How many times have you heard that inner fulfilment is achieved only when your pursuit of passion becomes your career? Could this be true?
How many people actually get to live such an idealistic life?
Then there are those who start out on a career and discover that their work itself is their passion.
Again such people are in minority.
There is no denying the fact that people who you hear of, successfully pursuing their passion as their career ( Sachin Tendulkar, for example) are always the success stories of this phenomenon; the unsuccessful ones making for idle gossip.
Take for example, my college friend Amit –
He is a qualified Chartered Accountant. And loves to paint portraits. A few years ago, following the world advice – “live your passion”, Amit gave up his cushy job and became a full-time portrait artist. Initially all went well. Orders were pouring in and he felt quite elated doing what he loved to do most. But soon, the pressure of making money from his hobby-turned-profession, the daily tasks, deadlines and deliverables started getting on his nerves. Something that gave him immense joy at one time, became a constant drag. After a while, realizing his mistake, Amit went back to his Chartered Accountancy job. He still paints in his free time. In fact, Amit has gone a step further and now teaches art to the underprivileged kids and donates the money from the sale of his paintings to charity.
Haven’t we all heard of similar real-life stories at some point in our lives?
Listening to heroic tales where people turned their love for a particular sport or an activity into their profession, many feel encouraged to follow their foot-steps. Only to regret their decision!
Don’t get me wrong!
I am not judging their life decisions. All of us are free to choose our own path to happiness in life.
Instead, what I am doing is – encouraging you to consider another possibility.
People tend to find their profession boring and tedious usually when they feel that they are not contributing in any way either to their own personal growth or to the society.
It is when you start expecting your career to provide you with that spark which might ignite your passion for life, that you begin feeling disappointed. You look for inner fulfilment in your profession.
What if you were to dissociate your work from ‘inner fulfilment’ and ‘higher calling’ and instead to look at your work as a means of funding your amazing dreams and plans?
You don’t want to end up as a dependent on others or be among the have-nots of society.
You need a steady income stream and to be considered mature and responsible grown-ups.
A job or a profession fully serves that purpose. It gives you that opportunity or window of time in which to either save money for your future plans or to continue using it as your financial anchor. This frees you of all money related worries.
Problem comes when having started to earn , you stop looking for life’s true purpose / your passionate pursuit , and start blaming your career-choice for your unhappiness and inner discontent.
Why do you want either your job/profession or your pursuit of passion, when you can have both?
Why don’t you consider the probability of ‘and’?
In some cases it so happens that continuing with your job becomes absolutely impossible due to various reasons outside your control. Barring those cases, ‘and’ can certainly be considered instead of ‘either/or’.
It has been more than 2 decades since I started our business alongside my husband. But I never let go of my passion for painting landscapes.
My hobby provided me the much-needed time for peace, quiet and meditative introspection; not to mention the appreciation of my peers and family.
My best friend, who lives in The US and works as a full-time pharmacist in a hospital, devotes her Sundays to the local Gurudwara. That, she feels, is her true calling – serving the community and this gives her a lot of inner fulfilment.
Another doctor friend has turned his passion for fitness into a side business and runs a chain of gyms. Himself sporting six-pack abs, he is found training others enthusiastically in his spare time. Leading a healthy life and helping others to do that, is his true calling.
In all the above mentioned examples, the 9 to 5 work provides an impetus to follow the passionate pursuit without any stress or regret.
The very knowledge that it is your career that is funding your passion, makes you give your best to it.
Conversely too, the peace and sense of fulfilment that your ‘thing-of-joy’ imparts, permeates into your job and the way you function at your work place.
A wonderful balance happens between work and play.
And like my Guru says – “True happiness lies in following a balanced life.”