.” I told Kapil, excited about what he was doing.

“Actually Manoj, two years back, I got this offer from an Australian multinational travel magazine. So, now I get to travel around the world and write about some of the best cities I always wanted to visit. I love shooting at some of the best sites of the world.” said an ever excited Kapil

“They must also be paying you really well, isn't it?” asked Sandeep out of curiosity.

“Yes, of course they do Sandeep, but that is secondary. I love what I do. That's the main thing for me. Another good part is that many times, my family also gets to travel with me.” responded Kapil as his wore a contagious smile on a beaming face.

“Great Kapil. It is so nice to hear this. How about you Sandeep? How are things at your end?” I asked him, while passing the tea cup to him.

“Well, I hopped a few jobs and have got a good package now. But you know all jobs are the same. Each has its own level of stress and pressure. Sometimes, when I get time, I do enjoy my music and singing though. I wish I could spend more time there. I really love it. But perhaps that's life. Now that I have added family responsibilities, I need more money, and I need it badly, and my job is what helps me with that.”

This is a story of two of my friends - one Sandeep, who made his profession as his central theme of life and made everything else, including his passion, his family, his friends, his entire life revolve around it. So, whenever he got time out of his profession, he would spend time with his family, his passion and enjoy his life. The other Kapil, who made Passion as his central axis of life and made everything else revolve around it including his profession and his family. 

This is a very interesting study of why is it so important to choose your passion as your profession. Passion and Profession are not separate entities that you have to leave one and grab the other. Life is not an either-or, that you have to choose either. You can definitely have one inside the other. When Passion is your central focus, everything else falls in place, because you are flowing with the nature, and the way HE created you.

As far as music is concerned, could Sandeep not have opted for Music as a profession when he was just out of college. Easily, he could have. Of course, the path would never have been as easy as getting into Computer Science and getting a good job and following the herd. It needs guts to follow a path that people rarely tread. He might have started with a much lower salary but would have enjoyed every moment of life, would have loved Mondays and would have lived life to the fullest. 

This world is full of stories where people who made their passion as their profession went on to be the best in their craft, be it Bill Gates, GM Rao, Steve Jobs, or Azim Premji. Reason is very simple. When you love what you are doing, you will work extremely hard on your craft even without you realising that it is ‘hard’ for you. And when you work like that, with time, your skills are going to far exceed the skills of those who are in that field just as a profession.

Of course, based on my own experience, there are a few precautions that I must guard you against.
  • First, You will not find many people chasing their passion because the beginning of the journey is always extremely challenging, and most people are not ready to come out of their comfort zones. Be prepared to be the odd one out to chase your passion.
  • Second, never compare yourself (salary, job role etc..) with others around you. The charm and happiness of chasing your passion will beat theirs - all ends up. And that is all you wanted with money and status anyways - to be happy.
  • Third, your well meaning friends and family may not always understand how you feel when you chase your passion. They may want to stop you, thinking that you are treading a wrong path. But you need to learn to handle that situation, and not leave your passion, until you make it a well paying profession.

I have personally switched and hopped around 10 jobs from Electrical Engineering to Computers and IT in my 20 year career, until I started chasing my passion to write. That was in 2012. Life has never been as beautiful ever. I sometimes repent, not making this move earlier in life. But life is all about looking forward, isn't it?

Remember that your passion is what will fill you up with all the happiness in the world. And once you are filled with happiness, you can easily spread it around - with your family and friends.

Let your life revolve with the unstoppable force of your passion as a central axis and everything else, including money, family, friends, profession all revolving around it. Love your Monday mornings. It is a beautiful world and a very small life, today being the first day for the rest of your life. Go, take that decision. You will love it in the end, and throughout this beautiful journey of life.

Are you ready to Dream On in life, and get set to lead an extraordinary life? 
Catch hold of this epic story of a dreamer, catch hold of the book.. Dream On.

Like it? Share it then. You may make someone's day or life.


Cheers


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