By Shobhit Agarwal:
Given an option, what would you do —
Work 10 hours a day, 6 days a week, in a job that pays you 50,000 rupees a month, although you feel miserable about it.
Choose an unconventional profession that you are passionate about, willing to work the whole day if need be arise, but doesn’t provide a fixed source of income; yet you know that even if you make 20,000 rupees a month out of it, you will be ‘satisfied’ and ‘contend’.
Most of us would think twice before making a choice. And chances are that majority of us would favour the former to the latter. In times when the stress is more on quality than quantity, don’t you think that such a mind-set is a bit out of place?
Our risk-taking abilities have been severely depleted by the system. The problem in our country is that we are too scared of the social stigma attached with unconventional professions. We decide on our future based on other’s opinion than based on our abilities and interest.
For example, say someone is passionate about poetry. That person maybe very good at it and might even would have been successful and famous had he made a career out of it. But just the thought of what other people will think; how will he or his parents respond to the society- which has been subjected to a diet of doctors and engineers and other white collar professionals- when it downplays his profession, makes him apprehensive about it. So much so that he succumbs to popular opinion and joins the rat race.
You see, it is thoughts like these that limit the horizon of our ability and narrows our mind-set. That’s why you never hear stories like that of Mark Zuckerberg emerging from India. Can you imagine a fellow Indian, in his early twenties, dropping out of college, that too one of the repute of Stanford, to chase something he is crazily passionate about and ends up being world’s youngest billionaire?
All of us have heard of Bill Gates, what do you think? When for the first time he came up with the concept of WINDOWS, the world applauded him and told him that his was a revolutionary idea that would change the face of computing on this planet? No, the world ridiculed him. They rejected him and his idea outright. As if the concept wasn’t weird enough, to name it as WINDOWS was like mocking the intelligence of man. But look where he and WINDOWS are today. It is only in the last few years that MICROSOFT has been overtaken by APPLE, and that in itself is because of another great innovator of our times, the late Steve Jobs.
What is it that makes these men stand apart from the rest?
There can be numerous theories as to how to achieve success and gain recognition. But at the end of it, it all boils down to this — “Are you really passionate about your work?”
I am not saying that if you choose to turn your passion into reality, then it is going to be a cakewalk. No, you need to persevere. There is no substitute to hard work. You will hit roadblocks and dead ends from time to time. But tell me one thing, would you rather fight against the forces that are trying to stop you from chasing your dream, or fight against your own self from doing something you are not passionate about.
Since childhood, our mind-set has been framed in such a way that we are always on the lookout for ‘safe’ things — ‘safe’ job, ‘safe’ education, ‘safe’ investment. I have stumbled upon this word numerous times, yet I fail to conceive the true context of the word ‘safe’. I mean the people working at LEHMAN brothers, U.S.A.’s largest bank till 2008, were under the impression that they were in a safe job, earning them a pocketful, before recession hit them and they found themselves unemployed. How was that, or for that matter of fact, any job ‘safe’?
Whenever thoughts of doing something unconventional have crossed my mind, and I have advocated them out loud, my elders have always told me to get settled first, then pay heed to the ‘wildness’ of my mind. Now it may appear to be very discouraging on their part but we need to realise something very important.
The thing is our elders grew in an age when India was bogged by numerous problems. Right from communal riots to financial crisis, political instability to lack of resources, their visions have always been restricted by some constraint or the other. But, as part of the 21st first century generation, we need to be aware that the realms of limit in today’s times go even beyond the heights of the sky. The only person that can stop us from achieving what we want is ourselves.
So back your instincts, trust yourself, and keep alive the passion — the world will be your playground and you will be the game-changers.