Passion or Pay?

by Kapil Vaishnani  |  16th Apr, 2014 in Uncliche

What would you rather have? Work that pays the bills or work that keeps you happy?

Steve Jobs’ words during Stanford’s 2005 commencement speech summarize what we all aspire for secretly in our hearts, “You’ve got to find what you love. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”

However, “settling” is what we all end up doing most of the times…..and that’s a real pity. That’s what makes us mediocre quality, disengaged workers.

When people say, “Have you settled down, finally?” what they actually mean is “Have you found a partner or a job you can devote the rest of your life to?”

And, the answer is often a nonchalant ‘yes.’ Unthinkingly, the person nods a ‘yes,’ because he doesn’t know what else to say.

Perhaps this kind of ho-hum, predictive quality is good sign for the stability of a family unit – but a creative mind cannot be confined to those pre-set boundaries. A fertile mind must constantly feed off work it can passionately devote itself to, without worrying about paying rent, a child’s tuition fee or keeping the kitchen fires burning.

The likes of David Beckham, Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima or Sachin Tendulkar left their homes every morning to play but the less fortunate amongst us go to work to get paid and this sad state of affairs doesn’t change until we do try and find work that can throw our hearts, soul, body, mind into – they way these sports icons do.

Your passion may not always be profitable

And that’s a tad sad, because blessed are those whose passion is also profitable. Generally, work that pays our monthly bills is NOT the work that keeps us happy but it must nonetheless be undertaken for some profoundly practically reasons. However the lucky few who are able to make a living from their passion, and also those who are able to bring an extraordinary quality to their work – something that ordinary mortals are unable to do.

Generally, life is about surviving against terrible odds; making peace with difficult situations; co-existing with people you are not happy existing with; finding love in a loveless marriage; finding hope in hopeless children; finding meaning in a sham job; finding fixes, workarounds and solutions to millions of issues that confront us day in and day out and often make us resentful, grumpy, fretful and regretful.

The only way to avoid getting caught in this rut is to draw up an inventory of all the profit-generating skills and experience you have gathered and among them pick the one that appears the most lucrative among them as your main means of sustenance. Build a job around it so you can have the mental freedom and leisure time to soak into your passion without feeling the twinge of guild, or feeling the burden of making your passion pay your rent.

How to find your passion?

Passion can mean different things to different people. For some finding meaningful work is passion. For others, work could be something that enriches their or other people’s lives; or something they can lend their whole life to. For others, stretching their limiting beliefs is the primary purpose of work. Whatever be the definition of work that resonates with you, one thing is certain and common between all these categories of people – they are not afraid of assuming full responsibility of committing themselves to this quality of work, whether or not it brings rich rewards to them. For them work itself is a reward and a very enriching one at that!

The truth is – an ideal business or job opportunity does not fall from the skies. We have to create it for ourselves – and this search takes time. It takes courage, diligence and a dogged pursuit of a dream. This kind of work has better chances of coming to us when we:

    • Work with people who are on the same page with us
    • Do something that is personally very meaningful to us
    • Find something that that gives an incredibly rich and deep experience of life

This last, I’ve discovered is the most difficult. However bearing in mind what Confucius said “…you will never work a day in your life, if you find the work you love” for me, this search is on on-going, unending journey….

Founder - Chairman, Litmus Branding Pvt. Ltd.
Kapil Vaishnani founded Litmus in 2001 to water his passion for creating brands. Kapil’s a creative brain hitched at business. He firmly believes that focused communication is the key and it must carry a purpose that serves both brand and business. Simplicity is Kapil’s power gear that has shaped some of the prominent brands in India and globally. His passion-filled sportsmanship with multi-disciplinary talent is brimming with experience of 20+ years. Talk sense and he is all ears.