August 2nd, 2017 – Chase Your Passion, Not Your Pension
By Gbenga Adebambo
Maya Angelou once said, “You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you”.
There are two categories of people in life: it is either you’re a pensioner or a ‘passioneer’. You can simply define and evaluate a man by the object of his pursuit.
Joseph Campbell once said, “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.”
Real financial security and freedom is not in your job but in your passion.
Sir Richard Branson said, “There is no greater thing you can do with your life and your work than follow your passions – in a way that serves the world and you”.
There are few things in life that brings deep fulfillment and one of them is aligning your passion with your profession. Many graduates have sometimes put this question across to me during trainings: how do you know if a job is not right for you? I have always told them this discerning truth: When a job is stifling and hindering the expression of your passion, then it is not your job. Your real job is finding your passion. Your job gives you an opportunity to make a living while your passion gives you an opportunity to make a difference. Be a ‘PASSIONEER’ and not a ‘PENSIONEER’!
It is a great and decent calling to serve people and your country but it’s a greater and more honourable calling to pursue your passion, bless humanity and fulfill your destiny. 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. When we have more people depending on the national structures than those living their passion, the nation is already bankrupt. When more people follow their passion, value is added and many jobs will be created.
In the awesome and award winning movie “ 3 Idiots”, the three friends seemed like idiots when they dared to pursue their passion, to the extent that one of them pursued his passion in photography at the detriment of a blooming career in Engineering; but time will always tell who the real ‘idiots’ are! Never allow anyone, no matter who they are or how much influence they have in your life to talk you out of your passion. Whatever happens, don’t negotiate your passion for anything.
Whosoever tries to talk you out of your passion in life is your real enemy, hold on to it, sooner or later they’ll realize their folly and not yours. You can’t and must never build your future around your pension because it’s uncertain and responds to the vicissitude of the Nigerian environment. The embarrassing nature of some states owing pensioners and their workers has validated and vindicated the futility of dependency on salaries and pensions.
I have learnt from experience and observation that the surest road map to life’s treasures is in following our passion.
The Bible captured it perfectly in Matthew 6:21: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
You can’t fully live life until you learn to give expression to your passion. What is your passion? It can be music, writing, acting, painting, sports, fashion designing, teaching, arts etc. 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 on national reserve; instead, let’s add value and create jobs by activating our passion.
Mark Twain said, “Plan for the future because that’s where you’re going to spend the rest of your life”. I am reaching out to the youths to design what I will like to call “A Passion Plan”.
Peter Voogd said: “if you don’t have a plan to interrupt your interruptions, your plans will always be interrupted.”
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.” Stop playing to the gallery of people’s applause at the detriment of your 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’.
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 assured risks and bold 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 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 a 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 mentor, 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.
Don’t be a victim of your job. Don’t allow your life to be paralyzed 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. 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.”
The ancient Chinese sage Confucius said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”.
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. What is your own professional goal?
You are not placed on this earth to be a wandering generality, but rather a meaningful specific. I want to reach out to parents to allow their children pursue their passion. The real purpose of education is to discover our gift and passion.
The greatest gift parents can ever give to their children is to provide them with a platform to be themselves. Parents are meant to nurture the uniqueness in their wards.
The greatest parental sin and abuse is to manipulate our children to live a life that is not theirs.
I will be ending this piece with this admonition: Pursue your passion, not your pension!
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do”- Steve Jobs