Passion Or Pension

AUTHORLife is too short to not go where your heart leads and if you have not found your passion, then you’ve not started living. Don’t listen to the lure of money, chase your passion and money will end up following you. Money may deceive but passions don’t lie. Helen Keller said: “True happiness is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”

In life, you’ll rarely succeed at anything you do unless you have fun doing them, and when a man pursues his passion, wealth is inevitable. “Make your passion your profession”–Anonymous The quest for survival and not impact has decimated and demented our sense of value. Until we leave the zone of survival and mundane pursuit to the zone of following our passion and adding value, our pursuit will only be ephemeral and commonplace.

The world seems to conspire against our passion, by draining it and presenting us with ‘baiting’ opportunities that finally kills it. There are latent potentials that will continue to elude you until you follow your passion. I painstakingly took my time to go through the list of the Forbes richest men, there was only one thing all of them had in common—they all pursue their passion! Howard Thurman said, “don’t worry about what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

Nobody can be successful unless he loves his work. No one ever becomes wealthy with their jobs! “I failed in some subjects in exam, but my friend passed in all.

Now he is an engineer in Microsoft and I am the owner of Microsoft”-Bill Gates Mark Zuckerberg, the 16th richest man in the world and the founder of Facebook went through several hurdles that put his passion to the test. The evolution of Facebook started in Harvard as Facemash, and today it’s very glaring that Mark rode on the ‘wings’ of passion to limelight.

When Mark was asked about the secret of his wealth, the social media icon’s response was awe inspiring; he said, “Find that thing you’re super passionate about.” It is very obvious from Michael Dell’s story of passion to fame that the easiest way to find purpose and wealth is to find passion.

Your wealth will always come from what you enjoy doing. Michael Dell is the founder and CEO of Dell Inc., one of the world’s leading sellers of personal computers (PCs). While it was assumed that Michael would follow in his father’s medical footsteps as his father wanted him, he showed more interest in the technology world. Michael Dell purchased his first computer (an Apple II) when he was only 15years old.

He bought the computer and instead of using it, he decided to take it apart to have a better understanding of how it was designed and how it worked. Despite his growing passion for computers and technology, Michael enrolled at the University of Texas at Austin for his pre-med studies to satisfy his father’s longing. As a freshman medical student, Michael Dell applied for vendor’s license and started selling high performance computers upgraded by him from his dormitory room on campus.

At the age of 19, he was earning up to $50,000 a month upgrading personal computers while the average American household income in the mid-80s was roughly $23,000! Eventually the passion for computers took over Michael Dell’s life and his medical career fell by the wayside in a big way. He quickly expanded his business and also incorporated officially as the Dell computer incorporation. At the age of 27, he became the youngest CEO ever to make the “Fortune 500” list! When his company began selling online in 1996, profits skyrocketed as he began earning $1million per day from the online sales alone.

It is poignant when parents think they can “force” their children to live a life that they themselves should have lived. For Michael Dell, shunning a career as a doctor proved to be an incredibly lucrative and fulfilling decision.

By pursuing his natural passion for taking things apart and applying an innate understanding of how to make money and build business, he built an empire out of a college dorm room.

Though Michael’s family was extremely disappointed with his shift in career and life paths, he eventually earned a net worth of $15.4 billion personal fortune and became one of the richest people in the world.

There are 2 P’s that influence what any child will eventually become in life – ‘Parent’ and ‘Passion’. The latter will assuredly always prevail over the former, it’s usually only a matter of time, and just as in Michael’s case, it always will! A colleague of mine asked me a diagnostic question after his many years of fruitless search for inner satisfaction on how a man can distinguish between his passion and his job. I still recall vividly my answer back then, I simply told him: “our passion will always excite us while our job exhausts us.”

I have a friend working in one of the telecommunications company. She studied French language in the university and always struggles to express her unique passion to teach French due to frequent exhaustion from her work everyday.

I took her through a special counselling session and we both realized that she’ll never be fulfilled with her job no matter the increment in her salary.

I simply implored her to design what is called an ‘EXIT STRATEGY,’ to include writing out her letter of resignation and submitting the letter whenever her conviction to teach French becomes stronger than the lure of her salary! We must ensure that our goals align with our soul desires, if they don’t, we won’t pursue them for long.

Peter Voogd said: “if you don’t have a plan to interrupt your interruptions, your plans will always be interrupted.” “Plan for the future because that’s where you’re going to spend the rest of your life”–Mark Twain In his book, Passion Plan: A Step-to-step guide to discerning, developing and living your passion, Richard Chang asked some heart touching questions: “do you spend a lot of time doing things you don’t want to do, in places you don’t want to be, for no other reason than you feel you have to? You have to bring home a pay check, please your friends and family, and meet the expectations society has set for you.”

The secret of fulfilment in life is in following your passion. Most people are playing to the gallery of people’s applause and not their inner satisfaction.

If the sole reason for taking a job is just to earn money without the consideration for inner satisfaction, then it becomes a deteriorating form of ‘financial prostitution’.

Design a life that you don’t need to take a vacation from, a life you don’t need to retire from! Don’t be addicted to your salary and pension; they can stifle your initiatives. My personal professional goal is to design my life entirely my own way, with blatant disregard for the conventional systems. To keep developing my range of useful skills and use them to add value, impact the world, and generate more jobs.

So many people ask me if it’s possible to know the exact time to switch from one’s job to passion. To know the optimum time to pursue your passion, you need to be very sensitive to two critical indicators, the first is inner dissatisfaction. Your dissatisfaction in your present job is a sign of higher calling to pursue your passion.

The second is when your job cuts you off from the audience that you’re meant to impact. I have a strong passion for the youths and the only reason why I still enjoy my job as a lecturer is simply because it affords me direct contact with the youths. At this juncture, I’ll be offering us some professional advice in transiting from your job to your passion which involves taking special risks and steps.

The first is to eliminate money from the equation and ask yourself the sincere question of what you really love doing even if you’re not going to be paid for it. “The only way to do great work is to love what you do”–Steve Jobs The second step is to ensure you have a financial base that’ll sustain you for at least five months, regardless of whether there is financial influx or not.

This is called a PASSION BANK. It’s ‘suicidal’ to switch from your job to your passion without a strong financial plan that’ll effectively fund your transition especially if you have a family to cater for. The third step is to identify your customers—these are the people that’ll pay you for what you love doing. This is referred to as a CUSTOMER BANK.

The fourth step would be to look out for career counsellor to guide you in making some critical decisions, designing a strategic plan, and mapping out your vision, mission, core values, goals and objectives. The fifth step is to look out for a professional hero, someone who’s already doing what you’re about to do or at least, does something similar.

They’ll eventually become your PASSION LIFELINE. They’ll serve as a ‘buffer’ and ‘shock absorber’ to various challenges you’ll eventually encounter on the way, since they’ve been there before.

The pathetic story of the plummeting economy of Greece has actually confirmed that for Nigeria to get to the ‘promise land’, we must reduce our dependency on national structures. We must vehemently cease to become a liability to the Nigerian system.

We must fire up our passion and become a national asset, rather than depleting the nation’s financial resources. It’s often true that when you depend so much on the salary the government pays you, you’ll only be increasing governmental interference in your life. Let’s stop the attitude of over dependence that stifles the national reserve; instead, let’s add value to lives and create jobs by activating our passion.

Don’t be a victim of your job. Don’t allow your life to be paralysed by the uncertainty of the Nigerian system, design your future! Design a future that makes you less dependent on the government and don’t confine yourself to a lifetime of living on someone else’s schedule My sincere question to you is this: ‘’WHAT IS THAT ONE THING YOU’RE SO PASSIONATE ABOUT?’’ Follow it and it’ll lead you to your treasure.

You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough, so find your passion and live your life. Finally, I want you to know that you were born to do more than just go to work, pay bills, and die. You’re not a liability to the government; you’re an asset to the world. Turn your passion into your career! “It is not the years in your life that count, but the life in those years.” – Abraham Lincoln

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