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.
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?’