The Sunday News
Living life to the fullest with Selusweyinkosi Mhlanga
The statement “follow your passion” seems cliche and hollow to someone who is struggling to make ends meet or to someone who doesn’t know yet what their passion is.
This statement usually comes as advice to job seekers who are considering a change of career. I recently responded in that way to a friend who was caught between a new job offer with more perks and his current job. He is yet to decide what to do but he understands all too well being stuck in a job one is not passionate about.
Imagine spending most of your time at a job that you have to do daily yet your passion does not lie with it. You would drag your feet, be miserable about it and probably complain about it daily and the work would feel like a duty. Your unhappiness and lack of fulfillment would affect your performance and I bet you would not make many friends at work either. Or you would go through the motions and produce results but secretly look forward to dismissal time each day. That is no way to live.
I believe humans are meant to have fulfilling lives and if you are living any less you are robbing yourself of happiness. You are meant to thrive, not to do what you have to do to make ends meet. Someone might say the economic situation does not allow for one to be choosy when it comes to jobs, it may be so but one would rather pursue that which is closer to where they want to be as opposed to taking whatever comes their way.
Are you studying? If you are studying towards something you have a passion for you would not be pushed to pursue your studies. You would invest time to make sure that you make it without a single thought. If you find that you dread your chosen programme or you actually abscond lectures now may be the time to ask yourself some serious questions and be honest with yourself.
For some, discovering their passion comes later in life and in such cases most people tend to think they are too old to start a career, study or change jobs. The way I see it as long as one is alive and still has energy they should pursue something that means something to them.
How do you discover your passion?
Your passion usually lies in things that you like to do that give you satisfaction or make you excited. These may manifest as hobbies to many people and they fail to maximise on them because they are just “things done for fun”.
They can also show up in those things you can do without payment. Some people try new things and even do volunteer work in trying to find where their passion is. If you try something new and it speaks to you, you may be onto something. Pursue it for a while and see if you won’t get bored easily. If the love for that thing stays you might want to invest more time there and nurture your newfound passion. Don’t force it, if it’s not for you, be honest and walk away from it.
Think of it this way, the more you stay in a job you don’t like for the sake of money you are stealing your own joy and delaying yourself from pursuing what is right for you. I’ve heard of nurses who are not patient with patients and yet they chose the profession. It’s important to know what you are getting yourself into before being blinded by issues of remuneration.
When faced with challenges that’s when it becomes clear whether one is following their passion or working for the sake of working. Challenges can seem like an impossible situation to one person and can motivate someone to seek solutions. The one who goes the extra mile has a genuine interest in the job and is willing to do more than expected and may get a breakthrough faster than one who does the bare minimum.
Waking up and rushing to do what we love is a dream for many and we would do ourselves a favour if we truly allowed ourselves to flourish at things we are good at rather than hold on to what we have because it’s the only thing we have and that’s where our money comes from.
It is said that money follows passion. I don’t know how many people believe that but I believe you pay much more than money when you place all your energy in a job you have no business doing. Time is a valuable asset that can never be recovered once lost, loss of personal fulfilment from one does is one form of paying for wrong choices so don’t be stuck where you are not supposed to be.
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