Editor’s Pick: The Power of Passion

Posted on March 28, 2010 in Society

Ashwin Menon:

A sixteen year old student, with a more-than-decent chance of getting into MIT (The Massachussetts Institute of Technology), decides that he would rather try his hand at making rap songs. There’s only one thing left for him to do: get his parents’ permission. Should be a simple decision to make, right? After all, what’s a passion for rap music compared to an opportunity to learn at what is considered the best Institute for technology and science! Well, the catch is that when it comes down to living your life, passion is everything. The student’s parents did let him leave for Hollywood and today we know the “student” better as Will Smith.

Passion – that’s what’s needed here, in India. Here, where most people are in their jobs more for the monetary incentive in the job rather than for the work itself, a few people chasing their passion could make all the difference. From our politicians to our students, it seems that everyone’s just chasing what interests others whereas what we should be pursuing is what it is that interests us. That’s why for a country which has a population of over one billion, you could say our productivity is very “low” — if you don’t like what you are doing right now, you can never be good enough to get satisfactory results. To use a crude (and cheeky) analogy, it’s like being with the wrong girl — your thoughts will always lie elsewhere.

A lot of people make it big not because they had the skills or the degrees, but because they had the passion. Even people not in the arts — Bill Gates, Larry Page and Sergey Brin (founders of Google), Steve Jobs (CEO of Apple), Mark Zuckerberg (Founder of Facebook) — have dropped out of college and gone on to become billionaires. Many actors worked at small jobs in Hollywood awaiting their big break. Brad Pitt used to work as a chaffeur and even dressed up as a chicken. Johnny Depp dreamed of being a rock star and to facilitate his dream, for a while he sold pens. Yes, not really the lucrative job everyone looks for but it achieved its purpose, giving him enough money to stay just that “little bit longer” in Hollywood.

Which is how it should be! People should spend their lives investing in what drives them and doing what they don’t like only to allow them to chase their passion. That’s probably why USA still has the best institutes despite us pumping our “brightest minds” into the IITs. Their universities are filled with students who are passionate about what they’re learning. In an age where mostly every adolescent in India is primed for life in an engineering (or medical) college, it is important to realise that success is where the heart lies.