A life spent without pursuing one’s passion is a life wasted. Passion is the spice of life. It is the elixir that gives meaning to our purpose in life. Life’s holy grail is to discover our passion and then immerse ourselves fully in the pursuit of our passion. Finding our passion is not something that happens per chance. It requires intense soul searching and introspection. We must first get to know our own self without bias, prejudice or external influence. The best time to discover ourselves is during our adolescence; those beautiful short years of innocence, rebellion, values and valour that we live before the dogmas and conventions of society mould us into conformity. It is also important to discover our passion early in life otherwise we may spend the best time of our life climbing mountains that in the end turn out to be the wrong ones. In the English educational system, students are encouraged to take time off and travel after high school or university graduation. The objective is to discover yourself and your passion. After my graduation, I went travelling for six months with a good friend of mine. It was the summer of 1981 and we travelled through Europe on a shoe string budget spending nights in campsites and doing odd jobs in different tourist towns when we ran low on funds. This journey was probably the most enlightening experience of my life. Having being confined to learning in classrooms I was suddenly exposed to a world hitherto unknown to me. The six months of travel gave me a deep insight about myself and set me on course to what I wanted to do in life.
For those who discover their passion and take the leap of faith to pursue their passion, life can be an enjoyable and exhilarating journey. For those who have never searched for their true self and opted for an existence dictated by conventional norms, life can be a drudgery. Many people are forced into such a life on account of financial necessities. They are born to be doing one thing but they end up doing something else which perhaps offers greater financial security. No matter what the financial implications, I think that we should have the courage to live our lives to the full. This can only be achieved by finding our passion. If one is passionate about photographing rare birds then being stuck to a 9-5 job or being enslaved by a business venture which does not permit the pursuit of the passion is a colossal price to pay. Go pursue your passion. Live free because you are born free.
Even in our choice of profession, we need to ask ourselves whether we are happy doing what we are doing? If one has a passion for sales then he would be the happiest while selling. He would be enjoying meeting people and will be gratified when his customer is happy with the product or service which he provided. If one has a passion for accounting, he would be thrilled every time the assets and liabilities are perfectly matched in his balance sheet. I see so many people in so many walks of life stuck in the wrong profession. A salesman who is just not performing but continues with the profession suffering the misery of failure just because of the lure of the forever illusive commissions that the job offers. A young golfer aspiring to be another Siddikur but languishing in hardship because he neither has the talent nor the passion to be the best. His days turn into months and the months turn into years and soon he is no longer the young golfer with big dreams. He has joined the ranks of so many who have been jilted by golf and have no recourse to any other profession because they pursued golf for the wrong reasons. Not for their passion but for fame and fortune. I don’t think it is ever too late to discover ourselves; to be true to ourselves and then have the courage to pursue our passion. That is life’s holy grail.
No matter what the profession, no one succeeds by just working 9am-5pm. You work 9-5 if you are doing a mundane job which offers no satisfaction or challenges. You may earn a living but you will not be able to unleash your full potential. You may become good but you will not become great. Every successful person from every field of endeavour is happiest when he is pursuing his passion. There are no time limits. There is no line dividing work and pleasure. Work is pleasure and pleasure is work. All this talk of work life balance is mumbo jumbo created by people who are not living their passion. Does a fish get tired of swimming? Does an eagle get tired of gliding? These creatures are at their glorious best when they are exploring the vast expanse of the ocean or the sky without restrain. They are doing what they are born to do.
Tiger Woods is possibly the greatest golfer in the history of the sport. He famously said that he cannot guarantee that he will win every tournament but he can guarantee that he will work harder than everybody to keep improving his game. He reaches the practice range at the crack of dawn and says that if he finds someone is there before him it spoils his day. He wants to be the first one to reach the practice range and the last person to leave it. Why does Tiger work so hard? It is his passion that drives him.
The 1997 Game 5 of the NBA finals has come to be known as the “Flu Game”. Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest basketball player of all time had come down with a flu. It was obviously an important game for MJ’s team Chicago Bulls. Everyone was disappointed that MJ would have to miss the game because of high fever. When the game started, MJ was in the starting lineup. Chicago Bull’s 90-88 win in that game will go down in history as one of the greatest basketball games with MJ recording an unbelievable 38 points with a body temperature of 103 degrees. MJ was not going to lose his pay cheque if he did not play that game. He had to play because nothing could keep him away from his passion.
All of us have a great purpose in our life. Something special that our inner being demands from us. If we fail to discover this calling then we have done an injustice to the special gift that enables us to achieve greatness; a gift which can bring us eternal joy and happiness.