How Wealthy Are You..?(Part IV)

…Continued from Part IIIIt is said that ‘Nothing worthwhile was ever achieved without enthusiasm and passion.’ Passion and enthusiasm make the difference between mediocrity and sublimity.Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who don’t even know what they’re passionate about. They don’t know which activities drive their life, or what makes them feel most alive. The ones who have attained success in life are those who have been lucky or insightful enough to find their calling in life.In the words of Martin Luther King Jr. “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”Now close your eyes and think: Do you love your job? If you’re a student, do you love what you’re studying? I mean love it to the point where you enjoy Monday mornings, where you start to miss it on a long three-day weekend, where you’d cry if you couldn’t do it anymore. Do you love it that much? What lights you up with excitement? If you can’t answer that within a few seconds, then you don’t know. Is it your job right now? If not, then you need to start rethinking what you’re doing with your life.If you have doubts about your passion try sitting down and taking some time to write down absolutely everything you can think of that you have any interest in doing. It doesn’t matter how big or small.There’s another thing you can do which can contribute toward self-realization, the first step to self-improvement. Imagine you are moving to another phase of life and there is only one memory you can take with you. What is that one cherished memory that you want to stay with you and what and who does it involve?Steve Jobs famously said that every morning he would look in the mirror and ask himself, “If this was my last day to live, would I still do what I am going to do today?” And when the answer was “no” too many days in a row, he knew it was time for a major life change.Sometimes what is needed is to let go. Here’s a story about Bruce Lee which demonstrates what I mean. A master martial artist asked Bruce to teach him everything Bruce knew about martial arts. Bruce held up two cups, both filled with liquid. “The first cup,” said Bruce, “represents all of your knowledge about martial arts. The second cup represents all of my knowledge about martial arts. If you want to fill your cup with my knowledge, you must first empty your cup of your knowledge.”Now consider this: 50% of your waking hours are spent on your job and if your job is not fulfilling a deeper life purpose for you then you are essentially wasting 50% of your life. Studies show that only about 30% of people love their job. Research also shows that job satisfaction is proportional to how well the individual can discern the value in his work. For instance, if a person just pushes paper around and doesn’t see or understand the value he’s adding to society, then he’s probably miserable.

There are many people who are in jobs they don’t like, some who don’t think about it much and some who give up their jobs for passion. Which of these categories do you belong to? The world wouldn’t have become what it is if it wasn’t for pioneers who worked on the courage of their conviction, giving up financial security in the bargain.What value is your job adding to society? If you feel pretty good about answering that question, then chances are you feel pretty good about your job. Many people want to leave their professions and/or start their own business or do something else, but they are terrified to do it. It’s understandable. Your current job is your security. It allows you to meet all of your fundamental needs. There are social pressures and expectations. And any time we make major modifications to our self-perception and who we believe we are, there’s always going to be some fear and internal resistance as well as criticism from people around us. May I remind you what Aristotle said: “Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.”‘ The Alchemist’ by Paulo Coelho has a very interesting sentence — “People are capable at any time in their lives of doing what they dream of”. Examples abound of people giving up financial security and comfort zones and rising to follow their dreams. People who had the courage to ‘take the  road less traveled’, people who mustered enough courage to follow their dreams, who took their passion and made it happen. If this had not happened we would not know Sylvester Stallone, Andrea Bocelli, Mao Tse-Tung, James Joyce, Michael Jordan,Harrison Ford, Shahrukh Khan, Oprah Winfrey, J K Rowling, John Grisham, Jerry Springer, and very many others.

After I obtained my HSSC, in the absence of any career counselling facility, I was unsure about what I wanted to do; I only knew that I did not want to be in the Army. I based my choice of a career decision on what my best friend wanted to do. He wanted to be a doctor and I followed suit, not giving any thought to what the decision entailed. My heart was of course not in it but the company of my friend removed any misgivings I had. I did not have much interest in medical studies and was having a good time just fooling around. Then after about two years my best friend passed away in a tragic motorcycle accident. After I had somewhat recovered from the  terrible blow I realized that a medical career did not hold any attraction for me at all.

A very trying  period of self realization followed, in which I came to terms with myself and also understood the cruel fact that ones worth was greatly conditional upon ones status and prospects in the society. Nevertheless eventually I started teaching at a school and I realized that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Almost everyone, except my parents, tried to dissuade me saying that a teaching career will not get me anywhere but I bore all that criticism and persevered. I have never regretted this decision once. In fact the joy I contentment I have derived from my work, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world!

I have been a teacher for about 26 years now and one question that students ask me continually is regarding the choice of a career. My constant answer is ‘Do not consider what is popular or what pays more. Do what you like, what you enjoy and you’ll be a success and moreover you’ll be happy’.  Albert Schweitzer very aptly remarked: ‘Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”

Making a drastic career change, especially later in life, is not easy. Leaving your ‘comfort zone’ and breaking away from all that is familiar is not easy. Leaving the nest to traverse the blue skies for the first time is not easy. But who said anything worthwhile is easy in the world? They say, ‘If the going seems easy it probably is because you are going downhill’!

Rave reviews for Dr Ijlal’s restaurant in the UK

I was amazed some time ago when I heard that an old friend, a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons and a most successful and skillful general and colo-rectal surgeon in the UK, Dr Ijlal Haider, had given up his highly esteemed and lucrative medical career to become a chef and open a restaurant in the UK! It did not come as a surprise to know that the restaurant had gained immense popularity within no time, became the talk of the town and was getting rave reviews from customers and food critics alike. What great courage and conviction my intrepid friend must have mustered to make such a radical career change, only he knows!Another friend gave up a highly successful career in the banking sector to go abroad to take up a Ph D course and start studying again. This meant leaving his family and young kids and bearing the brunt of negativity from many around him. But these hardships are transitory and the eventual outcome most rewarding. The worst scenario would be that it all ends in vain and success does not come! Well, ‘Its better to have loved and lost than not to have loved at all!”If you have arrived at an answer to what you are passionate about find a place (or invent a place) where that passion meets societal demand, and then slave over it. It will be hard but the contentment derived form it will make it worthwhile! You only live once you know, unless you are a cat!

The End

1 Comment

  1. Dear Jamal Malik Esquire

    I have always read your articles with extreme enthusiasm; however that enthusiasm has evolved into exuberance this time, as reading my special mention gave me goosebumps!

    Coming from an adroit educationalist, like yourself, it means all the more to me! You have made my day, Sir!

    Thank you so much!

    God Bless you

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