Identify Your Passion, Interest and Talent

                                                           The common Suggestion                      Pic Credit : Google

You often hear people say- Follow Your Passion!!

This is truer for the young people during their growing up years. Also, when one crosses his middle age, say at around forty, a sudden awakening arises and one starts thinking I should be following my passion!…So, the big question arises as to ‘What is my Passion?’ You ask this question to a senior corporate executive and he will instantaneously reply saying “Well, I always wanted to write! ‘I know I have something in me…I had written couple of poems and stories during my college days but somehow could not continue due to studies and job. But Writing is my passion!”

Would you agree to such a reply? And someone else might reply as ‘My passion is painting…you know! I use to draw beautifully in my school days and my teacher used to appreciate it very much! I had even won some prizes in school!! What to do…because of the studies and job I could not pursue my passion otherwise I am sure I would have earned a good name in the art field’.

More so, eighty per cent would tell you their passion was either to sing or to act and that they could have become a singer or an actor if they had persuaded their passion!

But have you ever heard from a painter or a singer or a writer that his passion was to do something else and that he or she became a singer or a painter or a writer by accident? Have they followed their passion??

Now the question arises as to how one can define what is his or her Passion? Or for that matter what is his or her interest or talent?

Let us try to figure it out. I’ll ask you a question-When you have time what you normally do? Well, you may like to read, watch TV, listen to music, play games, surf internet, meet friends and so many other things that you would do. Now, if you are to be asked ‘what is the one activity that you would always do when you have time?’  And you point out any particular activity/activities which you would always do when you have time. Then, can we say that this particular activity or these few activities are your ‘Interest’? Whenever you find time, you would like to do these activities because that is what you are interested in. To some extent this rational seems to be correct. The oxford dictionary states the meaning of interest as ‘An activity which one enjoys doing’.

On a broader level then, we can say that interest is something that one enjoys or likes to do or get involved in as it gives the person a mental joy and happiness.

Talent, on the other hand is very different from interest (and passion). My definition of talent would be – any skill or knowledge when executed or performed or exhibited by an individual achieves certain agreed standards and is appreciated or applauded by a big mass of people, it can be said as a talent of that particular individual.

                                                                 Talent can be developed?                            Pic Credit: Google

I was reading some time back about cricketer Yuvraj Singh. It seems that he was more interested in Tennis than cricket in his childhood. He wanted to play Tennis but his father made him play cricket. His father was also a cricketer but could not make it big but did make it till Ranji Trophy level. So, two things here -Yuvraj was interested in Tennis but his father saw his talent in cricket. Or maybe his father wanted him to become a cricketer and hence developed his talent in cricket. So, the question arises- Can talent be developed? Yes, talent can be developed too. I quoted Yuvraj’s example as a case where the talent was developed where as his interest was in something else (Tennis). I will now give you an example of natural talent. Many legends have achieved great heights without getting trained or attaining formal education in their chosen field. A good example is of singer Kishore Kumar. No training in classical music or any other form of music but look what great heights he has achieved in his career! Just listen to his songs- sheer magic!…this is inborn talent or what you call a natural talent. In this particular case, his interest and talent were the same- music!

Now where does Passion fits in all this?

Let’s first try to define what passion is all about? As per the Oxford dictionary, it states ‘An intense desire or enthusiasm for something’. In our context, let me put Passion as ‘ Any activity which makes your thought process revolves around that activity, makes you find time to perform that activity, makes you hungry to acquire more knowledge about that activity, and lastly it gives you immense joy performing that activity- this activity is Your Passion. You are just mad about this one thing and find means and ways to ensure that you are devoting maximum of your available time and energy doing this activity.

Again, remember one thing. You might be very passionate about doing an activity but it does not mean you are good or have talent for that activity. I have seen people spending their entire life in pursuing their passion in-spite of having no talent for it (sub-standard performance level).

Here I would like to share an interesting anecdote- Few years back I knew a person in my office who would always complain about the poor quality of Television serials in India in terms of content and story. He would always say ‘What are they showing?’

‘Is this the standard of our TV serials?’

‘What nonsense is Ekta Kapoor dishing out to our audience?’

‘I can write much better stuff’ and then he would talk about what all should be there in the TV serials. So, out of curiosity I asked him once ‘Have you ever written anything worth sharing?’

He was blank. He nodded his head in negative.

You see, people like him think that they are very talented (for example writing content for TV serials here). But this talent is only stored in their head. It has never come out among people. There is no feedback on what he has in his head. It’s like living in fool’s paradise thinking you are very talented!

So, coming back to our discussion, you can now see that all the three- interest, talent and passion as such are very distinguished among themselves but at the same time they are not mutually exclusive also. There would always be a common thread connecting all the three- Interest, Talent and Passion’.

I hope now you would be very clear in your mind as what to answer when somebody asks you ‘Are you following your Passion?


5 Best Ways to Help You come Out of Your Rut

Often in the course of our life we find ourselves stuck in the RUT. This Rut can be anything-a mundane daily routine, a horrible Boss, a loveless marriage, not getting the due promotion,…it can be anything where one is forced to be in the same unhappy and boring situation in his or her everyday life.

One of the reasons for people getting stuck in the RUT is because they are not pro-active enough to foresee the situation early enough. And as the situation become bad to worse they seem to accept the situation “as a matter of fact” with the thought that it would be difficult to bring the change.

Am I in a RUT?

And then what they do? They just fire fight on a daily basis or sulk in their RUT rather than trying to find an appropriate solution. So, rather than finding solutions to the problem, they try to do stop gap arrangements- just putting up patches in their daily schedule. The result is that they continue getting stuck in the RUT!

So, the question comes as ‘How to get out of this RUT?’. I believe with some efforts and planning one can get out of the RUT that he or she is stuck with.  I list down five steps which if implemented will help you to get out of whatever RUT you are stuck with. Let’s go one by one:-

1. Do a Self Analysis- Identify Why/What is the RUT

First and foremost, you need to do a honest self-analysis of your present situation. What is it that you are finding mundane, uncomfortable, and boring or are being unhappy about? And this unhappy situation is same day after day. So, identifying the exact or the actual root cause is very important. You need to exactly pin point- WHAT IS THAT YOU NEED TO CHANGE? (about yourself or the situation that you are unhappy about).

2. Jot down Simple Solutions

Now that you know the root cause of your situation-what next? Simple, fix it! Yes, when you know what is causing the RUT, go ahead and solve the issue by working on the root cause. Is that so simple? NO. It’s not. But then the root cause needs to be worked upon, right? Yes. The best way is to jot down simple solutions that you think might work out to improve if not completely alter the present situation. Filter out the solutions that you think would be difficult to implement. Review the final list of solutions and now work out on a concrete plan around these solutions. Yes, an action plan-step by step

Work on Solutions

Always remember, writing down on paper what is there in your mind is a very effective exercise. Simply because it gets scheduled for you and you start putting the plan into action.You can always come back and review or alter it. And remember, your plan needs to have action points with a time line.

Remember one thing- every situation/problem has a solution only if you are eager and aggressive enough to look for it. And only YOU can change YOUR situation!

3. Take this as an Opportunity

Whenever you are faced with a challenge, never pity yourself. Don’t start complaining or get yourself in a self-pity mode thinking how unlucky you are. NEVER! Rather, you should take this as an opportunity to get something new out of it. Discover something new from this RUT. How? You need to be little creative here. When you jotted down the simple solutions as mentioned earlier, add more options to each solution…see what all you can connect…find if there is scope of creating something new while resolving this issue. Can you accommodate your other goals, can you totally revamp something in your life, and what about the Passion (what you always wanted to do but could not do till now) you had-can that be accommodated while working on the solutions?

The bottom line is that you need to find or create an opportunity for yourself out of this RUT. Apply your mind and I am sure you will come out with multiple opportunities for yourself! All the best!

Create Opportunity

One thing I would like to clarify here- To be in a RUT and breaking monotony are two different things. To break monotony you have multiple options to try for- take a break and go for a movie, spend an entire day in a mall/exhibition centre, spend an entire day in a Book Shop/Library browsing through your favourite books and magazines, visit zoo (believe me, it will do wonders!) or simply take an off and laze around the house sipping coffee in your balcony staring the sky!

4. Give your Best

All this while i.e. when you are stuck in the RUT, ensure that you are Giving Your Best! And what I mean by Giving Your Best is that your performance should not suffer…Performance at work, duties towards family, your own hygiene and health. Often, slackness appears in our performance and attitude…we tend to become a bit careless and irritated when we are stuck in the RUT. Ensure that you are not caught in this slackness. It will only do harm. Maintain your positive attitude during these hard times and always have the bigger picture in mind. With your positive actions and efforts, things will change and you will create the circumstances and environment that you can enjoy and be happy about. So remember, no negligence towards your duties and your work.

5. Stick to your Decisions

Don’t Change Your Mind

Once you have taken a decision as per your action plan- stick to it. No matter what, ensure that you don’t change your mind. There might be issues and hindrances and things might not go as perceived by you, but stick to your decision. In the long run, you will gain.  Remember that there is always some amount of risk involved in every action that you take. You just need to hedge that risk by doing a careful planning…that’s it! 

I am sure the above points would help you to get you out of whatever RUT you are in and will get the smile back on your face.

I will end this with a quote from George Bernard Shaw, which I have posted on my study table since my University days…



10 Effective Ways To Fight Hard Times

Cartoon f a person showing a big block on his back
                              Life’s Test?                   Pic credit: Google

Life has its ups and downs. This is a fact. Each one of us has experienced this fact. Unforeseen developments both at work and at home can be devastating for anybody. Losing a parent or a dear one, losing a job, health problems,spouse issues, family issues, financial crunch …the list is endless. And If the time is too unkind then many of us may find us grappling with multiple of these issues at the same time. Hard times can hit us at any time…even at times when things seem to be going great for us. What to do! As I said earlier, Life has it’s ups and downs…!

During your hard times you might have to face insults and face humiliations. There would be a feeling of hopelessness, feeling of being extremely alone and being lonely. It’s a fact that during hard times, your friends and relatives, whom you trusted so much would suddenly distance themselves. Some of them would even take this opportunity to hit back at you knowingly that you are facing hard times.

Well, well…life is like that! You never know who would behave in what manner when you go through hard times. It’s better that you be prepared or at least prepare to face the hard times without getting too much affected. Also, you need to workout a plan to get out of the hard times at the earliest.

Now the question arises ‘How to deal with hard times?’…especially when you are almost down and out, emotionally drained, mentally disturbed and what not! Be calm and patient.There is only one way to deal with it- Fight it out! Yes, don’t just sit and bear the pain but be strong enough and fight with grit and determination. This is the time to re-shape your destiny. And remember one thing- it’s your battle and only you will be fighting it out, nobody else would do it for you.

And how should one fight the hard times? Not an easy job but believe me, very much doable. I list down some of the doable things that you need to incorporate in your day to day living. Be honest and sincere with these action points and I am sure you would see and feel the change yourself.  So, with all calmness and attention, go through each point and see what action plan you can make for yourself. All the best!

1. Routine

This is the most important thing to remember when you are facing any kind of adversity. You need to have a fix and meaningful routine each day. Ensure that you are following this routine without fail and are not lost. Don’t just wander aimlessly. Don’t just waste your time. The point I am trying to make here is that you should be able to feel worthy of yourself. When we are engaged in physical and mental activities, we don’t waste time thinking too much about our problems. We become more constructive in our thoughts and seek solutions to our problems. Remember what our grandparents used to say- An empty mind is a devil’s workshop! So, follow a meaningful routine whether you are at work or at home.

2. Health

Try to maintain a good health. You might be having specific health issues but still ensure you are taking care of yourself. Healthy and timely eating habits pave way for a happy and healthy life in the long run. Don’t let your ‘mood’ decide your menu. And don’t skip meals. At the same time, ensure that you are engaged in some sort of physical activity in your daily routine. If nothing works out, just ensure to walk for at least twenty minutes. If you are restricted in your physical movements, ensure you do basic breathing exercise like Pranayaam. It will help you immensely in your overall well being- both physically and mentally.

3. Acquire Knowledge

Adversity or no adversity – never stop the learning process! This will help you to keep away the negative thoughts and will give you a sense of achievement. You can also enroll yourself in some course which you think would add value to you. It can be an online course or a classroom course. Also, do some reading every day. It helps. I have found some books very helpful to me and I can recommend few of them for you here:-

These books are Bible of our lives. They not only teach us how we can lead a purposeful life but also how to achieve our goals. Knowledge never goes waste. It will not only make you feel empowered. 

4. Networking/Friends

Never try to avoid people during this phase i.e. when facing hard times. Whatever be your situation, maintain a positive stance and be bold enough to accept the situation. The more you try to avoid people, the more they will try to intrude in your life. You face them boldly and they will be on their own. Try to build a support group. Say, one or two persons with whom you can be comfortable. They can be among your close friends, colleagues or family members. I found great comfort in talking to my seniors and mentors.

Whenever you feel down, try to reach out to them and share a bit of what you are going through. Remember, no self-pity here. World does not like people who either complain or are in a self-pity mode. You are not seeking sympathy…you are seeking support to lighten your pain. Just a word of caution here- don’t narrate your sorrow to each and every person you meet in your network!  So, the bottom line is – don’t avoid people and continue to maintain your friendly relations with your friends and colleagues.

5. Up-to-date with current affairs

Keep a tab on the current affairs. Be informed about what’s happening around you. Read Newspaper daily. You will come across many news items that might act as an opportunity for you.  Being informed always helps. The world is a happening place with new opportunities coming up every day. You just need to be aware of such opportunities to grab your share of the  pie.

6. Family

Family is important. Unfortunately, when people hit rough patch, the first thing they try to do is to make themselves aloof from their family. This is not correct. Seek support and make them understand. Tell them about your problem you are facing and share your plan of action. I am sure they would understand and help you to cope with the hard times. 

But it might also be possible that you don’t get the required support from your family. What to do in such a scenario? Well, as I said earlier, reach out to your support groups. They can act as family members. The crux of the matter is- seek support and company. It will help you fight the hard times with greater power.

7. No Drugs/Alcohol

When one goes through hard times one may fall into the trap of getting into intoxication like using drugs and consuming alcohol. This would apply more to those who already are in the habit of taking alcohol within limits (consuming alcohol once or twice a week) either as a social drinker or as a regular drinker. Some of you might take to smoking as well. This is not right approach. These bad habits would further create problems and you will never be able to come out of your hard times. Never indulge in these habits. Be careful about your company. Seek medical help if required.

8. Self-Time/Meditation

Try to find some ‘me-time’ every day- any time when you could be just yourself. Close your eyes and do little talking with yourself. Be honest during this time. In your thoughts review your activities and your life style and see if any betterment can be achieved. Review your progress. Ask yourself ‘Am I doing all that is needed?’  ‘What more can I do?’

You can do it immediately after your bath or may be in the night time before retiring to bed. It’s totally up to you to find an appropriate time for yourself.  

9. Pray

Nothing can replace a prayer coming straight from the heart! Believe me! Yes, one never knows the power of prayer. Make it simple, straight from the heart affair! Just bow down and surrender yourself completely to the almighty. No ego here. Howsoever difficult the hard times may be, howsoever difficult the struggle may be…always pray and thank God! Power of the universe is immense. And your prayer will never go waste! Believe me! Pray with all honesty and all heart! Not as a ritual or a routine. It’s your time with God! Make use of every second!

10. Good sleep

Have a sound sleep every day. Try to go to bed early. Have your meals in time. Six to seven hours sleep every day is essential. Never sleep during the day if you are at home.  When you retire to bed, be calm and just blank your mind. Before doing that, have a quick stock taking about the next day’s plan and activities. Retire with a sense of gratitude to the almighty and fall asleep! Make sure you have sweet dreams!

Last word:-Never lose humour

                                           Humour is Essential!                   Pic Credit : Google

One last word! …never lose your sense of humour! Incorporate humour in all walks of your life. You would see that life is not that tough! It’s just a matter of time when the bad times changing into good times again! Smile, humour, laughter etc. make hard times more bearable and less bitter. Is it that difficult to incorporate a little humour and occasional laughter in our lives? Bad times or no bad times….ensure you smile as much as you can and never miss an opportunity to have a hearty laughter! Remember the song’ Jindagi….hasne gaane ke liye hai pal do pal’ (‘Life is too short to laugh and sing for a moment or two…’)

Wishing you Great times ahead!