My dad, 64, retired, still recuperating from a paralytic attack that happened a year ago and a chronic case of cardiac anomalies, got stranded at home due to a recent bout of viral infection; and the one thing he missed the most were his golf sessions. It reminded me of just how important it is to have pursuits, either creative or intellectual, something that gives meaning to your life – something outside of work, something you are passionate about. Most people associate themselves to the work that they do, their day jobs, or their designation. While it is extremely important to have a sense of belonging and a sense of pride in your job, to grow as a human and to add value to your day job, it is also important that one finds a channel for incorporating a creative or an intellectual pursuit.
Before writing this piece, I took the time to speak with a several people I know to find out what they do outside of work, how they find the time to do it, and most importantly, if at all they are able to do so. It turns out that a lot of them felt that while trying to manage their time between work and home – there is little to no time left for anything else; and even if they want to start something, they say it is difficult to start something brand new when they already have a full blown career and other personal responsibilities. On the contrary, there were some others who found a near perfect balance despite having a demanding day job, a dedicated family life, and equally engaging and passionate creative or intellectual pursuits. Turns out that the latter were the people who approached their creative or intellectual pursuits as a passion and not just a hobby.
For a great deal of time, I confused passion with hobby and used the two terms interchangeably, until someone pointed out that a hobby is engaged in for relaxation and often does not have high stakes involved, while something you are passionate about, may or may not be relaxing and gives an immense sense of accomplishment.
I found myself looking up the dictionary to find the meaning of passion. Mostly, I found passion being tied to love and romance. One place listed the below
Passion is a very strong feeling about something or a strong belief in something.
If you have a passion for something, you have a very strong interest in it and like it very much.
Passion, to me, is merely something that you enjoy doing so much that you put a great deal of time/ energy/ effort in accomplishing, which otherwise would not demand that much time, energy, or effort. I am sure everyone has seen (or you could be one) someone who loves spending time in the kitchen, cooking the most delicious meals or adding a touch of innovation to the old recipes, or someone who loves to sing or dance or paint.
One could question as to why is it necessary to have a creative or intellectual or a fitness pursuit. The answer is simple – such pursuits drive you to keep going. They gives meaning to life. Whether it is to become a culinary expert, the best sportsperson, ace photographer, to have a sculpted body or even become an expert in martial arts, following a creative or intellectual pursuit with passion is what makes you go the extra mile towards achieving it!
We all have something that we are passionate about. That something is what makes you happy, irrespective of how arduous it might be to accomplish. It could be anything from keeping the cupboards tidy to building cutting edge laptops. Those of you who think they haven’t figured out theirs yet, think of it this way – it should already feel like a part of you, something that drives you to do more of it with near perfection, something that you do so well that you are reminded by other people that it is not normal for most others to accomplish it with such zeal; something that you continue to pursue even if that means facing criticism, embarrassment, or even financial loss.
“While I love playing badminton and often have time baked in during my regular workday, I oftentimes need to steal time from work to play badminton, especially on a day when I am deeply stressed. It helps me relax and allows me to bring my focus back to work. The reason I steal time from work is because my colleagues will not understand how badminton helps me. Instead, they might think I have too much spare time at hand or worse – that I neglect my work.”
This, and several such stories that I heard left me wondering what it will take to ask colleagues and managers at work to see the side hustles and passions in a more positive light and to furthermore, accept that it is these very side hustles, creative/ intellectual/ fitness pursuits act as much needed motivators.
Anything outside of work requires personal initiative and commitment, more so because it is usually not rewarding monetarily. The rewards are more in term of fulfilment. It creates a well-balanced life, lets you do great work, helps you focus well and allows for relaxation. It requires one to invest in oneself by stepping outside of the comfort zone. The key is to narrow down to one or two things that test your capabilities while giving you immense sense of accomplishment.
A lot of times, we are inspired by people who are accomplished and we find ourselves saying things like, “I wish I could do something like this” or “I might want to try this out sometime”. These are all stages of commitment and awareness of where one is V/S where one wants to be.
Following a creative or intellectual pursuit makes you feel good as it gives meaning and a sense of accomplishment to life. It goes without saying that following your heart might lead you to face embarrassment and failures but if one is committed about something, it’s easy to find the resilience to go through with it no matter the distance.
Some of the people who continue to inspire me are writers, poets, dancers, painters, and other such artistic mavericks. From photographers to marathon runners, I feel fortunate to be surrounded by people who never fail to inspire me.