by Satish Nair
Success Ingredient : Be willing to pursue your passions
This is about one of my experiences with friends - this is half real and half imaginary.
I’m going to share with you a story about a really good friend and classmate I have, let us call him John, who is one of the most intelligent people I know. He was from an affluent and prominent family and had had enough money to go for best education available anywhere in the world. He graduated from a prominent Engineering college in my home town at the top of his class and became a prominent engineer in his home town, as one of the problem solvers I ever know. Anyone would say confidently that John was a model of success for anyone to follow. I certainly thought so. Whereas I, was getting hit and spit at by the life’s experiences and risking my life for unappreciative life’s problems, while John was raking in a decent income and looked up to by men, women, and children.
Well, there was just one problem to that equation. John didn’t feel like he was very successful at all. He hated being stressed out at work, the long hours in the workshop, and although he was highly intelligent, his passion for engineering just wasn’t there to begin with. As he says whenever we met and it turned out, his jump into the engineering profession was never his dream at all, but rather it was the pressure and expectation of his parents to become an engineer because they saw an engineer as being someone who made a lot of money and was someone to be respected in the society, leaving his own dreams fall apart and become a desperate person.
Whenever I was in my home town, John and I went out on our usual travelling trips on a bike to the places, where we wished to travel, especially in our beautiful but small town. I was always envious of John’s skills at driving because he could drive with the same speed and control in any given traffic, which is a mess of a thing in our country. As jealous of his skills, I called him lucky. I had to admit that I learned a great deal about how to drive from John because riding a motor cycle was a trivial passion in my life, or at least I thought so because that’s all he would talk about most of the time. After one of our village expeditions, when we got back to my home, John sat down on the chair and sighed, “Satish, I don’t know what I’m doing with my life anymore.”
“What do you mean?” I asked curiously. I knew John was going through some work-related stress lately, but I couldn’t understand why he would be so unhappy. After all, he had a lot more material things than I had and he was always the popular one between us both.
“I don’t know what I am doing with my career. Each day I go into work, I end up hating it even more. I spent over 15 years building up my career, so why isn’t it working for me? Why am I not happy? I’m asking you because I know you are good with these kinds of things. What should I do?” John looked desperate for some kind of answer from me.
“Were you ever passionate about machines, or being an Expert”, I asked.
John sat there for a good five minutes in silence over that question. I could tell that he was having an internal battle over whether to tell me the decorative “ego answer” or the genuine answer from the heart. After what seemed like an eternity of silence, John broke down in tears. “No. I never liked being an engineer. It was a family thing—you know. Not my own.”
We talked for most of the night about his situation and I learned some things about John that I never knew before. His stress level was becoming so great that he was taking far too many painkillers than was good for him to deal with his constant migraines. In his search for a cure to get rid of his stress, John had even got into using cheap drugs. Needless to say, the path my friend was taking on was leading to a quick demise.
I remembered something what I heard in my favourite teacher, who had taught me and I gave John those same words of wisdom that were entrusted to me—that success is not found in a title, or riches, or in material possessions, but rather in reaching your own self-fulfilment and being true to yourself.
I told John that I never fully appreciated these words of wisdom until I took and could see some miserable experience in my life. I met such wonderful people there, many of whom had far less income or material possessions than I had, yet they were full of passion for life and they welcomed me into their homes and their lives with open arms. It could discover that success cannot be found anywhere except within your own heart.
I was used to always listening to John and his vast library of knowledge that he held in his head, but that night, I gave John a lesson in something that he had never learned from either his parents or from his schools and that lesson was how to listen and speak to his own heart. I told him that passion can’t be forced into your life. It just doesn’t work that way. Passion must be sought out and acquired by doing the things that you love. If you love doing something so much that you would gladly trade the rest of your days doing it, then not only will you be doing good at what you do, but you will attract wealth and success along with that passion too. I told him that his true adventure begins when he leaves this cabin and goes back home because he will begin his first quest to find his passion in life.
About a month later, John called me. He sounded like he had just won the lottery. He told me that he had just quit his job at the hospital and was going to pursue his real passion – he purchased some acres of land and developed into a farm, where he planted rarest plants and started to farm flowers. Once I saw his farm, it was just like a forest, with various plants, I could never see in my life. He also have cows, buffaloes, chickens, etc. I could see him a busiest workaholic, rising at 5 o’clock in the morning and go to sleep at 11 o’clock. To this day, John has never been happier about life, and I have never known anyone else who has as much passion for what he does as a career. John found his passion in life, and it wasn’t being an engineer.
John’s story outlines one of the most important ingredients that all successful people have in common—a passion for life and a passion to pursue their interests. Their passion becomes their motivating force that eventually draws them to their own personal success. Therefore, in your quest to find your success, forget about finding your success. That is very difficult to imagine. Instead, find your passion in life. Find whatever passion, which you love to do. If you find that and hold on to it tight, then that passion will push you toward that success.
Now find your passion.
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